Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Twelve Favorite Fictitious Doctors

A loving tribute to the non-existent doctorate-holders who've warmed the cockles of all our hearts.

By: Jimbo X

If you have a girlfriend, wife, or anything with a vagina you cohabitate with, you've probably noticed that they really, really enjoy the long-running television program Grey's Anatomy. Indeed, if you were to check your DVR right now, I'm willing to bet at least half of your machine is filled with pre-recorded episodes chronicling the saga of Seattle Grace's fuck-happy surgeons. Over the past year, I've seen Dr. McDreamy get shot by that one pissed guy with a mustache and Izzie cut the LVAT wire at least half a dozen times apiece - another year, and I'll have the entire script of that one episode where the dude with a swastika tattoo doesn't want any minorities to work on him memorized. 

Which got me thinking about the fantastical representation of physicians in modern entertainment. Needless to say, no profession is as romanticized as the doctor, as evident by the deluge of TV offerings like General Hospital, House and such scintillating TLC fare as Trauma: Life in the E.R., Untold Stories of the E.R. and that ratings behemoth, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. For whatever reason, modern entertainment consumers - specifically, those porting about XX chromosomes - can't get them enough physician-related melodrama and even looking at my own pop cultural upbringing, it's virtually impossible to escape from the gravitational pull of fictitious health care providers.

Go on ahead - I bet you can name 10 or 12 fake doctors from TV and the movies before you can name two of your state's U.S. representatives. So profound a cultural influence these make-belief physicians have made on our society that there's an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to listing all of the phony surgeons and ENT specialists that have popped up in mass media, and it's actually longer than the Wiki listing of actual real-life physicians throughout human history.

As such, I figured it was way past time I celebrated some of the less heralded fictitious doctors that have snuck their way into the cultural consciousness. Sure, everybody knows about Doogie Howser and House and Marcus Welby, M.D., but what about the imagined physicians that never get their fare shake in the media? Well folks, it's about time somebody righted these wrongs of history: gather 'round the wife and kids and put on your best book-on-tape voice - it's time to finally give these doctored doctors the recognition and respect owed to 'em...

Dr. Dre

Much like Nobel laureate lyricist Ice Cube, "I'm down with Dre like A.C. is down with O.J."

I'm not sure where Dr. Dre got his diploma or even what his field of study was, but I'm pretty sure he was at the top of his class when it came to slinging rhymes. By now, we're all well aware of his momentous impact on hip-hop music, from his days in N.W.A. to his breakthrough solo album The Chronic to "discovering" Eminem, so I'm not going to bore you with the stuff everybody ought to already know. Well, except for the part about him purportedly beating the shit out of a whole lot of women. Apparently, he's just as good at that as he is producing rap music. 

Doctor Doom

Yep. This is STILL the best live-action Doctor Doom we've gotten, some how.

Old Doomy-Doom is easily the best non-supernatural, non-intergalactic villain in the entire Marvel Universe. I mean, he's basically Adolf Hitler with super powers, and that's a hell of a selling point for a bad guy. Outside of the pages of comic-dom, though, it doesn't really seem like anybody's been able to adequately translate the character into other mediums (as the lengthy list of failed Fantastic Four movies, cartoons and videogames indicate.) Still, he's had a few bright spots outside of the ink and parchment realm - I mean, that one Spider-Man arcade game he was in was pretty bitchin', if I remember correctly

Dr. Pepper

If it's good enough to inspire a Savage Garden song, it's good enough for your stomach, ain't it?

For whatever reason, Dr. Pepper is a super-polarizing beverage. It seems to be one of those drinks you either love or can't stomach, and I'm definitely in the pro-Pepper camp. I've long considered it the preeminent cola flavor for autumn (yes, even in bubblegum form), and you can't help but be impressed by the rich menagerie of knockoff sodas the product inspired - indeed, one can't help but wonder which diploma mill "Dr. Perky" got his P.h. D from. 

Dr. Giggles

The worst part? That shit still isn't covered by Obamacare.

There weren't a whole lot of legitimately entertaining big studio horror offerings in the early 1990s, and there were even fewer based on original properties. 1992's Dr. Giggles is definitely one of the few bright spots during what was one of the lowest points in the history of Hollywood horror, and in a just world, Benny the Retard from L.A. Law would have had at least two or three more sequels to apply his hilariously homicidal craft. And if you've never seen it before, the handy-dandy Cliffs Note version is right here

Doctor Dreadful

Yeah, I'm getting vibes from that episode of Diff'rent Strokes, too.

Now here's a '90s relic that only those of us who actually grew up in the era can bandy about as social currency. In 1993, Tyco released its Doctor Dreadful Food Lab in the States, which was basically the same core concept as an Easy-Bake Oven, except instead of making pastries that were actually edible, you got to make this too-sugary-for-human-consumption gummy treats shaped like spiders and roaches. Oh, and also came with this neon yellow skull you could use to make really, really soupy Pixy Stix powder, but you were destined to run out of the proprietary mixing ingredients in like three days and no stores anywhere carried refill pouches so after a week the whole goddamn thing was useless. I got this the same Christmas I got Sonic the Hedgehog 2, so the two icons of '90s nostalgia are forever interconnected in my brain - indeed, I can still taste the "monster skin" every time I enter the Chemical Plant Zone.

