Police procedurals. Medical dramas. Spy thrillers. TV loves to depict people at the height of difficult, complex professions. Part of this is because conflict is drama: and there's plenty of drama when someone's job can literally mean the difference between life or death whether they're diffusing bombs, negotiating the release of hostages or diagnosing a mystery illness. Another factor is escapism: people want to live vicariously and get a glimpse of a life different from their own. However conflict isn't always realism: the detective who beats confessions out of criminals, the doctor who doesn't maintain patient confidentiality, the CEO who spends more time by the pool than in the boardroom, might struggle in the real world without a writer to handwave away the consequences. From detectives to journalists, here is a round up of eleven characters who, while hailed as experts by their respective shows, would never be able to hold a job in the real world.
11. Gregory House M.D. House
Gregory House M.D. is a brilliant, even genius doctor but it seems kind of redundant to say he has terrible people skills. If he didn't there wouldn't really be a show no one wants to tune in every week to see a helpful, polite doctor after all. Prickly, arrogant and only taking cases that are interesting to him, House is less doctor, more medical detective, which makes sense as he's heavily based on Sherlock Holmes. Everyone who reads this article will likely be able to supply their own contender for House's Most Unprofessional Moment but for me the example that sticks in my mind is the episode where he attempts to settle a dispute in his team with a contest to steal their boss's underwear, combining the juvenility of a scavenger hunt with grounds for a sexual harassment suit. Or, if you're looking for a more expensive example, there's the time he shot a corpse and gave it an MRI scan to prove his diagnosis, breaking eye wateringly expensive medical equipment in the process. And that's not even touching the massive and entirely justified lawsuits likely to ensue after shooting a random corpse who wasn't donated for medical science and probably had grieving (and litigious) relatives at home. Add in a Vicodin addiction, a self destructive personality, generally terrible performance in the clinic and a habit of hitting on his boss and it's a mystery why Cuddy hasn't fired him yet. He'd be a terrible doctor if he wasn't so good at it.
Kate Taylor has a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and an MRes in Creative Writing. Her nonfiction, reviews and other articles have appeared on Cuckoo Review and Mookychick as well as WhatCulture. Her fiction has been published in Luna Station Quarterly, Eternal Haunted Summer and in anthologies by Paizo and Northumbria University Press. She is 23 and lives in the North of England.