20 April 2018



'Hey, this is the Hamptons. Everybody's royalty.'

'I was just in the wrong place at the right time and I was ethically obligated to intervene.'

'For the first time in my life I may actually be in love with a guy, and you want me to relay this to his half-nude, number-crunching little brother? Wouldn't that be socially awkward?'

'I need a bottle of vodka, a sharp pointed knife, a ballpoint pen, a sandwich baggie and some duct tape.'
'Who are you, McGyver...?'

'You've been in the Hamptons for twenty-four hours and you've already got a bar of gold in your nightstand and you're fighting off supermodels. Imagine what we could do if we were actually trying...?'

It's so funny that I'm reviewing this boxset now, because it's quite similar to something I reviewed a few weeks ago, something that's also out now from FABULOUS FILMS. NORTHERN EXPOSURE is the story of a doctor as well, a Jewish New Yorker who's been sent to a small town in Alaska to be its general practitioner for four years. I have terrible trouble spelling 'practitioner,' by the way. It's a very tricksy word.

The opinionated young doctor views the town as the arse-end of nowhere and his four years as a life sentence. Sooner or later, however, the charm of the eccentric townspeople, including a community of Native American Indians, will work its magic on Mister 'Gimme a bagel- with cream cheese!' and he'll realise that maybe small-town living might just be bearable after all. When he meets and becomes attracted to what he hasn't worked out yet is his ideal woman, the small-town living idea might just become more bearable still...

ROYAL PAINS is about a young male doctor too, one who also suddenly finds himself in a place and situation in which, in his wildest dreams, he never expected to be. Hank Lawson is a hot commodity, a rising star in the New York City medical community. Another New Yoik doctor, see, just like our friend from NORTHERN EXPOSURE?

Hank's as attractive as hell with brown curly hair, a great body and a devastating smile. He's an up-and-coming, hotshot young medic with a fabulous apartment and a fiancée who would actually be too good-looking to be a mere supermodel. Seriously, she's a real stunner, and she loves Hank and his terrific apartment and his job as a respected doctor in a New York hospital.

Hank, to Nikki in a restaurant: 'After a long day of life and death, there is nothing more reassuring than the sight of a beautiful girl.'
Nikki: 'Let's go give that long day of yours a happy ending...'

Everything in Hank's life is going swimmingly. He's luckier than any man has a right to be, right? Wrong. A twist of fate, which I refuse to divulge, lol, sees Hank losing his wonderful job at the hospital and even being 'blacklisted by every trauma center (that's how the 'Muricans spell it!) in New York City.' Hank is shell-shocked by the change in his fortunes.

The fickle Nikki doesn't stick around, the disloyal gold-digger. Hank is on his uppers now,
with bills coming in from all directions, bills he can't pay because the hospital isn't paying him. The bailiffs are in and out of the place and Hank is slumped in an armchair watching everything from THE JERRY SPRINGER SHOW to the CHILD'S PLAY horror flicks. I see he has good viewing sense anyway, lol.

Any-hoo, Hank is obviously deep in the doldrums, the way anyone might be after such a dramatic downturn in their quality of living. Enter Hank's goofier-looking brother Evan, who assesses the situation shrewdly when he calls round to Hank's flat. 'It smells like a moose had sex with a bucket of Chinese food in here.' He doesn't say 'duuuuuuuude...?!' but I think it's implied, lol.

He manages to rouse Hank out of his stupor, or maybe it was the fact that he was out of booze and Netflix had frozen his account that got Hank up outta that armchair. Whatever it was, he's up. Evan takes him to a super-exclusive party for the super-rich in the Hamptons, at the home of a millionaire German guy called Boris. The two brothers basically crash the party.

When Hank saves the life of a beautiful party guest when she collapses, vomiting (no, it's not drugs, guess again!), on Boris's carpet, something strange happens. Hank is suddenly getting calls from rich socialites all over the Hamptons, asking him to come to their mansions and fix their medical problems. It seems that there's very much an opening in the Hamptons for a handsome, personable, intelligent young medic who 'has bag, will travel...'

