House M.D.

8.2 / 10
44 min
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" gives "House - Season 1" a 9."
Written by on 2 October 2013.
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House - Season 1

During an interview Robert Sean Leonard once stated that his favourite episode of 'House' was the very first episode. In the pilot, we are introduced to Doctor Gregory House, a maverick and antisocial but brilliant doctor who is only interested in the most exceptional diseases. The reason Leonard gave the interviewer for his choice was because everything was still ‘normal’ in the first episode; the main plot was about solving a case, while the protagonist remained a riddle to the audience. This is exactly when 'House, M. D.' is at its best: a medical drama mixed with a crime show, and a hero as unique as the illnesses he is trying to cure. Not only the pilot, but the entire first season presents this same idea, and that is exactly why 'House' is such a good show which makes you want to continue watching all day long.

The first couple of episodes of 'House' already demonstrate that we are dealing with a new type of medical drama; whereas we were used to become acquainted with the characters and their (love) lives, this series is about solving puzzles. Doctor House (sublimely portrayed by Hugh Laurie, previously known for his comic talent in series like 'Black Adder'), a grumpy doctor who is addicted to Vicodin in order to relieve some of the pain in his leg, is the only one who is able to solve these puzzles. His motto is that everybody lies, which is why he refuses to talk to patients. The aspect of getting to know his patients is something he leaves to his team. They all have their own specialty which complements House’s own genius, and this is why the diagnostics department at Princeton–Plainsboro Teaching Hospital is such a successful one. However, the team was not only hired because of their excellent resume; Doctor Chase (Jesse Spencer, Neighbours) is a rich boy whose dad bought his position at House’s team, while House took on Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) because he has a record. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison, 'Once Upon a Time'), on the other hand, is a mystery to House, and therefore becomes yet another puzzle to solve. This versatile cast, completed by House’s best friend James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and his boss Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) is one of the strongest aspects of the series. The dialogues of the characters are sharp and well-acted and are the reason why an episode never becomes boring, even though every episode of House is built around the same formula.

This formula can be analysed as follows: a patient becomes ill without anyone knowing what causes it, upon which they are brought to House. At first he misdiagnoses the patient, but he manages to solve the case in the end. Despite this being a fairly simple structure, it never becomes boring. One of the reasons for this is because of the many subplots of the show; House is forced, for instance, to help people at the clinic, where patients can ask for free advice. Because they do not have to pay for it, they arrive at the clinic with the most insignificant issues, where House cures them with some pills and a high dose of sarcasm. These subplots and running gags distract the audience from the real patient, which creates a light atmosphere and leaves room for jokes. Especially Hugh Laurie is good at combining both the serious and humoristic tone, which makes the series a fine mix between a medical drama, a crime series and even sitcom.

The first season also includes some recurring cast who alter the course of the season. The first real change that comes to the hospital is Edward Vogler (Chi McBride, 'Boston Public'), a billionaire who is willing to give an immense amount of money to the hospital, provided that House is fired. Vogler is convinced House’s department is a waste of time, and House’s fate is put into Cuddy’s hands, who is the only one who defends him. Later on, in the best episode of the season, 'Three Stories', which was awarded with an Emmy, we are introduced to House’s ex, Stacy Warner (Sela Ward, 'Sisters'). In this episode we finally discover how House became a cripple and how even he knew true love. Stacy’s arrival shows that House still has feelings for her, but unfortunately the season ends with this confession.

After 22 episodes, it becomes clear that 'House' is a very good show, both with a great sense of humour but also presenting some highly dramatic scenes. The dialogues are excellent, there are many secrets and the characters are simply irresistible. Although the structure of every episode is in essence the same, it is the many plots which keep the show interesting. From the moment the first episode was broadcast on television, 'House' was a major hit, both in America as in the rest of the world, and the first is definitely a good indicator of what the rest of the series will be like. Although Robert Sean Leonard voted the pilot as his favourite episode, he was not necessarily right because there are so many more excellent episodes to follow. So to anyone who is addicted to 'House' after the first season: there will be more. More cases, more difficult patients, more unresolved issues between House and his ex, Cuddy and, well, every single person who enters his diagnostics department. More gags, more excitement and, above all, more memorable moments. It is a highly addictive show, but luckily for us watching House solve puzzles is less dangerous than the Vicodin he is completely dependent on.
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