House M.D.

Doctor Detective Deduces Diagnoses Disrespectfully

Rules for binging on a TV show: firstly, you probably want to be undisturbed, meaning you being retired, unemployed, or on a gap year in your parents’ basement. In any case, you want to maximum your time so you can get more viewing entertainment.

Next you need a suitable place to watch. Said basement might give you the perfect disclosed location, but it might be a bit dark down there. Plus that Thai takeaway you bought three weeks ago is looking more like the Honey Puff Monster each passing day. But hey! As long as you have a comfortable seat and good view, who can complain?

And finally, you need a good TV show. You can go from one season wonders like Firefly to the multi-episode, spun-off-to-death series like CSI. But today I am talking about a show with one-hundred-and-seventy-seven episodes, eight series, and one misanthrope doctor. If I can give you any advice on what show to binge on, House M.D. it should be.

LET’S GET THE PLOT DONE…

Dr. Gregory House is Head of Diagnostics at Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey. He is crippled, addicted to the pain medication “Vicodin”, and the best diagnostician in the world. Only taking cases that he deems “interesting”, we look at the way he treats patients like puzzles, solving their problems by insulting his team of doctors, breaking into patients’ houses and living by a simple motto: “Everybody Lies.”

House, played by Hugh Laurie, is a pretty big driving force behind the show. Written as “the doctor without care”, his dry wit and use of metaphors that explain why the patient just coughed up some lung makes the dialogue sharp and fun. However, the show tackles with issues of morality, mortality, and normality as well as spirituality, dealt through the opinions and mentality of House… who lacks hospitality.

Side characters are interesting and engaging. House’s team fluctuates throughout the show, which makes up for some diverse characters. To briefly go through them, there’s the original “three ducklings”: Dr. Robert Chase, an Australian intensivist who’s moral compass sometimes spins off course; Dr. Eric Foreman, a neurologist with a need for authority; and Dr. Allison Cameron, the immunologist attracted those who are broken. Others include Dr. Christ Taub, the two-timing plastic surgeon; Dr. “Thirteen”, the doomed internist; Dr. Lawrence Kutner, the seemingly happy-go-lucky sports medicine specialist; Dr. Chi Park and Dr. Marshall Masters, two high-flying physicians and Dr. Jessica Adams… she worked in a prison once.

What I’m trying to get at is, wow the characters are diverse.

Two more to mention! I’ll be done then. Firstly, Dr. James Wilson, an oncologist and House’s best friend, who acts as a foil for us to observe House. He’s always with House during his antics, and the last few episodes of the show… he steals it. Steals the whole thing. Dr. Lisa Cuddy, Dean of Medicine and House’s boss, couldn’t have been written in better. How do you have a boss that can control House, yet not fire him? Cuddy is the answer for most of this show.

Patients are extremely important to the morality of this show. Each one brings in some sort of theme. From open-marriages, the technological age and even an evil dictator thrown into the mix, there’s an element of discussion for each episode.

A couple of gripes. It’s easy to dip in and out of this show. Story arcs usually only need a recap of the last episode, but the problem that House sometimes slips into into a repetitive structure. Each episode will usually pan out like this:

  • Patient is seen falling sick outside hospital.
  • House takes up case on one interesting factor.
  • House bounces ideas off team and comes up with a treatment.
  • Treatment goes wrong and more symptoms appear.
  • House bounces ideas off team and comes up with a risky treatment.
  • Treatment goes wrong and makes patient worse.
  • House bounces ideas off team and comes up with a dangerous treatment.
  • Treatment goes wrong and makes patient pretty much dead.
  • House has an epiphany and finds a safe treatment that works.
  • Fini.

While patients are interesting and their ailments more-so, you start to notice this format after the first thirty times you’ve seen it. However, while episodes fall back on this safety mat, the constant fluctuation of patients, themes, and side-plots makes it worth-while. It seems to work anyway. “Don’t fix what ain’t broken.”

SO I GUESS IN CONCLUSION…

An outstanding medical drama that will depress you for all the wrong reasons, journey into House’s world of medicine, mistreatment, and warped morals. Interesting stories and engaging characters are the wheels to this superb masterpiece, with Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, providing the perfect engine. Thought-provoking and even hard-hitting in places, House M.D. is a show that has redefined medical dramas: an experience that cannot be recreated.

House M.D. usually plays on a loop on Sky Atlantic, and is also available of Netflix.

Vinci

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