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From “No Reason” to the End of Season Six: House’s Journey

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I was watching the USA Network House marathon yesterday (not that I haven’t already seen every episode at least 10 times—or more), trying to figure out if there was any theme to the seemingly random array of episodes. But something occurred to me as I watched “No Reason,” the season two finale, shown just before “House Divided,” a late season five offering.

In “No Reason,” House’s (the ever-engaging Hugh Laurie) hallucinatory antagonist pointedly asks him, “Why do you want so hard not to be human?” It’s an incredibly sad question that House asks of himself (via his hallucination), and part of a series of difficult and introspective questions—and harsh decrees in the arguably most introspective episode of the entire series run.

We are now several seasons later and after being plagued by more hallucinations at the end of season five—and not the result of serious trauma this time—House made a decision to be “more human:” to try to feel, be social and not numb himself to a world in which he has no trust. Not that he had much of choice, of course, given the circumstances at the end of season five.

Being human has always been too much of a risk for House to take. I would speculate that time after time through his life, he has let down his guard—let his human side out of the closet—only to have his worst fears realized. It’s easier to deflect with sarcasm, pretend not to care, and put a big “keep out!” sign at the doorway to his heart. It’s easier for him to deny having any humanity at all (as he does so often, but no more poignantly than in “No Reason”). But you can only forestall emotions so long until they inevitably come flooding out wild and uncontrollably.

And when that happens to House at the end of season five, he once again suffers hallucinations. But, unlike his “No Reason” experience, these hallucinations are more self-destructive than self-exploratory; they torment him until he quietly becomes completely unhinged when reality comes crashing down around him. The one thing he could trust—his rational mind—was no longer trustworthy.

“What do I have?” he asks of Cuddy in his “No Reason” hallucination, believing that Cuddy traded his sharp, rational mind for a pain-free existence (without his consent). His mind is all he has; it’s all he is (in his mind). Losing that (as Wilson suggests in “Simple Explanation”) is probably House’s greatest fear. And while fear of intractable pain from his leg injury has driven so much of House’s life, fear of losing his mind trumps the pain by miles.

Having no choice by the end of season five, House puts himself into the hands of a perceptive and smart psychiatrist (Dr. Darryl Nolan, played by the fabulous Andre Braugher) who tells him that the only way to begin healing is to tap into his humanity, once again to begin trusting in the humanity of others. It’s a tall order for House, whose trust issues may well go back to his childhood.

But House allows himself to connect with another patient (Alvie) and then with the sister of another patient (Lydia) while in the safe cocoon of Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital with his therapist close by to help him deal with the inevitable emotional crises.

But by the beginning of the next episode (“Epic Fail”), House is back in his more familiar surroundings. And season six has been an exploration of how House has dealt with a new way of dealing with pain, depression and comprehending his own humanity.

House is certainly trying. He has tried to avoid the traps that led him to the “dark place” (as he calls it in “Epic Fail”) to the point of being hesitant to take his place as head of the diagnostics department. It hasn’t been a smooth ride for House, and may account for the season’s slightly off-kilter feel (in my opinion, anyway).

As far as we can see, House has been following his doctor’s instructions (more or less) by living with Wilson (although I long for him to return to his own apartment) to avoid the isolating effect of living alone, and living with more pain rather than resort to narcotics. House has also risked his heart only to be rejected (“Known Unknowns”), and after a half-hearted attempt to sabotage Cuddy’s relationship with Lucas, he backed off, letting their relationship be, realizing there’s little he can do at this point to win her back. (“Wilson”). But in “Remorse,” House saw a reflection of his self image in a psychopathic patient. It alarmed him when she saw him as a kindred spirit, someone like her, who eschews any sort of humanity.

House probably gives himself far less credit than he deserves (although he can be a complete and unmitigated jerk—and has at times since his release from Mayfield; to wit, his destructiveness in “Teamwork” regarding Chase and Cameron’s relationship). He has always performed anonymous and sometimes selfless acts for those around him. He has made grand and dramatically romantic gestures and has been a perceptive and wise advisor and advocate to his colleagues (most recently “5 to 9”) and his patients (and their families) over the years. House’s therapist asks him in “Broken” why he thinks people will like him less knowing the “real” House: why the smokescreen? The “real” House isn’t such a terrible person.

Part of House’s problem is that he’s handcuffed by his belief that words in and of themselves are meaningless: cheap and hollow gestures designed to make us feel good without having an impact on the victim. It’s something he’s talked about since the beginning of the series. And even after therapy, I’m not sure House really believes that words can heal (sometimes) as well as actions—and not everything has to be “fixed” to be put to rights. But he’s tried (and continues to try to try).

