November 20, 2012
I don’t have much time for television in my current job, but parishes or no parishes, I haven’t been able to give up House, MD. The show ended last year but I’ve been watching it on Netflix—I march at my own pace, as readers here know—and last week I reached the final episode.
Dr. House, as viewers can attest, is a difficult man to like. A drug addict, a cynic, a master-manipulator, he shows glib disregard for the feelings, beliefs, and even human rights of others. He has a penchant for insulting patients and destroying relationships with anyone who dares to get close to him. A difficult man to like, yes—but I like a challenge.
The genius of the show comes from the character’s complexity, the fact that House needs relationships even as he unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) burns the ones he has. His colleagues (and viewers) see through his frequent, and slightly too insistent, assertions that curing patients for him is only a matter of solving puzzles. And a great deal of his off-putting-ness comes from the fact that he says things that are true, or uncomfortably close to the truth, but socially unacceptable. Read the rest of this entry »
July 17, 2010
Over the past few months I’ve been working my way through a collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories published in The Strand Magazine. The collection contains facsimile copies of the original Strand pages, including original illustrations (in which we see Holmes in his characteristic deerstalker hat, never mentioned in Conan Doyle’s text).
As I’ve been reading the stories, I’ve noticed more parallels between Holmes and my favorite TV character, Dr. Gregory House, than between the Holmes of Conan Doyle and that of the recent action flick staring Robert Downey, Jr. Both Holmes and House use substantial deductive powers to solve mysteries, criminal and medical. Both suffer from addictions, to cocaine in Holmes’ case and Vicodin in House’s, addictions witnessed with dismay by their respective sidekicks, Dr. Watson and Dr. Wilson. And both bachelors have somewhat off-putting and eccentric personal habits.
In fact, the Sherlock Holmes short stories from The Strand bear a striking resemblance to a television series. Read the rest of this entry »
July 2, 2010
I don’t watch much TV, but I’m beginning to suspect I have an addiction to House, M.D. This might be appropriate, given that the show’s main character, Dr. Gregory House, is himself recovering from an addiction to painkillers.
House might seem like an unlikely, dare I say even unhealthy, addiction to develop. As a Jesuit friend observed to me, explaining why he couldn’t stand the show, “He’s just so mean.” And, I admit, Dr. House is not a very nice guy.
Read the rest of this entry »