Never did I think I’d be given the opportunity to conduct an interview with House creator, David Shore. But, if there’s one thing the TCA press tour has taught me, it’s that a badge can get you just about anything. Shore and I discussed Charlyne Yi’s new role, the problem with ambiguous endings and Lisa Edelstein’s absence. Throughout the interview, you’ll see my afterthoughts in parentheses.
Nice to meet you! I write about your show weekly.
David Shore: Well, thank you, I think.
(At this point, I’m praying that he hasn’t read my piece on last year’s finale. And then I realize I’m me and there’s no way he has ever read anything I’ve written.)
Mostly thank yous, yes. Let’s start with an easy question. What can fans most look forward to on House?
David Shore: Um, it is what we do best in my opinion. House in new situations, with new faces, and his tearing them apart. So we’ve got some new faces, some new situations, new dynamics and we want to kind of get back to basic principles of the show.
So do you think House will have a love interest this year? Or are you shying away from that?
David Shore: That’s not planned. That’s not what the show is. We went there because we had to and I’m proud of that. Who knows down the road, we may throw some nudity at you if they let us, but that’s not where we’re going, that’s not what the show is about.
(Nudity?! My ears just perked up. I’ve got a few ideas…)
What would you say to the fans that are really upset about Lisa Edelstein leaving?
David Shore: I’d tell them I’m upset too! You, know I am. I’d say, I’m sorry, and I’m upset too. It was not what I wanted. I would say this though. I would genuinely say — by saying genuinely it’s like anything else I’ve ever said was a lie — but I’m excited about this year, the new dynamics we’re going to see in terms of House and the boss, bringing in new people, and I think that will be good for the show. It will bring in some fresh air for the show, not that we needed it. But I think it will, and we’ll sort of get back to what made the show great initially.
What will Charlyne Yi bring to the show?
David Shore: Charlyne Yi is going to bring to the show Charlyne Yi.
Is her character going to be just like her?
David Shore: Oh, it’d be idiotic to take Charlyne Yi and force her into something else. I mean, she’s acting at the same time, and we’re imposing various character traits on her, but she’s so interesting. She’s just a very interesting human being who is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. She’s very real, very personable, and very anchorable and naturally interesting.
So she’s going to be different than Amber Tamblyn’s character who was a socially awkward, bumbling, intelligent woman? Will she be more comedic?
David Shore: Yeah, and I mean, Amber was very funny. She’ll be more comedic. One of the things I like about the show personally as a writing vehicle is the opportunity to be funny and dramatic at the same time. You never want to do one without the other and I think she is going to be great at both.
(At this point, another reporter joined me and started asking questions, which I will include as well.)
Are you going into the show like it’s the last season?
David Shore: We’re not going into it like it’s the last season. But if it is going to be the last season, I want to know that very early. And I’ll make sure I do know that very early because I want to end it right and have a big lead on it. If there’s going to be a season 9, and I’d love for there to be a season 9, we need to know early. If this is going to be the last year, I want to make sure we go out right.
(I’d love for a season 9 too, if Lisa Edelstein came back. But if she’s not coming back, I don’t know how the show is going to squeeze out another 22 episodes of standard House epiphanies at 8:52pm on the dot.)
Any hints in the direction you may be going for the new Dean of Medicine? I know you’re saying it’s going to be someone that’s on the show already.
David Shore: I don’t want to say more than that. It is somebody that the audience has seen before and I think that’s also interesting. We’re not asking another person to go in there and we’re just creating another dynamic with House and someone we’ve seen before. Come on, it’s fun right? To see it on the screen?
(Perhaps. My ultimate choice would be Jesse Spencer, solely because I think it would be the most fun to watch and Spencer would get more screen time. Plus, I don’t think I can handle an entire season of Hilson foreplay.)
What about Foreman? I’d love to see some more character development with him and Chase.
David Shore: Are you testing me here?
David Shore: Yeah, you know, but it’s not a show that I really love going home with the characters. I want to know the characters. I want to understand the characters. If I go home with the characters, it’s really fundamentally about the choices that they make.
(Hindsight is 20/20. Why did I not mention Taub here and just how much we saw him at home in season 7? In several compromising positions to boot!)
What has kept you coming back to the show?
David Shore: It’s kind of the perfect show for me. This character is kind of my alter ego in some ways. And that’s a rare opportunity, you know? As a writer, you get to speak to millions of people, but I get to write in a version of my own voice to spout off my own personal views of mankind and have millions of people listen. And to have this sort of success is eerie. I don’t expect to get it again. If I did, that would be wonderful. But it wouldn’t be like this or with this kind of voice.
Do you see this ending happily in any sense? I know you can’t answer that too specifically.
David Shore: Yeah, we’re not too big on happy.