House has come a long way this season from the world-weary man who could barely force himself to enter a pub to schmooze with his fellows (season three’s “Half-Wit”). He’s gone speed dating; he’s taken cooking classes and danced with Cuddy. When Cuddy broke his heart in “Known Unknowns,” House acts like a grownup (well, after the aforementioned unsuccessful sabotage effort). Admitting to Wilson that he is far from “OK” with her rejection, House has chosen to move on rather than sink into a funk and numb himself with drugs—or worse.

Where will House end up by season’s end is anyone’s guess (if you haven’t read spoilers…and even then). As we wait for the season to start up again, I look forward to seeing where House’s journey takes him next. A big part of me keeps thinking of something David Shore (and Hugh Laurie) once said about the character: “two steps forward and three back”). And I think therein lies the biggest clue.

So? What do you all think? What fate is in store for our favorite anti-hero? (No spoilers, please.)

The next new House airs April 12 with “Lockdown,” directed by Mr. Laurie himself. He is also scheduled to appear on Jay Leno April 9.

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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)."
  • Zay

    I always read your blogs, Barbara, but it’s never occurred to me that I should comment. And as there aren’t any comments yet, I figure I should. I’m definitely a fan.

    This article was perceptive, as always, and makes me feel better that I’m not the only one slightly unnerved that this season feels so unsure and “off.” I think you’re right – the fact that House is still kind of finding his footing means that the show will feel the same way.

    All the same, I wish that could be better justified. I almost wish House would fall apart again. It feels like we still haven’t been privy to the full impact being institutionalized had on him. We’re just coasting right now, with the writing and the plots, focusing on everyone but House. If there was some scene, with or without other character witnesses, where we could see House even vaguely acknowledging his current state – piano, words, anything – I’d feel a bit better. Not sure if that made a lot of coherent sense, but there you have it.

    Anyway, I am absolutely DYING to see this new episode – Hugh Laurie directing, Jennifer Morrison returning, the formula-breaking layout – and, as ever, I can’t wait to read your take on that.


  • Val S

    Barbara–great food for thought as usual. I’ve certainly thought about this season during the–all too long–hiatuses.

    I touched upon this more in-depth on your fan page discussion so I will try and be brief. This season has felt a bit “off-kilter” to most everyone it sounds like, but for me it seemed off because House himself was a bit off. Seems he was processing Mayfield events all season and taking steps towards humanity all season…baby steps, as they liked to say. If the season could be a character, then season six is it.

    I saw ‘Paternity’ again the other day and House is quite different at this point than he was in the first season. Who knows if the final episodes will see more growth or regression. Really hard to guess at this point. If so, I hope it’s only baby steps back. The small steps he made this season are actually quite something when you compare him to a House of five or six years ago.

    V excited for the Laurie-helmed episode coming up! And, can’t wait for your take on it as well. Enjoying the fan page and can’t wait for Chasing Zebra…thanks for the explanation on that one 🙂

    I hope Mr. Laurie will also visit his pal on the Late Late Show very soon. They are always a riot together and HL always seems relaxed.

  • Josie


    I really enjoy your column. I more fully understand each House episode after reading what you have to say. I think what’s frustrating about this season is that House, the man, is stagnant. His only relationship is still with Wilson–no other friends, no love interests. He does his job, goes to therapy, and sits at Wilson’s home watching porn and the Discovery channel. He hasn’t even mended his relationship with his mother. I think Lockdown is going to shake things up. Hopefully we’ll see more of what’s happening inside House’s head. Hopefully, we’ll see more of House period–I’m getting a bit bored of the stories of the secondary characters.

  • Eileen

    Barbara, like Josie, I, too, enjoy your comments and explanations after each episode because they help me understand and see things that I didn’t quite see while watching the episode. That said, however, I feel this whole season has been relatively flat and unexciting (except for “5 to 9”). I am one of those people who really looked forward to seeing House move forward in a relationship with Cuddy this season. I so miss their back and forth teasing and bantering and feel that she really gets him as a person (at least the parts he’s willing to show). The special connection they share was completely underutilized this whole season! What a shame that Shore et al didn’t choose to go that route. As a fan, I waited five years to see something happen in that area, only to be sorely disappointed this season. I know that their relationship would be far from perfect (what relationship is for that matter!), but I think we could see a really interesting side of House if he and Cuddy would let each other into each ones’ hearts.

  • Liz

    This is again too Huddy focused for my liking. I was hoping (again) for a more neutral POV this time (have been a silent reader for a while) – for example, that also takes into consideration the hallucination in No Reason with Cameron (the sexiest of all hallucinations because it’s so subtle and emotional imo), but instead there’s only a focus on Cuddy (too much, it’s not all about Cuddy). Obviously only a POV a Huddy shipper can share. Sorry, I really like you’re style of wrting, but considering your Huddy-only POV I will step back from reading your blog again.

