1 9 8 9 – 1 9 9 3 (USA)
119 x 30 minute episodes
This ABC show ran from September 1989 to July 1993 and starred Neil Patrick Harris as 16-year-old physician and child-prodigy, Douglas ‘Doogie’ Howser who completed high school in nine weeks, graduated from Princeton at age 14 and is now a second-year resident physician at the Eastman Medical Center.
The concept of a 16-year-old doctor proved extremely interesting at times. Such as the time Doogie had to give love interest Wanda Plenn (Lisa Dean Ryan) an emergency appendectomy and had to face her wrath because he gave her a pelvic exam!
Or the time a radiologist told him she wanted to have his child, giving the adolescent doc fits of expectation and worry until she, of course, explained she meant by artificial insemination.
Even co-star Belinda Montgomery, who played Doogie’s mother, Katherine, admitted the show had a pretty strange premise.
In spite of his highly demanding job as a doctor at the Eastman Medical Center in Los Angeles, Doogie was a very typical 16-year-old boy in his private life.
Much of the show’s comedy stemmed from his teenage awkwardness about sex and the world around him, as contrasted with his very grown-up professional responsibilities.
Doogie eventually moved out of his parents’ home in Brentwood, California, and shared an apartment with his not very smart buddy, Vinnie (Max Casella).
During the final season, Doogie had a new girlfriend, Michele, a nurse played by Robyn Lively.
Of course, in reality, Doogie would have had to graduate from college at nine, start medical school at 10, graduate from there at 14, then, after one year of internship and one year of residency, obtain his license to practice at 16.
In 1989, Harvard Medical School admissions officer Helen Rakin revealed: “The youngest person we have on record ever to enter Harvard Medical School was 18”.
Actually, Doogie wouldn’t have even been legally able to take the state board exams in 14 states of America or the District of Columbia until he was at least 18 (21 in a few of those).
Douglas ‘Doogie’ Howser
Neil Patrick Harris
Katherine O’Brien Howser
Dr David Howser
Nurse Curly Spaulding
Dr Benjamin Canfield
Lisa Dean Ryan
Dr Jack McGuire
Dr Ron Welch
Nurse Michele Faber