Johns Hopkins Gazette: October 24, 1994

'Northern Exposure' Stars Have Trouble
Getting Their 's' Together
By Steve Libowitz

For those who missed last week's episode of Northern Exposure,
Joel Fleischman revealed that he had been rejected  by Hopkins
medical school. And now we know why.
    Throughout the show, which revolved around Dr. Fleischman's
involvement in a Hopkins clinical trial, actors Rob Morrow and
James L. Dunn repeatedly referred to John Hopkins. Don't look for
the "s," because it's not there. And it never showed up.
    "It was right in the script," said Joann Rodgers, director
of media relations and deputy director of Public Affairs for
JHMI, who had reviewed the material for the producer in
    "It was the actors' inability to pronounce the name
correctly," said an insider at Northern Exposure who can
pronounce the name correctly but nonetheless refused to be
identified. "It's unfortunate and everybody here cringed every
time one of them said it."
    In the story, Dr. Fleischman viewed the clinical trial as
his big opportunity to prove to Hopkins that they had made a
mistake by not admitting him. But his meticulous preparation of
the hundreds of bottles of medicated pills and placebos was
ruined when character Ed Chigliak accidentally spilled them all
over the floor. 
    In his good-hearted effort to preserve this big project for
his friend, Ed gathered the pills and shoved them back in the
bottles before the doctor realized what had happened. 
    At show's end, Ed finally came clean, and Dr. Fleischman
immediately ends the flawed trial, even though it means the end
of his chance at redemption. But he takes it all in stride.
    So did Rodgers and her staff. In a letter to producer Steven
Turner, she poked a little fun at the character:

    The episode that featured us was fun and well appreciated.
'Dr. Joel' might have made it into Hopkins if he could have
gotten our name right. If he promises to get the name right next
time, Hopkins might give him another shot at a clinical trial.

    Her staff took a different approach. They sent "Dr.
Fleischman" the Hopkins T-shirt that says Johnzzzzzzz and
explains how we got the name. The cover note was signed by all 18
of them:

    Dear Dr. Fleischman,
         We still think Hopkins made a mistake when it
    failed to admit you to its medical school. That would
    have given us four years to work on your pronunciation!
    All is forgiven. Thank a lot. Oops. Thanks. See? It
    could happen  to anyone!

    Stay tuned. That "s" might just show up yet.

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