Hello Internet. My name is L.J. To make introductions short, consider me unto the Interwebs as Dr. House is to medicine. I’m bitter, angry, and say things that make people sad on the inside.

Now that that’s out of the way.

I’ve noticed something of a pattern in the way of television drama. To put it simply, anything that’s not based on either women looking for their knight in shining (but mysteriously stained with the blood of infidels?) armor and men struggling with the challenges of puberty is becoming increasingly steeped in an obsession with reality. Shows like Army Wives and Generation Kill struggle for the gritty realism of what the real military experience is. Shows like E.R. and House, M.D. take 25-55% of their air time replacing medical-babble with genuine medical terminologies and earnest diagnostic efforts. Nobody among us can argue that the CSI franchise (oh get over yourself, at this point, it’s no less a franchise than Hannah Montana or, at best, Rocky) was so successful due to its strategy of turning away from traditional pandering and more towards logical analysis and actual real-world investigative techniques. Yeah, so it’s a bit over-dramatized, nobody looks that cool while combing a Ford Escort for trace evidence. But at some point, someone’s gotta do it.

So, the big question is this: is the modern, well-publicized TV drama actually reality television, only less trashy?

Okay, screw that. That was actually a red herring. My real curiosity is this: Can you become a certified physician from watching House?

I’ll give you a second to digest the question in… question. It sounds absurd, I’m sure. But in today’s age of VOD and iPod Videos and series obsession, some people (not me. I swear… ok guilty) can watch the same television series every hour of every day from sunup to sundown. If television tends towards realism as opposed to over-dramatization, with numerous medical advisors on medical shows, military consultants on military-themed shows, OBGYN consultants on romantic comedies (I made that up), couldn’t you assume that compulsively watching programming influenced by professionals start to become a form of passive education?

Let’s take the Food Network as an example. Imagine an idea so convoluted as a network centered wholly on programming focused on the preparation of food, and millions of viewers watching in hope that by watching enough of these shows might actually make them a better cook. The bitter irony is that these food shows are actually trying to shy away from pure instruction and more towards entertainment value. In the same way, in reverse, television dramas are trying to become more realistic, and produce a more professionally-centered, authentic view into inaccessible lines of work, with an intensive focus on making it appear more like the real deal while trying to maintain entertainment value.

So the question stands: If you watch nothing but E.R. and Grey’s Anatomy and House, M.D., all day, every day, could you become just as qualified a physician as the consultants who work on these shows?

Medical school is long, hard, and boring (that’s what she said), and takes essentially a full day’s studying, every day, all day long, as well as practical experience in the real world, working in the hospital on real patients. So if you watch someone who seems to know what they’re doing, giving real diagnoses, and behaving, speaking, and living as a real doctor would, all day, every day, would you become just as qualified as those doctors?

Probably not. I’d never think that if I watched Rocky movies every day, all day, that I’d think I’d be the next badass boxer. I doubt I’d even make it up that big-ass flight of stairs. And practical experience is that much more valuable than just watching and hoping.

I took a Criminology class overseas. Well, I say took. I attended about three of the classes, and the rest of the time I spent laying on the beach consuming substances that may get me barred from that very class. But I attended the first day. The first question the professor asked to the class was to raise our hands if we were taking the class because of the show “CSI”. I was one of about 60% of the class who raised their hands.

I failed that class. Apparently, being a passive observer only amounts to so much in the world of professional expertise. But from watching House, I learned what Amyloidosis is, the purpose of a hyperbaric chamber, and that Vicodin looks like a lot of fun.

So maybe my point is that television, in this day and age, and for our generation (at least, the generation that I belong to, I don’t know who you are), has become more than just a quick fix of sudden amusement, and more of an engaging, enticing, and hell, educational, experience.

Or maybe I don’t have much of a point. Everybody else on Dented Cans got an introduction. So, I suppose, if you were paying enough attention, you could consider this mine. I’ve been L.J. You’ve been a great crowd.

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