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks all for sharing your comments. Liz–I focused on the Moriarty hallucination for a reason (so to speak). I agree that the scene at the end of “No Reason” was incredibly sexy and obviously part of House’s fantastical thinking. But this wasn’t an episode review (I don’t think I’ve ever done an episode review on “No Reason” and maybe I will at some point.) I think I had one small section about Cuddy and her relationship with House. I didn’t even talk about his season five delusion/fantasy about Cuddy. But I suppose your mileage may vary. If you see me only as a “Huddy” fan (and everyone has their favorite relationship–and I’ve been called to task by the Huddy-folk this season for saying very little about that relationship lately) in me, I can’t really help that. Its the relationship the character is most focused on at this point.

  • DebbieJ

    This season should be a transitional one for Gregory House, but with all the long breaks between episodes it’s been difficult to find and feel the impact of his transition. As others has pointed out, I too, am a bit weary of the focus on the secondary characters (save for Wilson) and think that’s another reason we can’t get into House’s head. I hope with the remainder of the season, we get to see some real, dramatic insights to House, the man.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Barbara & Liz: you both have touched what seems to be a very sensitive spot for many “House” fans, and for no good reason that i can think of… I fully disagree with the accusations that Barbara’s reviews are biased in any way – i actually admire her clear head and critical impartiality a lot. As to what she writes about – well, i think it’s crystal clear: she writes about what’s there.

    On the issue of what us fans support and like among the couples within the show, here is my opinion:
    The whole idea of “shipping” and having favourite relationships within the show, while absolutely natural, is not a matter of strict personal choice on the part of the viewers. We all watch the show with passion, we get emotionally involved and we (over)-analyze it. We function based on what the writers etc. put on our plate.

    During the “Cameron era”, i enjoyed the House and Cameron interactions a lot and i looked forward to them hoping to see a romantic development there.
    But that storyline was pretty much abandoned ever since Stacy came back into House’s life (in the following episodes and seasons, there were several further scenes between House and Cameron based on sexual tension/possibility of romance, but that was a thread never really pursued). House has repeteadly stated his lack of interest in Cameron (most clearly, in “House Divided”). The writers moved away from that storyline in a rather clear manner (apart from the residual romantic or sexual tension that is bound to pop up between people who shared mutual attraction).

    While the Cuddy story is quite different. The Huddy elements (the attraction, the banter, the teasing, the history, the intimacy, the loyalty) were there from the very beginning, but later on (since the later episodes of season 2 / beginning of season 3), the romantic side of Huddy has been built by the writers in a most premeditated and deliberate manner. Each brick was laid carefully, in order to build a story of great depth, complexity and intensity, that has not yet been abandoned, after four whole seasons. The construction of Huddy is something that the creative team of “House” often talked about openly (they even made that promotional spot based on it last summer, that was called “Deconstructing Huddy”).

    Personally, i went where the story took me. I did not see any reason to fight the direction the show was leading us to. I still don’t – Huddy it’s a beautifully written story, with fascinating characters (just like House-Cameron, just like House-Stacy, and just like House-Lydia). Can you see the common ground of the four beautifully written relationships that i mentioned?… It’s House himself.

    Bottom line, i (and probably many of us) watch this show for House. Of course, it’s the amazing quality and creative brilliance that gets us all so passionate, but inside the “House” universe, it’s House himself that we all adore. I am interested in everything about him, i wish the best for him, i am fascinated by him and i try hard to understand him the best that i can – is this love? Yes, it is. I love House, i love his way of thinking and his way of feeling, and for as long as the writers make House want Cuddy, i’m gonna want Huddy too. I very much doubt that this is something i (or anyone) should be ashamed of, since all i’m doing is play along with the writers.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    PS @ DebbieJ, i fully agree. We had a long “talk” about House and his development a few weeks back, but as to what the future holds for him…

    My (very vague) guess is that the proverbial “two steps forward, three steps back” will be very visible. The remaining of the season will probably be very dramatic and intense, facing House with difficult situations and… well, win some, lose some should sum it up well.

    We know for a fact (this is not a spoiler, since it’s very official info) that he will face the problem of Wilson’s first wife, Sam, coming back into Wilson’s life. The question of the battle for Wilson’s custody is a particularly delicate one – i wonder whether House will engage in the kind of fights he had with Amber.
    Whether he will or not, the issue of him losing his exclusivity over Wilson will be very, very hard to stand – after all, since the loss of his only other friend, Cuddy, and the living together with Wilson arrangement, House’s emotional dependence on Wilson is even deeper than ever before.

