"Those observant eyes of yours? You better keep 'em wide open, 'cuz you ain't seen nothin' yet!"
Royal Pains is a summer series airing on USA Network
about medical genius Hank Lawson (played by Mark Feuerstein) who makes a decision triaging "some kid off the street" and saving him over a billionaire trustee (who he had declared stable) who subsequently died. The resulting legal backlash makes him lose pretty much everything he has, including his fiancée due to the emotional difficulties, and is blacklisted from any medical position even remotely worth his skills.
His brother Evan Lawson takes it upon himself to cheer his brother up by organizing a trip to crash a South Hampton party, which would be a party God would be at "If he could get in." By a twist of fate, Hank is around when a party attendant has an allergy attack and proves himself better able to handle these on-the-spot medical emergencies than the local concierge doctor.
Hank receives an offer to replace the older concierge doctor by the enigmatic German multi-billionaire Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz
, but he has some reservations about taking such a position because it caters exclusively to the wealthy (many of whom are very self-indulgent and self-absorbed). After discussing the issue with a newfound friend, the Hampton Heritage Hospital administrator Jill Casey, Hank takes up the job. Evan helps manage the finances of "Hank Med", and Physician Assistant Divya Katdare is his very savvy assistant.
Each episode is about Hank making house calls and dealing with the eccentricities of this obscenely rich community. As with other USA shows with a strong episodic premise, around 2012, the show has occasionally moved away from pure Patient of the Week
storylines and focused on more overarching drama and story in order to develop the characters and introduce future conflicts and plots while wrapping up older ones.
The fifth season premiered on June 12, 2013.
This show provides examples of:
- Adorkable: Dr. Jeremiah Sacani. How adorkable? He's got a note card to help him remember what to do to try and flirt with Divya.
- Affably Evil: Eddie Lawson. He's a con artist who walked out on his own sons, then came back and swindled them out of their money. But, what're you gonna do? He's The Fonz.
- Ambiguously Jewish: The Lawsons, until "Keeping the Faith," when it becomes more or less explicit. They aren't the least bit observant, though.
- Interestingly, the professions of the seen Lawsons are incredibly stereotypically Jewish: Doctor (Hank), accountant (Evan), and shyster (Eddie). All you need is a lawyer and an academic and you have the Jewish home run.
- Lampshaded/played with in the episode where Evan and Paige get married. She reminds them that it's the first day of Hanukah... and is surprised that all three Lawsons not only didn't remember that it was, but don't even have any of the trappings with which to observe.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Evan. Strangely, most of his Stop Helping Me! acts seem to be motivated by genuine care for Hank's wellbeing...and his desire to get some tail.
- Arranged Marriage: Divya is drifting towards accepting her arranged marriage to a childhood friend. At the beginning, she tried to call it off, but when the engagement ceremony came around, she couldn't bring herself to do it. However, it's not like she couldn't call it off or she hates the guy (he's kind of clueless and cheerful, actually); she's simply not certain she should be married to him.
- In the season two finale, it's officially called off.
- As You Know; Parodied in 2x13, when Jill is paired up with a famous golfer and two random people. They ask her if she knows his story. She says she does, and they're just so enthusiastic they tell her—and the audience—anyway.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Divya and Evan
Divya: Let's have dinner, but absolutely no conversation.
Evan: Like we're married!
- More or less ended now that Evan's with Paige.
- The Bechdel Test: Jill and Divya have numerous conversations about subjects unrelated to men, Divya and Jill also have plenty of conversations with female patients about their health.
- Big Brother Instinct: Hank towards Tucker. After Tucker's dad fires him, Hank still hangs around Tucker, saying he wasn't banned from being his friend.
- Blessed with Suck: "Whole Lotto Love"'s client of the week deals with lottery winners, one of which is convinced that he was cursed. Eventually subverted: the lottery winner's streak of bad luck wasn't a curse.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Jill thinks she heard "Es ist nicht ihr," and a translator reads it as "It is not her," but the actual German translation would be "It is not their." Could be a plot point, but even Google agrees with the correct version.
- Bollywood Nerd: Divya. She's a brilliant physician assistant, and even the cover story she tells her parents is that she is attending Wharton.
- California Doubling: Averted. Just as with Burn Notice for Miami, this show is filmed on-location in the Long Island / Hamptons area. However, Puerto Rico doubled for Cuba during the Boris-in-Cuba mini-arc, though it's not like they could just up and film in Cuba.
