Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Checking in on HOUSE

Why does anyone go to Dr. House? Don’t get me wrong. I love the show. But yikes!

Take last week’s episode, The Right Stuff. A young woman test pilot started seeing psychedelic images without the benefit of a Jimi Hendrix album. So she literally used her life savings -- $50,000 -- to have Dr. House cure her and this is what she got.

A group of 40 first year residents diagnosing her case. Actually, 39 young doctors and one imposter.

No nursing care since she wasn’t officially checked into the hospital.

A glass room so visitors could watch her fill a bedpan.

All tests performed by these newbe residents and imposter.

A mis diagnosis: Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

One test that went awry resulting in a heart attack.

Attempts to revive her causing her chest to catch on fire.

Another test resulting in a psychotic episode.

Medical students breaking into her house.

A second mis diagnosis: liver cancer.

Getting her drunk and almost causing the shut down of her liver.

She becomes unable to breathe.

A third misdiagnoses: lung cancer.

A lead doctor who thought he was imaging things.

A breast implant.

An illegal operation.

And never did anyone think that since it was her vision that was impaired that maybe they should give her an eye test.

HOUSE just seems to get more and more outrageous. Always entertaining but they seem to be reaching for stories now more than ever. As I was watching this episode, an exciting new plotline for the series came to me. I think it was during the paranoid psychotic episode. Dr. House becomes George Bush’s personal physician. Round up the green med students and the fire extinguisher!


l.a. guy said...

"without the benefit of a Jimi Hendrex album"

OK Ken, I like you so I'm going to try to forget you misspelled the last name of the greatest rock guitarist of all time.

Jimi Hendrix

It's okay... I'll get over it, I'm just a little shaken up right now...

Rory L. Aronsky said...

1, 2, Jimi's comin' for you.... ;)

Chris said...

What is going on?! Did all the writers cash in on their House credits and get better jobs?

Greg House has turned into an idiot. He's not even smart anymore. And he's killing people.

Wait until you see this week's trainwreck! I don't think I've ever seen a show go off the rails so suddenly.

Ken Levine said...

Re Hendrix,

Give me a break. I was on LSD when I wrote the post.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

Ken Levine said...


It's been corrected.

But first... are you experienced???

l.a. guy said...

ken levine said...It's been corrected.

I'm better now... I just pray the Mariner fans or Paul Allen don't find out. :-)

Diogo said...

it is worth watching the new house just for a blonde Jennifer Morrison. I wonder how strange it is to work with your ex-fiancé?

blogward said...

Britain calling...House? Can't watch it. To these ears, Hugh Laurie's US accent sounds worse than Millicent Martin's Lancashire one on Frasier.

PS Dan, great job on the telecast! You made that Ken guy sound like a baseball announcer!

pat reeder said...

I'm not a doctor, but I like people who play them on TV. So I can't comment on the medicine, but there's a great website where a doctor reviews the medicine on every episode of "House," just because it's the only medical TV show that actual doctors respect. His take on this episode was that the medical side was pretty sound. It was an actual rare condition, and it's a lot more complicated than just an eye problem. His full review is here, for those of you who enjoy polysyllabic words: http://politedissent.com/archives/1765

Also, in his review of the previous week's episode, he addresses the idea that a patient's family might not be able to recognize her. He said as hard as that was to believe, there have been cases of it, and he cited a fairly recent one.

The Crutnacker said...

Frankly, I liked last episode, and this week's makes it clear that it might be best to get rid of his old group of students and focus on the new. Frankly, I like the mix of students, and I hope that he decides to keep most of them around, if only to open the show up a bit.

The show has a definite formula (misdiagnose, patient seems better, gets worse, House has an ah-ha, cure), but honestly, I don't care about the cases.

The fun is in the discovery, the diagnosis, and the dialogue. The show is one of the best about addressing what it truly means to be gifted, and how those gifts can be a blessing and curse.

My only complaint with the show is that they tried to blame his inability to get along with others on his dad. In my mind, it's much better if he's so difficult to deal with because he's smarter than everyone else and can't relate.

As for his accent, I think he holds it quite well. For the world's worst American accent, watch Anthony LaPaglia on Without a Trace. He doesn't even seem to be trying anymore.

Ken, first you mess up Hendrix's name, and now you mess up his lyrics.

Everyone knows that it was 'scuse me while I kiss this guy. See Jimi was not only ahead of his time in music, he was ahead of his time in his bisexuality.

Richard Marcej said...