    My personal bet is that neither House, nor Wilson will react well to the reenactment of the Amber situation, and probably House will have to move out. This is the kind of thing that can set his recovery back dramatically, since the loss of Wilson and the loneliness are a killer combo for House.

    However, there are only 6 episodes left. We can count on the dramatic element to grow fast, and the season finale (last ep or last two eps) will be fast-paced, very dramatic and shocking, and within all the drama, things will probably fall back in some sort of “rightful” place – masks will fall off, weaknesses will claim their territory, feelings will be revealed, both positive and negative. A possible combination: House back on Vicodin, with Cuddy and Wilson struggling to divide his loyalties between House and Sam.

  • Anne D.

    It is a pleasure reading these comments and thinking over what people feel about House as I too love the character of House and am concerned for his welfare and well being.

    For each of the painful experiences he has had to endure this season, I am hopeful that he begins to recognize and value his resiliency and ability to give and receive love, albeit painfully and poignantly. Sadly, there is little doubt in my mind that he will slip back into Vicodin as a result of the accumulation of pain and heartache he has endured and possibly as a result of the tumultuous experiences of the upcoming episodes.

    In the meantime, I also hope that those who know him well and love him will also recognize how far he has come and help him by offering him their faith in him if he hits bottom again at the end of this season.

  • andree

    Barbara, I enjoy your postings and rely on you to decode whats going on in House’s head after each and every episode. I am a fan of Huddy and am saddened at the thought of a possible cliffhanger season finale where Cuddy ends up engaged to Lucas which will only torment House ( and all Huddy fans over the long summer.) I count on you to give us the latest spoiler updates or possible insider scoop to prepare for where the storylines are going. If House and Cuddy don’t end up together, how exactly will House ever be happy? What else does he want but her? Barbara, please get us the news and we trust you to influence the writers sufficiently to make it happen sooner than later. Thanks for writing such a great column/blog/article week after week.

  • Norma

    Well Barbara it is obvious that the huddys agree with you and that the non-huddys don’t agree with you. What does this tell you?. By the way I don’t think that the relationship they are focusing on the most right now is the one with Cuddy, but the one with Wilson, but I’m sure you won’t agree with me. 😉

  • I’m willing to go with the flow (most of the time). Norma–I totally agree with you about Wilson.

    Andree–I’ve got no influence on the writers at all (I’m flattered that you think I do). But I have no clue. I’ve heard rumors and speculations all over the place, but I’m trying very hard to not pay much attention to it, because I found last year that it ruined my experience. There are times I get to preview an episode before it airs, but I can’t post any spoilers (and won’t). But I totally know nothing. Seriously.

    Anne D–hopefully that will be the case. I fear that House is in for a real fall.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Barbara: Another real fall?… Jesus. Taking part in House’s journey with all our hearts, like we have, makes it very painful for us to witness that – again… So i’m kinda hoping it’s going to be only a half-fall, at worst. I know that is not the essence of the show (or life, for that matter), but i really feel like this superb man could use a little break from disaster, tragedy and misery…

    Anne D. – i agree with you, but i fear the creative team of “House” doesn’t – at least, not fully:(

    @Norma: the discussion was not about relationships in general, it was about romantic relationships – this is a necessary distinction to be made. Unless anyone still hopes that House and Wilson are secretly gay, i think that we can start our discussions from the premise that House’s profound and beautiful friendship with his male best friend is one thing and his love for a woman is quite another…

    I apologize if this is an exaggerated reaction, but the over-simplified “huddies” and “non-huddies” classification is starting to be annoying and insulting to the show itself, let alone to its pasionate viewers.

    Yes, there are “House” viewers who think that the story would be better served if House pursued a romantic interest other than Cuddy, or none at all. That is fine, but these viewers should also accept that all of us are here to discuss and comment what the creative team of “House” actually puts in the show. This season, the show has focused on the development of House’s friendship with Wilson (with a great amount of time dedicated to it), and on a different level – on the romantic level – it has focused on House’s love for Cuddy (with a far less amount of time dedicated to it, but on a very deep emotional level on House’s part, with an unprecedented level of maturity in his feelings and attitude). It is absurd to make the declarations of disagreement to this storyline the center of our discussions here, while the show itself presents the develpoment of this very thread.

  • janine

    I agree totally about going where the story takes me and that the generalization of the shippers insults the show. But at least here, the fans are polite and civil about their opinions. I read an Ausiello couumn and the shippers there were downright vicious and were even using personal attacks.
    For everyone talking about less Huddy this season, I heard a rumor that the Network told the writers to keep them apart longer? does anyone know if there is any actual truth to this?
    As for the rest of the season, i’ve read some spoilers and I think the last six episodes will be great especially since they will run in a row. I also read the leaked spoiler of the finale (still not sure how true it was) and for those of you who read it i will only say that it seems as though House will take a fall but I have a feeling there;s more to it. In other words I think he will redeem himself before the end of that episode.

