6 Memorable Television Pharmacists, Part 7

This is the seventh part of a series on how pharmacy professionals have been depicted on TV, both in a positive and a negative manner.

This article is the seventh part of a series on memorable pharmacists in television history. View part 6 here.

Pharmacists are generally considered some of the most trusted and highly regarded professionals. In a 2016 Gallup poll, pharmacists were ranked the No. 2 most trusted professionals by American respondents, just below nurses, with 67% rating the honesty and ethical standards of pharmacists 'high' or 'very high.'

Despite this, pharmacists are often portrayed in movies and television in a negative light. In 2015, researchers conducted a study to determine whether pharmacist characters were depicted in a positive, negative, or neutral manner in films and TV shows available in the United States between 1970 and 2013. Their data found that of the 231 pharmacist portrayals identified, 63% were negative, 24% were neutral, and 13% were positive. Additionally, very few pharmacist characters were recurring ones on TV.1

Here is a look at 6 more memorable TV characters who are pharmacists:

37. George Williams on Desperate Housewives2

Actor Roger Bart plays George Williams, appearing in 15 episodes in the long running comedy-drama series Desperate Housewives.

Bree Van de Kamp, one of the series main characters, knows George as the local pharmacist who always compliments her appearance. Bree decides to ask George out on a date after learning her husband Rex had an affair with a neighborhood prostitute.

Initially their relationship goes well, until Bree accidently shoots a gun at George’s foot, causing him to lose a toe. She subsequently breaks up with George, explaining she still has feelings for Rex. George becomes obsessed with Bree and replaces Rex’s heart medication with dangerous amounts of potassium, ultimately causing his death.

George and Bree later restart their relationship and he becomes extremely possessive, stalking and drugging her. George proposes to Bree, who feels pressured and agrees. Bree later finds out the truth about George killing her husband, and he takes his own life by overdosing on sleeping pills.

38. Jackson on Nurse Jackie2

Nurse Jackie is an award winning medical-comedy series that premiered in June 2009 and concluded in June 2015. The show revolves around Jackie Peyton, an emergency department nurse at All Saints’ hospital in New York City, as she navigates through the drama of her job, personal life, and intricacies of the health care system.

In season 6, episode 2, a community pharmacist named Jackson makes an appearance. In the episode, Jackie calls in a fake oxycodone prescription for herself using a hospital doctor’s name and DEA number. Jackie goes to the pharmacy with a fake ID to pick up the prescription, however Jackson explains there is a 24 hour waiting period on oxycodone. Jackie presses him for the medication, resulting in Jackson hitting on her and explaining he could give her the medication in exchange for a romantic massage. Jackie refuses and leaves without the medication.

39. Zombie Pharmacists on Phineas and Ferb2

Phineas and Ferb is an animated Disney comedy series that ran from February 2008 to June 2015. Season 4, episode 44 titled “Night of the Living Pharmacists” features the evil scientist Heinz Doofenshmirtz causing mayhem in an attempt to disrupt a ceremony unveiling a new water tower in the town of Danville. In the process, 1 of his inventions goes wrong, which subsequently turns the town citizens into mindless zombies, who also happen to be pharmacists.

Throughout the episode, Perry and the kids work together to save Danville and avoid becoming mindless repulsive pharmacists themselves.

Script example:

Buford: “What was that?!

Phineas: “It's...some kind of pharmacist! And if he touches you, you turn into a pharmacist, too!

Buford: “I can't be a pharmacist! I know nothing about pharmaceuticals!”

40. Pharmacist on Fridays2

Fridays was an ABC weekly late-night live comedy show that aired from 1980 to 1982. Actor Mark Blankfield appeared in a number of sketches as a recurring psychotic, drug abusing pharmacist in the pharmacy Drugs Rx Us. In 1 episode from April 1982, the pharmacist pops a handful of pills before discovering out loud “these aren’t aspirin!” resulting in feeling tremendously cold and falsely thinking a hurricane and giant ball of Jell-O are coming into the pharmacy.

In another episode, Michael Richards (best known as playing Kramer in Seinfeld) enters the pharmacy wearing a dress and, in a fit on confusion, the pharmacist eats a handful of suppositories instead of cough drops.

The sketches have their funny moments, but are examples of the all-too-common drug abusing pharmacist stereotype.

41. Tom Clark, aka Sneezy, on Once Upon a Time2

Tom Clark, played by Gabe Khouth, appears in 43 episodes in the fantasy drama television series Once Upon a Time which aired from October 2011 to May 2018. Tom was a dwarf in the Enchanted Forest that became a pharmacist due to the Queen's dark curse. He subsequently begins working at Dark Star Pharmacy.

He has a number of notable interactions throughout the series, from catching a pair of shoplifters at his pharmacy to later becoming the town sheriff.

42. Muppet on Sesame Street2

Sesame Street is an educational children's television series that has been running since 1969.

The show has featured a popular song numerous times called “The People in Your Neighborhood" to portray different occupations, which are usually played by a muppet. In a season 8 episode which originally aired in March 1977, music teacher Bob Johnson takes a stroll throughout the neighborhood and visits a female muppet pharmacist who Bob jokingly calls a “pestle packing mamma.” The muppet then explains the role of a pharmacist, in song, to the viewers.

What TV pharmacists are missing from the list? Tweet them to me at @toshea125.

References

  • Yanicak A, Mohorn PL, Monterroyo P, Furgiuele G, Waddington L, Bookstaver PB. Public perception of pharmacists: film and television portrayals from 1970 to 2013. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2015;55(6):578-86. doi: 10.1331/JAPhA.2015.15028.
  • The Internet Movie Database. imdb.com. Accessed January 15, 2019.