Hey, if this devout Black Adder fan can watch Laurie every week and have no problem with his American accent, anyone can!

Diogo said...

I didn't have a problem with the family not recognizing the victim on the season premiere of House. What I did have a problem with is, you can painfully tell that those are 2 different actresses almost from the start, specially because the first one was in plain view for most of the teaser, and you could see that the original victim had shorter darker hair, and the one that survived had longer brown(ish) hair. I just thought they had to recast the part for some reason, until the end when I let out the first "and so, it has come to this" of the season. fortunately the second episode was much funnier. House giving a lecture is always fun.

babbling idiot said...

Oh damn, did I miss "Cavemen" again??

Van said...

Speaking of weird writing, my wife still watches Desperate Housewives, so I caught a part last week with Teri Hatcher dressed as a stripper. So, she runs to a party that her daughter is at to try to make her come home.

First problem: She doesn't bother covering up her stripper attire. I didn't mind watching, but come on!

Second problem: She finds her daughter and rips the apparent cup of beer out of her hand and chugs it to prove a point, then realizes the cup didn't have booze in it. Great funny/dramatic moment, right? Except that Hatcher's character just found out she was pregnant. So we're supposed to believe a newly pregnant woman just intentionally sucked down booze? Give me a break.

jcpbmg said...

they're actually not first year residents but fellow applicants, which means they're in their early to mid 30s and have already completed both their residency and more than likely another fellowship and they also probably have a phd in a research field

i also thought last night's episode showed promise that future episodes will have more involved/interesting b,c and d storylines and that in the end chase, cameron and foreman will be integrated into the main patient/storyline just fine

hollywood blond said...

@ pat reeder... thanks for the link. A number of shows need explanation!

milque toast said...

the first episode was "ripped from the headlines" i.e. Taylor University students that one family identified as their daughter when it was not. this is why I tell my mom it's a good thing I have tattoos. no matter what happens to my face, she'll know whether or not it's me. House does seem to have taken a bit of a downturn this season though. and what happened to popping vicoden every ten seconds? that was one of his shticks.

Joe Siegler said...

I can't watch House. I watched a few episodes, but I just cannot get past Hugh Laurie's past in Black Adder.

I'm sure the show is fine, it looked well made and all that - but I kept waiting for the character to do something stupid like George would in Black Adder.

That's no fault of Laurie's - it's my perception problem. I admit that, but his old Black Adder past cast quite a shadow for me. :)

benson said...

same thing goes for Bertie Wooster.

BTW, Mark Addy on Still Standing had a non American sounding American accent. Never saw him in the Flintstones.

Anonymous said...

>>I'm not a doctor, but I like people who play them on TV. So I can't comment on the medicine, but there's a great website where a doctor reviews the medicine on every episode of "House," just because it's the only medical TV show that actual doctors respect. His take on this episode was that the medical side was pretty sound. It was an actual rare condition, and it's a lot more complicated than just an eye problem. His full review is here, for those of you who enjoy polysyllabic words: http://politedissent.com/archives/1765<<

I am a doctor, although I don't play one on TV. I've always found House to be totally ridiculous and unbelievable and I don't know a single doctor (and I know a whole bunch of them) who "respects" the show. The show's only resemblance to real medicine is that they use real disease names and actual tests, although they often do the wrong tests for the various diseases. If anyone practiced medicine this way, they wouldn't be allowed to practice medicine (for very long).

I rarely watch medical shows because of all the errors, but some I love. MASH was one of those, as was St. Elsewhere, and ER (the early years). CSI is pretty good when it comes to sticking with the true medical facts, and CSI-NY is fair. CSI-Miami really plays it fast and loose with the medical facts and I'm finding it progressively more difficult to watch. They need to get a new medical consultant.


pat reeder said...

On the reviews of the DVD sets on Amazon and on IMDB, I've seen quite a few doctors who say that "House" is the only medical series they watch. Of course, the characters' behavior is outrageous and unrealistic, which is what makes it so entertaining, but they give it pretty high marks (most of the time) for the medicine. That's why the doctor who reviews it splits his reviews into two sections: the medicine and the "soap opera." When the medicine is bad, he calls it "Gray's Anatomy-level medicine."

BTW, if you're a "House" fan, or you're considering writing a spec script for it, you might enjoy this list of the 10 weirdest diseases in the world. Warning: some seriously disgusting photos here. Don't check this out over lunch:


Tom Galloway said...

