Men Plan, God Laughs is the twenty-second episode of the first season of the NBC medical drama series ER. It premiered on April 27, 1995.

"Men Plan, God Laughs"
Season 1, Episode 22
Men Plan, God Laughs
Air date April 27 , 1995
US viewers 33.5 M
Written by Robert Nathan
Directed by Christopher Chulack
Episode Guide
← Previous
House of Cards
Next →
Love Among the Ruins


Greene finds his marriage falling apart and is concerned at how little time he's spending with his daughter. He also treats an eight week old child with a heart murmur who requires surgery.

Susan tries to get her pregnant sister Chloe to take her pregnancy seriously, but her head isn't quite into it.

Benton tries desperately to find a surgeon who will operate on a 16 year-old with a severe brain aneurysm that could burst at any time. He's also concerned at his mother's care and is growing ever more attracted to Jeanie Boulet.

Doug Ross' commitment to Diane Leeds gets more serious when he agrees to be an assistant coach for her son's little league baseball team.

NBC Description

AUTHORITY ISSUES: Already on bad terms with the new chief, Dr. Swift (Michael Ironside), Greene refuses to work late and travels to Milwaukee instead.

Ross, as a consequence of hitting an abusive parent, is forced to see a psychiatrist. Unable to help his ailing mother, Benton goes above and beyond the call of duty to help save every patient he sees.

Cast and Characters


Anthony Edwards as Dr. Mark Greene 

George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross

Sherry Stringfield as Dr. Susan Lewis

Noah Wyle as John Carter

Julianna Margulies as Nurse Carol Hathaway

Eriq La Salle as Dr. Peter Benton




  • Music: "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um," Major Lance
  • The title of this episode is from a Yiddish proverb, transliterated to "A mentsh tracht und Gott lacht," which in English means "A respected person plans, and God laughs." The Yiddish proverb in turn may be derived from the Biblical verse found in Psalm 33:10: "The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples."


  1. "Nielsen Ratings - March-May 1995 " (PDF). USA Today. (May 15, 2015).