Monday, March 25, 2013

Medical television hits a new low

Tipped off by a reader, I watched “Married to Medicine,” a reality program about doctors' wives and female doctors in Atlanta, which premiered on the cable network Bravo last night.

What a colossal embarrassment to the medical profession, women, black people, television and humanity.

In the beginning, some “highlights” were shown, which featured a pushing match between two of the characters. I should have stopped right there, but regrettably, I kept watching.

I hope the cast members were paid well because they could not have looked worse had they been on Jerry Springer.

What could they have been thinking?

They were portrayed as shallow, materialistic caricatures. And their husbands, the doctors, looked like fools. Two of them were emergency medicine physicians whose practices probably won't suffer. But the orthopedic surgeon—who would go to him after hearing his wife say surgeons bring home the cash?

After about five minutes, I couldn't take it any longer.

The reviews of the show have been mixed. But the New York Times, an organization that should know better actually had a favorable slant. Its reviewer said, A confederation of mostly black women, some of them doctors’ wives and some of them doctors, enacts scenes of petty jealousy and scorched-earth class warfare that reinforce every pernicious cliché about female treachery and the shallowness of buppie culture and that are also, as it happens, reliably entertaining. 

Entertaining if you are a moron.

Black women of Howard University Medical School, who petitioned the network to cancel the show before it ever aired, have different views.

Comments on the petition's website at were decidedly negative. Here are some excerpts:

Another show depicting black women as shallow, angry, weave wearing, sassy women that can't get along with each other. The bigger issue here is that they are representing a serious community of professionals that have to fight really hard to be taken serious by their white peers.

As a young black woman in the medical field, I was excited about the show, foolishly thinking there would be some sort of mention of, well...medicine. Instead I was incredibly disappointed, disheartened & embarrassed for what I saw. It was a mockery of medicine, and a modern day minstrel show.

This show is not reality! I have many friends that are African American female physicians and I am also married to a surgeon and we are both African American. This is NOT how we live and this is NOT our reality! This is a very negative image and against ALL that we stand for.

Sadly, the petition has only a little over 2000 signatures.

The good news is that one can simply choose not to watch.


artiger said...

It seems the goal of medical television is to see how long you can stay on the air with the crappiest material, or to see just how low you can sink the current low standard. I should probably tune in before I judge, but thankfully you have spared me that pain.

Laurie Mann said...

I remember when Bravo was very watchable. Its "reality" slant continues to be an unwatchable embarrassment.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

I am glad to be of service in terms of shielding my colleagues from the evils of medical television.

I have never watched a full episode of a reality show. I don't get what the attraction is.

DD said...

I too eschew reality-TV (OK--I do confess to watching Dancing With the Stars when Hines Ward was a contestant) This show, (Married to Medicine) sounds as though it perpetuates multiple negative stereotypes including that women marry doctors, more often than they become doctors themselves. Granted, this was once true, but a better, more relevant, motivational reality show might focus on statistics that indicate 48% of grads from US medical schools (in 2011) were female! What a change from the 1960-70 era...And young women, from all ethnic groups, need to see, and know that these role-models exist. Instead of building up, reality TV seems to perpetuate the "dumbing-down" of our society.

Skeptical Scalpel said...

DD, very well said. I'm a Steelers and Hines Ward fan too, but nothing could have ever made me watch a second of Dancing with the Stars.

artiger said...

I raise my glass to all of you who hate reality shows. The very term is a misnomer at best, as it's anything but reality.

I don't know about any of you, but after working in health care during the day (and sometimes night), the last thing I want to see on TV is something related to medicine.

Unknown said...

I agree with artiger. I just don't want to watch medical shows after work. The closest I watch is CSI.

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