Ben Whishaw’s hospital drama takes a dark turn: flashback

We’ve all seen our fair share of medical shows – the overworked doctors and nurses, the brutal work hours, the camaraderie of the staff (or lack thereof), the dejected residents, etc.

And by that standard, “This Is Going to Hurt” doesn’t offer much of anything new in this oversaturated genre; It’s like watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, or Chicago Med, or New Amsterdam, or The Resident, etc., only spread across seven episodes instead of a 44-minute storyline.

The dramedy, starring Ben Whishaw (“A Very English Scandal,” “Fargo”), premieres June 2 on AMC+ and Sundance Now. It is an adaptation of British author Adam Kay’s best-selling book and is based on the diaries he kept during his six-year career as a doctor in the UK specializing in obstetrics and gynaecology. Kay also wrote the series, which meanders before later taking a brutally dark “didn’t see this coming” turn.

It is the year 2006 when we Dr. Meet Adam Kay (Whishaw), the senior ob/gyn resident who works for the National Health Service in an understaffed, underfunded, chaotic London hospital apart from the upscale, very expensive private clinics. Paper thin, grumpy, and perpetually exhausted – he works almost every hour every day – with little time for social life, which affects his two-year relationship with the more extroverted Harry Muir (Rory Fleck Byrne, who looks like a young Roger Daltrey). ). Adam has not come out to his co-workers – everyone, including his boss, the posh Mr Lockhart (male surgeons in the UK are referred to as “Mr to correct the misunderstanding), as he roams the hospital corridors with a combination of shrewd sarcasm and brusqueness.

Ben Whishaw
Ben Whishaw plays Dr. Adam Kay in This Is Going to Hurt.
Anika Molnar/Sister Pictures/BBC

He treats his silent subordinate, Dr. Shruti Acharya (ambika mod), with contempt, and is unable (or unwilling) to empathize with her overwhelming struggles while balancing the stress of work with studying for her exams. If she can’t hack it now, she never will, Adam tells her in not so many words. He also breaks the so-called “fourth wall” by speaking directly into the camera with snarky, pithy comments. It’s a bit off-putting at first, and there’s less of that in later episodes once the thematic table is settled.

Trouble ensues when Adam sends a young pregnant woman home early and she returns shortly after, giving birth to a premature baby who barely survives. She files a complaint against Adam and he fears he will lose his job – that he will be ‘cheated’ (in British parlance) and his career ruined after his forthcoming hearing before the NHS Audit Committee.

Whishaw is intense and believable as Adam, and there are some funny lines throughout, especially when Adam mentions his distant, disapproving mother (“the room gets about 10 degrees colder” when she enters, he says). But there’s not much to like about him, especially early in the series, and that makes it difficult to empathize with someone who’s so caked and miserable most of the time — though both he and the series redeem themselves somewhat by embracing each other goodbye with hope. Ben Whishaw’s hospital drama takes a dark turn: flashback

Emma Bowman

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