Doogie Howser, M.D.

Doogie Howser MD

The teenage years are tough for any kid to navigate, with all those societal pressures, raging hormones and parental expectations. Doogie Howser faced all of the challenges that adolescence had to offer, on top of tending to his surgical duties as the youngest licensed doctor in the country, on the hit ABC series, Doogie Howser, M.D.

The son of a doctor, Douglas “Doogie” Howser was a typical kid with atypical intelligence. A child prodigy, he got a perfect score on his SATs when he was six, graduated from Princeton at age ten, and received his license to practice medicine before he was legally able to drive a car. At the ripe old age of 16, he became a resident surgeon at the Eastman Medical Center in Los Angeles – all while still living at home with his parents.

For all of his accomplishments, Doogie was still a kid struggling with his adolescence. Thankfully, his best friend Max helped to keep him grounded in reality. Along the way, Doogie tried to juggle his professional responsibilities and earn the respect of his colleagues, while dealing with his own personal issues and those of society itself.

Over the years, weighty topics such as racism, homophobia, sexism and gang violence all presented Doogie with new and difficult challenges. But at the end of the day, the teenager usually made the right choices. Each episode concluded with Doogie reflecting upon the lessons learned from these experiences, all dutifully recorded into his cutting-edge computer diary.

Debuting in 1989, Doogie Howser, M.D. was created by Steven Bochco after having achieved major success with another series, Hill Street Blues. Neil Patrick Harris was chosen for the lead role because producers felt he was the most convincing at playing a teenaged doctor. Still, ABC was skeptical of the whole concept at first, until test screenings gave a promising response. The network reluctantly green-lit the series and were pleasantly surprised by the ratings.

The popular show ran for four seasons and, although it was regularly dismissed by critics who found the premise a little too fanciful for their tastes, audiences embraced the series and its appealing star. Sure, viewers may not have shared the same intelligence or career aspirations as their young doctor friend, but they could all relate to the adolescent everyday problems that Doogie Howser regularly faced. He may have even taught them a thing or two along the way.

If you were one of the people that tuned in regularly to Doogie Howser, M.D. back in the 90s, we’d love to hear all of your memories of the series in our comments section below.

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