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Dr. Gregory House and Kissing: A Trip Down Memory Lane

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For a guy who talks a good game, our Dr. Gregory House has been a relatively celibate character over the six years we’ve known him. I wouldn’t say he lives a monastic life, but it’s probably not that far from the truth. House seems to be a paradoxical monogamist, who has, from time to time, found himself in bed with married women. Yet, even with them, he’s looking for more than a one-night stand. Peer beneath the surface and you will find that House takes romance, love—and sex— pretty seriously.

House seems to possess a considerable romantic streak, and that plays out in how he views others’ relationships and his own. It’s as warped as the rest of him, but we can see it in evidence as he plays his own brand of Cupid rescuing other people’s relationships: Foreman and “13,” Chase and Cameron, Taub and Rachel, Wilson and Sam.

We perceive House’s romantic streak the corsage he gives Cameron in “Love Hurts,” the prescription he leaves Stacy for her “heart condition.” She is to meet him at dawn (I think it’s got to be dawn) on the hospital rooftop, where they embrace and talk about how they still “fit” together and plan for the future (way before she is ready to make this sort of commitment).  His advice to Cuddy in “Who’s Your Daddy” about selecting someone she trusts and like sperm donor instead of an anonymous “number” is seemingly contrary to the objective empiricist House. But he reminds her that an ideal, yet coldly conceived genetic match is not the answer to selecting a father for her hoped-for baby.

House makes elaborate, romantic gestures instead of saying what’s really on his mind. The desk he gives to Cuddy in “Let them Eat Cake” is something that likely takes weeks, if not months, of planning, but is likely far easier for him that simply telling Cuddy how he feels about her.  

And then there’s the book: Cuddy’s great grandfather’s medical text is something House probably discovered years earlier, acquiring it with her in mind. Saving it for a “special occasion,” it’s a thoughtful gesture, intended to deeply touch her. The moment to give it now past when Cuddy seems secure in her relationship with Lucas, House gives it to her anyway. Is the gift a sign of his resignation—or is it House-code for something else? Is he really being an adult when he learns that Cuddy and Lucas will be living together, or has he not quite accepted it and is still signaling his interest in her? Clearly it’s the latter, as we see how House reacts to news of Cuddy and Lucas’ engagement. He can be an adult about their cohabitation—but the finality of their marital commitment is a bombshell that sends House reeling.

In his fantasy life—the life he wishes he could live—House is assertive (and I don’t mean in his usual leeringly over-the-top way) and confident with women he cares about. In “No Reason” (season two) House’s mind conjures a complex hallucination. He and Cameron engage in a sexually charged conversation where he dares her to touch him, acknowledge the attraction and sexual tension between them. He then deftly undresses remotely, demonstrating the proficiency of a robotic surgery machine. It’s an intimate moment, and he’s more direct with her here than he’s ever been, but it’s all in his head.  

And at the end of season five, House loses himself in a delusion where Cuddy is sexually attracted to him even at his worst. He is more confident and assured about the whole thing than he would be in reality: “I always want to kiss you,” is something he’d never say at that point in the series narrative (except in broad jest); remember, this is the guy who couldn’t bring himself to ring Cuddy’s bell (in reality or in metaphor) in “The Itch.”

House makes it well known that he uses “working girls” to fulfill his sexual urges. Using hookers is a lot less stressful and much easier on the heart than becoming involved only to be rejected or betrayed. But when he is involved emotionally (whether in reality or fantasy), House seems more the gentle and tender type than the bodice-ripper is self-projected image would suggest.  He talks an amazingly good game. But evidence suggests something to the contrary.

Over the seasons, we’ve actually seen House involved in kissing several times. The way he kisses is specific and significant, providing us with a guide into House’s heart. He savors; he doesn’t devour. His eyes close and his body language is assertive but not aggressive. Like he tells Dr Nolan in “Broken,” kisses are good things, and when Lydia kisses him in that episode—an ostensibly casual kiss—he considers it, thinking about it for hours as he mines it for meaning. To House, kisses appear to a sign of deep intimacy, different than the physicality of sex. From the way he kisses, it appears to be less a means to an end…and, instead a goal unto itself—whether or not sex is ultimately involved.

So, as a service to the House fandom, and given that House is finally taking a step forward in his love life, I have gone back through the years to revisit House and his intimate encounters. I ran a poll to see what you all considered to be House's best kiss. More than 1900 people voted, and it's still open, so if you haven't voted, now's your time! The poll results are included in parentheses.

“Honeymoon” (season one finale) – By the time we get to “Honeymoon,” we know that House and Stacy’s history is deep, and that it likely fractured as a result of her decision to authorize surgery on House’s leg—surgery that left him in chronic pain. (We won’t know until later how disfiguring the surgery also leaves him).

We do know from “Sports Medicine” that relationship hurt him enough for Wilson not to tell him about having a casual dinner with her—and for Wilson to warn Cameron (“Love Hurts”) about getting  involved with House unless she’s very sure about it (and another emotional wound may just do him in. Never mind that Wilson can be a bit of a drama queen.) House has been pining for Stacy for five years!

So now Stacy comes back into House’s life, tells him she married someone else, but wants his help in fixing her husband Mark. OK, so he doesn’t actually kiss anyone in the episode, but he does actively embrace Stacy while she’s feeling lost and helpless as husband Mark is dying. And it might have easily become kiss had Stacy not broken the spell.  House initiates the contact, drawing Stacy to his chest. We see that it moves him deeply to see her in such distress—and he feels helpless to make it better. There is much unspoken love in that embrace.

At the episode’s end, Stacy visits House’s office to thank him for curing her husband. House tries to make light of it when she tells him that although “he’s the one,” she can’t be with him. But instead of responding with characteristic sarcasm, he accepts her rejection without protest. She rewards him with a kiss. It’s innocent and tender—sweet, and not quite on the lips. House’s eyes are closed but his expression conveys deep emotion. When his eyes remain closed after she breaks the kiss, it is clear as the episode’s shooting script notes, House has fallen in love with her again.

“Failure to Communicate” (mid season two—38 votes): Snow bound and sharing a hotel room—and many episodes past “Honeymoon,” House and Stacy finally kiss. Sniping at each other for weeks. She is angry that House has pilfered her therapist’s private case notes, but clearly still has some feelings for him. Despite House’s self-professed ambivalence about her, he cannot really deny how he feels.

After their flight back to Princeton is cancelled, Stacy informs House that she has thoughtfully booked a hotel room for them. “You’re leg can’t take a night on a cot,” she reminds him thoughtfully. House is intrigued, but skeptical. Is she toying with him, or does she mean what he thinks she means?

Standing in the doorway of their room, House wants Stacy to be clear about what’s going on. She explains that their relationship is like an addiction—Vindaloo curry. (No wonder they like each other—they both speak in metaphors.) And she misses the curry. House seems slightly astonished at this turn of events, but tossing the cane on the bed, he draws her gently towards him.

He doesn’t immediately go for her mouth, but gently nips at her upper lip and around her mouth (enough to drive a woman insane, to be sure!)—before actually kissing her on the lips. It’s a moment anticipated for months by House (and many viewers as well). I always loved that even as House answers the phone (reluctantly) and talks with his team, he stays physically connected with Stacy. She cuddles with him—and he keeps giving her those exquisite little kisses. (Did it get suddenly hot in here?)

“Half-Wit” (mid season three, 304 votes)—Stacy has now been gone a year, and House has been through the ringer. Now, as far as his team knows, House has brain cancer. He’s enrolled in a clinical study to treat depression in terminal patients, but the Scooby Gang wants another shot at diagnosing him—hoping things aren’t as dire as they appear to be.

House isn’t very cooperative of their efforts, but in turn, each of his fellows offers support. Cameron comes alone to House’s office on the pretense of requesting a recommendation letter. There has always been an attraction between House and Cameron, but something that House has never chosen to act upon, due to their unequal power relationship, partly the perceived age difference, and partly out of his own fears. He has confided in her, been playful with her—even regarding her sensually in “No Reason.”

But Cameron as Cameron leans up to embrace him, House looks wary and unsure, even looking around to make sure it’s a private moment. It’s the kiss anticipated by fans who wanted to see Cameron and House finally lock lips since season one. Getting into the kiss finally, House enjoys tasting Cameron’s mouth (and tongue) until he figures out her ulterior motive: to stick him with a needle and grab a sample of his blood to test. Although she initiates the kiss, as Cameron reminds him, he “kissed back” and House seems disappointed that it wasn’t for real (or was it?).

“Joy” (mid season five, 342 votes)— Although he might want to, and although the opportunity might have been there, House does not kiss Cuddy until the end of “Joy.” Their relationship is too significant for him to embrace her and too fraught with danger, but in this moment none of that matters. Triggered by a crisis point in their relationship, the situation removes House’s guards and filters and allows him to touch, where he ordinarily might back away or deflect.

During the episode, House continually insists that Cuddy is not prepared for motherhood. He’s an annoying brat, and whether he’s trying to make a point or not, his lack of support must sting her. When he finds that she’s lost the chance to adopt a baby at the last minute, House goes to visit her in her home. Reversing himself, House finally tells what’s really in his heart. Suddenly supportive, Cuddy is furious with him, asking him why he must negate everything. And House is at a loss.  “I don’t know,” he says. 

But seeing her in that moment: furious, in tears, vulnerable and wounded, House is undone; instinct overtakes extreme guardedness and he gathers her in his arms. He kisses her like he has no choice. He is where he must be. The kiss is full of pent up emotion (probably built up over years in each others’ presence) and sexual tension finally released. Notably, it is House who ends it and they each can only stare breathless and speechless, overcome by the power of the moment. It is a turning point for their relationship—and, ultimately, for the series.

“Under My Skin” (end of season five, 342 votes)—After the passion of their kiss in “Joy,” both Cuddy and House shrink back to their more comfortably antagonistic roles. It’s clear that House has been deeply affected by what has happened between them, although his social ineptness and fear make it impossible for him to act. Unable to knock on her door in “The Itch,” he acquires for her instead a remarkably romantic and sentimental gift in “Let Them Eat Cake.”

