There is a pattern which repeats itself in nearly every episode of Fox's hit series "House." Perhaps viewers like formulas to return to time and again, witness shows like "Without a Trace," "JAG," "CSI" and its many spin-offs. Having "American Idol" as a lead-in doesn't hurt either, but for my money it's Hugh Laurie's oddball genius sleuth of a doctor that makes this show Tivo-worthy.
The Weekly Symptoms
• Law & Order style intro to set up the week's mystery illness, which befalls a seemingly healthy attractive person in a flash. Usually during an innocuous moment, such as washing dishes. Use of special FX to show us weird shit happening inside said person.
• Patient admitted. When House's doctors do their first evaluation, the patient has an unexpected reaction that nearly kills them.
• Patient undergoes MRI, while in the tube they either freak out, or doctors notice bizarre readout on screen. Usually they freak out, which makes going through a CAT scan or MRI about as scary as a weekend with Leatherface.
• House and crew make several diagnoses with crazy long-winded illnesses that no one in America has ever had. They pick one to go with and treat that until...
• Another violent and scary reaction for the patient, while the team races to re-diagnose. Along the way a secret from the patient's past is revealed.
• The brilliant House deducts the problem and the patient is perfect by the end.
Last night's episode strayed from the norm with a cancer death and the personal intrigue of the hospital board, but conditions #1-3 and 5 from above were met.