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Curling Up With House, M.D.

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I never cared for the television show House, M.D. As a loyal E.R. fan, I believed Gregory House's limp was stolen from the female curmudgeon Kerry Weaver, the Cooke County administrator who made Doug Ross flee to Seattle in the early years of the millennium.

When I flipped channels and caught House treating a young girl who defecated from her mouth instead of her anus, I was even more convinced that this show was not worth my attention.

But now I own season 2 on DVD, and I love the show.

When watching a program from season opener to finale, you have a chance to curl up in bed with your laptop, dim the lights, and watch episodes without the bother of commercial interruption. You suspend your disbelief willingly as you prop yourself up on a pillow and join the characters in their imaginary worlds.

Those who once claimed that digital books would not be popular because you can't "curl up with a computer" are no longer voicing objections. They're too busy watching marathon episodes of Lost on their D drives.

But back to Gregory House.

I found that watching his journey over a series of hours gave me a chance to understand why the show has remained popular over the past five years. I used to find Hugh Laurie's performance over the top, unworthy of Paul McCrane's Rocket Romano or Laura Innes' Kerry Weaver, but now I'm not so quick to dismiss him.

What surprises me most during my marathon viewings is how much House cares about other people. The definition of an egotist is generally one who cannot see beyond his own reflection, and House rarely looks in the mirror, if at all.

His best friend Dr. Wilson regularly scolds him for being miserable, telling him that being miserable "doesn't make you special."

How many of us could use that lesson right now? Aren't we picturing ourselves as martyrs as we give up a day at the spa because the economy isn't permitting us to pamper ourselves the way it used to?

And isn't that why we find curling up with television so comforting right now?

Curling up with this program reminds me why being a miserable hermit can be so enjoyable and yet so dangerous. While I watch multiple episodes of network television on my laptop, the world continues to turn. People are experiencing life while I live it through a fictional man with a cane.

About Shannon H.

  • Cate Malone

    House is the best show on television and Hugh laurie is a genius. His performance is in NO way over the top, I think he does an amazing job of giving us such a unique, well rounded character who doesn’t try to make you like him. The great thing about House is that he doesn’t just care if you think of him as a bad man, he doesn’t care if you think he’s a good man, either. He doesn’t do things for approval from anyone, and I admire that.

  • Shannon Howard

    I agree. Again, it’s a matter of flipping channels and catching random snippets versus watching an actor develop a character over a period of time. So awesome to see what Laurie does over a season arc.

  • Sue

    Hugh Laurie is the consummate actor. He emotes with every part of his body. His piercing blue eyes are a character all their own. You can watch him with no sound on and still be enraptured. You will like the show much better if you watch episodes several times.

    What House has that Weaver and Romano didn’t have is dimension. With the 2 from ER, what you saw is what you got. You didn’t have to dissect their characters to see what was beneath. Their faces and body language did not tell a story. House is a character than has to be interpreted. If you read message boards, there are numerous opinions of a single scene. Watch the scene with House and Stacy on the roof when House asks her if she told Mark. Just brilliant acting by Hugh. You will be taken in with a small shift of his head position.

    Hugh is virile and masculine. That gives him power other “romantic leads” don’t have. I don’t see that in Derrick Sheppard on Grey’s Anatomy. Romano didn’t have it. I don’t think George Clooney has that kind of power. Along with that power, House has a gentleness that most would not anticipate from his regular demeanor.

    If someone watched one episode of House, and only one, they would not understand the character. Every episode of House gives us something new about him. I watch House for that reason. I would understand Weaver and Romano from watching a single episode. I never watched ER particularly to find out anything about the two characters you named. They never stood out as lead characters.

    I never felt compelled to watch a character like I do to watch House. House is unpredictable from one second to another. He is a study in human nature. He is many characters woven into one. He is worth the investment. None of us will ever know a character as complicated as House. Society would not let him exist in his raw form.

  • Britney

    Well pu Sue I 100% agree.

  • Shannon Howard

    As a fan of Hugh Laurie, you might enjoy visiting your local library to see if they have an anthology of his comedic routines from Britain. I believe it’s called “The Best of Frys and Laurie.”