A Series About “Misfit Toys”

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My first post was supposed to be about, well, writing tips and tricks that I have in store for anyone who is an aspiring author or journalist, but due to a sudden turn of events I think I’ll make this my first and foremost post on WordPress.

For those of you who are interested in hospital dramas such as ‘House M.D.’,’ Grey’s Anatomy’ and so on, and enjoy stories about teens full of angst and life troubles that any teenager growing up can relate to, you would appreciate FOX’s underrated program ‘Red Band Society’ as much as I do. What is this show about? It’s a teen medical drama based on the Catalan drama series ‘Polseres vermelles’ that focuses on a group of ill-fated teenagers living together as patients in a hospital’s pediatric ward. Each of the characters suffer from different diseases such as cancer, eating disorders and heart deficiencies and go through a series of events that change their outlook on life, love and friendship over time.

The series is told in third person omniscient with Charles “Charlie” Hutchinson (Griffin Gluck) a young comatose patient as the narrator. This “story-telling” approach was unique and completely different than most teen-dramas, but pulled it off in such a way that had me excited for every new episode. The questions raged through my mind.

What will happen to Charlie?

How much does Charlie know about all of the patients?

Will this poor boy ever come out of his coma?

Throughout the series, it seemed like Charlie, despite his condition, was always the Red-Bander that these teens turned to when in doubt. What exactly is a Red-Bander? When a new patient is emitted into the pediatric ward he/she is given a red band with their medical information included and is welcomed and accepted into a society created by Dashiell “Dash” Hosney (Astro) and a few of the patients, who made an oath to always stick together and become the hospital’s ‘family of misfit toys’.

The gang of Red-Banders include Dash Hosney a patient with cystic fibrosis who sees life in philosophical ways and always tries his best to keep the gang together; Leo Roth (Charlie Rowe) an amputee and former osteosarcoma patient who serves as the provisional leader of the Red Band Society; Emma Chota (Ciara Bravo) a brilliant, young girl who suffers from anorexia and causes many feuds between Leo and Jordi Palacios (Nolan Sotillo) who suffers from Ewing sarcoma and was the series’ newly admitted patient; and Kara Souders a smug, “plastic” cheerleader with an enlarged heart who has trouble making her way up the transplant recipient list due to her drug abuse and awful behavior. No matter their condition or lifestyle, each of these sick misfits was accepted into the Red Band Society and overcome the struggles their diseases cause them.

Among the Red-Banders were an incredible staff of doctors and nurses, such as Nurse Dena Jackson (Octavia Spencer) the strict and domineering head nurse who oversaw the entire pediatric facility and treated each one of the kids as her own; Dr. Adam McAndrew (Dave Annable) who was the attractive Mr. Debonair surgeon who tried his hardest to do what was right, but always acted out on impulse; Brittany Dobler (Rebecca Rittenhouse) a new naive but bubbly and ambitious nurse, and many more who had dramatic and interesting back-stories of their own, which kept the series invigorating.

The second I tuned into the series when it first aired on FOX I was hooked! Queen bee Kara was indeed a character many teens would hate because of her cliche personality as a pigheaded princess, but sometimes it’s the cliches that bring out a series’ comedy. During the first episode I said to myself, “I know this girl and her antics are going to make me laugh out of my seat.” The first episode was like most “pilot” episodes, but after a few minutes when the entire cast of “misfit toys” was introduced and the clashes began, it became a wonderful story.

A great scene was when Jordi, who believes that he has osteosarcoma, had run away from home to be treated by Dr. Adam McAndrew and is admitted. Due to his condition he bonds with Leo, who has also lost his leg to cancer. In just the first episode you learn so much about each of the characters and their downfalls in life. Come the second episode I was crying my eyes out because during Jordi’s operation, Dr. McAndrew finds that the cancer had spread and became much more severe than they thought, which meant they could not preform the surgery to remove his leg. Enraged and green with jealousy, Leo gets himself into trouble and breaks out of the trouble. This powerful scene shows how much he wants to be accepted by the outside world as much as he was when he was his school’s star soccer player.