  • Jeanne

    A side note here: MaryKir’s site has mentioned that Hugh will NOT be on Leno this Friday (4/9) night. A disappointment.

  • andree

    Barbara, thank you for the comments to my earlier posting. Having read up on some spoilers and the interviews of the show’s top brass, the whole “two steps forward, three steps back” theme seems to be the red flag for the finale. House is a tormented and broken guy. We know his youth was ugly given the twisted and abusive relationship he had with his non-biological yet married-to- mom “father.” I found it fascinating when House tried Wilson’s technique of talking to the deceased before falling asleep in bed. House telling his father he focused on the bad things rather than see there were some good times too completely dumbfounded me. I think it was a sign of House trying to recognize the gray areas of life instead of the binary logic he’s always operated under of things are either black or white.

    Additionally, my guess for the rest of the season will be the unexpected but significant devastation to befall House of Cuddy’s likely engagement to Lucas a la David Shoresque’s particular brand of fan-torture and angst provocation. House is reputed to have a one-night stand before the season’s end. My take is it will be with Cuddy and could be the set-up for keeping House and Cuddy apart given their work relationship and her enagement. Shore did promise House and Cuddy would eventually be together (I’m presuming sexually given the hallucination sex-trip of season 5’s finale) but it would likely not last (something David Shore has conveniently sidestepped in interviews). Again two steps forward, 3 steps back.

    Having House and Cuddy apart after a brief momentary affair adds angst and drama if a Luddy engagement is still on after the Huddy coitus. The only question remains is will Cuddy get pregnant from that affair? We’ll not know until the baby is born or miscarried. That’s my take on the 2-forward,3-back. But I could be wrong.

  • ttandto

    Most people would identify with House’s protective attitude towards his peace of mind – free of angst and stress.

    His stay in Mayfield did, in his own words, offer him all kinds of coping skills (other than getting high from pills/drugs) and he seems to have tried them out during this Season.

    I wonder, though, whether his rational mind is completely safe even when off the pills? Couldn’t he just have another delusion and neither he nor Wilson nor the audience would know?

    I, like his coworkers and friends, have grown wary of HOUSE the show as well as the character. This show uses subtext like a weapon or an untrustworthy narrator. You watch House pour a glass of anything for anyone and you think…here we go; he’s dosed them.

    I’m reminded of the wonderful scene at the end of A Beautiful Mind when Russell Crowe, upon meeting a new person, asks his student to confirm the apparent truth of his own mind. A person with mental illness, under these albeit fictionalized examples, never completely trusts his own mind – especially new ones.

  • simona

    House’s Journey …..what may I say? I wish it were a never ending story 🙂
    Taking a showdown, about this season I really really really missed the Christmas’ episode!
    I don’t know what is going to happen in season finale but my legs are already shaking

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Thank you, Janine. It’s good to know i’m not alone. And yes, this place is heaven (thanks to Barbara, she attracts civilised, educated readers:) – i have absolutely no problem with the expression of on-point opinions, but the way this juvenile topic of “ships” is dealt with on other “fan” sites is repulsive.

    Well, about the rest of House’s journey this season, i think we can safely expect a few topics to be addressed in the remaining six episodes:

    1. one of them, sadly, is the pain. They moved on too abruptly on this one and, as much as i wish House would stay like this, we all know he won’t. Whether or not he’ll be back on Vicodin this season or not, remains to be seen, but the struggle with the pain will get tougher.

    2. A fallout or at least trouble in the House-Wilson relationship – there were signs about this (Wilson’s tendency to get angry with House, his disbelief in House’s change etc) and we know that Sam will come back in his life, so that is gonna be complicated.
    Whether House will choose an approach similar to his custody battle with Amber or not, this is a very intersting question.
    Also, if this will be the case, whether or not House can keep this sane and healthy if he goes back to living alone.
    However, official promotional pics for “The Choice” were released, showing House at a karaoke party of sorts, with Mayfield pal, Alvie, and also Chase and Foreman. That looked like a lot of fun, and i am happy to assume that House would not shut down in misery and loneliness after Sam is back in Wilson’s life.

    3. Chase/Cameron – some closure necessary there, we’ll probably get it in “Lockdown”.

    4. Mayfield – the connection and the passage from Mayfield to PPTH was never made. House has never made a single real reference to the essential elements of Mayfield to anyone, nor has he made any reference about his real life and the people in it to Dr. Nolan, Lydia or Alvie. It would be very interesting to see those two worlds collide, in the form of House seeing Nolan again or meeting with Alvie. The fact that he goes out on a boys’ night with his co-workers and Alvie is an amazing step forward for House – i love him for it.

