‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’: What Do You Think of the ‘Doogie Howser’ Reboot? (POLL)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. series premiere.]
There’s a new 16-year-old prodigy practicing medicine in Hawai’i… and the story of Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) will make you nostalgic for Neil Patrick Harris’ Doogie Howser, M.D.
In the world of the Disney+ series, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., the ’80s and ’90s show exists, which is why it is more than a bit noticeable when the pilot repeats part of Doogie Howser‘s plotlines. Lahela’s day begins with her surfing, before her dad, Benny (Jason Scott Lee), tags along for her test for her driver’s license (just like Douglas’ mom did). Like Douglas, Lahela pulls over to help someone injured in an accident, shows off her credentials, warns the cops they could go to jail for criminal negligence if they don’t let her work, and saves the victim’s leg.
At the hospital, Lahela deals with a patient threatening to sue for being treated by a 16-year-old, and she easily treats him and reminds him of the laws that state he can’t take this to court. (Douglas did the same.) Her other patient, Will (Barry Bostwick), is an old man with a heart condition; she and Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng) disagree about the course of treatment. It’s a nice parallel to Douglas’ young patient, William, who, too, needed a heart but was too weak for the transplant. In both shows, the doctor assures the patient he’ll be fixed up so a really sick guy can take the bed, which doesn’t quite work with the older Will. But what does work here are the conversations Lahela has with Will.
And like in the original series, Lahela fights with her parent who is her boss at work (in this case, her mother, Dr. Clara Hannon, played by Kathleen Rose Perkins) on and off the job. She disagrees with her assessment of Will’s treatment and tries to get a later curfew for the dance. Like Douglas’ attempt to borrow his dad’s car, Lahela fails to convince her mom. Both teens leave their dances when they’re called in, only to find out that their patient died. Nothing could have been done to save Will.
Where the two shows diverge, however, is with the families in the pilots. In the reimagining, Clara already comes off as warmer than Douglas’ father. She pulls a mom move by calling Lahela out on the “hip action” in her TikTok video and confides in her husband, who has a shaved ice flower truck parked outside the hospital, that she worries about their daughter shutting her out. And we get a sweet moment between mother and daughter after Will’s death, in which Clara opens up about the first patient she lost. Lahela also has two brothers, and her best friend Steph (Emma Meisel) is not at all shy about her interest in the older one, Kai (Matthew Sato).
Another point of divergence (thankfully!) is that Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. doesn’t do anything like the other doctors’ “prank” on Douglas, where one of them pretended to have a thing for younger men and pulled down his pants as part of their “happy birthday” surprise. So while we have yet to learn much about the other doctors at the hospital with Lahela, especially Charles Zeller (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Noelani Nakayama (Mapuana Makia), we already like them as a result.
The Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. premiere ends with Lahela’s dance date, Walter (Alex Aiono), finding her on the beach, where she’s sitting upset, and the two sharing the kiss that had been interrupted by her being called into the hospital. She then updates her vlog — and renames the channel with her Doogie nickname — talking about firsts: kissing someone and feeling a spark and losing someone you care about.
What did you think of the reimagining? Vote in our poll below.
Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., Wednesdays, Disney+