Stephen Speicher

House (2004)

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75 posts in this topic

The main goal of Tritters actions is to humiliate House and drag him down. He seeks to wrongfully deprive him of the freedom to practice medicine because he has a personal beef with House. I think David Morses character is pretty evil.

Why is he evil, and in what way is he wrongfully depriving House? Is he not applying the law?

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I think that would be an inversion of justice. I am more on the side of the policeman than House's side on this. I do not like at all the way the show has been going lately, at least as far as House's character is concerned. He has been getting increasingly hostile, and obnoxious, to the point where his behavior now detracts from my appreciation of his medical brilliance. In the past I put up with his biting and sometimes irascible behavior, because it was a limited aspect of his character that was outshined by his accomplishments. Not so recently. I hope the show gets some new writers.

I have not judged House's moral character enough because the show is mainly entertaining to me. I don't know the drug that House takes, I don't know how much his leg hurts, I don't know if he actually needs that much of it as opposed to losing his leg. And yes, House sometimes disappoints me, but only sometimes.

I was speaking more from the context of House being the protagonist of the show. And I believe that the writers admire House as a moral hero. I believe the show is on the side of House as opposed to the cop. So if the cop wants to destroy House's career, and in effect destroy him, I believe that from the show's perspective the cop is unjust. Therefore, to have House refuse treatment to a person who has treated him unjustly is Justice from the House Moral Perspective.

As a young man struggling with moral heroism within my soul, I can relate to a character like House, i.e., his negative aspects, since I was quite a different person before I discovered Ayn Rand; I believe I can project how a more mature Objectivist would be disappointed with how we have seen House since the beginning of this new season.

Still loving HOUSE,

Jose Gainza.

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Another interesting aspect of the show to be discussed is the simple action of putting a police officer against a doctor, or the doctor against the cop. A good doctor against a bad cop is good plot, and vice versa. But what is more interesting is the good cop against the good policeman. In terms of action, it is easy to isolate being a good doctor and a good cop; it will be harder to make them be "good" in their respective professions, and yet clash morally--a bigger challenge.

....Doctors and cops are obvious essential professions for the survival a civilization, the more so as we move towards greater and greater levels of privacy.

Jose Gainza.

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I think that would be an inversion of justice. I am more on the side of the policeman than House's side on this. I do not like at all the way the show has been going lately, at least as far as House's character is concerned. He has been getting increasingly hostile, and obnoxious, to the point where his behavior now detracts from my appreciation of his medical brilliance. In the past I put up with his biting and sometimes irascible behavior, because it was a limited aspect of his character that was outshined by his accomplishments. Not so recently. I hope the show gets some new writers.

I have not judged House's moral character enough because the show is mainly entertaining to me. I don't know the drug that House takes, I don't know how much his leg hurts, I don't know if he actually needs that much of it as opposed to losing his leg. And yes, House sometimes disappoints me, but only sometimes.

I offered no criticism of House's use of pain pills; I expressed some grave concern about the recent change in his behavior. And, yes, in the past his behavior was just a "sometimes" disappointment for me too. And those disappointments were small when compared to my joy in his achievements, but now his behavior stands in the way of my complete enjoyment. As someone who has loved this TV show, highly recommending it to many, I now feel sad for this turn of events and hope that this arc of the story ends quickly and somehow House and the events return back to normal, at least as "normal" as things can be for this unusual show.

I believe the show is on the side of House as opposed to the cop.

I don't know what you mean by saying "the show" is on House's side in these recent events. Do you mean the events of the story are such as to portray House as being more correct in these circumstances than the policeman? If so, you will have to explain why. If not, then what do you mean?

So if the cop wants to destroy House's career, and in effect destroy him, I believe that from the show's perspective the cop is unjust. Therefore, to have House refuse treatment to a person who has treated him unjustly is Justice from the House Moral Perspective.

Well, again, if by "the show's perspective" you mean the meaning of the events in the story then you have yet to explain why the policeman is unjust, let alone morally justify your own scenario of House refusing to save him from a terminal illness. I think at most it can be said that the policeman was motivated by personal reasons -- in my judgment reasonably so -- but I saw no injustice in his actions of pursuing House within the extent of the law.