Not attending the naming ceremony in “Unfaithful” for the adopted Rachel because both he and Cuddy are too reticent to admit that he should be there, House pours out his feelings alone and into an evocative piano improvisation instead.

As season five moves towards its dark conclusion, House’s world crumbles and his feelings for Cuddy take a back seat to the nightmare in which he finds himself. Within that horror, House fantasizes a relationship with her; she is both savior and lover. She saves him from himself and rewards him by loving him—being with him—even at his worst. Exhausted and depressed, House’s mind conjures a moment of passion. “You want to kiss me,” Cuddy tempts seductively the morning after she helps him detox from Vicodin. “I always want to kiss you,” he replies.

Even in fantasy, and even as he literally sweeps Cuddy off her feet, his initial approach is a gentle first kiss—a taste—backing off momentarily, regarding her, before allowing passion to sweep over him. When it becomes clear that it is not real, the knowledge destroys House as he tries to make sense of their differing accounts of what had transpired the night before.  

“Broken”(season six premiere, 0 votes)—A mutual attraction with the sister-in-law of House’s fellow patient at Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital leads to this brief but significant affair. Lydia, a beautiful, intelligent musician comes frequently to Mayfield, and as she and House strike up a casual relationship, they become closer. When Lydia sweetly kisses him at a hospital social gathering, House is both elated and disturbed, not knowing what to make of it—nor whether he’s ready to act on his attraction to the married woman. But then he sees her sobbing one night. It’s late and House’s defenses are down.

We’ve already seen House reacts to women who are in distress (Stacy in “Honeymoon,” Cuddy in “Joy”). There is so much more to this first kiss than sexual urge. Chivalrously holding out his hand, she rises into House’s comforting embrace. Holding her, they slowly dance to an only imagined tune. And at first, that’s all they do. Who wouldn’t be turned on in House’s arms being held like that? And House, who has kept inside so much emotion for so long, finally is open enough to feel and respond. Even with all that passion, House kisses first with such gentleness…making it that much more intimate. Their lovemaking overwhelms him, moving him to tears.

“Help Me”(season six finale, 799 votes)—Although Lydia moves on, the impact she makes is significant, if not (seemingly) too late. House has learned that he can love, be rejected and manage to survive. It gives him the courage to pursue Cuddy as we move into season six, but Cuddy has moved on herself. Realizing that House is trouble and a poor choice for bringing up baby Rachel, she has opted (as Stacy had) for second best (well, maybe not even second best).

Trying to carve out a relationship with Lucas, Cuddy tries to push House away and out of her mind. But even Lucas continues to feel House’s presence throughout the season. We barely see House and Cuddy interacting during much of the season, but I wonder how much of that is intentional.
Are we to perceive Cuddy trying (even desperately) to not get too close to House? Because, as we find out by the end of season six, try as she might, she can’t deny her love for him. And as House reaches his lowest point in a nearly a year, there Cuddy appears—almost an apparition. In a mirror image of “Under My Skin,” they are in his bathroom as House sits on the floor, future uncertain—two Vicodin in his hand.

But instead of a delusion, this time, Cuddy is really there. Finally on the same page, this kiss is different than the unbridled passion and angst of “Joy” and the frenzy of House’s fantasy in “Under My Skin.” This is a celebration between two exhausted people—no longer fighting destiny; no longer fighting themselves. He almost seems to stops himself from diving in too aggressively, opting instead for those wonderful sweet, delicate kisses around her mouth—pure torture. And the final shot of their intertwined fingers is a symbol of their solidarity as season seven commences. I can hardly wait!

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Klaudia9529

    Stacy and Greg…it was exciting.I never forget about it!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    I have no idea which deliberate twisting of words you are talking about, but i salute the idea to drop this topic of conversation between us.
    On never commenting on your posts – if there are posts that address issues that we can actually hold a conversation about, then i hope it’s ok if we start this over on a different note – if that is ok with you. Again, this was not personal for me – it was a debate, unfortunately on an issue that i cannot be easy going about, since it’s something that i built every aspect of my life upon.

  • RAK

    D_B: Whatever You win. It is impossible to hold a conversation with someone who deliberately twists your words. I will no longer comment on any of your posts.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    That’s ok, Debbie. Looking forward to it, and i’m sorry i brought it up here. Thanks for understanding.

  • DebbieJ

    @D_B #68 – I will respond to you privately on FB.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    What was it again that we are arguing about? You take steps forward in disagreeing, then you take steps back when you run out of arguments. I still have no idea what your point really was.

    You think i am not entitled to posting analyses on House’s psychology, because i have “no facts”, because i am not his therapist? Really?! You are serious?! What do you think people who post here do? Discuss “facts” and only facts, no personal interpretation allowed?… We give our personal interpretations about a fictional character and a television show. PERSONAL, as in based on our experience, expertise, personal taste, view on the world, set of beliefs, cultural background etc.

    I don’t think i did anything else than what everybody does here. You didn’t like my opinion – fine. On the other hand, you come with no real counter-argument of your own. You think i am wrong. OK. What do you think is the right interpretation? What are the causes that lead to House’s low sense of self worth, his difficulties to find a meaning to his life, his trust issues, his search for unconditional love and his constant attempts to test those closest to him and push their limits?

    Or perhaps you think we should not even try for an interpretation to who House is. Because there can’t be a “scientific” interpretation based on “facts” in regard to a fictional character and a fictional world.

    The whole point of a suble, layered and brilliant creation such as this one is to challenge interpretations and thoughts and analyses. If you think the only purpose is to watch and enjoy for entertainment purposes only, then we don’t have anything left to talk about, because that is definitely not why i watch.

    As you very well said, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. And as i have already said, i am taking this no further.

  • RAK

    D_B: It is YOU who chose to equate “over the top” with “complete bullshit”. I never said any such thing. Furthermore, the conclusions you reach about me are just like those you reach about House. They are based on almost nothing. Because I am a scientist I give psychology no credit? You are far more judgmental toward me than I have been toward you. My point was and is that you are not House’s therapist who spent months and months with him, but someone who makes detailed analyses from almost no facts. There are good and bad psychologists, just as in any field. Science alone will not explain personality, but I think it goes a long way toward explaining serious mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, severe depression, and schizophrenia. If brain chemistry was not involved, prescribed drugs would not work. Furthermore, of all the organs in the body, perhaps less is known about the brain than any of the others. It’s a growing science. There is a lot more yet to be discovered. Neither you nor I have enough knowledge now to determine how much genetics plays a role in all this.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @RAK: look, this “conversation” got beyond the point where i still think that we might reach any form of common ground. It’s not anger, it’s just the fact that in years of experience, trying to convince people to give psychology and therapy a chance (people who needed it like oxygen!), i’ve learnt that there is only so much you can do and share with somebody who gives it so little credit, because it’s “not a science”. If the stakes are not high, then it’s just healthier for me to give up. I have enough of these fights and struggles in my real life, i don’t need to do it in my spare time as well.

    In regard to our little dispute, the stakes are really, really low for me. Not that i don’t want to talk to you or anyone who doesn’t agree with me – check my history of comments, i talk to many, many people whose opinions differ from mine, but i just think this is topic is something that is unlikely to give me any pleasure and satisfaction, which defies the reason i’m here in the first place: to have fun, sharing thoughts and opinions about my favourite thing in the universe.

    The very essence of the discussion – whether or not the non-science of psychology deserves any credit at all – is something that bothers me deeply. There are so many aspects of the human body and the human psychic that science alone cannot explain! There are so many psycho-somatic major issues, there is such a grand interconnection between spirit and matter, between body and emotion, leading to spectacular phenomenons that scientists could not explain without reaching out for the tools of psychology. If what you want from me is to try to accept the possibility that the only reliable knowledge comes from “hard science”, then no, i don’t even want to talk about it, because i talk about it nearly every week of my life with people who refuse to see it and accept help, and i’m sick and tired of it.

    And no, i do not choose the tidbits that are convenient for my theory – i made it clear that there are four essential parts of House’s personality that are shaped by his parents’ influence, four essential traits that have been there since he was a child and that were only made worse by the leg problem – NOT created by it. “You don’t think you deserve to live? You don’t think you deserve to be happy?” (Stacy, “Three Stories”, based on her intimate knowledge of House after five years of relationship and BEFORE the pain started). In my opinion, there is only one way in which House’s sense of self-worth, of justful existence, of meaning of life, were shaken to that extent, and that is by his mother and legal father’s actions and attitude towards him. House’s story is textbook in that respect – textbook, as if taken word by word from Aletha Solter, or Pam Lewin, or other children’s psychologists. That is what i believe – you have made it oh-so-clear that you think i am completely wrong. It’s not personal, it’s not anger, it’s just that this is not fun for me and i see no reason to bother anymore.

  • RAK

    “House’s emotional shotcomings can not be explained by a chemical imbalance, and his personality can not be explained by his leg problems, for the mere fact that Stacy spells out to Cameron: “He was pretty much the same before the leg, too” – in regard to the essential personality traits, beliefs and thinking systems.”

    D-B: I agree with you that House’s problems are NOT due to a chemical imbalance. In fact, if you could tone down your anger enough to actually read my posts, you would have seen that my quote is:” most SERIOUS mental illnesses are due to chemistry. House’s problems are not in that category” Furthermore, yes Stacy’s quote about House is accurate. On the other hand, House himself in the final episode this year told Hannah that the pain in his leg changed him, made him a harder person. You conveniently choose those tidbits that support your argument and leave out those that don’t.

    I also find it interesting that you choose to “talk” only to those who agree with you. I’m not trying to change your mind. I do however, have a right to my opinion, however wrong you may think it is.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Debbie: thank you, for agreeing and for your earlier present to me:)

    @Barbara: we are the complex product of our biology, out upbringing and emotional influences, our social environment and our education. None can be cut out from the equation. But there are two ways that can justify a more dedicated focus on one of these factors: 1.our different backgrounds and different areas of expertise, that make us focus on things we are most familiar with and that are easier for us to judge and analyse and 2.what the “patient”‘s symptoms are and what fits best to explain those symptoms – House’s emotional shotcomings can not be explained by a chemical imbalance, and his personality can not be explained by his leg problems, for the mere fact that Stacy spells out to Cameron: “He was pretty much the same before the leg, too” – in regard to the essential personality traits, beliefs and thinking systems.

