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InHouse: “Unwritten”

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“Unwritten” is one of our favorite episodes of this seventh season of House. True, it was only the third episode in. Still, the idea of House as a fan of a troubled author who writes mainly for young ‘tweenage’ girls was pretty darn brilliant.

This week the app has some exceptional offerings to go along with the quality episode.

The Dark Room’s twenty-one photos combine behind the scenes stills from Princeton-Plainsboro, the go-kart scene, and the mansion belonging to House’s patient, Alice Tanner (played by the wonderful Amy Irving). The inclusion of storyboard drawings for the go-kart scene was a welcome surprise. This chance to see how close the artist’s vision came to the filmed scene was of great interest to us. It is not something viewers generally get to see and is more proof of just how much work goes into a single episode. Hopefully we’ll get more surprises like this in future installments of The Dark Room.

A delightful mini-interview with guest star and Patient of the Week, Amy Irving, is the Media Room’s offering this time around. It turns out Ms. Irving is a true fan of House, having caught up with it in its third season. The show, she confesses, holds a special place in her heart. She was planning to take a short break from acting when the offer from House came her way. Her manager said he had never heard her accept a role so quickly. She didn’t even know what sort of character she would be playing. She just said yes. Immediately.

We understand your passion, Ms. Irving!

The role of writer, Alice Tanner, turned out to be one she loved. And working opposite Hugh Laurie was a wonderful experience. “He has such a presence and is rooted to something so special and real, that you can do nothing but be real with him.”

Onscreen, her enthusiasm is evident and her character is one of the best POTWs of the series.

According to the information in the Music Room, two songs were featured in “Unwritten”: “Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!” by Trentemoller and “Telephone” by The Black Angels. “Ten Cities Beyond” by Snake and Jet’s Amazing Bullit Band was considered but not used in the episode.

Supervising Producer, John C. Kelley, is the featured writer in this week’s Writer’s Room. He reveals his inspiration for “Unwritten” came from his twelve year old daughter, who reads books much like the ones Alice Tanner writes. Mr. Kelley wondered what if House was a fan of Tanner’s book series, books that were written specifically for ‘tweens’? The scenario is amusing and plausible.

Kelley wanted to create a character who was as strong as House, someone House could go toe to toe with. He also wanted to have a story where there were two cases to solve: the medical case (what is killing Alice?). And, more importantly, even if she’s cured, why does she want to die? If House can’t get the answer to those two mysteries, he’s not going to get what he wants, which is more books from Alice.

The go-kart date came out of Mr. Kelley wanting to have these characters do something besides sit in a restaurant – something we’ve seen them do many times before. One of the other writers on the show suggested go-karts.

Mr. Kelley gives us a little behind the scenes insight into how this huge airplane hangar sized go-kart track was lit. “Above the go-kart track you’ll see these giant boxes that look like lights are coming out of them. Those were all created by our crew. The amount of work that went into this was mindblowing.”

The actors drove the way Mr. Kelley wrote the characters. Hugh Laurie, not surprisingly, was the most proficient driver out there. “Probably because he’s had experience racing cars and driving motorcycles,” Mr. Kelley tells us.“which gave him an edge over the other actors.”

Inside information: Prop master, Tyler Patton, was supposed to come up with a stuffed penguin and a stuffed beaver for the episode. He provided the penguin but had to do ‘surgery’ on a stuffed moose to transform it into a beaver. Mr. Kelley wants us all to remember that when we see that beaver, it used to be a moose. This is trivia worth socking away. You never know when you might need it as a tie-breaker in a final round of House trivia.

Finally five writers’ picks for “Unwritten” Houseisms are featured. Our favorite? “I need to find something we both like doing besides each other.” House’s way of voicing his fear of not having much in common with Cuddy (besides the obvious).

Next week, InHouse covers Episode Four: “Massage Therapy”.

The InHouse app is available as a free iTunes download for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. You can also find these features by visiting the official House site on Fox.

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About Mindy Peterman