News Index

29 November 1999 -- The Thanksgiving Day (25 November) episode of this season's ER, a popular television drama series set in the emergency room of a Chicago hospital, featured the Bruce Cockburn song, "Wondering Where The Lions Are".

ER was the second most watched regularly scheduled US Network television programme between 22 September 1997 and 20 May 1998 according to Nielsen Media Research, with 20.7 percent of US households watching the series, 1.3 percent behind the front runner Seinfeld.

Later in the show an appearance was made by a Dr. Cockburn, presumably a not accidental tip of the hat by the makers of the show to Bruce Cockburn. Cockburn's song "Maybe The Poet" was once similarly used in an episode of Miami Vice.

Steven Cannizzaro wrote in to the Project to explain how the song was used in the context of the programme:
"It was the episode where Carol Hathaway (played by actress Julianna Margulies, pictured right), one of the ER nurses who is pregnant with twins, delivers her babies. The episode starts with Carol in bed, waking to realize she's already late for work as she glances at the alarm clock. The background soundtrack, "Wondering Where the Lions Are", starts playing as Carol, painfully pregnant and awkward, drags herself out of bed and into the shower to begin another day.

The song continues to play as finally dressed she shuffles out the door with a pie in hand she's taking to a "cover dish" dinner at work, and continues as she makes her way onto the train and slouches into a corner, already tired and rests until she arrives at her stop. As she cautiously makes her way down the steps, she slips only slightly at the bottom and drops the pie. Too big to bend over and scoop it up, she glances around to see if anyone is looking and inconspicuously kicks it off the curb and kicks some snow over it. Finally making it in to work only to discover her shift was switched, she turns to go back home for some more rest and passes a dog lapping up the pie in the snow.

Throughout the scene, the bouncy, optimistic sound of 'Wondering Where The Lions Are' is the perfect complement to Carol's pluck and determination in spite of her condition. Plus, it provided a great preface to what perhaps remains throughout the world symbols of hope, e.g., birth and thanksgiving."

Click to visit the ER homepage on NBC's website.

News Index

This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.