The Doogie Howser Cutoff


Today at work, I made a reference to Doogie Howser, M.D. The research assistants gave me a puzzled look as, apparently, they have never heard of him. This wasn’t even a look of “Oh, I sort of know what you’re talking about,” but of complete ignorance of the boy genius. This appalled my (also 27 year old) officemate and me. We set about surveying the office and determined the exact cutoff for knowing about Neil Patrick Harris’s pre-How I Met Your Mother fame.
For starters, we confirmed with everyone older than or the same age as us that they knew the show. Thus, we concluded that this is one of those cultural phenomenons that most people who were cognizant in the late 80s and early 90s knew. Of our seven research assistant types (recently out of college), all of those who graduated college in 2009 gave us blank stares. (However, one How I Met Your Mother fan wants to Netflix it now.) Of the three who graduated in 2008, two had heard of it and one had not. We contacted the older brother of the one who hadn’t heard of it, and confirmed that he knew of the Doogmeister, thereby removing any bias of her environment growing up and solidifying that this is an age gap thing. But here’s the exciting part — she is exactly one day younger than one of the 2008 grads who does remember watching the show.
Therefore, we conclude that the cutoff for knowing about Doogie Howser, M.D. is February 1, 1986. All those born February 2, 1986 and later have no idea who he was. And some of these people are college graduates.
You can commence feeling old now — I sure do!
Edited to add: So, apparently Doogie is on Hulu and I’ve been reminiscing this evening. The conversation summed up at about 1:57 into the second episode of the first season manages to hammer home the point that this show is old from the other direction.


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