New Amsterdam is a TV series with a difference. It’s about the oldest public hospital in America and the unique challenge it faces in trying to treat patients including those who have no insurance and still offer the best health care possible.
The first food moment
The first food moment happens at the opening seconds of the show. The soundtrack ‘I feel good’ is playing and the alarm goes off. Its 5:00a.m and Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold) gets out of bed and prepares a cup of coffee before going for a run. It is his first day as medical director of New Amsterdam and we soon learn that he feels anything but ‘good’.
Max has cancer.
He has to deal with it and still make significant changes to keep the hospital alive. But he does not want to be a ‘patient’. He goes about his day ignoring his sickness. He drinks a cup of coffee instead of eating a well balanced meal to combat his illness. This is something that shows his struggle to go on as usual in the face of cancer.
The second food moment
Max meets Dr. Helen Sharpe (Freema Agyeman) who just happens to spend most of her time making television appearances and meeting rich people in an effort to raise funds for the hospital. But the thing is Dr. Sharpe is really good at her job as a doctor and she should be doing it. Max is not pleased with her missing time from the hospital and tells her so. She tells him she’ll be back next week and that they’ll do lunch, her treat.
Max is not having it and lets her know that unlike the previous director he actually expects her to work in the hospital. Sharpe tells him he is funny and that she’ll continue to do her speaking shows because the hospital cannot afford to lose the publicity she gives it.
She leaves but she’s left an impression on Max and he on her.
The third food moment
Max starts a farmer’s market outside the hospital in response to medical workers asking for more healthy food to be placed in the hospital. The farmer’s market is just one of the many changes Max intends to bring to the hospital.
Dr. Sharpe returns and tells Max she’s seen the farmer’s market but she didn’t buy anything because everything was already sold out. She tells him that she came back because she wants to be part of the excitement Max has already brought into the hospital.
She also informs Max that he has cancer and he needs to slow down. Then she finds out Max already knows and she asks him how she can help. She ends up being his doctor.
Now these two, Helen and Max, become fast friends right from this first episode. And you can see the potential for them being something more. But Max has a wife, who is pregnant and suffered the scare of losing the baby. She and Max are having marital issues but it’s clear that Max wants his family and he wants it to work.
This brings us to the old age question ‘can men and women be just friends?’ That, Max’s sickness, the medical personnel drama and the rest of the drama trying to run an underfunded hospital brings make the New Amsterdam television series a joy to watch.