    5. House and Cuddy – the lack of Huddy scenes in season six was obviously intentional and unprecedented. We assume, and for just cause, that Cuddy still harbours feelings for House. We know for sure, like never before, that House loves her in the most meaningful and more mature way we have ever seen him. The restraint of interactions that they have both been practicing this season is bound to come to an end at some point.

    However, i respectfully disagree with Andree. The one night stand, followed by her engagement to another man, does not sound very Housian to me, nor is the potential pregnancy with unknown father/after a one night stand. These are too easy a creative choice.

    @ttandto: you have a point. House’s overall positive journey this season was quite different from previous seasons and it often made me wonder whether this was all (or parts of it were) a big fat hallucination, House actually living a double life. I have one major reason for doubting this: i never, ever think that we’d get to see a “Pamela’s dream” type of story on “House”. A punctual hallucination (half an episode long), like in “Under My Skin”, was meaningful and well-played. But a delusion that lasts longer than that would be a bit of a long stretch, and even if i believe that these brilliant writers could pull it off beautifully, i somehow feel they wouldn’t go there.

  • Flo

    Everything Delia just wrote! and yeah…that.

    Slightly OT: I thought about something lately. It’s about House’s inner child.

    We know that House can act like a child sometimes, with all his pranks and all, and he connects very well with kids in general. His own “Peter Pan syndrome” his part of his strength. It helps him not to take himself too seriously thus becoming arrogant and to connect with people, interact with them in a fun,interesting and meaningful way at the same time.

    The other side of the coin is that his child part can take over sometimes. He uses it to protect himself but it also prevents him to being a grown up man in his personal life. House’s journey is an emotional complicated one. For House, to be able to reach his personal goals, to open up emotionally, he is going to have to fully become a man. That doesn’t mean necessarily to abandon his inner child. Like I said it’s also a strength but he will have to find the right balance between all the aspects of his personality and it’s quite difficult.
    This season his inner child was back on the front row and coincidentally (really? – personally I think not) this is the season where he disconnected himself the most from the differentials (his best talent) and wasn’t able to interact with Cuddy (one of his goal) the way he used to.

    Anyway, I think there is definitely something to go into there.


  • janine

    WOW i’m so excited for the karaoke with alvie (especially after the rapping scene in “broken”) and Ausiello said that andre braugher would return for an episode in may so we will see Dr. Nolan again, but i’m curious as to why? Will we just simply see a basic follow up appointment or will House be seeking out his psycitrist for a reason (ie worse pain, relapse, etc.)

  • janine

    sorry i just had to ad an OMG. i just saw the karaoke picture and it looks hysterical!! were House and Foreman doing harmony?????

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Flo: so, so nice to “see” you again? Always a pleasure.

    You are soooo on to a very important point, with the “inner child” approach. This is a great idea!

    I have one thing to add to your analysis: the “inner child” theories are an important approach in adult psychology. They are based on the concept that childhood traumas and pain, that lie within the adult and make him more or less disfunctional, can be healed in retrospect. The therapeutic techniques that are based on the “healing of the inner child” concept focus on the adult trying to satisfy the needs of their inner child, in a way that was not possible in the actual childhood.

    Well, this is exactly what House does. We all know he has had a very traumatic childhood and that he admits that it harmed him irremediably. Many, many aspects of his behavior can be explained as being a subconscious attempt to heal his wounded inner child.

    There are two essential parts of this: first, not only he hangs on to his inner child, but he lets this child fly free in a very overemphasized way: he is creative and he thinks out of the box, he is free and holds on to his freedom desperately, rejecting any type of restraint, he can be irresponsible and trouble-making, he is playful, funny and spontaneous. He lives his childhood passionately, he deliberately gives his inner child everything he was denied by his father.

    The second essential thing is that he does all this as openly as possible. He presents the world his child-persona, not his adult-persona. His professional self and his social self are based upon his inner child’s needs and manifestations, which he usually does not try to censor. He deliberately shows people his childish, sometimes less capable or less likable side, definitely a harder to deal with side. This brings us to the number one universal need of all children: unconditional love. This is what House is in search of, something he has never had: unconditional love for his inner child, unconditional love for who he really is. Unconditional love that would heal him and save him – his hallucination in “Under My Skin” is a beautiful metaphor for this. He came close to it in his relationships with Wilson and Cuddy, whose loyalty to him did go beyond usual human limits. Both of them have come to love his inner child, but not completely unconditionally – they went far, though. Also, it is significant that, unlike Wilson and Cuddy, Stacy did not love House’s inner child enough to stick around. Wilson and Cuddy have their limits, but they know and enjoy House’s child-persona, and they have learnt to deal with it skillfully.

