Married to Medicine: From UFC-Style Brawls to Southern Shade, and How I’ve Come to Love It All

Michael Arceneaux
The cast of Married to Medicine
Bravo Screenshot

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “I wonder what the life of my proctologist’s wife is like?” Or question whether or not your gynecologist can curse like a sailor and fight like Ronda Rousey? Would you want dating advice from your dentist? Ever curious to know if the doctor who tells you to cut down on pork chops is just as anal with her girlfriends about their weight?

I’ve never wondered any of these things, but I give all the glory to those at FremantleMedia and Bravo who had the vision to ask themselves these questions. If not for them, I would not have the joy in my life that is Married to Medicine. The show, which premiered back in March 2013, chronicles the lives of women in the Atlanta medical community. Some of them are actual doctors themselves, while others are married to them.


I was not an immediate fan of the show. There are only two things I recall from the show’s inaugural season. The first was a fight between original cast member and co-creator of the series Mariah Huq and Toya Bush-Harris, who got into a brawl at some fancy event by the pool of the sole white cast member’s house. Toya talked about Mariah’s mama, so, you know, punks jump up to get beat down, or whatever. The mama in question, Lucy, jumped into the fight and proceeded to smash Toya’s head repeatedly with her purse.

It’s not that I can’t stand the sight of a physical fight on reality TV, but I did expect this show to offer more along the lines of sophisticated shade, as opposed to UFC realness. I mean, let VH1 have its thing. In any event, the only other thing I remember about the show’s first season was being annoyed as hell by Mariah and Toya’s sounding like every overzealous black gay man I’ve ever met—another cliché that I did not need more of.


Then something changed for me during the second season. They toned it down a bit, found some balance between shade and fight to the death, and—gasp—actually showed more of the women with medical jobs working. Imagine that. It’s all made for a much better show.

Along with those changes, they added the woman who has come to be my absolute favorite thing on television: Dr. Heavenly.


Dr. Heavenly reminds me of those Southern black women who chop you up like brisket, only with wit and a smile that almost makes it endearing. What makes her quips even more digestible is that her elementary-school-age daughter gives her a dose of her own medicine.

She is, by and large, a favorite. One of my new life goals is to have catfish and grits with her. I’ll absolutely let her tell me why I don’t have a man. I’ll even try her dating app. By the way, I appreciate Dr. Heavenly’s use of her newfound fame to shill something besides liquor, clothes or a waist trainer.


My other favorite is Dr. Simone, who is just as hilarious but far more abrasive. The Spelman alum looks as if she might curse you out if you cheated one too many times during spades or a game of dominoes. She also seems like she’d hit the Quan for her patients on command. In other words, she’s a woman after my own heart.

I truly treasure now knowing that there are doctors in the world I would love to share a bottle of brown liquor with.


And while she is not my favorite character (I don’t hate her, either), I hope Lisa Nicole finds some sense of peace with her husband, Dr. Darren, who gives off a “What if a DeBarge cousin went to med school?” vibe. Dr. Darren used to cheat on his wife and still frequents the strip clubs, which are as common as peaches in Atlanta.

I also hope the best for Quad, which is my way of saying that I hope she learns to stop abusing gay catchphrases like an 18-year-old gay man who just came out and wants to repeat every single word he heard in the club last night with all his friends. Catch it.


For those of you who aren’t watching already, please get into it. I beg of you. The show has its typical over-the-top moments, but they’re human. Being fake-saintly on TV gets you nowhere. Ask Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.

Thankfully, there’s already a Houston-based spin-off in the works. The Texas Medical Center (located in H-Town) is the largest medical complex in the world. I trust the spin-off will be able to deliver. In the meantime, thank you, Atlanta.


For those of you ready to pounce on me and reality TV, let me quote Mariah: “I’m the tree and you are a branch, and I will not come off my cha-ri-ot and throw tomatoes with you, sweetheart.”

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.

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