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Ending Season Three With a Bang? An Interview with House Writer Lawrence Kaplow

Lawrence Kaplow is obstinately tight-lipped about the House season three finale, scheduled to air May 29. He does reveal that he co-wrote it with Thomas Moran; that the teaser was conceived before the rest of the episode, shot before the episode was fully written, and took considerable preparation, special effects, and stunt men; that executive producer Katie Jacobs, who'd directed for the first time on the Kaplow-penned "Half-Wit," was directing this one, too; and that the rest of the episode started filming on Friday.

But will he give me any hints what it's about? "I don't think I should." Will it end on a cliffhanger? "Hmmm." Does someone shoot House? "I think fans will be pleased."

So what did I get out of him? About that intricate teaser: "It's not insane, like Mars blows up, but for our show, it's big."

I ponder the headline "Mars Does Not Blow Up in House Finale" as an a propos line from the last episode runs through my head: "I asked you what two plus two equals, and a day later you tell me 'not 25.'"

Perhaps my tactical error was to beg for details while warning him repeatedly that I hate spoilers. Hard to say, though.

Write What You Know: "There are aspects of all our personalities that we give to House."

"You have to understand: Shore is House," Kaplow says, explaining the sense of humour of show creator David Shore, and, therefore, of his indelible character. "It's not even sarcasm, it's just truth, it's painful truth, maybe an exaggeration of reality."

But not surprisingly, Kaplow seems to have a Housian streak of his own. Stubbornness might be part of it. So might sarcasm.

When our interview is scheduled for 9 p.m. on a Tuesday, he asks if I have TiVo. My way-too-literal, brand-phobic brain answers: "Yes. Well, the Canadian version." His reply: "Canadian TiVo … what's that, a VCR?" He toys with me as I flounder in trying to frame a question about his string of addiction-exploring episodes. He mocks me for asking him to recall the early days, "like we were on in 1947." And, as with House's wit, it kept me laughing on a Tuesday evening.

Yet he reveals a humility and humanity that House would scorn, and that even causes Kaplow some lighthearted self-flagellation. He worries he's heightened my expectations after that finale build-up. "I hope you're not going to say, 'Oh my God, he could have told us this, because this sucks.'"

I ask him about the career-escalating year-and-a-half since our last interview, a period that saw him win a Writers Guild Award for "Autopsy" and sign a development deal with 20th Century Fox.

"I was surprised anyone was aware of me. I keep my head down and I am truly interested in the work I do. I have such a good time doing it. I am so happy doing it." He pauses. "That sounds so Pollyanna. Kill me."

Fiction Versus Reality: "This is when real life and our TV show intersect, and you're floored."

He even berates himself for digressing after he tells me the most touching and insightful anecdote of the interview.

"We get excited when we find a really bad disease. We're happy. We're saying 'Oooh, someone's spleen can fall out their eyeball. That's fantastic. And it strikes children. This is so cool!' Because for us, it really is great to find something that plays on all those emotions," he starts. "But there are real people out there with real diseases, the ones that are on the show, and then we get letters saying thank you."

About Diane Kristine Wild

  • http://blogcritics.org/ Phillip Winn

    Even this interview made me laugh. Wow, well done!

    I’m really not all that much for spoilers; I prefer to let the episodes come as they do. But now you’ve got even me wondering about the finale. Argh!

  • http://tvandfilmguy.blogspot.com TV and Film Guy

    Congratulations! This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net, which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States.

  • Corien

    Whoo!! It’s here!

    This is one great second interview with my favorite House-writer (huh, he didn’t think anyone noticed? though admittedly he shares that first place with David Shore), and I am so very happy that you are as big of a spoiler-phobe as I am.

    I could read this without having to screen for possible spoilers at the same time.
    (I’ve gotten better at closing my eyes very fast – it’s a Pavlov thing – so I only catch half of a spoiler and still remain somewhat clueless.)

    Only now I really really am looking forward to the finale. (Mars not blowing up..does that mean something else probably will??)
    And the rest of Season 3 for that matter.
    And at the same time I don’t because, well,a long House-less summer will follow.
    So, when will they start writing on Season 4?

    Anyway, it’s great to see certain things confirmed, and have some new information added.
    I’m going to read this again. A bit slower this time around.

  • BoffleB.

    Great interview, Diane, as always! So Kaplow says House really doesn’t have a heart of gold? And a thousand fanfics sputter and die, only to be resurrected with someone seeing even deeper into his careworn heart yet again…

    BTW, that’s just the right amount of spoiler for me, though you may have given it away at the end there: so House gets the superpower to blow up the earth and does! That would be awesome. And the new show will be called Anti-Heroes!

