Royal Pains: Season 2, Episode 18

Listen to the Music (24 Feb. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 58 users  
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Hank believes his patient has been previously misdiagnosed and is determined to find out what he really has. Meanwhile, Divya and Raj prepare for their upcoming nuptials by taking dance lessons, but wind up as patients.

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Title: Listen to the Music (24 Feb 2011)

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Hank believes his patient has been previously misdiagnosed and is determined to find out what he really has. Meanwhile, Divya and Raj prepare for their upcoming nuptials by taking dance lessons, but wind up as patients.

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Comedy | Drama

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24 February 2011 (USA)  »

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After Hank gets the call from Divya when she is at the airport, you see hank grab the keys to Divya's car. But then when you see him driving, he is in his own convertible. See more »

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User Reviews

Adds a bit more gloss but it is as weak as before in regards writing and plotting
15 October 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

You wouldn't think it from the schedules but apparently there is somewhat of a dearth of weekly TV shows that demand very little attention and allow you to "watch" them while lying tired on the sofa surfing clothes shops on your iPhone. I think this must be the case because it appears to be the only reason that I found myself in the same room as my girlfriend watching the second season of this wretched nonsense. That said, the second season of Royal Pains does show some signs of improving from the first – sadly just not in ways one would have hoped.

The most obvious improvements are in keeping with the overall show and are almost totally superficial. So, the cast all seem fitter and better looking and there appears to have been more money spent on outfits and styling generally – not that this was ever really a weakness of the show, but the glossy aspects of the show are those that seem to have benefited from the confidence boost of a second season. In terms of plotting there appears to be some attempts to build narrative threads beyond the case of the week structure and these can be seen in the addition of the Lawson's conman father, the addition of the sexual predator and doctor-competitor Emily Peck, the dropping of Jill's ex, a new surgeon at the local hospital (played by Marcia Gay Haden of all people), a new girlfriend for Evan and the expansion of the plot around Boris' disease and the treatment thereof. Suffice to say there seems to have been a lot of work to get lots of work put in getting lots of relationship dynamics and characters into play – and all of this on top of the usual weekly cases.

The weekly cases are fairly bog-standard - if you ever see any of the doctors sit down in a restaurant then you can be pretty sure that somebody is going to be dropping in the vicinity very soon. The cases provide some variety week-to-week, but only on the surface, in terms of substance they all pretty much go the same way and do the same thing. Thanks goodness then that so much wider narrative has been added with all these new relationships and characters right? Wrong.

It isn't that things don't happen along these lines, it is more a matter of the show either not being able or not being willing to put in any leg work to make them happen – the writers have their predefined plot points, but they just don't join them up with any gradual development – instead they just jump to them. So, for example, they know they want Emily to be with Hank and thus cause tension between him and Jill while also extending their relationship thread; however instead of gradually making this happen organically over a few episodes, they simply just have Hank and Emily get at it. Then they jump to the tension. Then they jump to the resolution. This is the approach within many of the narrative arches in this season (although an arch is a constant, these are more like narrative hopscotch games) and it does hurt the show because almost none of it engages. Loads of helicopter shots of wealth, beautiful beaches, beautiful locations and lots of glossy delivery do nothing to cover for this central failure in the story telling.

Unsurprisingly the cast can't do much but go with the gloss. Feuerstein remains bland – his expressions click between several preset modes (smiling, concerned, determined are the main three go-to facial settings) with nothing in between and nothing "real" for me to get involved with. Costanzo has a bit more to do this season but is no less irritating – he is weaker this season because someone has given him the idea that he is more than a wacky support character (the writers I think) and he is given more than he can deliver. Flint I like and she has a natural light touch that could have used the gradual relationship muddle, but she doesn't get it and remains cute and little else. Shetty also has more meat (in theory) but again without direction and some space, she can do nothing and her performance is incredibly weak throughout the season – just doing what the scene needs with no reference points from outside the one line of dialogue she is delivering at that very moment – not unlike the majority of them. Griffith adds a bit of sexual tension to the show, but this is really all the script gives her – she does it well, but to limited value. Winkler and Haden are in here but neither have too much to do beyond be plot devices- it is particularly surprising to find Haden in something like this. Guest spots throw up some unusual faces that range from "her from HLOTS and The Wire" through to a pointless bit of self-promotion by John Legend (and the dialogue has to casually say "wow look that's John Legend isn't he great" – a wonderfully clunky moment).

Most shows step their game up when they get that second season; it gives them confidence to strengthen, hold the core audience and do more than they did in the first season to ensure growth as a show; it is telling that in the case of Royal Pains, all it means is more gloss and superficial stuff – no real substance or development. The plots are bullet points with little fleshing out and it really prevents the show engaging or even entertaining me. Somebody loves this show (it is now on its third season in the US) but I'm not sure why because even as "comfort viewing" it is so lazy and vapid as to be more of an irritant than a relaxant.


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