A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
While the teenage lead characters make many mistakes, each episode typically ends with a positive lesson learned.
Positive Role Models
Doogie sets an example for learning as a path to success, but he also demonstrates questionable behavior as he balances his adolescent learning curve with his mature intellectual development.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The show deals frankly with sexuality for its teenage leads within the standards of network television. While there's little explicit visually, conversations frequently deal with the topics of women, dating, and physical attraction.
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Words like "damn" and "crap" are used commonlly by both adults and teens.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Occasional consumption of alcohol by main character (who's underage) and others in a casual social manner, never overconsumed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sitcom from the late 1980s deals frankly with many of the typical moral, emotional, and physical issues faced by the average teenage boy ... although this boy happens to also be a working doctor. This means that many storylines and interactions deal with the ups and downs of male-female relationships. Kids in their early teens and up may find themselves relating to the experiences of the lead characters, and with a healthy and supportive family structure and positive lessons learned in almost every episode, this is a fine (if retro) choice for late tweens and up.
Is It Any Good?
From its plunking synthesizer opening theme to the characters' hairstyles and clothing choices, DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D., is a true product of its time, the late '80s and early '90s. It's easy to be distracted by the show's dated look and feel, but Doogie was actually ahead of its time when it came to dealing with issues important to teens with humor and honesty.
Star Harris is better known today as the lecherous Barney on How I Met Your Mother, but this was his breakout performance, walking the fine line along Doogie's vast intellectual intelligence and still-developing emotional maturity. The show may not stack up favorably against some of today's strongest TV comedies, especially when it comes to developing a moral question and resolving the issue within 22 minutes. It can frequently feel heavy-handed in the way that many sitcoms from this era do -- episodes all too often end with the family gathered together and Doogie having learned an important lesson, a concluding moment familiar to TV viewers since the days of Leave It to Beaver. Still, there's no denying the show's good humor and strong performances, which make it eminently watchable even decades later.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.