Home / House in Love, Part 2: Cuddy – The Thin Line Between Love and Hate

House in Love, Part 2: Cuddy – The Thin Line Between Love and Hate

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“There is not a thin line between love and hate. There is, in fact, a Great Wall of China with armed sentries posted every twenty feet between love and hate.” Dr. Gregory House articulates his feelings vehemently when his best friend Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) asks him in an early season one episode (“Occam’s Razor”), “What’s going on between you and Cuddy?” (Even so early in the series history, Hugh Laurie really nailed the internal struggle still at war within House's heart and soul.)

So often, especially in the early days of the series, the character of James Wilson represents us, the viewers, by asking the same questions we might ask; making the same observations we might make of the enigmatic and prickly Dr. House.

House responds to Wilson’s simple question with such vehemence that it’s pretty clear from the start that he has asked himself the same question — and has probably had the same argument with Wilson many times before. The man just protesteth too much, methinks.

Figuring out House and Cuddy’s relationship is like plucking roses from a particularly thorny bush. There’s snark, innuendo, name-calling, of course. But there’s also a sense of loyalty between them, as well as real affection and caring. Is it love? Could it ever be love? For four-plus seasons House and Cuddy have been engaged in an unconventional courtship dance, more appropriate in a Victorian novel. Both of them seem stuck, unwilling to move forward. Taking a step, but then retreating. Testing and pulling back. As it says in the musical Carousel (in the song "If I Loved You"): "Longing to tell you, but afraid and shy/I'd let my golden chances pass me by…"

So that is the question, and here we are, four years later, asking Wilson’s question once again: “What’s going on between House and Cuddy?” What is the nature of their relationship — particularly as it intensifies (as it has this season)?

Unlike House’s relationships with either Cameron or Stacy, the House/Cuddy story is told in furtive glances and body language. It is much harder to grasp and much more open to interpretation. For the first several seasons it is easy to interpret House’s interest as merely a blend of curiosity and sexual fantasy; Cuddy’s as guilt (about House’s leg) and protectiveness. But even in the early seasons there is an underlying affection between them that speaks to something much more significant going on behind it all. That snap and spark, the snipe and insult has beneath it the sensuality of an exotic dance by two people who are terrified of what they actually feel.

But their relationship, and what they can do about it, is further complicated by their respective positions in their ongoing power struggle: maverick doctor who sometimes has to bend, if not break, the rules; and dean of medicine, whose job it is to control the sometimes nearly uncontrollable genius who works for her. She has to draw lines, requiring him to color within them. He's Picasso, not only staying outside the lines, but refusing to even acknowledge their existence.

In season one, Vogler, the hospital board chairman questions Cuddy’s objectivity with regard to House, guessing that they are (or had been) lovers. Otherwise, Vogler contends, why would Cuddy put up with his attitude and antics? She protests the inappropriateness of the question (as well she should), but the question suggests that even complete strangers “see” in their relationship something more than “exasperated boss” and “rebellious employee.”

In the season two episode “Humpty Dumpty,” Cameron asks Cuddy why she hasn’t yet fired House, since they always seem to be at each other’s throats. When she hired him, Cuddy notes that four other hospitals had fired him. But Cuddy insists that Cameron’s not asking the right question. “Why did I hire him?” is the question.

Both Lisa Edelstein, who plays Cuddy, and Hugh Laurie have noted in interviews the mutual affection, admiration – and respect – the two doctors share. Despite the jibes and jabs; the thrust and parry.

So much of what they say to each other is provocative and cutting that it’s sometimes hard to decipher what they’re really saying. What do they really think of each other and feel about each other? House, at least, has articulated in his inimitably blunt way what he thinks of Cuddy.

In the the fourth season episode “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” House is ordered to give performance reviews to his new team. He rebels against that task, but presents to Cuddy his evaluation of her. “You want to have someone jump you and tell you ‘I love you;’ you run away from what you need, you have no idea of what you want. Your accomplishments make you proud; but you are still miserable.” What do we take away from that? What clues? In my humble opinion, House is baring his own feelings to Cuddy; telling her that she needs him, and doesn’t (yet) realize that she wants him.

What Cuddy does see is the hidden gem that is at the heart of Dr. Gregory House. She sees what might be. As House articulated in season two’s “Humpty Dumpty:” “You see things as they are and how they might be. What you don’t see is the gaping chasm that lies between. If you did, you’d never have hired me…”

I believe that the “hidden” gem prospect is like catnip to Cuddy. She knows him, she knows he’s in pain…and she knows that he will go to the limit (and beyond) for any patient. And for her. (At least I think that’s what she believes.)

Cuddy is very protective of the man she calls the best doctor at her hospital, but is it because of his medical skill that she’s so protective? Or are there deeper feelings at play? As she protects him against Vogler in season one, she also protects him from Detective Tritter in season three, committing perjury to keep him from being jailed on drug fraud charges. She does this at great risk. In “Merry Little Christmas,” she tells House that she is willing to let a patient die to prevent the hundreds of other “who will die while you’re in jail.”

House is also protective of Cuddy. In the second season episode “Forever,” the ever-curious House observes his boss in a way that some might find fairly creepy: he seems to know Cuddy’s fertility cycle better than my husband knows mine. But it’s not that knowledge that suggests House’s protectiveness towards her. When House observes that Cuddy is using “red clover,” an herbal supplement that can (among other things) be used in cancer treatment, his alarm bells go off. Could she have cancer? Especially since she’s asked Wilson to dinner. His extreme interest in Cuddy’s health even prompts Wilson to call him on it. And House (of course) deflects with a snarky comment rather than admit his concern.

In the same episode he asks Wilson why he’s not interested in dating Cuddy. “She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s got a zesty bod…” House rattles off a list of virtues that doesn’t both begin and end with “boobs.” He clearly appreciates more than her body. And he proves it at the end of the episode, in a scene that’s always stayed with me as the moment when both Cuddy and we (the viewers) understand that there’s more to House’s interest in Cuddy than sexual leering. After House realizes that she is actually using the red clover to boost her chances with in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant, Cuddy fully expects House to gossip the news to Wilson, mock her, and have a field day at her expense.

A scene later, as Wilson and House emerge from an elevator, Cuddy’s closed body language seems to be steeling her from the mockery certain to come. Instead, House looks at her shyly, only saying “hi” and nothing more. He has kept her confidence even to best friend Wilson, lying to him to keep Cuddy’s secret. I think this has stayed with me because it shows (rather than tells) House’s feelings of protectiveness towards Cuddy.

In the next episode, “Who’s Your Daddy,” Cuddy asks House to help her with the IVF about which he’s already guessed. She needs injections, and since House already knows about her little project…

He agrees while advising her against using something as cold as randomness and genetic data to select someone with whom to have a child. Going to extremes to show Cuddy how picking someone with the exactly right genetic profile can lead to the absolute wrong person, House finally tells her to “pick someone you trust.”

“Someone like you?” she responds, thinking that House simply wants “his chance” with her.

“Pick someone you like,” he finally acknowledges, realizing that he’s not realistically in the running. He hasn’t the courage to tell her how he feels, so he looks away shyly and leaves the room. In the end, Cuddy has clearly taken House’s words to heart, and when she goes to his office to seek him out at the episode’s end, he wonders why she’s there. She, like he, has backed away from what they are each really feeling.

House’s subconscious thoughts as he hallucinates in “No Reason” gives us more clues with regard to his feelings. In his hallucination, Cuddy, who is better at seeing things as they might be than as they actually are, cures House’s leg with a radical therapy. Angry at her breach of trust (and conflating her with Stacy and what she did to him when he had the infarction), House lashes out at both Cuddy and Wilson for experimenting on him without his consent.

But in the end, his last words before again losing consciousness are, “Tell Cuddy to give me ketamine” (the veterinary anesthetic used in the hallucination, which has been shown to “reboot” the brain’s pain centers). Cuddy appears to be one of the few people House does trust with his life.

As the ketamine wears off in the early weeks of season three, there is a wonderfully intimate scene in “Cane and Able,” in which Cuddy gets right into House’s personal space like no one else can — and breaks down his emotional barriers, if only temporarily.

At first, House deflects her concern with an overly-intense interest in her maternal status (and her breasts), but she refuses to take the bait, ignoring him entirely and moving closer until she eventually perches on his desk. Cuddy presses him about the leg and its deterioration. And he ultimately folds, lying about the state of his leg. If things were going south, he insists “don’t you think I’d try to do something about it?” She knows he’s lying, and that he’s worried, but he’s paged, interrupting the conversation.

There’s always been a bit of flirtation between House and Cuddy. He makes innuendo after innuendo about her breasts, her tush, her clothes, and she refuses to be baited. She ignores it; it’s a game between them, and they both know it. And both revel in it.

But how many deans of medicine would perjure themselves for a subordinate physician? Cuddy does just that in “Words and Deeds,” saving House from years in jail, something I believe she knows he wouldn’t survive.

And as season three winds down, House’s flirtation intensifies as other men begin to show an interest in Cuddy, including Wilson. This territorial infringement will simply never do. Not even if it’s Wilson!

When Cuddy has a blind date during “Insensitive,” House seeks any reason possible to follow her around and crash her evening out. Like a hovering older brother, he quizzes and annoys her date, who tells House that he’s in the auto repair business. Smiling condescendingly, House asks him where he might find his repair shop, not realizing that the guy is an oil-change mogul, owning “Eastern Lube.” The smirk disappears as House realizes Mr. Eastern Lube is a real, honest-to-goodness threat. And must be stopped. Using the current medical case as pretext, House drops in on Cuddy, knowing that her date is there — and noticing that they are getting…close.

Exasperated at the interruptions, Cuddy gets right into House’s personal space, asking him point blank if he wants her for himself, challenging him to say something to indicate how he feels. Of course her assertiveness terrifies House, and he immediately backs off. Cuddy’s blind date astutely observes how she’s different around House than she is around him. “You should hear yourself when you’re talking to him. Nothing else in the world’s going on. You’re focused, confident, compelling. Don’t… don’t take this the wrong way, but I’d like to go out with that woman!” And he’s right, of course. I think Cuddy thrives on the sparks that fly between them. She loves the challenge of House. Mr. Eastern Lube doesn’t stand a chance with Cuddy as long as House is in the picture. She’s already spoken for.

Once again, Cuddy enters into House’s dreams in “Top Secret,” as House treats a marine who he recognizes but can’t place. Being driven slowly crazy by the disconnect, House finally realizes who he is and where he seen him before. When Cuddy realizes that House recognizes the patient simply because he had been making out with her at a hospital function, Cuddy teases House about his attraction to her. Telling him to stop fantasizing about her, to stop staring at her from afar, she sashays away coquettishly, telling him, “Get over me. That ship sailed a long time ago.” House’s smile (of some delight) suggests that he will neither “get over her” nor stop fantasizing about her. And he does not appear to mind her having gotten in the last word on the subject. Thrust and parry.

When Wilson suggests in “Act Your Age” that he might have an interest in Cuddy by taking her to the theatre (with the tickets House gave him), House confronts Wilson in a purely “Housian” way. But Wilson can easily push House’s “Cuddy” buttons. Each time Wilson tells House that he has slept with (or wants to sleep with) Cuddy, a rather terrified expression crosses House’s eyes, enough so that it prompts Wilson to warn House that he’s “got a problem.” (Of course House’s strong attraction to Cuddy is old news to Wilson.) But acting on that problem is something at which the otherwise brilliant Dr. Gregory House is hopeless. Stuck in the eighth grade.

And in the final scene of that episode, long-time friends House and Cuddy stand on the hospital’s mezzanine watching House’s patients leave. Cuddy asks why relationships need to be so difficult. Looking at her, and perhaps seeing an opening, and almost involuntarily, House replies that he has two theatre tickets. He asks so shyly and with so little confidence that it gives the impression of a geeky high school kid asking out the head cheerleader.

All of these later third season episodes set up a further serious exploration of the House-Cuddy relationship. But season four, shortened by the writers’ strike and dominated by the “survivor” arc, left little time to explore House and Cuddy’s relationship until the final two episodes of the season, “House’s Head” and “Wilson’s Heart.”

Punctuated by House’s fantasy diagnostic session with “Stripper Cuddy,” her babysitting him in his flat he recovers from his head trauma, and the sensually photographed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after House collapses at the end of the episode “House’s Head” suggests a closeness between them that seems only to come out when the other is not looking. The final scene in “Wilson’s Heart” underlines this notion as the fourth season closes with a shot of Cuddy sleeping in a chair next to House’s hospital bed. She is holding his hand, simply “there” for him. And he appears unaware of her intimate gesture.

Which leads us to this season, with the story still unfolding. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, to be sure. For House, season five has been an emotional roller coaster and Cuddy has only been a part of it (okay, a significant part). From the final scene of "Lucky 13" through Cuddy's finally getting the baby she has longed for since late season two in "Joy to the World," House's feelings for his boss — his nemesis, protector, friend, and colleague — have become more and more apparent.

But did the final scene of "Joy to the World" effectively end their relationship? I think not. I think the best is yet to come in this very interesting sexy, smart, and fascinating exploration. But how it resolves — and if it does — is anyone's guess. (I invite you to reread my episode reviews from this season, for more about the season five House/Cuddy relationship.) But more importantly, what do you think? Is there more to explore with House and Cuddy this season? Or are they done?

Note: There have been so many “moments” between House and Cuddy since the series start, that can be interpreted as part of their “relationship,” this article would have been thousands of words longer. I’ve chosen moments for this piece that (to me) are particularly significant in understanding this long-standing thing between the two doctors. If I left your favorites out of the mix, feel free to add them in the comments section below.

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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)."
  • Anon

    I think you not only hit the nail on the head, but quite possibly are secretly a writer for the show and just shared vital and confidential information with the masses…either that or you’re a genius

  • Lori

    Why do so many people believe the show’s dynamic will change dramatically if House and Cuddy become a couple? Granted, there will be a honeymoon period – probably ending with a medical argument — but if you ignore the sexual aspect of their relationship, House and Cuddy already act like an “old married couple.” Their body language is comfortable, their witty repartee is balanced with serious concerns … even when they fight, it’s as respected equals. These are two strong people; they’re not going to become bland automatons just because they finally admit their feelings for each other. As much as I like the series, I think the whole Huddy soap opera is getting old; before long, I won’t CARE if they get together. One way or another, I hope the writers wind it up soon and move on to explore other character relationships. Thanks for the great articles!

  • cheryl

    I loved reading these comments and was wondering how we could get the writers of our beloved House to incorporate our ideas and fantasies about how we invision the Huddy relationship?
    Every comment I had was shared and it is amazing to me that there are so many of us on the same page!
    Thank you Babara for your insightfulness and thank you fellow fans for your input…
    I will be joining you often and with anticipation of the new season.
    Will touch base after the new season begins

  • barbara barnett

    Welcome to all of my new readers. Sorry for my absence the past few days. I’ve been chained to my desk working on a new article. And of course dealing with the holidays.

    Your insights and deep thought are all terrific, and why this space has really become one of the best places on the ‘net to discuss House.

    Will House be allowed some happiness? He certainly hasn’t had any this season. It’s been a tough year for him in a lot of respects. He does deserve a bit of happiness, and may he can find some temporary solace in trusting Cuddy with his heart.

    I just can’t see it being long-term. And if he’s happy, that woundedness that we all find so beautifully tragic may vanish.

    I’m watching Occam’s Razor and House and Cuddy’s encounter in her office–their argument. “This is fun,” she says to him. “you think of something to make me miserable; I think of something to make you miserable. It’s a game and I’m going to win, because you’re already miserable.” Then Wilson immediately runs into House and asks him
    “Do you have a thing for her? Because the only people who can get to you are…” then he cuts her off with the thin line comment.

    See this game began so long ago. Gotta love it.

  • Sera G

    A comment to Kyrpio, welcome. This is a really wonderful spot. The articles are beautifully written and the discussion thought provoking.
    I agree with all that you said about House/Cuddy except when you wrote that you are “happy for them to keep going as they are…” I would have agreed with you if not for the developments of season 5. Seasons 1-4 I figured the writers were just teasing us with the banter, innuendo, etc. and that they would never act on the attraction between them. I thought the storyline would be dropped when nothing further occured after House gave the IVF injections and Cuddy didn’t ask him to be a donor. During season 3 he interrupts her dates, shows up at her home, calls at all hours. Again, dropped, and we are teased that Cuddy and Wilson attempt dating. Season 5, those tricky writers throw me for a loop, again! The kiss and the feelings revealed from BOTH of them can’t be ignored of forgotten imho. I am willing to have the writers take their sweet time (they will anyway) getting us somewhere, but feel it would not be fair to bring us to this point and not honestly explore what is and could be between them.
    I really enjoyed reading your comments and hope you write again.
    Thanks for reading, Sera G

    Hello to jojogirl,
    Thanks for your comment, also. Realistically, you are probably right, House is too distrustful and used to playing his games to make a relationship work…in the real world, but since this is fantasy, in MY fantasy, I think he is considering it. I think after 5 years since his breakup with Stacy and the 5 years of the series, enough time has gone by that he might feel emotionally more stable to try again. My take on the character is that he is not so one dimensional: i.e. too “messed up” and would “ruin the relationship.” It is probably not fair to compare novels to television, but I feel as if I’m reading a novel with this show, thanks to the deep, textured writing. I think the writers are extremely skilled at making us hate House one minute and break our hearts the next. He is not stupid, nor is he dead to his feelings, anymore, (see comments above). I don’t, nor have I ever felt that House was a tragic figure, doomed. I think he tries, fails and will try again. At least, I hope so.
    I also think they are smart to make Wilson and Cuddy his intellectual equals (sort of) and understand him very well. If anyone “gets” House, it is Cuddy. She is very in tune with him, imo. If House decides that he wants to make a go of it with Cuddy, I think she is smart, strong and expert enough to deal with and understand him and his games. She loves the games, too.
    Anyway, since we don’t know what will happen, that is how I spend my time imagining the “what ifs…” of the show.
    Thanks for reading. Sera G

  • Kyrpio

    Hi! Just found the link to this on the Fox website, I will get round to reading all the articles 🙂

    Barbara – thank you for the insight to the House Cuddy relationship! I think a lot of what I’m thinking has already been said on this page, but I thought I’d add my 2 cents anyway!

    I admit I’ve been a House/Cuddy shipper from the start, even when Stacey reappeared, and despite his ‘dates’ with Cameron. I really appreciate the look at some of the telling moments between them over the course of the series, and would like to add one of my favourite moments between them, which is when he goes to Cuddy for morphine, and Cuddy questions whether hes in pain, and he drops his pants to say that he ‘swear(s) there was a thigh muscle there’. Despite her obvious shock, not to mention guilt as she’s the one who authorised it’s removal, she still gives him a placebo knowing it’s just him missing Stacey. I think this whole situation is very telling about their relationship; Cuddy knows how House’s emotional pain manifests itself, House knows how to spark Cuddy into action (guilt trip, anyone?), Cuddy’s not afraid to deceive House if it makes him learn something about himself, and House trusts Cuddy – he didn’t go to his handpicked team, or to Wilson.

    There is noone who spars with House quite as Cuddy does, no-one who better tempers his impulsive side. As Scully says in the x-files; ‘Chance meeting your perfect other, your perfect opposite – your protector and endangerer’; I really think that House and Cuddy encapsulate this quote (although, of course, Wilson shippers would argue differently…). I would love to see the writers tackle this relationship, they do such a great job and know the characters so well, I’m sure they’d do them justice and not compromise either in favour of the other. I am happy, however, for them to keep going as they are – the banter between the two characters is some of the funniest dialogue in the show. I am a fan who likes being in the hands of the writers, avoids spoilers, and enjoys the ride for what it is… as long as I get to analyse and discuss it afterwards 😉

  • jojogrl

    thanx sera-g for remindin us of the song that was playing when house almost asked cuddy out. it sigfnifies alot!house is in love with cudy. i have just fully come to this conclusion. but we all know house. he has a messed up way of showing emotion. although i love the house cuddy dynamic, i feel like house would just eventually ruin the relationship no mater how much he grows as a person. just because two people love each other and should be together, doesn’t mean they can. its like a tragic love story. you keep hoping the lovebirds will get together, but we all know it is doomed in the end. sad, but romantic. maybe that is cuddy’s and house relationship in the fewest words possible.

