Ask Alan: What TV Doctor Has The Worst Bedside Manner?

Time for another installment of Ask Alan, as I take your questions about the past, present, and future of TV.

First up this week, it turns out I’m not the only lunatic rewatching ER at the moment, which led to a question about whether Peter Benton, Greg House, or some other famous TV doctor has the worst bedside manner. Please note: I was focusing only on doctor/patient interactions, and not their competence at diagnostics, treatment, surgery, or what have you.

Next up, the death of M*A*S*H star David Ogden Stiers (to whom Mike Ryan paid loving tribute earlier this week) led to a discussion of the most successful character replacements in TV history. What distinguishes a Frank Burns for Charles Emerson Winchester III swap from, say, Bo and Luke Duke being swapped out for Vance and Coy?

Finally, my perpetual ER rewatch, plus my recent research for books about Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, inspired a conversation about revisiting dark shows in dark times. Does anybody need to suffer through “Where’s Wallace?” and moments like it more than once?

As always, you can email me questions at, or tweet at me with the hashtag #AskAlanDay.

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