Loved the bit in the opening episode where he's using the janitor as a sounding board and the janitor suggests lupus. Apparently even the writers realized that in pretty much every episode prior, one of, as some refer to them, the Cottages, would suggest lupus...but it's never turned out to be lupus.

Diogo said...

that is a running joke. he also used to hide his private stash of pills inside a book about lupus because "it was never lupus".

Buttermilk Sky said...

Maybe the janitor was a "Seinfeld" fan. George Costanza thought he had lupus. He was wrong, too.

Worst attempt at an American accent of all time (the envelope please): Leslie Howard in GWTW. Worst attempt at a British accent: John Malkovich in "Mary Reilly."

This is fun. What were we talking about?

pat reeder said...

"Mary Reilly" is an amazing film because it contains the worst attempt at a British accent by an American actor, yet that isn't even the worst accent in the film. It also stars Julia Roberts as an Irish woman who was apparently brought up in some part of Ireland that's a suburb of Atlanta.

SuperBK said...


So this week, they kill a guy, but that's OK because he was going to die anyway, it was just going to take longer. House hires the doctor because she "will never make that mistake again" - leaving the pills sitting around so the patients dog could eat them. Without the pills, the patient dies. I'd hate to be lying there, unable to move, while my dog ate my last chance at life. Why would a dog eat pills anyway? Sure, my dog ate half of a paper plate this morning because some food soaked it, but a dry medicine tasting pill?

As a show, house is definately entertaining. In reality would be fired.

Dan'l said...

In "Michael Collins," Julia R's Irish accent is there in 1 scene, gone the next. It's as if they shot out of order, and she didn't realize it was set in Ireland until half of her scenes were done.

Matt Kaplan said...

House is a character show about beliefs. About right and wrong. And ultimately the truth.

It has a medical background because that raises the stakes of life and death. But it is just the background.

He could easily be a police officer doing the wrong thing to solve a case. Or a firefighter breaking the rules. Or a lifeguard. He would still be the same situations.

Yes, the show is over the top. But so is every other show. If you want a show that really makes you scratch your head, watch Heroes. I swear, 80% of the plot has major holes and moments when you characters forgot that they are invincible. Plot lines are just dropped and ignored.

House never claims to be a true medical show. In real life, a doctor wouldn't care this much. Not to mention, what insurance would cover any of these tests? And why does House only get interesting cases? Is NJ the only place where people develop odd diseases. I mean 99% of the patients just happen to go to that hospital. And I'm still not even sure if House's profession is a real one or made up.

NONE OF THAT MATTERS. It's an enternmaint show with great writing. It's about how they get there and what they learn, not the disease of the week.

The last 3 episodes have been great.

And he helped out the NASA pilot becasue any other doctor wouldn't have helped her or told on her.

The last episode with the guy and his dog, it seems obvious to me, that he gave the dog the pills. The do was well trained. The wouldn't just eat pills like a normal dog would. The guy wanted to die and get out of his body. He believed in the afterlife and he had enough suffering. So he took his friend with him, on purpose or by accident.

The show is still great. Just don't watch it for medical knowledge.

But I wouldn't watch any TV show except for entertainment. You aren't going to learn how to be a cop by watching 24.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend's dog will eat ANYTHING that falls on the floor. Especially if thinks people are interested in it. And, yes, I've seen it eat cranberry pills. It almost got a birth control pill once but was thwarted.

Mother Jones RN said...

Thank you for mentioning the phantom nurses on House. Nurses truly are in charge of direct patient care. Perhaps we will start seeing Dr. House answering call lights and emptying a bedpans in future episodes of the show. I mean, why not, everything else on that show is getting farfetched.

Scott said...

Ken, here's a sitcom writer question...
we are watching "Back to you" this week. (still watching it for the 3 leads and James Brooks)
I think it was the 4th episode. If you caught the episode then perhaps you can explain some things...
The guy who plays the investigative reporter wasn't in the show at all. The character is the one that cracks all the smart ass one liners (he's the maury amsterdam, murray slaughter, chandler bing). But the actor playing him was out sick/got another job/fired/quit.

There's another character, the weather reporter, who is a silly often oblivious, bimbo type.
However, in this particular episode she kept saying witty smart ass one-liners. And it was sooo out of character.
Should we as the audience just presume that the writers of the show didn't want to depart with their great lines and therefore handed them to another character, even if the lines didn't fit?

didn't you ever run into this situation personally?

Ken Levine said...


Good question. That will be my post on Monday. Thanks.