The post-Super Bowl episode of House (“Frozen”) garnered record-setting ratings for the series. Of course, many of those new viewers will stick around and become fans. Jumping into a series mid-fourth year isn't always easy. So, in honor of all of you House “newbies,” and because I'll use any excuse to drag out my (very nearly worn out) House DVD collection, I re-watched all 80 or so episodes and put together what I call the "Welcome to the End of the Thought Process” (Unofficial) House Episode Guide.
I don't watch House for the humor; or for House's outrageous behavior and rude comments. I watch House for House (the character, that is) — for the peeling away of his layers — the character study that the series and the always-brilliant Mr. Laurie do so well. My episode grades primarily reflect that. But I’ve also factored in things like atmosphere, humor, the patient mystery, use of the secondary characters, and (of course) music.
On the other hand, such frivolous things as the blueness of Hugh Laurie’s magnificent eyes (which seem to fluctuate from just plain blue to the varying shades of the Caribbean Sea, depending on the light) have not been factored in at all. (Yeah, I know.) Neither have the improbability of the medicine (I’m not a doctor, so I really don’t care), the inaccuracy of legal issues (I’m not a lawyer either), or seeming character inconsistencies (because over the course of the series, despite the different writing styles of the series scribes, the characters have been overall consistent).
But this is a subjective guide, and House is truly a series that can be viewed, interpreted, and enjoyed from a variety of angles. So, feel free to debate and argue with me as you wish in the comment area below. In fact, I’d love it.
Episodes marked with an asterisk (*) are those I consider to be “must-see” episodes. Links will lead you to lengthier reviews/commentaries I’ve written for Blogcritics or on posted on my LiveJournal. The guide will posted in several parts over the next few weeks. Plenty of time to go back, re-watch for yourself.
* Pilot (A) - “You can’t always get what you want” goes the Rolling Stones classic. “But you just might find, you get what you need.” All the elements that make this series great were there right from the beginning: Wilson manipulating House to take on a patient (and lying to do it!); House making a soul-to-soul connection with a patient; the sparkling bite that defines House and Cuddy’s relationship. The humor was perfect and it served as a balance to the story’s intensity. House’s motto, "everybody lies," is introduced in the series pilot, as is the idea that House’s real specialty is hunting medicine’s zebras, a medical metaphor for unusual medical cases that require out-of-the-box thinking (House’s gift.)