After a five week break from House, it was great that the first episode back was a great mix of comedy and drama to remind me why I love this show.
The music on House
is something I use to analyze each episode. Even in a sillier episode like "The Down Low,"
the music from A Chorus Line at the end was commentary on House and Wilson's friendship and the girl they fought over. In each episode, music is handpicked with care and used to move storylines forward with ease. Hugh Laurie composed the end of "Unfaithful" himself and called it Cuddy's Serenade. I'm grateful that the writers wrote House as a musician so we can see Hugh Laurie showcase that aspect of his talent. The Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want" plays beautifully into the themes of the show, and lest we forget this season's opener "Broken" which was packed from beginning to end with artfully chosen unique pieces. Kudos to the person/team that picks the music.
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9. The Humor and Drama
Many shows successfully fit the mold of drama. Others are comedies. Not many can be both and succeed. House is one of those rare finds that actually satisfies the viewer's needs for a dramatic show and a fair amount of great one-liners. Even during last year's dramatic turn of events with House's psyche, we were treated to some amazing physical comedy watching House mistakenly light a body on fire and a bachelor party that allowed us to see a pants-less Wilson meander out of his apartment. And lest we forget the clinic patients with problems that range from putting real jelly on themselves for protection or a woman who thinks her inhaler is a bottle of perfume. It's the mix of the two sides, dark and light, that really make me want to keep watching.
8. Witty Dialogue
Sharpness and wit are two incredibly attractive traits. Put witty dialogue in the mouths of people already attractive, and witty in real life, and you have a formula for success. House's one liners are not only great for a quick laugh, they also make you think. Sometimes the references the show makes are so obscure, I need to rewatch and look them up (i.e. a recent Monty Python reference to room 12 A in the episode "Wilson").
7. POTW /Medical mystery
As an avid House watcher, I've realized that within each episode exists a patient that shows us a side of House we either haven't seen or a side that needs further exploring. Some of my favorite patients have been those that have really challenged House's beliefs. I love most of the religious patients, especially a faith healer in the earlier seasons and last season's disgruntled priest in the episode "Unfaithful." In addition to learning more about House, we get to see how the other doctors interact with each patient. In an episode entitled "Fetal Position," we were let in to Cuddy's desire to see a woman her age deliver a child even though that child was in serious danger. This season we saw Chase challenged with an African dictator. The patients each week are our ways into the characters themselves and provide needed dramatic tension to move the show forward as well as informing viewers about medicine along the way.
Take a show like Law and Order: SVU. While I think this show is entertaining and informative, I think that a show like House also gets lumped into the category of formulaic and just medical and that's a mistake to me. Yes, this show does in fact have a formula. Someone has a mysterious ailment. House's team works to figure it out. Except the fact that there is so much more. While this mystery is being uncovered, there's almost always much more to learn about these characters, whereas on SVU, I still am unsure who each character is. And that's fine! The truth is, that show is about the cases and almost entirely about the cases whereas House uses the suspenseful cases to reveal character. And while I love the dependable format of House, I love it even more when it breaks format like in season one's "Three Stories" and season four's "House's Head/Wilson's Heart."
We can look forward to seeing more format-breaking in episode 14 which is all about Cuddy shot similarly to "Wilson," and in episode 17 which Hugh Laurie is directing.
5. The supporting characters
The characters of Wilson, Cuddy, Cameron, Chase, Foreman, Thirteen, Taub, Kutner, and Amber all make House a more worthwhile show. It's great to see a woman dean of medicine and without Wilson's relationship with House we'd be missing a major component of the show. I'm invested and most interested in Chase's life right now especially after Cameron left. I think in the past he's been underused and his character is far more compelling to me than Foreman's. While I prefer some characters over others, I still feel like each character is well-developed and still captivating to watch.
4. The stellar acting
I'm convinced that without Hugh Laurie, this show would not be successful. His acting skills are tremendous. He is a Renaissance man. He acts. He sings. He fakes his accent. He plays piano, guitar, harmonica. He writes. He produces. He's also well-spoken. All this in one person is a lot to ask for and if anyone else was cast in the role of House, I could imagine the show getting credit, but not the actor. In addition to Hugh Laurie, the supporting cast of Robert Sean Leonard and Lisa Edelstein are wonderful. I don't think either actor has ever gotten the credit they rightly deserve. The rest of the actors and actresses on the show and that have even passed through have been fantastic. With the exception of a couple screaming patients I thought were a stretch, I've bought everything all the actors have been selling.
House and Cuddy are the reason I started watching. I caught the kiss in "Joy" and I had to work backwards to figure out why such a sad scene was actually considered a romantic moment between the two characters. I get it now. The tension, the bantar, the angst, and the intelligence (most of the time) always leaves me wanting more with these two. However, even I have a breaking point and if I had been watching the show when it first started airing, my patience might be running thin. Luckily, I've seen all the episodes, but I came in much later. I have oodles of patience left for this couple that just can never seem to get the timing right. As for House and Wilson, I think I'll just let "Birthmarks" and "The Down Low" speak for themselves.
2. Various themes throughout the show
In case it wasn't clear already, this show is ripe for analysis. House has numerous themes that the writers continue exploring. One of the themes that was most recently explored is that people don't change. House is continuing to disprove his mantra and I'm hoping that he stays healthy, but does retain his sense of humor and rudeness. Another is that everybody lies. Both of these themes are highly cynical, but with a show like House, where nothing is easy, the themes of the show can't be tied up in bows. Another is that you can't always get what you want. This has been explored starting from the pilot and explains House's character brilliantly. He has the mind and capabilities to do anything, but his leg pain prevents him from so much of that potential. Cue The Rolling Stones.
1. House's character arc
There would be no show without the well-written character of House. It was a show that took a chance on a protagonist that everyone considered a jerk. Luckily, his portrayer was able to showcase vulnerability hand in hand with the jerkiness and viewers took notice. The character of Gregory House is not only hilarious, but compelling, human, and mysterious. It's House that makes the show the world's most popular. He's universally accepted because of his personality. So even though he's working to be a healthier person, I'm hoping that the writers keep him at a medium-mean level.
Let me know why you watch the show and if you think my reasons are reason enough.