Steve "Dr. Death" Williams

You would be shocked just how many people in the 1980s looked like Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Dr. Death was one of the baddest mother fuckers in pro wrestling history. Even when he was an amateur wrestler, he used to intimidate opponents by coming out wearing a fucking Jason Voorhees mask, and trust me, his horrifying ways only got more out-there once he joined the wacky world of make-believe fisticuffs. The highlight of his career had to be that one awesome match he had against Kenta Kobashi, where he hit the Japanese 'rasslin legend with three consecutive backdrop drivers, when just one was probably enough to constitute "attempted murder" had Kobashi sought to press charges. And as far as his career nadir? Well, getting legit KTFO by one of the Smokin' Gunns on live television is about as bad as it could possibly get for a dude who was scheduled to main event against Steve Austin...

David "Dr. D" Schultz

Because badasses never skip breakfast, that's why.

Oh no, "Dr. Death" isn't the only amazing old school wrestler who also earned his Ph. D. - in pain. Enter "Dr. D" David Schultz, one of the most batshit insane people to ever receive a paycheck from one Vincent K. McMahon. When he wasn't cutting hilariously homophobic promos against Hulk Hogan, he was too busy getting arrested for trying to fist-fight Mr. T for real because he thought it would get him a main event match at WrestleMania. Oh, and he once slapped the living dog shit out of John Stossel, which is more than enough to earn him our eternal admiration and appreciation

Doctor Octopus

If you motherfuckers haven't played the Sega CD version, you're pretty much the video game equivalent of a Christian who's never read the New Testament.

While I've always considered Doc Ock to be something of a B-tier Spider-villain (basically, he's the Marvel Universe's equivalent of The Penguin - a pretty boring character that became memetically popular and therefore must remain an ever-present figure), he has nonetheless fared way better in adaptations than most comic book villains. After all - he was the centerpiece in the best superhero movie ever filmed, wasn't he?

Dr. Butcher, M.D.

Behold, gentlemen: the greatest actor of our times.

Granted, his eponymous 1980 feature film debut (also known as Zombie Holocaust) wasn't exactly a great movie, but you have to give Donald O'Brien plenty of dap for hamming it up in this Italian exploitation, uh, "classic." The dude's delivery is so incredibly stilted that it kinda' crosses over from being shitty to idiosyncratically awesome, especially when he's ramming saws and scalpels through his still plenty cognizant victims. I mean, how in the world can you not love a villain who spits out totally emotionless dialogue like "I've been anxious to experiment with a male Caucasian brain" while drilling holes into people's skulls?

Dr. Mario

Curing syphilis has never been this much fun!

Still the best Mario spin-off ever, and it's not even close. For whatever reason, a lot of people still sleep on how great the original NES game was, despite it a.) being one of the most addictive puzzlers on the system and b.) having the catchiest goddamn music in the history of recorded sound. And he's still my favorite Super Smash Bros. unlockable character ever - I mean, hell, how can you not have a blast throwing pills as projectiles at people like some kind of unscrupulous physical therapist ?

Doctor Robotnik

Y'know, for a fat motherfucker like that to keep pace with Sonic is actually really impressive.

Don't even start with that whole "but his real name is Eggman" bullshit. This here is America, and in America, we call him Dr. Robotnik, goddamnit. I've always thought he was a much better bad guy than Bowser or Ganon, not just aesthetically (even though cyborg Theodore Roosevelt is a fairly inspired character design), but also conceptually. He's a dude that kidnaps all organic life in Sonic-World and turns them into mechanized slaves; that's some pretty heavy shit, when you really start to think about it. I mean, some really heavy shit.

Dr. Loomis

Just how iconic is Donald Pleasence performance in Halloween? So memorable that nobody even remembers he played the greatest James Bond villain of them all ... or was the bad guy in The Pumaman

And of course, no list of great made-up doctors is complete without mentioning Dr. Samuel Loomis, the iconic "Van Helsing" figure from five out of the ten official Halloween movies. Exquisitely portrayed by character actor extraordinaire Donald Pleasence, Sammy Boy chased Michael Myers' stab-happy ass all over the place for nearly 20 years, pretty much holding the entire franchise together with his inimitable, hysterical rants about just how damned evil "The Shape" actually was. In a way, he was more important to the Halloween films than even Michael Myers, bringing to the movies a dignified gravitas that almost single-handedly propelled the sequels above the generic-slasher fold. And if you don't find yourself periodically chirping "Hey Lonnie, get your arse away from there" at random intervals, you sir, have no business residing in our society.


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