Warning: Very mild spoilers ahead
House, MD executive producer Katie Jacobs has a lot on her plate. As “showrunner” of the hit series, she, along with series creator David Shore, are largely responsible for House’s feel and look; its stories and direction. Approaching its 100th episode, and in the middle of its fifth season, House was the only network series nominated for a Golden Globe award. The show's star (and executive producer) Hugh Laurie was the only star of a network drama nominated in the drama category. I had an opportunity to sit down with Jacobs by phone the other day to chat about the show and reflect on its upcoming milestone 100th episode (airing February 2).
Although House, MD came away empty-handed from the Golden Globes, Jacobs said that the nomination “made us really, really happy.” She pointed out that the other nominated series (including the winner, Mad Men) are “wonderful, ambitious, and original.” But she also pointed out that “they don’t have to do 24 episodes a year. To be included alongside them, when we have to produce so many shows a year,” she continued, “is really an honor — especially in our fifth season.”
House returns Monday, January 19 (NOTE: Another new timeslot for the show!) at 8:00pm ET with an episode entitled “Painless,” an ironic title given House’s own problems with pain. This week’s patient, suffering with pain more “advanced and severe than House’s,” according to Jacobs, has been referred by House’s former fellow, Cameron. The patient's pain has become intolerable “to the point where painkillers no longer work,” Jacobs explained. “He’s at a place where House may find himself at in years to come. That’s the focus of the episode.” She continued, “House is in a constant state of pain; believes that his drug use lets him do his job and relieve his pain. Cameron introduces the patient to House hoping that he sees some sort of version of what it might be like for him if he doesn’t take better care of himself. She is worried about House, how he deals with his pain.”
As you all might recall, when last we saw Dean of Medicine Lisa Cuddy back in December, she had rescued a left-for-dead baby, hoping to first become a foster mother and then adopt the child. “Painless” picks up with Cuddy dealing with the challenges new-motherhood. As anyone who has tried to cope with the trials and tribulations of being a working mother of an infant knows, it is an incredibly challenging task. The them resonates deeply with women who try (and not always with success) to find some sort of balance. “Would it be fair if we didn’t present the challenges that it presents?” asked Jacobs. “Hopefully at some time she will find a balance, but it takes time,” she added. “One of the things that is going to happen at the end of the next episode – Cuddy will see if perhaps someone else can do her job for a period of time so she can spend more time being a mother.”
In the last new episode “Joy to the World,” as Cuddy contemplated motherhood while peering at her new baby in the hospital nursery, a subdued House watched on before quietly wishing Cuddy a Merry Christmas. I asked Jacobs whether the sexual tension between House and Cuddy will cool off now that she’s going to be a mom. “The tension and chemistry are still there. Neither one of them is actively fessing-up to looking for a relationship, but they are drawn to each other. None of the flirtatiousness is going to go away. The stakes are very high for them. The attraction is still there. We are absolutely going to continue that. It’s real and it’s palpable. And it’s who they are.”