Created By: RobinZimm on August 13, 2011 Last Edited By: DAN004 on January 28, 2015
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Nonstandard Prescription

A doctor uses his Rx pad to prescribe something other than a medical treatment.

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DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


I don't know if my insurance covers this.

Dr. Cox: I'm gonna go ahead and write you a prescription for two testicles; and you feel free to get this filled out whenever you want.
Scrubs, "My Déjà vu, My Déjà vu"

It is a commonly understood fact that when a doctor believes a patient requires a particular regimen of drugs to treat their condition, they will use a particular type of form to indicate what this patient should be given. However, something else may be prescribed instead:

  • It can be used to prescribe treatments beside drugs (for example, if a prescription is needed for a pair of crutches to be covered by insurance). This is unusual, but is Truth in Television.
  • Something random (whether it can actually help the patient in some way or not) is prescribed; often Played for Laughs.

Examples


Film
  • What About Bob?. Bob hunts down his psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin, who's on vacation in New Hampshire. Dr. Marvin makes Bob promise to go home, then writes Bob a prescription advising Bob to "Take a vacation... from your problems". This backfires, because it inspires Bob to take his vacation right there in New Hampshire, and he becomes The Thing That Would Not Leave in the Marvin household.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Multiple times on Scrubs, usually by Dr. Cox (although Turk once wrote Carla a prescription for himself, suggesting she "apply him to a sensitive area").
  • House, M.D.:
    • House offers to write a woman a prescription for a wet cloth after she'd brought her son into the clinic for "rashes" (it was red dye).
    • Another episode has House filling a prescription bottle with candies in order to get an annoying patient without a real problem to leave. Later, the patient comes back and asks for a refill because it worked so well.
    • In the episode "Damned If You Do", House gives a mall Santa a prescription for cigarettes as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
  • In the Monty Python's Flying Circus episode "The Cycling Tour" Mr Pither goes to a doctor to ask for directions to Iddesleigh. "Normally I would have asked a policeman or a minister of the Church, but finding no one available, I thought it better to consult a man with some professional qualifications, rather than rely on the possibly confused testimony of a passer-by." The doctor writes something down and tells Mr Pither to take it to a chemist (pharmacy in the US). The next shot is a chemist looking at the paper and giving Mr Pither the directions.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Wolf In The Fold", Doctor McCoy had Scotty visit a club with a bellydancer saying it was prescription. In the films, Bones drinks Romulan Ale for "medicinal purposes".
  • Saturday Night Live: Christopher Walken has a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.

Magazines
  • One mystery magazine story has a doctor kidnapped by a sick/wounded criminal. He writes out a prescription with a lot of Latin words, which a fellow criminal takes to the pharmacy. It's a basic painkiller plus "call the cops, I'm being held at this location."

Music

Theatre

Videogames

Web Comics

Western Animation:
  • In King of the Hill, during marriage counselling, the councilor prescribes Hank and Peggy a motorcycle, because they had been planning on buying a pair of motorcycles and riding around the country together.
  • The Simpsons: In a Treehouse of Horror episode when Maggie starts growing tentacles they take her to see Dr. Hibbert.
    Homer: Is there anything you can prescribe, doctor?
    Dr. Hibbert: Fire! And lots of it!

Real Life

Community Feedback Replies: 47
  • August 13, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    Personal anecdote, when I was much younger, I had a sore throat that lasted over two weeks. Eventually, my mom took me to a family practice doctor despite the banality of my condition. I was written a prescription for salt water, including instructions on how to make it.

    Also a common joke in Scrubs, usually performed by Doctor Cox. Doctor Cox writes an orange patient a prescription for a brain and a big floppy hat that he is to wear every time he goes outside from now on. In another episode, he writes JD a prescription for two testicles. On another occassion he writes Dr. Eliot a prescription for "No" after she asks him for help.

    This quote might work for the page,

    Dr. Cox: "I'm gonna go ahead and write you a prescription for two testicles; and you feel free to get this filled out whenever you want."
  • August 13, 2011
    RobinZimm
    @/Commander Panda: Done.
  • August 13, 2011
    randomtroper89
    Though it probably happens at least a dozen other times in the show, this one comes to mind:

