One of this season’s biggest new shows, Red Band Society, is only two episodes in and is getting a lot of attention. Though there are silly moments and some of the antics the kids get away with pulling in the hospital are a little far-fetched, it’s a heartwarming and interesting show. The plot centers around a mismatched group of kids who are united by their close quarters in a hospital for their various conditions, an ex-jock who lost his leg to cancer, an immigrant whose cancer is taking over his body, a smart girl with a chronic eating disorder, a suave troublemaker, a bully with a heart condition, and a little boy in a coma who narrates it all from his otherworldly consciousness.
Kara, the aforementioned bully, was admitted to the hospital in the pilot last week when she collapsed at cheerleading practice. She finds out she needs a heart, but is far down on the transplant list because of her failed drug test results. She noted in the first episode that her parents were out of town, and would be back soon.
In today’s episode, Kara’s parents were introduced. There is tension between the mean-spirited girl and her two moms because of their perceived coldness and the fact that she views her stepmother as the reason for her birth mother’s divorce from her father, but despite the hostility between them, it’s clear that her parents are attentive and determined to get her the medical attention she requires, but they’re not the emotional types.
Though there are a few off-hand comments in the episode about the fact that she has two moms, for the most part there is very little attention drawn to the fact that her parents are lesbians. They’re not the best parents, it’s true, but it’s never alluded to that this is due to their orientation. If anything, it’s implied that Kara is wrong about her stepmom, that she cares about her stepdaughter more than we can immediately see. This is especially highlighted when good-girl Emma is surprised when she finds out that the stepmother is not Kara’s biological mother and refuses to elaborate as to why.
While the mothers are less than warm, they’re powerful women and become instantly preoccupied with their daughters disease and determined to do anything in their power to save her. They are loving parents and it seems to be equally the fault of the bitter teenager that the family unit is not exactly close. I think we can expect to see some strong familial development between the two moms and their daughter in future episodes, and overall, a potentially positive set of lesbian role models, especially in Kara’s stepmother who seems to have more to her character than we know.