Emily Owens, MD: Same Old

On my insomnia-ridden nights off, I have taken to clearing out the DVR and investigating new TV shows to keep me entertained. Exciting, I know. As I write this post, it is 4:00 on a Monday morning. 

A couple months ago I saw a preview for a new medical show on the CW called Emily Owens, MDI knew a couple things right away: 1) It’s the CW, so the personality caricatures would be ridiculous, but hopefully entertaining. 2) It’s the CW, so I couldn’t really take it too seriously. 


Unfortunately I got what I expected, and then some… A recycled storyline with recycled plot twists. A group of surgical interns (sound familiar?) featuring neurotic main character, Emily, who is in love with her best friend from medical school, but he goes for her nemesis. A cutthroat attending. A Chief of Surgery who is boffing a nurse in the stairwell. Same old, same old.


I might have kept watching the series, however. It was cute and mildly entertaining. And like I said, I can do mildly entertaining when I can’t sleep. I couldn’t expect a whole lot more from a TV network whose most popular series feature vampires, Upper East Side snobs, and of course a newly minted 90210 cast. I told myself not to take it too seriously to begin with (see above).

But there is one little (big) problem that will make me turn off my TV for good. The supporting cast includes a bunch of beautiful nurses who also happen to be complete and utter bitches.

The series pilot mentioned that working in a hospital is like being back in high school. If that’s the angle they’re going with, they’ve managed to create their own gang of mean girls who all happen to carry the title “RN”. There’s not a helpful one in the bunch and their only role appears to be setting a stark contrast to the oh-so-caring and intelligent doctors that actually take care of their patients. The nurses are too busy delaying lab results, spreading gossip, and oh yeah, boffing the Chief of Surgery in the stairwell.


I am SICK AND TIRED of these medical dramas choosing one-dimensional portrayals of nurses. Nurses who are all female and can’t keep their clothes on or act professionally while they’re at work. Nurses who intentionally obstruct the important work that doctors do. What about the important work that WE do? Even Nurse Jackie, who is the most palatable nurse character out there, still screws co-workers and snorts lines at work. Can’t a television show manage to create drama and/or comedy without doing so at the expense of nurses? Can’t someone write a clever script that shows us working together?

I know it’s TV and I know it’s not real. That’s why I’ve stopped pointing out the ridiculous inaccuracies that pervade all medical shows. But in the midst of the inaccuracies and silly dramas, can’t someone out there craft a show that stops reinforcing all the stereotypes and gives credit where credit is due?

It’s amazing to me that nurses are the most trusted profession in America. Based on the references to us in popular culture, you’d think we were anything but.

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