    @RAK: yes, i agree that we fully disagree, and i wish to dwell on it no more. I cannot convince you that black is white and you cannot convince me of the difference. These issues are too deep engrained in our personalities and work and education, to even bother talk eachother out of it.

    @Debbie: i am so sorry to hear that about your husband and his siblings. I can only imagine what that did to him, and you are right, the standard consequences on a child who lived like that for years are usually worse than they are depicted on House. Did they go to therapy as adults? Did they keep in touch with their parents, or just cut it off?

  • RAK

    New photos being added all the time. Enjoy!

  • RAK

    Just on more point before I quit this argument. I said that most of the most SERIOUS mental illnesses are due to chemistry. House’s problems are not in that category. I’m talking schizophrenia and diseases like that. Isn’t that what Wilson’s brother has? Parents cause that?

  • RAK

    D_B: “Well, i’m just a psychologist specialized in infant and child psychology, which is complete bullshit, since children aren’t, in fact, affected by anything we do to them, but i kinda find the “way over the top” comment… well, over the top.”

    WOW…there is a great deal of difference between “over the top” and “complete bullshit”. Did I ever say that children aren’t affected by their parents? NO. that’s just your extremely biased interpretation. Because you, a psychologist, have all the answers. Nobody else dare have a differing opinion, or it’s an insult. My point is that we don’t have much information about House..and it ALL comes from him. There is not enough information upon which to base a detailed analysis. You want to extrapolate? Fine. Just don’t call it meaningful truth.

    P.S. See the House-Cuddy photos and chill! We just disagree.

  • So–to add my 2 pennies: why can’t it be both? And I believe it probably is both: nature and nurture.

  • RAK

    Debbie, glad you liked the photos. I thought they were very sweet.

    I admit, my prejudice lies toward the sciences, and psychology is no science. For every case like your husband and siblings, there are no doubt cases of kids who survive well and thrive due to other influences in their lives. I just don’t think that House’s father, at least what has been revealed thus far, is horribly abusive. Remember, his wife cheated on him and bore a son that was not his. He could have up and left. He didn’t. Perhaps House was not the easiest kid to deal with either. We don’t know a lot, and to weave all these inferences from so little info seems futile to me. Furthermore, House has had lots of love from Stacy, Wilson and Cuddy. To me, his physical pain is more responsible for how he evolved than what his parents did to him. If his infarction had not happened, wouldn’t he still be with Stacy??

  • DebbieJ

    @61 RAK – Sorry, but my husband and his siblings are living proof that they are products of their upbringing; with a physically and verbally abusive father and a mother who did nothing to protect them.

    He’s got issues deeper than House. And he’s real! I’m with Delia on this issue.

    And thanks for the link of those yummy, yummy photos!

  • RAK

    Hope these photos come through of House and Cuddy on the beach, presumably from next season’s episode # 1, but it’s doing a number on my computer. And sorry, I’m an anti-psychology buff and remain steadfast in my belief that you are extrapolating far too much from far too little! We are much more than what our parents do or don’t do to us.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Thank you very much for stepping in, Barbara:) I fully agree with your friend, obviously.

    In my opinion, we are dealing with two sets of problems that emerge from his infancy and childhood – and in short, here they are:

    1. the “SELF” issues:
    a) his unclear paternity and lack of belonging, lack of recognizable identification, made for his identity problems and the constant search for answers.

    b) John House’s abuse (that came in various forms: verbal, emotional and physical, including the slow torture of absolute non-contact (the summer that he did not speak to Gregory, for instance)), doubled by his mother’s lack of protective response, made for his fragile sense of self-worth, for his low self-esteem (later on transgressed into extreme narcissism and ego-maniacal bursts, at times) and for his incapacity to attach a sense, a meaning to his life.

    When a child is ignored and abused, when he is made to feel like he is always wrong and thus deserving of punishment, when nobody stands up for his rights, when his parents treat him like his presence on this earth is not worth all that much, his very sense of being is shattered. Parents should build their child’s self-worth by constantly showing him unconditional love and acceptance, by showing how welcome he is in their life and on this earth, and by helping him believe that he deserves to be alive and he deserves to be happy, that his life matters, that his being here has a meaning. Gregory got none of this, and he spent his adult life looking for unconditional love and acceptance, for validation of his right to live and be happy. Also, as an adult, he spent his life making subconscious attempts to heal himself by nurturing and fully expressing his wounded inner child.

    2. The issues related to “OTHERS”:
    a)TRUST: the man who raised him as his father was dangerous and threatening. Gregory never really knew what to expect of him, and he learnt from an early age that the safest way was to avoid him. There can be no talk about openness or trust or real emotional communication here.
    His mother, on the other hand, was nurturing to some extent – and this harmed Gregory in regard to his trust issues more than his father’s abuse. Faced with constant abuse, children learn how to deal with it in a very “war time” manner – adjusting to it and learning to survive. What is really damaging to them is when their trust and needs are betrayed by people whom they are emotionally attached to and who play by double standards, whose attitude towards them suffers from severe inconsistency. His mother was his primary source of nurture and emotional contact, of protection and understanding. Except that she fundementally failed to fulfill her duties as a parent, by lying to Gregory about his paternity and thus shaking his sense of identity and, of course, his trust in her & also by failing to protect him from John House’s abuse. Whether that abuse was mainly motivated by that man’s own control and violence issues or by his doubts and anger in regard to Greg’s paternity, we don’t know. What we do know is that his mother had alternatives: admit to the truth and end the marriage or use other means to protect her son. She chose the comfortable and cowardice choice of not doing anything.

    What does a child learn in a situation as such? That even his primary source of comfort and love cannot be trusted or depended upon. That people lie and cheat and hide and are cowards, with complete disregard to the truth, to what’s right and to whom they are hurting. Thus, opening up to somebody, becoming vulnerable to somebody, allowing somebody to make you happy is a very dangerous thing – to be avoided…

    b) FEAR: a corolary of the trust issue is the need of TESTS, meant to soothe his fear of loss and betrayal. House puts everybody that manages to get close to him through tests meant to verify the unconditional nature of their love – in fact, testing the limits and pushing the boudaries just like a child who tries to become more independent, but without losing his parents’ love.
    Most obviously, House does this with Wilson and Cuddy – pushing it to see if it breaks has been House’s M.O. for long, long years with these two people closest to him. His search for unconditional love and acceptance is based on a primary need to validate his right to live and a primary fear that the answer he will get will be negative. The primary need and the primary fear combine in a very powerful urge to provoke people to prove the unconditional nature of their affection, time and again. Of course, given his mother’s duplicity, his main fear is that the love he may receive is not complete and in full awareness – in other words, not REAL: either that he is not loved for exactly who he is, or that this love is not strong enough or lasting enough. His trust issues run so deep, that he fears to trust his rarely found happiness or emotional fulfillment, terrified that it’s not real, or that he’ll be betrayed in some form.

    Of course, much progress has been made on these issues during season 6, and i think that even further progress will be made, thanks to Cuddy’s unconditional, healing love for him, in season 7.

    And surely, there is still sooooooooo much more to say about it. I have a theory on how Wilson and Cuddy have taken over parental roles in his life, for instance. And i have not yet talked about how his mother’s duplicity made Gregory an addict to what’s right and what’s just, making for his superb lucidity and his refusal of any compromise.

    If you want to carry this topic on, Barbara, i would be very happy to:)

  • Sorry I’ve not had a chance to pop into this debate for a couple of days. I did an interesting interview for Chasing Zebras with a child and family psychologist who is also a friend (and House fan). We talked at length about House’s trust issues stemming from the time of infancy and the failure of his parents to connect with him (eye contact included)–that nurturing trust that’s established early on. That had quite an effect on House according to him.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Well, i’m just a psychologist specialized in infant and child psychology, which is complete bullshit, since children aren’t, in fact, affected by anything we do to them, but i kinda find the “way over the top” comment… well, over the top.

    This site is a place where everybody can post comments that express each person’s opinion, formed upon a personal history and expertise, in regard to public content in a television show, that is, by definition and by their stated purpose, subject to interpretation. We discuss fictional characters, based on our personal views and backgrounds, hopefully in a civilised and open manner. Which is the precise reason why i am no longer going to respond to the issue in any way, even though there is still sooooooo much to say in regard to the “blame it on biology” and “absolve parents from all their responsibilities in regard to the emotional health and well-being of their children” topics. Unlike your sister-in-law or whatever other very relevant example you are giving, i have enough arguments and information to contradict your “based on chemical problems” supposedly “largly true” theory, but i will not, by any means, give in to that off-topic debate here. As a sign of respect to Barbara and the other people who comment here.

    PS@ Rebecca: thank you, i appreciate your comment and, as usual, you are right:)

  • Rebecca

    @RAK _ With the risk of being off topic, I would like to point out that, as far as mental disorders are concerned, there is no single universally accepted and established cause. The primary model of contemporary mainstream psychiatry is the “biopsychosocial model”, which combines biological, genetic, psychological and social factors.
    On the subject of abuse, there is solid empirical evidence establishing that a history of abuse (sexual, physical or emotional) in childhood increases the likelihood of lifetime psychopathology -through a complex interaction of societal, family, psychological and biological factors.

    This being said, I don’t think anyone is trying to “diagnose” House here.
    All Delia did was to present us with a working hypothesis, in order to foster further discussion and analysis of House’s personality & his way of relating to others.
    The discussion focuses on relationship patterns -not on psychopathology.
    There are no absolute truths in the field of human behavior but there seems to be some general agreement on the following: The family dynamics during childhood can affect adult relations in any number of ways. We identify with our parents and most adult relationships closely mirror the dynamics of those from childhood. For better or for worse.

    I believe that what Delia was trying to say is that House has “inherited” some deep trust and commitment issues from a family with dysfunctional dynamics. And he has to address all that in order to move forward.