  • Ma

    Your artical was simply amazing. I just started to watch house and im still at the beggining of the 3rd season and unfortunatly i still cant watch the 5th season because I do not live in the US. Since the biggining I am absolutly intrested in the House- Cuddy relashionship and I think you reminded me of the best moments till now ! True is that Stacy and House were also a very intresting story an I began to hope that they would be toghether but then the Relashionship between Cuddy and Houes got more intresting and pulled me back!
    Really Loved the artical!

  • bob

    I wanna do Cuddy

  • Sera G

    This is to Jennifer, post #139.
    I agree with your comments, completely. The relationship between House/Cuddy has taken 20 years to build to this point. I agree, a simple night of hot sex (as much as I would enjoy that) would be the true end. It would be too easy for them to then attribute their feelings to hormones, lust, etc. What they have is too important to both of them and I think they are starting to realize that.
    I want to see the writers take these two on an adventure that would develop what is real and strong between them. If that means delaying the physical a while longer, so be it. I must be VERY old fashioned, but I never thought sex was the logical next step after a kiss, especially one that caught them both so off guard as the one shared at the end of “Joy.”

    My hope for 2009 is for the writers to continue to allow House/Cuddy to explore what they really feel; to let them have moments that are loving(not necessarily physical, at this time, although a kiss or two would be just fine) as well as combative (that is how they often relate) and genuine.
    I will be heartbroken if they have brought us to this point and then just ignore the “anvil sized clues” and things that have been said and examined:
    All of the teasing, flirting, looks and body language throughout the first 4 seasons.
    1. Cuddy alone holding House’s hand (“Wilson’s Heart”)
    2. Cuddy has given serious thought to what a relationship with House would be.
    3. House rushing to her home while “I’m in love with a girl…” plays in the background.
    4. That KISS! That to me was when the blinders came off for both of them. They had to acknowledge what was between them. You can’t pretend those feelings aren’t real. And the audience can’t forget what was stirred at that moment.
    Thanks for reading. Sera G.

  • I’m not sure what the writer’s are going to do going forward but I think they have very consistently set up the House/Cuddy relationship as one between a child and parent. House’s father abused him and his mother didn’t do enough to protect him, so he is naturally drawn to a woman who does protect him. Cuddy stands up for House and puts herself between him and male authority figures who want to punish him. She never lets him down.

    He constantly pushes her boundaries, teases her and gets upset when she doesn’t pay attention to him. He is childish and vulnerable. Cuddy feels responsible for his leg. He fills the need that Cuddy has to mother someone. This is why the prospect of Cuddy having a real baby is so threatening to House. He doesn’t want to share her attention, or worse lose it to a baby.

    House tries to sabotage Cuddy’s search for a sperm donor, any date she may have and when she decides to adopt, he tells her what a bad mother she would be. When she first tells him she is adopting (in the baby store) he just looks completely crushed. Same look when Cuddy is with the baby at the end of “Joy to the World”. She looks radiantly at the baby and he looks like someone has punched him–she’s not looking at him anymore, her focus is on a new baby.

    Finally, I love when he knocks over her lamp in her office while telling her she will hate having a new baby. This is such a jealous toddler move on his part. He wants her attention, and he wants it all for himself.

  • Jack

    I am not a frequent blogger, but I have been hooked on House and was not very pleased when I found out. When this show aired, my friend (at the time, now girlfriend) was in LOVE with this show. Knowing very little about it, I actually kind of hated it. I thought that the premise was very dumb, and that the supporting cast was awful. In my eyes, I thought that House was a self-made “genius” who sat in a room, slinky-in-hand, playing word games to come up with miraculous solutions, while his less-than-intelligent staff ran about spouting inane suggestions for lack-luster results. It seemed so cookie-cutter and dry that when I actually began to watch multiple episodes, I was much more drawn to House’s character than I had previously thought.

    Many of you have outlined the fact that this is primarily a show about House and that while supporting actors have their own story arcs, much of the plot is erected to sustain House’s character. What I think hasn’t been given much attention is the reasons for success; the reason House may act ‘freely’ in his own work space, the reason Cuddy and Wilson must serve as a filter or must continually challenge/repair things he does (despite his inability to actually be fired); the obstacles House must overcome in order to continue doing what he loves; the environment which the show exists; the pluralisms, the dualisms, the villains, the heroes, and all other literary angled prisms. I think that the Barbara/Orange/JL/Melissa brain-trust was completed with the addition of Lisa G’s comments. When all of your observations are added up, at the end of the show, it is evident that House and Cuddy will not be together.

    Allow me a qualification or so. The reason this show works is due to the brilliantly-crafted environment which the writers have built for their actors/characters. House’s expertise and track record draws in cases from all over the country and beyond making him a hot commodity which Cuddy must protect because it earns the Hospital money and further attention (and earns us more interesting cases). She must do this because of the $100 million they lost from losing Vogler (additionally outlining her respect for Dr. House and his success rate). Her overall goal is to continue helping people and saving lives and having the finances to do it, meaning the hospital cannot be sued from one of House’s mistakes enabling her to continually getting on his case for his rather enigmatic diagnostic processes (as well as his ability to either hide the diagnosis or be wrong about it until the last 10 minutes of the show).

    Wilson is important because House really has no home life. He practices guitar, piano, singing, and listening to records at home (oh, and let’s not forget his TiVo). His home is really a hotel; an escape from the stresses of the job he so loves. House has everything he needs at the hospital: food (occasionally stealing Wilson’s money for lunch, or his lunch directly); friends (read: supporting cast); an opponent or conflict (dieases and conditions, only interesting cases, or occasionally, Cuddy, when she assigns him to Clinic duty); multiple love interests (Cameron, Cuddy, Underage-Girl, Amber, Ex-Wife, and anyone he meets during Clinic hours); drama (read: supporting cast); dissent (medical rules); and on frequent occasion, the writer’s will throw in a monkey wrench (Amber, Wilson, Cuddy, P.I. etc.). Aside from the digression, Wilson needs to figure House out as much as House needs to figure out everything. This fits his nice guy persona (which also adds to the dynamic of their friendship) because he wants to help house as much as he wants to be a doctor. If that wasn’t the case, why did he come back?

    For House to engage in a relationship would detract from the overall web of brilliance the writers have created. Unfortunately for them, we are all needy, so they need to go somewhere with the story arcs they have created. JL mentioned his/her relative’s interest in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I think this idea is important here. She had multiple love interests, but overall, the writers struggled with whom they thought should be considered ‘the one.’ While we have an almost identical situation here (Cameron, Cuddy, Ex-Wife, arbitrary women) we know that there is a strong emotional connection between the trifecta (Wilson-Cuddy-House). While they all feel for each other, I feel that the writers understand that to tie any of those three together in a relationship would be disastrous for the environment which they had created for the actors to thrive in. Eventually, someone would have to leave, and for good.

    In the end, Buffy found someone she shouldn’t be with, but was with anyway. She couldn’t be with Angel; she was sworn to destroy Vampires. She couldn’t be with Spike, she was sworn to destroy Vampires… but oh wait just kidding. To me, that was a last ditch effort to resolve unresolved tension created by the absence of Angel. As the story currently stands, House will not end up with Cuddy because of the enormous responsibility it would be to not only care for Cuddy and save his work environment (to the way he likes it, anyway) but also to raise a child. It is too much stress and will probably lead to his resignation. He will not end up with Cameron because of what it will do to the current hospital’s employee situation, with the potential of House being fired, or all three (House, Cameron, Chase) eventually quitting.

    What I project will happen is the resolution of the tension by some amazing happenstance (read: Stripper Cuddy) or other and that they will both agree that their relationship could not survive in their work environment; tears, hugs, resolution.

    What the writers cannot tell us is who else they may introduce in the cast. One blogger had mentioned that the cast is getting a little bloated. Well, if I know anything about stories that have a host of single people in them, they eventually find mates. And in my assumption, if no one ends up together (aside from the Cameron/Chase Foreman/13 connections) this means that more people will be introduced into the show as it grows in seasons and awards. The current cast will serve as buffers to be sure that their counterparts are really sure that these newcomers are the people they wish to be with. If they find their mates in the current cast, the show will end. If they do not, then the show may continue. So let me amend my earlier statement: Cuddy and House will only be together at the demise of the show. If the writers continue to love the House we all love, they will not end up together.

    Additionally, I wish to address the reactions bloggers have had to the way House acts towards people (co-workers, love interests, friends, superiors, etc). What brought me so much into this show was my likeness to Dr. House. While I am not a brilliant diagnostician (being a musician, you can only diagnose your own mental short-comings) I am, on regular occasion, an asshole with good intentions. I am most times brutally honest with disregard to its consequences and am a believer in the greater good. I’m also an agnostic, which is closer to what I believe House is, revealed in his conquest to prove the believers wrong and typically coming up short in his attempts. As such, I can assure those who say that either Cameron, Cuddy, or Ex-Wife will get back with House when I say: it won’t happen. The way he treats people is a reflection of whichever episode he reveals that he wanted to be just like Janitor-Doctor — respected when needed, ignored and hated when not– so he will act accordingly, and will be unhappy so long as he knows he cannot have Cameron, Cuddy, or Ex-wife, and will continue to eat up his existence with asinine, plot-less women.

    I wanted to thank Barbara Barnett for her astute observations and her ability to attract intelligent intellectuals who love dissecting American literary masterpieces (should I go so far?) simply for the fun of it. This has been a great read, and I’m glad I gave House another spin for reasons like these.

  • Jennifer

    I LOVE your blog/article Barbara. I agree with you about Cameron and Stacy’s roles in his life at those times as do I agree with you about Cuddy’s. I agree that I think this is the beginning of the exploration for them.

    I am a Huddy and I am in that population that thinks they have the great romance. The one that spans time that starts as friendship, grows stronger and closer that at some point they realize that they are all they need. They have that magnetism that even when they don’t like each other they still gravitate towards each other. They have a lot of passion towards each other that comes off in a myriad of ways both positive and negative.
    I personally believe that a one night stand would just be the anti-climax to what is Huddy. It would serve no purpose but to ruin them I think. 20 years of build up to just have one passionate night of sex seems like a huge letdown and just not on track for something as great as their potential. If they were to have one night, imo, it would be the catalyst of something much greater and bigger than what they have had so far, not the culmination of the past now over.

  • zeline

    To the brilliant author of the article, I felt goosebumps when I read the article. I guess it is because the observations we audiences have seen in those episodes are highlighted and given much explanations furthermore, in your article, adding more meaning and sense to the “thing”, mysterious thing between House and Cuddy.

    Well I guess it really fits, it’s like equivalent exchange. They compliment each other in many ways. Such a wonderful pair. I just love it.

    And I wouldn’t mind commenting if you post more of your articles. =)

  • Sarah

    You are a wonderful writter and had said every litle thing i think!!!!!
    Please continue with your theories, and i will keep reading them!!!!

  • ***et***

    !!!***READ THIS***!!!!
    In season 4, houses head, when house had a heart attack and cuddy had to give him mouth to mouth and wilson had to do CPR. As soon as he woke up she said he was an idiot. (He had taken pills to try to remember something to save a patient). He obviously scared her. When he tried a different thing to remember he ended up passing out in a special covered bathtub at the hospital. She was there and helped him to sit up and when he stood up he barfed all over her shoes 🙂 Later that night she made him go back to his apartment and sleep. She stayed on his couch to make sure he didn’t leave.

  • ***et***

    In season 3, airborne, Cuddy gets sick and House seems very concerned. He does everything in his power to cure her, and eventually he does. At the end of the episode, he tells her that she ows him but she says she doesn’t. She claims that she was never really sick, that it was just the mass hysteria, but House says that she’s mean and walks away. She replies It’s how i compensate for being weak, and soft.

  • ***et***

    Season 2, no reason, when house gets shot. When the man who shot him is moved into the same room he imediately jumps up and rips all of his cords and wires off. He leaves the room saying to cameron, “I’m talking to Cuddy.” Cameron insists that he lie back down but he continues to walk to Cuddy’s office. As soon as he enters her office she apologizes for putting the man who shot him in the same room. When he starts reducing his morfine she accuses him of upping his morfine. When he told her that he was reducing it she thought he meant about the surgery but he said that where he got shot hurt and his leg didn’t. She tells him to go back to his room before he rips out his stitches and she has to chain him to his bed. She obviously cares about him not getting hurt enough to chain him to a bed in the hospital. She ends up hand-cuffing him to the bed rail when his stitches come out and he passes out.

  • Michelle

    I cannot tell you how long I’ve searched for the perfect article explaining the House/Cuddy relationship to full extent! Hugh Laurie and Lise Edelstein have such chemistry on set, I was almost disappointed that they weren’t dating in real life! Anyway, I am quite a House fan and from the beginning of the show, I thought there was/could be some romantic tension between the two. After the series and characters developed a little more, there were big hints dropped that said there was a deep (if not complicated) affection after all.
    The times when House monitors Cuddy’s fertility cycles, I thought all along that it was just House being the nosy and stubborn House he is. I honestly had no clue that it was because he actually cared (kind of crude to say, huh?).
    But it’s apparent that they really do care for eachother, even if they’re too shy, scared or stubborn to admit it. However I do agree that they shouldn’t have that “happily ever-after” ending, because it would crash the meaning of the very real relationship that took place before. My vote is for a future one-night stand 😉

    Again, I do appreciate you writing this article for all the fans who are seeking a flashback with some juicy details about this relationship as we wait for January 19th. I applaud your articles and hope to read more in the near future.


  • Nicole

    AWESOME ARTICLE! i love reading your articles because they get so in depth. I agree with everything completely. No one can deny that there isn’t tension between House and Cuddy. Cuddy was always meant for House in a strange way and House the same. I love to watch the two of them. The writers and directors are doing an exceptional job with building all of the tension and throwing in all the slight, hidden facts of their attraction for each other in their actions or dialoge. I think that Lisa Edelstein and Hugh Laurie are fabulous and portray the unusaul relationship perfectly.
    So hats off to the David Shore, the writers,Katie Jacobs, Hugh Laurie, and Lisa Edelstien. House and Cuddy really make the show amazing.
    Thanks again Barbra

  • Lisa G

    Sera G
    I forogt all about the Thin Man movies. Another good example of how two people can be a couple and still be a lot of fun to watch. I saw them about 15 years ago,and they were great fun. I think I’ll have to rent them soon. As you have said its up to the writers to keep Huddy interesting and they should look to the movies from the 40s to see how its done. They did have great dialog, as does House.

  • Laurie

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned the scene at the end of “Humpty Dumpty” where House says, “By the way, Cuddy, everyone seems to think we’ve slept together. Think there could be anything to that?” As he leaves her office, the camera cuts to Cuddy smiling at him fondly, as if having a happy memory – then Stacy glares at her. Wonderful moment.

  • Sera G

    Hi, Lisa G
    Thanks for the comment. I agree with all that you said, especially that couples are not lovey dovey all of the time. That would be revolting on TV and in life.
    That was the hallmark of the classic movies from the ’40s; snappy dialog, characters who were attracted to each other, but were able to argue their own viewpoint. I agree with Tracy/Hepburn, also Hepburn and Cary Grant. Did you ever see any of the Thin Man? Great fun all.
    Women in those movies were smart, mouthy and gave it right back to the men. The men loved it!
    I am still enjoying House as to me it THE best written/acted show on TV. I can’t wait until Jan. 19. House is really the only show I look forward to anymore.
    Happy New Year. Hope 2009 is better for the world.

  • Lisa G

    Sera G. I agree whole heartedly with you. IMO, Cuddy and House do love each other and their interactions are always fun to watch. I can not see why the fundamental way they deal with each other would have to change if they became a kind of couple. Getting together is not going to magically make them whole, and completely self assured in their personal lives. It would be up to the writers to keep them at odds with each other in the many different aspects of their lives. To me their new relationship could just make things more interesting if the writers did it correctly. I would love to see occasional glimpses of them happy together but it would have to be spiced up with a lot of good natured bickering and snarking. Loving, commited couples do not have to be boring, lovey dovey, types. They can be complex, 3 dimensional people with their own opinions and agendas. One couple that comes to mind is the Tracy and Hepburn characters from the movie Adams Rib. They fought, they bickered and they were on opposit sides of a very important legal case, but you knew they loved each other and were commited to their relationship. I think Huddy could have that type of relationship and I think the House writers are talented enough to pull it off.

  • Sera G

    This is to madfrenchie:
    Hello! I read your post about House/Cuddy. I agree the attraction adds a lot of zest. I however, feel that it is love. Whether the writers will let it flourish is another matter.
    This is how I look at it, in season 1, House is still grieving the loss of his mobility and life as he knew it, as well as losing Stacy. Cuddy tells him when Cameron wants a date as the condition for her return, “It’s been 5 years, you’ve mourned (?) long enough.” When he lets Stacy go in season 2, I think he is finally able to give closure to that relationship.
    I have written (often) that I think Cuddy has loved him since college, but the timing was never right. I think she is very attracted to him, all aspects of him; his mind, physically, his crazy humor, his strength of will and his ability to fight for what he believes is right. She has rules she must follow. How free he must seem to her.
    How House sees her is also complex. She is his boss, confidant, nemisis, sexual fantasy, ‘mother’ and anchor. IMHO, I think House has done a lot of soul searching and has come to a place in his life where he is looking
    for a life. Cuddy, to me, is all that he could want. She is smart, beautiful, understands him, fights back and to quote Wilson, “Is the only one who could put up with you.”
    I may be in the minority, but I want to see the writers give this couple a fair chance. They are so interesting and complex, they could make it work. I think lazy writing is what kills romances on shows, not the fact that the couple ends the tension and gets together.
    Thanks for reading.

  • I definitely think there is much more to come. This little twist and zest added to the series really gives it a sexy flavor. Will they or won’t they? One step forward, two steps back. A long, secret glance, an uncertain passion that reveals itself in the most uncanny moments. But I think eventually something will have to come to a head. Either one or the other will move on, or House will grow up. One thing I find strange is the fact that he’s managed to have relationships in the past. Nothing too detrimental has really occurred since then. His relationship with Stacy ended in grief but he was able to move on. I find this dance of his with Cuddy sometimes frustrating in the since that I think he’s too skittish, unbelievably so. Yes, he kissed her, but it was in a moment of emotional turmoil where there was no chance he might be rejected. I think a bigger issue will arise if he does meet someone else, or revert back to Cameron (Oh God no) that he’s more of man then than he is now. House is an emotional adolescent but he’s not an imbecile. I think he is quite capable of reigning in his cowardliness and going for it.

  • Orange450

    While I was thinking about gifts today (it’s only natural at this time of year), I had a thought about the scene in JTTW where House comes into the nursery to see Cuddy, holding his valuable Joseph Bell book that he hadn’t unwrapped since Wilson gave it to him the previous year.

    It occured to me that each of them have now – after waiting a long time – opened gifts that have tremendous meaning to them. I could even go a little farther and say that their respective gifts reflect significant aspects in their respective natures. For House, it’s his rare ability (not to say gift) of diagnosis. And for Cuddy, it’s the fulfillment of her maternal dreams.

    Happy Holidays to everyone, and may we all receive the gifts we most wish for – even if they are all intangible ones, like health, happiness and peace.

