The Good Doctor memes

The Good Doctor

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Updated May 10, 2023 at 08:19AM EDT by Rebecca Rhodes.

Added May 09, 2023 at 04:35PM EDT by Owen.

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The Good Doctor refers to a hospital drama TV series on ABC that centers on an autistic surgeon named Dr. Shaun Murphy (played by Freddie Highmore) trying to start his career as a doctor. The show premiered on American television in 2017, started and produced by actor Daniel Dae Kim who also played the role of Dr. Jackson Han (Dr. Han) in the show. In early 2023, The Good Doctor became the subject of memes and humorous criticism on apps like Twitter and TikTok, predominantly because of the "I am a surgeon, Dr. Han!" scene that many criticized due to subjectively bad acting and production. Thereafter, many clips from The Good Doctor were shared on social media, mostly to criticize its portrayal of Autism or its tendency to be overdramatic. Additionally, clips from an episode where Dr. Murphy misgendered a trans patient surfaced online which was also used to criticize the show's writing.


The American TV show The Good Doctor was based on a South Korean show of the same name and concept which originally aired in August 2013.[1] In 2017, actor Daniel Dae Kim (known for Lost and Hawaii Five-0) bought the rights for The Good Doctor to air an adaption on American television.[2] Kim worked out a deal and brought on David Shore, who was the creator of the Fox medical drama House. [2] On May 16th, 2017, the YouTube[3] channel of ABC uploaded the official trailer for The Good Doctor. On September 25th, 2017, the series debuted on ABC.[2]


In late 2017, users on Twitter expressed positive sentiments about the show. For instance, on September 28th, 2017, Twitter[4] user @beccatilley5 positively compared the show with This Is Us and Grey's Anatomy, gaining roughly 4,700 likes in five years (shown below, left). On October 23rd, 2017, Twitter[5] user @angelinaisabele tweeted, "Ok but the Good Doctor is sO NICE," gaining over 990 likes in five years (shown below, right).

Becca Tilley @beccatilley5 Between "The Good Doctor" on Mondays, "This is Us" on Tuesdays, and "Greys" on Thursdays, I am going to be emotionally unwell. 12:59 AM Sep 28, 2017 ●●● ● Angelina Cruz @angelinaisabele Ok but the Good Doctor is SO NICE 7:10 AM - Oct 23, 2017

On November 19th, 2017, the New York Times[2] published an article on the show called, "How ABC Found a Surprise Hit in ‘The Good Doctor,’" which stated that, "With roughly 17 million viewers for each episode, according to the Nielsen ratings, it draws a bigger audience than the CBS crime show 'NCIS' and NBC’s weepy 'This Is Us.'"

By May 9th, 2023, The Good Doctor had received a 69% "audience score" on Rotten Tomatoes.[6]


Notably starting in 2020 and 2021, self-proclaimed autistics on social media started to criticize the portrayal of Austim in the show represented by the protagonist Dr. Shaun Murphy. For instance, on July 30th, 2020, Twitter[6] user @ThisIsJordanKay stated that, "I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s okay if the autistic person in your life doesn’t want to watch The Good Doctor or Love On The Spectrum," gaining over 390 likes in three years (shown below, left). On August 11th, 2021, Twitter[7] user @ProfessorWorm7 replied to a The Good Doctor related thread, claiming that it was "a horrendous representation of autistics." The reply gained roughly 2,400 likes in two years (shown below, right).

Shows Spread Love Disability Truth-Teller @ThisIsJordan Kay I don't know who needs to hear this, but it's okay if the autistic person in your life doesn't want to watch The Good Doctor or Love On The Spectrum. 5:14 PM Jul 30, 2020 ● Czu4 @aczu4. Aug 10, 2021 Same energy!DDD 7 1 54 Dorian (they/them) @ProfessorWorm7 3,217 امار ↑ A Tip : Just a note, the good doctor is a horrendous representation of autistics, the actor isn't autistic, and worked with Autism Speaks rather than actual autistics when creating Shaun. Most autistics are extremely uncomfortable with the show, myself included. 12:54 PM. Aug 11, 2021

A post was also started on Reddit[8] in /r/autism on February 22nd, 2023, that asked others, "Thought on 'the Good Doctor' depiction of ASD?" Multiple Redditors in the comment section expressed their critical beliefs, however, many of them expressed nuance as well, arguing that there were both good and bad aspects of the representation.

I Am A Surgeon, Dr. Han!

Most of the criticism surrounding the show surfaced predominantly after the "I am a surgeon, Dr. Han!" scene gained virality in a meme context. Before it reached the English-speaking internet, Chinese meme creators first made fun of the scene in early 2021, evident in YouTube[9] uploads from May 2021 (example shown below).

In early 2023, meme creators on TikTok[10] started to make absurd edits of the scene using CapCut, ultimately satirizing the dramatic nature of the scene and Highmore's acting style. The discourse soon spread to Twitter[11] in May 2023, leading to more humorous criticism and memes that ultimately likened Dr. Han to a Chad and Dr. Murphy to a Virgin (examples shown below).

The Virgin Surgeon The Chad Doctor @hacer This was considered comically autistic in 2023 This post was fact checked by real Autistic surgeons TRUE

Science Says He's Male

On April 26th, 2023, the Twitter[12] account @CatchUpFeed reposted a TikTok video that was a clip of Dr. Shaun Murphy misgendering a trans patient in the show, insisting that "science says he's male." Twitter user @CatchUpFeed captioned it, "Incredible. The autistic doctor, who’s the main character on the show, correctly identifies the male patient as a male while everyone around him is in acute denial of reality," and gained roughly 15,100 likes in 16 days. On May 8th, 2023, Twitter[13] user @metricalfoot captioned the video, "SURGEON NO!" gaining roughly 5,700 likes in one day (shown below).

As the "I am a surgeon, Dr. Han!" scene and the transgender episode gained interest online, various other scenes from The Good Doctor were shared on Twitter[14][15] in May 2023 that ultimately made fun of the show's writing.

Various Examples

Search Interest

External References

[1] Internet Archive – Tenasia

[2] New York Times – How ABC Found a Surprise Hit in ‘The Good Doctor’

[3] Internet Archive – The Good Doctor – Official Trailer

[4] Twitter – @beccatilley5

[5] Twitter – @angelinaisabele

[6] Twitter – @ThisIsJordanKay

[7] Twitter – @ProfessorWorm7

[8] Reddit – /r/autism

[9] YouTube – 肖恩:敢開除我試試看(紅眼

[10] TikTok – @ahzars

[11] Twitter – @guymrdth

[12] Twitter – @CatchUpFeed

[13] Twitter – @metricalfoot

[14] Twitter – @NebsGoodTakes

[15] Twitter – @shawalliam

Recent Videos 10 total

Recent Images 20 total

Top Comments

Nox Lucis
Nox Lucis

My parents really wanted to watch this with me a few years back. It's a little bit boring, a little bit cringe, slightly annoying protagonist, not much to write home about.

>Autism Speaks

Well, that does explain a few things.

Ass Railroad
Ass Railroad

Network television feels purposefully made to cater towards a middle aged America, that came of age before the internet; and is gladly comfortable in that bubble of still caring "what is airing on primetime on ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX?" Cable and streaming both seem more catered to the internet age, but network TV can churn out schlock forever as long as there are still people who will blindly consume whatever plays on primetime on their favorite network.


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