Jul 17, 2014

The Red Band Society: Buddy-Bonding Teens in a Barcelona Hospital

The Red Band Society (Polseres vermelles) is a Catalan tv drama, based on the novel  The Yellow World (El mundo amarillo), about six residents of a children's hospital (where they wear red hospital ids on their wrists).  There have been two seasons so far, two years apart, and creator and writer Alberto Espinoza intends to wait a few more years for the third, so the characters can grow into adulthood.

In the first episode, Jordi arrives at the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.  An older man tells him that every group of friends has six players, and his task is to find them.  Soon he gathers a group:

1. The Leader: cancer patient Lleó (Àlex Monner, left), who has lived in the hospital for two years.

2. His Sidekick:  Jordi (Igor Szpakowski).

3. The Girl: Christina (Joana Vilapuig), suffering from anorexia.

4. The Handsome One: Ignasi (Mikel Iglesias, left), who has a mysterious ailment.

5. The Smart One: Toni (Marc Balaguer), who is recovering from a motorcycle accident.

6. The Essential (without whom the group could not exist): Roc (Nil Cardoner), who has been in a coma for two years after a swimming accident.  He can communicate with Toni in a dream state.

Now they are ready to bond, support each other, and survive.

Aside from the life-threatening issues that one would expect in a hospital series, there are growing-up issues involving parents, school, friendships, and romances, both heterosexual and gay.

A boy named Roger (Marcel Borras) gets a crush on  Lleó, and tries to kiss him;  Lleó rebuffs the kiss, but the two remain friends.  There is also a subdued romance between Toni and Roc.

It is a popular throughout Europe and Latin America. An American version is set to premiere on the Fox Network in 2014, starring Griffin Gluck, Nolan Sotillo, Charlie Rowe, Brian Bradley, and Ciara Bravo. I imagine that the gay content will be obliterated for American audiences, although gay actor Wilson Cruz plays one of the doctors, and E! calls it "Breakfast Club meets Glee."

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