  • Owl

    At the end of “Meaning” Cuddy tells Wilson about the patient’s rather miraculous recovery and she says, “I have to go tell House” and seemed like she was about to go do so. Wilson stops her. She says she sees House every day, “I can’t just…” and Wilson interrupts, “Everybody lies.” Wilson convinces Cuddy not to tell House for his own good, and he reinforces it at the beginning of the next episode, “Cane and Able,” when Cuddy again wants to tell House.

    We “know” that Wilson is supposed to be a very convincing (manipulative?) person. Remember, House asked him to “work his magic,” the magic of Wilson’s silver tongue, on the evangelical kid in “House vs. God” to convince him to have surgery. House figured out that it was Wilson’s idea not to tell him about the Addison’s patient too, because he knows Cuddy. Cuddy is, after all, a woman with an overwhelmingly deep well for guilt (evidence in “Humpty Dumpty” where even Stacy confirms it saying he knows Lisa, knows that she cares…).

    One of the things I really liked about Cate in “Frozen” was her astute observation of Wilson: “…you, on the other hand have a perfect score. You are responsible, nice, human…. Makes me think that you are secretly a lot less nice than you seem…” Wilson was behind the “bet” in “Detox.” He convinced Cuddy not to tell House he was right about his Addison’s diagnosis in “Meaning,” he made the deal with Tritter, and he responded very affirmatively that he wanted House to risk his life by attempting deep brain stimulation in an attempt to save Amber when House already had a severe concussion in “Wilson’s Heart.”

    I don’t hate Wilson, and I certainly don’t think House is an angel, but I do think Wilson likes to think of himself as the better of the two when the reality is he’s really not as nice as he like to think he is.

    And while it’s not really relevant, as an X-Phile it doesn’t bother me that House doesn’t call many people by their first names. Fox Mulder called Diana Fowley by her first name, but he didn’t call Dana Scully by hers and in the end he ends up with Scully (Shippers rejoice 😉 ).


    Very well written article. Many good points, but I really disagree with House & Cuddy becoming an “item”. On very show I have ever watched, when 2 main characters have been brought romantically together, the show is ruined. Maybe House does need to be romantically involved with a woman, but most definitely not his boss. And I don’t think there is anything “shy” about any looks or statements he gives Cuddy. He’s a stubborn, opinonated mule. What everyone seems to have forgotten is that although Cuddy sometimes has to rein House in, she usually manages to humiliate him in front of others, including his team, and she and Wilson decided that they needed to teach him how to be humble & accept the fact that he’s not always right in the epsiode where Cuddy cured his patient with a shot of Cortisol (House was right. The man had Addison’s). Wilson convinced her to keep lying until it became obvious that House could not deal with his being “wrong” any longer. That was quite mean, in my opinion. Is that what you do to someone you supposedly care for? As far as this season goes, what are the writers doing? I have never heard such immature dialog in my life! These people are adults, and they are being given dialog that 8th graders use! Give me the writing of the first 3 seasons! Also note that even during his flirtation with Cameron, and the continuing sexual sparring with Cuddy, he has never used their first names. He only called Stacy by her name. To me, that speaks volumes.

  • barbara barnett

    Flo, Lisa G–thanks so much for your comments (and everyone else as well.)

    Flo, like you, I’m intrigued by the complexity of the writing and storytelling (as a writer as well as a fan). Thanks for your insights.

    Lisa G–welcome. You are not overstepping at all. To explain: “Ship”=relationship. Lots of the fans converge the names of the people involved in a “ship” i.e. Hameron (House+Cameron); Huddy (House+CUddy), etc. Hope that clarifies.

  • Lisa G

    I am so happy I found this site. I love The article and truely enjoy reading everyones comments. You have all given me so much to think about. I am especially intrigued by the body language discussions and how House and Cuddy mirror each other in so many ways. Another interesting thought was about the desk. I like the idea that maybe it played a role in House and Cuddy’s past. I do hope the desk is refered to in a future episode. Cuddy never did get to thank House for shipping it to her office. I hope the writers eventually reveal a little more about their implied past. I am sure there was something there. Anyway what I wanted to say was in regard to House’s reluctance to get involved with Cuddy. As many people have said their strong feelings for each other are undeniable and yet they push or pull and even run away from what could be. Yes, I agree that House is terrified of being hurt again and if he can’t make it work with Cuddy, who is so well suited to him, than he won’t be able to make it work with anyone. But, even more importantly, I think he has even more to lose than a last chance at love. House has so little in life. He has his work, which defines him. He has his friend Wilson and in many ways he has his playmate and protectress Cuddy. I think House fears that if he tries with Cuddy and it fails not only will he loose Cuddy, who is a vital part of his life, but there is a strong possibility that he will loose his work too. As many others have said, Cuddy is the one who enables him to do what he does. She created the position for him when no one else would hire him and she continues to protect him so he can work. I think if they tried at a relationship and it failed House would never be able to stay at the Hospital and be around Cuddy. He is too fragile and it would, I think , cause him too much pain. Much more pain than it would cause her. So one way or another he would have to leave. And as we, and House himself knows, no Cuddy means no job. For House this would be dire.
    So where-as Cuddy is only hesitant to begin a relationship because she can envision a bad ending between the two of them, resulting in weirdness and a few months of not talking to each other ( she said this to Wilson in The Itch) House, on the other hand can see his whole life falling apart.. or blowing up as it did in his nightmare in The Itch, when that tiny pesky misiquito caused such a big explosion. Like Wilson I too believe that the misiquito represented Cuddy. If things don’t go well everything can blow up. For House starting something with Cuddy that could end badly is just too risky at this moment. I think he is sure of his feelings for her but he is not sure how deep her feelings go and without reasurance he cannot risk it.
    Hopefully they will eventually be drawn together again. The chemistry between them is too strong to deny but as others have said it will have to be Cuddy who leads the way and fesses up first.
    Sorry I wrote so much but I have been reading everyones posts for a week now and thinking about it all. Anyway this is my first experience with a blog and I hope I haven’t oversteped. Just one more thing, I am not familiar with all the jargon. Can someone please explain the references to ships- as in the Huddy ship or the Camoron and House ship.

  • Flo

    Interesting analyze and comments as usual!!

    fisrt of all, I am not a huddy fan, I watch the show as a whole. I don’t want to project myself into it.

    That being said, the House/Cuddy thing is real and interesting and it can be fun and relevant to talk about it. So one of the reason it is so much interesting is IMO, the nature of the fear of those two and especially House. I already write about that in a comment on the LTEC review.

    I think the fear of House (and maybe Cuddy) is a little different this time. We know that one of the reasons (and the main one apparently) why House doesn’t want to be involved in a relationship is that he fears that it won’t work and he will be hurt again as much as he will hurt his partner. It has been said several times in the show that he’s scared of the failure of romance and its consequences.

    But What House is also afraid of is happiness and success in a personal kind of way. I think he is afraid of a relationship with Cuddy not because of its potential failure but because of its potential success. He is scared that it might actually work.

    Like Wilson said in “The Itch”, Cuddy is smart beautiful, and more importantly she can stand him.
    He is totally right. Cuddy can understand and appreciate House in a way that no one else can. They know each other for at least twenty years and she is the only one who could cope with him for so long. She knows him very well.

    Melissa wrote: “Cuddy is House’s longest relationship. It’s spanned over twenty years. I think this is really significant, because there hasn’t been anyone else in House’s life for that long.”

    I totally agree with that! I think the fact that they knew each other when they were very young and before they were doctors is very important. She’s not afraid of playing games with him and she doesn’t want to change him desperatly. She likes the challenge too.

    House is very aware of that and that’s what scares him. I think that in its own weird, dysfonctional way, this relationship could work.

    Cuddy has her issues too. What defines her personnally is her lack of relationship and in the last episode she admits to “blew every relationships she had”. So the future of their thing depends on her as much as on him.

    Anyway, this is a great relationship because it is complexe and deep, serious and kind of fluffy at the same time.

    Like I said, I don’t like projecting myself into the show. I think it’s not a good idea and makes you expect and write more about what it should be or you wish it would be instead of seeing and appreciating it as it actually is.

    So now I’m gonna talk about screenplay writing.
    Writing process can be absolutely, awfully, painfully hard!!!!! It’s one of the greatest thing of this show: it’s beautifully written. I wish I could write like that!!!

    Anyway, in cinema studies one of the first thing the teachers tell us about writing is that a scene must prepare all the other ones. Okay, I know it seems obvious but the number of incoherent movies or tv shows it is just wow!

    The same rule can be applied for arcs in tv shows. You have to prepare them a little. One of the best example was how the Stacy arc in season two was prepared by the Cameron/House one.

    Cameron did a fantastic job in season one: she forced House to tell us a little bit more about himself, on a personal level. She confronted him about being alone, about (supposedly) not caring about anyone and about his relationships with women. She showed us and maybe made him remember that he was capable of love.
    Just for that the Hameron arc was very interesting and necessary.

    The House/Cuddy arc was prepared in a different way and during a longer time. Little pieces in different episodes that we can pick up and put together. Barbara, IMHO, You did that very well.

    Even if point of view is a big part of how you interpret what you see, there are things that are simply there. House and Cuddy relationship is not just friendly or just abusive or just sexual. It is a little all of that at the same time.
    This ship presents us the characters in an other light than we’re used to see them.
    It is actually interesting that people fear an Huddy relationships for the same reasons than the characters: it is new (we only saw them alone so far) and it might somehow work. The only way we didn’t see House is in the realization of feelings of love for another person and act on it (He was already in love with Stacy in S2). Trying to do something about it. I think it’s cool to see that. I hope the writers will continue to explore this because it could say a lot more about our beloved character!

    One thing about being obsessed with our “ships” and being biaised:
    Just to present things in general Huddy fans see feelings of love everywhere and overanalyze every movement, gesture and all, and hameron and other ships (or those who just don’t like Huddy) fans are in denial of Huddy because they don’t want it so they just see the abusive, or friendly, or boss/employee relationship. Some people even talk about a brother/sister relationship!! Talk about denial!
    I know it is a rough shortcut and I’m sorry, it just to make a point.

    Anyway I totally agree about the important of the point of view but I think that we just like some characters more than others and that just makes us biaised. That’s what it is difficult to analyze a movie and especially a TV show.
    Barbara just tries to see how it is written and even though she obviously has her own point of view and opinion I find her articles well written because it shows that she can see the show as a whole and not just as a huddy fan like it was implied.

    So great toughts Barbara just continue like this.

    So long!

  • Andrew

    Is any one knows the song of fake-die, she singing and also play at end???

  • Hi there!
    I just have to say this – many posts ago I said that HL would make a great Higgins in the new My Fair Lady movie – and it seems that Emma Thompson agrees with me. (-: Fry for Pickering?

    NB – I loved the old movie, it will be hard to top, but who knows?
    Se the URL for the article from Variety.(-:
    Lets hope the good people over at House lets him out to do other things once in a while.

  • ann uk

    PS. I just want to say how much I agree with 60+ . The central mystery of the drama that rivets us to the screen each week is House – who he is , what he is , and what will he become.
    I noticed that Hugh Laurie talking about House in an interview , referred to him as “I”, so clearly the character has become as real to him as he is to us.But, then , I have always suspected that there is a lot of Hugh in House and a lot of House in Hugh.

    Thanks, Barbara, for yet another perceptive review and Merry Christmas to all my fellow House addicts.

  • ann uk

    Could any other drama evoke such impassioned discussion ?
    I think House and Cuddy could succeed. House has a job which demands obsessional devotion, but so does Cuddy so that what might drive other couples apart might hold them together since both would understand that they could not always expect the other’s full attention.I think that for them their relationship would be a haven of intimacy, understanding, pleasure and play.
    It might be better if they did not live together since they both need their own space.
    The baby might be a complication ……?

    On the other hand I rather regret Cate. She managed to get close to House from the South Pole – what could she do in person ? !

  • JL

    Orange said: “At the same time, I echo KS’s statement: “It is funny how people can watch the same things and come away with totally different viewpoints!”. Because in other House discussion venues, the House/Cameron community regularly cites extensive examples of furtive glances, body language and subtext to support the case for a romantic (not just sexual) attraction between the two. As you say – everyone has their PPOV.”

    Someone way back in this discussion (or maybe even another one) noted that some of the more subtle moments that get analysed to the nth degree may not even have been planned by the writers, or actors.
    This is why I found the following recent ‘anvil-sized hint’ moments significant:
    – Cuddy holding House’s hand in ‘Wilson’s Heart’
    – House’s look of horror in ‘Lucky Thirteen’
    – and, the most obvious one, the song, “I’m in love with a girl” in ‘The Itch’.
    The writers seem to have wanted to leave no doubt whatsoever with this story and have gone out of their way to provide Moments that were much more definite than the ‘subtext’ ones we’ve had previously.

    Amy said: “…She could either loose the baby and fall back into the welcoming hands of House…”

    I’d usually say ‘falling back into someone’s arms’ – but maybe your description is more appropriate… (ahem!)

  • Amy

    I love the “thing” that House and Cuddy have had between them since the beginning. I think it is a big part of the soul of this series. I also think that in the last scene of ‘Joy to the world’ where House comes to talk to Cuddy and she tells him that she might be really adopting the baby, he felt somewhat alone. He has seen Cuddy as his partner, someone who gets him and who he gets; they were in their misery together and searching for that missing part of eachother. But that overwhelming smile of peace and content that Cuddy had on her face as she looked at the baby and talked to House, just seemed to break his heart. He was losing his partner… I cant wait to see what happens next. She could either loose the baby and fall back into the welcoming hands of House or get the baby and House would have to deal with it by either acting on his feeling or ignoring them like he always does.

  • barbara barnett

    j.i.m.–I love those literary analogies to House. I’ve always felt that his character really does hearken back to an earlier age of literature. I’ve thought mostly Victorian, but House really is the descendant of an entire class of literary anti-heroes. This struggle that rages within him is constant and I always recall that pointed question that was asked of him in rehab about expectations. His answer was (rather bitterly): My friends have no expectations of me.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, your take on the interaction between House and Cameron in Role Model and Kids is an interesting one. It hadn’t occured to me and I think it makes sense.

    At the same time, I echo KS’s statement: “It is funny how people can watch the same things and come away with totally different viewpoints!”. Because in other House discussion venues, the House/Cameron community regularly cites extensive examples of furtive glances, body language and subtext to support the case for a romantic (not just sexual) attraction between the two. As you say – everyone has their PPOV.

    I wanted to share the following, from New York Magazine. Unfortunately, it was written by a blog commenter in response to an article about “Mad Men” – but substitute “House”, and it becomes the ultimate description that I wish I’d written!

    “People want their friends to watch [Mad Men] because it is an off-the-charts brilliant show. It is composed of brilliant writing, acting, directing and art directing. Its aesthetics are brilliant. It is breathtakingly original on every possible level. It is thrilling, incisive, literary, witty, profound, heartbreaking, suspensful, sexy, sensuous, sardonic, ironic, historically accurate, nostalgic and groundbreaking.”

    And in the same issue (Best in Culture for 2008, the year in TV), there’s a description of Damian Lewis which references Hugh Laurie: “As Hugh Laurie is to “House”, Lewis is to “Life”: The you-can’t-take-your-eyes-off-him star of a ho-hum show.”

    I’ve never seen “Life” (or “Mad Men”, for that matter). And there’s no question that you-can’t-take-your-eyes-off-him is the right adjective for Hugh Laurie. But House a “ho-hum show”?? Even allowing for the PPOV, that defies the imagination!

  • arieta

    I post for the very first time (and possibly last) just to say that I am a devoted House fan who was hooked during season 3 and I descovered this blog about two weeks ago and I am very glad about that. I enjoyed very much part 1 and 2 of House in love as well as the reviews. I will keep reading consistenly these beautiful articles and comments even if I am not posting.A fan from Greece.

  • Hey Barbara! You’re tweeting! Hope you don’t mind me following you.

    I really enjoy reading the comments to your post, it’s a good thing that the posters have remained respectful.

    I agree that the writers may not have actually made up their minds as to how this series ends, but I really want to focus more on what is going on at present, and I believe it is HUDDY – or at least House’s exploration of his feelings with Cuddy.

    What I’ve actually been thinking about is his line with the PI Lucas: “I’ve been negotiating with that woman for over 20 years…”. I don’t know what triggered him to say this or why he’s suddenly so curious about Cuddy. But this just proves that early on, even before the kiss, even before the baby, House was already thinking about Cuddy. I guess the issue now is how House is going to resolve his feelings towards Cuddy…I just read some recent spoilers and am not very happy about it…I trust that the writers know what they are doing with this very special relationship, I hope they don’t disappoint!

  • KS

    I’ve wondered about his apparent lack of jealousy at times, or at least how he’s exhibited it differently than he has with Cuddy. But, I’ve thought of two reasons:

    1)I don’t think he feels Chase is a real “threat”. (He exhibited more jealousy towards Sebastian, because he was an actual “threat”.)

    2)I really think he feels that she only likes him because he’s damaged, and therefore doesn’t think he’d actually have a chance at a relationship with her. (Remember the Season Three premiere, when he asks her to dinner and she says no. He responds that she has no interest in dating him; maybe she did when he couldn’t walk, but not now that he’s “healthy” she doensn’t. Her response is that he’s “not healthy”. Then he smiles as she walks away.)

    I also think, too, of all of the comments by the writers and producers, especially in seasons 1-3, but even into 4 and 5: they suggest that they don’t know who House will end up with. They promoted House/Cameron a lot the first few seasons, and now it’s House/Cuddy. But, when it was House/Cameron, they still had House/Cuddy moments, and now vice versa. I actually started out thinking I was going to want House to end up with Cuddy, but the more I watched the episodes, personally, I changed more to House/Cameron. (If that doesn’t happen at the end of the series, though, I wouldn’t want him to end up with anyone other than Cuddy!)

    It is funny how people can watch the same things and come away with totally different viewpoints! : )

  • When thinking about House’s journey and the destinations he’d have to visit along the way to finally attain some peace, I thought of House’s dissonant dual nature and the critical importance of harmonizing it.

    We all possess dual natures, but House is flummoxed when trying to mediate between the two parts. He isn’t as extreme as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but he seems to have disconnected the telephone lines long ago and instead bounces back and forth between the two.

    Strangely enough, House sometimes reminds me of Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” who loses his faith and rejects humanity because of its evil. Brown can’t reconcile man’s dual nature and therefore lives out his life a bitter man. Similarly, House fumbles the opposing sides of his nature, never maneuvering them into balance.

    A symptom of House’s rejection of himself and humanity is his personal ban on fulfilling anyone’s expectations or allowing himself to expect anything good from someone else. Wilson and Cuddy are the hard won exceptions.

    Roger Cohen of the International Herald Tribune wrote of Günther Grass’s “Crabwalk”,

    “We want to link the two sides of the story …and we grapple with the enormity of that task, …a key of some sort that makes understanding possible.

    Forget it. Humanity is double. Just as love and hate reside in proximity to each other, the noble and the abject are not distant neighbors. We may wish that it were otherwise, but purity is not always or even often the midwife of beauty. While the moralists bay at each other in this age of faith-driven certainties, the novelist explores the ambiguities that are the painful heart of human nature.”

    I think Shore and Co. are doing some of this exploring as well with Dr. House.

  • Mel

    I saw your article on Fox/House site too! Congrats!

  • laurel

    i want house to become a step dad, awkward but there for cuddy. but they never get together onscreen, but you know theyre like defacto married through the baby. then a patient dies because house was sensitive, he overdoses on vicodin and all of house ends in his dramatic suicide. cuddy cries holding the floppy house and wilson comes in to revive house but cant. cuddy is screaming and then the camera zooms out to show the baby alone in a cot, the innocence in a screwed up world.

