House, M.D is brilliant. I know nothing about medical science but this show is so captivating that even all of the jargon goes completely over my head. I have watched CSI since I was seven years old and I’ve watched all of the spin-offs: CSI: Miami, CSI: NY… All of them. I wanted to watch a new show that had components of CSI and I have found that show.
British actor Hugh Laurie portrays the eponymous Dr Gregory House, one of the best characters to grace my TV screen for a very long time. At first, you think that House is so horrible and so rude that you don’t think you’ll manage to watch the show. He hates talking to patients because “everyone lies, especially patients”, he hates being told what to do by his boss – Dr Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstien) – so he’s flat-out rude to her and he often abuses – either physically or verbally – his patients to try and save them. Ironic right?
This brilliant character was introduced to us by Brian Singer and David Shore and God bless them. You what else is magical about this show? The script. Every episode includes many sarcastic comments. One that really stands out to me is in episode five “Damned If You Do”. House is talking to a Nun who says “Sister Augustine believes in things that aren’t real”, in which House retorts “I thought that was a job requirement for you people?” He’s constantly commenting on Cuddy’s work outfits and making jokes about her cleavage and breasts, making racist statements against Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) and making Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) feel inferior because she’s female. Even though all of these things are subjects that we’d completely look upon as morally wrong, the writers and Laurie do it in a sense where it’s quite comical and you let it slide.
Working alongside House are his three loyal followers: an ex-con-turned-neurologist, Eric Foreman, an Aussie-turned-backstabber, Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) and a woman who just wants to be taken seriously, Allison Cameron House’s one (and only) friend, James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is an oncologist that accompanies the four on their quests to save lives and sometimes tries – but rarely succeeds – to stop House from making stupid decisions.
When the network threatened to cut House six episodes from the original twenty-two unless a higher power was introduced, David Shore came up with the idea of Vogler. He was introduced in episode fourteen and Vogler becomes the new board chair for the hospital and also becomes an ongoing problem for House. Vogler was a nice change; you saw House’s methods being questioned and broken down by Vogler, yet you also saw Cuddy slowly change her opinion on House. You see, from episode one, it’s obvious that Cuddy and House have this unspoken-of chemistry that’s based on more hate than love (you know what they say…There’s a thin line between love and hate). As Vogler starts to introduce more and more terrible ideas just to make more money and starts to threaten to fire House and Cuddy – and actually does fire Wilson – Lisa Cuddy becomes sympathetic towards House and gets Vogler to leave. He was a good change of scenery, but an absolutely vile person.
Each and every one of the episodes have the same formulaic set-up: we see something bad happening to a certain individual, some cool CGI effects of what’s happening in the body of said person, House realises that what’s happening to the patient is like a puzzle and the game is on to find out what is wrong with them. Normally, what happens is halfway through the episode, House and his team think that they have solved the case and the patient is going to be completely fine. However, something terrible then happens to the patient and they’re on the verge of dying, so House has to race against the clock to cure the patient. Even though it’s the same set-up for each episode all the way through the series, it works. It works really well. You forget that it’s samey because the script is brilliant and the acting is done really well.
Some episodes are very dramatic and some are even very emotional. I myself, find myself tearing up whenever motherhood or babies are involved and that was exactly the case for House. In episode four – “Maternity” – House overhears about a sick baby and tries to prevent a disease that has taken over the maternity ward before it reaches an epidemic. Two of the babies’ kidneys shut down and House has to experiment to see which medicine isn’t working – which results in one of the babies died and the other one living. As you can imagine, I was in pieces. There is also episode eighteen, “Babies & Bathwater” where a husband has to choose between the lives of his wife or his unborn child. These are only two of the episodes that keep you hooked and praying that everything is going to turn out okay. The drama of this show is pure brilliance and the writers have created the perfect balance between drama and comedy which is one of the key reasons why this show is amazing.
Dr Gregory House is so much like Sherlock Holmes. Both characters think they are never wrong and can deduce a problem by a mere look or a sniff. They both have to answer to people higher than them but never listen to that higher power – for House, its Dr Lisa Cuddy and then Edward Vogler from episode fourteen to nineteen and Sherlock Holmes it’s Lestrade and Scotland Yard – House also finds his Moriarty in Vogler as House has to find ways to beat him. Later on the show, you realise that House lives at 221B, the same number that Sherlock and Watson live at; Watson is also portrayed as Wilson (not much of a name change) who acts as House’s side-kick and House’s conscience, very much like how Watson has to act as Sherlock’s conscience in times of desperation. Both House and Sherlock have had/have drug-related problems. Holmes used cocaine and morphine to escape from the “dull routine of existence” and House is constantly popping Vicodin as a painkiller for his leg. Both characters also have very interesting love interests; Sela Ward plays the ex-girlfriend of House (Stacy Warner) and acts as Holmes’ Irene Adler. I’m a massive Sherlock Holmes fan and to see the huge similarities between House and Holmes makes me love this show even more.
Sela Ward was a brilliant addition to the cast of season one and she carries on to appear in House in season two. Her presence around House brings out this completely different side of him; he’s softer and listens to her because he’s still in love with her. I think that Stacy is the only person that could stand to live and be in love with House for five years and carry on being civil with him after they’ve broken up. She’s a tough character and sometimes gives House a run for his money because she has such a strong personality. Ward is a brilliant actor and the on-screen chemistry between Ward and Laurie is utterly brilliant.
House is fantastic; I’m already halfway through season two and I have no intention of slowing down. This is a show to binge-watch. This is a show that I can’t imagine anyone not liking. This is a show that proves that TV can be absolutely brilliant. The acting, the script, the chemistry, the characters – everything that you need to have a great TV show, House M.D has.