Toni de la Torre
What do medical professionals think of TV series depicting their discipline? Eighteen authors analyze series such as House M.D., CSI, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead from the viewpoint of their field of study. They do so in Medicine in Television Series, published by the Dr. Antonio Esteve Foundation, based in Barcelona. The book is endorsed by Lisa Sanders, the Yale University doctor whose column in The New York Times served as inspiration to the producers of House M.D.
The difficult-to-diagnose medical cases that Lisa Sanders described in the paper every week landed her a job as scriptwriter in one of the most important medical series in TV history. In her chapter, Sanders wastes no time in comparing the methods of the legendary character played by Hugh Laurie with Sherlock Holmes’s detective zeal.
“Echoes of the Holmesian canon are frequent within the show. House has only one friend, James Wilson, a parallel to Dr. John Watson. House plays the piano, the guitar, the harmonica; Holmes distracts himself with the violin. House takes Vicodin; Holmes, cocaine. Irene Adler was, to Holmes, The Woman. The first patient we see House save is named after her – Rebecca Adler,” Sanders explains. “Show co-creator, and executive producer David Shore, acknowledged the intentional homage from the start.”
“In traditional medical series, diagnosis was merely a springboard to the rest of the story. The crisp precision of the science of illness and the certainty of diagnosis is a counterweight to the art of dealing with the complexities of human behavior and emotion. The simplicity of this fictional representation of the process disguises the uncertainty that surrounds all but the most basic diagnoses. To acknowledge this intrinsic lack of precision seems to make doctors uncomfortable. All this changed with the arrival of House M.D.,” Sanders argues.
But medicine is not just present in series set in a hospital environment. For example, Patricia Robledo, from the Neuropharmacology Laboratory at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, analyzes her field of study, drug addiction, through the cult series Breaking Bad. Thanks to this, we discover that the mythical color blue of the methamphetamine that Walter White produces in the series does not correspond to its pretension of 99% purity, “given that any color is a sign of impurity”, Robledo explains.
In his turn, Ramon Cererols, author of the book Discovering Asperger’s, focuses on the figure of Sheldon Cooper, star of the comedy series The Big Bang Theory, to study the characteristics of people affected with this syndrome. It is a disorder portrayed by numerous TV characters, such as House himself, or Gil Grissom from CSI. The latter series is likewise examined in the book due to its setting in forensic medicine.
The Sopranos and Psychoanalysis, Mad Men and Tobacco Addiction, The Walking Dead and Epidemics in the Collective Imagination, Masters of Sex and Sexology, Homeland and the Emotional Sphere, and Nip/Tuck and Plastic Surgery are some of the chapters covered by Medicine in Television Series. A book that, as the TV series critic Toni De la Torre (J.J. Abrams. La teoría de la caja, Historia de las series) sums up, “our aim is to give medical professionals a panoramic view of how their profession is reflected in TV series, and to give fans of the series a fresh viewpoint, one that is unexpected, interesting and enriches their favorite fictions.”
|Documento completo||Toni de la Torre||[wpdm id=1598 type=”btn”]|
|Introduction||Toni de la Torre||[wpdm id=1599 type=”btn”]|
|1. House MD and Medical Diagnosis||Lisa Sanders||[wpdm id=1600 type=”btn”]|
|2. The Knick and Surgical Techniques||Leire Losa||[wpdm id=1601 type=”btn”]|
|3. The Sopranos and Psychoanalysis||Oriol Estrada Rangil||[wpdm id=1602 type=”btn”]|
|4. The Big Bang Theory and Asperger’s Syndrome||Ramon Cererols||[wpdm id=1603 type=”btn”]|
|5. Breaking Bad and Methamphetamine Addiction||Patricia Robledo||[wpdm id=1604 type=”btn”]|
|6. Mad Men and Tobacco Addiction||Joan R. Villalbí||[wpdm id=1605 type=”btn”]|
|7. The Walking Dead and Epidemics in the Collective Imagination||Josep M. Comelles / Enrique Perdiguero Gil||[wpdm id=1606 type=”btn”]|
|8. Angels in America, The Normal Heart and Positius: HIV and AIDS in Television Series||Aina Clotet / Marc Clotet / Under the supervision of Bonaventura Clotet||[wpdm id=1607 type=”btn”]|
|9. Nip/Tuck, Grey’s Anatomy and Plastic Surgery||María del Mar Vaquero Pérez||[wpdm id=1608 type=”btn”]|
|10. Masters of Sex and Sexology||Helena Boadas||[wpdm id=1609 type=”btn”]|
|11. CSI and Forensic Medicine||Adriana Farré / Marta Torrens / Josep-Eladi Baños / Magí Farré||[wpdm id=1610 type=”btn”]|
|12. Homeland and the Emotional Sphere||Liana Vehil / Luis Lalucat||[wpdm id=1611 type=”btn”]|
|13. Olive Kitteridge and Depression||Oriol Estrada Rangil||[wpdm id=1612 type=”btn”]|
|14. True Detective and the Attraction of Evil||Luis Lalucat / Liana Vehil||[wpdm id=1613 type=”btn”]|
|15. Polseres vermelles and Cancer||Pere Gascón i Vilaplana||[wpdm id=1614 type=”btn”]|