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Do you remember House? It was a medical drama starring Hugh Laurie about a brilliant doctor with an addiction to Vicodin who solved medical mysteries. I ask that question because your answer is likely either, “Of course I remember House!” or, “I never got to watch it, but I saw that it’s currently on Peacock.” And for that reason, I’m going to be both detailed and vague with this article, just in case you’re in the latter category, but also for those in the former category as well.
House aired on Fox from 2004 to 2012 for eight glorious seasons. It was unlike any other medical drama at the time, and mostly because it centered on a misanthropic, pill-popping narcissist who cared more about solving a medical mystery than the patient. It may not have been as long-running as Grey’s Anatomy, or comical like Scrubs, but it was so unique that it’s still my favorite medical drama of all time. House is in the, er, house!
Most Episodes Are Like Medical Mysteries
I love the characters on House. All of them. But do you know what I love even more? The mysteries. On almost every episode of the show, it started with somebody collapsing for some unknown reason. They would then be brought to the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, where House would come up with a possible solution (typically Lupus), that usually fails. Then later, something would just hit him and he would rush off and, most of the time anyway, save the patient.
And that’s because House was really a medical version of Sherlock Holmes. This was intentional, as House creator, David Shore has said in the past that he is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. In this way, I always loved tuning in each week for the characters, yes, but also to see what disease a patient might have, and how House would ultimately diagnose it (sometimes, even after the patients perished from their ailments). It made all the medical jargon worth it in the end as you’d be following the mystery more than the medicine.
I Also Like The Sherlock And Watson Vibe That You Get From House And Wilson
As mentioned earlier, House is really just Sherlock Holmes with an M.D. after his title. But I also love that his best friend, Wilson (played by Robert Sean Leonard), was pretty much his Watson. House would often saunter into Wilson’s office (which had that bad ass Orson Welles Touch of Evil poster), and just talk shop.
A lot of times, Wilson would say something that didn’t seem all that relevant, and then House’s eyes would pop wide, and he’d head out of the office without even saying bye, and Wilson would just be left sitting there bewildered. This friendship between the characters was always a highlight of the show, and it made the medical mysteries always seem like more of a team effort than anything else, which was always appreciated.
The Show Was Always More About the Medicine Than The Romance
Now, I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy. I've watched a little of ER. Heck, I’ve even watched some St. Elsewhere in my day. And the one thing that I’m really not fond of is the romantic angle of those shows. Now, it’s not that I have anything against romance as a genre, as I actually have a soft spot for romantic comedies. But if there’s one thing that I don’t want in my medical dramas, it’s subplots where doctors and nurses are hooking up left and right. Get that out of my medical drama, PLEASE!
And while there was certainly romance on House, as there was the will-they-won’t-they “relationship” between House and Dr. Cuddy (played by Lisa Edelstein), the show never focused on that. In fact, it was always more in the background and a nice reprieve from the mystery of the week formula that sometimes got stale throughout the series. In that way, House stayed laser focused on the medicine, which is what I always tuned in for anyway. If only other medical shows could actually stick to the medicine!
Every Team House Worked With Felt Meaningful
House actually had a number of constants on his diagnostic team, as Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer), Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Dr. Eric Foreman (played by Omar Epps)), were series regulars for the first three seasons. But later on, House got some more help from Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley (played by Olivia Wilde), Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson), and my personal favorite, Dr. Lawrence Kutner (played by Kal Penn).
And here’s the thing. All of the members of his team felt vital. Yes, House would treat them all like interns, but a lot of the medical jargon was parsed through their characters and somewhat simplified by them. And while we never really got too deep into their lives (thankfully), we got deep enough that we cared about any little side stories they had, which would always feed into the main mystery. This created a sort of synergy that always made every line of dialogue seem vital, even if I didn’t understand half of what they were even talking about. It was a rather small cast, but a potent one.
It Regularly Wrestled With The Issue of Science Vs. Faith, Which Many Medical Dramas Don't Even Touch
And lastly, I just love that House is an atheist. Now, personally, I’m not an atheist, but that’s why I found the show so fascinating, as House would constantly discuss how illogical faith is, which totally fit his character. Meanwhile, other characters who were of faith, would often be ridiculed by House, making him a bit of a “Byronic hero”, as he’s a broody, nihilistic antihero of sorts, which you don’t often see on primetime television.
And this made House a challenging show to watch, which is something I always appreciated. I never just went into episodes just for the mysteries. I also watched it to feel attacked. Now, this might not seem like a good thing, but it was. It definitely was. You see, I would always feel something whenever I’d watch House. It wouldn’t just be me looking at my phone. No. I’d always be emotionally, and sometimes even spiritually invested, which always made for riveting TV. This is just another reason why House is my favorite medical drama since this aspect of science vs. faith has always set it apart from other medical shows.
And that’s the list. But what are your thoughts on House? Is it also your favorite medical drama? Sound off in the poll below. And if you’ve never seen House or want to watch the whole series over again and get reintroduced to the House cast, then you can find it on Peacock as well as many other great shows.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.