Doogie Howser M.D.

Doogie Howser M.D. was a comedy-drama about a teenage child prodigy who's a doctor. Every episode ended with Doogie typing a journal entry into his computer concerning the events of the episode. Here's how it would look if the show still aired:

Just The Facts

  1. The series ran for four seasons from 1989-1993, each consisting of around 20-25 episodes, which were mostly linear, perhaps overly so.
  2. The first two seasons dealt with Doogie balancing being a teenager with being a prodigy doctor, the third dealt with Doogie trying to balance finding love and working, and the last dealt with Doogie balancing working with pissing off everybody.
  3. The soundtrack was entirely performed on synthesizer, much like Gary Numan or early Nine-Inch Nails, but without the anti-religion and self-loathing.

Main Characters

Doogie Howser is a child prodigy in his teens who is a doctor, but is also trying to live a normal teenage life.

Vinnie DelPino is Doogie's stereotypical Italian best friend and neighbor, and is basically Erkel with no glasses and a Brooklyn accent.

Dr. David Howser is Doogie's father, who is often strict, but tends to be right, unlike every other sitcom father.

Katherine Howser is Doogie's mother, who is the typical sitcom mother. She used to be the singer in a hippie jam band, but it is later revealed that she doesn't sing too well. We assume the acid helped.

Wanda Plenn is Doogie's girlfriend for the first two seasons or so. She always spoke in a whisper that sounded as though she was either sensual or slightly drunk.

Jeanine Steward becomes Vinnie's girlfriend towards the end of the first season and is the typical Valley girl, but without the "Whateverrrrs."

Curly Spalding is a nurse and friend of Doogie's that is unable to keep a lasting relationship. She usually smiles, but the smile becomes somewhat scary towards the end.

Dr. Jack McGuire is Doogie's friend and rival for the first season and a half, and is the hospital's pretty boy.

Dr. Canfield is Doogie's boss and would probably be a cool guy, but has pretty much had his soul crushed by the hospital's board.

Raymond Alexander is a former gang member who becomes Doogie's friend and an orderly at the hospital.

Season One

The series begins on Doogie's sixteenth birthday during his driver's test, during which Doogie aids an injured man with the help of two officers, one of which abandons his badge and regulation moustache and worked for a different hospital about a decade later.

Neil Flynn

"The leg's broken...did you stick a penny in there?"

Later that day, Doogie goes to a dance at his friend Vinnie's school with a girl named Wanda. Doogie gives Vinnie such a creepy, detailed account of how he plans to seduce and kiss Wanda that the viewer half expects the next step of his plan to involve wearing Wanda's skin as a suit. He succeeds in kissing Wanda, but fails at saving a patient, his first death on the job.

In the next episode, Doogie is taken out to dinner by a female radiologist who is in her thirties. While he believes this to be a dinner between colleagues, she tells Doogie that she wants him to be the father of her children, neglecting to mention that she wants this to be done with artificial insemination and not statutory rape. Doogie decides not to donate either way.

Doogie goes on a date with Wanda and gives the term "get all up in her guts" a new meaning when she gets acute appendicitis and he has to operate on her. She is angry at first because she feels violated but they make up when she realizes that Doogie has not only removed her appendix, but has also stolen her heart.

Episode four involves Doogie throwing a kegger and getting a DUI on his way to the hospital after borrowing his parents' car. Episode five, oddly enough, involves an angst-ridden Doogie feeling that he is grown up enough to move out after a fight with his parents over not letting him get a car despite "how responsible he is." In this case, White Castle burgers do not make up for getting drunk and borrowing a car and Doogie moves back in after living in a shady motel. The next episodes are mostly just filler.

Episode 10 deals with the the first of four annual Howser father and son fishing trip which Doogie does not want to go on because Wanda has invited him on a trip to Florida, which he would totally be allowed to go on. Doogie bitches most of the time, but ends up appreciating the experience when the Doctors Howser save the father of another family by MacGyvering the hell out of an operation. Then more filler epipsodes

Eighteen introduces Vinnie's father who sells showerheads and believes that Vinnie should grow up to sell showerheads as well; however, Vinnie is against this as he wants to be a film maker and didn't want to get mixed up in the family buisiness. He makes his father an offer he can't refuse by making him commercials when his father is unable to after a heart attack, which kept us from seeing a potentially great scene where Vinnie wakes up and there's a showerhead in his bed. Episode 20 involves Doogie and Vinnie at a convenience store that gets held up by a young black man who takes them hostage, but Stockholm syndrome kicks in and they become friends.

The season ends with Doogie and Wanda breaking up and getting back together and at some point, Vinnie and Jeanine begin dating despite having gone on dates in pretty much every episode thus far.

Season Two

This is probably the strongest season of the show, the best episode of which involves Vinnie helping his French teacher give birth in an elevator. However, most of the season is episodic and there isn't much to the overall storyline.