  • jh


    I simply want to say thank you for your House related articles! I just recently discovered this treasure trove of intelligent and kind discussion concerning House. I particularly liked the column on House in Love. Thank you for taking the time and effort to write it. I hope you will continue to write on House in the future. You have a devoted reader now.

  • Melissa

    Such great comments. The body language analysis is great because both HL and LE do so much of their acting without words. It’s so subtle, and I think that’s what leaves it open to so much interpretation. j.i.m., I love your characterization of them as a pseudo – divorced couple. Stagestruck, I love your analysis too.

    I do believe they love one another. Their actions throughout the series have shown that to me, and I think the bond has intensified over the seasons. Of course, it’s open to interpretation because neither has said it directly. But the choice of the song “I’m in Love wth a Girl” in “The Itch” was very telling. As I believe you said in another review, Barbara, the songs at the end often reflect House’s feelings. Well, the lyrics of that song are “I didn’t know this could happen to me”. I don’t think House believed he could love anyone again post Stacy. Or maybe it’s just that he didn’t want to, and fought it with everything he had.

    I’m with you, Barbara, in that I never saw anything romantic between he and Cameron – at least not on his part. He clearly thinks she is beautiful, but what I’ve always seen is more of an affection and a desire to protect her, because he is touched by her innocence and idealism, and wants to be a mentor to her. Her crush always seemed girlish and high school to me. The thought of the two of them romantically involved always creeped me out.

    I think House needs someone tougher. And Cuddy’s tough, but not completely hardened, which makes her much better suited to him. She can give it right back to him. He may pretend to dismiss her, but he never really does. Because she gets to him, like Wilson noted on the first season. And that makes him nuts.

    I love this blog, and I love the dysfunctional relationship between these two characters. I am looking forward to seeing it develop more, even if it is slow. I didn’t expect it to be linear, because nothing in life really is. Thanks to everyone who posts for giving me so much more to think about, and a place to ruminate!

  • Eve K

    OK – Im not the demographic for the scream-movies, Im sorry to say…but it was fun suddenly seeing Omar Epps in there. Have a pleseant evening.

  • Eve K

    Seel – Yess, the writers would think some of this comments are hilarious, and that we have no life, and that maybe – just maybe – we should edit – people – edit – myself included. But for the most part – excellent and insightful comments on this blog, and I think the writers be kind of proud.

    Congrats again Barbara – over 100 comments to your well written article. (even more to come I guess (-:)

    By the way, I hate when they mix two characters names to make a name for a couple, but I LOL when I read the heading “THE DEATH OF THE HUDDY.” after the latest episode. Like some kind of monster.
    I think that Cuddy + House equals an emotional disaster area. But its entertaining. And I dont think we’ve seen the end of it.

    60 plus – About the different demographics, I think that 13 has a following of guys aged 15 +. And that the guys are not here on this blog (some men are, and what they write is really different from the women).

    Some personal details – Im from Scandinavia an the time here is around 2 in the morning. Im watching “Scream 2” and who is getting stabbed in the brain in the first minutes of the movie but Foreman? OMG! One down – one to go (13). What a way to start the holidays.

  • Luisa Borges

    As always, the last posts and discussions are amazing.

    Love the body language analysis as well as House´s reaction to different people in his life (Cuddy, Wilson, Cameron). I´m 100% with Barbara on this one, Orange 450´s take on this was also very good. Melissa great thoughts.

    I do agree he was always possessive towards Wilson (their friendship being his solace) and about Cuddy, with her friendship is not the issue (IMHO) its love. He´s jealous of them, of the people in their lives, of their other interests. And with Cuddy, well, he tracks her fertility cycle, worries about her health and warns off competition, being that a prospect boyfriend, a friend (Wilson) or a baby.

    Well I´m off to my vacation but I doubt that anythink short of complete internet connection blackout will keep me from coming back to comment again before this year ends.

    But just in case I don´t come back before january, I´d like to thank Barbara for providing this great essays (to me they´re really essays) for all of us and for harboring this great commenting space where we can exchange ideas and further our House analysis. All the while having just so much fun.

    Happy holidays to everyone! And may 2009 come with more great House moments to challenge us and trigger our best analysis (and plenty of House and Cuddy sparks).

  • 60 plus

    Barbara, Re: different demographics and their takes on House…I have a bit of background in demographic analysis, and I have often thought that it might be fun to try to gather such data–at least basics such as age and gender. If that could be done anonymously, it would be interesting.

    Part of the fun of the fandom for me is its diversity. I love it when a poster reveals a bit of personal info and it completely blows away the image I had of her/him.

    It seems to me that much of our commonality rests on an insatiable curiosity about and love of the puzzle that is Gregory House–and our determination (dare I say just like that of our beloved doc) to dig deep and uncover all the layers to get closer to the answer of the puzzle even though we know it will never be definitive.

    That’s the bottom line for me. It is what distinguishes this show from all the others I have enjoyed tremendously, but never “obsessed” over, in my 60-plus-plus years, and it is what drew me into a world I never knew existed…a fandom! (My granddaughters nearly fell off their chairs when I mentioned reading fan fiction. 🙂 )

    I watch the show with the mindset that just about everything that happens has relevance only as it relates to House. So while I might like some characters and arcs more than others, part of the delight is figuring out what a particular event/storyline/etc. says about House. There is almost always a connection. TPTB rarely disappoint me because my only expectation is that I will gain another glimpse into this fascinating, and, as you so well describe him, romantic Byronic figure.

    As for Huddy, the most iconic moment for me during the past few episodes was immediately preceding the kiss. Cuddy’s desperate pleading “Why do you always negate everything?” And House’s equally desperate and oh-so-honest-and-vulnerable reply, “I don’t know.” That interchange broke the dam between them and allowed the pouring out of the emotion in the kiss.

    I believe Cuddy will continue to want the relationship to deepen and will, in her own way, continue to ask why he doesn’t let it happen. And House, although he is gaining more and more insight–albeit at a snail’s pace–is still frustrated and has to continue to say…in his own way…”I don’t know.” But, especially since the kiss, I don’t think it’s possible for him to deny the question the way he may have in the past.

    It reminds me of the quote from Rilke about not trying to find the answer, but to live the question. For House, the ultimate torture.

  • Seel

    Great article and great comments from everyone!
    I will have to put in my fifty cents when I have the time.

    I just wanted to say that if the writers are reading this blog (and other forums), they must be having the time of their lives with everyone interpretating things differently (or not), and all the tiny little details we pay intention to (that maybe were totally involuntary) and all the different ships and everything…
    Must be having a great laugh!

  • barbara barnett

    Orange, you are right about that scene. He was very upset. I think he felt terrible. At the beginning of the next episode, House clearly had stayed up all night upset about it. And it was significant that he went to her house to lure her back.

    I don’t think it was romantic. I didn’t at the time, either (and I was open to the Cameron thing). I don’t believe that House felt that connection with her in the same way he felt it with Stacy (or benchmark at the time).

    I never saw those furtive glances (from him) body language or other subtext that suggested anything deeper than a strong, strong attraction to her.

    I have thought much about that scene in Role Model and what it meant. Why House was so upset and why he wouldn’t shake Cameron’s hand. I have always felt that he believed that he’d let her (and the rest of the scooby gang) down by his sticking to his moral guns with the speech. She got what he was really trying to do.

  • Orange450

    Hi Barbara, for the record, I’m not a Cameron-House-ite at all. L’hefekh, if you know what I mean. But just for the sake of playing the game: when she came over to his apartment to quit, back in S1 – he seemed pretty upset by it. Out of proportion to the reaction you’d expect even from a boss who – as HL said in an interview back then – “would be quite cut up if one of them [his team] left”. He wouldn’t even shake her hand at the door. And then he took the trip over to her apartment to ask her to come back. I agree that there’s been nothing like that since. But many in the fandom considered those to be fairly significant actions for him at the time.

  • barbara barnett

    Hi Mrs. Jane and Welcome. OH, but discussing the body language is fun…so is the speculation. I really love it. Interestingly enough, I was having a conversation with a co-worker (a middle-aged male) and he totally loves the 13 stuff. Go figure. He thinks she’s great.

    And he actually got me to thinking about how the different demographics look at the show. It’s like the tale of the blind men and the elephant. Or Rashamon. Everyone comes at this from a different vantage and personal history.

    But to pose a question to the Cameron-House-ites: two things–
    1) The gesture of the desk was a broadly romantic and anonymous gesture from House. It took a lot of planning and not an insignificant amount of money, I’m sure, to bring it to the hospital. I can’t think of why House would have done that–if there was not something very significant going on with him regarding Cuddy. (And I don’t mean sex–only–or even primarily)
    2)His reaction to Cameron’s departure vs. his reaction to Cuddy’s new preoccupation with the baby. He was OK with one (and was OK with her being with Chase) Not OK with the baby; not OK with her interest in any other man. House was also not OK with wilson’s leaving and his leaving the cell phone and abandoning the patient was his emotional plea to wilson to stay around. Again–can’t think of an analogous reaction to Cameron at any time.

    Congrats to Hugh and House for their SAG nominations. IT’s the series’ first nomination for the award as a cast. Great news. Also, I’ve now gotten hooked on Twitter. It’s addictive. Too addictive.

  • Mrs Jane

    Hi, am reading the comments and enjoying myself!
    My two cents : the Huddy thing’s evolving well. I was against it when the first spoilers were let out, but the writers have done a pretty good job so far, except for one little thing : the office scene in LTEC, or to be more precise, Cuddy’s “Everybody knows…” and “We are supposed to kiss now.” That was totally backbone-less und completely un-Cuddy-like! Without that, everything would have been just great.
    One thing, however, makes me ponder the near future of our beloved show. They have serious problems with supporting cast! There are too many of them. 13’s storyline is completely asfixiating the ex- and present ducklings, not to mention Wilson, and the whole 6(or 8)-member-supporting-cast-team is asfixiating House. The writers balanced this issue well in S4, so what’s the problem now?
    Anyway, not to go too far from the subject of this article, I expect a slooooow development of House/Cuddy thing. By the end of next season we might actually have something real to discuss, not just body language and speculations.

  • Stagestruck

    I hope this comes out coherent, I don’t have my thoughts completely in place but here goes:

    Title song first verse – Love, love is a verb, love is a doing word.

    Pilot episode – Rebecca Adler to Wilson

    Rebecca: Does he care about you?

    Wilson: I think so.

    Rebecca: You don’t know?

    Wilson: As Dr. House likes to say, “Everybody lies.”

    Rebecca: It’s not what people say, it’s what they do.

    Wilson: [Pause] Yes, he cares about me.

    LTEC: House giving Cuddy the desk. (Though I could make a case for it coming from Wilson simply by the questions he asks her, almost like its really no surprise to him – hopefully TPTB will throw us a bone before the season ends).

    The entire IVF shots/keeping her secret/ and constantly sabotaging her dates (still pondering the boob grab though – with that one I have no words – completely thrown off that horse).

    I’m always hesitant to make much of what House says, unless he’s in an obvious open moment with the POTW or caught up in a moment with Cuddy (peer review) or Wilson (his resignation) , but I almost always take seriously what he *does* especially with regards to Cuddy and Wilson. They, who IMVHO, are the two people House cannot exist without. He must have them in his life in some way, romantically (Cuddy), bro-mantically (Wilson), simply as friends (both), or only as collegues, it doesn’t really matter ( I cannot truly picture any other character in the show having this much influence on House’s basic survival, including Cameron. If she left the show, House’s world would not come crashing down as evidenced in the beginning of S4- he’d be just fine and dandy), he *needs* Cuddy and Wilson both, and he does everything in his power to keep them in his life and constantly involved in him. He is overly involved in their personal lives to a fault. It’s what he does and rarely what he says that is important, and I think a very important running theme.

    Is he in love with Cuddy, who can say? Going back to the Title song… What does he do, that is where the answer lies I think. Physical language is the absolute key and where most communication between people happens. House and Cuddy have been writing volumes since he urgently pressed that elevator button in the pilot episode. I await eagerly for what they will do next.

    Hugh Laurie is a master at physical language, and I enjoy every moment! He raises the bar for all the others and they consistently rise to the occasion.

    On a side note – I think with every one else, it’s what he says that counts. There is nothing really at stake with anyone else, so he can be brutally honest with them. He lets no one else in. Not even Stacy anymore, but he absolutely trusts Cuddy and Wilson with his very life (even when they overstep in their desire to see him happy). They have endured trial by fire over *years* and have come out as refined gold. Priceless to House, and essential. I love this triangular dynamic!

    One last thing – I did enjoy House’s little snark to Cameron in a recent episode:

    Paraphrased – to her after she discovers the diagnosis: “Look me up when you hit puberty.”


  • How much House and Cuddy mean to each other is dependent on how much weight one gives to the clues about them. In that sense, it is under our personal control.

    I think they are obsessed with each other, House about twice as much as Cuddy due to his obsessive proclivities. No woman looms larger for House than Cuddy and no man looms larger for Cuddy than House. Often, when they are together, others seem to disappear. More often than they should, they indulge in their vibrant kinship by speaking exclusively to each other as if they are alone together when that is not the case. (part of it is bad manners)

    Their kiss did not inspire desire and passion but rather uncovered it, much to their surprise. They beheld each other in shock and awe. For days afterwards House was no longer fit to spend time or sleep in his own home because of his desire to be with her and no where else. Through the arc, both were willing, at separate times, to throw caution to the wind in order to be together. Circumstances intervened, as happens in series TV, movies, literature.

    The emotions are abundant, the circumstances are prohibitive as written, and the series rolls on.

    I would categorize their non-relationship as akin to an amicably divorced couple who were never married and still mean the world to each other. This makes them officially non-family. A Shore and Co. confection.

  • Melanie

    Hi Barbara,

    As usual, your article, was great. I agree with everything that you said. I disagree with what some of the posters say about House and Cuddy’s relationship though. Many of you have said that what House and Cuddy have is not love, just sexual tension. I think that House and Cuddy have respect, trust, and appreciation for each other both as doctors and people, a sexual attraction, they both try to protect the other,and they make each other laugh. Are these not signs of love???? I am all for the House/Cuddy relationship. I just hope that the writers continue to take it slowly. The cat and mouse game is what is fun and exciting. I want to see more of how they met, etc. Many posters are also saying that House cannot give Cuddy what she wants/needs and the relationship would not survive. The relationship has survived this long! Could you imagine what would happen if they actually admitted how they felt to each other! I think that House is very capable of giving Cuddy everything she wants/needs. It isn’t a matter of him not being able to give, he’s scared. He doesn’t ever want to feel pain like the pain he has experienced in the past. It’s too hard for him. So, rather than risk it all for love and happiness, he pushes people away and insults them. It’s his defense mechanism. He figures if he’s mean, no one will want him or want to be with him. He can’t hurt them and they can’t hurt him. Problem solved. The only problem is, with Cuddy, he has strong feelings of admiration and love. It’s not as easy to be mean to her and push her away. His plan is crumbling! It’s fun, as a viewer, to watch him realize these things and experience these emotions that he is so strongly trying to deny. He does have a heart and we all know it. It’s just fun to try and find it!!!!!!!!! Thanks for all the great articles Barbara!

  • Charma

    Well..after reading you guys’ comments i just had to write one of my own.

    Cuddy and House have great sexual feelings toward each other…but to call it love, true love??? I don’t think so. They understand each other and care about each other but they’re both afraid to move; to make that step from flirtatious sexual tension between boss and employee to a serious relationship. And they have good reason. House is afraid to show his emotions. He was hurt before and is afraid that he might be hurt again. So he keeps his true feelings hidden, deflects anytime someone says anything true or personal to him and covers his feelings for Cuddy by making sexual comments about her ass, breasts (and so on). House knows that he can’t give her everything she wants. Like he said to Stacy ” We’re gonna be going fine for weeks, months and then I’m gonna say something insensitive and you’re gonna say it’s just House being House… I can’t give you what you want” (roughly what he said). To me, this applies for Cuddy too. He knows that soon enough she’s gonna expect him to be romantic and intimate and attentive…. and he won’t be. He knows that they’ll soon enough realize that the sexual tension was nothing BUT sexual tension. He doesn’t want to get hurt again (as he did with Stacy) so he steels himself from love. His reasoning is that emotions only lead to hurt and anger; so he stays away from it.

    Cuddy on the other hand is afraid of being hurt by House. In “Joy to the World” she said “I’m bad at relationships”. This gives us an insight to her past life. Most likely since all her other relationships ended or went horribly, she’s afraid this one might be as well, especially because of House’s nature. He’s jerky, manipulative,insensitive and funny in a harsh way… and it attracts her. But his hard personality also has the potential to hurt her. Part of her wants a real relationship but another part of her is afraid to move on. They’re both hesitant to show their true emotions in full. Gladly though, that doesn’t stop them from giving tiny hints of affection.

    I’m totally addicted to this complex and sexy connection between House and Cuddy. I think some commenters have it twisted though. A full-blown relationship between the two would NEVER work and would (in my opinion) make the show remotely less interesting. The tension, the fighting, the tiny hints of affection. THAT’s what makes the show interesting and fun to watch. The writers keep us hungering for more and I love it!! Thx for writing the article. Can’t wait ’til January!!!

  • barbara barnett

    No worries KS 🙂 We are all passionate about our “ships.” And about the show.

  • KS

    Oh, I totally didn’t mean anything bad. Sorry if it came across that way! : )

    Thanks again for the article!

  • barbara barnett

    All that being said, I gotta say Barbara, I’m pretty sure you’re 100% Huddy! (You wrote less pages on Cameron and Stacy combined than on House and Cuddy! Not that I’m saying that’s bad: whatever floats your boat. ; ) But, you did say: “I’m only doing this in two parts for space considerations. The article won’t be nearly as long as this one. But I also think House’s relationship with Cuddy, like his relationship with Wilson is very complex and very long-standing. And it’s something being explored currently in the show’s narrative.” Well, maybe I just answered myself! (Joking, of course!!!) : )

    A couple things: In “Top Secret”, he did come back with a correction of the word “ship” to be “barge”, if referring to her butt. ; ) And, as for the theater tickets: I’m pretty sure he said in the next episode that it was a test, to see if she’d say yes. (Still funny, though!)

    Thanks KS for your thoughts. Firstly, I’m not a referee, I’m a writer-and a fan of the show. I’m gonna see what I’m gonna see. But one thing I do try to do is to look at things from various angles and through various prisms. I probably spent more words on the Wilson/House articles than on this one, and this one is longer (as I said) than the other two (Stacy, Cameron) because their relationship is pretty complex. Am I biased? Probably. I don’t write news, and this is an opinon piece.

    I was very big on Stacy, and thought that story was wonderful. But it was short-lived within the series timeframe, so…yeah. Short to write about. And I’ve never quite bought the idea of House and Cameron as each other’s one true love. I just haven’t. Sorry. House for all of his attraction to her in the series first season, and even into the second, I don’t think (and this is my opinion folks) has never taken the idea seriously. Not to be with her. He likes her; he’s attracted to her. He was phenomenally hurt when she quit (you could see it in his eyes)both times. But I think whatever House might have seen or wanted back then, I think it’s passed.

    One of the things that Cameron’s relationship with Chase has NOT elicited from House is jealousy. He’s been OK with it (except for the sex in Hunting) and has never suggested anything that says jealousy or hurt. That’s not the case with either Cuddy or Wilson.

  • KS

    About her seeing what “he might be”: I’m not sure about that. I’ve always thought that Wilson and Cuddy try too much to, (for lack of a better word), “control” House. As I’ve said, I think that’s an acceptable characteristic in a boss, but in a romantic relationship? I don’t know.