    • House MD: House offers to write a woman a prescription for a wet cloth after she'd brought her son into the clinic for "rashes" (it was red dye).
  • August 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the Monty Pythons Flying Circus episode "The Cycling Tour" Mr Pither goes to a doctor to ask for directions to Iddesleigh. "Normally I would have asked a policeman or a minister of the Church, but finding no one available, I thought it better to consult a man with some professional qualifications, rather than rely on the possibly confused testimony of a passer-by." The doctor writes something down and tells Mr Pither to take it to a chemist (pharmacy in the US). The next shot is a chemist looking at the paper and giving Mr Pither the directions.
  • August 14, 2011
    MetaFour
    • What About Bob. Bob hunts down his psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin, who's on vacation in New Hampshire. Dr. Marvin makes Bob promise to go home, then writes Bob a prescription advising Bob to "Take a vacation... from your problems". This backfires, because it inspires Bob to take his vacation right there in New Hampshire, and he becomes The Thing That Would Not Leave in the Marvin household.
  • August 14, 2011
    DorianMode
    Another Scrubs example finds Turk writing Carla a prescription for himself, suggesting she "apply him to a sensitive area."
  • August 15, 2011
    EddieValiantJr
    Does this count? In a Far Side cartoon, a psychologist writes "Just plain nuts" into his notepad while his client rambles on the couch.
  • August 15, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Nah, that's Freudian Couch, not this. The psychologist is just taking notes.
  • August 16, 2011
    RobinZimm
    Any suggestions for a caption on the image?
  • August 16, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    I think there was some (presumably satirical) image in either TIME magazine or Maclean's about an RX box with two running shoes in it, with a note recommending a certain number of steps a day... anyone else able to confirm that?
  • August 16, 2011
    jaytee
    Loosely related:
    • Another House MD episode has House filling a prescription bottle with candies in order to get an annoying patient without a real problem to leave. Later, the patient comes back and asks for a refill because it worked so well.
  • August 16, 2011
    RobinZimm
    @jaytee: It's related, but I don't think it's quite the same.
  • August 21, 2011
    randomsurfer
    That'd be the Placebo Effect.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
  • August 21, 2011
    RobinZimm
    @CommanderPanda: Ooh, that's a comic prescription, but actually a medical treatment -- I think I'd need a different name to avoid the ambiguity.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    It depends on what you want this to encompass and what you don't. I think it would be perfectly alright if Comic Prescription also covered Comic Medical Advice.
  • August 21, 2011
    RobinZimm
    The joke I was aiming for was more like medical advice that wasn't actually medical advice - and the doctor in the Mass Effect example was giving genuine medical advice, just teasingly.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^ Fair point. Though I don't think he was teasing. The genuinity of it was the funniest part.
  • August 21, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Does This Count?
    • In the song "Coconut" a woman puts lime in the coconut and drinks them both up, and gets a bellyache. She calls her doctor (wakes him up) and the doctor prescribes...lime in the coconut, drink them both together. Then she'll feel better.
  • August 21, 2011
    RobinZimm
    ...I don't know if that counts. Dang.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    ^^ On that same note, in the song "The Witch Doctor," the "Doctor" "prescribes" Ooh Eeh Ooh Ah Aah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang.
  • August 22, 2011
    RobinZimm
    Okay - I'll add those two music examples.
  • August 23, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Anyone else know about the TIME/MacLeans example I was referring to?
  • August 23, 2011
    RobinZimm
    My Google-fu isn't doing much good at finding the ad, unfortunately; should I include it anyway?
  • August 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In a commercial for some damn thing two kids - or maybe a boy and his mom - are playing doctor (not like that); the doctor hands the patient two cookies and says "take two of these and call me in the morning."
  • August 27, 2011
    Josech
    In the book Ramona Forever, a doctor diagnoses Ramona with "siblingitis" (that is, jealousy over the attention her parents are giving her newborn sister) and hands her father a prescription for more attention.

    In the House episode "Damned If You Do", House gives a mall Santa a prescription for cigarettes as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
  • August 27, 2011
    RobinZimm
    @Josech: The cigarettes example is a medical prescription, odd as it is; the Ramona one is good, though. Adding.
  • August 28, 2011
    ZombieAladdin
    Super Smash Bros.: "Dr. Mario is in the house! His prescription? KOs!"
  • August 28, 2011
    RobinZimm
    @ZombieAladdin: Added.
  • August 30, 2011
    RobinZimm
    I would like a clearer title, but otherwise I believe this is ready to launch.
  • September 16, 2011
    RobinZimm
    Bump.
  • September 16, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    Real Life example: A Doctor in the Orkney Isles puts pickled herring on prescription: http://www.bmj.com/content/320/7246/1361.3.full
  • October 7, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    bump
  • October 5, 2014
    QuestionMarker
    Bump.
  • October 5, 2014
    DAN004
  • October 5, 2014
    Antigone3
    I wish I could remember the title or author. I read a young adult book once, most of the characters were black in Civil Rights era Louisiana. At one point, the viewpoint character (a teen girl, IIRC) suffers a minor gunshot wound courtesy of a visiting racist. While the doctor is treating her, her younger brother begins whining for attention — he's too young to really understand that his sister is hurt. The doctor takes a quick look at the boy's throat, announces he has the appropriate "treatment", and hands the kid a lollipop.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone?
  • November 27, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    Did anything ever come of this?
  • November 27, 2014
    Chernoskill
    Webcomics

    • In strip 196 of Sexy Losers, a doctor prescribes a destitude woman oral sex... not to cure her depression, but to pay for the actual therapy.

  • November 27, 2014
    DAN004
    Gonna take this over unless somebody beat me to it
  • November 27, 2014
    HeavyTony
    Live Action TV
    • In KM/H, Sylvie tells to the doctor she haven't slept or eat anymore since her husband left her for another man. He says to bring his prescription to a Jamaïcan. She rolls a joint at job in the next scene.
  • November 28, 2014
    Prfnoff
    Theatre
  • November 28, 2014
    SKJAM
    One mystery magazine story has a doctor kidnapped by a sick/wounded criminal. He writes out a prescription with a lot of Latin words, which a fellow criminal takes to the pharmacy. It's a basic painkiller plus "call the cops, I'm being held at this location."
  • December 15, 2014
    TairaMai
    In Star Trek The Original Series episode Wolf In The Fold, Doctor McCoy had Scotty visit a club with a bellydancer saying it was prescription. In the films, Bones drinks Romulan Ale for "medicinal purposes".
  • January 1, 2015
    maxwellsilver
    • House once prescribes a man cigarettes because nicotine has a documented positive effect on his ailment.

    Western Animation:
    • In King Of The Hill, during marriage counselling, the councilor prescribes Hank and Peggy a motorcycle, because they had been planning on buying a pair of motorcycles and riding around the country together.
  • January 2, 2015
    hbi2k
    Live-Action Television
  • January 19, 2015
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: In a Treehouse Of Horror episode when Maggie starts growing tentacles they take her to see Dr. Hibbert.
    Homer: Is there anything you can prescribe, doctor?
    Dr. Hibbert: Fire! And lots of it!
  • January 28, 2015
    SpiderRider3
    Live Action TV
    • In the first scene of the pilot episode of Backstrom the doctor writes "Make a friend" on a prescription.
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