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Medical Procedures Sitcom Writers Think are Funny
This article was originally posted on my website on 2/12/23.
Sitcom writers are a special breed of people who seem to find weird things funny. Medical procedures are some of sitcom writers’ favorite fodder for gags. Below is a list of some of the most common ones with a few examples.
Seinfeld: George can’t stop obsessing over his girlfriend’s big nose, so he talks her into having a nose job.
Doogie Howser, MD: Doogie likes a researcher at the hospital, but he can’t stop obsessing over her big nose. When he finds out she plans to get a nose job, he suddenly shows interest in her.
The Dick Van Dyke Show: When Laura is interviewed on TV, she accidentally lets it slip that Alan Brady wears a toupee, which is supposed to be a secret. During the aftermath, she learns he had a nose job, and she uses this secret to save Rob’s job.
Seinfeld: Jerry suspects his girlfriend has had breast implants, and he becomes obsessed with finding out if it’s true.
Just Shoot Me: Nina is considering breast implants, so she wears fake boobs around the office to see how people react.
Too Close for Comfort: Jackie is considering breast implants, so she wears fake boobs around the house to see how they feel.
NewsRadio: Mr. James thinks a woman he’s interested in may have had breast implants, but he doesn’t want to offend her by asking her, so he asks Beth to find out for him.
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Larry damages a friend’s car, so he gives him money to pay for the damages. Later, he’s shocked to discover the friend used the money to pay for his daughter’s breast implants.
Too Close for Comfort: Miss Rafkin goes to the hospital to get a facelift, but afterwards she doesn’t look any different.
Too Close for Comfort (again): After Henry gushes over an old friend who had a facelift, Muriel worries he doesn’t find her as desirable as he used to, so she plays a prank on him by pretending she had a facelift.
Golden Girls: After attending her college reunion, Blanche feels self-conscious about her looks and considers getting a facelift.
Seinfeld: George’s mother asks George to drive her to get an “eye job,” but he volunteers Kramer to do it instead. Kramer “stops short” with her, and she thinks it’s because the eye job has made her more attractive.
The Larry Sanders Show: Larry takes time off from the show to recover from an eye lift. When he comes back to work, everyone’s confused because he doesn’t look any different.
Seinfeld: When George needs a tonsillectomy, he seeks an alternative cure through a “holistic healer.”
The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Mary has to have a tonsillectomy, and she’s embarrassed to tell her co-workers because she thinks only children need their tonsils removed.
The Bob Newhart Show: Bob has to have a tonsillectomy on Christmas, and he’s embarrassed because he thinks only children need their tonsils removed.
Mork and Mindy: Mindy has to have a tonsillectomy, and a mix-up at the hospital almost leads to her having the wrong surgery.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Just Shoot Me: When Elliot forgets to pick up Maya after she has her wisdom teeth pulled, she wanders the city while high on painkillers and ends up in a shelter.
Wings: Joe promises to take care of Helen after she has her wisdom teeth pulled, but instead he watches a basketball game with his friends, and Helen wanders off while high on painkillers.
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist: Ben is afraid to have his wisdom teeth pulled. Dr. Katz convinces him to have the procedure, and he discovers his fears were justified.
Spin City: Mike is horrified to discover his ex-girlfriend is keeping some of his sperm in her freezer so she can inseminate herself with his child.
Spin City (again): Paul and Claudia ask Mike to donate his sperm to impregnate Claudia. Mike assumes they mean through artificial insemination, but Claudia plans to have sex with him.
Herman’s Head: Herman’s ex-girlfriend asks him to donate his sperm to inseminate her.
Dream On: A writer Martin works with asks him to donate his sperm to inseminate her.
Barney Miller: A man is arrested for trashing a sperm bank after he discovers they destroyed his sperm, and since he had a vasectomy, he and his wife can’t have children.
Seinfeld: When Elaine tells her boyfriend she doesn’t want children, he immediately has a vasectomy. Later, she changes her mind, and he has it reversed.
Too Close for Comfort: Henry and Muriel agree they don’t want any more kids, so Muriel asks Henry to get a vasectomy, but he’s reluctant to do it.
Malcolm in the Middle: Lois gets pregnant and is shocked to learn that Hal lied when he told her he’d had a vasectomy because he didn’t want to do it.
Barney Miller: See “Artificial Insemination” above.
Spin City: The mayor tries to impress the public by saying he’ll donate a kidney to a dying child. He’s not a match, but Mike is. Mike agrees to donate his kidney to one-up Nikki’s perfect new boyfriend.
Dream On: Judith’s perfect new husband, Richard, needs a kidney transplant, and Martin turns out to be a match. He agrees to donate his kidney to one-up Richard.
Golden Girls: Blanche’s sister, whom she hates, needs a kidney transplant, and Blanche is reluctant to donate a kidney to her.
Malcolm in the Middle: Lois’s sister, whom she hates, needs a kidney transplant, and she’s reluctant to accept a kidney from Lois.
Barney Miller: Two brothers are arrested after getting into a fight because one brother needs a kidney transplant and the other refuses to give him a kidney. At first, the brother who needs a kidney tries to convince Det. Wojciehowicz to give him one, but eventually the other brother relents.