    @Janine: I am so sorry for spreading around false info, but I did not notice yesterday that the promotional photos for “The Choice” include the two photos with Alvie, which are from “Broken”. The photos with Chase and Foreman are new (and fabulous!), but the pics with Alvie are from Mayfield. I do wonder what this means – whether Alvie is in that episode or not. However, to see House having fun with Foreman and Chase, in an episode that will follow Wilson’s reunion with his ex wife and possible trouble in his relationship with House, is priceless. He has come a long way from not being able to enter the bar where his team was, and a long way from the time when all he could do whenever he was emotionally hurt was drink, get high and hire hookers.

  • Flo

    Thanks for your thoughts on this Delia! really nice to discuss things with you.

    I agree with you on your psychological approach on this. Very interesting indeed. I knew there was something here to give deeper thought to.
    However, I’m not sure about the unconditional love thing. House doesn’t believe in it and quite rightly so: I don’t really believe in it either. Don’t get me wrong, your argument is good but I think his needs and goals are more about finding who he is and be respected and love for who he is and how he is in its entirety than searching for unconditional love. He believes that every love is conditional and the condition to love him is to understand and accept him for who he is. The thing is, for someone else to do so, he is gonna do it himself first. After all, you can’t be loved if you don’t like yourself in the first place.

    Anyway, completely agree with you on your thoughts about House’s use of his own inner child.
    Great comment about the hallucination in UMS and Wilson/Cuddy vs Stacy. Interesting.

    I guess we’re on to something very big! There is definitely material to write something about that.

    Really a lot to think about!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Always a pleasure indeed, Flo:)

    Well, perhaps i did not make myself clear: i did not mean unconditional love for him as an adult (unconditional romantic love or any other type – of course he doesn’t believe in that – any adult-adult transaction is conditional).

    I literally meant the parent-child unconditional love, the ideal, primordial type of love that enables a child’s very existence. Children get their passport to life from their parents’ unconditional love, they believe that they deserve to be alive because those who gave life to them are sure of it and transmit this certainty of worthiness to the child every single day.
    Those who, sadly, do not get that reservoir filled as children spend their lifetime searching for it, searching for the proof that they deserve to live, that they are worthy.

    Just like everybody else, House searches for it subconsciously, using sublimation and symbolization.

    He cannot accept himself for who he is, he does not like himself and he is the number one person who rejects him. Those are all consequences of his father’s rejection and lack of love towards him – textbook effects of complete lack of unconditional love as a child. So he does not disimulate his child-ness, as a subconscious means to search for the ones who will love him just like that.

    Wilson and Cuddy are perfect examples of people close to him whose patience he has abused and whose limits he has trespassed and whose understanding he has pushed way beyond normal adult-adult transactions. This is typical behavior for children who are unsure of the parents’ love and push the limits to see how much the parent puts up with – how much unconditional love he can depend on. This is the point where Stacy cracked – the bullshit he poured on her after the leg surgery was another typical behavior for a child who is angry, in pain and scared.

    The fact that he found out (or was always silently aware) that John House was not his biological father only makes his burden heavier. He did not get this supreme confirmation of worthiness (that he deserves to live, it’s an imperative need for all humans) from his biological father (who seems unaware of his paternity), or from the man who raised him. It is dramatic and sad, and this biological father issue is one that will need further attention, and it will be very, very interesting to see the development there.

    Yes, you opened a very interesting door there:) Until i read your comment on the inner child, i had not given much thought to this idea, even if i am currently writing a book on infant psychology (!). Yeah, i guess it’s true, we don’t see the things closest to us until somebody points them out. Thank you for that:)

  • Flo

    Okay, I get it! Come to think of it, your previous post was indeed about that but you know… sometimes our brain doesn’t work well. lol

    I find this subject very interesting. Especially when it comes to House because I think it’s really one of the issues if not the major one he is struggling with.

    Your comments on this are really enthralling. I didn’t know you were writing a book, it’s cool! Like to know more about it, if it’s okay with you. Did you write other books?
    I’m on twitter under the nickname of wellwellwelles if you have an account and post some updates I’m interested.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Thank you for your interest, Flo:)

    I still don’t have a twitter account, but i’m working on it:))) It’s addictive and i have little time, so i try to limit my temptations:)

    Well, it depends at what we look at. Since i am so preoccupied with all that is related to child psychology, i tend to give it a lot of importance. I do consider the events of our childhood (most of all, those of early childhood) of paramount importance to the adults we become – and often, they are the source of disfunctions and distress that can never be really fixed, only helped.
    It is interesting that all theoretical approaches to adult psychology, all types of therapeutic approaches as well, acknowledge the impact of childhood trauma on the adult and try to heal it in retrospect, but real focus on child psychology is somehow a more recent and limited scientific orientation. It’s building up, though, a lot of research and a lot of good books have emerged about it – focused on explaining the real emotional needs of children and how to fulfill them.