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Kara and Emma, who are poles apart, are the series’ characters that many young girls can relate to, much like in the early 2000’s favorite ‘Mean Girls’. In the “There’s No Place Like Homecoming” episode, Kara, who is excited to return to her school and attend homecoming, was offended when Nurse Dobler invited the introverted Emma. If that couldn’t be worse for the Queen Bee, she soon realizes that everyone who once worshipped the ground she walked upon now pitied her. This shows the viewers that even “plastics” can be broken. No matter their differences and “cat-fights”, Kara and Emma eventually bond when they both admit that their family problems at home have to deal with their mothers.

One of my favorite perks about this series was the “bromance” between Dash and Leo. Many people would see Dash as a kind of rebellious youth who saw life through the eyes of a deep-thinking philosopher and Leo as a star athlete who was a born-to-be leader and, as many call him, ‘the superman’. The relationship and brotherhood between these two characters is so strong that it’s hard not to love it. No matter the situation, if they worked together on a scheme they would always pull it off. A great episode was when they wanted to get the entire group together to propose a plan to get Nurse Jackson back into Ocean Park Hospital. However, Leo had two of his old school friends visiting, which meant he couldn’t join in on the plan Dash had been so passionate about. Thus, the entire plan was obliterated when an angry, irrational Dash talks back to Dr. McAndrew and starts to cough up blood. At the end of the episode you find Dash recovering and discover that his plan had indeed worked because Nurse Jackson had returned.

RBS_104_There_s_No_Place_Like_Homecoming_CB_on_9-3-14_Scn21_064_hires2Another great ideal about this series is how many relationship pairings or “shippings” as some people define it, there are. There are many times when the viewer would support Leo and Emma’s angst-filled relationship that has a long and dramatic history behind it or the new-youth relationship between Jordi and Emma. Or how about the heart-wrenching, romantic and addictive relationship between Kara and Hunter Cole (Daren Kagasoff), a leukemia survivor who suffers from cirrhosis and is in need of a liver transplant? Trust me you will fall in love with these two and be crushed by the time you watch ‘The Guilted Age’ episode. Since the ‘Twilight Saga’ with Team Edward and Team Jacob, I’ve seen so many teens and adults that love to support their pairings and show it with merchandise, fan-fictions and sometimes tasteful fan-art. ‘Red-Band Society’ has a lot of promise in the area of relationship interests.

Now I don’t want to get into full detail about this series because I always seem to spoil a new series for everyone, but I can say that I was very disappointed that FOX cancelled it. On November 26, 2014 it was confirmed that the show would stop production after its original thirteen episodes and was pulled from its schedule after Episode Ten. Come January 13, 2015 FOX announced that the rumors were true and the series would be cancelled. The three remaining episodes aired from January 31-February 7 and included a two-hour series finale. Boy, was I heart-broken. Not only had this series given hope and ambition to many kids who suffered with similar diseases, it also taught a great lesson to its viewers about how when time gets tough you have to keep on going and pushing for your goals.

The characters were loveable and had great stories that left us all on a cliffhanger and will be missed. It’s a shame how many people gave the series terrible reviews and looked down upon it for oblivious reasons, while instead they should have been supporting it and hoping for a new season. Hopefully, if people press enough, there will be a new season with the same cast and crew.

If you watch the series or even follow the Red-Band Society Twitter page (@RedBandSociety) show the creators your support and become a Red-Bander yourself. Who knows? Maybe the series will return one day. Until then enjoy the episodes on FOX’s website:

http://www.fox.com/red-band-society/red-band-society/full-episodes

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About Katya Szewczuk

Katya is the Freelance Writer, Editor and Journalist for New Jersey based publishers Renna Media. She is also a videographer who creates book trailers for authors and is the host of the Youtube series 'The Kat's Meow'. She is currently working on two middle grade novels both featuring a spunky, adventurous heroine who goes off on a journey.
This entry was posted in Angst, Drama, Fox, Media, Teens, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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