extremely online

The Internet Has Found Out About Network Television

Photo: Know Your Meme/YouTube

We used to be a monoculture, folks. Over 100 million people watched the series finale of M*A*S*H in 1983. Today, a show like The Good Doctor can be on for six seasons (renewed for a seventh) and people will have no clue. Like the M*A*S*H finale, The Good Doctor has at least one scene of the lead doctor absolutely losing his shit. This time, instead of screaming “It was a baby!,” the titular Good Doctor is screaming “I’m a surgeon, Dr. Han!” Taken out of context, the scene has become viral on TikTok and Twitter. Also, people are stanning Dr. Han? Let’s explain:

What is The Good Doctor?

The Good Doctor is the American adaptation of the Korean drama of the same name. Freddy Highmore plays Dr. Shawn Murphy, an autistic surgeon.

So he is a surgeon?

On that there can be no doubt. He’s a surgeon.

Is he good at it?

He is very good at surgery. He is less good at bedside manner, which is why Dr. Han wanted to move him to pathology. But he’s not a pathologist. He is a surgeon, Dr. Han.

Who is Dr. Han?

Dr. Han is the villain in season two of The Good Doctor. He’s ableist toward Dr. Murphy, seeing his autism diagnosis as an impediment to being a doctor. But Dr. Murphy is transphobic to a patient so there’s that to take into consideration as well. Han is only in four episodes of the show.

The Good Doctor is transphobic?

Yeah, more like the Bad Doctor, amirite? He gets better though. Season one episode 14 “She” is about Good Doctor learning how to not be transphobic. When presented with a trans patient, Good Doctor says that because of her XY chromosomes, “Science says he’s male.” Eventually Good Doctor learns about trans identity and correctly genders his patient, but the misgendering scene has been circulating on TikTok. So now there are some people who only know two things about The Good Doctor: The Good Doctor was transphobic one time, and Dr. Han is the enemy of the Good Doctor. Therefore, Dr. Han is a trans ally.

You’re telling me there’s more than two things to know about The Good Doctor? I don’t believe you.

There is, in fact, a third and fourth thing to know about The Good Doctor. It is that the man who plays Dr. Han, Daniel Dae Kim, is an executive producer on the show. He bought the rights to the South Korean show and his production company makes the American version. So he chose to play the heel role on his own show.

The final thing to know about The Good Doctor is that it’s one of those procedurals that get chopped into three-minute segments on TikTok and played with soap cutting or Subway Surfers below it. Other shows given this treatment include Chicago Med, New Amsterdam, Law & Order: SVU, Modern Family, and that Temple Grandin movie starring Claire Danes. Okay, now some more memes.

The Internet Has Found Out About Network Television