    I think she does understand him, and he understands her. (Though the argument could be made that he sees through and understands just about everyone close to him, and even those he just meets.) I definitely see a lot of the same things you’ve mentioned between them. The respect, protection, and the obvious attraction. But, the first two, to me, could boil down to a good friend. I also think that, after the kiss and Wilson’s subsequent nudging, he’s trying to decide if they could have a successful relationship. He knows they’re good friends, he knows he’s attracted to her, but could it be more? To be honest, I’m not sure it could. Especially not at this point. I don’t think he’s at that place yet.

    What’s interesting to me is that we also don’t know how their day to day interactions were before the infarction. This whole bickering thing could’ve been going on since college! (I know they haven’t worked together since that time… I’m just saying.) I really feel that’s another thing that goes into House’s consideration of Cuddy as a romantic interest: she knew him before the infarction. He can’t brush off her feelings for him as only being becaused he’s “damaged”, which I think is how he still labels Cameron’s.

    All that being said, I gotta say Barbara, I’m pretty sure you’re 100% Huddy! (You wrote less pages on Cameron and Stacy combined than on House and Cuddy! Not that I’m saying that’s bad: whatever floats your boat. ; ) But, you did say: “I’m only doing this in two parts for space considerations. The article won’t be nearly as long as this one. But I also think House’s relationship with Cuddy, like his relationship with Wilson is very complex and very long-standing. And it’s something being explored currently in the show’s narrative.” Well, maybe I just answered myself! (Joking, of course!!!) : )

    A couple things: In “Top Secret”, he did come back with a correction of the word “ship” to be “barge”, if referring to her butt. ; ) And, as for the theater tickets: I’m pretty sure he said in the next episode that it was a test, to see if she’d say yes. (Still funny, though!)

    Orange450, you said: “Since at this point in the show I can see Cuddy having a baby more clearly than I can see her in a permanent relationship with House – I had the thought that they’ll try for a relationship, but the baby will put a strain on it, and eventually Cuddy will decide that being a mother is more important to her than being with House. But they’ll stay very good friends.” – I could definitely see that as a possibility. I suppose if the baby arc doesn’t work out, they could also postpone the Huddy arc until the end of the series. But, if they don’t, I don’t see how it’s going to work out. (Though, as I’ve said before, I don’t think the writers know their endgame yet. And, for the sake of the “postponing” argument, haven’t they already done that for House and Cameron? Hmmm…)

    Thanks for the article and your thoughts, Barbara!

  • JL

    Hey, Ruth, you said:

    “…If Shore decided to change horses because of the House/Cuddy ‘chemistry’, why did he wait more than two and a half seasons to do it, meanwhile building a solidly written foundation for House being with Cameron?”

    I think that’s one way of looking at things -personally, I think the build-up time makes for a much stronger ‘solidly written foundation’!

    Here’s my theory about House’s romantic relationships:

    I haven’t watched the show, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” but my big fan sister has read a lot of the writers’ discussions, blogs, etc.
    She tells me Buffy was originally set up as a One True Pair with Angel. And then Angel’s storyline wasn’t quite working and he left and Riley was deliberately set up as her new boyfriend – the Wonderful Guy she’s Clearly Meant To Be With.
    And then, at some point, the writers suddenly DISCOVERED that Spike was in love with Buffy.
    Two characters that were never designed to be in love, but were meant to spend their days fighting with each other. And yet, somehow, they’d fallen in love along the way, causing much confusion for the writing team.
    Apparently, the next few seasons were spent with great arguing amongst the writers, each with a differing opinion as to Who Buffy Is Meant To Be With. And, even though the writers were each still trying to follow their own path, once the actors were on-screen, things would change again.

    Does that progression sound… familiar?

    I have no idea whether something similar happened for House. It just seems to fit what I’ve read and heard, both in the show, in the spoilers and in commentaries and interviews with David Shore and others.

    Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein have always made their scenes together highly… enjoyable. I think the writers enjoyed writing for them, without intending to set them up to fall in love. I like the idea that they somehow found that this seemed to have happened without their realising it.

    But, as I said, that’s just my theory.

  • Luisa Borges

    Melissa and Barbara, wonderful to read your comments.

    I´ll venture a thought here, maybe House´s condition for love is “not to leave him”, he fears being abandoned, so he pushes to see who´ll stick no matter what. Testing limits.

    Beautiful description of the Lucky Thirteen end scene. 100% agreed.

  • Luisa Borges

    Hi Orange 450,

    Thanks so much for your comment and thoughts. Great stuff. And I do that bit of reflection about my Mom all the time, its funny how things change (to me that´s one of the great wonders of life, the unpredictability of it).

    And I really see what you mean about the relationship age referal with House and Cuddy. He was married once, and to make that commitment he must have been a more mature man. But somehow I think the hurt from how it all ended, really shut him off and he sort of regressed back(like a turtle to its shell).

    We have never heard of a significant man from Cuddy´s past so the idea is that there was none, and she said in the last episode that she never had a significant relationship with anyone. I´m thinking that maybe she has issues too, not from being hurt but maybe from fear of being hurt (IMHO I think she over thinks stuff, she tries to see all the angles and ends up sort of paralysed by that).

    So, like you said, back to high school time (or better yet, primary school). From this angle her new “motherhood” role could provide some interesting shifts.

    And thanks so much for the vacation wishes, I´m in for a lot of House fun with your comments close by as I re-watch some episodes.

    Best holiday wishes to you too!

  • barbara barnett

    She’s his family. She’s shown that she pretty much loves him unconditionally, or as close to unconditionally as you can get. And I very much believe that he loves her too.

    Interesting. The unconditional aspect of her relationship with House is something I’ve never considered. House has always contended that all love is conditional. We just don’t know what the conditions are. He has pushed Cuddy beyond her limits, and after awhile, she simply ingores him (like wilson does in some respects)–ignores the subterfuge, seeing what’s underneath it. She keeps coming back.

    I just re-watched Lucky 13 and am still stunned by the emotion that Hugh conveys as House in that final scene. He is stunned and so upset, swallowing hard before he puts those shades back on. If he’d left them off, Cuddy and Wilson would have no doubt (as if he left any in the seconds before he put them back on) as to the emotions roiling inside. That’s not the reaction of a spoiled employee who will no longer be the focus of his boss’ professional attention. That’s the reaction of someone who’s been punched in the gut with devastating news.

  • Luisa Borges

    Hi Ruth, I do agree with you that I have a partial eye, when something catches your attention and you become involved in it that´s usually what happens.

    So I single out what catches my eye and what catches my eye tends to be stuff that relate to what I like. That´s why its great to read different opinions as they show other interpretations of what we say, it broadens your mind, so to speak, even if it doen´t change it.

    What stuck out it that scene for me was not so much House´s intense behaviour per say (which is part of his M.O. as you pointed out) but the fact that he was doing this after the diagnostic was done and that´s something that I have not observed him do too often (if at all, memory is a little hazzy on this right now). I can also remember him obsessing over not treatment relevant issues in Top Secret but that that was also Cuddy related.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your views.

  • Sera G

    Further interesting observations and opinions since I ended last night.
    Can we talk about touching? We have written so much about the looks and ‘messages’ the characters convey with their eyes, I was thinking about physical gestures. Actually, there are not that many. Cuddy is not really a physically demonstrative person. However, once in a while she will touch House on the arm. She offered him a hand on his shoulder (in encouragement) when he was in rehab (S3) and took him by the arm in “Fetal Position”. There have been a few other times. What I notice is that each time he looks at her hand as if he is surprised or so unfamiliar with a non-medical or nonsexual physical contact. IMO it is almost as if he has to process what for someone else would be a routine or commonplace expression of comfort or friendship.
    I am a’toucher’. Even people who are not usually don’t react with bewilderment. He doesn’t pull away, I notice. He almost examines it. After we learned about his father’s abuse, I thought that might be the reason. I don’t think that is it.
    Anyone else notice this or am I just reading waaaay too much into things. With this couple/show…that is entirely possible.

  • Melissa

    I love all of these comments…

    I was just watching an episode on USA from season 1, and in one scene Cuddy tells him “I won’t always be here to protect you”. I loved that scene. Because despite her warning, she pretty much has always been there to protect him, and he knows it. From Vogler, from Tritter, from jail. She’s saved his life at the end of season 4. She sat by his bed and held his hand when Wilson left. Despite the snarky nature of their day-to-day interactions, the power of their bond is pretty incredible.

    Cuddy is House’s longest relationship. It’s spanned over twenty years. I think this is really significant, because there hasn’t been anyone else in House’s life for that long. She’s his family. She’s shown that she pretty much loves him unconditionally, or as close to unconditionally as you can get. And I very much believe that he loves her too.

    In “Joy”, he realized for the first time what it would be like without her there. And it terrified him. Because he had no reason to take her warning seriously before. She was always around to spar with him or bail him out. And he couldn’t control the torrent of emotions. I think that was the first time he came face to face with what she meant to him. But I also don’t think he was ready for it – he didn’t know whether to run after her or run for his life. I think before Joy the two functioned as a dysfunctional pseudo – husband and wife, neither forced to acknowledge how indispensable the other was to their lives.

    I don’t think Cuddy ever knew how much she meant to House until Joy. She undoubtedly was aware of the attraction and the mutual respect because of shared history, but I don’t think she fully grasped how intricately their relationship was woven into the fabric of his life. And of course, once she was confronted with that, she had to confront the fact that her loyalty to him was based on more than just respect and history. Hence, the scene in “Last Resort”.

    I really hope the addition of the baby doesn’t put a stop to the evolution of this relationship. I hope it brings new layers to the exploration.

    And as curious as I am about what happened between them romantically in the past, I kind of like that we don’t know. This allows the viewers to create their own narrative. The show does this a lot – with Amber and Wilson, for example. I almost hope they never tell us. Did they try to date and it just didn’t work? Did they both know it was a one night stand? Did one reject the other afterward? All of the possibilities make their current crazy courtship more interesting to me.

    I very much want the series to end with them together in some form. I’m okay if it’s ambiguous though. Ambiguous endings are my favorite – I like when everything isn’t wrapped up neatly. And I very much expect this series to go with an open ended finale.

    Wow, this was way too long. Sorry guys!

  • JL

    (Well, Barbara *clearly* doesn’t need defending, she’s nipped in while I was typing!)

  • barbara barnett

    JL–We used to call that “jinx” when I was a kid–when two people said the same thing at the same time. So…”jinx.” LOL

  • Orange450

    Hi Luisa. I agree with what you say. It’s similar in my neck of the woods – people in general act much younger than previous generations did. I enjoyed what you said about picturing your Mom when she was your age, because I do the same thing. I have grown-up children who regularly express their disapproval of their parents’ immature conduct, to which my husband and I reply that we hope that they’ll be having as much as fun as we’re having when they are our age.

    My comment about House and Cuddy’s behavior was aimed specifically at their relationship-navigating skills. That is an area that I do believe generally (although not always, of course) becomes easier with age, and with the kind of life experience that both of them have had. (Right before I turned forty, a slightly older friend of mine told me that I would find it liberating. She was right. Before I turned fifty, the same friend told me that if I thought forty was liberating, I would find fifty to be downright empowering. She was right about that, too.)

    My comment wasn’t aimed at the fun and pranks they share. And I definitely agree that the “work is my life” focus would play a significant part in shaping how they each cope in other aspects of their lives.

    Have a wonderful vacation!

  • JL

    Not that I think Barbara requries defending, but I’ll just note that she did, in fact, deal exclusively with the relationshipn between house and Wilson in her article, “House MD’s House and Wilson: A Fine Bromance”, which was published back in September.

  • barbara barnett


    Of course everyone is going to interpret the show based on their own POVs. to some House is simply an arrogant ass who can be funny. Some see House as an old soul who, when he sees suffering, can be compassionate. Some see him as soulful and others as simply a jerk.

    At the beginning of my essay I made the caveat that people can interpret House and Cuddy’s relationship differently. Just as people can interpret his relationship with Wilson and with Cameron.

    I don’t believe that I made part one into a Cuddy-fest. I loved House’s relationship with Stacy, but it is his past. He won’t go back there. He ended it finally on his own terms. He said it: He can’t put himself through it again.

    I’ve never seen the thing between House and Cameron as anything but a crush by Cameron on House (who she saw as damaged and very attractive). House was flattered and absolutely attracted to Cameron (and I thin he still is). But I think his attraction to Cameron is very much physical.

    I’ve got no illusions about House and Cuddy. I never said they were each other’s “one true love”–but ya never know.

    I wrote an extensive article about House and Wilson at the start of the season

    A Fine Bromance

    and another one right after the season premiere:

    House and Wilson in “Dying Changes Everything”

    How one sees all the relationships in House, how one sees House’s motivations and his nature really depends on your point of view, and that is the beauty of the show.

  • Ruth

    “He totally gets her. And he knows what she needs to do to keep functioning, so he lets her. Again in the end, case closed, House goes further and stays on to locate the source of the problem (and he did this for Cuddy as much as he did it for him, as the hospital is really “their baby” at that point in time).”

    Luisa Borges, this is why it’s misleading to pay attention only to the House/Cuddy scenes. House totally gets most people, colleagues, fellows, patients, relatives, even when they don’t understand themselves. He has understood Foreman from the pilot episode but that doesn’t mean that he’s in love with Foreman. The only people House doesn’t understand completely are Wilson and Amber, and possibly Cameron if they ever choose to explain her.

    House has always gone to extreme lengths to find the source of the problem, risking jail (DNR), lying to patients (Informed Consent), detoxing, getting punched out. The one thing about House is that he will rarely stop till he knows the answer. Odds are that he did it for himself, not for Cuddy.

  • Ruth

    JL, Shore said that everything he writes for House and Cuddy ends up being sexual. Sexual is not the same as romantic or love (and in this case I suspect a part of it is because of LE’s natural personality because she makes even interview questions sexual). If Shore were writing a romance based on HL’s and LE’s chemistry, he would have started after the pilot when he saw them interact and most certainly after the original episodes were done and they had to write the next set for Fox (the Vogler quintet). Instead, the story telling carried on House’s interest in Cameron (in Kids, Wilson was pushing House in Cameron’s direction and even Cuddy was pushing the date with Cameron in Love Hurts). The story line didn’t make Cuddy an official love interest until the middle of season 3. If Shore decided to change horses because of the House/Cuddy ‘chemistry’, why did he wait more than two and a half seasons to do it, meanwhile building a solidly written foundation for House being with Cameron?

    Barbara, you’ve argued your case with feeling.
    However, there are House/Cameron shippers who can make as good a case based on the canon of the first two seasons, and House/Wilson shippers who can make an even better one for their ship.

    I’ve read over both essays now. They are very much “fanon” essays rather than a more abstract analysis of the show. In every interaction you see something significant about House’s relationship with Cuddy but you dismiss Stacy as the past and Cameron as nothing at all. You are biased towards Cuddy which is okay but it’s still your bias, not necessarily what the show is saying. If Wilson had said to Cuddy “It’s been a long time since he opened up to someone, and I… you better be absolutely sure you want this because if he opens up again and gets hurt, I don’t think there’s going to be a next time,” would you not have seen it as Wilson telling Cuddy that House genuinely cares about her, cares to the amount that if she hurt him, he wouldn’t open up to someone again, rather than seeing it as being about House’s feelings for his old love Stacy as you did with Cameron?

    You also haven’t dealt with House’s relationship with Wilson. The show may never put them into a romantic relationship but IMO it’s the most intense and necessary relationship of House’s life and as such, sheds light on his relationships with the women in his life.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen on the show because Shore seems to be making it up as the fancy takes him. However the timing of the House/Cuddy relationship (it started in season 3 when traditionally the time of the ship that stalls the true ship) and how much time they are spending on it argues against this being the true love of House’s life. Those TV relationships that are the OTP spend only a few minutes per episode on the couple (e.g. Grissom/Sara on CSI) while the ones which get used up in the story arcs are the ones with more time spent on them while they are happening (e.g. Wilson/Amber).

    Enjoy the House/Cuddy relationship right now but don’t get too invested in the idea that they will be each other’s true loves at the end of the show. I see several indications to the contrary.

  • Luisa Borges

    Orange 450, how very interesting your comment. Was just reading it now. Not only about the great resolved or unresolved journey, but about the “age x behaviour” (as tipped also by Barbara).

    I´m around Cuddy´s age, 4 years younger to be exact. And I constantly wonder about why sometimes I don´t behave “my age” (as in my preconceived idea of what my age behaviour would be like in a given situation). I find, at least in my neck of the woods, that people in general act younger and less mature nowadays (I can just picture my Mom when she was my age).

    About Cuddy and House, don´t no if not having kids plays a part in this, I think sometimes that it does. And also the “work is my life” thing, and they´re both great at their jobs, as it still has a “frat house” climate to it all (remember House and Wilson living together, the pranks). They work with younger people, and its a less stuck-up enviroment.

    Maybe a way to divert from the stress of it all (I´m a doctor and can say that, in general, the work in hospitals was always full of fun exchanges and “kids” stuffs).

    Well, really don´t know. But I can say that the two of them, and their behaviour, surely reminds me of a lot of people I know (minus House´s brilliancy, I was never lucky enough to meet someone with that genius).

  • Luisa Borges

    Barbara, thanks so much for the insights into X-Files, how I loved this show. It had a huge following everywhere and in Brazil it was major. Mulder and Scully were one of the greatest couples on TV, and their sexual tension was really palpable (IMHO).

    I do love the way the House writers are developing Cuddy and House´s relationship, its not being rushed and yet there is something in almost every episode of every season. There is high pitch sexual tension (IMHO) but also there is a lot of care and attention paid to each other (along with the playing, the bickering and the jabs).

    Today the 8pm slot at Universal, which plays House epis (season´s 1-4) everyday of the week, had “rebooted” and is again in season one, showing “Maternity”.

    What a great show, a much tender moment for House (the autopsy scene was major). And in one scene when they where chasing the source of infection, Cuddy says she´s going to swab every place in the hospital and leaves as Cameron points to House why is he letting her go ahead with this as they all know its pointless and he says “The hospital is her baby, and her baby´s sick. If she doesn´t solve this soon her head is going to explode”.

    He totally gets her. And he knows what she needs to do to keep functioning, so he lets her. Again in the end, case closed, House goes further and stays on to locate the source of the problem (and he did this for Cuddy as much as he did it for him, as the hospital is really “their baby” at that point in time).

    I´m sure that there are countless scenes showing the opposite, Cuddy knowing that House needs to do something (as in House´s head, when she calls him back to the hospital to see the driver, and lets him get them all in the bus).

    These two really “get” each other, even if sometimes they do get “at” it each other too. It´s both sides of the same coin, in this case, both sides of the same feeling.

    And its terrificaly real, as it takes steps forward and backward, just like some real life relationships. And it sure gives us plenty of material to make sense of.

    Can´t wait for my vacation to start on friday as I jump into my House fest with all your insights by my side.

    All the best to everyone!

  • Orange450

    JL wrote:

    “Often, when discussing this relationship, people mention, ‘in the last series’ or ‘in the final episode’. They express a great need for ultimate resolution (whether it plays out the way they prefer, or not). But how can this occur? I gather the writers still don’t know where the show is going… which has been fine so far. But in the long term, how can that lead to any satisfactory conclusion?”

    JL, I loved your entire “resolution” post. Since I was one of the people who mentioned “the last season of the series” when talking about this relationship, I just wanted to say that personally, I enjoy going with the flow of the journey that the writers are taking us on, and I’m okay with a lack of resolution, even in the long term. I think that maybe with TV (as opposed to books), especially in recent years – there’s been less of a tendency for series finales to tie up loose ends, or even fulfill expectations. Come to think of it, this could be why the sole investment I’ve made is in the genius of HL, RSL and LE, and the excellence of the entire production. Everything else is up for grabs as far as I’m concerned. I may have certain preferences, one way or another, but I’m fully prepared to enjoy wherever it goes, even if I don’t always agree with all of it 🙂

  • Orange450

    Barbara wrote:

    “The push forward and pull back is very realistic–especially with people of their age. (Of which I’m one).”

