Inside the Lightbox is a new sponsored feature where we mine the extensive Lightbox catalogue for cool shows you might like to watch. This week, Alex Casey gets the best medical shows prepped and ready for you on the operating table. //
We can all agree that hospitals are the worst places on earth, filled with enormous invisible floating germs, misshapen jelly and ungodly smells. Thank goodness television stepped in to provide us with a parallel hospital universe of smell-free wards filled with huge laughs, major drama and the odd gurney-based romance.
No matter what your malady, I think we can all agree that TV is probably the cure. Here are some of the soothing medical marvels which Lightbox has handily prepped for you in high dosage. Take as required and if symptoms persist, please consult a healthcare professional*.
Cure: Green Wing
Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard you nearly vomited? If the answer is no then perhaps try a strong dosage of Green Wing.
Starring Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan (who would later go on to write and star in the hilarious behind-the-curtain comedy Episodes), UK comedy Green Wing is set in a hospital – but prides itself in involving zero medical storylines. Instead, the show opts for surrealist comedy blurred with soap opera-style twists and turns as the doctors negotiate each others’ endless oddities.
Between Alan Statham, the stuttering and easily flummoxed radiologist to Sue White, the quite frankly batshit “worker liaison”, the only normalcy lies within main character Caroline Todd (and even she is pretty dicey).
The rest of the talent stalking the halls is eccentric beyond almost anything I’ve seen on TV before. I’m talking squirrel costumes, I’m talking keyboards in the operating room, I’m talking a live camel walking around the waiting room.
It’s like the mutant twin of Scrubs was locked in a basement and fed only batteries and cheezels to survive. Better than laughing gas, guaranteed.
Cure: Doc Martin
If you find yourself faint at the sight of blood, count yourself lucky you aren’t a successful vascular surgeon like our main man in Doc Martin.
Played by Martin Clunes, still possessed of the best face in England, Dr Martin develops a deep fear of the red stuff and moves from the bustling, notoriously-bloody city of London to the sleepy Cornish village of Portwenn to become a GP.
He’s a prickly man with terrible social skills, which is not the greatest option for a small town laden with kind-hearted busybodies and crazy cat ladies. Combine the two and you get a drama with just enough light-hearted comedy that you won’t find yourself vomiting in a ditch. That job is reserved for Dr Martin when he sees someone with a stubbed toe.
Haemophobics unite, Doc Martin is your show. It might not cure you, but just know you are not alone. I toast a big cup of blood to you all.
Ailment: Love a good prescription drug
Cure: Nurse Jackie
Put down those drugs and try out a strong course of Nurse Jackie.
Sopranos legend Edie Falco stars as Jackie, an emergency nurse in New York with a penchant for prescription product. She’s slightly chaotic, clearly unorthodox but is fantastic at her hectic job.
As the writer of the show Liz Brixius says, “I would honestly rather this woman take care of me, my children, and my loved ones when she is high than any other nurse.” That’s not an endorsement for drugs, but sounds like a damn good endorsement for Nurse Jackie.
Jackie is joined by a myriad other interesting characters such as Dr Fitch ‘Coop’ Cooper who suffers from sexual tourettes, a compulsion to act inappropriate and boob-grabby when under stress. It’s an uncomfortably funny and quite bizarre tic to witness onscreen – just one example of the dark comedy the show is famous for.
A drug addicted nurse and a Doctor with sexual tourettes? More highs and lows than anything your pharmacist can sort for you, guaranteed.
Ailment: You suspect that you might be hosting a giant tapeworm in your stomach
If you like your hospital shows with a heavy injection of confounding medicine and a hell of a lot more limping – House is where it’s at. The eight-season drama is led by Hugh Laurie as Dr Gregory House, a painkiller-chugging misanthrope with a talent for piecing together puzzling medical cases – including terrifying tapeworm takeovers.
Watching House will make you feel like a PhD genius in niche medical cases such as Locked-In Syndrome (terrifying) or Sexsomnia (a real thing), plus your friends and family will love it when you inevitably start diagnosing them with Leprosy at the dinner table.
And yes, it will confirm all your suspicions that you probably do have a giant tapeworm living inside you.
*Please consult your medical professional if symptoms. Although very good, TV is not real medicine.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.