First Look at….

Red Band Society


You might think a show about a bunch of kids that lived in a hospital would be depressing.  You might expect to be in tears multiple times throughout the episode.  You might be prepared to hear dialogue that, although poignant, is a bit heavy handed.  You would be right.

The show begins with a voice which we soon learn to be the voice of, Charlie, otherwise known as “Coma Boy”.  He will be a narrarator for this fun-filled journey.

The show revolves around an interesting cast of characters….all of whom have depressing life stories.

Nurse Jackson runs the hospital.  There’s a heart of gold under that tough exterior, but it takes us a while to see it.  She tortures poor Brittany, who just wants to be someone’s “muffin buddy” and is almost cruel to other members of the staff.

Kara, the main recepient of Nurse Jackson’s wrath for most of the show, is a cheerleader who thinks the world owes her a living.  She’s clearly privileged and has everything money can buy….too bad money can’t buy her a functioning heart.

You’ve got Leo, the tough talking teen with cancer.  He’s lost a leg and he’s confined to a wheelchair.  Right now, he’s waiting to see if the treatment was successful.

Then there’s Jordi, a courageous, newly diagnosed cancer patient.  He’s preparing to have his leg amputated, hoping to stop the cancer before it spreads.

Dash, cystic fibrosis sufferer, who you might recognize as Astro (last seen on America’s Got Talent).  Guess that singing career didn’t work out for him.

Emma rounds out the group.  She’s suffering from an eating disorder which the show comes dangerously close to downplaying.  It’s revelaed she used to have a thing for Leo but, “now they only live to make each other miserable”.

These kids live in a hospital.  Miserable shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish.

As shows go, this one has the makings for good drama.  I’m a big fan of the “cleansing cry” and this show provides plenty of opportunities.  I’m just worried it may provide a few too many.  While this concept might make a great movie, I’m not sure it can sustain an entire tv series and, even if it could, I don’t know if my mental health could survive.

By time the teens have taken to the roof top for Jordi’s last hurrah befhore surgery, I’m already dangerously close to tears.

Leo hands out his red arm bands (clearly the inspiration for the show’s name) to his friends.  Each band holds a significance to him and, as he hands them to each person, he tells the backstory.  Sob fest #1

Sob fest #2 occured following a conversation between Leo and Jordi.  Jordi is getting ready to go in for surgery and he has some questions.

Jordi- “How bad does it hurt?”

Leo- “Not as bad as you’d think. What hurts most is not  that it’s [the leg] gone , it’s remembering that it was ever there.”

To be honest, the sobbing didn’t really stop after that.

I have to admit, the show isn’t what I expected.  The humor is smart.  The sadness is real and the stories are all too reminiscent of real-life stories we all know all too well.  I’m not sure if the show has legs.  I’m not certain enough people want to to tune in to get a bird’s eye view of their worst nighmares.

But, as Charlie tell us..

“People think when you go into the hospital your life stops, but they’re wrong–it starts.”

I, for one, hope he’s right.  This could be the start of a great show.


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