- Can Not Spit It Out: Boris has this for the first season or so, going to ridiculous lengths to hide and/or find a cure for his condition, often alienating Hank, the one doctor who seems to thinks he can help him.
- Ditto for Jeremiah and his feelings for Divya. He even denies it when Evan notices and says something. Had Jeremiah been more upfront with her to begin with, he could have saved himself some heartache.
- Cassandra Truth: Hank, re: Eddie R. Evan and Ms. Newberg both seem erroneously convinced that he really can't be as bad as all that.
- Catapult Nightmare: Jill is being afflicted by these after her "accident".
- Catch Phrase: Aristotle, the coolest taxicab driver in New York featured in "The Hankover", has got to make money on the deal somehow. Also, Evan will say whenever meeting someone new "Hi, I'm Evan R. Lawson, CFO of HankMed."
- Chick Magnet: Both Hank and Evan have their moments.
- Coattail-Riding Relative: Both Hank's brother and father try to use Hank to get rich.
- Averted in Season 4. It turns out that Hank needs Evan to keep the business afloat, while Evan can get along fine without Hank. Even Eddie R. is working on getting his book published on its own merits.
- Comically Missing the Point: In 1x03, "Strategic Planning", the Senator's wife is yelled at by her daughter for pressuring her son to play football as part of her plan to get him into the White House, unlike his father. (The son in question just wants to play football.) Then the wife, with a gleam in her eye, notes to Hank that her daughter standing up to her took almost...Presidential leadership. The looks on Hank and Divya's faces are hilarious.
- Continuity Nod: When Evan tries to drum up business in the season 2 premiere, the people he talks to on the phone are all clients from Season One.
- Cosmopolitan Council: "Manimal" has an Arab Oil Sheikh in appropriate garb and a black man, plus a Russian and the ambiguously European-American Boris. This makes sense, given that it's about oil.
- Deadpan Snarker: Starting with everyone. Boris probably does it best.
- Designated Love Interest: Jill Casey
- Disappeared Dad: Eddie was this until the beginning of Season 2.
- Easter Egg + Genius Bonus: In the season 2 premiere, HankMed has to save an infomercial star who got stuck in a vent. The ladder they set up just before the cut to commercial appears to be the "Little Giant", which is sold in infomercials.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: Pretty much every resident of the Hamptons except our main characters.
- Fake Crossover: Trying to ride the popularity of Burn Notice they have Michael Westen send Hank a care package in a commercial. It contains C4 ("because you never know when you'll need a stable plastic explosive").
- Fake Nationality: The German Boris is played by a guy from New York.
- Also, Rosie from "After The Fireworks" in universe.
- Fallen Princess: Divya, as of Season 3: her parents cut her off after she breaks off her engagement with Raj, even going so far as to have her car repossessed. She is reduced to crashing in Hank's guest room.
- Female Gaze: In 2x03, Emily Peck Boris' new concierge doctor uses her rear-view mirror to check out Hank's butt as he jogs away.
- Female Misogynist: Emily Peck accuses Divya.
- Flanderization: Evan turns into more of an idiotic jerk as the series goes on. This is actually a plot point, as he mentions in 1x11 that the Hamptons are "changing" him.
- Florence Nightingale Effect - Invoked by name by Hank after the young girl he saves during the pilot falls for him. And again when he saves the life of an attractive young woman's uncle in Cuba. She doesn't agree.
- Follow the Leader - Like Burn Notice, this show features a man who loses his job through no fault of his own and is forced to get by in an unfamiliar situation. That's a quote from the commercial where Michael writes to Hank, and sends him a few things he might need; sunglasses, some sunscreen, a block of C4...
- Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Jill's husband Charlie, who left her in favor of his job rather than work on their relationship, does this for pretty much the entire first season. Despite her wanting him to sign the papers long before he left, he keeps postponing it in an attempt to woo her. However, sometime between seasons 1 and 2, she finally gets him to sign them and he leaves.
- "Friends" Rent Control: Played with. The main characters are allowed to use Boris' guesthouse (initially rent-free but later Hank insists on paying some rent) due to his gratitude towards Hank. After Boris' faked death, Dimitri allows Evan and Paige the use of the main house... for free.
