Doogie Howser

LORELAI: Business school has to indicate some kind of maturity, right?
LUKE: Doogie Howser was a doctor at sixteen.
LORELAI: Doogie Howser was not real.

Dr Douglas “Doogie” Howser (played by Neil Patrick-Harris) is the protagonist of the television medical comedy-drama, Doogie Howser, MD (1989-1993). A child genius, Howser graduated from Princeton at the age of ten, and completed medical school at fourteen. The show opens on Doogie’s sixteenth birthday, and shows the challenges he faces practising medicine as a resident surgeon while also coping with the usual teenage problems.

The show was abruptly cancelled due to low ratings, but has made its mark as a cultural reference, as anyone young and very smart is generally dubbed “Doogie Howser”. This year it was rebooted as Doogie Kameāloha, MD, about a sixteen-year-old Hawaiian girl working as a doctor, with Peyton Lee in the title role.

In real life, Balamurali Ambati has the Guinness World Record for obtaining his medical license at the age of 17, graduating from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in 1995. He thus became the youngest qualified medical doctor in the world, so not too far off Doogie Howser. (Dr Ambati disliked comparisons to Dr Howser, and as he was six feet tall at age fourteen, fit in with the other medical students and was popular with his peers).

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