ROYAL PAINS 2.3: The (really) Big Show

Sure, ROYAL PAINS featured its biggest guest star ever this week – the 7-foot, 485-pound Paul Wight, a.k.a. Big Show of the WWE – but I was more distracted by who wasn’t on the screen very much: Where did Divya go?

This second season of ROYAL PAINS is focusing a lot on adding big names: Henry “the Fonz” Winkler is recurring as Hank and Evan’s shady father, Eddie R., and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden will be seen periodically as prickly Dr. Elizabeth Blair. And Christine Ebersole’s Mrs. Newberg is also on the scene a lot more lately. Last week, 24’s erstwhile Chloe, Mary Lynn Rajskub, portrayed Mrs. Newberg’s flighty daughter, Blake. Also, AS THE WORLD TURNS’ Marnie Schulenburg (Alison) appeared as Sherrie Tanner, a leather craftswoman (“I’m the only designer on the East Coast specializing in armadillo; it’s my schtick!”) who contracted Hansen’s disease – otherwise known as leprosy – from her own creations. (Get the joke? “Tanner” works with leather?) The soap trend continued this week with Florencia Lozano (ONE LIFE TO LIVE’s Tea) playing Faith, the high-strung sister/business manager of the action-movie star known as the Garbage Man (Big Show).

I really hope all these guest stars do not crowd out the charming regular cast, thus I’m worried about Divya (played by the gorgeous Reshma Shetty) making herself scarce this week. The promos for this episode contained a bit of Divya dialogue that was cut from the aired version, so now I’m really worried! I convinced myself that maybe Divya was off working out her “compatibility” issues with fiancé Raj, but I don’t know…. Come back next week, Divya!

The actual storylines were pretty pedestrian stuff, including the father/son angst with Eddie R. and Hank (Mark Feuerstein), with the exception of Faith taking a shine to Evan (Paulo Costanzo). She noted that they both work for their brothers and have professional degrees they don’t use. But of course there had to be something wrong with her, right? After all, nobody is that fast-talking, highly emotional and pops that many “vitamins” while having no short-term memory without having a medical secret, right? And her brother, the Garbage Man (“Donald” to her), was also experiencing a medical crisis, suffering from strange numbness in the limbs and blackouts. It was a little distressing (from a storytelling point of view) to discover that the source of his woes was zinc poisoning, because mercury poisoning was the culprit in the season premiere two weeks ago.

Combined with the on-the-nose scripting seen in the premiere, please tell me the-powers-that-be have not run out of idea already and are resorting to colorful guest stars to distract us! That’s a symptom of a show suffering from old age, and should not be a problem until around season seven. This show is young, and should be in the robust bloom of health.

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