I currently watch three medical dramas on CTV. While they can be addictive, they aren’t perfect.
Everyone knows Grey’s Anatomy, it’s been around for decades with 17 seasons and counting. Then there’s The Good Doctor, which I thought was a step in the right direction introducing a surgical resident with ASD like me, but even that has its flaws which I will cover in this post.
The third one I watch is Transplant which has only aired one season so far so I can’t really cover too much about it. I’ve been watching these shows for a couple of years now and I have to say that I have a love-hate relationship with them.
While they do bring out drama and comedy, and sometimes not everything is medically accurate, my biggest problem is how they portray the character’s lives outside of their careers.
I’ll have to do this show by show, mainly the first two since I’ve been watching them longer. I’m only on season 6 of GA so there won’t be too many spoilers.
I’ll talk about The Good Doctor first. I had high hopes for it since it’s about a character with ASD like me, and it’s very difficult to get the representation with ASD right. Many people associate ASD with Rain Man, and while I did like that film, it still says something about our society how ASD is viewed and that there isn’t enough or almost no support for people like us. Do a Google search and you’ll find tons of studies and support programs in place for children, but almost none for adults. The same can be said for similar conditions that can accompany ASD like ADHD.
It’s still a good show but I really wish there was more to Shaun than there is right now. He seems to have no hobbies at all and I’m not surprised the writers made him enjoy watching the weather channel, as one common stereotype about ASD is that we have “unusual” interests like baseball stats or weather forecasts. I have some interests like that too, but most of mine are like typical geeky stuff.
I didn’t like how in season 2, when the residents are given some time off after an outbreak in the ER, Shaun wants to spend it reading medical journals before Lea tells him he needs to relax and takes him out for a day of fun with Glassman. I found it absolutely recoiling to watch him slowly drive down the go-kart track! Even before he and Lea become a couple, he doesn’t seem to invest a lot of money in proper furniture for his first apartment and the bedroom of the one he rents with Lea later, instead he sleeps with a mattress on the floor and a lamp with no nightstand for it. Are people with ASD really THAT disorganized?
Then eventually in season 3 Shaun became so damn stressed about his love life when it took a descent that he started to neglect work and not even show up. Maybe he needs to chill out and get a hobby or two, read some books that aren’t medical, learn how to play a sport or something I don’t know, just do something with your life with the free time you get.
Grey’s Anatomy is no different. When the characters are not working, they do nothing but have sex or go to the bar across the street from the hospital. When Meredith realized earlier on that things with Derek were just not possible, she decided to take up knitting, but the moment she had to take her dog to the vet and then realized she was attracted to him, boom out goes the knitting. You can have a love life and hobbies you know. But life is nothing but surgery and sex for her and her friends.
Going to the bar is not my type of fun. For me, time for fun with friends is going to concerts, conventions, arcades, restaurants, and amusement parks. It just seems unrealistic to make all the characters enjoy the same thing. Only Miranda Bailey seems to have unique taste as she reveals her love for Star Wars to a patient encased in cement. All the other doctors in the room stared at her, like what? At least she has interests!
My dad likes to preach that you either work to live or live to work. Those characters are definitely the latter. While I agree that it is important to enjoy what you do, it’s also vital to have a life outside of your work as well.
Also any character who is single is practically coerced into finding someone. Why not just let people be and let them make their own decisions?! But that’s what makes these shows entertaining is the DRAMA. That’s another thing I want to cover, why are the main characters sleeping with/dating characters that look ten years older than them. It’s not just the fact that one is a resident or intern and the other is an attending, but Lexie looks like she’s 24 and Mark looks like he’s 43. If I’m correct, that’s a pretty big age difference, don’t you think you’d want someone who’s a little closer to your age? But then again what am I saying when I have crushes on actors and musicians that are also twice my age? Some of the relationships in this show just develop out of the blue, two characters could be arguing until they suddenly pause and start kissing.
I grew tired of everyone ogling over Derek and Mark, they’re not attractive to me at all. For me, my McDreamy is Tuomas Holopainen and my McSteamy is Jason Momoa!
The medical part is just a background that creates more drama if the patient has a catastrophic injury that costs them their career or they refuse treatment, or even die. When there’s a major tragedy, there’s always going to be that reluctant person who is like screw this I’m getting out of here, and then they get hurt in the process.
Other than that, I’m an introvert watching TV shows with characters that are all extremely extroverted that they have no hobbies and interests other than sex, stress about their relationships (not just romantic and sexual ones), and their jobs that sometimes that they don’t take care of themselves, like the time Shaun refused to sleep until he found a solution for a patient’s condition or how to teach his junior residents. Like just sleep on it man, the answer will come to you in the morning.
The fandoms are toxic as hell too. Like I was heartbroken when Lucas Ripley died in season 2 of Station 19; the first character from the Shondaland universe that I thought was attractive (the actor too), when he died, I cried a little and then moved on. But the fandom from The Good Doctor raged for months when Melendez died in the season 3 finale, threatening to stop watching the show, saying he should have been the star, etc.
They then bond in comment threads how they both stopped watching, well then why the fuck are you still commenting on the show’s Facebook or Instagram page? I bet you dollars to donuts that those people who threatened to stop watching came back when the next episode aired.
I didn’t like the ending to Game of Thrones but it wasn’t worth bitching on their social media pages so I left and didn’t return because I’m too busy invested in other shows I enjoy now. This is why I choose to not get too attached to characters in these medical dramas anymore because they can die or leave at any time. I mean I didn’t particularly like Melendez, he was sort of an OP character who could do just any surgery imaginable. I thought he was just a general surgeon but then next thing you know he’s doing some sort of advanced cardio or neurosurgery, like uh okay shouldn’t that be reserved for someone who specializes in that?
With all this criticism I’m giving, you might ask me why the hell am I watching this shit if I’ve got so much negativity to spill? Well the truth is there is some things I like about medical dramas, there are some characters I like, like Izzie Stevens for instance in earlier seasons of GA. She’s overcome a lot, she got pregnant in her teen years and gave the baby up for adoption because she had to focus on her schooling and wasn’t ready to be a mom. Then she took up modeling to pay her medical school tuition fees and overcame the stereotypes about her that came from that side job. She cut Denny Duquette’s LVAD wire to bump him up the transplant list due to her feelings for him, which nearly cost her her career, but she made up for it after serving probation time.
It sucked when she got cancer but she fought that off too and I was sad when she was let go. I also like Audrey Lim from The Good Doctor, I think she has an interest in comic books and video games as one time she is seen doing the latter with Claire, and Melendez told Morgan once that he used to see Lim wearing comic book shirts underneath her lab coat during her residency. She’s just got an interesting personality too and she’s independent.
I’ve also mentioned I like Miranda Bailey not just for her not being afraid to show she likes Star Wars, but she also started in a rough patch when she was an intern and she persisted to get through it, she’s got a great work ethic and you don’t mess with her. Then there’s Arizona Robbins who’s always optimistic and struts around in those sneakers with wheels that my mom wouldn’t let me wear when I was a kid when everyone else my age was wearing them.
Some plots were good and some didn’t make sense to me but oh well they are not meant to be complex storylines and are primarily focused on the relationships, but at least the shows will also focus on friendship and family too, not just romance.
So yeah, I do keep watching these shows, even if they are not perfect and there is not a single character like me in them, oh well what can you do? You can have an interest in something and sometimes it can be far from perfect, but you still find a way to enjoy it.
I also enjoy the medical side, even if it’s inaccurate.