  • RAK

    @D_B: Well, I’m only a molecular/cell biologist (retired), and we’re arguing over a fictional character here (!) but I find your reactions here to be way over the top. But hey, that’s only my opinion! My sister-in-law, the art therapist, and I used to argue about psychology vs. the hard sciences all the time. It was always my conviction that the most serious mental illnesses were based on chemical problems, not deep dark scars inflicted by parents. That turns out to be largely true and she has moved considerably over to my side (not ALL the way!). Sorry, but I don’t buy your diagnosis!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    I had no problem with Cameron or Amber, but i didn’t like either of them – per se. I think they added a lot to the show, however, so no complaints.

    I am deeply convinced that House and his mother should address the paternity and the childhood traumas issues openly. I am a psychologist and i am currently writing a book on child psychology that fits to House’s issues like a glove. The healthy way to take his healing process further (not that he will ever be completely healed, that kind of traumas never heal, not with trillions of years of therapy – however, Cuddy’s unconditional love will have a magical effect on him and his sense of self-worth, meaning of life etc) would be to address the main issues openly. Those are questions that need to be asked: “why have you never told me?” and “why didn’t you protect me from John House?”. His mother initiated his fear of any form of deception, by lying about the essence of his being for his entire life. He does like her, but it’s a form of co-dependence based on the fact that, out of the 2 people who raised him, his mother was the “loving” one. “Loving”, but lying, not standing up for him and being a hypocrite to her core. I do not deny that she must have been nurturing to some extent, but the essence of her role as a mother was sadly and hugely not acted upon at all.

    It does not matter how often John House’s abuses happened. It does not matter if the doubts he had about Gregory’s paternity influenced his anger towards the kid. His father belonged in prison for child abuse, and that is the end of it. It does not even have to be repetitive. The stories that House tells in “One Day, One Room” are enough to disqualify that man from his parental rights. What he did, with the silent consent of the mother, destroyed the child’s ability to ever be happy in his life, to ever find a meaning to his existence, to ever value himself rightfully or ever be mentally healthy.

  • RAK

    @D_B: Interesting comments. I also like Chase a lot and more and more over time. I was never a big fan of Cameron’s character so I was not unhappy to see her leave. As I said in an earlier comment, I miss Ann Dudek (but I gather she will be in a new show this summer, the details of which I can’t recall!). I think they decided that she was actually a female version of House and so they stuck with the original only.

    I disagree with you about how House should approach his mother. I got the feeling that he really liked her, and why make her feel so miserable at this late date. I also feel that while his father may have been abusive on occasion, it was not something which was pervasive. Remember he actually told his father when he was quite young that he was NOT his biological father. No doubt this produced a reaction. Perhaps his father’s abuse was tied into the fact that his “son” was not really his. I just think it would be nice for him to meet and talk to his real father w/o stirring up a hornet’s nest!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @RAK: thank you:) Yes, the “mirror syndrome” was heavily used in “Help Me”. It is also significant that what triggered Cuddy’s anger, both in “Under My Skin” and now, was the mentioning of her daughter/her motherhood. I think that this is a deep, involuntary reaction, based on the fact that to her, the number one source of inner conflict has obviously been the battle between her love for Rachel and the father figure she thinks that Rachel needs, versus her love for House, whose paternal skills she fears are pretty darn low:))))) Which, by the way, i think she is mistaken about – it has been talked about a lot, that House has an excellent way of establishing relationships with children, and we are probably going to witness some of that during season 7.

    All in all, i think that season 7 should focus on House’s inner reconciliation with “his humanity, his need of others, his profound need to be loved and to love, his handicap, his childhood, his shadows” (Rebecca says, in a comment on the writers’ interview, based on a discussion we’ve had on facebook).

    I think that the paternity issue should finally be addressed – he should have the necessary talk with his mother, ask her why she lied to him about his very identity for so long and finally tell her that her attitude and her lack of backbone, the fact that she did not protect him from John House, harmed him deeply. He should also sit down and talk to his real father – even if he does not tell him the truth (does that “family friend” who has been around Gregory for so long really not know????).

    And of course, i pray for the return of clinic duty – which has been a delightful part of the show and was as absent as Huddy in season 7 (of course, i am certain that clinic duty was absent because of the status of the House-Cuddy relationship). However, i PRAY that season 7 has a lot of clinic duty – it has always been a sensational display of humor, of Sir Hugh’s comedy talent, of House’s genius and sarcasm, and it provided excellent mirrors to the themes of each episode, both in relation to the POTW and the personal stories of the main characters.

    I also pray that the House-Cuddy relationship is given a proper chance – in the sense that it was written so it has a real, real chance at this point, after the long journey of self-discovery and acceptance they both underwent, a real chance at working and being good for both of them, and i hope the writers don’t chicken out and write a breakup after just a few eps, in response to the silly criticism of some fans. It would be such a pity, since i view this as a monumental chance of creating the number one compelling, fascinating couple on TV. Even if the art of television series has reached an unprecedented level in recent years, i still find it hard to put my finger on a TV couple that is truly excellently written and played. House and Cuddy can fill that void, they have all the necessary attributes for it.

    Foreman’s brother and their story were interesting to me because they offered a peak into House’s vision on family, his pain, his longing and his good heart. Otherwise, i cannot say that any of Foreman’s stories presented that big an interest to me – i am sorry if that came out offensive to anyone:(

    Thirteen has grown on me during season 6 (i liked her in season 4, then i was bored to tears by her relationship with Foreman, and then i liked her again this season), so i do want her back – but perhaps not back-back, because her absence from the team can only be explained by the severity of her recent symptoms, and it’s hard to write a veridical magical come back from Huntington’s. But i think she will be back into the story, somehow.

    However, i do wonder if there will be any hiring this season, for a new member of the team. That is always endless fun!

    I have always liked Taub a lot as a character, but what i wish is a lot of Taub in relation to House, at the hospital, during differentials etc, and less of his personal life – which has known little evolution since we first met him.

    I would like a lot of focus on Chase, too – my favorite character out of the original team, and i wish he would try for a new relationship – a very interesting one, of course:)

    I am not a big fan of Sam (even if i think it’s Cynthia i don’t really like all that much) – but it is definitive that she will be back in season 7, so that’s that.

    The new House-Wilson and Wilson-Cuddy dynamic will probably be a joy to watch – i start laughing just thinking of what could come of that! Wilson as a couple’s counselor for those two has always been a blast, and now he’ll be counselling two people who really have found the answer on their own – that is something that suits Wilson so well:)))))

  • RAK

    D_B: Interesting analysis. The bathroom scene was not the only reprisal of BSN. Cuddy uses the same words to dismiss House when she says “screw you”. Of course this could be a function of the show being on network TV rather than cable, where she could have really handed it to him! One thing to cogitate over… if this accident in Trenton had never occurred, would Cuddy have gone on to marry Lucas? Or would she have decided not to go through with it? (PS totally agree with you on how Cuddy got in to the apt. etc etc…I wonder why those folks even watch the show!)

    I also wonder if they will continue any of the interesting story lines that came up this last season, i.e. Dibala, Foreman’s brother are two examples. Obviously when Olivia Wilde returns from movie making, they will no doubt return to her problems. I hope they discontinue stories about Taub’s marriage. I love Peter Jacobson, but this is getting old and boring. No doubt they will focus on House and Wilson’s new relationships, but I hope they are in the background. I would love to see House ( perhaps with the urging of Cuddy and/or Wilson) confront his mother about his biological father and meet the man. I’d be interested in reading about the ideas of folks on this forum with respect to what they’d like to see next season.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Jaim (#34): you make an excellent point there – when you say that House is all in when it comes to love. But i have a slightly different view on the reasons: it’s not a sudden infusion of self-esteem on the man who never knows how much he’s worth. It’s fear – his absolute refusal to any sort of compromise is fueled by fear and by his amazing determination to stay absolutely true to himself (again, this too is fueled by fear). Let me explain: House’s damaged sense of self-worth and self-esteem make for his search of unconditional love and for the way he insists to reveal himself in the worst possible light – because what he fears more than loneliness, more than pain, is deception. He is afraid out of his mind that somebody might love him, and make him open up and lower his defences, but on false grounds. He is afraid out of his mind to allow himself to experience “false” happiness – happiness that derives from a relationship with somebody who loves him with strings attached and without really seeing all of him for exactly what he is.

    His refusal to start any sort of relationship with Cameron comes from exactly this – she wanted to save him and she didn’t see him clearly: two things that make for a HUGE difference between Cameron and Cuddy in “Help Me”: Cuddy knows just how screwed up he is and loves him anyway, without expecting him to change.

    His self-mutilating gesture of pushing Stacy out of his life is another decision motivated by the very same mechanism: Stacy would have expected him to work harder on their relationship, she would have expected him to change in order to give her some of what Mark was able to give her. Stacy was uncertain, Stacy had doubts, Stacy toyed with him, Stacy found it hard to make up her mind. Her love was not unconditional and even though she knew House in and out, she didn’t accept him exactly the way he was. Stacy weighed her choice for a long time, Stacy did not attach the same meaning that House did to their night together. In short, this, again, is the difference between Stacy then and Cuddy in “Help Me”: Cuddy did not toy with him during season 6. Cuddy walked away and stayed true to her determination to try for a different life. Cuddy did not lie to House and did not lie to Lucas. And she did not lie to herself – her choice was absolute, and it was not the result of games and negociation with House, it was not the result of cheating and it was not the result of House pleading and making her promises or of him forcing her to choose – Cuddy’s choice was the result of a nearly brutal exercise of self-awareness and self-analyses. A look into her own heart and mind that was honest beyond anything else, that pushed away all her illusions and self-deception, all her fears and all her hesitations, all her self-protection mechanisms. An act of courage and complete honesty, that left her exhausted, but at peace, and fulfilled – because the right decision, however hard to make, does indeed feel right, and her look of love and bliss and acceptance in the final scene was an expression of that – she was not tormented and she was not afraid: she was certain and she was filled with unconditional love and hope and joy.

    In regard to your discussion about House’s need to win Cuddy over from Lucas: i have a distinct feeling this was not like this at all. House’s love for her is too deep and their story, their connection are just too grand. The petty exercise of winning over a woman from another man is just too cheap and just too common in comparison to the grandour of House’s love for her. And it would be a deception, and it would be a manipulation, and it would be less than the complete honesty that he views as mandatory during season 6 – when he lives a monastic life, not fighting for Cuddy, not pushing himself on her, but simply living his love for her as truly as possible, and living his pain of losing her, and accepting both his love and pain with complete dignity and honesty and in full awareness. Again, what a difference in maturity as opposed to how he fought to get Stacy to cheat on Mark with him and then dump her husband!

