Sometimes, the doctor needs to be feared more than the disease!
It was around mid-July in 2012; my sister had just passed out of the school and was obviously finding ways to pass her time before going off to college. To get rid of her boredom, she decided to view American television soaps on the Internet; this led her to watching the reputed medical drama- House Md. Seeing her watch the show with such enthusiasm, I decided to see what was so special in this TV series and this led me to what I call my ‘House ‘Fixation’.
I got as addicted to this show as its main character Dr Gregory House was addicted to his pain medication Vicodin! It isn’t easy to sum up such a show in an article, but the writer in me has decided to take up the challenge.
House MD is a medical drama which revolves around its main protagonist Dr Gregory House played by Hugh Laurie, his relationships with his friends and colleagues, his fascination with medical mysteries, his drug addiction. House, the head of diagnostic department in Princeton General, is addicted to Vicodin, a medication he takes to battle the pain caused by an infarction in his quadriceps muscle.
House is a rather unique doctor; he believes that patients shouldn’t be viewed as ‘sad little puppies’ but rather as puzzles waiting to be solved. He is a complex personality who can neither be loved nor hated. Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself rooting for House in some scenes while cursing at him in others. But whatever you make of him, you just can’t ignore House!
House’s little quips at his friends and colleagues also termed as “Houseisms’’ are used worldwide. His witty one liners have been appreciated by critics and the audience alike and in 2008, House MD was the most watched show worldwide. Even after this series has come to an end, many people have taken to internet to watch House MD.
This medical drama also focuses on human relationships and friendships. House’s only friend in the series is Dr James Wilson, an oncologist portrayed by actor Robert Sean Leonard. Their friendship has many ups and down but in the end Wilson admits after being afflicted with cancer that House’s friendship is the most important thing to him and that he needs House.
House often clashes with the dean of Princeton General- Dr Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) due to his unconventional medical methods but she almost always lets him have his way as he is as she puts it ‘a medical genius’. House and Cuddy later begin a relationship at the beginning of season 7 and break up at the end of the season when House starts taking Vicodin again after being clean for almost one and a half year.
House describes his employees as his “prodigal children” and bosses them around. He is interested in their lives and in season five, admits to have made duplicate keys to break into their houses if the situation ever arises. In the first three seasons, House is assisted by Dr Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), Dr Alison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and Dr Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer).
However the producer added a fresh new twist to the show and as the old team dismantles; new characters are added to House’s team.
House is fond of messing around with his employees and makes many racist remarks related to their cultural background. He calls the African American Foreman, Blackpolean as he is fond of taking charge of the team and accuses him of “being a disgrace to his stereotype’’ when he fails to break into an employee’s house. He also refers to the Australian doctor Chase as the Crocodile Dundee and often teases the short Jewish Dr Taub.
Although he messes around so much with his coworkers and friends; they all love and respect him for the work he does and claim that “Even though House was an ass most of the time, he knew how to love.” House in his little ways would basically touch their lives in the ways that mattered. He bailed Chase out, when he accidently killed a patient due to the shock of his father’s death, helped Park keep her job at Princeton General and drugged Wilson to stop him from giving a highly controversial lecture on Euthanasia which could cost him his job.
Even though the show is mainly based on House, the lives of his colleagues are also portrayed vividly in the series. It is as though the viewers can actually experience the emotions the characters are feeling, feel Remy’s pain when she is diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, the love in the air when Chase proposes to Cameron, the tension between House and Wilson after their fight, the confusion at the cause of Kutner’s suicide.
Each character is brilliantly sketched and can be related to. House’s character has been criticized by a few critics as being too insensitive, too inconsiderate and too eccentric. But the fans of the eight yearlong running medical drama would agree that that’s what makes the show fun to watch. As House would put it “Humanity is overrated. Everybody does stupid things.”
House MD shares many similarities with the famous detective series Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes too was addicted to drugs and would often consume cocaine. The friendship between House and Wilson is very like the relationship between Holmes and his assistant Dr Watson. House’s flat no is 221B, a direct reference to Holmes's street address.
According to me, the reason why this show has run for 8 long years (2004-2012) isn’t because it’s a medical mystery show or because it’s so similar to the famous detective series- Sherlock Holmes, It’s because it shows people that each and every one of us has grey shades, a secret waiting to unfold lies deep within us and that we are all screwed up in our own way. The key is to overcome our weakness and live life trusting the people we love whether they are our friends, family, whoever.
Like Wilson says “If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from you, House, It’s to do what’s right without worrying about the consequences!”
So cheers to the end of an amazing show that has given love, friendship, medicine and addiction, a whole new meaning!
(*Apoorvaa Bichu is a budding writer who is passionate about all things creative!)