    Did you get any sense of whether Kaplow will still be involved with House (writing an ep or two?) once his development deal kicks in?

  • http://unifiedtheorynothingmuch.blogspot.com Diane Kristine

    Thanks guys. Yeah, I’m begrudginly happy not to be spoiled. I guess. Boffle, I hope to soon pry some news out of him about the deal.

  • MD80

    I have a bad feeling about all this ‘Fans will be amused’ or something.I just hope it is not some sort of hookup between House and anyone else,even if for a short term.That would NOT be fun!
    Rest,I will be happy to see anything,whether it is Mars blowing up or Neptune!Or even Uranus(which has some relation to human anatomy).

  • http://unifiedtheorynothingmuch.blogspot.com Diane Kristine

    It’s hard to imagine the hook up that requires special effects and stunt men, but I guess anything’s possible.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    If House got his leg amputated that would amuse me as an occasional viewer, already tired of the show. The guy’s a genius because he guesses everything else but the right answer? Oh and he’s sympathetic because he’s an addict? Oh and half of what he says would get him fired in a New York minute, but he’s a genius so all is gorgiven. It’s circular and it doesn’t work for me, but then I’m just me, one viewer among millions. :-)

    There’s some touching moments to the show but most of them are so contrived they fail to emote.

    - Temple

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    !@#$% I meant to add good brief interview, and I don’t like most TV shows as I find it impossible to view them without the veil of real life, so I’m not the typical viewer.

  • Grace

    I disagree with him. I think House does have a good side. I saw it with Stacy and lots of other times.
    I hope season 4 will be better than season 3. I wasn’t that impressed…..especially not with the Tritter arc and the rehab stuff. And I hate the House/Cuddy House/Cameron thing. Neither one is the right person for House.
    Just tell stories like in season one. Don’t make House suffer anymore than he already does.
    BTW, I LOVE this show and NEVER miss it.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh

    Great job, as always, Diane.

  • Elyn

    Great interview! I never really like reading a whole interview, but this one was quite entertaining.

    Can’t wait til the season finale! I’m a spoiler-loving fan and I’m still looking around for anymore possible spoilers for the ending. I never miss an episode! I love this show!

  • NLP

    I don’t “hope” Season 4 will be better than Season 3 — by default, it’ll HAVE to be. I almost uniformly hated Season 3 for (a) the Tritter arc; (b) the addiction/rehab baloney; (c) turning Cameron into a b!tch; (d) having her soullessly hook up w/ that wombat; (e) by & large abandoning the relationship between House & Cameron that they –TPTB themselves! — spent the 1st 2 seasons slowly building; & (f) trying to put House w/ Cuddy in any way, shape, or fashion. Ick! Other than that, great season, guys!

  • http://unifiedtheorynothingmuch.blogspot.com Diane Kristine

    I think you’re watching a different show if you think they’ve been building to a House/Cameron climax. They’ve been playing with House/Cuddy since the pilot. They’re toying with both matchups while never committing to one (or all three, if you want to add Wilson into the mix).

  • http://unifiedtheorynothingmuch.blogspot.com Diane Kristine

    Grace, yeah, I don’t think he meant House doesn’t have a good side AT ALL, or that he doesn’t occasionally care about people. He was more reacting to the attitude in some fans that underneath it all, House is a nice guy and if only the right woman would come along, or if only he wasn’t in pain, his good heart would shine through (that’s gotta be the fanfic standard, right?). He’s a bastard with human emotion, but a bastard through and through. And I wouldn’t have it any other way – that’s part of what makes him such a great character.

  • d alper

    Best line ever in a TV series could possibly be: “…just because she’s a hooker does’nt mean she does’nt enjoy the sex!” Awesome, perfectly written, perfectly acted, directed and perfectly placed musical ending. My next CD purchase will be the compilation of that last haunting tune the show’s producers choose to close the episode as its finale. Great piece. Thx

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    House and Cameron should never, ever be put together seriously. It’s too gross to think about. He is way too old for her. But a House/Cuddy thing? That would be amusing to watch. Cuddy/Wilson would be kind of weird since they’re so similar in personality. I don’t think it would work out. But a House/Cuddy thing would be hot. Imagine the snarky banter they always have, but then they’d have lustful sex when they go home. Yowza.

  • Kinema

    To the person who referred to Chase as “that wombat”, incase you didn’t know the actors who play Chase and Cameron are in a relationship in real life, hence the Cameron/Chase relationship going atm i guess…

  • Lakpops

    House/Cameron relationship would be MUCH better for the show. Unfortunately since Chase and Cameron are together in real life, that might be the route they’ll take :/