    Barbara, it’s interesting that you say this. I’m their age too (well, I’m just a little older than House), and even though I enjoy their tension as much as anyone, certain aspects of their interaction sometimes make me think that they’re getting too old to be acting like such kids. I find that one of the compensations for getting a bit more mature (notice I was careful not to say “older” :-)) is that one often learns how to do this relationship-forging stuff – navigating the shoals and the deeps – a little better than one used to. Especially with people that one has known for a long time. Now granted, both House and Cuddy suffer from their own respective cases of arrested development in this area, so I would agree that their push forward/pull back is typical of that. But in general, by their age bracket (House is pushing fifty!), I think it’s more typical to see a growing comfort with one’s self, a growing awareness of what makes one’s self tick, and a correspondingly increased ease with other people. Along with a greater inclination to turn UST into RST without as much ado.

    On the other hand, I think that Cuddy’s maternal yearning – in a woman of her age – is beautifully portrayed, and absolutely accurate. Completely believable. Maybe that’s why the idea of Cuddy with a baby is easier for me to picture than any other kind of relationship for her.

  • JL

    operahouse, you are, of course, entitled to your opinion.
    However, I note that you state ‘House loves Wilson’.
    Surely the exact same issues you express regarding House’s ‘abuse’ of Cuddy apply to his relationship with Wilson. House is just as ready to ‘belittle’ or ‘trample’ on Wilson in public or private, nor did he ever thank Wilson for standing up for him to Vogler or to Tritter.
    Yet I do not believe that you are accusing Wilson of having lost all self-respect in regarding their relationship as ‘friendship’.
    I think it’s likely that you are interpreting Wilson as recognising House’s actions towards him as having love underneath, even though they could just as readily be interpreted as ‘abusive’.
    And I’d put it to you that that is precisely how Cuddy’s relationship with House can be interpreted, too.

  • TJ

    Remember at the end of one of the episodes I believe is was the baby epidemic episode I am not sure though House is sitting at his piano and he plays the lullaby, which may indicate his want to be a father. But, his shyness and social awkwardness may prevent him from directly saying it. so this may be the beginning of the Cuddy house relationship.

  • Manu

    Well, to each their own, operahouse. I, on the other hand, am sorry for any woman who takes everything at face value, never bothering to dig deeper – that’s usually where the real beauty is.

    We’re all entitled to our opinions, even if they are not popular ones. Katie Jacobs have recently referred to House and Cuddy’s relationship as “the most real love relationship on TV”. Now, if you don’t believe it is love as you believe it is an abusive relationship, it is a matter of interpretation, not an actual fact.

  • operahouse

    I realize this is a Huddy fest, but I feel the need to add a differing opinion. I don’t think that House loves Cuddy. He loved Stacy, and he loves Wilson. He might’ve loved Cate, had she stuck around longer. I don’t even see he and Cuddy as friends … when have we ever seen that? He thinks she has an attractive body, and she’s his boss (one that he disobeys and disrespects more often than not). They have been pushing this ship since the middle of S3, and especially lately. But it’s forced and contrived (they had to write several storylines a certain way so that Cuddy would be the only one “there” for him), and it’s not working. I think that Let Them Eat Cake was the beginning of the end, and Joy to the World was the end of it, thank goodness. As for House trusting someone with his life, he’s trusted Wilson, and he’s trusted Amber (97 Seconds). I just wonder how you would feel, Barbara, being in a relationship in which someone has no problem verbally and emotionally abusing you … alone or in front of anyone who happens to be there … including hospital employees. How would you like someone kicking you when you’re down? How would you like to commit perjury for someone and not even receive a simple “thank you?” And why has Cuddy been the one to ask, “Do you like me, House?” and “Do you want a relationship with me, House?” When it comes to House, Cuddy lost all her self-respect years ago. There’s no way she could be with him now and keep an ounce of self-worth. Belittling someone — and sometimes trampling on someone — is not a dance. It’s abuse. I’m sorry for any women watching this show who can’t tell the difference.

  • blacktop wrote, “The strange domesticity of House’s visits to Cuddy’s home stand out for me: House sweaty and seized with a new diagnosis at her bedroom window in “Meaning,” House similarly enthralled with a medical solution in “Half-Wit” and devouring all the energy in Cuddy’s living room to convey his excitement. House finds in Cuddy a kind of solace and intellectual anchoring that is essential to his diagnostic process. She literally grounds him (as well as floors him, heh).”

    Thank you for filling in the details of these two ‘House Calls’ at Cuddy’s home so beautifully. I didn’t have space in my ‘home visit progression’ to include all that I wished.

  • JenTheWriter

    Very fascinating and beautiful article. It really looked into the depths of House and it was easier “getting to know him”. I love the character of House (and personally know someone with the same kind of personality) and I hold a special kind of hope that House can eventually break down the barriers he has had erected for so long and take a chance on love again.

    I would have to say, I think he’s beginning to openly show Cuddy his feelings with out consciously realizing he’s doing it. He knew there would aftermath after producing her college desk for her office remodel. It was a sweet and tender gesture, so polar opposite from grabbing her boob earlier instead of kissing her like she wanted.

    I think the desk reveal is one of my favorite “Huddy” moments. That and the hints that they had some kind of past together pre-Stacy. That and the episode where Cuddy and House kept playing tricks on each other (Cuddy switching House’s vicodin for laxatives, etc) and House makes the comment to Foreman that he’s done something to Cuddy’s birth control. And in another episode House says something (which escapes me) and Foreman turns to House and asks, “What does this have to do with your sleeping with Cuddy?” Or something to that effect. I love those little hidden moments where the writers are hinting about their past together and that they might even being doing a little something-something still.

  • JL

    Barbara, here’s my issue with the ‘resolution’ side of things:

    You’ve frequently compared this storyline to that of a novel. But, when reading a novel, the reader feels able to invest emotionally in the story and the characters, knowing that the writer always had an endpoint in view and that some sort of resolution will be achieved (even if it’s not what the reader may have wanted).

    I believe it’s one reason J.K.Rowling had such success with the Harry Potter series. With several books to go, I frequently heard people noting that she’d already written the FINAL chapter. I think it made readers feel secure that the journey was going somewhere definite, and so they were prepared to jump on for the ride.

    I’d never understood the bitterness of House/Cameron shippers until I went back and read all the old spoilers for House, M.D. They were given reason to believe that the romance would be going somewhere and so they were prepared to invest emotionally. Understandably, they now feel somewhat cheated.

    I’m in two minds.

    I love the fact that the House/Cuddy relationship has arisen out of the writers going along with the chemistry right in front of their noses (I’ll join the quoting trend here – I liked David Shore saying that, when it came to Lisa Edelstein and Hugh Laurie, “I can’t seem to write anything that ISN’T sexual…”). And I enjoy the fact that, becasue it wasn’t planned, there’s still uncertainty as to how it will play out. It makes this relationship more … real, somehow.


    Often, when discussing this relationship, people mention, ‘in the last series’ or ‘in the final episode’. They express a great need for ultimate resolution (whether it plays out the way they prefer, or not). But how can this occur? I gather the writers still don’t know where the show is going… which has been fine so far. But in the long term, how can that lead to any satisfactory conclusion?

    Will the team decide, at some point, where they’re going? I want to know it’s safe to engage…

  • barbara barnett

    Nicole–I don’t think they’ll drop it. They may weave it into the fabric of the show as a whole, but I don’t think they’ll drop it. Will there be some real resolution to their feelings for each other? As in real life, who knows? I really like the way they’re dealing with this. The push forward and pull back is very realistic–especially with people of their age. (Of which I’m one).

  • nicole.o

    I comppletely agree with you Barbara that the tension and conflict is what makes their relationship exciting, but if the writers keep building up the sexual tension and never give any release that is just mean! You can’t drag us along, get us so invested, and then drop it without any resolution. I’m not saying long term relationship, but at the very least another passionate kiss. =)

  • barbara barnett

    Welcome to any and all new readers!
    Thanks also for all of your very kind comments.

    I remember back in the X-Files days (the only other television addiction I harbored as an adult) and the discussions between the “no-romos” and the “UST” faction and “RST” faction.

    I was firmly in the UST faction, but not everyone saw the UST between Mulder and Scully (UST is “unresolved sexual tension”) Chris Carter teased everyone for years, with the ultimate tease being the “almost kiss” in the XF movie (which came out after the series’ fifth season). Chris Carter (practically up to the end of the fourth season) insisted that there was “nothing between” the two central characters. They were professional colleagues and partners, and he had never intended to have them be romantically attracted to each other.

    But television characters (more than film or literary characters) can take on a life of their own, no matter what the intentions of the creator. I think that’s what’s happened with House and Cuddy. I don’t think that David Shore originally had any intention of having House and Cuddy even consider each other romantically. I think it just “happened” as it so often does.

    Do I want House and Cuddy to resolve the exquisite tension between them? As long as the tease doesn’t become the focus (as can), I’d rather see the two of them struggle with their emotions and their attraction. Of course they can impulsively act on their feelings and then suffer the emotional consequences afterward.

    In any event, I don’t think that whatever happens, House will become a puppies and babies sort of guy.

    I think one of the attractions of House is to watch his struggle (with pretty much everything except his intellect) day to day.

  • Manu

    Yet another fantastic review. You are one talented lady, Barbara.

    House and Cuddy’s relationship is fascinating. To me is one of the most important aspects of the show, along with House’s relationship with Wilson. There is no denying that. These two are without a doubt the most important people in House’s life.

    Having watched the show since it’s very first day, I admit I am flabbergasted whenever a person implies that for one to come to enjoy House and Cuddy’s relationship as it is, they must have missed former seasons. Um, sorry, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

    People are well aware of the fact House and Cuddy might never be long term – if they ever attempt to start a relationship, that is. We’re not asking for a marriage, kids and a white picket fence, here. I personally find it insulting when “non-shippers” not only believe people would want this, but actually fear the show might be taking route.

    People appreciate their flirty/banter/romantic interaction for several different reasons. The journey has taught us that their relationship is anything but conventional and will remain unconventional until the very end of the series. To me, THAT is the appeal. I’m not a fan of the black or white thing, I’ve always been attracted to gray – I’m a very hard girl to please. And when it comes to the show, specially in regards to House and Cuddy’s relationship, I couldn’t be more pleased.

  • This is my first time posting, but I just loved this article. I loved the commenter that noticed that they both have some similar habits (like playing with rubber bands, etc.). I had noticed the same thing and had also noticed that every time the writers show House in bed, he is on the left side of the bed and every time they show Cuddy in bed, she is on the right side of the bed.

  • Cate Malone

    I don’t think the Huddy arc is over by any means, and it is going to be interesting to see where it goes, however, I hope the writer’s give House more screen time…and never forget the show is about HIM, not the ducklings!!! I can totally see them together. I don’t think House will change with Cuddy, she doesn’t expect change and loves him for who he is, ‘cuz let’s face it, if House changes, and turns in to a loving sweetie, the show is over.

  • Dany

    I have to agree with Sally. As much as I understand the need and desire of the writers to include this story arc (it must be great fun to write the sarky dialogue for House and Cuddy), I find myself a little repelled by the idea of the two of them ever actually getting together. The dynamic that makes them both what they are would be irretrievable.

    I’m far more excited at the idea of Cuddy as a mother than I ever have been as the idea of her as a girlfriend or wife (of anyone, but especially House). Being a mother makes her a stronger character. Being the girlfriend of a dominant House can only make her weaker, even if she pulled out all the stops not to play second fiddle. I’m hoping that the baby story effectively ends the Huddy adventure, while still allowing us to explore the concept of House as a father figure.

  • Eve

    I applaud your courage for commenting this!
    All comments posted before you were 100% positive regarding the Cuddy/House storyline.
    I guess you are in a minority here but every opinion is respected.

    First of all I don’t think anyone here is waiting to see ‘downtime’ on House MD.
    I, for one, was just speculating/fantasizing.

    If you watch the show for pure medical reasons then I’m sure there are great shows for that on the Discovery Channel.
    I personally also like the human side to it, the character development and relationship dynamics.

    House will never turn into a soap opera, I’m sure the writers would not allow that and they shouldn’t.

    ‘they are more like brother and sister’
    I can’t even begin to say how wrong you are on this.
    I understand you don’t like the coupling but to compare it to a siblingrelationship is incomprehensible.

    oh yes and I just wanted to quote David Shore:
    ‘if House can have a relationship with ANYONE, it’s Cuddy’

  • Sally

    I’m sorry to say, but to me House and Cuddy still should not be more than just friends. And to me it’s awful how ridiculously desperate the writers made the formerly so strong character Cuddy look like. She knows House long enough, she knows that it’s most likely that House will push her away, because (and I’m quoting here) “love is a risk he can’t take”. And still she corners him. And imo they are more like brother and sister, they sort of love each other but at the same time kind of hate each other.
    I’m happy that Cuddy finally has the baby she always wanted, and I dearly hope that the writers will stop forcing Huddy into something it shouldn’t develop into.
    And one more thing: “I can totally picture House/Cuddy’s downtime at home…” If you really want to see THAT on the show, I’d say House is the wrong show for you.
    I’ll never get how anyone who watches the show just because of Huddy ever liked the former seasons, especially 1 to 3 – which are the seasons that made House as successful as it is. I watch the show ever since the pilot and Huddy is the last thing why I watch the show (on the contrary I do not want to see a Huddy relationship, as I mentioned above).

  • Melissa, Brava for all of it and especially, “But he’s thrilled to play the game with her…and they both know that they revel in it.”

    Wonderful. That is one of my favorite House and Cuddy moments too. It does raise the question if House can learn to circumscribe himself in these games or cases so that they don’t expand out of control and into undue burdens for Cuddy, as sometimes happens. But delightfully not in the case of “Games”.

    Edwin wrote, “The eternal question in his mind is would she want me? But hey, this is just one guy’s opinion.”

    Thanks for your opinion. Its good to know how guys view this couple. My husband doesn’t watch. I imagine House’s perspective of zero self-worth in his ability to inspire love means that the calamitous boob grab in LTEC was House escalating the ‘game’ and oblivious to Cuddy’s romantic willingness. That would fit with his comment to Taub about ‘being required to play 20 questions when he should just tell him the answer’. Translated, he wishes Cuddy would have just told him that she wants a relationship instead of playing a game that he misconstrued as ‘same procedure as last time’ (the kiss being an anomaly of vulnerability).

    This also fits with House continuing to try and engage Cuddy in the game in JTTW. He now knows her game was meant to lead to something serious and he is ready to play it to the end. Eventhough, as Barbara interprets, he’s not sure Cuddy wants him for the right reasons or if he could make her happy.

    But it turns out that she has changed (because she saw the other woman) and that door is closed for the present. He hopefully concludes that her unwillingness to play is simply ‘hurt feelings’ about the boob grab and predicts a two week healing period. He slowly realizes he is wrong about the simplicity of the problem and that he would have to do more than wait two weeks when Cuddy’s baby arrives. We don’t know what he would have done if the baby hadn’t arrived, but if Barbara is right, nothing. It’s almost like watching a man walk a tight rope and he keeps turning around and heading in the opposite direction.

    I like Edwin’s “lack of self-worth” explanation from House’s point of view, that he thinks Cuddy couldn’t possibly want him in a serious relationship when she is in her right mind and not ’emotionally vulnerable’. Included in this explanantion is Barbara’s notion that because House believes he is not what Cuddy really wants and he would have a damaging effect on Cuddy (no self-worth for his ability to give love either) he decides to protect Cuddy from herself and him. And perhaps House is right. Neither is ripe for a real relationship with one another at present.

  • Louise

    Barbara, you selected scenes for your article that really pull gave the entire prism of this rather complex relationship between two of my all time favorite characters. Thank you.

    After reading all these comments and responses, people have convinced me that this relationship could move forward without putting a whammy on the series. (Oh, I love this pairing–just know the writers have to be very careful.) Here’ my thought: House is great with children. They “get him” as a honest, kindred spirit right away. Baby Cuddy offers a great opportunity for some great scenes. Oh yeah!

  • Sera G

    Sorry, one more:
    blacktop pot #31-you put it so beautifully:

    “They share history, admiration, respect, sexual attraction and an abiding affection. If that isn’t love, what is?”

    Are you paying attention writers and Mr. Shore?

  • Sera G

    Hello All!
    Just a few random observations:
    1. Reading everyone’s thoughtful and introspective comments makes me appreciate the show even more. It is almost as if we are discussing a great novel; deep, so many points of view and characters who truly ‘live’ for us.

    2. Recalling favorite moments involving House and Cuddy clarified for me how cleverly the writers have involved us and revealed tiny moments that add up the the huge sum of their relationship. (Past, present and future.)

    3. Someone posted…I am sorry I can’t find it to give them credit, how much FUN this show and the Huddy relationship is. That is part of what hooked me from the beginning. Yes we laugh at what House gets away with saying (what we might only think) but the crazy bantering/bickering and one upsmanship with Cuddy is laugh out loud funny!
    They revel in it and so do we.

    4. It is fun to read comments from new posters.
    (Look at me…old timer…I’ve only writing since October!) It is like we are part of a wonderful club.
    Thank you, again, Barbara for providing this opportunity and safe place for us all to indulge our House Addiction.

  • Larz

    Honestly as two animals in the wild seek out and find appropriate mates so goes the Cuddy House relationship.

    As wierd as this lone opinion might be I honestly think that HOUSE is trying to MATE with CUDDY (As in have babies with).

    She is everything he could ever want or need: brains, beauty, constant conflict… It’s a long list but he is very territorial with her and didn’t seem so much to have a problem with her having a baby as much as her having someone elses baby. (wierd huh) but that is just what I get from the episodes I’ve watched.

  • Fernanda Allendes

    I really love reading yours reviews & reader comments.
    I just want to add something else about the relationship between House & Cuddy.
    One thing I love about their connection is that even it reaches an unconscious level, how some actions of both match, for example, when they are thinking or worried, both House & Cuddy play with a rubber band and probably without knowledge that the other does the same.

    (I apologize if you can’t understand something, I’m not native speaker)

    & Happy Holidays everyone!

  • Luisa Borges

    Barbara, Great news, means even more people will have the change to read your wonderful article and savor your insights into the House / Cuddy relationship!


    BTW, great stuff about the “downtime”: Eve, Orange450 and JL.

  • barbara barnett

    I also enjoy those moments of “downtime” and quiet.

    The folks at FOX official site have featured this article on the homepage. Along with lots of other interesting things, including videos, etc.

  • Timeturner

    hi Ms Barnett,

    I am a big fan of your articles and ‘House in love’ is my favourite so far.
    Please keep writing…it will help us all get through the (extremely) long wait. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!!

  • Melissa

    I love this, thank you!

    I wanted to add another of my favorite House/Cuddy scenes, from “Games”. After she confronts him about why he fired Amber and Thirteen, House tells her that he was just listening to her advice…and of course she only told him that because she thought he would do the opposite of what she said. So she tells him to hire Thirteen too and as she is walking away, we see him looking at her so intently. He knows she’s about to realize that this was his plan all along, and that he had duped her. He won this round. But he’s thrilled to play the game with her, and he considers her a worthy opponent.

    The expression on HL’s face as he stares at her walking away is priceless – a mixture of amusement, affection, anticipation, respect and intimacy. He knows she’s about to turn around and call him on it, and she does. And he’s thrilled. She then says to him that she’s glad the games are over, and he replies “how long have you known me?”. He has no intention of stopping their dance, and neither does she, and they both know that they revel in it.

    This interaction is so characteristic of their relationship. There’s so much intimacy there. They know each other so thoroughly, which draws them together and pushes them apart. They can’t hide from one another, there’s no pretense. And of course, that’s terrifying.

