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Series / Doogie Howser, M.D.

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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 four 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 (Ally McBeal, 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 (Harris later joked that this was the first show ever to be created on a dare).note  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 entirely through his role in How I Met Your Mother.

In 2020, a Continuity Reboot of the series was announced to be development for Disney+. Titled Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., the series will follow a different teenage doctor, a mixed race girl who shares the original's nickname, and her life in Hawaiʻi. In 2021, the series was given a straight-to-series order and Peyton Elizabeth Lee was cast as the title character. note 

This Series Contains Examples Of:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down", Katherine's father makes things difficult around the house because he's angry at her choices and that things didn't work out the way he wanted.
    Doogie: Grandpa, it's Thanksgiving. Dad's probably got heartburn already, Mom's upset, and I volunteered to work. Is that what you call getting what you want?
  • Artistic License – Space: 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. And this was several years before blogging came into being.
  • Child Prodigy: Howser got a perfect score on the SAT when he was 6 years old, completed high school in nine weeks, graduated from Princeton University when he was 10 years old and became the youngest licensed doctor in the country at 14 years old.
  • 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 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.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Doogie attended Princeton at age 10.
  • Karma Houdini: Vinnie endangers Doogie's career plenty of times due to being a bad influence, but most egregiously in "The Short Goodbye", he actually poses as Doogie in order to get a celebrity's autograph. When Doogie confronts him with how his actions nearly ruined his career, Vinnie gives a half-hearted apology with the explanation that he "couldn't help himself". It's all good between them after that.
  • 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.
  • Never Lend to a Friend: 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.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Katherine's father never approved of David, so arguments were frequent. It got to the point where Doogie volunteered on Thanksgiving in "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down" just to get out of the house. Ultimately, Katherine's father has a Heel Realization after talking with Doogie.
  • Once a Season: Every season premiere, Doogie's birthday (September 21) is always tied into the episode's storyline.
  • 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.
  • Resigned to the Call: Doogie has to leave his birthday party in "Doogenstein" to help out at the hospital with a motorcycle accident. He admits privately that it bugs him to miss out on fun, but he feels it was worth it because he saved the patient's father (who had a heart attack while berating his son). Of course, later on, Doogie learns that the party continued without him rather than ended and that the patient's father died anyway. Doogie is all ready to quit, until the man's son thanks him for prolonging his dad's life for a few hours—saying they were able to talk and mend fences.
  • 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.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In "Presumed Guilty", Vinnie ends up taking Dr. Howser's 1957 Chevy for a drive. He ends up crashing the car into a moving truck carrying a player piano, which smashes the front side, as it begins playing "Happy Days are Here Again".
  • 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—citing the show falling in ratings (from 35th in the rankings to 50th).
  • Teen Genius: Unique in that the show centers on said teen genius.
  • 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".
  • Unexpected Positive: During an episode, the senior Dr. Howser flashed back to a time when he was examining his son, who had asked him to demonstrate to him. Upon examining his abdomen, the boy yelped in pain, and the horrified Dr. Howser realized he'd just discovered that his son had leukemia.
  • Video Wills: Vinnie creates one for himself after Wanda's mother's sudden passing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Vinnie learns in "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down" that Janine's parents don't like him and offered to buy her a car in exchange for dumping him. To make it worse, Janine actually considered it. Enraged, Vinnie crashes their Thanksgiving—condemning the parents for manipulating their daughter and Janine herself for being so flippant towards a relationship he deeply valued.