I Am a Surgeon refers to a memorable quote and scene from ABC‘s drama series “The Good Doctor,” where the autistic protagonist, Dr. Shaun Murphy gets into a Conniption Fit about being barred from the surgeon team.
The scene became a popular meme on Chinese social media in 2021, and later spread to TikTok in 2023, inspiring memes and parodies. It also made appearances on Twitter, mostly as image macro memes, referencing other popular internet tropes, like the Chad vs Virgin template.
The “I Am a Surgeon” quote originates from Season 2 Episode 17 of ABC‘s “The Good Doctor” series, which first aired on March 4th, 2019, under the title “Breakdown.” In the titular scene of the episode, Dr. Shaun Murphy (portrayed by Freddie Highmore) is exploding at Dr. Jackson Han (played by Daniel Dae Kim) for having been barred from the surgeon team.
In China, the scene started to turn into a viral meme as early as 2021, with discussions about Murphy referring to the character as what translates as “Red-eyed Shaun.” An early video was uploaded to YouTube in May 2021, editing the eyes of Dr. Shaun to grow red, while he’s screaming.
Clips of the scene also began emerging on TikTok as early as Fall 2021, with several users uploading snippets of Dr. Murphy screaming “I Am a Surgeon.”
The scene continued to be shared by fans on TikTok even in 2023, with a notable upload being tied to @alilson_m, who shared it on April 20th, 2023. This upload went viral, amassing over a million views in a short amount of time, exposing it to the more critical and humorous part of the internet.
Discussions, jokes and memes began emerging on the “I Am a Surgeon” scene, with content swarming sites like TikTok and Twitter. Edits, image macro memes and parodies were all rampant on both sites, and the trend took the internet by storm until the end of summer 2023, mashing the scene with memes like Yes Chad.