(Duh. I figured that one out after Stacy left, Amber died, Kutner killed himself, House detoxed, relapsed, etc., and Cuddy and House broke up, etc., etc., etc.)
We know. Fans know.
David Shore: We’re not big on pat endings either. So I think you can count on a certain degree of ambiguity in an ending. Endings are difficult to do! I sympathize with those having to do them.
Can I tell you how I would imagine the ending?
David Shore: Okay.
I’m seeing House alone, limping off in the distance with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” playing over the whole thing. Do you think that’s more in line with what you’d like to do? Or do you want to just steal my idea?
David Shore: (Laughs) Endings are very difficult. Because as much as relationships are — people love them or hate them — endings are very difficult to do.
(I just know the Rolling Stones will have something to do with the ending of House. I’m calling it. You read it here first. And if David Shore uses my idea, I want a writing credit.)
Do you have a favorite type of series finale?
David Shore: Yeah, and it’s something I can’t duplicate by its very nature. It’s Newhart. I just thought it was fantastic. It was just that one moment. But obviously, I can’t do anything like that.
Is that the one where they wake up…
David Shore: He (Bob Newhart) wakes up and realizes he was in his previous series (The Bob Newhart Show).
Oh, you’d have a price on your head for that one.
David Shore: Yeah, oh you hated it?
If you tried it with House!
David Shore: No, no. I would never! If you quote me on that you have to say I would never do that and I can never do that.
(Done and done.)
What did you think of The Sopranos ending?
David Shore: I have a theory on it and that is that he (Tony Soprano) is definitely dead. So I’m okay with the ending because of it. That’s the only way it’s okay with me. In my view, he is definitely dead.
(For those of you that care, I loved the ending to The Sopranos with or without Tony dying. Makes total sense to me though that Shore would see the bleakest of possibilities in the ambiguous ending.)
So would you say you have your hand in every episode of House?
David Shore: Yes.
Do you see Hugh Laurie writing any episodes? Or directing any this season?
David Shore: Yeah, he will be directing. He hasn’t written any, but I’d love for him to. I don’t know if his schedule would allow him to do that.
Yeah, he’s a little busy, huh?
David Shore: Yeah, (and in answer to my last question) I’m involved in the writing process, invariably. Right from the beginning, and then I do a little polish on everything.
We all really loved Cuddy. Is there any chance, that even for the finale, she could come back and give fans and her character some closure?
David Shore: I would love that. I have no idea if that would be possible. No, I get that. I have no idea if it would be possible. I can’t say any more than that.
(At this point though, if I’m looking at the way Cuddy should be reacting to what House did, I’d be out of there too. And I don’t think I could ever forgive him, even though I’d love to see them back together someday. But only if House had never driven into her home.)
Do you think Cuddy should or could forgive House for what he did during last season’s finale (drove his car into her house)?
David Shore: Could or should? Huh. Could, yes because she’s just as screwed up as he is. Should? Maybe forgive, but not forget. You’ve got to learn, you know? I keep saying this. I don’t believe he was trying to hurt anybody. I believe he was trying to hurt her house.
But can you see how people might think that he was?
David Shore: I realize that now, but we were very careful in the cut to make sure that you see the people leaving the room. He sees the people leaving the room before he does it. That doesn’t make it a responsible act, but to me…
But Rachel’s tiny!
David Shore: She wasn’t there.
(Allegedly. Actually, I suppose it’s true if Shore is saying it. But how were we supposed to know that?)
Did you expect the controversy of that finale to be what it was?
David Shore: I didn’t expect people to start saying he’s a murderer. Which I don’t know how many people did that, but I didn’t expect that. Which is worrisome because it becomes tricky — and I think it’s one of the first times in the history of the show where you intend ambiguity — and for some reason, some people interpreted the episode not in an area where I wanted it open for interpretation. They simply got something from the episode that I didn’t intend to be there. I wanted it to be an act of violence; I wanted him acting out. I didn’t want it to be an attempted murder.
Looking back, do you think there’s something you could have tweaked to make it a little less ambiguous?
David Shore: Probably.
And with that slight admission, I thanked Mr. Shore and sent him on his merry way. There is no match to how excited I was before last season premiered. I knew it was going to be about House and Cuddy making things work, which excited me. This year, I can’t say I’m looking forward to the series with the same amount of anticipation, but what I can say is that I have an enormous amount of respect for several seasons of the series and for Shore who invented the doctor who we are often so frustrated with.
I’ll let everyone make up their own mind about this series, but as for House, it ain’t over til it’s over. Keep following me @TVTherapy and @BuddyTV for more on your television favorites, including interviews coming up with Jesse Spencer and the new prison doctor in town, Odette Annable.
(Image courtesy of FOX)