- Game of Nerds: In "Lawson Translation" we find out that Jeremiah is a huge fan of baseball owing largely to the fact it was one of the few place his love of statistics intersected with an interest of his father's.
- Gentle Giant: Donald (played by The Big Show), who plays the apparently very popular "Garbage Collector" in the Garbage Collector series of films.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the pilot, it's clearly possible to see Boris' penis through his wet swimsuit.
- Gilligan Cut: In the pilot, Hank insists that the partygoer who was poisoned by pesticides that he subsequently saved be taken to a hospital, and that "you can't just shoot her up and put her to bed." Smash Cut to the partygoer waking up in bed in Boris' home.
- Hacker Cave: Tucker has a very nice computer setup. However, it's in an open area, on the second floor, with a very nice view, and he's not a hacker. Considering he's a smart kid who knows how to deal with finances, it's possible, even likely, that the multi-monitor setup is for financial analysis (in real life, some may reach up to 6 monitors). The side effect of being a nice set up for other things like computer games is probably a bonus.
- Heroic BSOD: Hank goes into one after being fired and finding he's been black-balled. He sits around his apartment and watches TV. His brother snaps him out of it by pointing out that he should come to the Hamptons because a)he needs cheering up, and b)he's out of booze and his Netflix account was suspended.
- Honor Before Reason: Divya feels honor bound to go through with an Arranged Marriage. When she finally cancels the wedding she feels honor bound to repay her ex-fiance's family the money they spent on the engagement. She works a second job to raise the money which leaves her exhausted. Her insistence to keep this secret from Hank directly leads to her screwing up and endangering the life of a patient.
- How We Got Here: "The Hankover" (wink, wink) opens with Hank, Evan, and others the aftermath of a party at Boris' house, and Divya and Jill waking up in a taxi at some beach somewhere. "24 hours ago..."
- Hypocritical Humor + Stereotype Reaction Gag: When Evan finds out Divya's getting married, he starts going on about how awesome weddings are, what with getting to be with someone you love. Divya doesn't meet his eye, so he asks if it's an arranged marriage. Divya protests him applying the stereotype before admitting that yes, it's a strategic marriage.
- I Have No Daughter: Pretty much Divya's parent's reaction to when she called off the marriage. Cutting her off from of all of her assets and throwing her on the street.
- Sadly this is Truth in Television, as some families treat their daughters as nothing more than objects to marry off as business deals. And if the daughter does not want to go through with it, the family will disown them.
- Informed Ability: In 3x08, we meet a female Boston Marathon champion runner who boasts of her perfect stride. However, when shown running, she clearly is at most only a recreational runner, occasionally showing form more like a T-1000 than Joan Benoit.
- Insult Backfire: In 1x11, Evan is admiring a boat, and Divya says something about him playing with something like it in the bathtub.
Evan: Well, the scale's about right, so...
Captain: I like this guy.
- It's Always Sunny in the Hamptons: Semi-justified in that the show is actually shot in the Hamptons (or at least Long Island), but really? The other half is semi-justified in that anything that might ruin a shot is probably cut out since it suddenly raining during random scenes would likely ruin the mood or make it harder to film/get audio/etc.
- People in the Hamptons aren't usually out and about when it's raining.
- Jerkass: Dr. Van Dyke. A lot. He even tries to do a CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable) stunt on Divya.
- Joisey - Evan and Hank are from there. It's fairly hard to tell. Likely through a combination of Reality Is Unrealistic (most accents aren't nearly as extreme as media likes to portray it) and exposure to a variety of accents, theirs has toned down to something else.
- Jewish and Nerdy: Evan.
- Karma Houdini: For all the crimes Eddie's committed, his total punishment amounts to six months in a white-collar prison, a few days of house arrest (which he doesn't even abide by), and the opportunity to make amends with his estranged father.
- Killed Off for Real: Jack.
- Limited Wardrobe: Hank's staggering amount of blue shirts.
- MacGyvering - The commercials boast about this aspect of Hank. One patient's girlfriend asks him, "What are you, MacGyver?" after he saves his life with a bottle of vodka, a BIC pen, duct tape, a sharp knife, and a sandwich bag. All of this he used to save a hemophiliac who had internal bleeding from a car crash.
- Male Gaze: One shot had Evan talking to Divya, who was at the top of some stairs. The angle reverses, and Evan is sharing the frame with Divya's butt.
- Meganekko: Divya, occasionally.