    The only attempt House made at a “breaking them up” game with Lucas and Cuddy was in “Ignorance Is Bliss” – and they were very lame attempts. House is a mastermind when it comes to manipulation, but his heart just wasn’t in it that time. I am certain that he accurately perceived the unacceptable gap between the depth and the intensity of his love for her, and those “dirty” games designed to “fool” her into coming back to him. And indeed, of what value is a decision that is based on manipulation? Of what value would it have been, if Cuddy had decided to leave Lucas based on something that House forced her to do, or something he said or did, instead of it being her own decision, made out of self-awareness and acceptance of who she is – and she is the woman who loves House organically, just as deep and as grand as he loves her?

    His reaction to her walking into that bathroom made perfect sense for me – first, because he was emotionally devastated and drained, and lacked the energy for grand emotional reactions. Second, because it made perfect sense that Foreman told her about House’s state and she came to stop him from doing smth stupid – it made sense, it is Cuddy-ish, but in that extraordinary night, the ordinary things we expected from her are not true – she had not spoken to Foreman, she had left the hospital and even if he called her, she was probably too caught up in her discussion with Lucas to pick up. And third, he is sitting on that floor, lost in his pain and revery – what is he thinking about? Hannah, Vicodin, Cuddy. The real Cuddy that he lost, and the hallucinated Cuddy that made him the happiest man on Earth in his bathroom scene of the morning after, in BSN. Obviously, the hallucination is so fresh and powerful in his mind (finally alone in the appartment where it happened, after a whole year), that her presence there feels like a natural prolongation of it. He mentions it to her twice – first with the “leap across the room” line, which is a direct referrence to what happened on that very same floor in his hallucination, and with his final question to her, about whether he could allow himself to feel his mind-blowing happiness – again, the fear of deception, the fear of it not being “real”, the need of confirmation that he is loved for exactly who he is (“i am the most screwed up person in the world” – are you sure you know that, are you sure you can love me for who i am?) and that what he is living is true and real in every possible way.

    On how she entered the appartment – for God’s sake, the door was open (and viewers that comment on other sites are waaaaaaaaaaay too keen on finding proof of the “shark jumping” and whatever other bullshit criticism they invent…)! House entered the appartment and left the door wide open – it is a clear image of the light from the building’s hallway lighting up the hall of the appartment, while House walks into the bathroom – he never closes the door and the only light he turns on in the appartment is the one above the mirror.

  • Greenhouse–I would think he does use them–but far, far less than he suggests in his projected image (which as we all know is such a smoke screen!)

  • Greenhouse

    @RAK: House is so used to having Wilson and Cuddy interfere with his life that he wasn’t surprised to see her. He thought, as he said, that she was here to “supervise him”, prevent him from harming himself by taking drugs or not taking care of his wound.

    Thanks again, Barbara, for giving us new things to ponder about House, another axis of analysis!! It is always a pleasure to see things as a whole and you always manage to bring forward new things about House.

    I appreciated as always everybody’s comments. To just quote a few:
    @Jaim : “It’s sweet how young they can become when they are vulnerable to one another…”
    Yes, they do look like teenagers on a first date…
    @orange : “kissing with his mind”, Rhett …

    But I must disagree about one point. “House makes it well known that he uses “working girls” to fulfill his sexual urges.”
    I may be naive and too much of a romantic myself, but I don’t believe House has used hookers except that one time in season 2 “Distractions”.

    First of all, this whole article is proof enough. Having a relationship, contact, kissing etc… is much too important for him. It seems to me he is too much of a romantic to want to do it with a stranger, to let a stranger (physically) touch him in any kind of way… We have seen how “touching” is important on House.
    Secondly, in one of the first episodes, we hear him say to cuddy when coming back to the hospital “hooker went to my office instead of my house”. We know this isn’t true. It could be every time he speaks of hookers, it is not true. It is just a mask being which he hides his romantic side. He wants to show people he doesn’t care, he’s not romantic, by openly talking about hookers.
    Thirdly, he really seemed uncomfortable in season 2 Distractions when he called a hooker, after Wilson told him to get over Stacy…
    I have yet to hear David Shore or Katie Jacobs confirm he regularly goes to hookers. (There are other ways to deal with abstinence…)

    Re “Cameron kiss” :
    I am sorry for House/Cameron fans but I have never seen an attraction for Cameron by House. He just seems to like analysing her and pushing her buttons. For me, this is what when on in his mind during that kiss :
    “lets see what she’s up to…..huh? she finally dared touch/kiss me?…..oh well, might as well enjoy it, it’s been a while…..AHA! Gotcha!”

    But hey, that’s just my opinion!

  • RAK

    OK guys, I DO see your points! I wonder what the writers have in store for these two. Hopefully it will NOT be lovey-dovey, but snarky, intense, and fun.

  • Just got to a place enroute to respond. IMHO, by the time Cuddy got to House (hours later is my guess), House is so depressed he’s in tears. He has just lost a patient with whom he had not only done everything “right” but with whom he had deeply connected. His flat affect, I’m pretty sure has to do with his likely belief that Cuddy was there simply to make sure he hand’t done anything self-destructive or stupid. He knows she wants nothing more to do with him, and the last thing he needs is for her to come in and either pity him or lecture him. He has no hope–and he dare not hope. So he comes up with any other reason. House is at a very low low. There would be no sparkle in his voice or eyes, no snap, no snark.

  • savtaof5

    I definitely agree that they spoke or connected with their eyes.

  • RAK

    savtaof5: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on this! I saw all the things you did, but still found his reaction strange.

    True, they didn’t actually “speak” to each other again, but they sure spoke with their eyes right before the amputation, later when the husband of the patient told his wife that he didn’t care about her leg, he loved her, and again when House entered the ambulance.

  • savtaof5

    RAK – House did ask Cuddy why she was there when he asked her whether Foreman sent her to bandage his shoulder or whether she came to yell at him again. Then he told her he was running out of ideas. His voice was flat, he was not warm and friendly or teasing or relating in any of the ways they always did. She already yelled at him and told him to move on and that she had had it with him, that she was done. They didn’t speak again after the amputation.

  • RAK

    savtaof5: Your explanation makes sense, he was spent and emotionless, but in walks the person he’s been yearning for and is sure he’s lost and he doesn’t wonder why she’s there? I may be alone on this, but I found it strange.

    I also think it’s interesting that twice when House and Cuddy kiss, she looks less than her usually gorgeous self!

  • savtaof5

    RAK – I interpreted House’s expression as one of numbness and despair to the point where he was on the brink of putting those vicodin in his mouth. I don’t think he had enough emotion left in him to register surprise. He was too drained.
    When he questioned Cuddy about her reason for being there, his voice was flat. When he stated that the downside to taking the vicodin didn’t look too bad, he showed how drained he was.
    I absolutely think House loves Cuddy without the need of a win over Lucas. He has had a thing for her for years. There are too many examples in too many episodes to choose one for this posting. Suffice it to say, he is drawn to her, connected emotionally, needs her emotionally and wants her. It is Cuddy who appears in his unconscious reveries both when he was hallucinating in his addicted state at the end of season 5 and at the end of season 4 after the bus crash. We are given no reason to question or doubt this in any episode or any piece of dialogue.

  • RAK

    Hi again. Blacktop, I agree with your analysis, but I think I did not express myself clearly. I understand why House was shocked at Cuddy’s breaking it off with Lucas. After several months of trying to win her over, he believed that he had failed. My question is, given that he believed he was now alone, why wasn’t he surprised to see her when she walked in? His face registered no surprise at all.

    Clearly when she told him at the disaster site that she didn’t love him, she was speaking more to herself than to him, trying to convince herself that it was true. I’m still not totally convinced that House loves Cuddy as much as she loves him. It’s also interesting that it took Lucas as a rival to even get him to really go after her. Was he really hoping to win, or was he secretly hoping to fail so it could reinforce his view of life?

  • simona

    @39 – blacktop
    Thanks for the kind explanation, I could never link the phrase to Othello because I have not read it in English :-).
    So House a tragic hero as the Moor of Venice, fine connection. I suppose that the bigger House’s challenge of next season will be finding the right balance between reason and feelings, emotions and rationality, “sense and sensibility” (as wrote my beloved Jane Austen). For him this is probably the challenge of his whole life, what has screwed him up: not to succumb to the dark forces that sometimes suck him through a universe of pain, using the instinct of survival that allowed him to finally seek help. I hope with all my heart that he will win this battle…even if it were to serve more than one season :-))
    After all this is the battle that each of us, with different hues, fights every day and it is quite certainly the reason why House fascinates me so deeply.

  • blacktop

    @simona, sorry for having quoted from Shakespeare without using the appropriate punctuation.

    The line is from the final speech of Othello just before he stabs himself to death. The Moor, attempting to explain but not justify, his murderous attack on his beloved wife Desdemona tells the horrified onlookers: “Then must you speak
    Of one that loved not wisely but too well…”

    I think Othello means that he killed his wife in a fit of rage that stemmed from his overwrought jealousy; he loved her deeply but with a passion that took away his usual reason and rationality.

    Similarly, I think that House is afraid to let loose his deepest emotions precisely because they tend to overpower his intellect and separate him from his wisdom.

    He is a man fearful of loving well but not wisely.

  • simona

    @34 – Jaim
    I really liked this passage in your comment: “…When I saw him wear it in Joy and in the Itch he seemed like a James Dean character going to see the girl of his dreams, the girl that sees past his facade, and wants him anyway. In addition, Cuddy’s dressed down clothes and scrubs in each kissing scene suggest that her own meticulous facade of perfection and woman in charge appearance goes out the window when House invades her emotional space…They never look more like two lost youths holding out for their true loves, than in these two kissing scenes. It’s sweet how young they can become when they are vulnerable to one another…”
    I had never thought about that before, really beautiful words! Love is ageless :-))

    @30 – savtaof5
    “…Sometimes the lack of dialogue or explanation is actually more powerful and interesting than the other way around…”
    I agree and probably this is why we all write these rivers of words, the mystery helps speculation…

    @37 – blacktop
    Sorry but English is not my first language. What exactly do you mean writing this phrase “House was shocked because he loves not wisely but too well” ?