As a young man struggling with moral heroism within my soul, I can relate to a character like House, i.e., his negative aspects, since I was quite a different person before I discovered Ayn Rand; I believe I can project how a more mature Objectivist would be disappointed with how we have seen House since the beginning of this new season.

I certainly do not want to take away from you the image of someone you personally value, but I too value House even if perhaps for somewhat different reasons. Personally I would like back the man I enjoyed and admired, negative aspects and all. But when those negative aspects grow to the extent they have done recently, I grow concerned about the prospect of my own loss for the value that was Gregory House.

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What I mean by "the show" is simply that the writers hold House as their hero, and the character who should win most of the battles, even if they need to include difficulties before he ultimately wins. But I suspect they love House. They may not succeed in portraying him correctly to be an Objectivist's ideal, or even to a Christian Evangelical, but I suspect that is their intention, i.e., their own ideal.

If they don't see him as their hero then it will be very sad. Do they laugh at him? Are they amused by putting such an obnoxious freak on television? I don't know.

If they do hold House as a hero, then what the policeman is doing is unjust. I think the cop's motivation is deeper than just where the thermometer ended up. It gave him the excuse to go after House full force. Given our governments's lack of funding to police departments, policemen have to constantly choose their battles and prioritize. I don't think charging House with drug possession is a priority, especially if he indeed needs them. If there are bigger and meaner fish to fry, i.e., criminals, then obsessively pursuing House is immoral.

I sympathize with the cop, as I know that cops don't like to get touched PERIOD by civilians. To experience what House did to him would be intolerable. But note that he tripped House first, a vulnerable cripple. So House thinks he was right in doing what he did.

All the rest stems from that. How far will the cop go, and how much will he destroy House? If he goes too far, then refusing to save the cop's life will be House's moral right. I don't think a doctor has a duty to treat and examine every patient. A doctor can refuse treatment to who ever he wants, especially his enemy. I don't think a doctor is a servant of any man.

Now the cop would certainly be immoral if, let's say, he actually went into the examining room with the hopes of seducing House, and there is room in that scene to believe that for a moment. He would be immoral if that were the case, and he noticed immediately that he didn't stand a chance, and therefore, he would hurt the man who will obviously be rejecting him. But he bent to give House one last chance, to know what he might be missing. But House humiliated him. So now he will destroy House. Why didn't he just come out and say directly to House, "I've heard about you; you're a legend. I've seen you around; you're so cute. And I hope we can go drag racing together someday, and later we'll stroll through the park holding hands." Seeking to destroy House's career according to this scenario, and succeeding, would be unjust. House refusing to help him medically in this case, would be justice.

However, yes I do recognize the idea of Objective Justice, i.e., it may just be the case that if House refuses to treat the cop, would be unjust according to reality. But even within the scope of Objective Justice, there must be a scenario in which a doctor would be just in refusing to cure his enemy. I think I've made it clear that I'm not talking about Objective Justice, but justice in the universe of the show, where I believe House to be the moral ideal of the writers. The only aspect of Objective Justice that I am using in my scenario is this idea: if you have judged a man as your enemy, then you should follow your mind, and not act to better his situation. There is more to the bigger concept, though.

What else?

Jose Gainza.

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This one is specifially for Stephen:

I am genuinely curious if you can elaborate more on what disappoints you about House's more recent character and personality? What are some of the specific examples of his bad actions?

I have noticed that he is aggressive, actually coming very close to violating another's rights. The blatant lying to get his way, bothers me sometimes. The only way to stomach it, is that we know that by the end of the show we will find out that it was for the better of the patient.

It's as if all House is about is medicine, and that justifies any action now? It's as if he is accepting the unearned guilt from the system, stubborn patients, ambitious doctors, the legalities, etc., and will give up his soul to fight that, so that he can continue being a doctor, which is all he has left of life. But in reality, there are other things he can do, and still retain his moral integrity and his happiness, even in the field of medicine. House, the character, doesn't know this yet.

Jose Gainza.

