Dr. House vs Dr. McCoy

Dr. House

I've never wanted to get an outrageous infection, a fiery fever, or have a gobbling tapeworm transform my stomach into a bungalow.

Until I saw my first episode of House.

I'd gratefully endure Ebola if it meant a few days under the watchful eye of Dr. Gregory House, played by handsome-as-the-devil Hugh Laurie, for whom the medical drama is named.

This is not just another Grey's Anatomy or ER wannabe. House is the gold standard for hospital/doctor shows in my book, edging out MASH, a favorite of mine since I was in the second grade. Since 2004, the Fox drama (now in syndication on USA) has been racking up awards — two Golden Globes, one Screen Actors Guild, and three Emmy nominations — and fans with hour-long medical mysteries that House manages to solve just before the final credits roll.

House, the chief of diagnostic medicine for Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, would be unemployable in any real-life hospital. He's a grumpy, gimpy, grouchy junkie. Thanks to an accident that left his right leg with dead muscle tissue (due to an improper diagnosis by other doctors while House himself was in a coma) he now limps along in excruciating pain, leaning on a cane and gobbling handfuls of Vicodin like Tic-Tacs. He has no respect for anyone, is cruel to grieving families, and has a misogynistic streak as wide as it is long. His bedside manner is nonexistent. He's one giant a-hole, and there's no other doctor in the fictional universe I'd rather have looking out for me. That man will obsess about a patient, go for days without sleep, and break any number of laws in order to figure out exactly what's wrong with his "cases."

I know that House doesn't care about his patients. He only wants to solve the puzzles they present. Hey — I can live with the attitude if I can just live, okay? Any means to an end, no matter how mean that means is. If I want sympathy and love I'll call my mother. Just fix those icy blue eyes on me, and then fix me. Nice trumps mean, but life trumps death.

If you're looking for a sweet, fatherly doctor to make boo-boos better with a serving of sunshine and Band-aids, look elsewhere. You wanna live? House calls.

— Mary Helen Randall

Dr. McCoy

Born in 2227, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (played in iconic fashion by DeForest Kelley) is chief medical officer of the

U.S.S. Enterprise on the great TV show and film series Star Trek.

In the show's mythology, McCoy is a Southerner and graduate of the University of Mississippi. It's not much of a leap to assume McCoy's from the Mid-South. Therefore, there's no reason not to think he's from Memphis.

Okay, having firmly established that McCoy is a Memphian, consider: Dr. House? Or Dr. McCoy, Memphian, discoverer of new worlds light years away from home, boldly going where no one has gone before?

In this summer's Star Trek, McCoy (played to perfection by Karl Urban) says, "Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence." It brings to the fore the breadth of Bones' capabilities: While McCoy is probing the final frontier, he has to diagnose and treat illnesses and ailments that no doctor has ever encountered before — not even that smug 1 percenter smartypants, House. McCoy is the Ferdinand Magellan of medical explorers. And he does so treating his staff, particularly his trusty aide, Nurse Chapel, with respect and courtesy.

McCoy is a doctor, not a monster. Though he's often grumpy, it's not an egomaniacal personality disorder (a la House); it's a reaction to being eternally stuck between Spock — a non-emoting logician who can't see the poetry in the universe — and Kirk — a gut-force reactionary who can't recognize the orderly law of the universe. McCoy is the glue guy on the Enterprise; somebody has to temper the extreme tendencies of its leadership and save the ship. Else they'd break up somewhere around Psi 2000.

A better doctor and friend, McCoy is also a better man as he chases his mortality to the ends of human experience and beyond. Consider this juicy biographical tidbit courtesy IMDb.com: "After the McCoy-carried Karma of Spock is somewhat reunited with Spock's new regenerated body, they face more adventures on old Earth looking for whales, fighting Klingon and Starfleet illegal aggression, and going in search of God with Spock's brother."

Dr. McCoy, brainy action hero, isn't as good as House, a maladjusted drug addict? Are you out of your Vulcan mind?

— Greg Akers

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