Monday, December 3, 2012

The Mrs. Hufnagel Chronicles, Part 6

Dr. Victor Ehrlich's recent professional success affords him an opportunity to rid himself of his least favorite patient.

Dr. Wayne Fiscus (Howie Mandel) congratulates
Dr. Victor Ehrlich (Ed Begley, Jr) on his new TV job.
In "Fade to White", TV producer Bill Wolf (Michael Richards) returns to St. Eligius, having first appeared to shoot a documentary about Dr. Craig in season two. This time, Wolf is looking for a personable, intelligent young doctor to appeal to the younger, upscale demographic that he wants to court with his station's evening newscast (a nod to the very demographic that made St. Elsewhere appealing to NBC executives). Several residents apply for the position, including Dr. Wayne Fiscus (Howie Mandel), but the successful applicant is Dr. Victor Ehrlich (Ed Begley, Jr.).

Fiscus is not discouraged by his unsuccessful audition, acknowledging that his "persona is a little too kinetic", and would be "testing the limit of the medium" (a nod to Howie Mandel's stand-up comic stylings at the time). He runs into Ehrlich in a stairwell and proposes to help the new commentator to cash in on his new-found fame through merchandising deals. Victor, in a hurry to get to the studio, has a favor that Wayne can do for him in the meantime--check in on a patient, a nice older lady with phlebitis.

By the time Fiscus sees the name on the chart, it's too late--Ehrlich has disappeared down the stairwell, singing "There's No Business Like Show Business".

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