    P.S. and just to share my drama: I have given (temporarily!!!) my first two seasons DVD to a friend. The result: she is becoming addicted and I’m eating my hands because currently I can’t re-watch them. sigh

  • blacktop

    @RAK, welcome and thanks for your astute contribution. As for your question about why House would be so shocked when Cuddy declared she had broken her engagement with Lucas, I think the answer lies in savta’s excellent analysis above: House is usually highly aware of Cuddy’s moods and developments in her personal life.

    But this time, due in large part to the extremity of the external crisis and his own emotional turmoil, House was off base and out of touch with Cuddy. He couldn’t figure her out, could not guess where she was in her relationship with Lucas. House even called Wilson to dig for more information on Cuddy and Lucas (a perfect parallel to his similar action in “Broken” when House phoned Wilson to find out info with which to blackmail Dr. Nolan).

    It has been established throughout the series that House is a master of detection of other people’s lies — as long as those people are patients or otherwise emotionally distant from him. But when it comes to Wilson and Cuddy — the people he cares most about — House’s solid instinct for dispassionate analysis breaks down and he is unable to know when they are deceiving him.

    For instance, House did not know when Wilson and Cuddy conspired to trick him by lying about his patient after the ketamine experiment. He did not know when Wilson was bluffing at poker or that Wilson had started an affair with his cancer patient in “House vs. God.”

    House was genuinely surprised and moved when Cuddy lied for him on the witness stand to save him from Tritter’s persecution. House was tricked by Cuddy with the fake morphine injection and again with the fake flu injection that knocked him out and enabled Wilson to take him to his father’s funeral against his will. Again and again, we have seen that House is exposed to the deceptions of his closest friends because he is rendered vulnerable by his emotional commitment.

    So at the disaster site in “Help Me,” when Cuddy said she did not love him, House accepted her word as truth and forgot his own core mantra: Everybody Lies.

    In last season’s finale, the audience was made to experience the rollercoaster ride of House’s detox and ecstatic affair with Cuddy and the shock of his ultimate disillusionment right along with him.

    Similarly in this season’s finale, we were jolted and rocked along with House on the emotional turbulence of losing Cuddy’s love, plunging into deepest despair, only to then experience the almost overwhelming exhilaration of discovering that we were wrong to believe her lie and right to hold onto hope.

    House was shocked because he loves not wisely but too well.

  • RAK

    I just found this site today and for House “nuts” it’s a real treat!
    I very much enjoyed the last episode of this season, but one thing puzzled me. House didn’t appear to be at all surprised to see Cuddy when she suddenly appeared in his apartment. But he WAS shocked when she told him she ended it with Lucas. Anyone have any thoughts about this?

    I’m happy to see that most folks here (unlike on other fora) do not dwell on minutia like “How did Cuddy get into his apartment”? “Why are House’s crew allowed to break into patients’ houses?” This is NOT real life. No hospital would hire
    a doctor like House, or an administrator like Cuddy. It’s a TV drama about a fictional character and what happens to him at work and in life over the years. Most of the stories and the characters are interesting enough to us to want to invest our time watching and discussing it. That’s all. It’s not World War 3!

  • ilovehuddy

    As always, Barbara, you never fail to put into intricate words the essentialities within every line of the show’s plot. I always find it a habit to read all your articles about House. I’ve been a fan of the show since my first year in college, as well as the inexplicably great tandem of House and Cuddy. I’ve never been the one to post a comment on forums and now I’m doing it! [big sigh] True love is in the air, indeed, after watching the finale. It really paid off for the two dysfunctional persons at last!

    P.S. I would love to have a copy of your Chasing Zebras. [Am really not an affcionado, am i?] haha!

  • Jaim

    It’s funny, whenever I see House in his motorcycle jacket I imagine him as the rebellious youth that he probably was in his teen years. When I saw him wear it in Joy and in the Itch he seemed like a James Dean character going to see the girl of his dreams, the girl that sees past his facade, and wants him anyway. In addition, Cuddy’s dressed down clothes and scrubs in each kissing scene suggest that her own meticulous facade of perfection and woman in charge appearance goes out the window when House invades her emotional space. They know who each other really are although neither will ever openly admit this truth. They never look more like two lost youths holding out for their true loves, than in these two kissing scenes. It’s sweet how young they can become when they are vulnerable to one another.

    I think House is a man who is all in when it comes to love. There is no ‘open’ relationship or ‘friends with benefits’ for him. He wants all of a woman because frankly he’ll give her all of himself once allowed the chance. Ironically, for a man who never seems to know his worth he demonstrates a great amount of self-esteem in this regard. He wouldn’t let Stacy pretend to her husband that she hadn’t cheated with House nor be her secret affair, stating, “You can either have a life with me or have a life with him. But you can’t have both. It’s not easy but it is simple”. Furthermore, he wouldn’t start a relationship with Cameron because he couldn’t fully reciprocate the feelings. He also refused to accept an only friends connection with Cuddy in The Choice. He makes clear is personal beliefs and won’t accept less than the purest and most honest love capable.

  • rsg

    I’ve been re-watching season one since this last season has ended. Now with all this great discussion about House’s kissing scenes, I now want to just go through and watch all those episodes together. Of course now since season 6 has ended, I can’t wait to re-watch it with better episode continuity. Yikes! I guess I’ll be ok on this season 6-7 break after all:) Lots to re-watch.
    Barbara thanks so much for yet another well written, insightful and entertaining House analysis. This is really the best forum out there!

  • savta–you are right on the money with all you say. The absences (as annoying as they were) had meaning. The long hiatuses really, really detracted from the show’s narrative flow. Really. Watching season six again end to end is a whole new experience. I had to do it to finish the book (yeah, I know it’s a hard job watching all those House eps, but hey, someone has to!) I would recommend it to everyone (watching end to end, not writing a book :))

  • Kudos 21

    Great article Barbara and comments everyone : ))

    I totally agree with Orange450 about House kissing with his mind not only his mouth.
    He is so selfless in the way he kisses, the initial sweet little nips being his way of figuring out what the woman wants before proceeding.
    I couldn’t have voted because i love the kiss with Stacy Cuddy (in Help Me)and the Lydia scene equally.

    I enjoyed your article (Barbara) where Katie Jacobs stated that House is as romantic as he is wounded and that is part of the trouble or words to that respect. I know he claims that actions mean everything and i have loved how they have subtly expressed this side of him through the way he kisses and the ocassional grand romantic gesture but i am hoping they are able to open him up to some verbal declaration (to Cuddy)in season 7.

  • savtaof5

    Barbara, your analysis deserves much praise as do the insightful comments of the many contributors to this discussion. As always, I have found it fascinating to read your posts and learn from you and all the contributors. This was no light summer piece but an interesting analysis of House’s romantic side as expressed by his kisses.

    So many of the posts have discussed House the romantic as reflected in his kisses. I don’t remember anyone raising House’s intimate awareness of his two main romantic interests, Stacy and Cuddy in any of the posts.
    In “Who’s Your Daddy” or one of the other related episodes about Cuddy’s desire to become pregnant, her fertility and sperm donors, House recited all he knew through his observations about Cuddy’s cycle, when she was ovulating, where she sat when at lunch at different points in her month, exhibiting a total knowledge and awareness of the most intimate details of her very being.
    Throughout the episodes, and especially noticeable in “5 to 9”, House was aware of where Cuddy was all the time. He suddenly appeared wherever she was hiding out trying to collect herself and marshal her thoughts and her courage.
    He also seemed to be aware of where she was holding emotionally, hence the calls to Wilson about her new house and her plans with Lucas. Part of his shock when Cuddy told House about her engagement, in no small part, was due to his awareness of her connectedness to him, if that makes any sense.
    Whenever there were interactions between them, it felt as if they were in the middle of an intimate conversation. Perfect examples of this can be seen at the beginning of “Help Me” when House helped Cuddy finish dressing to go to the accident site and in an early season 6 episode when House was on grand rounds to make up his hours to get his license back, he and Cuddy were having a heated discussion outside a patient’s room. The residents in the room, witnessing this interaction comment and one says to the other, “that’s not an argument, that’s foreplay.”

    In “Failure to Communicate”, House and Stacy are stranded in the airport and he doesn’t stop hammering at her, trying to find out what’s wrong; why her cross isn’t around her neck and her makeup is different, with a different lipstick color. He is so bothered b/c he understands that something had to be wrong since her regular morning routine from which she doesn’t deviate has somehow gone off kilter. He is trying to elicit some concession from her that she and Mark are having problems, all based on his knowledge of these intimate details of her life and personal routines. Of course, this is based on his having lived with her for five years.

    I agree with Simona. I never thought House had any serious relationship or enough interest in Cameron to collect and store such intimate details of who she is. He might have been drawn to her slightly, because of her need to heal him as a damaged person but there was no chemistry and no attention to those intimate details that distinguished his interest in Cuddy and Stacy. I just don’t think he was interested or cared enough to absorb that information.

    I feel it is important for me to address all those who felt that Season 6 was weak or that some of the episodes were lacking. I have read many posts about this season here and on other blogs.
    Many have written and analyzed the long absences of interactions between House and Cuddy. The writing for House is so subtle and nuanced that it is important not only to see what is written but what is not written, what is only briefly hinted. Sometimes the lack of dialogue or explanation is actually more powerful and interesting than the other way around.
    The frequent extended breaks between episodes interrupted the viewers’ concentration and ability to link those brief hints or to make sense of them at all. It was really difficult to understand what we were seeing with the breaks in continuity we experienced. I am sorry for all of the posters on a number of sites who didn’t get it; the hints, the connections, the innuendo and so much more. The writing and acting continued to be superlative throughout. (IMHO)

  • ann uk

    What an extraordinary drama ” House ” is. It manages to avoid all the cliches of ” lurv ” as usually presented on TV which always tumbles into either sentimentallity or sexual acrobatics. The very restraint of the writing and acting concentrate such a powerful emotional charge that one is moved as by the presence of love in all its profundity.All the acting is great , but the perceptiveness and truthfulness of Hugh Laurie’s performance always astonishes me.

