If you ask anybody in the world of medicine what they think is the intersection between science and popular entertainment, Grey’s Anatomy emerges as one of the most widespread household names in the category of medical shows. From never-ending social drama to surgery-induced emotional roller coasters, every episode I watch is filled with suspense. The show perpetually keeps me on edge, and as a student on the pre-med track I like to watch the show to see which aspects are realistic and which ones might not be.
The first commonality I found between the series and my experiences is the heightened level of stress in the atmosphere of operation rooms and emergency rooms. While shadowing doctors, I have encountered patients in many different critical conditions, from burns to cardiac conditions to neurological trauma. In the series, like in real life, the characters exhibit traits which are necessary for doctors to perform their jobs well in a high-stress environment, like the ability to think straight and quickly despite time constraints and the distractions and noise surrounding the doctor. Although I was only an observer in a hospital environment, I felt the importance of paying close attention to every small detail in the situation and being able to juggle them. I knew if I wished to take on that lead physician’s role in the years to come, I would have to begin practicing that level of close attentiveness early on. What caused the trauma? How do I formulate the patient update to the family without causing them to worry unnecessarily? What’s the best course of action when discovering a new impactful injury while treating the initial injury? I’ve started thinking about all of these things while still being in the observer’s position, both in front of the TV screen and physically in the hospital. To me, these considerations are part of the preparation required for what promises to be an exhausting, yet fulfilling, career.
When I need a good laugh or a moment to escape the hardships of reality, I always rely on sitcoms to cheer me up. A sitcom is a comedic TV show that typically focuses on the funny day-to-day interactions of a group of characters. With most episodes being around 20 minutes in length, it’s very easy to mindlessly continue watching your favorite characters and enter their universe. Sitcoms are usually packed with ensemble casts with diverse personalities that create relatable content. With good chemistry, a sitcom show can gain popularity for their loveable characters or for just being straight-out funny. For a non-native speaker, watching sitcoms is also a great way to improve your English as they typically contain jokes with references to American culture or customs. Over the years, I’ve seen a countless number of sitcoms and wanted to share two of my favorites with you all!
The premise of New Girl begins when Jessica Day, played by Zooey Deschanel, goes through a bad breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Spencer. In the pilot episode, she moves out of her shared home with Spencer and moves in with new roommates Nick, Schmidt, and Coach. Thus, she is the “new girl” in the apartment. Jess, is a quirky, offbeat teacher who is seen as a dork by most. The show mainly follows her life adventure of relationships and work. Nick Miller is one of Jess’ roommates who dropped out of law school so he could work as a bartender but he has aspirations to be a writer. He’s apathetic, socially awkward at times, very sarcastic, and struggles to share his emotions. I consider him to be the rock of the group because he provides stability for the craziness around him. Schmidt is another roommate who lived with Nick in college. He’s a funny character and in my opinion has amazing character development throughout the show. The third roommate is Ernie but he is better known by his nickname: Coach. He leaves after the pilot for undisclosed reasons but makes recurring appearances throughout the show. Due to this, his character lacks a bit of depth but he’s generally a force of good in the show. Following the pilot, Coach is replaced by Winston Bishop who is Nick’s childhood friend from Chicago. His facial expressions and love for his cat are some of the most entertaining moments on the show. In my opinion, the on-screen chemistry between Nick, Schmidt, and Winston is one of the key factors to the funniness of the show. The last member of the core gang is Cece: Jess’ best friend from childhood. Her character seems a bit stuck-up in the beginning but as the show progresses, she becomes more and more loveable. All in all, this hilarious, feel-good show features a cast of characters that’ll show you what real friends look like.
How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother is one of my favorite shows ever and actually the first sitcom I finished from beginning to end. It is packed with comedic content but is a deeper show than most initially anticipate. The show follows Ted Mosby as he tells his children the story of how he met their mother. Ted Mosby is an architect who believes that he will eventually find “the one”. He is a romantic and constantly entangled in all sorts of drama in his love life. His best friend is Marshall, who he roomed with in college. Ted and Marshall’s friendship is something that I really admire in the show because they are always there for each other. Marshall’s wife, Lily, is a kindergarten teacher who can be the most loveable in the gang but also the most aggravating at times. The last character in the group is Barney Stinson, who is a wealthy serial playboy. He is another one of Ted’s best friends and has numerous catchphrases. Initially, he’s the most “immature” out of the gang but he transforms into a character that is loving and caring. He is my personal favorite out of all of them. This is a another great show to watch if you like shows focusing on groups of friends. It is packed with a lot of relatable content: first cars, relationship problems, financial hardships, childhood traumas, embarrassing situations, etc. All of these components make me feel more connected to the show.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral trainee working on biomedical informative research at USC for the past three months. Prior to this, I received all of my education in Taiwan. My English is in no way perfect and I am not the most talkative person, even when I speak in my native language. When I started my work at USC, I would do research all day without talking unless I had meetings where I needed to discuss aspects of my work. Since I didn’t have many opportunities to improve my fluency, I was urgently searching for a class I could enroll in to improve my pronunciation. This led me to enroll in ALI 252, an advanced pronunciation course.
I was initially surprised by how interesting advanced pronunciation was. I liked the classmates I met, and class was full of a diversity of perspectives and an abundance of topics to chat about. One topic we always seemed to return to was popular movies and TV shows. I heard of the show The Office, which is a mockumentary sitcom television series, for the first time in this class. I learned a lot of sentences and phrases that depict the everyday work lives of office employees. Although I worked from home, it was funny to imagine having colleagues like these characters. Every class we watched clips from The Office ended in peals of laughter.
Besides having a great time watching and observing characters on shows, our professor also provided us with many innovative tools to help give us more confidence in oral expression such as games, competitions, or playing roles. We tried to create sounds, produce voices, and understand our vocal range and stamina. It is difficult to articulate clarity if you don’t spend time practicing sounds. Using interesting and funny ways to articulate the words you would like to express encourages me to be more talkative. During this time, I could refine my personal speaking style in small groups and classroom settings.