I mentioned in an earlier post my admiration of Hugh Laurie and his performance as Dr. Greg House on the FOX drama House m.d. I consider House to be the best new drama of this past season.
House is a sort of medical Sherlock Holmes, right down to the similarities in their names. Holmes sounding like homes. The similarities don’t stop there. The trusted friends: Holmes has Watson, House has Dr. James Wilson, played by Robert Sean Leonard. Holmes played the violin, House plays the piano. Holmes was addicted to the infamous 7% solution of cocaine, House is addicted to Vicodin.
There is actually more of Dr. Joseph Bell, one of Conan Doyle’s proffesors and an inspiration for Holmes. Bell had a way of deducing things about patients the same way that Dr. House does. As the head of the diagnostic medicine at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.
He leads a team of specialists who tackle a new medical mystery every week. If you watch the episodes you start to notice that they become a little formulatic. The enjoyment comes from the interplay between the characters, especially House. Some of the highlights from the first season: House doing mandatory clinic duty, the Three Stories episode that showed how House first got the infarction in his leg that leads to his limp and his dependancy on Vicodin, and his interplay with his staff, especially Dr. Cameron, played by Jennifer Morrison, who has a crush on House.
House also has a arch-nemisis. As Holmes had his Moriarty, House had to contend with Edward Vogler, a billionaire who becomes hospital chairman for a while. Voglar was played by Chi McBride for 5 episodes. He came in and said he was going to run the hospital like a business, but his main objective seemed to be just getting rid of House. When he can’t get a unanimous vote to get rid of House, he bullies the board into getting rid of Dr. Wilson, the one dissenting vote. Finally the board decides to get rid of Voglar and his money instead of House after an impassioned plea by Dr. Cuddy the hospital administrator, played by Lisa Edelstein.
My favorite episode of the past season was Detox, in which Dr. House agrees not to take Vicodin for a week in exchange for no clinic duty for a month. The episode deals with him trying to deal with the withdrawal symptoms while trying to figure out why a patient wont stop bleeding after an accident. He makes it through the week and admits to Cuddy that he is addicted to Vicodin but will not go into treatment because his addiction doesn’t affect the way that he does his job. The end of the episode reveals that Cuddy and Dr. Wilson were behind the deal and shows the look of gratification on House’s face as he takes his first pill in over a week.
House is currently in reruns on FOX at 9 p.m. on Tuesday nights. The first season will be released on DVD on August 30.