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Life & Death & Doctor Shows: An Essay

I tried to write a television screenplay once. They told me my characters were too one sided. That meant that the good guys were too good and the bad guys too bad. It’s fun to watch tv movies now and guess how the good guys will screw up and the bad guys will pour out their heart. It has to happen, otherwise it won’t sell. That’s how it is in real life they say. But is it?

Let’s compare some television doctors. Remember Marcus Welby? And then there was Doug, the pediatrician on E.R. And you know the modern day television doctors who know more about the different positions of sexual activity than the correct positions of vertebrae. My husband is a doctor. I’m one of those rare wives who lived through medical school, internship, residency and drafted military service without ending in divorce, only because my husband, a pediatrician (like Dr. Doug,) was more like Dr.Welby. Still, on those few occasions when we found ourselves watching E.R., my husband often was heard shouting, “That’s it! Hold your line, Dougy! Don’t let those surgeons tell you what to do.”

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