    This is my first real book and it will probably take forever to finish:( It is a major contradiction, trying to raise my child as i know i should, versus finding time to write a book about it:)))))))))) However, i do manage to find time for research, i read a lot about it, making a lot of notes in the process, that sometimes build up into a chapter. However, most of the time they pile up, waiting for me to find time for them.

    I’ll try to set up a twitter account after we return from a much expected little holiday (thank God, i won’t be away on Mondays – i would probably spend the whole time obsessing about the episode i missed…) – that is, after the April 19th episode. And i’ll find you, count on it:))))

  • Flo

    we’re gonna end up all Françoise Dolto about this show…lool

  • Ted

    I like the inner child idea here. I think there’s another reason why House hangs on to his playful nature: he trivalizes the reality to escape his misery and he creates a alternate world of innocent fun.

    In season 2 episode 16 “Safe”, there was a very revealing scene between House and Wilson…

    House: No, it’s because there was no clear plastic wrap over the toilet. The stuff’s in the kitchen, you have plenty of time. All that was missing was the WILL.

    Wilson: This isn’t a college dorm!

    House: It could be.

    Wilson: We’re not 18!

    House: So what? What did I do to you? I scammed you into doing the dishes, made you sit on the steps. I didn’t kill your puppy. I did not make you miserable.

    Wilson: Oh, so this is therapy?

    House: No… just makes me smile.

    (more talks about pranks and Wilson’s denial and impending divorce…)

    House: Everything sucks. Might as well find something to smile about.

    I agree with Delia that House desires unconditional love. It was House’s inability to give Stacy unconditional love–inability to change himself for Stacy–that he decided to give up the chase in season 2 episode 11 “Need to Know”. And I think it makes sense that since House doesn’t believe he can change himself, unconditional love is his only hope to happiness despite himself. Hence, he presents the only version of himself and waits for the world to accept him, if they will.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    I agree on the alternate world of innocent fun, Ted – it’s imperative for a person of such high moral accuracy and intellectual intensity to find an escape in very childish and yes, innocent games and pranks.

    I had thought about another thing that indicates that House views Wilson and Cuddy as the most likely people to offer him the closest version of unconditional love that he can get: the fact that in numerous (too numerous to even try to quote) occasions, Wilson and Cuddy played parental roles for House in a most obvious manner.

    – Wilson as an understanding and all-forgiving father, who takes the time to try to understand House – these are essential acts of love that House’s father never cared to do and the fact that Wilson does them is therapeutic for House. House needs Wilson as his personal Jiminy Cricket – an understanding, flexible conscience, who tries to know him and help him, instead of judging and punishing him. He needs Wilson for the masculine bond that ne never shared with his father (any of his fathers). He also needs Wilson to play the role of the boundary-setting father, the loving father who gently introduces the child into the world and helps him learn the rules of the world.

    – Cuddy as the powerful mother – the mother figure that can understand him deeply and support him, but also who can discipline him and set limits for him. And most importantly, the powerful mother figure who can protect House from the world – Cuddy is his greatest protector, the one who has always jumped and kept him safe him from the “villains” around him (Vogler, Tritter, angry patients, angry coworkers, angry doctors that House pisses off etc.) and the “villains” inside him (she has always tried to help with his addiction, with his pain, with his depression, with his medical dilemmas etc). This is an essential therapeutic need for House (also note his insane jealousy when Cuddy decided to adopt a real child), because House’s real mother is not a powerful mother and this has hurt him deeply. His actual mother did not act as House’s protector, she did not act as the interface between him and the world, that should protect the child from the emotional harm the world can do. She did not tell him the truth about his paternity (she must know…), she did not protect him from John House’s abuse, she did not intervene to stop his inner demons from eating at him.

    @Flo: i have the greatest respect for Françoise Dolto and her work (i dare say, her pioneering work) on child psychology. I agree to many of her inputs, but i feel closer to Aletha Solter’s approach (the aware parenting concept) and Pam Lewin’s scale of development and emotional needs. However, yes, we could go on forever, but we won’t: i already switched back to talking “House”, thanks to Ted’s input, because this is not the place for other stuff.

    BTW, Flo, i know this is already so old-fashioned, but i got used to facebook, and i open it daily, so if you have an account, i’d love the opportunity to talk some more – i’m listed as Delia Vasile, i don’t know if anything else is necessary.

  • Flo

    okay Delia I have a facebook account. I’m Flo Ondet. There are two Delia Vasile on facebook apparently but I suppose you are the romanian woman who’s is pictured with a little boy?

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Yes, that is correct:)