    I am a little nervous about the baby storyline. Their relationship is probably my favorite aspect of this show, and I want to see it evolve and play out. There’s such great fodder there for emotionally charged scenes as well as humorous ones. These two are so heartbreaking. I’ve never seen such a fascinating couple on tv. I want to see them try a real relationship in all of its dysfunctional glory. I really don’t see either one of them with anyone else.

  • Oh, it’s finally here! I just recently discovered this site and I am so glad I did. I just finished reading part 2 of House in Love. I have to put my two cents in because the realtionship between House and Cuddy stirs up powerful arguments between me and my best friend who are addicted the show. I believe that Hosue’s relationship with Stacy was so passionate that when they broke up after he had his infarction, he couldn’t allow himself to expose his heart again. House puts up an excellent front about not caring for people and for the most part, that’s true. But when it comes to someone who has already “gotten” to him, be it a patient or one of his employees, he is willing to go to the limit for them. His defenses come down. This is a man whose method of working depends on his objectivity. Remember how…cautious House was when Foreman was ill in Euphoria? Look at what he was willing to do for Wilson during the House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart 2 parter. This a man who feels and deeply. That scares him. And who is one of the few people that can break past his defense besides Wilson? Cuddy. Watching them onscreen is just fun. These are two people that know the effect they have on the other. Cuddy denies having feelings for House but she has definetly thought about it. House has too and not just sexually. She challenges him mentally and physically. House would date someone who’s an idiot for a while but sooner or later he would get bored. Other than Stacy, we don’t know if House had any other previous relationships but what we can tell from his relationship with Stacy is that he does like strong women who will stand up to him. Cuddy does that in spades. Cuddy is willing to say No to him. She doesn’t say it often but she does. House may never come out and say it but of course he wants Cuddy. The eternal question in his mind is would she want me? House has less than no self confidence in himself unless it has to do with medicine. There, medicine follows a certain order, a certain logic that messy human relationships just don’t. He can make brilliant insights into other people’s motives but never into his own. Relationships, dating are all somewhat illogical to someone who believes in logic and rationality above all else. House is aware enough that he’s damaged. It’s that question in his mind would she want me? Even though he’s relatively sure that she’s interested in him, to actually take a step forward and attempt to pursue it, is something that terrifies him. When Wilson was saying to Cameron in Love Hurts “if he opens up and he gets hurt again… I don’t think there’ll be a next time” to me that was the encapsulation not only of House and Stacy’s relationship but of any potential future one with Cuddy or any woman. That’s what makes the interplay between House and Cuddy so compelling at least for me. I have to know if House can actually take that step forward. I think Cuddy truly wants something more with House, she just may not want to admit it even to herself. But hey, this is just one guy’s opinion. Agree or disagree with it.

  • Orange450

    Thank you, JL! You’re right, those are great downtime moments. I loved those scenes!

    OK, so maybe I have to readjust my ideas a little 🙂

  • JL

    House and Cuddy in Downtime moments for Orange
    (I agree, there aren’t many)
    The two I think of particularly are:

    ‘Ugly’ (Season 4) where House and Cuddy are in her office watching the documentary together.
    And ‘Act your age’ (Season 3) where they are on the balcony watching the patients leave.
    These two moments spring to mind because the two of them are simply hanging out together, rather than sparring.

  • Figgie125

    I’m so thankful that I found this other universe, where discussions on my favorite show abound. I’ll be reading and rereading all of your blogs on House before I even attempt to respond! I can tell I’m in for a real treat. This one was so well written! — A New Fan…

  • Orange450

    Eve wrote:

    I can totally picture House/Cuddy’s downtime at home.
    They can be both reading a newspaper but at the same time argueing about different interpretations of the articles 😉
    I think they will never stop challenging eachother !”

    Nice one, Eve! I can picture that too 🙂

  • Luisa Borges

    Barbara, I adored the article, was really looking forward to it and now I´m printing it out, so I can have your comments close by as I go through House episodes in my vacation.

    Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments. And thanks for the dialogue transcripts (Quin and Val), the episode time line (j.i.m.) and the Rio Bravo connection (Eve K.). Lots of things to think about.

    I agree that there´s more great things to explore, and more to come, on the House / Cuddy front. Their relationship is one the great things on the show, because of the zest and skin deep attraction between. That coupled with their professional relationship makes for great dialogues and plenty of tension (hey I was a Moonlighting fan, so sexual tension and snappy dialogues are my cup of tea). And to have that in the most inteligent medical show ever (another great passion of mine), well that´s just perfect.

    I´ve been increasingly more curious about the specifics of House and Cuddy´s shared past history. The whole desk thing, the fact that he called her mother to get it, it really had me wondering. Then there is the fact that he played a prank on her with her old desk in “Last Resort” and in again in “Joy” he goes into her office and drops the lamp from her desk while saying that her daugther´s boyfriend would like to do it on the desk. Wonder if that particular desk he gave her could have some special meaning regarding their past.

    Another thing, their kiss was passionate, needy, full of hunger and yet, it left me switching between two ideas: either it was the first kiss they ever shared (full of pent up feelings and longings) or it was their fisrt kiss after many many years (although to me it didn´t feel like a familiar kiss, like his with Stacy felt).

    I really can´t wait to see how the baby thing will play out, how House will go about it, and how his relationship with Cuddy will unfold. And I do agree with Barbara in trusting the writers to deliver something interesting, very housian and great to watch regarding them. January won´t come soon enough for me.

  • Eve K,

    This is a very fun fact, “…she (Cuddy) is referring to the John Wayne movie “Rio Bravo”…”

    Thank you for the connection. So Cuddy slept by House’s side twice to protect him in the Season 4 finales.

    Now I’d like to see some of House protecting Cuddy and her baby.

  • Val

    Once again you don’t disappoint me. Great inights to Huddy and I agree with every one…thanks Barbara!

    I began watching House during the holiday hiatus of season 3 (wow, two years ago already…)and immediately liked the House/Cuddy pairing. Their mutual respect and admiration of each other so apparent, her wilingness to go to great lengths to protect him, and the way his demeanor altered in her prescence. Catching up on season 1 and 2 only accentuated the fact that these two people meant something to each other.

    One scene that was very telling and important to me for House and Cuddy was “Need to Know” in season 2. I’ve watched the episode and scene many times and feel that though it was a big episode in the Stacy arc (the ramifications of another kiss and ultimately House letting her go) there was a Huddy moment.
    ————————— (cut/pasted from twizTV)

    [Cuddy’s office]

    Cuddy: You can’t cancel the surgery.
    House: If she goes off the pill, the tumor goes away on its own.
    Cuddy: YOu ahve no proof the birth control pills caused this, you have no proof she’s even taking them.
    HOuse: “Well if we do the surgery, maybe we’ll kill her on the table. Then I can prove I’m right at the autopsy.
    Cuddy: Or, we can forget the surgery, let the tumor grow, and kill her.
    House: Why don’t you take it up with Stacy? See which option minimizes your risk.

    Cuddy: Here’s what I think she’s gonna say. Oh, I love Greg. But if you go against a patient’s wishes, you’re calling her a liar. And if something goes wrong, I end up in court haivng to defend the big mean doctor, albeit with dreamy eyes, would wouldn’t believe the nice suburban mom. And even though his cane makes me melt, do the damn surgery.

    I adore the rant from Cuddy. She appeared to be mocking Stacy, but I believe she was closer to expressing her own sentiments (just as House often speaks about himself through his patients). Laurie and Edelstein, once again, pulled off that scene wonderfully. House’s reaction (via Laurie of course) after Cuddy’s “Oh I love Greg” was filled with surprise and amusement, as if he was hearing a declaration of love for the first time. In that moment, I think House saw the possibility of a relationship with Cuddy, and this reveal played a bit (not huge) part in his ultimate decision to let Stacy go. This scene is definitely worth another look, if it hasn’t been viewed in awhile.

    I have faith in Shore and Company to take Huddy in the appropriate direction. I can also picture House and Cuddy in some domestic…very humerous domestic…scenes. As I’ve mentioned, I hope the end of the series will not find House alone…with Cuddy in some way is preferable. I don’t expect, nor would want it to be an easy route; the series and character, wouldn’t be House if it was.

    Jan 19 can’t arrive soon enough!

  • Fantastic article!

    As to the future of these two characters, I am of the opinion that while there will always be something there underneath the surface (that can’t be taken away no matter how many hookers she catches in his office) I think in light of House’s inability to tell her how he feels, and her new preoccupation with this child, for now they are done. Though I know that they will come back to each other eventually. When they are ready.

  • Eve K

    j.i.m – about being in each other apartments –

    Fun fact (I think):
    When Cuddy is in House’s apartment in “House’s Head” she says she will sleep in a chair with a shotgun in her lap. Here she is referring to the John Wayne movie “Rio Bravo” where the female lead is protecting Wayne from the bad guys without him knowing, sitting in a rocking chair with a shotgun in her lap, when he sleeps in his room upstairs. In the middle of the night he finds her sleeping and carry her up the stairs to her (or his) room, this we never find out. It turns out she is very much in love with him, and vice versa. So why did Cuddy mention that ?(-:

  • Jackie R.

    Barbara, thank you so much for your spot-on assessment of the Huddy dynamic! After watching “Joy To the World,” I was so depressed that I was unable to watch ANY House episodes for days. When I was finally able to watch “JTTW” again, I became more confident than ever that “Huddy” is unstoppable! Here’s what blew me away, my own “Aha!” moment: Cuddy strongly identified with the POTW, surely because she had had similar experiences. Though she was at first unaware that the POTW had given birth, something about this girl resonated with her. Cuddy became so very upset when she heard the girl’s story of how she was treated by her peers, especially Simon, that I found myself wondering just how much Cuddy and the girl had in common. Did a boy once get Cuddy “in trouble?” I am now of the opinion that Cuddy had either had a child and gave it up, or perhaps had an abortion, and she is desperately trying to make up for whatever it is she feels guilty about. If this is the case, it might explain why she went alone to the abandoned house, trying to right a wrong, and so clearly emotionally raw. Does “new baby” equal “atonement” to Cuddy? It seems that both the POTW and Cuddy had to grow up too fast, and felt very much alone.
    One night, House gave Cuddy “everything she wanted.” Could that have included a child? This long-shot possibility could explain so much, and add another interesting dimension to their relationship. I could go on for days, citing clues from past episodes- but as I may be completely off-base, I’ll await everyone’s thoughts!

  • blacktop

    Another excellent overview, Barbara. You have captured most of the highlights of this most intricate dance. As Sera noted above, I have written since “Half-Wit” that the relationship between House and Cuddy represents a wierd and compelling portrait of a unique marriage. The strange domesticity of House’s visits to Cuddy’s home stand out for me: House sweaty and seized with a new diagnosis at her bedroom window in “Meaning,” House similarly enthralled with a medical solution in “Half-Wit” and devouring all the energy in Cuddy’s living room to convey his excitement. House finds in Cuddy a kind of solace and intellectual anchoring that is essential to his diagnostic process. She literally grounds him (as well as floors him, heh).

    I think that an additional layer of wierdness for this relationship is the maternal nature of Cuddy’s protective drive toward House. A dominant theme of all their interactions is that Cuddy has literally and figuratively given life to House repeatedly. She re-started his heart in “Three Stories” at the time of the infarction and authorized the life-saving operation that left him crippled. Cuddy rescued House’s career by creating for him the job at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, a move that I believe saved his actual life as well. Cuddy saved House’s professional life again by defeating Vogler and then Tritter. Certainly his very existence would have been jeopardized by any extended jail time on the trumped up drug charges. Cuddy saved House by approving the ketamine treatments that temporarily gave him back his painfree mobility.

    The deeply sensuous moment of the mouth-to-mouth resusitation in “House’s Head” beautifully visualized the dual nature of this aspect of their relationship: Cuddy is the life-giver whose touch is simultaneously maternal and sexual.

    So where do they go from here? I don’t know of course. But I am certain that the intensity and quirky nature of House’s relationship with Cuddy will continue to play a prominent role in future episodes of this great show. They share history, admiration, respect, sexual attraction, and an abiding affection. If this isn’t love, then what is? The advent of a baby roils the waters for sure, but doesn’t sink the ship.

  • Stagestruck

    Excellent as always! I have absolutely nothing to add other than my heartfelt thanks. Well, maybe one thing…after watching JTTW, I felt like I’d been punched. It was kind of, oh I don’t know, weird? After reading your reviews I’m feeling a bit better now! Perhaps you’ve given the Byronic/romantic fool that I am, a little hope for this relationship. I sometimes feel I’m not smart enough to watch this show, especially when people start comparing episodes with Puccini operas. I’m fairly well educated, but that’s taking it to a whole dimension I don’t even want to fathom. I really enjoy your insights in the same way I enjoy the commentaries and introductions of my favorite Dickens, Scott, Austen and Bronte (especially Bronte) novels. I’m so very glad you do this, and encourage you to please continue. You are very much appreciated!



  • barbara barnett

    I agree that the baby provides some interesting new material to work with for all the characters without harming the overall storytelling.

    House is always going to be House (the character and the show). He’s going to be prickly and intense and dark; sarcastic and blunt. I don’t think he’s going to change (much, anyway). But also don’t think House will become a “romantic comedy.” Or even soap operatic.

    I really like the tension between House and Cuddy and always have. I don’t really want it resolved, and if they do get together (even if only briefly) it should (IMHO)create even more tension after the fact–like the kiss did.

    I really quite trust the writers with regard to House and Cuddy.

  • Tyson

    A lot of reference has been made to (what should have been the final scene) of ‘Joy to the World’ in which Cuddy’s baby wishes are granted. The way i see that scene is that House is proud of Cuddy. He glances at the baby, and watch Houses face, a smile begins to shine, and it appears that genuine happiness sets in. This face is seen numerous times, specifically when House’s diagnosis of the POTW is complete and ends well. There’s a satisfaction. I bring this up because, imo, House is satisfied with the current direction his relationship with Cuddy is taken. I know a lot of people think that House has given up – but there’s something about his face, something that indicates his pride and happiness for Cuddy. The baby has been one of the biggest catalysts for Huddy ever since he began injecting her in Season Two. (Speaking of those injections, I would say that scene – I can’t remember the name of the ep sorry – is the most sexually intense moment that Huddy has had. More so than the kiss)
    Now that the baby is here, Chapter 2 begins of the saga. I think EVE is on the right idea – despite House’s pride and actual happiness for Cuddy’s new found Joy (pun intended), House will begin to develop ways to grab her attention. He won’t give up. The way the scene in ‘Joy to the World’ played out to me is House accepts the baby will forever be a part of her life – and he can handle that. House defeated = House deflecting, or hiding. He wishes Cuddy a Merry Christmas, and he smiles. Plenty more fun to come 🙂

  • BTM wrote, “Cuddy…holding his hand at the end of ‘Wilson’s Heart’. The scene at the end of ‘Joy to the World’ could be interpreted as a mirror image.” (In the nursery)

    Very nice point, each is preoccupied at strategic moments, first House with Wilson and Amber, and then Cuddy with her new baby.

    Fran wrote, “The way House is willing to put his job on the line for her and Cuddy making it clear it’s either none of them or both of them leaving really shows the protectiveness and the trust of their relationship.”

    Yes, and it was done without fanfare, as if this would be the normal course of events.

    With the themes of paths to emancipation, family, and home, I’ve been thinking about the various times House has approached or visited Cuddy’s home through the years and vice versa. I came up with the following progression:

    S2, “Humpty Dumpty” – House at Cuddy’s, illegal entry.

    S3, “Meaning” – House outside of Cuddy’s bedroom window. No treatment.

    S3, “Merry Little Christmas” – First time Cuddy at House’s door. Pain all around.

    S3, “Insensitive” – House at Cuddy’s door. Delicious confrontation.

    S3, “Fetal Position” – Cuddy at House’s door. Request granted. House enamored.

    (So far, illegal entry or outside windows or doors.)

    S3, “Half-Wit” – House enters Cuddy’s home legally for the first time. (under false pretences) He grabs her bottom with both hands when she offers him a comforting hug. Smiles all around. He takes a few steps toward her bedroom but is deflected.

    S4, “House’s Head, Wilson’s Heart” – Cuddy enters House’s home for the first time to babysit. Cuddy at House’s bedroom door and sleeping in his living room. House grabs Cuddy’s wrist and forces her hand to his neck to verify for her the healthy beat of his heart. This action exactly mirrors the movement of the PotW’s husband in the S3 finale, “Human Error”, when the husband grabbed House’s wrist to show him that his wife’s heart still beat. This was an unforgettable moment for House, to find the patient he had toggled to the off position was still very much alive. In HH/WH, House trys to repeat this revelation between Cuddy and him. Now that Cuddy has slept in his home, he wants to wake her up to the fact of his emotional vitality.

    As Season 5 continues, House repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, tries to show Cuddy his human side in various indirect ways.

    Finally, in “Joy”, the kiss in the hallway of Cuddy’s home makes House’s human side passionately obvious. And her bedroom glows at the end of the hallway.

    In “Itch”, House never makes it to Cuddy’s doorbell. And Cuddy seems more untouchable than ever.

    In “Let Them Eat Cake”, the boob grab in the office and the presence of the other woman there reverses but doesn’t erase the kiss at Cuddy’s home.

    Perhaps the final scenes of this arc being conducted in the office was a foreshadowing of its temporary failure.

  • Eve

    I have been checking this site obsessively since weeks waiting for this to be posted… and now it’s here!

    Words do not begin to describe what I thought of this article. I want to print it, frame it and hang it on my wall! I agree with everything said. Thank you so much Barbara!!

    The House/Cuddy relationship is currently the most interesting relationship on TV, it is so layered and complex that you could write a whole book about it!
    I hope the writers realise what a gem they have in their hands with this couple. There are still so many things to explore and develop.
    There is enough there to last us until the final season. I would be happy enough with some kind of closure in the end seasons finale (a positive closure of course!)
    Although I’m not ready to wait until the seasons finale for another physical encounter between them !!

    Please everyone is getting sexually frustrated ! Let them boil over once this season and then let the simmer continue until the soup is ready in the final season ! 🙂

    For now I’m still enjoying the dance, and hopefully after last episode’s introduction of a baby , the dance will continue !

    Season 5 has been a fantastic katalysator for the Huddy storyline. After episodes like ‘Joy’ ‘the Itch’ and ‘Let them eat Cake’ the train was full speed ahead.
    The viewers were not going to wait any longer for a big pay off so to stop the Huddy story arc in its tracks they needed to bring in a roadblock.. et voilà.. baby !
    I understand the writers needed to do something to throw off the recent developments. Cuddy’s quest for a baby also needed some closure.
    So they killed two birds with one stone.

    Who knows how it will continue from now on. Will House start to compete with the baby for her attention? Is he going to back off ?
    Honestly I have no clue whatsoever, to me the end scene of ‘Joy to the world’ was one BIG cliffhanger !

    I’m looking forward to the second half of season 5 with excitement, anxiousness and anticipation.
    My trust will go to the writers, they haven’t disspointed me so far, frustrated me yes, but not disspointed me.
    Bring on January 19th !

    Eve (the Netherlands)

    I can totally picture House/Cuddy’s downtime at home.
    They can be both reading a newspaper but at the same time argueing about different interpretations of the articles 😉
    I think they will never stop challenging eachother !

  • Alessandra

    Hi Barbara. This time I really haven’t anything to add. I loved your work and I think you picked the best moments of these two. And I think that this relationship is so sweet and intelligent and challenging that I’m not sure if I ever wanted to see the “next step”. But the squeeing girl-part of me is struggling for something I really can’t figure out what shape it could have. I’m quite sure that “the thing” will take this entire season to have any sort of “evolution”. And we will watch, and comment your beautiful reviews, and make our hypotesis, and again, we’ll finally see something unexpected. Bye from Italy, as always.