The season begins with Doogie in therapy because as a child prodigy, the psychologists wish to study his development. this episode begins the next season as well. The epsiode is basically a summary of the last season except Doogie is having a recurring dream that he is a mad scientist named "Dr. Doogenstein." He later learns that in the dream, he is the monster as well as the doctor and he needs more balance. In other words, they summed up the entire series with a dream sequence that ended with "The Monster Mash."

In episode two, the man who had taken Doogie hostage, Raymond, shows up and asks Doogie to get him a job at the hospital now that he is no longer a gang member. Doogie succeeds at getting Raymond a job as an orderly, which Raymond initially complains about, comparing it to slavery, but later decided to accept the job and becomes a regular on the show.

Episode five involves Doogie finally getting the convertible he wanted by bringing a broken down one home so his father would have to agree. This surprisingly works after his dad fixes it up, reminding him of his old car of the same model. However, the elder Dr. Howser was not a doctor at the time and wouldn't have endangered patients because he owned an unreliable car, but then again, we may be putting too much thought into this because why don't we get to have a convertible?

The next important episode is number fifteen, in which Wanda's mother dies in a car accident because she wasn't wearing a seat belt. Wanda is angry and depressed for the remainder of the season because of this. Oddly enough, the previous episode involved Vinnie totaling Doogie's car when he gets distracted by a woman, rear ends a delivery truck, and a player piano lands on the hood and begins playing; had they shown the side of the truck, 'Acme' would most likely be written there. The car gets repaired and Doogie's father decides to exploit his family lying to him (they claimed it was getting a tune-up, but he received a call from the mechanic) by getting it painted red, the color of his old car. The moral is that seatbelt safety is important, but negligent driving gets you a paintjob.

Eighteen is the fishing trip episode, and this time, Vinnie tags along because he is jealous of the Howser men's relationship and does not have one with his own father. Vinnie is his usual annoying self, but Doogie later understands how much his friend needs this and fakes an ear infection so Vinnie can spend time with the older Doctor Howser, which is as uncomfortable as it sounds.

In episode 21, Mrs. Howser gets a job at the hospital to the dismay of her family, as it is keeping her from cooking. She keeps the job, but this problem misteriously vanishes.

The only other important episode is twenty-two, in which McGuire leaves to practice medicine in the third world, leaving his precious mousse and gels behind. He is not seen in any future episodes.

Season Three

Season three is where the series begins to go downhill. It starts off with a very horny Doogie in the psychiatrist's office on his eighteenth birthday. Wanda is going away to college and Doogie plans to lose his virginity to her before she leaves, but cancels their night because of a patient. She is, again, upset about coming in second to people who may die, but they make up and have a heavily-edited sex scene.

The next episodes involve Doogie and Vinnie moving into an apartment together, but Doogie decides to end it and return home in the second episode of the two-parter because nobody had any idea what he was talking about half the time, and Vinnie was expectedly a poor roommate choice.

So now that Doogie has "made love" to Wanda, he continues to persue her, despite Wanda being in Chicago. This includes getting stranded in the desert while driving there, lying to her new love interests, and getting pissy and mentioning how they "made love." Doogie eventually moves on and begins dating a 36 year-old librarian who it later turns out has a son. She is the first example of a relationship reappearing out of nowhere when there is a full six week gap between her appearances. They break up when her son becomes too attatched.

Jeanine gets a lot of attention in this season that is mostly without Wanda, except most of her storylines complaining about indecision at college. She ends up dropping out and working at a mall and becomes successful in the fourth season, moreso than Doogie's other friends who go to school. She and Vinnie break-up at the end of the season.

The annual fishing trip is replaced with a trip to Honduras to give medical attention to the needy, which begins the trend of Doogie losing his childhood to being an overly serious prick. During the season, Doogie also becomes a trauma surgeon.

Season Four

The last and worst season. In this one, Doogie moves out for good, Vinnie's parents get divorced, Raymond becomes a EMT, and Dr. Howser senior becomes the head of pediatrics at Eastman. The reason it is terrible is because it abandons all of Doogie's positive traits and turns him into an anal-retentive workaholic and he is kind of a jerk to everybody, and it brings up relationships that hadn't made an appearance in weeks, or at all. For example:

  • Doogie moves out after his mother gets upset with him for skinnydipping with her boss, which he insists was a good idea.
  • Doogie has an overly bitter rivalry with a female resident that is solely based on her answering his questions and her catching a medical condition in a patient that he didn't.
  • Vinnie has a relationship that shows up after 10 weeks, Curly gets engaged to a man she had been dating for six months, but had never been seen, and Doogie is seeing a girl who hasn't shown up since season two, when they agreed they shouldn't be together because they were seeing other people.
  • Doogie's fantasies increase in number and become worse, such as the trauma surgery game show.

The series ends with Doogie and Vinnie moving to Rome to experience the world.