There have been times over the first six seasons of House that the show has changed direction. In an effort to stay fresh--for and the creative team who write and perform it--David Shore and company have never shied away from taking a risk, whether that means jettisoning House's entire team of fellows, sending him for therapy to kick his Vicodin habit, or, as they have for season seven allowing the chronically miserable House to be happy, hopeful--and in love. Cast members have come, gone, come back again, only to go once more, this time for good.
The fandom—that group of mostly Internet-based hard-core fans (and yes, I include myself) —is, I suppose “the base,” in 2010 political terms. But even the fandom is not a unified voice. Some love the coupling of House and Cuddy (even thinking that it’s way overdue); some hate the very idea and believe with all sincerity that if only Cameron, older and wiser, came back into the picture, House would find again his one true love. Still other believe that until House acknowledges seriously what he has joked about so many times—his passion for Wilson, he will be unfulfilled, denying the real love of his life. Some would prefer House to remain without any romantic entanglements at all (save a hooker or two on the side).
Me, I go with the flow. As long as the writing is good, the characterizations are consistent with what we know about them and the acting is honest, earnest and in the moment, I’m right there. Take me along for the ride, wherever—and with whomever—House sojourns.
The fact is, among the millions (and millions) of people who watch House, whether on Fox, or in syndication on Bravo or USA Network, the fandom people (myself included) are a fairly small part of the whole. Most people watch House with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but even when people do get really hooked, they forget to tune in (cursing themselves afterwards if they’ve forgotten to set the DVR), miss an episode here and there and seldom watch an episode more than once (okay, or twice).
They watch mega-marathons on USA Network or Bravo, both owned by House’s producing corporation NBC/Universal. Most of them are not going to stop watching because House is together with Cuddy (or anyone else), that is, unless it’s done poorly or made boring. That’s what causes viewer drift—when they simply stop caring. (That happened to me with The X-Files mid season seven, when egos on both sides of the camera made for very bad television too often, but I digress.)