    I hope that series seven will explore what must be a complex and difficult relationship even now – House’s problems go deep and can’t be magiced away by a kiss, however satisfying .

    I hope that his relationship with his mother and his real father will be explored too.

    Thanks again, Barbara for your comments which always add to my understanding of the story. Can’t wait to get your book.

  • Lindy

    Very nice article there. Such a good read. Can hardly wait to see how the Huddy relationship goes in season 7

  • simona

    Thanks barbara for the beautiful article and all for lovely comments too.
    I also agree that House not only kisses with mouth but also with his mind and heart: a soul kiss. Exciting, touching, meaningful and complete, he makes love with his mouth. I saw this specificity in every kiss when he established an affective relationship, throughout all the seasons (except Cameron, I’m sorry but I never felt House emotionally involved with her). The kiss is used by him as the first vehicle to get in touch emotionally with a woman, much more than sex and this strikes me as a female characteristic, and perhaps for this reason is enjoying such great feedback from all of us (I don’t know if we’re all women to comment here but I’d also like to know the opinion of men about kissing meaning).
    My feeling is also that House has never kissed the hookers who attended in recent years and the parallelism that came to my mind is with “Pretty Woman” (well, I really like Richard Gere’s kisses): when for the first time Gere and Julia Roberts make sex, both say that they do not kiss anyone on the lips, because the kiss requires an emotional involvement much more powerful than sex. At the end, when she wakes him up and they exchange a kiss….that kiss in my opinion is one of the most exciting ever seen and reminds me to Help me: a kiss of mutual discovery.
    The “kissing House” is naked, exposed and unarmed, always: when he does it with some surprise (Broken) or urgently (Joy) or in overwhelming (the hallucination) or with caution and circumspection (Help me). And I liked all these ways of kissing.
    The fanvideo “three kisses” is fantastic and I fear it will be a long hot summer, season 7 will never start too early……..

  • Rebecca

    Thank you Barbara! I really enjoyed your article and everyone’s comments.
    Now I find myself in the… obligation of revisiting all those moments. And since it would be impossible to fully appreciate them out of context I am afraid I shall have to re-watch Seasons 1-6.

    @ Blacktop, Barbara and Orange450
    How beautifully said..
    “armoured completely in his characteristic multiple layers” (Blacktop #8)
    “Hands are important because they break past barriers when used gently” (Barbara #9)
    “He is kissing with his mind” (Orange #11)

  • artificialintelligence

    Nice bit of summer reading during the long, agonizing wait for September. It’s interesting to examine all of his kisses and I’ve done so myself recently. I think my least favorite kiss was with Lydia. And it was very hard, more than I realized it would be, to pick which House and Cuddy kiss I liked the best. I was thinking after I had watched all of them about how unique each kiss House and Cuddy had was. And I think that part of it must be the writing and the other great acting on Hugh and Lisa’s part. I understand that Hugh is very meticulous about everything he does in a script-so of course he would be in this too. I’m really glad of this. I’ve noticed that on other shows that I watch the kissing isn’t half as good as they manage to make it. I really think that Huddy puts any other show’s couples to shame in the kissing department. Kind of makes me proud to be a fan of a show that is so careful to get even this detail right.

  • TVTherapy

    Kissing with his mind. And who said he was the thinking woman’s sex symbol? It all makes sense now…

    Barbara, I loved this article. And it wasn’t just summer fluff. It was a nice look at how everything in this show of ours is purposeful. Also hadn’t thought of the hands until you just wrote about it in the comments. Hearkens back to the ass grab defense in “Half-Wit” too.

    There’s no doubt House’s kissing was discussed and each kiss I’ve studied too. He’s a tease! And I think part of it is for his partner to torture them and part of it is self-preservation. He can’t be all the way in unless he’s sure of the person on the other end, and that’s one of the reasons he kisses so gently and tentatively.

    What I loved about the kiss in “Help Me,” (at least one of many things) is that he opened his eyes first after the first kiss between them. LE and HL are amazing actors. If you pay special attention to their eyes, which we get nice close-ups of, they change drastically from the first moment where she walks in, to the kissing.

    I love how you can tell she’s smiling with her eyes (yes, I sound like Tyra Banks) and I love House’s look to her when they pull away from each other. He’s watching, waiting for her reaction. He wants to watch her enjoy this.

    I’ve read that LE says it wouldn’t be the show if it ended with the two of them together happily, but what if that is the path he’s on? I know he’s a tragic hero, but I can’t help but think that this journey of one man isn’t just about him anymore.

    I may have way too much time on my hands once this show goes off the air (eek, I can’t even mention it without cringing.)

    Anyone on twitter? Follow me on @TVTherapy. And let me know who you are so I can follow you!

    Us House scholars need to stick together.

  • Beckston

    I loved the article Barbara, and enjoyed everyone’s comments. House as a romantic is presented so subtly and seen so rarely that I don’t think the casual viewer even believes it. We know otherwise.

    I sometimes wonder if House’s gentle kisses betray is own lack of self worth, as if he can’t believe that someone could actually love him. The kiss with Cameron was the only “real” kiss which was not tentative. He knew that Cameron thought she loved him. It was for all the wrong reasons and it was not reciprocated. He was kissing her only with his mouth and not with his mind (nice observation Orange). It was a good kiss, but totally lacking in emotion.

    Thank you so much for this article Barbara. I hope you have some other article ideas to help us through the summer hiatus.

  • Sera G.

    Dear Barbara,
    Thank you for another beautifully articulated article on KISSES! I loved it.
    I agree, it is through his kisses that House allows his inner man to emerge.
    Although I went along for the Cameron ride while it was going on, I found his kiss with her awkward. Perhaps it was me feeling awkward; as I really thought after Stacy she seemed so young, naive and wrong for him.
    I am spending the summer rewatching (for the 4th time!) from Pilot forward. I will keep your observations in mind.
    I wrote, perhaps clumsily, on an earlier post that I thought the shot of the intertwined hands at the end of S6 to be a powerful and significant symbol. They did not end with House/Cuddy kissing, or embracing or walking out of the bathroom. Those intertwined hands are as you say
    a sign of their solidarity.
    I am in no hurry for the summer to pass, but I can not wait to see what happens.
    Writers, please be kind! I can take trouble, I can take adjustment, but be fair!
    Looking forward to the Jesse interview.
    Again, Barbara, you are great!

  • DebbieJ–it’s always fun reliving these moments in House history! Thanks.

    I agree with you about Orange’s kissing with his mind comment. Yup.

  • Orange450

    @Delia_Beatrice Yet another significant similarity between Rhett Butler and House: both suffered emotional and physical rejection by authoritarian fathers! Hmmm. Coincidence? I’m beginning to wonder 🙂

    But while the similarities between the 2 male characters are evident, I’ve been enjoying some pleasant analysis as I try to articulate the profound differences between the 2 ladies. (Well, Rhett tells Scarlett to her face that she’s no lady, but that’s mere quibbling!)

    Perhaps they can be best summed up by another quote from GWTW, describing Scarlett: “to the end of her days she would never be able to understand a complexity.” Scarlett doesn’t have the gift of nuance. She sees the world in black-and-white. She has no self-awareness, no ability to understand her own motivations – and in this she is as unlike Cuddy as she can be!

    Which is why the Rhett/Scarlett and House/Cuddy relationships indeed share some of the attributes that you describe, but only on the surface. Because Scarlett is plagued by more than emotional immaturity. She is also psychologically and intellectually immature.

    A sad result, perhaps, of being forced into the common mold which young women of her time and place were expected to fit, regardless of their individual talents, abilities and proclivities. Unlike Cuddy – and other women of her generation – who happily are free to try and become “the first female and second youngest Dean of Medicine ever.. ” if that’s the direction in which they want to go.

  • DebbieJ.

    This article and comments have left me a puddle of goo! LOL

    Barbara, thank you for your [cough] selfless [cough] analysis. I’m sure this was such a hardship 😉 Seriously, though, I can only imagine the joy you had in gathering this all together. You’ve done an amazing job and I thank you.

    @Orange #11: “He is kissing with his mind, not just his mouth”

    I’ve just about came undone reading this line. It is so true and what makes him so damn sexually attractive.

    Will read the remaining comments tomorrow once I’ve recovered. 😉

  • Sdemar: Sigh is right. It was a beautifully acted moment–and whether it was spontaneous or highly thought out, it was quite perfect 🙂

  • sdemar

    Great analysis, Barbara. What I loved about the kiss in “Help Me” was that it wasn’t only House that was so gentle with the kiss but it was Cuddy, too. And I loved how Cuddy seemed to almost snuggle up to him when he kissed her the second time. I wonder how much thought HL & LE put into this? Something tells me while they were secretly holding onto the final scene, they were secretly discussing how they would play it. House and Cuddy realized how special that moment was, two vulnerable people, open & emotionally naked. It seemed they were gently holding onto that moment as something so special and didn’t want to fracture it in any way. Sigh.

  • Thanks Larissa. It’s always fun to peek beneath that curmudgeonly surface, isn’t it?

  • Larissa

    I really liked the way how you describe the scenes. We can see that House does care about love. He is not that miserable old man who hates everyone like a lot of people see him. Amazing Article! I can’t wait for Season 7 too! Thanks 🙂

  • Katie

    madfashionista, I agree about Wilson. Now that would be something that would actually make sense.
    My favorite kiss is definitely the House/Stacy one 🙂

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @ Blacktop: amasing insightful comment! Always a pleasure to read your thoughts:)

    @ Orange450: how lovely that you brought up Rhett Butler! Not only are there many, many similarities between him and House, but there are countless similarities between the Rhett-Scarlett relationship and the House-Cuddy one. The chemistry, the irreverent teasing, the irony, the bluntness, the truth naming, the denial, the intimacy, the incredible match in their ways of thinking. Rhett and Scarlett are essentially a couple who represent a match made in heaven for each other, just like House and Cuddy, but the difference is that they never manage to step out the narrow circle to which they are confined by their fears and emotional immaturity. They never give themselves a real chance, they never really express themselves in due time and they never meet on the same page, emotionally.

