House M.D

May 26, 2010
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In my opinion, the absolute best show on TV right now is House MD. House has always been a truly incredible show, and a very strong reason for this is its main actor, Hugh Laurie. Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House, a truculent, obnoxious, crabby, manipulative, and frequently cruel genius. The show centers around his exploits as a doctor, as he diagnoses mysterious diseases, toys with the personal lives of his proteges, manipulatives his best friend ( Leonard ), and lusts after his boss, Lisa Cuddy ( Edelstein ). Looking at it from an actor's perspective, it would be easy to play House as a man unliked not only by the people in his world, but the viewers. In the hands of a lesser actor, this very well might have been the case. However, Laurie brings a humanity and vulnerability, as well as a deep despise-ability, to his character. He plays an immensley complicated man, and it shows. Watching an episode, I ( and many others ) feel generally morally outraged my House's actions, but somehow, we are always on his side. And when we are treated to a rare moment when House recognizes how incredibly alone and unloved he is ( a moment in the season 6 finale comes to mind ) we find our hearts just a little bit shaken with something even more than pity.
However, it is not the amazing ability of Laurie alone that elevates this show. There are strong performances across the board, with every actor deftly playing their character as a very flawed, imperfect, moody human being. My particular favorite is the character of Cuddy, as she seems so spicy, clever, and approachable from the outside, although we sometimes catch a glimpse of how vulnerable and confused she really is.
The episodes are brilliantly constructed. To be sure, they are formulaic – there is a patient of the week who must be diagnosed by House and his team, and there is always a b-plot involving the personal life of one or more of the main characters. To the eyes of many, this is repetitive and boring. To me, this is just another way the show exhibits brilliance. Within this formula, the characters are allowed to be realistically explored, their personalities rendered and examined through amazing writing and acting. This is done without the need for dramatic, fantastical scenarios that just bring the characters away from the viewer's understanding of them, all to make the show a little bit interesting. The result of this intense examination of the characters is a full cast of interesting, well-rounded people that seem flawed enough to be realistic.
Of course, it is beautifully shot, every frame and angle carefully constructed to convey an emotion or mood. However, despite the show's acting, storylines, and imagery, the real strength of this show is the writing. It is rare that a TV show approach topics in such a realistic, thoughtful manner. For instance, in the fifth season, a plotline regarding a doctor's suicide arises. I was astounded at the way the writers handled this: the characters all acted with an appropriate degree of denial, panic, confusion, and general numbness, emotions that are far more realistic than the more conventional sadness. Other issues are written thoughtfully and emotionally throughout the show: loneliness, drug abuse, excessive drinking, adoption, and the like.
House MD is an extraordinary show. It is well-written, well-acted, and well-plotted, and the elements blend to form a show that is deeply emotionally compelling. The show's essence is about truth, and it examines this from many different points of view. This moves beyond the fact that its main character speaks his opinion without any respect or regard for anything or anyone ( most of the time ). In the end, it treats its characters and their emotions in ways that are bravely thoughtful, and investigates life with a brave honesty that many other shows do not.





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JoPepper said...
May 21, 2011 at 12:54 pm
I'm a House addict.  Ever since I've first paid it any notice(a year ago) I've never been able to stop thinking about it!!!:D
 
jbutterfly10 said...
Jun. 20, 2010 at 6:30 pm
I LOVE HOUSE!!! Is it done?
 
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