Episode 3: “Liar, Liar Pants on Fire”
by Dan Tomasik
Leo tries to win Emma back, Nurse Jackson becomes Kara’s sober buddy, and Jordi receives an unexpected visitor.
There was an article today trying to predict the first fall series to get cancelled. Near the top of the list was Red Band Society. Just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read. Once again this series has improved from its previous week, producing the best episode thus far, both for comedy and drama. The show still has weak points, but its getting better with each episode.
Top of the list for improvements is the character of Brittany (Rebecca Rittenhouse), easily the funniest character on the show. Last week her naïveté bordered on silly, this time her character switches between blissful ignorance and hilarious bursts of insight. The best part about her is that everything originates from the simple desire to do her job. She doesn’t need a specific situation or setup to be at her funniest, she can produce laughs sitting at the reception desk saying “hi”. Also making the improvement list is Leo (Charlie Rowe). There’s still work to be done, but the character is finding his niche. He may be the most obvious of the sick kids, but rather than depicting him as a perfect teen with bad luck, he’s riddled with flaws.
Taking a step back on the list is Kara. An extremely promising start bonding with Nurse Jackson (Octavia Spencer) in an effort to stay sober is left out to die like a candle in the breeze. The show’s biggest problem child paired up with its strictest authoritarian, the comedic potentials should be limitless. Instead, their time together is compressed to the point where Kara spends as much time talking with a little girl as she does with Nurse Jackson. That’s another thing, using sick kids to get pills? Even for Kara, that’s evil. Normally, the thing to recommend would be time with Nurse Jackson, so what’s left when she does this while under her watch?
The best section of the episode deals with the re-emergence of Jordi’s mother, who has already had a run-in with Dr. McAndrews. It’s a twist that borders on soap opera, but it’s still handled well. The exploration of Jordi’s family history has plenty of laughs, and even some genuine emotional moments. As for the poker game with his mother, it’s easily the most intense scene of the series so far.
More Brittany, more unity among the cast, and a kick in the teeth for Kara.
Episode Score: 8.3