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Masculinity and Popular Television$
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Rebecca Feasey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627974

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627974.001.0001

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Hospital drama: reassurance, anxiety and the doctor-hero

Hospital drama: reassurance, anxiety and the doctor-hero

(p.68) 7. Hospital drama: reassurance, anxiety and the doctor-hero
Masculinity and Popular Television

Rebecca Feasey

Edinburgh University Press

In the 1950s, hospital drama was home to morally principled and caring male doctors. However, recently, this image of infallible masculinity has been replaced by less exalted representations of the male. In fact, hospital dramas of today depict a number of doctors who are not only tortured and tormented in their personal and professional lives, but who are actually culpable for the deaths of their patients. This chapter discusses the history of the feminine nurse, the female practitioner and the male doctor-hero on the small screen, from the 1950s to the present day. It introduces the image of the infallible individual doctor in Medic and Emergency-Ward 10, the paternalistic junior–senior doctor relationship in Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey, and the harassed medical team in Casualty and St. Elsewhere. The chapter then examines the tortured and tormented image of the doctor-hero in ER and House, which challenges the saintly image of the doctor-hero and the traditional images of masculinity and the male sex role in society.

Keywords:   hospital drama, male doctors, infallible masculinity, feminine nurse, male doctor-hero, female practitioner, ER, House

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