    And this brings me to the fact that, for the romantic side of me, “Help Me” represents a great gift. It is a sort of symbolic payback for every time I really adored an onscreen couple whose story ended sadly. The magical couples of “Gone With The Wind”, “Out Of Africa”, “The English Patient”, “In The Mood For Love”, “L’Amant”, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”, “The Great Gatsby”, “The End Of The Affair”, to name just a few of my favorites, by their own faults or by destiny’s cruel hand, never got to live a moment in which they celebrate their love the way House and Cuddy did and will. A moment of complete truth, a moment of full self-awareness and openness, a moment of shared celebration of each other in the light of the acknowledgement of their fundamental place in each other’s life. It is a beautiful thing, to see such a complicated and compelling love story being given such a perfect resolution.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Barbara, this is an excellent, touching look at the romantic side of House. Which, just like you, I feel is of utmost importance and holds a huge potential. I am looking forward to seeing it being explored properly next season. House is, essentially, a romantic character by excellence: the tormented genius, the cynic with a good heart, the man who believes in absolute justice and responds with an absolute refusal to any sort of compromise, the man who is a slave to logic and reason, but who finds his greatest pleasure in the beauty of music, a man whose romantic commitment is absolute, whose fidelity to his beliefs is supreme, a man who can love a woman with incredible intensity.

    I have said this before, I am positive that the lack of House-Cuddy interactions in season 6 is premeditated. Just like Lisa Edelstein’s very subtle acting, giving away only the tiniest clues in regard to Cuddy’s doubts and inner torment, the way House and Cuddy stayed apart this season was the expression of their attempt to redefine their personal relationship and of the pain they both felt in interacting with each other, while House was tormented by the apparent lost love and Cuddy was torn between her natural responses to House, driven by her organic, unstoppable love for him, and her determination to attempt to fulfill her illusion of a more “normal” romantic and family life. It was only natural that none of them was capable of regular interactions – to pretend that they can maintain a purely professional relationship, was too much of an unrealistic effort. To try to be just friends, House justly refused such a compromise (what a deep change that marks in him, compared to how he was eager to trick Stacy into cheating on her husband with him, by getting closer to her under the mask of friendship!), while for Cuddy, it would have been very hard to keep her feelings under control if she allowed herself to get very close to him again. And to fall back into their old intimacy, with the accompanying flirtation and delightful tension, while she was still with Lucas, would have been diminishing to the deep nature of their emotional connection.

    I am also positive that, matching the delicacy and gratitude of his kiss, House will restrain himself from coming too strongly into Cuddy’s life, in general. These two people have awarded themselves a very precious and superb gift. They will try to cherish it with utmost care and delicacy. They both underwent a difficult journey of self-awareness, of truth-facing, of risk taking, of pain, loss and acceptance. They both went through emotional experiences that shaped them to be more capable to make a real relationship work (and this was the role of Lydia and Lucas in their lives). And they were forced to take a long, hard look at themselves, their bare souls, and understand and accept and act upon the undeniable fact that their love for each other is a part of themselves that they cannot live without – they were both mutilated while cutting off their organic connection. This is something neither of them will be careless about. This is it for both of them, their one, grand chance at being complete. They are both fully aware of it – this is the number one element that makes me believe that this relationship has a big chance at working.

  • Orange450

    There’s an observation that Rhett Butler makes to Scarlett at the very end of my perennial favorite, Gone With the Wind: “I could have loved you as gently and as tenderly as ever a man loved a woman.”

    (Interestingly, Rhett and House share several characteristics. Both are highly intelligent and perceptive, manipulative and influential. Both are independent iconoclasts with abrasive exteriors but sensitive interiors. Both can be unexpectedly kind. Neither suffers fools gladly. Both are larger than life!)

    Gently and tenderly – what perfect words with which to describe the kisses between House and Stacy, House and Lydia, and House and Cuddy in Help Me. And in each instance, it seems to me that House is revisiting an experience that he once held dear. He is tentative, almost thoughtful. It’s as if he has to reaquaint himself with something he once knew very well, but no longer does. (Even though he’s never kissed Lydia before, it seems to me that he’s remembering what is feels like to be close to a woman.) He is kissing with his mind, not just his mouth – very attractive and appropriate in someone labelled “the thinking woman’s sex symbol” 🙂 And not forgetting to give credit where credit is due – what amazing acting skills!

    Blacktop – in the “round two” scene, House kisses Stacy’s shoulder just before the scene fades. As unprotected and open as we’ve ever seen him, to your point 🙂

  • Jacquelyn

    Just one small comment for another very insightful analysis: I’m actually pretty surprised that House/Lydia didn’t get any votes. A die-hard House/Cuddy fan, at the time “Broken” aired (the first episode of House that I watched on the television itself, having only become addicted over Summer ’09), I really rejoiced for House in that episode. It felt like this huge step that he could become so emotionally vulnerable to someone he’d only met a short while ago, and to open himself up to Lydia. I really liked her, as brief as her appearance was.

    Of course, I still voted for the end scene of “Help Me” – if after watch House for one season it moved me like it did, I can only imagine how it was for fans who have been watching for six years. My House/Cuddy analysis has been condensed into a matter of months, and I was still moved to tears at such hesitancy, tenderness, and just how romantic that kiss was. As well, Cuddy really *did* save House in this moment – but it’s certainly not the first time, but how wonderful and life-affirming it must be to know that in your darkest moment, *someone* will be there for you. I think House will be able to come back to that moment for years to come.

    @blacktop, September indeed does seem so very far away! What to do in the meantime other than rewatch all of these fabulous scenes. 🙂

  • barbara barnett

    Blacktop–you’re right. And something else I just noticed: the hand holding at the very end. How completely a mirror image to “I think we should kiss”/boob grab of Let Them Eat Cake. They simple hold grasp each others’ hand. Other significant hand holding: end of Wilson’s Heart–and also in his delusion when he’s at his worst, she just says to him: here, hold my hand, as if that will make him safe and hurt less. Her hands touch his face at the end of Both Sides Now. Hands are important because they break past barriers when used gently and not agressively.

    Season seven anyone? Seriously, I can use this break to finish what I must.

  • blacktop

    Lovely article, Barbara. I find it so interesting that in all of these kisses that you have analyzed House has been fully clothed, not just wearing a t-shirt, but armoured completely in his characteristic multiple layers.

    The two real-life kisses with Cuddy have him sheathed in his iconic leather jacket, the ultimate depiction of House’s impenetrable barrier against deep emotion or revelation. The jacket, like House’s public persona, is dark, forboding, rigid, imposing and impregnable. In the hallucinated kiss in “Under my Skin” House rather violently works at taking off Cuddy’s jacket and blouse, but even in his own imagination he stays fully clothed, protected and unknowable.

    (The only time we have seen House in an erotic embrace without clothing was in bed and ready for round two with Stacy in “Need to Know.” Of course, then he just reaches for her with a smile, no actually kissing required.)

    I do think that the purpose of these kisses, like everything else in this carefully crafted show, is to explore another aspects of House’s character, style, or psyche.

    So the question for season 7 is whether House will truly reveal himself and thereby give himself to Cuddy, stripping away the symbolic as well as literal layers of clothing that have thus far blocked their contact and communication. A consummation devoutly to be wished, indeed.

    Ah, September seems so very far away!

  • barbara barnett

    hey Housecall. Glad you liked it. I’ll have to check out the “three kisses.” I guess after the finale kissing is on everyone’s mind 🙂

    I’d started writing this sometime during the spring and never got around to finishing it until last night. I’ve been on overload lately.

    Forgot to mention in the article, but I interviewed Jesse Spencer Friday. I’ll have that interview up by midweek.

  • Housecall

    Thank you, Barbara for a lovely little summer breeze of an article. Having recently placed the “Three Kisses” video on my site (done by a fan)those “kisses” were on my mind and I’m sure many others.

    It’s amazing to think that even a simple KISS is not something which hasn’t been thought out by HL and LE. In fact I wonder if they hadn’t thought about it (not practiced) these for quite some time.

    The importance and impact of these various kisses cannot be understated. Fans waited a very long time for the Stacy and Cam kisses.

    They waited for what seemed like an eternity for the last Huddy kiss- but it was worth it.
    It was as if the first was out of some obligation and pent up emotion, the second an assertive delusion and then we finally get it “just right”.

    I loved this article so much. Thank you!

  • Excellent article! I’ve always had the feeling that House is a big romantic but he keeps that side in the dark. In all the kisses we’ve seen with Cuddy, Lydia, Cameron and Stacy, you can clearly see that he’s a very passionate man, not only in his job but also in personal relationship. I find the combination of romantic and passionate really sexy

  • madfashionista

    Very thoughtful analysis, and probably why women find him so very sexy. He is sweetly passionate rather than aggressive, almost a woman’s fantasy of what that first kiss would be like. And yet it is completely in character, since emotional vulnerability is something House avoids like the plague.

    I too am writing a fic highlighting the romantic side of House, and it’s been highly enjoyable. Because it feels right.

    Now, if only he would kiss Wilson (in your dreams, babe). 🙂

  • andree

    Wonderful and thoughtful analysis of House, the romantic. It’s why we like him despite his attempts to be unlikable sometimes, blunt, ornery and even calloused. Still, his romantic nature and vulnerability is what makes us wince when even his best pal insults him sarcastically by telling House his ‘normal’ self is an ass. Loved your assessment as usual. Nice work and great insight. Thanks!

  • EnglishRoseLvr

    Lovely Barbara! Just the kind of romantic breeze I needed right now. I would like your opinion on something we are debating on our forum. Do you think that House and Cuddy will move in together, or do you think they will wait? Knowing House’s history on this (Stacy within 5 days, asking Cuddy the next day after his delusion), do you think it will repeat itself?

  • Steph

    Thank you, Barbara, great to have your thoughts regarding all those wonderful kisses! Now I’m in the mood of watching them all over again.

    As I’m currently writing a fic dealing with the more romantic streak of House, this certainly gave me something to think about as well.