TV Review: USA’s ‘Royal Pains’ Returns For Breezy Summer Fun

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CHICAGOUSA’s highest rated series returns tonight with the fourth season premiere of the wonderfully breezy “Royal Pains.” I used to love and defend this show but I’m starting to grow concerned that it’s been out in the Hamptons sun for too long and grown complacent. I don’t expect high drama on “Royal Pains,” but the show’s almost too breezy now, opening with a goofy arc about an eating competition even while HankMed seems to be falling apart. Television Rating: 3.0/5.0
Television Rating: 3.0/5.0

Picking up on the action from the finale of season three, HankMed (which consists of Dr. Hank Lawson [Mark Feuerstein] and his brother Evan [Paulo Costanzo]) is breaking up. The brothers are tired of each other’s flaws as Hank can’t stand Evan’s focus on everything other than the actual practice of medicine and Evan can’t stand Hank’s inability to think outside of the box. Of course, there’s no “Royal Pains” if HankMed doesn’t exist in some form but will Hank and Evan start competing private doctor companies? Or will they reunite? Donal Logue (“Terriers”) guest stars.

Royal Pains
Royal Pains
Photo credit: USA

The fourth season premiere of “Royal Pains” is a pretty average episode but I’m starting to worry about this show. The cast, especially Feurstain and Reshma Shetty, simply don’t feel like they’re being challenged in any way any more. It’s the kind of program where I’m excited to see an underrated actor like Logue and then I realize he’s not going to be given too much to do. Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first one to defend well-done escapism and I’ve called “Royal Pains” just that for years but I wish the show could find a way to surprise viewers and challenge its talented cast.

“Royal Pains” is a massive hit. It will likely be on for years. In seasons six, seven, and eight, will the brothers still be bickering like they did in season one and will we be witnessing silly medical dramas like an ill eating competition contestant? Where does “Royal Pains” go from here? I’m not willing to give up on it just yet but with SO many exciting summer programs (this season, in particular, could be the best ever with new installments of “Breaking Bad” & “Louie” and the premiere of “The Newsroom”…never mind the dozens of shows on TNT and the rest of USA), it’s harder to defend a forgettable show that has the talent and potential to be more memorable than it actually is.

“Royal Pains” stars Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Flint, and Reshma Shetty. The fourth season premiere airs on Wednessday, June 6, 2012 at 8pm CST on USA Network. content director Brian Tallerico

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