Dr. Maxine Douglas makes her debut at the start of season six. With her struggling inner-city clinic on the verge of bankruptcy, Harry teams up with Maxine to keep the place open. A native of the Bronx, she has a tough persona and ever-present grumpiness, but is a dedicated doctor and a perfectionist when it comes to health care.
As for her personal life, Maxine has her ups and downs. Some prominent men she gets involved with include a successful doctor, an African cultural attache and a local television weatherman. Of course, when not invovled, we get the impression that Maxine has no life. When a psychic predicts her future, it’s a pretty dull picture that stretches out over the horizon: “work, TV, sleep, work, TV, sleep, work, TV…”
After meeting her stubborn and critical mother, who is quick to point out her daughter’s shortcomings, we see why Maxine tends to be a little on the grumpy side and perhaps why she has no intention of becoming a mother herself. “I’m not a kid person,” she says. “Even when I was five, I didn’t hang out with kids. I used to take naps just to get away from them.” Of course, it may not happen often, but a soft side of Maxine does sneak through on occasion, such as when she is forced to rely on her maternal instincts while caring for a patient’s four children.
You’d never hear Maxine admit it, but in ways she is a lot like Laverne, with whom some of her funniest moments are shared. The two characters sort of become a comedy team. The juxtaposition of Laverne’s “down home” wit against Maxine’s New York sarcasm is hilarious. In an ironic twist, Maxine, always annoyed by Laverne’s Hickory anecdotes, falls in love with the small town while visiting in the final episode.