Monday, May 21, 2012

House Memories

The most surprising result I experienced from watching House M.D. for eight years was the hope I had, and still have, that Gregory House, well played by Hugh Laurie, would find happiness in his life. From a personality stand point, I always identified more with House's best friend Dr. James Wilson, well played by Robert Sean Leonard, who has ultimately surfaced basically the co-lead in this great medical drama set at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital (PPTH) in New Jersey.

Despite House’s despicable and impulsive behavior I still have a vested interest in this medical genius who makes some drastic changes in his life along with Wilson. House challenges to authority included several bouts with God as well as earthly enforcers like law enforcement (David Morse’s detective) and psychiatric (Andre Braugher therapist).

The humor, sarcasm and challenging relationships among the characters give the show essential variety amid the stark drama and medical situations. The famous metaphors stick in the mind well after the episode airs…like the following from the "Mirror, Mirror" episode:

“Have you guys heard any of my metaphors yet? Well come on, sit on grandpa's lap as I tell you how infections are criminals; immune system's the police. Seriously, Grumpy, get up here: it'll make us both happy.”

…or this metaphor from the “Autopsy” episode:

“The tumor is Afghanistan, the clot is Buffalo. Does that need more explanation? OK, the tumor is Al-Qaeda. We went in and wiped it out, but it had already sent out a splinter cell--a small team of low-level terrorists quietly living in some suburb of Buffalo, waiting to kill us all. . . . It was an excellent metaphor. Angio her brain for this clot before it straps on an explosive vest.”

Change is not easy while character progression is even harder. This series pulled it off very well. Past characters and situations have always factored into House’s continuing journey. Writers often bumped supporting characters’ progression along a bit further, which forced House to address his life direction more seriously. Foreman, played by Omar Epps; Chase, played by Jesse Spencer; Kutner, played by Kal Penn; Cameron, played by Jennifer Morrison; Thirteen, played by Olivia Wilde; Taub, played by Peter Jacobson, and recently added characters Martha, played by Amber Tamblyn; Chi, played by Charlyne Yi, and Jessica, played by Odette Annable, and have all impressed as House’s team members and beyond.

Will Laurie finally win an Emmy for his lead role…or for directing Laurie will eventually win an Emmy for his amazing work, which also included directing the episode where the hospital goes into “Lockdown” as the staff searches for a missing baby.? Will Leonard be awarded? It really does not matter. The show has already made its mark with brave scenarios, sharp debate, and risky plotlines that layered on the drama (House’s leg problems on top of Vicodin use leads to several downward spirals on many fronts, etc.). 

I was always surprised how many touchstones this TV drama hit in my life. The demands of a top-notch doctor, his colleagues, and his supporting team provide an unending cache of life experiences. The characters pressed, pulled, and even broke conventions, stereotypes, and social taboos, which made viewers reflect and even compare these instances with their own lives. Some episodes set up the certain characters for some much needed happiness, which does not always happen. I’m sure this final episode will be no different.

The one-hour finale, named "Everybody Dies", airs tonight, Monday, May 21 at 9/8c on FOX. It will be preceded by an one-hour retrospective show at 8/7c…hopefully Lisa Edelstein who previously played the dean of medicine, now played by Epps, and House’s love interest Dr. Lisa Cuddy (outstanding in the swan song episode “5 to 9”), will be there.

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