Doogie Howser, M.D.
was a weekly half-hour comedy drama starring Neil Patrick Harris
as Douglas "Doogie" Howser, a teenaged child prodigy who became the youngest practicing physician in the country. It ran from September 1989 to March 1993, and plotlines covered not only medical issues but also Howser's everyday teenager issues. Doogie's best friend, Vinnie, is a more typical teenager and helps keep Doogie grounded in life outside his profession.
The series enjoyed success on ABC
for 4 seasons, taking home a People's Choice Award in 1990, and 3 consecutive Emmys for Best Sound Mixing. Harris also received a People's Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination for his role. The brainchild of TV legends Steven Bochco
(creator of Hill Street Blues
, L.A. Law
, and NYPD Blue
) and David E. Kelley
, Chicago Hope
, The Practice
, Boston Legal
), the show was praised for its writing and characterization, but also just as equally mocked and criticized for its over-the-top premise. When the show ended, the specter of Doogie Howser haunted Harris' career for a long time, until he was able do some Adam Westing
based on Doogie Howser MD
in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle
and break out of the type-casting that the show saddled him with.
This Series Contains Examples Of:
- Artistic License – Astronomy: In the episode where Doogie met Shannon, the amateur astronomer, they observed the moon during the day, and a lunar eclipse later that night. The moon should not be visible during the day on the day of a lunar eclipse, being that it's on the other side of the planet.
- Bachelor Auction: Doogie gets self-conscious when he has to take part in one in "Nautilus For Naught."
- Born in an Elevator: Vinnie's French teacher's baby.
- Burger Fool: In a third season episode, Doogie chooses to work at one of these to prove a point. He mocks the job incessantly, but it turns out he's really bad at it.
- Captain's Log: Doogie keeps a computerized diary summarizing each episode and adding his own thoughts and feelings about the events therein.
- Enter Stage Window: Doogie's friend Vinnie.
- Every Episode Ending: Doogie recording this episode's lesson in his computer diary.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Played straight with Doogie and Wanda, as well as David and Katherine, in the episode "Attack of the Green-Eyed Monster."
- Hospital Hottie: Dr. Jack McGuire, in seasons 1 and 2.
- Hospital Paradiso: Doogie turns down a gilded offer to work at a pediatric clinic on the grounds that he can do more good at the hospital.
- Improbable Age: The premise of the show is a boy so precociously smart that he becomes a certified medical doctor at age 14. By the time the series begins (he's 16), he is already in his 2nd year of residency.
- Instant Birth, Just Add Water: The birth in "C'est La Vinnie."
- Ivy League For Everyone: Doogie attended Princeton at age 10.
- Just a Kid: The whole premise.
- Kissing Warm Up: Vinnie shows a 12-year-old female patient (who has a crush on Doogie) how to practice kissing by locking lips onto a window.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Doogie says this in the beginning of the third season premiere, but by the end of the episode, after he and Wanda have sex for the first time, he decides that sex didn't make him a man.
- Never Lend to a Friend: Partly Lampshaded and partly averted; Vinnie asks Doogie for some money, and at first Doogie refuses because of this trope. He ends up agreeing, but it doesn't cause any problems between them and it never gets mentioned again.
- Once a Season: Every season premiere, Doogie's birthday (September 21) is always tied into the episode's storyline.
- Orbital Kiss: Doogie and recurring fling Nurse Michele Faber.
- Parodies of Fire:
- Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Doogie has a Save The Humans poster on his bedroom door in season 3, as well as numerous posters of old movie stars such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
- He even had a motivational poster of Albert Einstein (which actually "came to life" and "talked" to him in one episode!).
- Put on a Bus: Dr. Jack McGuire, Doogie's friendly nemesis and token Hospital Hottie. Left near the end of season 2 to practice medicine in Mexico.
- Ruptured Appendix: In "A Stitch Called Wanda," Doogie diagnoses his girlfriend, Wanda with appendicitis (via pelvic exam!), assists in the operation...and gets himself into a LOT of trouble.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Doogie secretly operating on an injured dog to help a desperate young boy.
- Also, performing emergency surgery on his girlfriend, Wanda (and giving her a pelvic exam) despite the fact that she needed parental consent (her parents were on a boat and couldn't be reached).
- Skinny Dipping: "Look Ma, No Pants." Doogie goes on a date with Katherine's gorgeous new boss, and they proceed to swim naked together in the moonlight...that is, until Mom and Dad come home.
- Slow Clap: Doogie starts one after Vinnie delivers a baby.
- Screaming Birth: Vinnie, trapped in an elevator with a teacher, assists her in giving birth. Good thing he's talked with Doogie about childbirth before.
- Status Quo Is God: In fact, the writers tried to write a season where Doogie embarked upon a life-altering journey around Europe and found himself, eventually giving up medicine and become a writer. The final episode aired ended with Doogie and Vinnie leaving on a plane to Rome. ABC promptly cancelled the show.
- Teen Genius: Unique in that the show centers on said teen genius.
- Televisually Transmitted Disease: Inverted.
- Their First Time: Doogie and Wanda losing their virginity to each other was half an Aesop short of a Very Special Episode.
- The Tonsillitis Episode: Vinnie in "Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give a Gland."
- Video Wills: Vinnie creates one for himself after Wanda's mother's sudden passing.