Television's 7 Top Doctors
For as long as most of us can remember, doctor/hospital shows and sitcoms have been a fixture on television. Whether it's Doogie Howser or Nip/Tuck, virtually everyone has favorite doctor-related TV show that they can reminisce and talk about all day if you ask them. And let's be honest: Grey's Anatomy is probably responsible for a pretty big spike in med school applicants. The bottom line is that television doctors resonate with the viewing public in a way that few other characters do. This article pays homage to seven of the best and most memorable.
1) Doogie Howser, M.D.
In what many consider to be "the doctor show that started 'em all", Neal Patrick Harris plays a prodigal teenage doctor who simultaneously tries to live a normal, teenage life. Despite having graduated from Ivy League Princeton University at 10 and completing medical school by 14 (becoming the youngest practicing physician in the world), Howser still finds that he has his hands full with the demands of performing surgery and rendering opinions on the many complex matters of the human body. Each show ended with the contemplative Howser writing about his day in a computerized diary, just before the credits hit. And while many doctor shows have gone on to be successful since Doogie Howser went off the air in 1993, the show was certainly a pioneer in the genre.
2) Dr. Meredith Gray
Dr. Gray is the fictional doctor and star of "Gray's Anatomy", the hospital show that has grabbed the attention of college-aged girls by storm and become a runaway hit. On the show, Gray is the voice of reason, an accomplished doctor who graduated from Dartmouth Medical School. However, she also winds up getting romantically involved with various co-workers at Seattle Grace, which often strains her focus between love and work at the most inopportune times. She is also known for thinking long and hard about problematic issues that arise and dispensing quotable wisdom in the face of great pressure.
3) Julius M. Hibbert, M.D.
Fans of the Simpsons can recognize Dr. Hibbert's bellowing laugh a mile away, which he uncorks during almost any kind of situation regardless of how unfunny it may be. Dr. Hibbert is also known for his extraordinarily high prices (he is said to be Springfield's most professional and competent doctor) and for being relatively normal compared to other Simpsons characters. Another classic Dr. Hibbert trademark is his unorthodox solutions to medical problems, such as when he diagnosed Maggie with having "superhuman strength" after she saved Homer from drowning in a lake. What many Simpsons viewers don't know, however, is that Dr. Hibbert was actually intended as a comedic spoof on our next TV doctor - Bill Cosby's Dr. Cliff Huxtable.
4) Dr. Cliff Huxtable
Played by the legendary Bill Cosby, Dr. Huxtable was a charismatic African-American doctor from Brooklyn Heights, New York. On "The Cosby Show", Dr. Huxtable portrayed a stereotypical, hard-working career man: someone who took precise care and went to great pains to give his patients the best treatment possible, while also maintaining a loving, passionate romance with his wife. The character of Dr. Huxtable was also significant for racial reasons because of how it portrayed a black man holding a career of high pay and prestige. All in all, Dr. Huxtable is one of the most memorable doctors ever to grace a TV screen!
5) Dr. Sean McNamara
Dr. McNamara is one half of the duo of plastic surgeons from FX's hit show "Nip/Tuck." After he opens each show with his harrowing sales pitch of "tell me what you don't like about yourself", McNamara teams up with his best friend/partner (Christian Troy) to perform all manner of reconstructive surgery, from "tummy tucks" to limb replacements. Specifically, McNamara is portrayed as specializing in what's known as "craniofacial" surgery, as his work centers primarily on deformities with the patient's jaw, skull, and face. Although McNamara is often seen as a troubled man who has not quite come to terms with what he does for a living, he is always in control of the situation and performs well under pressure.
6) Gregory House
Of all the doctors so far listed, Gregory House is probably the most cunning. A graduate of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, House is often manipulating the other characters into acquiescence with his objectives. He is also recognized as an undisputed medical genius, engaging in what Wikipedia accurately terms "unorthodox diagnostic approaches, radical therapeutic motives, and stalwart rationality." In addition to his medical pedigree, House is portrayed as a worldly and cultured man who can speak Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Mandarin, and Japanese with varying levels of efficiency. He is also a militant atheist who can be seen criticizing anyone with any remote belief in religion of any kind. We're not too sure how many patients would want someone like House in charge of their health, but it's tough to dispute the results he achieves!
7) Dr. Doug Ross
Played by silver-screen heartthrob George Clooney on the hit hospital show "ER", Dr. Doug Ross is portrayed as the selfless doctor who regards the well-being of patients as sacred and above his own career advancement interests. Because of this he is often seen as a rock of integrity and courage in the face of even the most excruciating, pressure-filled circumstances. Ross is especially fond of caring for children, such as when he heroically saves a young boy who almost drowned and had to be flown into County General Hospital via helicopter. Although Ross is indeed a pediatrician (child's doctor), he also treated adults several times during the running of "ER."
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