‘Doogie Howser, M.D.’: Neil Patrick Harris Still Cringes Watching Old Episodes: ‘I Sound Like I Was in The Wizard of Oz’

Neil Patrick Harris is a talented thespian who has acted in many projects — from Hedwig and the Angry Itch on Broadway to the intense dramatic role that he portrayed in Gone Girl. The actor is well known for his versatility and range, as well as for his abilities to host any awards show.

Still, most of Harris’ fans know him best for the role he had in the TV series Doogie Howser, M.D. Not only did the series catapult Harris to fame, but it helped to establish a stage persona that is still associated with him to this day.

When it comes to watching reruns of the show, however, Harris has revealed that he generally steers clear — for a somewhat surprising reason. 

How did Neil Patrick Harris get started as an actor?

Neil Patrick Harris on 'Sunday Today With Willie Geist'
Neil Patrick Harris on ‘Sunday Today With Willie Geist’ | Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Harris was born in New Mexico in 1973. He began his acting career very early on, appearing in various stage productions throughout the mid-80s.

In 1988, Harris was “discovered” by a playwright in New Mexico, who went on to cast the young Harris in the movie Clara’s Heart. Harris, only a teenager at the time, received a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the movie. 

The year after his starmaking turn in Clara’s Heart, Harris was cast in the TV series Doogie Howser, M.D. Harris, only 16 years old at the time that he was cast in the series, portrayed a medical prodigy, a young boy who becomes a doctor when he is 14 years old after surviving a life-threatening illness.

Not only did the series become a huge hit, but it established Harris as a pop culture icon. 

Neil Patrick Harris is best known for appearing in ‘Doogie Howser, M.D.’

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Doogie Howser, M.D. was a comedy-drama that not only featured a great deal of humor, as the teenage Doogie dealt with the frustrations of life as a young man, all while balancing a high-powered career as a physician. Still, the show introduced a broader lens to the storytelling as the seasons went on, dealing with major cultural issues such as AIDS awareness, gang violence, and access to quality medical care.

The series was a hit with fans of all ages and ultimately ran for four successful seasons. After Doogie Howser, M.D. ended its run on television, Neil Patrick Harris went on to act in a wide variety of products, including stage shows and movie projects.

For years, he appeared in the popular TV show How I Met Your Mother, earning a whole new generation of fans. Still, Harris remains best known for playing the brilliant prodigy Doogie Howser. 

What did Neil Patrick Harris say about watching himself onscreen?

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As much as fans might like catching up with reruns of Doogie Howser, M.D., Harris himself isn’t a huge fan of watching himself onscreen. In an interview with late-night talk show host James Corden, Harris revealed that he finds it deeply “weird” to watch reruns of the show, primarily due to just how young he was when he filmed it.

In particular, he pointed out how high-pitched his voice was. “I sound like I was in The Wizard of Oz,” Harris joked with Corden.

It seems likely that, while Harris won’t be watching himself in Doogie Howser, M.D. on the regular, he is still pleased to have been associated with the show.