Things move pretty quickly after this. Word spreads like wildfire that the Hamptons has a hot new 'concierge doctor,' which means a doctor who'll 'come when called, fix patient, cash cheque,' as one billionaire patient puts it. 

A doctor who comes to you, in other words, something I wish to Christ we had here in Ireland. Queuing in the doctor's waiting-room for hours while people cough and splutter all around you without benefit of a hanky is totally not my idea of fun. I can't really imagine that it's anyone's. 

Believe it or not, Hank isn't at all keen on the idea at first. Just like our pal from NORTHERN EXPOSURE, he wants to go home to New York. He only came to the Hamptons for the weekend. Keep telling yourself that, Hank baby...

Hank's accountant brother Evan is quick to jump on Hank's bandwagon. In no time at all, he's set up HANK-MED, their jointly-run brand-new company. A beautiful, whip-smart young woman called Divya comes out of nowhere and offers- well, demands, really- to be Hank's PA. A PA to my mind would be a personal assistant but in this show it actually means 'physician's assistant,' so remember this to avoid confusion.

I love how Evan convinces his brother to stay and take what the Hamptons is so freely offering: 'These people trust you. They appreciate you. They need you. Don't punish them because of something that happened back home.' Then Evan moves in for the kill: 'Isn't denying people care because they're rich the same as denying people care because they're poor?'

The die is cast. HANK-MED is a go. It helps that Hank has met a cute but principled hospital administrator called Jill, who's trying to set up a clinic for poor people in the Hamptons and who urges him to stay so that he can help her with this worthy project. Right so. He's staying. 

Hank is now the concierge doctor to the lonely sons of selfish billionaires and to stinking-rich women with 'flat tyres,' which is Hamptons-speak for 'the air's gone out of one of my silicone tits and I'm all freakin' lop-sided just in time for tonight's pool party, you've gotta help me!'

One thing I found hilarious about the already quite witty ROYAL PAINS was that I'm convinced that a lot of what Hank is doing is possibly illegal. I mean, his patients read the eye chart off his phone (his phone...!) and he 'borrows' Jill's hospital's mobile MRI machine whenever the hospital's not using it for a couple of hours. Isn't that, like, a bit dodgy? What if someone actually needed that machine while Hank was off driving the mobile scanner blithely around the countryside on the way to some rich patient?

One patient, a Senator's wife, has a fully-equipped, fully-functional modern hospital in her palatial home when she summons Hank to give her son a sports medical, but otherwise it's pretty much flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants medicine.

I mean, is that legal? Does Hank actually have a licence to do any of this unorthodox stuff he does, or doesn't he need one? Do these rich folk not care about who's in charge of their medical care? Personally speaking, I'd be thrilled if Doctor Hank came over to my house to give me an
MOT but I'd really need to see his equipment first, just to make sure it's serviceable...

Just to add that Hank is actually a man of principle, unorthodox working methods notwithstanding, and he isn't just out for what he can get. He wants to help the poorer people of the Hamptons as well (I bet that even their poorer people are still richer than me, lol) and if the chance arises to do so, he'll do it, even if he has to forfeit his fee to do so. Aw, good on ya, Hank. Who loves ya, baby...?

ROYAL PAINS has sun, sea, sand, beautiful blue skies and a ton of bikini babes, all tall brunettes with fake breasts, endless legs and longer hair. The banter is pretty funny and, all ethical considerations aside, there's the potential for the totally dreamy Doctor Hank, his brother Evan and physician's assistant Divya to have a long and fruitful association with the Hamptons...

ROYAL PAINS is out now from FABULOUS FILMS/FREMANTLE MEDIA ENTERPRISES. This FABULOUS (see what I did there???) boxset contains 'all 104 episodes from 8 seasons of this smart and original comedy that ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY hails as 'whimsical fun,' finally in one complete collection.'


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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