Bad Medicine


The most hilariously unprofessional doctors in TV sitcom history.

By Jeff Pfeiffer, ReMIND Magazine

Who knew medical malpractice could be so funny? The TV MDs (and one DDS) below have thoroughly ignored the “first, do no harm” ideal to which most doctors try to adhere. While you would never want these Hippocratic oafs actually treating you, from the safe distance of your TV screen, they can provide you with a very healthy dose of laughs.

Dr. Nick Riviera

The Simpsons (Voiced by Hank Azaria)

When in Springfield, if you need medical help and can’t afford Dr. Hibbert, the dubious Dr. Nick — with his degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College — will perform any operation for just $129.95. Even though Riviera did somehow (with a lot of help from 8-year-old Lisa Simpson) manage to successfully perform a triple bypass on Homer Simpson, we still can’t recommend putting your health in the hands of a man who regularly says things like, “The coroner? I’m so sick of that guy!”

Dr. Adam “Doc” Bricker

The Love Boat (Bernie Kopell)

Honestly, we’re not entirely sure if Doc Bricker was as much of a medical blunder as the others on this list or not, since we can’t remember ever actually seeing him in action in his official capacity as the doctor aboard the Pacific Princess cruise ship. Most of Doc’s action came in the form of the  “love” hyped in the show’s title, as somehow this guy with Bernie Kopell’s looks managed to regularly take his bedside manner into the actual beds of many a female passenger. Hopefully, another passenger wasn’t having a heart attack or something while Doc was otherwise engaged.

Dr. Elmer Hartman

Family Guy (Voiced by Seth MacFarlane)

When he’s not cluelessly prescribing ED pills as antidepressants, reading a Wikipedia entry (most of it, anyway) to learn about cancer treatments or practically boasting that “I’ve been sued by every patient I ever had,” Quahog’s primary physician is often alarming his patients about benign diagnoses with his confusing shtick.

Dr. John A. Zoidberg

Futurama (Voiced by Billy West)
To be fair, the crustacean-like Zoidberg is a fine doctor — if you’re an alien. If you’re a human being in the year 3000, we would advise staying away from getting your physicals with him, as he is wildly unschooled in human anatomy (though he did once learn a thing or two from watching a decongestant commercial). We don’t think you’d want to hear something like this at your next exam: “Remind me: Disemboweling in your species — fatal or nonfatal?”

Dr. Tim Whatley

Seinfeld (Bryan Cranston)

Dr. Whatley is probably a perfectly capable dentist, but what might give you pause in visiting him is the fact that he keeps Penthouse magazines and other adult reading material in his waiting room. He and his assistant also seem to have fun doling out gas to patients and themselves (we’re still unsure whether Jerry actually had his shirt undone while under anesthesia in Whatley’s office, as Jerry believes he might have had).

Maj./Dr. Frank Burns

M*A*S*H (Larry Linville)

The 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital managed to maintain its sterling 98 percent survival rate treating wounded during the Korean War in spite of having “Ferret Face” among its surgeons. Burns flunked out of med school twice before finally graduating (after paying for the answers to an exam). In Korea — where his focus was mainly on playing Army guy and fooling around with “Hot Lips,” and less on medicine (which he viewed mostly as a means to his affluent lifestyle in the States) — Burns came close to losing patients on occasion. After he was sent home, we assume that his local funeral director once again began sending him thank-you cards each Christmas.

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