Doogie Howser, M.D.

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Doogie Howser, M.D.
Doogie Howser intertitle.jpg
GenreComedy-drama
Created bySteven Bochco
David E. Kelley
StarringNeil Patrick Harris
Max Casella
Belinda Montgomery
Lawrence Pressman
Mitchell Anderson
Kathryn Layng
Lisa Dean Ryan
Lucy Boryer
Markus Redmond
James B. Sikking
Composer(s)Mike Post
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes97 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Steven Bochco
Linda Morris
Vic Rauseo
Producer(s)Nat Bernstein
Joe Ann Fogle
Scott Goldstein
Jill Gordon
Nick Harding
Mark Horowitz
Mitchel Lee Katlin
Phil Kellard
Tom Moore
Linda Morris
Vic Rauseo
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time21–23 minutes
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television
Steven Bochco Productions
Distributor20th Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runSeptember 19, 1989 (1989-09-19) – July 28, 1993 (1993-07-28)
 
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Doogie Howser, M.D.
Doogie Howser intertitle.jpg
GenreComedy-drama
Created bySteven Bochco
David E. Kelley
StarringNeil Patrick Harris
Max Casella
Belinda Montgomery
Lawrence Pressman
Mitchell Anderson
Kathryn Layng
Lisa Dean Ryan
Lucy Boryer
Markus Redmond
James B. Sikking
Composer(s)Mike Post
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes97 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Steven Bochco
Linda Morris
Vic Rauseo
Producer(s)Nat Bernstein
Joe Ann Fogle
Scott Goldstein
Jill Gordon
Nick Harding
Mark Horowitz
Mitchel Lee Katlin
Phil Kellard
Tom Moore
Linda Morris
Vic Rauseo
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time21–23 minutes
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television
Steven Bochco Productions
Distributor20th Television
Broadcast
Original channelABC
Original runSeptember 19, 1989 (1989-09-19) – July 28, 1993 (1993-07-28)

Doogie Howser, M.D. is an American television comedy-drama starring Neil Patrick Harris as a teenage physician who also faces the problems of being a normal teenager. Creators Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley, partnering with ABC, aired the show from 1989 to 1993 for four seasons totaling 97 episodes.

Plot[edit]

Dr. Douglas "Doogie" Howser (Harris) is the son of David (James B. Sikking) and Katherine Howser (Belinda Montgomery). As a child, he twice survived early-stage pediatric leukemia[1] after his father—a family physician—discovered suspicious bruising. The experience contributed to Howser's desire to enter medicine.

Possessing a genius intellect and an eidetic memory,[2] Howser participates in a longitudinal study of child prodigies until his 18th birthday.[3] He earned a perfect score on the SAT at the age of six, completed high school in nine weeks at the age of nine,[4] graduated from Princeton University in 1983[5] at age 10, and finished medical school four years later. At age 14, Howser was the youngest licensed doctor in the country. As a newspaper article stated, he "can't buy beer but can prescribe drugs".

The series begins on Howser's 16th birthday; the cold open of the pilot episode shows him stopping his field test for his driver's license to help an injured person at the scene of a traffic accident. Howser is a resident surgeon[6] at Eastman Medical Center in Los Angeles, and still lives at home[7] with his parents. His best friend and neighbor, Vinnie Delpino (Max Casella), is a more typical teenager—climbing through Howser's bedroom window to visit—and connects him to life outside medicine. Howser has kept a diary on his computer since 1979;[8] the episodes typically end with him making an entry in it.

Howser seeks acceptance by both others his age and his professional colleagues. Many episodes also deal with wider social problems: AIDS awareness, racism, homophobia, sexism, gang violence, access to quality medical care, and losing one's virginity are topics, along with aging, body issues, and friendship.

Howser initially has a girlfriend, Wanda Plenn (Lisa Dean Ryan), but they break up after she leaves for college; he also begins a trauma surgery fellowship and moves into his own apartment. Bochco intended to end the show with a "season-long story arc for Doogie where he becomes disaffected with the practice of medicine and quits medicine to become a writer".[9] ABC abruptly canceled the show due to low ratings, preventing Bochco and the show's writers from implementing the storyline other than Howser's resignation from Eastman and departure for Europe in the final episode.

Doogie Howser, M.D. won the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Emmy Award three years in a row for Best Sound.

Production[edit]

The weekly, half-hour dramedy was created by Steven Bochco. He originated the concept and asked David E. Kelley to help write the pilot, giving Kelley a "created by" credit. Harris was the first actor the show's staff found that could convincingly play a teenaged doctor, but ABC opposed his casting. Bochco's contract required that the network pay an "enormous" penalty if it canceled the project, so ABC was forced to let him film the pilot. The network still opposed Harris's casting and disliked the pilot, but after successful test screenings ABC greenlit the show.[10] The soundtrack of the series is by Mike Post and uses Post's trademark mid-to-late 1980s Yamaha DX7 synthesizer.

Cast[edit]

From left to right, Lawrence Pressman as Dr. Canfield, Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser, Mitchell Anderson as Dr. McGuire and Kathryn Layng as Nurse Spaulding

Main cast[edit]

Recurring cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

DVD releases[edit]

Anchor Bay Entertainment released all 4 seasons of Doogie Howser, M.D. on DVD in Region 1 between 2005–2006.[20][21][22][23] These releases have since been discontinued and are out of print. Before the DVDs were discontinued, there were plans for a Complete Collection release which was announced on August 28, 2008, which was eventually canceled .[24]

Revelation Films has released all four seasons on DVD in Region 2 (UK).

