America's favorite child genius discovers he needs to learn a lot more about life in the third season of this ABC series. 24 episodes of the 1991-1992 season refill audiences with a great prescription for family entertainment.
Doogie is concerned because he remains a virgin while many other young men are having sex. Feeling abnormal, Doogie visits a psychologist to sort out his personal issues. Our series protagonist holds out hope that he will consummate with Wanda Plenn (Lisa Dean Ryan) before she leaves for art school in Chicago ("The Summer of 91").
Yet Doogie is also anxious when she returns from that art school on a break ("Lonesome Doog"). Just as his experiences had changed him from other people, going away to art school changed Wanda. He realizes that she is not exactly the same Wanda whom he was in love with. While his scientific side accepts this as being inevitable, his emotional side is anxious over the changes. Will she grow apart from him? Will he loose her? Any group of friends who moved away from each other for any amount of time will really appreciate this episode.
Doogie had some great times with Vinnie Delpino (Max Casella) in their own apartment ( the two-part "Doogie Has Left the Building"). However, Doogie also comes to the realization that he and Vinnie cannot live together. The constant parties that Vinnie throws are at odds with the atmosphere Doogie searches for after a hard day at the hospital and the sympathetic ear which was received from his parents. Hyped up partiers cannot give the advice about life-and-death situations he so desperately craved---and so Doogie leaves.
After Doogie moves back into his parents house, they insist that he pay room and board-only fair considering he is a doctor making money hand over fist ("Room and Broad"). Doogie quickly learns how many other young adults make their living when he takes a fast-food job on a bet from Vinnie and soon `eats' his pride ("Double Doogie With Cheese"). He realizes that minimum wage jobs are just as taxing as his `important' job of being a doctor (if not more so) and consequently does not bring up that argument ever again.
Doogie had dreamed of making a living eventually in a joint practice with his own dad, so it comes as a shock when another doctor got asked to join instead ("My Father, My Self"). However father and son Dr. Howser end up together at a Honduran operating theater ("Club Medicine").
Doogie faces ethical issues when he attempts to care for a Laotian youth with disabilities ("It's a Damm Shaman"). This family only wants traditional procedures used on their child, but Doogie believes that modern medicine would provide a better prognosis-even if it was culturally insensitive. Doogie would continue pondering the limits of modern medicine when an Egyptian mummy arrives at the hospital ("Mummy Dearest") and also following an argument with Vinnie when laughter seems to provide healing powers ("It's a Wonderful Laugh").
More serious culture clashing occurs when Raymond Alexander (Markus Redmond) comes back into contact with friends from his old neighborhood ("Dangerous Reunions"). Raymond has reformed, but they are still `rough' and do not hold a good job like he currently does. Will Raymond revert to his former `gang-banger' self or can he be trusted to make the `right' choice and NOT hang out with those people? During that same episode, Katherine Howser also meets up with an old flame from her past. The suspense is delicious!
Finally, Doogie realizes that he and Wanda have to start seeing other people in order for the both of them to be happy. Despite a rocky start ("Doogiesomething") when she calls for advice on a guy, he adjusts to this change and begins seeing other women. After they celebrate her 30th birthday, Doogie seriously wonders if there is something more between him and nurse Curly Spaulding (Kathryn Layng) ("What You See Ain't Necessarily What You Get").
However, another date, Cecila, recognizes he is not emotionally prepared to become a step-father to her 4-year old son ("If This is Adulthood, I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia") despite whatever feelings he initially feels towards her kid. Tolerating a date's kid is much differently than making the commitment to full-time parenthood. This episode is also interesting because it twists the `teenage parent' (then a frequent national topic). Even if a teen parent had more than enough money to support a kid, they might still lack the necessary emotional maturity.
Both this playing of the dating field and his ethics receive a serious test when Doogie falls for a librarian only after learning she is scheduled to undergo plastic surgery ("Truth and Consequences"); he does not like her as she actually is. And then Doogie faces another challenge when meeting a soul mate after his car breaks down in the desert enroute to visit Wanda in Chicago ("Doogstruck"). After he had experienced so much emotional conflict over Wanda's leaving---however for increased life opportunities, is this attraction to another woman really fair to anybody?
Having this series out on DVD has been a great treatment when you need a top-quality young adult drama. Extras are interviews with James B. Sikking (who played the senior Dr. Howser) and Neil Patrick Harris himself!