- Ms. Fanservice: Hot women seem to be the rule rather than the exception in this world.
- Music Video Syndrome: There's a lot of music from hip, fresh new bands over the scene transitions. Turned into Left the Background Music On when Hank walks into a room with the patient while the music continues to play, loudly, and the patient has trouble hearing him. So Hank reaches out and turns off the nearby boombox. Turns out the music playing loud was actually a symptom; the patient had gone slightly deaf.
- My Fist Forgives You: The ending of 2x01 appears to set this up, but it ends up subverted in 2x02 as Hank Lawson still harbors negative feelings towards his dad.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Subverted in "Keeping the Faith." Donald instructs Evan to take his sister/manager "to a nice restaurant, a place where a gentleman would take a lady." So the little sis is not off-limits, so long as you act nice. To be fair, Donald is also over 7 feet tall and about 300 pounds of muscle so...
- New Media Are Evil: Invoked by an expectant mother who wanted her nieces and nephews to give up all their electronic devices while on the family's private island. She believes it makes it harder to connect with people.
- Non-Idle Rich: Divya.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: A parody of Vince Offer (the Sham Wow Guy), "Spencer the Spaz", is the subject of the second season premiere.
- Not So Different: Dr. Emily Peck claimed this to Divya, but a small-scale emergency subverted this.
- Not What It Looks Like: In the season one finale, Jill goes looking for Hank to tell him something important. She finds him getting a palm reading, and from a distance it looks like they're doing something intimate. She's actually flirting with him after he just told her he's not interested in a relationship. Jill walks away without either of the two lovebirds "noticing".
- Once per Episode: Hank often has a habit of asking patients how bad their pain is in a scale of 1 to 10, which the patients telling them how his grading system is grossly inadequate.
- Inverted in "Hank and the Deep Blue Sea" when Jack asks Hank how bad his screw up is on a scale of 1 to 2.
- Overly Long Name: Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz.
- Painting the Medium: One episode involved a woman who only spoke Italian, with her words subtitled. She didn't understand when Divya asked her to roll up her left sleeve. Evan tries to explain, and his poor Italian is accurately conveyed by his subtitles' bad grammar and whimsical font. When the woman he's talking to starts babbling, the subtitles eventually give up and go "Etc... Etc.... Etc..."
- Parent with New Paramour: Eddie Lawson and "New Parts" Newburg. Hank is not pleased.
- Plucky Comic Relief / Casanova Wannabe - Evan, whose B Story antics get painfully humiliating.
- Evan technically loses said Casanova Wannabe status: he finally gets laid in Cuba and gets a girlfriend by means of being The Beard first.
- Portmanteau Couple Name: In-universe. Evan calls Jill and Hank "Jank".
- Pretty Boy: Tucker.
- Pretty in Mink - Ms. Newberg in the pilot.
- Product Placement: Everyone seems to use Apple computers.
- Blatant in the episode "It's Like Jamais Vu All Over Again" with Jill's new car.
- In 2x14, "Pit Stop", Evan hands Hank a prominently placed box of Wheaties™ ("Breakfast of champions!") while he dines on Fruity Pops.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: As of the fourth episode of season four, both Brooke D'Orsay (Paige) and Campbell Scott (Boris) have been upgraded to the opening credits, replacing Jill Flint (Jill Casey).
- Properly Paranoid: Boris's measures to protect his privacy seem ridiculous, until the third season where it's revealed that members of his massive ancient noble family have been feuding with each other for centuries, and Boris is now a prime target since he's just had a son who can inherit his fortune and title. Oh, and the mysterious "illness" that's been killing off the men in his family for generations? May not have been an illness at all. Someone's been poisoning him.
- Put on a Bus: Charlie, who was supposed to fill the third part of an awkward Love Triangle between Hank and Jill, is noticeably absent from the second season premiere. Jill remarks that she finalized their divorce and nothing of him is mentioned ever again.
- Jill herself is this as of the fourth season.
- The Rival: Dr. Emily Peck, Hank's "temporary replacement," is now made into this. And as of "The Hankover", they now have Foe Yay. More specifically, they slept together.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The members of HankMed go out of their way to those in need alongside catering to the rich. Dr. Emily Peck has shown herself to be more concerned with "Hollywood style" medicine while avoiding situations that could get her sued.