Television ratings[edit]

The first two seasons were in the top 30.

SeasonSeason premiereSeason finaleTV SeasonRankingViewers
(in millions)
1stSeptember 19, 1989August 4, 19901989–1990#30[25][26]13.34[25][26]
2ndSeptember 12, 1990July 5, 19911990–1991#24[27][28]13.68[27][28]
3rdSeptember 25, 1991July 13, 19921991–1992#3511.99
4thSeptember 23, 1992July 28, 19931992–1993#509.67

Syndication[edit]

In the United States, Doogie Howser, M.D. had a run in local syndication between September 1993 and September 1996. The show also aired on cable on Odyssey Network (now Hallmark Channel) from 1999 to 2001. The show had not aired anywhere else until The Hub began airing reruns on October 11, 2010.

Cultural influence[edit]

Real life comparisons[edit]

Balamurali Ambati graduated from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and obtained his medical license when he was only 17 years old, a Guinness World Record, and has been compared to the fictional Doogie Howser, though Ambati himself disliked the association.[36]

Sho Yano who became the youngest student to attain an M.D. from the University of Chicago at 21 years old has also been called a real-life Doogie Howser.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pilot 15:00
  2. ^ 'I can't help it. I remember everything I read.' "The Grass Ain't Always Greener" Season 1, episode 25 (April 25, 1990).
  3. ^ "The Summer of '91" Season 3, episode 1 (September 25, 1991).
  4. ^ "Doogstruck". Season 3, episode 8 (November 20, 1991)
  5. ^ Courie, Katie. "‘Give something back – you’re graduating from Princeton!’" Princeton University Class Day address on June 1, 2009, Princeton Alumni Weekly, July 15, 2009.
  6. ^ He began his residency in September 1988, a year before the pilot. "Every Dog Has His Doogie." Season 1, episode 12 (November 29, 1989).
  7. ^ 1782 Amalfi Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. "Lonesome Doog". Season 3, episode 6 (October 30, 1991)
  8. ^ "Thanks for the Memories". Season 3, episode 23 (May 6, 1992)
  9. ^ Doogie Howser M.D., Season 1 DVD
  10. ^ Adalian, Josef (March 21, 2011). "The Vulture Transcript: Prolific TV Creator David E. Kelley on His Career Hits and Misses". Vulture. New York. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Vinnie Video Vici" (October 25, 1989).
  12. ^ "The Doctor, the Wife, her Son and the Job" Season 2, episode 21 (March 13, 1991).
  13. ^ "Educating Janine" Season 3, episode 13 (April 1, 1992).
  14. ^ "It's a Tough Job...But Why Does My Father Have to Do It?" Season 4, episode 13 (January 13, 1993).
  15. ^ "Planet of the Dateless" Season 2, episode 22 (March 20, 1991).
  16. ^ "Oh Very Young" Season 2, 11 (November 28, 1990).
  17. ^ "What You See Ain't Necessarily What You Get" Season 3, episode 18 (March 11, 1992).
  18. ^ "Use a Slurpy, Go to Jail" Season 1, episode 20 (February 28, 1990).
  19. ^ "Guess Who's Coming to Doogie's" Season 2, episode 2 (September 19, 1990).
  20. ^ Doogie Howser, M.D. - We've Got Dr. Doogie's DVD Cover Art! By David Lambert, TVShowsOnDVD.com
  21. ^ Doogie Howser, M.D. - Take a look at the front cover for Season 2! By David Lambert, TVShowsOnDVD.com
  22. ^ Doogie Howser, M.D. - Doogie's Getting Kissed On The 3rd Season Set's Cover By David Lambert, TVShowsOnDVD.com
  23. ^ Doogie Howser, M.D. - Package Art For Doogie's Final Season By David Lambert, TVShowsOnDVD.com
  24. ^ Doogie Howser, M.D. - Anchor Bay Preps for Surgery: New Complete Collection Cuts Out in May By David Lambert, TVShowsOnDVD.com
  25. ^ a b Top Rated Programs – 1985–1990
  26. ^ a b TV Ratings: 1989–1990
  27. ^ a b Top Rated Programs – 1990–1995
  28. ^ a b TV Ratings: 1990–1991
  29. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (March 31, 2008). "HIMYM, "The Bracket": No bets, just slaps". The Star-Ledger. 
  30. ^ "Digital Short: 'Doogie Howser' Theme". Saturday Night Live. 
  31. ^ Jimmy Kimmel, Neil Patrick Harris (March 14, 2011). The Hottie Body Jim-Miracle Diet. YouTube. 
  32. ^ A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon Page 125
  33. ^ Anthony Bourdain (2000). "Anthony Bourdain 'Kitchen Confidential'". Kitchen Confidential. 
  34. ^ Hauser, Marc D. (2001). "Swappable Minds". The Next Fifty Years" (Ed. J. Brockman). Vintage Books. 
  35. ^ Tang YP, Shimizu E, Dube GR, Rampon C, Kerchner GA, Zhuo M, Liu G, Tsien JZ (1999). "Genetic enhancement of learning and memory in mice". Nature 401 (6748): 63–69. doi:10.1038/43432. PMID 10485705. 
  36. ^ The Victoria Advocate. Teen doctor: 'Just don't call me Doogie'. 1995-05-17. Accessed 2013-04-02.
  37. ^ Enjoli Francis. M.D. at 21, Sho Yano Is Real-Life ‘Doogie Howser’. 2012-06-04. Accessed 2013-04-02.

External links[edit]