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Monday, May 2, 2016

Basic Biitner: Doctor Shows My Way

Monday, February 27, 2006

My daughter once made the statement that she likes musicals, "except for the songs." I, of course, being the loving parent that I am, immediately jumped on this, and teased her unmercifully for this apparent paradox.

In thinking recently about my favorite network TV shows, however, I realized that my three current favorites are all "medical" shows. The three - "Scrubs" , "House," and "Grey's Anatomy" , are all set in hospitals, and I really like them "except for the medical stuff."

In coming to this realization, I also came to the conclusion that maybe, just maybe, my daughter's statement about musicals wasn't as ridiculous as it first seemed.

I have always loved "medical" shows on TV, from "Ben Casey" and "Dr. Kildare" in the sixties, to "Marcus Welby" in the seventies , to "Quincy" and (occasionally) "St. Elsewhere" in the eighties, and "E.R." and "Chicago Hope" in the nineties.

All of these shows were favorites of mine in their time, but in all cases, I wasn't all that interested in the medical jargon or the diagnoses. The "backstory" of the relationships among the characters - especially among the show's regular cast - was what piqued my interest and "kept me coming back."

It's no different with my three current favorites - "Scrubs" , which runs on NBC on Tuesdays, is a flat-out comedy, and features, among others, a couple of irascible doctors, a hospital janitor who seems to run the place, and an inept hospital lawyer whose barbershop quartet breaks into song at unexpected moments. I guess it's all set around patients with medical problems, but I have to keep asking "Now WHAT is their problem?"

"House", which usually runs on Fox at the same time as "Scrubs" (ain't that always the case? Thank goodness for VCRs or Tivo) , also features an irascible doctor (the title character, Dr. Greg House) who is a brilliant diagnostician, and walks with a cane, popping pain relievers to help him get through the day. Hugh Laurie, the actor who potrays House, has won an Emmy (or two) for his role. He's a great character to watch, and, as I said, he's apparently a great diagnostician, but he loses me when he explains his deductions to his crew of interns (or maybe they're residents).

The newest of the three medical shows is "Grey's Anatomy", and it runs on ABC, right after "Desperate Housewives" on Sunday nights. Once again, they talk a lot of medical treatment and jargon, but it's the relationships among the various doctors that draws my attention.

So, I'm heartily recommending these three great shows to anyone who likes drama, relationships, and a little humor. Oh, and if you like "doctor stuff" , I understand there's some of that in there, too, as a bonus.

Dan Whitney
Basic Biittner