Doogie Howser is going to lose his virginity.
Like it or not, it's going to happen. He's 18 now, he's been a doctor for the past few years, and the producers and writers of the show think it's time."All we tried to do was be honest," said executive producer Vic Rauseo. "I mean, he has a very sophisticated job. He's a very sophisticated kid. He's 18 years old. He's been in love with this girl for two years. And it seemed it would be dishonest - it would make him kind of weird if nothing happened."
How's that? Maintaining your virginity at age 18 would be dishonest? Weird?
That's a perfect example of how minds work in television today.
According to surveys, yes, the average young man has lost his virginity by the time he's 18. And, yes, television producers assert that they're trying to reflect reality.
But this is an extremely difficult claim for the producers of "Doogie Howser, M.D." to make. After all, this kid has been a doctor since he was 15.
Not exactly an accurate reflection of real life.
Actor Neil Patrick Harris, who's a month older than the character he portrays, also thinks it's about time that Doogie had his first sexual experience.
"I think many 18-year-olds have had sex, and many have had sex very often," Harris said. "And so I don't think it's such a shock, at least to the 18-to-22-year-old age group, that that would happen. In fact, I get a lot of flak because . . . Doogie hasn't yet had sex."
Oh, great. Now we have television characters succumbing to fan peer pressure.
And what Harris fails to mention is that a lot of the fans of "Doogie Howser, M.D." are considerably younger than 18. What they don't need is a message that sex is OK for people that young.
Not that Doogie, being the doctor he is, won't take precautions against disease and pregnancy. Not that he hasn't been going with Wanda Plenn (Lisa Dean Ryan) for a couple of years now.
Harris said this encounter will have "a lot of meaning. I think that's the key. I mean, if you're going to send a message, not just when you turn 18 you have to have sex, but that it's a situation that you've thought about, that has a lot of care and love involved . . . "
Not to sound like a prude here, but that still doesn't mean Doogie has to have sex. He's been one of the few decent role models on television for kids the past couple of years and has even made responsible decisions not to lose his virginity a couple of times in the show's first two seasons.
He showed kids it was cool to be smart and have some moral standards - a rare combination on TV.
And it will be an even rarer combination after tonight's season premiere of "Doogie Howser, M.D." (8 p.m., Ch. 4).GOOD & EVIL: Speaking of no moral standards, tonight is the premiere of Good & Evil (9:30 p.m., Ch. 4).
Of course, in this case it's hard to get upset about what's going on here. The humor in this sitcom is so broad, so farcical you can't take any of this seriously.
This is a 1991 update of the 1977-81 show "Soap" - which was also created and written by Susan Harris. It's a parody of soap operas that's outlandish, crazy and even slapstick at times.
Like "Soap," "Good & Evil" is the story of two sisters. The good one is Genny (Margaret Whitton), a widowed microbiologist who's out to help mankind. The evil one is Denise (Teri Garr) a widow (or so she thinks) who's out to destroy her mother and take over the family cosmetics empire.
Both women love the same man. Genny's daughter won't speak. Denise's son wants to find out who his real father is. And so on and so on and so on.
If you take any of this seriously, you're bound to be offended - for example, tonight there's a scene in which a blind man destroys a laboratory with his white cane.
But if you sit back and enjoy, there's some uproariously funny stuff in tonight's debut. Teri Garr, in particular, is a hoot.- ELSEWHERE ON THE TUBE: The Sinclairs are addicted to TV on Dinosaurs (7 p.m., Ch. 4); Al tries to help Curtis study on The Royal Family (7 p.m., Ch. 5); the New York City Opera presents "The Marriage of Figaro" on Great Performances (7 p.m., Ch. 7); former astronaut Neil Armstrong hosts the new series First Flights (7 p.m., A&E); both Night Court (8 p.m., Ch. 2) and Jake and the Fatman (8 p.m., Ch. 5) conclude two-parters; Howie wants Lily out of the house as Sibs (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4) settles into its regular time slot; Sam leaps into a baseball player's life on Quantum Leap (9 p.m., Ch. 2); and - where have we heard this before? - Hannah thinks she's pregnant on Anything But Love (9 p.m., Ch. 4).
- LOOKING TOWARD THURSDAY: Three new series premiere - Pros & Cons (7 p.m., Ch. 4), a reconstituted "Gabriel's Fire"; another reality series, FBI: The Untold Stories (8 p.m., Ch. 4); and the Mark Harmon/Marlee Matlin drama Reasonable Doubts (9 p.m., Ch. 2).