  • Quin

    A telling scene in the House/Cuddy relationship is when House and Wilson are in the car with Coma Guy and they are playing the quid pro quo question game and Coma Guy asks if House has ever been in love. House tells him about Stacy, but when Coma guy asks if he’s ever loved anyone else, he refuses to answer. See the dialog below. I think it means he is in love with Cuddy but doesn’t want to say it in front of Wilson.

    (Cut & pasted dialog from Twiz TV website).
    GABE: What is up with you two?
    HOUSE: Wilson lied to the bulls to keep me out of the big house.
    WILSON: [Pissed.] Are you out of your mind?
    HOUSE: Who’s he gonna tell? By tomorrow night, he’s gonna be a mindless stalk of celery. Since I answered that one, by the way, my turn. What did you make in your factory?
    GABE: Luxury boats. You ever been in love?
    HOUSE: Wow! Going right for the closets with the embarrassing stuff. Good move. [His answer.] Yes! Describe the boats.
    GABE: Thirty-five to sixty-five foot hulls, twin engines, Parquet floors in the galley, staterooms with queen beds. How’d you meet?
    HOUSE: She shot me. These boats – I assume you use mildew-resistant paint on the hulls?
    GABE: Naturally. Shot you?
    HOUSE: Paintball. Doctors versus lawyers. Ever take your son to the factory?
    GABE: Sure. He used to run all over the place. He was perfectly safe. Ever love anybody else?
    HOUSE: [Shaking his head.] No more questions. I got my answer. While dad’s in the office, son’s watching ’em spray-paint. And what kid wears a mask?

    Another telling scene is in the recent episode of “Let Them Eat Cake” when House is trying to get the fitness instructor to eat a bite of chocolate cake. He has the bite of cake on a fork and waves it in front of the FI saying, “Open the hanger, here comes the plane.” House could have said that 100 different ways, but it shows that he’s thinking about children and how you get children to eat. FI isn’t a child, no children anywhere in the episode, so why is House thinking about children? I think he’s mentally trying on the idea of having a child. With Cuddy.

  • Wonderful article! I love your approach on House and Cuddy’s relationship. It’s the exact way I have always seen it.

    There is just one scene from season 4 I really missed in this article: The allergy treatment scene from ‘Living the dream’. It is my favourite s4 Huddy scene. The way House is willing to put his job on the line for her and Cuddy making it clear it’s either none of them or both of them leaving really shows the protectiveness and the trust of their relationship.

    Still, thanks for this great article, Barbara!

  • Cindy

    Thankyou once again, i hoped there could be a full time relationship between these two people but then i think this person who is House would change, he is destined to be single, having said that ‘ don’t stop the dance’ there is a magnet that draws these two together can’t wait to see what happens .

  • Andree

    What a great article again, Barbara, thank you.

    I for myself hope there won’t be a relationship between House and Cuddy, it would take the whole suspense away. I always find it more interesting and thrilling to watch a couple play around their feelings and attraction than finally when they “get” it and go for it.

    Hm, I admit that I am more of the kind of a House-Wilson relationship, but as they won’t surely go for that, (why not by the way? huh? if they go for a lesbian doc, they can go for gay docs, too, right?) I can only hope for no Huddy. It’s enough for me just watching them, fiddling and playing around each other, even getting closer but not that close, please.

    As I will be off for a lonw holiday this evening, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2009… and for us all, some very great House episodes to come.

  • nicole.o

    I also wanted to add how much I loved ‘Let Them Eat Cake.’ It was so fun to see their playful sides. Hands down one of my favorite episodes. The looks the two of them give each other are unbelievable in their ability to convey so much.I don’t know about the rest of you but I’ve thought about what I wish would happen with them and how it could happen. The only problem is that you set yourself up for dissapointment when the actual episodes are much more restrained… =)
    I was so frustrated when one of the writers said there would be a very satisfying moment between house and cuddy in Joy to the World. I kept waiting and waiting and when there was only a couple minutes left I was bummed! To me the scene was house giving up hope and cuddy not noticing him. Big steps in the wrong direction. I was not satisfied…
    I’ll be crossing my fingers for what is still to come. I keep thinking how they’ve already filmed ahead and would love to know what they know! …here’s hoping….

    Oh Barbara! Is there any chance you have connections to get some behind the scenes/on the set info? I would love to know how long it takes to film an episode, how far in advance they shoot, and other small details like that. =)

  • nicole.o

    I was unaware of how much i loved the idea of House and Cuddy until this season when the preview for ‘Joy’ came on and showed them going in for the kiss. I was a late comer to House but have since watched every episode many times (much thanks to USA for constant House marathons!)
    The way the writers have taken these characters and developed this unconventional longing from afar love story is brilliant. The tension is so real sometimes it is hard to breath after watching. I think it makes it all the better to know how much Lisa Edelstein is hoping for it to happen. She has said on many occasions that she wants them to happen as much as the rest of us and that she is attracted to Hugh (watch her interview on Chelsea Lately…so cute!) So for me it makes it feel all the more real and passionate. (Even though I support Hugh’s marriage)
    The thought of the writers dropping the story line scares me. They cut off House and Cameron before letting it develop and ended House and Stacy too, but gave more closure on that one. When I watched the end of Joy to the World I thought it was over and got so sad. This show affects me like no other has. I think I long for that excitement and fire. I’m young and have been married for over 2 years and sometimes you miss that time when a million things could be said in one glance, and when you want to be with someone so bad even though you are afraid. I guess I am living through them a bit, and sad as it may sound, it works for me… =) I really hope we get some great scenes between them the second half of this season. House and Cuddy need to have some hot steamy scenes. I really hope the writers don’t srop this one yet. I think this is the best season so far!
    Thanks Barbara for your writing. I have become a recent fan and enjoy your insights!

  • Barbara, I want to add my thanks to you for the ‘bird’s eye view’ you give to this fascinating subject. And everyone’s comments keep broadening the view in wonderfully surprising ways. 🙂

  • Sera G

    One last thought for the night. Rereading Barbara’s article, I was reminded of the middle of the night visit to Cuddy’s home by House during “Half Wit.” I believe it was a comment to a review by Diane Kristine (a former blogcritics writer) who called it a very domestic moment. That stayed with me. I could see these two smart people coming to a place of ease with each other at work and at home.
    Can’t wait to read further thoughts and opinions tomorrow. Love this!

  • Amy

    too late to embellish on why exactly I think so right now, even though it is clearly obvious, but I think that you are brilliant! ’nuff said.

  • Janine

    This is so FREAKING fabulous and I couldn’t agree more. The writers definitely need to continue to explore the relationship, even if it is on the back burner. House and Cuddy will never be “done.”

  • Stacey


  • barbara barnett

    Hey, Sdemar. You got to post! Cool. Great comments everyone. I have to say that this article took a really long time to write. There’s so much and it’s so intricately woven into the fabric of the episodes (and sometimes so subtlety) it was like teasing threads from whole a damask cloth.

  • sandydemar

    Barbara, look I was able to post. I tried 3 computers and finally lucked out when I logged into my work computer.

  • sandydemar

    Barbara, thank you for that lovely write-up. Sorry I am not able to post on your blog. I know I am not the lone one on this board that feels this way, but I have loved the House & Cuddy relationship from the beginning and have always felt they are driven together by an underlying force that is hard to describe.

    I’m glad you brought up the incident when Cuddy went into House’s office to ask him about the pain in his leg. That to me is one of my favorite scenes involving the two of them. I loved that scene because you could feel the walls peeling away as Cuddy so gently entered into House’s space and prodded him. His sarcastic manner melted away and we had a rare glimpse of a vulnerable man opening up and sharing an honest moment. Cuddy is the only person, other than Stacy, who House allows to enter into his space. I love how she nudges his legs aside so she can sit on his chaise lounge with him.

    The other scene that you mentioned that was high on my list was when Cuddy went into House’s office after he gave her the shot. No words were needed as both of their faces and expressions told us what was going on. At least in my mind, she went in there to ask him to be a donor and he was nervously waiting for that moment. Both of them are so guarded with their feelings toward each other.

    No matter how this arc of theirs is resolved, I don’t expect the feelings these two share with each other to ever go away. That sexual tension we feel oozing through our television screen is something TPTB will never take away from us. They like it as much as we do. I do hope before the show ends, we will see a love scene between them. Like their relationship, it would be explosive, hot with a dab of anger and a little dominance. Who’s on top? I say it would be Cuddy.

    This was perfect. Thank you.

    Orange, I can definitely visualize House and Cuddy having some down time. I think they would very much enjoy each other’s company and having lots of sex.

  • Orange450

    Sera, I absolutely agree that House has the potential to be an excellent father – I remember discussing that many times. If this were the last season of the series, I would be glad to see things work out the way you describe (if I couldn’t have my dearest wish ;-)). But I honestly do think that right now, this would provide too much closure. You’re right about the glacial pace of the show though – I love the way you put that! And working things out could take up several more seasons. But I’m not sure if I can see the series ending in such a balanced and happy way for House.

  • Sera G

    Dear Orange,
    Re: “Cuddy will decide that being a mother is more important to her than being with House.” Oh, I hope not! I want her to be a good mother, of course, but does that have to preclude a relationship with House? Since we are speculating and it is all fantasy at this point, why can’t she have both? Knowing the glacial pace this show takes, it will probably take until spring before House touches the baby. I think he will prove to be a better ‘parent’ than his father and Cuddy, always seeing House’s true potential will not push him away. He means too much to her.
    House got off that bus deliberatly and seems to want to make connections. My hope is that he will continue to move forward and that path leads to Cuddy. They may never have a ‘traditional’ relationship, but it would be exciting to watch them make it work.

  • Orange450

    I just want to add that when I said I could picture House and Stacy’s down time, I wasn’t talking pre-infarction, when of course House’s life would have been very different. I was talking about what might have been had Stacy stayed the second time around.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks for the great article. I was looking forward to it! I really love the way you provide a broad, sweeping perspective on every topic you tackle – I get the sensation of standing on a high point, and seeing the all details of the landscape laid out neatly and clearly before me.

    To answer your last question first – no, I don’t think they’re done. Not by a long shot. The PTB (powers that be – you asked us to explain fandom acronyms) on this show are famous for taking their time, and House and Cuddy will have to go through their development process patiently, just like a bottle of fine wine. And I’m so curious to see whether the baby issue will bring them closer or draw them apart!

    I will freely admit that I haven’t spent time giving their relationship the in-depth analysis that others have, so I don’t have all the nuances by heart. That being said, I’ve always enjoyed the tug-of-war that defines the relationship, there’s a lot of deep and true feeling between them, and I’ve always thought that they have real potential to be a great couple. I’ve never been sure that I could see it lasting forever, though. In fact, I posted the following on the Fox forum back in May, during the discussion of the final scene of Wilson’s Heart:

    “As we saw from his yielding and yearning reactions to Cameron’s syringe kiss, and the dream seduction sequence with Amber, the poor guy is starving for a woman’s touch. And we know that Cuddy likes sex. Somehow I have a feeling (and maybe it’s just me being an impractical romantic, but I really do think that they would be good together) that House and Cuddy would have a satisfying physical relationship. (A/N: I was understating. I really do think they would have a great physical relationship.) IMO, they also have tremendous affection for each other, as well as mutual respect and intellectual appreciation. And they’re very good friends. You add all that up, and you get – if not passionate love, then something close enough to it that most people would probably consider themselves lucky to experience even once in a lifetime. I’m not saying it would last forever – but I remember posting ages ago that even if/when it ended, I think their fundamental friendship would be strong enough to withstand the strain.

    I think it wouldn’t harm the exploration of his character one bit to let him experience some part of what Wilson experienced with Amber. A good relationship with a strong woman. I think it’s time.”

    But here’s my issue with the relationship, and I’m interested in hearing opinions on this from others. You’ve done a terrific job of describing the delicious tension between them. And they’ve also had plenty of tense/dramatic/emotional moments. But with all the exciting thrust and parry, bait and switch, give and take, back and forth – I just don’t get a sense of what they would be like together on an everyday basis. I mean – the repartee is wonderful, but couples don’t do it *all* the time. Sometimes a couple just reads the paper together. For comparison’s sake – I could definitely picture House and Stacy’s “down time”, or everyday life. I can’t picture House and Cuddy’s. Of course, if their relationship progresses along with that of Cuddy and her baby, there won’t be much down time 🙂

    I don’t think that anyone on House is ready for their happy ending yet, so something is going to have to give. Here’s some pure speculation on my part: Since at this point in the show I can see Cuddy having a baby more clearly than I can see her in a permanent relationship with House – I had the thought that they’ll try for a relationship, but the baby will put a strain on it, and eventually Cuddy will decide that being a mother is more important to her than being with House. But they’ll stay very good friends.

  • Sera G

    Bravo, Barbara!
    Once again, a marvelous summary of House and Cuddy.
    I agree with all that you said. You certainly highlighted the moments that stand out for me as a testament to the depth of the feelings between them. As you have stated before, sometimes words are unnecessary. The way they look at each other or when the other has looked away speaks volumes to me.
    From Cuddy’s pov, remember the scene in “Airborne” when House is flirting with the flight attendant? She is quite jealous IMO.
    I think it is also telling that House brings up her name all of the time. The first season I thought it was for a laugh at her expense, but I have come to think that she is constantly on his mind.
    I wanted Cuddy to have a baby during the ivf treatments. I think the reason she didn’t ask House is that in her heart she would want that baby to mean something to him. She knew he was far from ready for the commitment, support or love she would want him to have for their child. I am not opposed to it now, as long as it doesn’t interfere with House/Cuddy’s forward movement. IMHO, I think we are ready to move on. House has shown that his feeling are deep, real and we can’t go back to the way things were. I agree with DTM and Suzanne, it could be an interesting aspect of their ‘growning up’.
    I intend to spend time with my DVDs and note all of the interactions. With this show, nothing is ever a throw away or a wasted word or plot. It may take 3 years before it is discussed again, but it is not superfluous.
    Again, thanks for this excellent summary.

  • JL

    Hooray! It’s here! Thankyou, Barbara, thankyou!

    I have posted so much on this topic in the reviews of recent episodes that my head is spinning somewhat. It was good to revisit the earlier series and put things in perspective.

    I think that a lot will hinge on Cuddy’s new baby and whether the writers are prepared to let this play out. On the one hand, I don’t know how it can be done well; on the other, I don’t want to see ‘Cuddy loses her baby after all’ continually re-hashed. The shake-up that the baby has caused in House and Cuddy’s relationship is a significant one, and I’m interested to see what is left over now she has someone else to play ‘mother’ to.

    I’m sure everyone will have much to say, so I’ll sit back and take in everyone’s views for a while. There’s a lot to think about…

  • Jaim

    Great article! I think that House following Cuddy’s menstrual cycle down to the smallest fact that she breaks her ban on sugar and gets frozen yogurt is also his own weird way of being romantic. He even says she comes back from the children’s cancer ward with her eyes glistening. He really pays attention to her. I think, although he’d never admit it, her openly emotional nature is something that he is envious of at times. I also think that this is part of the reason he is trying to fight having a real relationship with her. He is afraid that he’ll begin to lose his hard resolve which protects him from feeling the gravity of losing a patient, a family member, or employee, etc.
    I think another interesting moment between these two takes place in the episode Fetal Position, at the very end when Cuddy gives him the airplane tickets. The entire time she was fighting to save the woman and her baby, whereas House wanted to abort the child to save the mother. Everyone thought Cuddy was grasping at straws trying to save both but because of her unwavering faith and her realization that she needed to think like House, she was able to save both lives. House tells her that she doesn’t need to say sorry(by giving him the tickets), he tells her that she screwed up. He argues that 99% of the time both the mother and baby would have died, but Cuddy tells him that the percentage left over is sometimes bigger. I think this is another reason why she intrigues him and drives him crazy. Logically, he knows that more often than not this case would have ended badly, but Cuddy believed every step of the way, and the case had a happy ending. She screwed with his logic which is one of his defense mechanisms.
    I think that this episode demonstrated how far Cuddy will go for something and even someone that she believes in. I’m sure this has not been lost on House. This also showed that House, even though he didn’t agree with Cuddy, would support her. I also thought that when the patient thanked House and he said, “Don’t thank me. I would have killed the kid,” shows that he sees that his logic isn’t always right. Cuddy showed him that pure faith in what could be can be just as powerful as his calculating logic.

  • Sheelagh

    I’ve always loved the elevator scene in ‘Forever’ where House protects Cuddy from ridicule on the IVF front. I thought it was nicely counter-balanced in ‘Finding Judas’ by Houses’s verbal attack on Cuddy for a perceived lack of mothering skills with the child she was guardian of. Cuddy knows House’s mental state when he shouts at her, but she is still reduced to tears in her office and not just because of what was said, but who said it. The insult hurt because it was hurled by House.
    I always thought her ‘madonna-like’ appearance in his office in ‘Forever’ was to inform him that she was pregnant following IVF as she does subsequently tell Wilson that she suffered a miscarriage during the last IVF attempt. Cuddy had the ‘pregnant glow’ thing going on in that scene, so I don’t think she was after another sperm donor.
    I noticed Cuddy’s clothes became more sexually provocative after the Stacy Arc & I always wondered if that indicated that Cuddy’s character now felt she wasn’t poaching on a friend’s territory given House had sent Stacy away. Her dress prior to that arc was more modest. Perhaps subconsciously she picked up that she was noticed more as a woman by House than just his boss when she dressed in this manner. it shows a certain drive to be noticed by him as a woaman first.
    House and Cuddy (and Wilson)are all ‘damaged’ in some way. House & Cuddy are more alike internally than House & Wilson are. I would particularly love to know the back story on these characters ( did I mention Wilson’s lost brother??) I think House’s and Cuddy’s similarities both attract and repel them.Like strong magnets. They ‘get’ one another, but their needs can be so similar that they end up in direct competition with each other. In ‘Mirror Mirror’ the patient clearly identifies House as the dominate personality in the House/Cuddy relationship which makes being his boss a real fight for Cuddy and leads to tension & trouble between them. You can see it in ‘Fetal Position’ when Cuddy tells the patient she would most trust House to save her baby (given she had one), but then almost electrocutes him in the OR while over ruling him to resuscitate the same patient. Their ‘talk’ at the end of that episode in the hospital lobby as House lectures Cuddy…. standing so close into her personal space…. has got to be one of the sexier scene on TV this decade.
    I hope the characters risk being involved as a couple. I think separate residences & lots insurance for flying plates and glasses and long stretches of angry silence or acting out…..but I think they were made for each other !
    Here’s hoping the Executive Producers are willing to boldly go where no show has successfully gone before !

  • Suzanne

    Ok, for one thing, I never EVER post on blogs. However, this read (and the previous one in this series) has proved that I just can’t help it. They were great! Well done!

    I am quite certain that people will have multitudes to comment on this topic, as everyone views things differently, but I actually think the baby situation might provide some much needed growth for the two of them. House will have to deal with the baby before he can even tackle the Cuddy relationship, which I think might make for some excellent and intelligent drama. Everything is so layered in meaning (or we’re all crazy and seriously need to stop reading into things) that it will be thoroughly enjoyable to disect. It’s like TV+!

    Anyway, keep writing and I will continue to read…

  • DTM

    Interesting that you said House is unaware of Cuddy’s “intimate gesture” – holding his hand at the end of ‘Wilson’s Heart’. The scene at the end of ‘Joy to the World’ could be interpreted as a mirror image. House is making an intimate gesture by just being there for Cuddy, supporting her in her decision to foster the baby – she is utterly in her own wee dream world and just doesn’t notice.

    I really hope they attempt some sort of weird relationship. I don’t like the baby arc but think that it was in a way inevitable. Somehow it will move things forward.