- Rescue Romance: Deconstructed in the pilot. Hank saved the life of a girl and she fell in love with him. He recognized that this was simply a Nightingale effect and told her to wait a few weeks and the feeling would disappear, which she refused to believe. But sure enough, she never showed up again.
- Romantic False Lead: Jill's ex-husband. In a nice variation, he's a pretty nice guy, not all that different from Hank himself. He does have one glaring flaw; his near-delusional refusal to accept Jill's leaving him could be seen as stalkerish.
- Serious Business: Evan can get over a kidnapping attempt but how DARE you try to sell him counterfeit Cohibas.
- And again in "The Hankover".
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Evan, starting sometime 'round Season 3/4. Includes a Waistcoat of Style.
Eddie: Remember that Halloween, we all dressed as our favorite monsters?
- Sibling Team : Hank and Evan
- Status Quo Is God:
- Subverted with Jill doing charity work overseas. The writers kept coming up with ways to keep Jill in the Hamptons, up to and including her telling Hank that she lost the overseas job to someone else. Then, when it looks like she might join HankMed, she gets offered a similar job with better benefits in the following episode, and does depart for Africa.
- Played straight with Evan and Hank parting ways and running separate businesses in the fourth season: as of the fourth episode, they've made amends and Hank is back with HankMed.
- Take That: In the pilot when the on-call doctor tries to treat a girl at the party and automatically assumes it's drugs. Hank points out some important symptoms that he missed because of his assumption. A cynical doctor who assumes the worst in everyone? Hmmm....
- Televisually Transmitted Disease: Generally averted, most of the patients of the week have something odd (like Lyme Disease or scurvy), but nothing one-in-a-billion obscure. Hank spends most of his time dealing with cuts and burns, broken bones, and hypertension.
- A Threesome Is Hot: Evan's reaction to seeing Jill and Emily in Hank's bed in "Pit Stop".
- Title In: The show made use of Fringe-style 3D titles in "The Hankover".
- Tsundere: Divya, but especially concerning Evan, whom she can't seem to stand, and yet....
- Twofer Token Minority: The four leads are the white Hank, Hank's brother Evan, Jill and Divya, an attractive Indian Englishwoman. Both Hank and Evan are Jewish, so the "token minority" in this case may well be Jill, actually.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Usually over the phone, and usually Hank, but used literally in the late first-season episode where Evan, Divya, and the patient are stuck on a boat.
- Wealthy Philanthropist: The premiere has the subverted version of a rich family that donates to charity, but in fact uses their money to pull the strings. Hank prioritizes a dying poor man over a rich man who was in stable condition. The rich man has unforeseen complications and dies. The dead man's family turn out to be the hospital's biggest donors and they use this to force the hospital to fire Hank even though medically he did nothing wrong. Since they also donate money to all the major hospitals in New York, Hank is blacklisted from working as a hospital doctor.
- We Help the Helpless: In addition to making house calls for the rich, Hank regularly treats the town's lower class residents at no cost. This is often because these people cannot afford a private doctor under regular circumstances, and because they must dig through a mile of red tape to get treatment at the local hospital.
- For bonus points, a smaller-scale version of this resulted in his blacklisting. The kid was in critical condition, while the rich guy was apparently stable. Until he died, Hank had no reason to suspect there'd be complications.
- And as of "Mano a Mano," Hank's hospitality extends to people who could be considered enemies of the state in Cuba.
- Due to the wealth (or lack there of) of some of Hank's clients, he occasionally gets paid in other ways. For instance, a fisherman pays Hank in fish. Evan, to his credit, has no problems with that and in 3x15 upon noticing a number of fresh fish in the refrigerator, asks if said fisherman is okay.
- Worst Aid: The pilot episode in which Hank saves someone is rather...impractical.
- X Meets Y: House meets MacGyver meets Burn Notice. Or, alternatively, Burn Notice meets Northern Exposure meets MacGyver.
- You Keep Using That Word: In the second season two episode, Evan keeps using "subliminal" and Hank even tells him he should look it up.
- Your Cheating Heart: Divya's sister and husband make their arranged marriage work by sleeping with other people.
- Yoyo Plot Point: Hank and Jill's relationship is nearly reached this point, until it was resolved in the Season 1 finale. They broke up, and have since shown interest in other people.
- In effect again as of episode 16 of season 2.
- Off again as of the mid-season 3 premiere.