It was a night of pop stars and babies in the episode “Dancing With the Devil” on USA Network’s hit series Royal Pains. With Evan (Paulo Costanzo who also directed this week’s installment) goes out of town to scope out colleges with his fiancé Paige (Brooke D’Orsay), Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein), Divya Katdare (Reshma Shetty), and Dr. Jeremiah Sacani (Ben Shenkman) deal with Ava (Patti Murin), a pop-star modeled after Lady Gaga. Add Boris’s woman Dr. Marissa Caseras (Paola Turbay) pleading with Hank to help her baby, Hank also hunts down the best pediatrician in the Hamptons. The big surprise being it is none other than Dr. Harper Cummings (Kat Foster) who turned him down episodes previously. And don’t forget Divya is hto and heavy now with Rafa (Khotan) So how does “Dancing With the Devil” fare?
Royal Pains rarely disappoints, but this examiner does have a concern that the writers may have struck gold and didn’t even know it. Royal Pains biggest strengths are that it plays out the secondary characters well, it is something I don’t think they’ll ever not do correctly. Characters like Dr. Cummings, or Dr. Caseras, or even Dr. Sacani, are well-written and given multiple episodes to breathe. Sacani has always felt more like a one-trick pony of a character at first glance: originally introduced to inspire comedy, but as more episodes unfold, there is a bit of a tragic underpinning to his character played wonderfully by Shenkman and written equally as brilliant by the Royal Pains writers. Each episode featuring Shenkman’s Sacani makes one feel like ‘They can’t make this character even more awesome” but then they do it again. While I am not fond at all about putting the idea to Sacani of being together with Divya, and it looks like that probably won’t happen, as Sacani is just not Divya’s type, but the introducing the idea that Shenkan’s Sacani has a crush on her is a bit depressing. What was even more depressing though, and maybe it was intended or maybe not, but the chemistry, the way that Costanzo directed the episode… the chemistry between the character and actress of Ava and Dr. Sacani was really on the nose.
The little twist to case of the week pop star Ava is that she is a good old country girl at heart who has lies spread by her manager that she is a hard core party girl. She lives up to the reputation only occasionally to keep the press going, but she personally dislikes it. With a big tour kicking off soon, she is under further scrutiny and stress to perform. And she does seem taken with Sacani a bit as she likes his straight forward “telling it like it is” approach with Sacani can’t necessarily control due to his social awkwardness.
You could debate that she is using Sacani, as when Sacani and Hank both believe it might be Cushing’s disease, they need her to spit in a cup every few hours, Ava drags Sacani to a dance club with her since Sacani won’t know where she’ll be, ‘you should just come with me!’. After having a panic attack in the club, Hank calms Sacani down enough that when Ava tries to get him to dance and she collapses, Sacani can act in time to save her.
One doubts Ava will return later in the season, and by season’s end, Sacani’s run as a guest star or character on the show will be over, but I do hope, sincerely that the writers bring Ava back in some form for Sacani whenever his finale on Royal Pains arrives. Sacani as a character deserves some happiness as we know we isn’t going to get that from Divya, and he is learning a bit more about bedside manor from Hank… Heck, would it be crazy to say I’d love to see Sacani in his own show as a spin-off? Because this examiner would. Him and Van Dyke start their own practice somewhere. It’d be awesome. And have Ava as his girlfriend. Gold, this examiner tell yahs, GOLD!
Beyond that, the episode primarily focused on Hank trying desperately to cure Dr. Caseras and Boris’ baby with Dr. Cummings. Hank as a character while always the lead, seems to lose a bit more focus as seasons wear on. And this happens in all series, the supporting characters, if the show is well-written, begin to get more screen time and get flushed out more much to the chagrin to the lead characters. So while we see Hank in every episode, sometimes his arc seems there albeit brief. And here, the nice pay-off between him and Dr. Cummings with Hank desperately trying to woo Dr. Cummings back was a nice relief. While I always give tons of credit to Evan and Costanzo as being the heart of the series, Hank is truly the soul of Royal Pains and to see him get with a girl that sees on the level is more than plesant. And again, the writers of Royal Pains write Cummings’s role wonderfully. Let’s hope she sticks around for a few more episodes as well.
While this examiner wishes he could wax poetic about Rafa, Divya’s new boy toy, we haven’t really gotten much time with him or his character, but more about how he makes Divya feel. That is fine, but if the Royal Pains writers could give a bit more time with Rafa, this examiner thinks it’d be nice to see him stick around too but as of now I remain indifferent on his character. Not to say the acting isn’t good, but the character feels ho-hum at this point and designed to only illicit certain actions for the Divya character. Granted, Divya deserves some semblance of happiness after the past two years, but still, one digresses.
Overall, Royal Pains continues to deliver the goods when making housecalls with its excellent performances and top-notch writing of both the leads and secondary characters.
Royal Pains airs on the USA Network which is on Channel 5 on Columbus Insight Communications and Channel 29 for Columbus Time Warner Customers
But what do YOU think?
You can comment below or send your thoughts via e-mail. Heck, if you have twitter, tweet us!
Let us know and we may read your comments on Nick’s podcast, the Good, The Bad & The Geeky. If you like what you hear, please subscribe on iTunes, rate and comment!
This article was originally published on The TV King. You can read Nick’s additional reviews on The TV King.