USA, I salute you.
My fellow single Americans, join me.
Salute Royal Pains.
Because they let Hank be Hank. And Hank is single.
Background: Royal Pains is a USA Network dram-edy centered on Dr. Hank Lawson, an ER doctor who follows his conscience, gets fired for it and gets dumped by his fiancée for getting fired. Hank’s brother Evan drags him out of his mood and into a new life as a concierge doctor for the Hampton’s elite and not-so-elite.
According to the rules of Hollywood, the leading man or woman of every TV show in America must take on an eternal quest for romance or nobody will watch.
According to me, the rulers of Hollywood don’t have enough imagination. They are limited by their ingrained biases, and are unable to create anything outside of societal expectations of how life in our fair nation is supposed to look.
Life in the USA is supposed to look married, preferably with children.
Never noticed? Well, channel surf for 20 minutes in Prime Time and it is unmistakable. Even the serial killers have significant others. Sure, they get slaughtered in their sleep but the slayer’s motive was love so for sure it’s appropriate for our airwaves.
Royal Pains started with all the hallmarks of a Hollywood (ahem) hit. Picture this set-up (and I am certain you can): summer 2008, a handsome Jewish doctor in his mid-30s, with a gaping wound where his heart was ripped out, walks into a party. He saves a life and saves the day, and still goes home alone.
The perfect TV premise enfolds before our eyes: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, soul-wrenching search for love ensues, complete with audience pleasing sexual tension and innuendo; boy meets perfect girl, boy marries perfect girl, has perfect baby, and lives happily ever after in syndication.
Viewership soars, so the belief goes, and all of America applauds.
But not this time. This time, the USA yawned. USA Network that is, where characters are welcome and boring storylines are not.
Naturally, over eight seasons, our boy Hank meets girl after girl, and loses the girl or loses interest in the girl.
This, my fine patriot, was the least interesting part of Hank’s story. I think we can all agree that Hank’s medical mystery solving heroics ensured the show’s success. The hunt for a fiancee was a distraction for me and for Hank. Or so I liked to believe.
The thing is, last week was the final episode before the series finale of Royal Pains. It was a musical but more on that in a sec. When a show goes off the air, everybody has to get a happy ending. It’s mandatory to tie up loose ends by tying people down.
Translation: all the characters walk off into the Hamptons sunset hand-in-hand with their special someone.
For instance, Hank’s brother and his perfect bride overcome all odds and low sperm motility to get pregnant. Awwww.
Next, we have Hank’s associates: Divya and Jeremiah, who find love and blaze new career paths. Divya gets married and pregnant by the man she left at the altar in season 2, and is off to become a physician instead of a Physician’ Assistant.
Jeremiah meets a woman who finds his social anxiety endearing. He makes a bundle of money on a patent and starts his own research laboratory.
Let’s not forget Hank’s father. He not only recovers from heart trouble, he marries a socialite who he left at the altar earlier this season.
Then there is Hank… Hank Hank Hank.
I have to tell you, I was cringing weekly, waiting for Hank to be swept off his feet and down the aisle. Finally, Hank would find love and wedded bliss. Ugh. Boring. Unoriginal. Offensive, to me anyway.
Cue the fireworks, folks because on Wednesday, June 29, 2016, USA Network became the land of the free and home of the brave.
Hank sings- literally– proud and out loud that, yeah, maybe he will “end up alone” — but maybe he is supposed to. Maybe his life is working out as it should. Maybe he should embrace the adventure and admit he likes.
No, not maybe. As Royal Pains comes to a close, Hank sings a rarely heard tune: he is single, and he is happy and he has been all along.
Let’s not ruin the moment by mentioning the musical portion of the show was due to hallucinations– which of course Hank diagnosed. Hank’s crooning might have been an illusion, but his Declaration of Independence was real.
U S A!!!!
U S A!!!!
U S A!!!
USA Network, I Salute You. You let Hank be Hank.