Dee Discusses The End of House

Posted: February 9, 2012 by Dee in Dee, General Media, News Updates, Television
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s been a little while since we had a chance to throw something up here, and with the announcement that House is officially over this season, I couldn’t resist but write a little something about it. I have a long history with House, so consider this a nostalgic look back at the show and where it probably went a little wrong.

So here’s the deal: I used to in love with House, MD. I loved this show. I watched it from the pilot and I got my entire family hooked on it. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fanatic for all things Sherlock Holmes on previous blogs, and obviously when I heard that they were basing a medical drama off of the brilliant detective, I got intrigued. I heard Hugh Laurie from Black Adder was on it, and went whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. I just had to try it out. I watched it religiously every single week for six seasons. I bought my parents fan t-shirts like “It’s Not Lupus.” About 65% of the charm was all from its leading star, although Lisa Edelstein and Robert Sean Leonard really helped out in that aspect too. They were the glue that held the show together, but the rest of the interest came from the bizarre and fascinating cases. I am still haunted from some of the medical mysteries. The tapeworm in the girl who can’t feel pain? Ahhhh! The female model who was really a boy and purposely seduced her father? What! The married couple who turned out to be half-siblings and the husband still wanted to be with her? That’s only a few cases that stand out. They’ve had guest stars and laugh out loud moments done about fifteen seconds after horrified screaming moments. It was a fun show with just the right blend of comedy, gore (it is medical after all), mystery, and character. I still think “Three Stories” is one of the best episodes ever to air on television, and I still watch it sometimes just to marvel at how exceptional the show was. Once upon a time. Long, long ago.

Okay so here’s where I talk about when and why I think the show started to lose its mojo. On a personal level, I started being disenchanted with the show when the original team – Cameron, Foreman, and Chase – left House and he got new ones. And that’s not because of the actual new cast members. I thought it was a bold idea to cut out half the cast and restart. I was amazed at them having the balls to do it, and applauded the idea. It was made clear in the beginning that this was a job for them basically to climb to another job later on, so it made sense they would all move on eventually. Here’s the problem: they didn’t freaking go anywhere. They didn’t lose the characters. They stayed around the hospital. House hired three new people, but their position in the show was ruined simply because the rest of the cast never went anywhere. I understand maybe they were scared that the fans would be too mad that they cut out the characters they learned to love. Hey, that makes sense, I wasn’t jumping for joy either. But it’s in for a penny in for a pound, guys. If you want to give new characters a chance and change up the dynamic of the show, actually change the dynamic of the show and give the characters a chance. If they just did that from the beginning, it wouldn’t have dragged so long. Foreman and Chase were still on the team. Cameron eventually left. The cast got more bloated.

So here’s the second problem. When the cast got more bloated, they also decided to bloat the show with too much character and not enough medicine. In the beginning of the show they did a great job juggling little bits of the characters and their backgrounds, but viewers weren’t hit over the head with it. We learned more about everyone slowly, and they’d get maybe an episode or two to shine but it didn’t take over the show entirely. It’s all about balance. Unfortunately the show hit a point where it became all about the characters and their dysfunction. How many times do we have to hear about Thirteen’s freaking disease? Taub is a womanizer, we got it! Wilson lets House boss him around and Cuddy is inappropriate with her employees and yes yes yes yes yes we got that long before you don’t need to repeat it a dozen times. When I mentioned before episodes that I remember, I didn’t say “oh that storyline where Cameron did this and Chase did that.” It was the medical cases that really stick with me. It’s a medical drama, it was about the mystery, fans had a blast watching from the beginning and trying to figure out along with House what clues were important. The show hit a point where none of that mattered anymore and we got a melodrama instead. Awesome.

Moving on, let’s talk about House. His misanthropy was one of the reasons we loved him to begin with. He’s snarky and mean and brilliant and has glimpses of humanity. He’s tragic because of his leg and an addict, but they’ve said numerous times he was like that to begin with. Now he’s just a miserable person with lots of pain. They never wanted to make him a warm and fuzzy character, so he stayed mostly dark with glimpses of kindness on the way. Which worked. Character development is necessary but it has to be done carefully, and this was a slow process where House got to the point where he could value his colleagues and Wilson and Cuddy without becoming a teddy bear. There’s a line to walk, and having him crash his car into Cuddy’s house while her family is at dinner? Having him threaten to jump off a balcony? Yeah it’s just going too far, show. He’s an unlikable character but fascinating to watch, but you can’t make him that despicable. We still want to be on his side. We still want to root for him.

Looking at the statistics, the ratings had a high of 25 million at one point, and now? It’s at 7. It’s been in a steady decline since the fourth season, which happened to be when House had to pick his new team. Could they blame the team? Maybe. Could they blame the fact the new team came in and it wasn’t done with particular finesse or excellent writing? Probably much more likely. Anyway what this whole rant comes down to is that I’m not surprised the show is coming to an end. Hugh Laurie’s contract is up and he’s had a hard time juggling his life between work and home. In my opinion, the show should’ve ended a few seasons ago, because now it’s ending like any other show that went on too long. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the once-fans. Our memories of the good times seem far away, and fresh in our mind is just how far it fell. And that’s such a tragedy, since once upon a time I thought House was the best show on television.

Despite everything, House, I’m glad you existed. I’m glad I had a few seasons I genuinely loved and characters I will always remember. But it’s time to close the coffin and do a proper burial.

  1. go_wrench says:

    This season has been a pleasant surprise when I think about the past 4 seasons.


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