FOX’s new medical drama The Resident has potential, but @KiraJW breaks down the three ailments the series will need to overcome in order to bounce back.
Many moons ago, I seriously wanted to be a doctor. My mother as a medical assistant and phlebotomist, and I read her medical books and did procedures on my teddy bears.
I eventually got a job in medical records at a hospital near campus, and I even had my Grey’s Anatomy moment. While delivering charts to the ER, I stopped in front of an x-ray board to look at the films, marveling at the waves of the person’s ribs, the milky lines of their heart and lungs. A doctor stopped by and asked if I was interested in medicine, and I nodded. “Well, what do you see?” He asked. And I answered. “Rib fractures,” I said confidently and pointed them out.
If Shonda Rhimes or any of the writers who dream up the current medical drama were writing this moment, I’d either fall in love with the dreamy doctor who nurtured my curiosity or he’d become my ruggedly handsome mentor.
Reality can be a much more boring and fickle storyteller and my medical dreams were dashed by an utter ineptitude in chemistry, annoyance at the increasing red tape and the realization that doctors, especially surgeons, can be real jerks.
That’s not to say that I haven’t given up on becoming a diagnostician. Instead of fixing broken ribs or delivering babies, I treat people of a fictional variety. I am a doctor specializing in Televisionology. Don’t Google it, it’s a thing, trust me.
I had to tap into all of my skills to access Fox’s new, an infuriatingly crappy medical drama, The Resident. Starring Matt Czuchry, Emily VanCamp, Manish Dayal, and Bruce Greenwood, this useless medical drama is centered on the “brilliant” senior resident and the trappings of the modern medical system.
After suffering through three excruciating episodes, this show’s the prognosis is grim. While the series may linger on the air for another season or two, it’s viewing quality will increasingly diminish. Let’s breakdown the extensive list of ailments.
Matt Czuchry is a TV veteran best known for his stellar work on The Good Wife and for making a smarmy douche like Gilmore Girls‘ Logan Huntzberger insanely likeable. As. Dr. Conrad Hawkins, a former marine doctor, now in his residency at a fictional Atlanta hospital, he has no redeeming qualities except for Czuchry’s elvish face and compelling palatability. He’s introduced biking to work over the thumpings of trap music and by asking his new Asian-Indian intern (Dayal) if he was an “affirmative action” admission to Harvard Medical School. I need an emesis basin STAT.
Hollywood desperately needs to find a cure for white male with inflated egos who say racist, sexist or just insanely inappropriate things to see above-it-all and edgy.
Thankfully, protagonists have stopped having to be perfect or even likeable years ago, thanks to House and Hugh Laurie’s phenomenal performance as the talented doctor and anti-hero and a more discerning viewer. However, there’s nothing new about the self-important, rule-breaking white boy trope that’s dogged tv shows for decade. Now, TVLand is battling a full-fledged epidemic. You can find similar versions of this character in Buck on Fox’s 9-1-1 and Street in CBS’ S.W.A.T to name a few.
Conrad is a lowly resident, which means he’s still learning his specialty, and yet he has nurses, including ex-girlfriend, Nicolette (the woefully underutilized and miscast Emily VanCamp) constantly singing his praises.
Not only has Conrad not yet earned his arrogance, he hasn’t reached the place to exploit it. So when he challenges the chief of surgery or yells at attending physicians, it’s laughably and frustratingly unrealistic. There’s nothing wrong with an idealistic character, or one who even bends the rules, but it’s entirely different when all of the characters are drinking from the altar of said character without the audience ever witnessing his greatness.
Delusions of Shonda
It’s impossible to find a medical drama created in the last decade that hasn’t been influenced by Shonda Rhimes’ baby, Grey’s Anatomy. She revolutionized the genre after ER, and that pixie dust and hard work is often is always imitated and never duplicated. The Resident is not the last show to try to mix the sexy-in-scrubs passion with life-saving drama, but few done it so overtly and so atrociously.
The series kicks off with Dr. Randolph Bell, the famed Chief of Staff, not only performing the run-of-the-mill appendectomy, but botching it so terribly—thanks selfies over an open body cavity and a suspiciously Parkinson’s-esque tremor—that the patient wakes up during surgery and then bleeds out on the table. For a teaching hospital, the gallery is conveniently empty. They ultimately blame it on an “undiscovered” heart condition, if only to save their careers. That is just the beginning of the eye-rolling leaps. By the premiere’s end, Conrad is blatantly caught pulling the plug on a brain dead victim.
Cutting the LVAD wire was one of the game-changing arcs on Grey’s Anatomy, partially because there an entire story built lead up to that momentous line-crossing. The audience felt and lived what the doctors had invested in Denny and Izzie’s relationship and the outcome of his surgery. They were either rooting for or against, but no one was indifferent. By starting the series with strangers playing double-dutch with said line it not only diminishes the morality and ability for viewers to champion them, it’s only a matter of a few seasons before Conrad is actively murdering patients he doesn’t like.
Borderline BS Disorder
I won’t pretend that I’m an expert in the goings-on of hospitals, though I worked in one for six years, but I know that The Resident has taken mountainous liberties with how doctors treat patients (We might also want to question the racial demographics of the doctors and patients as this show is set in Atlanta, a city that’s more than half black). For example, I have a painfully long history of ear infections even as an adult. My primary care physician that I’ve had for 20 years knows this, and still she will not give me a prescription for antibiotics without physically examining me first. So when Conrad diagnoses a patient as suffering Lupus from a vague list of symptoms one of his colleagues rattled off, I guffawed so loudly I almost burst my eardrum.
When these medical practitioners cannot step out of their front door without witnesses a freak accident that requires them to make a stethoscope out of a funnel and a balloon or promise to learn how to perform robotic surgery on an intricate machine in one night, I ache for the days when that didn’t happen until season 8 of ER.
If you need a second opinion, here you go. After the premiere, real doctors took to Twitter to scoff at how unrealistic The Resident is:
Also, no matter how arrogant or racist this surgeon is, he would never agree to learn robotic surgery overnight. He wouldn't even have privileges to do it.
— Sydnee McElroy (@sydneemcelroy) January 22, 2018
Also, if you are in your very first day of residency, you are not running codes. You are hiding from codes. You are praying that no codes happen anywhere near you. You are reciting ACLS in your sleep, but hoping never to use it.
— Sydnee McElroy (@sydneemcelroy) January 22, 2018
The Resident is a medical drama with a great cast that was sadly born with so many unnecessary and forced defects that may not be able to be reversed even by the best writers. For Matt Czuchry’s sake, I will be hoping for a miracle science and Hollywood cannot explain.
The Resident airs Mondays at 9:00pm ET|PT on FOX.
Kira is a Project Manager for a software development company by day and a fangirl always. She has channeled her passion into Small Screen Girl, a website for all pop culture addicts who never plan on seeking treatment. When Kira isn’t watching or writing about about her favorite actors, shows and movies, she’s probably tweeting about it @KiraJW.