Friday, February 01, 2013

"Do No Harm" on NBC: what would it really be like to have two egos?

I don’t think that the new NBC series “Do No Harm” can inspire much viewer return loyalty.

Steven Pasquale plays a handsome, virile young neurosurgeon (like Ben Casey from the early 1960s), whose “schizophrenia” causes him to switch back to his other ego at 8:25 PM every evening, for exactly twelve hours.  He has to race back to his pad in center city Philadelphia (the show uses the time piece on Independence Hall) in time so that no one knows – or sees.  That would also make it hard for him to show up in time to scrub for surgery.  (A heart surgeon told me he gets up at 4 AM Monday-Friday and is scrubbed by 6 AM, has started his first coronary bypass for the day by 7 AM.  It’s a business.)

The scrubbing does no harm to his bod or attractiveness, but he seems to have diabetes.  They won’t let him into the operating room without a glucose test.  We don’t get to go below.

His behavior during the night is pretty violent, and there is scene that reminds one of “Caligula”.  Or maybe of “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999). 

I wondered, what would it mean to really experience this?  Are there two separate people and two distinct threads of free will?  (Are there two Facebook profiles, one of them against policy?)  Or does one person maintain continuity, and simply connect to the past of a different life temporarily?  Is it life a dream, where you know something happened but can’t quite remember it, and then suddenly recall it later when reminded by an object?  Or could one soul "capture" another's (as in a video game)?
I do recall seeing the 1931 film, “Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde”, directed by Rueben Mamoulian, with Frederick March, on a late Saturday show called “Chiller” than ran in the early 1960s.  Based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson (remember English Literature in high school?), it was less graphic than a lot of horror films at the time.
The site for the show is here.

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