Doogie Howser: Even if you’ve never seen it, you know it. Doogie (born “Douglas” – because who’d name their son Doogie? I should take that back. I’m sure some people have) is a two-time survivor of early-stage pediatric leukemia, found by his father (David, played by James B. Sikking) who worked as a family physician. This brought about Doogie’s love of the medical field.
Now here’s when things get ridiculous. Doogie is also a child prodigy, earning a perfect score on the SATs at the age of six, and graduating high school in nine weeks of time at the age of nine. He was a Princeton University graduate at the age of ten. And at 14? He was the youngest licensed doctor in the country. Know what I did when I was six? I put some Legos together. Terribly.
ABC abruptly canceled the show due to low ratings after the fourth season, in 1993. The writers were hoping to end the show with Doogie being disillusioned with medicine and leaving the field to become a writer, but never got there. So where’s Doogie now? (Actually, you probably know where Doogie is. But what about everyone else?)
Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Douglas “Doogie” Howser
Our buddy Neil has been working pretty steadily since the end of the show, but his career had a huge “second wind” after playing himself in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle in 2004. Bit parts prior to included voicing “Max” in the cartoon Capitol Critters in 1992 (nobody remembers that show except for me, I’m guessing), a season of the TV show Stark Raving Mad, and a few voice-overs – including Spiderman!
Today, you probably know him best as Barney Stinson, on How I Met Your Mother, which has had a successful run on CBS since 2005. And if you haven’t seen it yet, he’s pretty incredible in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which was a 3-part TV miniseries that aired in 2008.
He’s also pretty well known in the world of magic (he’s a practicing illusionist), and an avid fan of Red Bull.
… So much that he was given a lifetime supply of it, for “advertising” his love. I’m insanely jealous.
Before we move on, I’m declaring him “the winner”. Usually I save that till the end, but. Let’s not kid ourselves here.
Max Casella as Vinnie Delpino
Max played Vinnie, who was Doogie’s best friend. He was a pretty loyal friend throughout the show’s run. I hope it was legitimate, and not just because Doogie probably had a ton of cash.
Max had similar success after the show went off air – in 1994 he played Paul Marco in the film Ed Wood, and most notably, played Benny Fazio in The Sopranos for a handful of episodes. He’s also been in a few episodes of Boardwalk Empire in 2010. He’ll be in about six movies this year, so I’d say he’s pretty set.
Also, he was in the original Broadway cast of “The Lion King” playing Timon – which to me, is the most impressive credit of all.
Belinda Montgomery as Katherine Howser
Here’s something that will make you feel super old. Doogie’s pretty, wide-eyed mother played Grandma Flynn in 2010’s TRON: Legacy. While it’s her last crediting acting gig, there were many – and I mean, many – prior to the airing of Doogie. Belinda actually started her acting career in 1967, and worked pretty steadily until recently.
Belinda is a watercolor painter as well as an actress, and actually sold her first piece of art when she was ten. And I’m sure it wasn’t to her mother, to be featured on the refrigerator.
You can check out some of Belinda’s amazing work on her website.
James B. Sikking as Dr. David Howser
Let’s all take a moment to thank Dr. David Howser. He saved Doogie’s life.
As for James, he’s currently 79 years old! Shortly after the show wrapped, he starred in a mess of TV movies, and played Jim Remington on two episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2004. His last role as of today was a guest spot on an episode of The Closer in 2012, but the Sikking family isn’t done with the business. James has a son named Andrew who has been in a few shows – including NYPD Blue, and Raising The Bar.
Lisa Dean Ryan as Wanda Plenn
Every child doctor needs a significant other. Lisa Dean Ryan played Wanda, who was Doogie’s special lady for two seasons of the show. One of the memorable moments was when Wanda’s appendix exploded, and Doogie had to operate on her. And her parents were out of town!
The best thing that Lisa’s done since the show, was a thriller movie called Twisted Love – co-starring with Mark Paul Gosselar (Zack Morris, you guys) and Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster, everybody) Reading the summary, it seems like it’s like a teenager-version of Stephen King’s Misery. It only got 4 stars on IMDB, but what do they know?! I’m going to see if it’s on Netflix the second I’m done with this article.
Lucy Boryer as Janine Stewart
Because Vinnie needs a girlfriend, too. Conveniently, Janine and Wanda were best friends.
Lucy was on Doogie Howser longer than Wanda, and actually has a credit that might one-up Twisted Love. While happening pre-Doogie, she was in the ABC Afterschool Special “The Day My Kid Went Punk” from 1987.
Guys, I watched this. I saw a funny poster for it, and then I realized it was on YouTube. And even I couldn’t get more than 7 minutes in. If you want to try and beat my record, here it is:
And there you have it. I’m tempted to end this with a blue-screened computer journal entry, but sadly I don’t think they make those programs anymore.