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How House Changed My Life

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Did a television show really change my life? If I want to get philosophical about it — and why not get pretentious about something as supposedly trivial as television? — I can look at the question in a couple of different ways.

With predestination, there is only one possible outcome. So maybe some other show or some other sequence of events not – gasp – involving television would have inevitably led my life to the same place.

With chaos theory, a seemingly insignificant event can have a huge impact on an outcome. A butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil and changes the atmosphere enough to cause a sequence of events that eventually generates a tornado in Texas. So maybe House really was the initial condition that led to my life being filled with new people and experiences.

I, along with a certain fictional character I know, subscribe to the philosophies of science over faith, so I’m more comfortable with option B.

In any case, after three years, my real life has been undeniably influenced by the show about the fictionally rational doctor. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean I walk with a limp, pop Vicodin, or use caustic sarcasm as a weapon. Much.

At its best, television is our entry point into another world, one that distracts us temporarily from the troubles in our own world or gives us another perspective on real-life issues. House has been both those things for me. But in saying it's changed my life, I don't mean the comfort I've felt every week, being able to escape into this world of familiar characters who entertain me and make me think.

What I do mean is that there's a whole "hip bone connected to the thigh bone" thing going on. Or maybe it's a "butterfly connected to the tornado" thing. House led to me wanting to talk about the show when no one I knew was watching, which led me to Internet forums and writing about the show for Blogcritics, which led to me covering other TV-related events like the Banff World Television Festival, which led to me creating a site to promote Canadian television.

The side effect of all those online activities has been to bring actual human beings into my life, freed from their pixelated existence, free to brighten my days with love, laughter, and a lot of TV talk. I can trace a best friend and a boyfriend, a cool circle of acquaintances, hobbies, job leads, and vacations circuitously back to House, especially back to writing about the show.

It's been a blast, it’s been surreal, it’s been … a commitment. So I’ve decided to retire from writing weekly episode reviews. That doesn’t mean I’m done with House, or that it’s done with me. I’ll continue to watch and obsess and write, just not as often or at such close range. Then, I can focus on writing about all the other random thoughts that collide in my brain, and on all the other activities in my life, including those House has brought into it, directly or indirectly.

To get back to chaos theory, a change in initial conditions would have meant an entirely different path. Maybe if I’d gotten obsessed with CSI I'd be in jail now. Maybe if my show of choice had been Grey’s Anatomy I would have ended up winning the lottery and bought an island in the South Pacific. Maybe if I didn't watch TV at all, I would have cured cancer. Who knows. All I know is that House did change my life and I'm grateful for it. I'd have been more grateful for a tropical island, but this'll do.

Season four of House starts Tuesday, September 25 at 9 p.m. on FOX, or Global in Canada.

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About Diane Kristine Wild

Diane travels. She doesn't tan.
  • Your episode reviews will be missed, but we understand that we all have lives outside of House. Good luck with your future endeavors.

  • Utterly brilliant. Don’t know you from a bar of soap and never read a column of yours before this one, but frak me – that was a great read. Writing less is the last thing you should be doing. Besta luck henceforth.

  • Thanks guys. Luke, that’s probably one of the nicest comments I’ve had – I didn’t expect anyone who didn’t follow the reviews to get past the first paragraph. And even most of them … 🙂

  • Well isn’t that just the worst news I’ve had all day. But I totally understand, writing about a show every week must take a huge amount of time. Looking forward to whatever else it is you decide to write about.

  • amysusanne

    Awww…your recaps will be greatly missed. 🙂

  • Diane – I too am a TV writer and a big fan of House (I was a huge fan of Hugh Laurie long before he was cast in the show and indeed had even set foot in the US, back when he and Stephen Fry were a comedy duo who made an awesome series called A Bit of Fry and Laurie, amongst others), and I never usually read blog posts or recaps about TV shows. They rarely have any impact on me.

    I was really surprised by your column though – wasn’t expecting to find such a good read on a cold and lonely Tuesday night in Cape Town…

    I guess I also loved your comment about the tropical island – it’s been an ongoing dream (a serious one) of mine for years now, and I cannot die happy until I own one and can retire there, far from the madding crowd.

    If I was a regular reader of your column I’d be highly pissed off that you’re ending it.

  • notafan

    Are you sure you’re not just a ‘little’ bit CRAZY??????

  • Maddoc

    Very Unfair!

  • Seriously? Aww, say it ain’t so! Of course I do understand, but hope you simply can’t resist: say, we’re on a break? Will look forward to reading more from you whether about House or other topics. You’re a lovely, thoughtful writer.

    By the way your title cracked me up: a few months ago, I wrote a much poorer piece with exactly the same title and some similar experiences on my blog (which mostly no one reads). Anyway, I just mention it to express a feeling of the kind of authentic connection which the Houseiverse has surprisingly often provided for me and many others.

  • Nancy G

    Your weekly columns will be missed. You provided a unique view and insight into character motivation and story line. Great success with your new endeavors and thanks for the interesting reviews.

  • Eric

    *Sigh* I checked your site in eager anticipation of the review for House Season 4 Episode 1, and find that you’ve left the episode reviewing world? So very sad.

    Thank you for some excellent insight and discussion over the last couple of years. Good luck in whatever you carry on to next!

  • suzanne

    You have no idea how much your reviews will be missed! I thought I would this week with hope that maybe you might post one! You always write such insightful reviews of House. I’ve always shared your reviews with others, and we have come to look forward to them very much! This was a lovely piece you wrote… yes, for many of us, House has changed our lives! Good luck!

  • Thank you so much – it really means a lot to me. I’m planning to write about the show in the next few weeks with my thoughts on the season so far (two word review: thumbs up), but I have to say it’s nice to be able to just WATCH the show on a Tuesday evening.

  • rtlemurs

    To borrow and hack up Dickens ‘This is the best of news and the worst of news.’

    I am always happy when folks find or choose new avenues and challenges in their lives, pursuing them with vigor. It reminds me that there is hope in this crazy old world.

    And in following your chaos theory outlook, that happy pursuit affects other (I mean that in a good way). Your House reviews and recaps will be sorely missed but we will still have the pleasure of reading your blog and your writings.

    And who knows, maybe it will open up other avenues and challenges in our lives too. Maybe some of the other fantastic writers I have met in this fandom will pick up your mantle and fill that hole for us.(Please?!)

    Best of luck and I look forward to all the new things ahead. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication over the past three seasons. It did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

  • bliffle

    “House” is really bad this season, and the signs of deterioration were evident last season. I doubt that I’ll watch it very much anymore.

    The principal character has degenerated into a petulant child (rather like a George Bush in lab coat and a 5 day beard) onto which the writers have tacked various lowlife signifiers like monster trucks, motorcycles, electric guitars, etc.

    And the plots are no longer medical mysteries to be solved, they are contrived situations to be exploited for the maximum inter-personal conflict with the least money spent.

    It has long ceased to be tenable that House is a smart person who sometimes breaks rules to solve a medical problem. Now he just looks for rules to break and then mutters some halfass medical mumbo-jumbo to excuse his aberrant behaviour.

    he’s degenerated from medical detective to mental defective.

    Where’s Dr. Ben Casey when we need him?