Episode 4: “There’s No Place Like Homecoming”
by Dan Tomasik
Kara, Emma, Leo and Nurse Brittany visit Kara’s school for homecoming.
I’ve wanted to love this show for 4 weeks, but its flaws are finally overwhelming its successes. It’s finally become clear what’s missing in Red Band Society; unity, direction, and purpose. A clear goal in mind not just for the series as a whole, but for any of its episodes. The individual scenes are certainly good, but it doesn’t gel together as a single entity. For claiming to be a “society”, there’s yet to be an episode besides the pilot that features all of the main cast together. Each episode features fractions of the cast moving in completely different directions. It’s not just left and right and straight, it’s up and diagonal and backways. Figuring out the importance of each story in comparison to each other is challenging, because everything feels so distant and disconnected. The title generally points out the central theme, but everything else is anyone’s guess. Even worse, the teasers and sneak peeks make everything seem so coherent and focused.
Something needs to unite this society, because as it is this show should just be called Hospital. Every week, the same thing. The Dash-Leo-Emma-Jordi-McAndrews love pendrangal, bitch antics by Kara, Nurse Jackson breaking up the party, and Nurse Brittany trying to give the show a heartbeat. Someone walks by someone else’s room to stare in the window longingly, Charlie tosses in wise philosophical insights (often about events he has no way of witnessing) and it’s an episode. There’s nothing to bring all these people together. With most hospital dramas it’s usually a case, with most sitcoms a restaurant/coffee shop to gather and converse at. Here there is nothing.
Then there’s the tone. The show makes a pass at being a realistic portrayal of sick teen patients at a hospital, but often ends up as overly corny. Perfect example this week was Kara’s homecoming. The dance was built up wonderfully, giving us a brief but extremely effective glance at Kara’s past life as a Queen Bee. In a brief handful of scenes, Zoe Levin proves why she was the best choice for the part. Walking the halls of her high school, one can’t help but reel in awe, admiration and terror at Queen Kara. As for her homecoming dress, which is the third outfit she’s worn in 4 episodes (the only others being her cheerleading uniform and hospital gown), she looks positively stunning. Even knowing full well she was out of my league, I’d ask her out just to hear her tell me to screw off. Then there came the actual dance, the sad display of pity all Kara’s classmates put together. At first there seemed promise for a huge Carrie-esque twist. But no, just a half-assed speech about how awful Kara is that inevitably turns her on. Such wasted opportunity.
250mg of direction, 80mg of actual drama, 40cc’s of unity, and a bucket of pig’s blood.
Episode Score: 6.5