A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sometimes-intense medical drama deals with a host of health-related issues -- from the benign (menopause), to the more serious (child abuse and fertility issues) -- some of which might be too sensitive for young viewers. Most of the topics and storylines are female-oriented, given that the show takes place in a women's health clinic. The subject matter lends itself to some rather crass jokes on the part of the characters who work in the clinic.
What's the story?
In STRONG MEDICINE, a group of savvy doctors working in a busy Philadelphia clinic confront medical issues that challenge them both personally and professionally. In one episode, for example, a conservative politician who's five months pregnant dies after she refuses to give birth prematurely, which her doctors say is the only way to save her life. In the same episode, a prospective adoptive family who's brought their foster son in with burns on his buttocks is handed over to the cops when a doctor suspects child abuse -- wrongly, as it turns out. The show's key cast has changed several times over the years, but one constant is Dr. Luisa "Lu" Delgado, (Rosa Blasi), a caring doctor and single mother who grew up in the inner city and sees her job at the Rittenhouse Women's Health Clinic as a way to give back. Other core characters have included Dr. Dana Stowe (Janine Turner), who left the clinic to raise her two adopted daughters, and Lu's nemesis, Dylan West (Rick Schroeder), who took over after Dana left, Lana Hawkins (Jenifer Lewis), the no-nonsense receptionist, and Peter Riggs (Josh Cox), the clinic's uber-sensitive nurse-midwife.
Is it any good?
Overall, Strong Medicine is smart programming with good female role models, but parents might want to think twice before letting younger kids tune in given the fairly mature subject matter. Some topics are particularly serious and can spur intelligent conversation. Meanwhile, other bits -- such as one episode in which a patient's diaphragm is stuck inside her -- seem gratuitous and silly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about doctors and the ethical issues that arise in the medical field. Beyond diagnosing, preventing, and managing illnesses, what is a doctor's role? Sometimes physicians will identify personal issues plaguing their patients; is it ever OK for doctors to get involved in non-medical subjects? Also, what is it about medical drama that makes it such a compelling TV topic? Do you think real hospitals and clinics are as constantly chaotic as the ones on television?