Red Band Society mixes humor and compassion

Fox’s new TV show can’t be missed

Red Band Society mixes humor and compassion

Isabelle Echevarria, Staff Reporter

When you add a rebellious free spirit, a genius, a new kid, a mean cheerleader, and a witty-little-brother type together, you get none other than a brand new hit TV show. Oh, and who could forget the intimidating nurse, and eccentric best friend? Red Band Society has to be one of the best TV shows created in a long time.

As far as first impressions go, Red Band Society has a predictable typical vibe to the un-knowing viewer. If you saw the commercials full of ill stricken kids and thought it was a sad show with no positive outlook, you couldn’t be more wrong. Given the circumstances the kids are in, one would expect it to be very melodramatic and sad, similar to other various dramatized medical shows, but Red Band Society ironically keeps the morale and comedic notes high, while toning down the dreary medical jargon and pretentious, synthesized drama.

Producer Steven Spielberg and creator Albert Espinosa have the right idea as far as good TV goes. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire pilot episode, and was eager to tune in for episode 2. Fox’s new show is getting the attention it deserves, if nothing else. While some see the lightheartedness too overbearing, other viewers like myself think the characters are just the right balance of funny and relatable, however it did cross the line between touching and cheesy once or twice. And let’s not count out the plot line.  It was very exciting and kept me on edge with twists I couldn’t predict.

The series follows a group of kids living with illnesses in the pediatric ward of a fictitious hospital. The five kids the show has grouped together are more or less friends, because they all have drastically different personalities.  Then there is the sixth kid, Charlie. He serves as the narrator of the show, over-hearing all of the problems his peers are talking about from his coma. The addition of Charlie is clever, and keeps the viewer returning to know when and if he’ll recover.

Much like the addition of Charlie’s comatose state, the show has already introduced a number of hooks that will hopefully keep the viewer interested. Spielberg uses the setting to his advantage.  Obviously hospitals are homes to people with diseases, disabilities, etc., and having the kids live here opens up opportunities to use their conditions as a running point of interest.

The show seems to have a recurring theme of tearing down the walls between social groups, and has even pointed out itself that this select bunch of kids would never have spoken had they not been confined to the same environment all day, everyday. They sit near each other in school, see each other in the hallways, and hang out around the hospital. Their conflicting personalities are a perfect setup for great comedy and witty one-liners. I, along with my household, found laugh out loud comedic relief in what would otherwise be a somber situation. But don’t get me wrong – the show isn’t based on comedy. It is classified as a comedy- drama, and there is plenty of it.

No show is completely flawless, so I wasn’t surprised that the inevitable has happened – the show does not have a perfect reputation. People on various review sites have commented that it takes these serious medical matters too lightly, which I disagree with. I think the show’s atmosphere lightens the severity to a point where the viewer is able to see more than just their condition, and connect with who they really are.

The show is unique, relatable, and funny. It demonstrates the lows and highs of living with disabilities, and how people can make the most of them. The decisions by Spielberg and the rest of the crew have made wise choices that seem to be paying off.

In addition, this show has potential to be like no other. Ciara Bravo, who plays anorexic teen Emma Chota, has used the show to raise awareness for her character’s condition and offers support, proving that the show stretches way past the boundaries of the fictional dilemmas.

After taking into account all of flaws as well as the dynamic aspects that have gone into the show, I reward it an 8.5 out of 10. As a viewer, I found myself intrigued the whole time, and eager every week for a new episode. I enjoyed the comedy in the show, but still felt compassion towards the characters. I think that the show has big potential, and will consistently attract viewers, and keep the ones it has made already. Fox’s Red Band Society is my new favorite show.