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Jose, I do not want to dwell on your imaginative scenarios, like the policeman seducing House or House refusing to treat a terminally ill policeman. My overall point is very simple: Gregory House is not an ideal character but his flaws have never stood in the way of my appreciating his accomplishments. I have seen a recent change in House's character as exemplified by his hostility and obnoxious behavior toward the policeman. Perhaps this change in House's character makes for good drama, but there are other TV shows that offer good drama yet lack a character such as House whom I have so much enjoyed and admired. Personally, I do not like this change in character and I would like my old Gregory House back, please.

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Fair enough; let's see how the year progresses. I suspect both of us are anxious to see how it develops, for good or for bad.

(Can't say much more because I'm watching Redford on The Actor's Studio).

Jose.

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I have to say, I like the character of House; he's mighty entertaining. But the show has lately become predictable as can be. No matter what happens, 5 minutes before the end, House finds the cure. That means most of the show is spent eliminating possibilities, and you know, based solely on the time, that his current guess is wrong. And, as I'm not a medical professional, the terminology shoots waaaay over my head; it could just as easily be gibberish from Star Trek and I wouldn't know the difference.

Hopefully the writers will change things. But given the history of TV... not.

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It seems appropriate that "the rat" did what he did. It seems logical and just given his maltreatment. When that one half of the peanut butter and jam sandwhich was stolen, it really upset me. I wanted in that moment to send the thief into the hellfire.

The references to the famous biblical betrayal was very symbolic. I never thought of the sandwhich thief that way: the secular and selfish version of Christ.

Is House going on Hiatus too until January?

Jose Gainza.

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House is a very enjoyable TV show. I've only seen about 7-8 episodes, but that's enough to give it a 9. There are only five TV shows that I like more (and possibly one that is as good as House).

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Hopefully the writers will change things. But given the history of TV... not.
Well... they've certainly changed things, but not for the better. The first episode of the new season has House popping massive amounts of pills with impunity, his team are having running off to an empty room to have sex while they are supposed to be monitoring a seriously degrading patient, the jokes were generally of a locker room quality, House is even more of a physical and emotional mess than last season, and, in general, it appears that the writers think that this is the direction they need to go to keep the audience hooked. Maybe they're right; I hope not. Maybe House will reach a crisis and have to reevaluate his life and behavior, but that was the setup for last season and they purposefully defeated that outcome -- House defiantly spurned attempts to save him from his self-destruction and took every opportunity to make his life worse. I don't see any attempt at creating a dramatic arc that is anything more than a continual nihilistic decline.

The picture of House is now even more that of an idiot savant, absolutely nothing redeeming him other than his diagnostic ability and that is now more hit and miss than ever. It's difficult to write off a TV show such as this, in which the central character has obvious talent and ability and there is a strong ensemble of good characters. They could turn it around in a few good episodes; but it had better be quick -- they're killing the patient.

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The picture of House is now even more that of an idiot savant, absolutely nothing redeeming him other than his diagnostic ability and that is now more hit and miss than ever.

While I am also somewhat dismayed by this episode (it looked to me that a new writer was involved), I don't think that House, either before or even now, is portrayed as an idiot savant. One of the big appeals of the character is that - other than his growing drug problem - he's relentlessly rational. Every touch of mysticism is ruthlessly and explicitly rejected by House. The latest episode shows this by his focus on tying the image of his patient in a nightmare, to some previous exposure rather than doing what many people would do: writing it off as some mystical, never-to-be-explained insight. And in the end, he gets his rational confirmation.

House's personality is that of brilliantly logical anti-social curmudgeon; in an ocean of touchy-feely be-nice-to-all (epitomized by his friend and personality-foil Wilson), he's a breath of fresh air, problems and all. My primary wish is that they'd show him finally applying his mind to solving his drug problem.

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While I am also somewhat dismayed by this episode (it looked to me that a new writer was involved), I don't think that House, either before or even now, is portrayed as an idiot savant. One of the big appeals of the character is that - other than his growing drug problem - he's relentlessly rational. Every touch of mysticism is ruthlessly and explicitly rejected by House. The latest episode shows this by his focus on tying the image of his patient in a nightmare, to some previous exposure rather than doing what many people would do: writing it off as some mystical, never-to-be-explained insight. And in the end, he gets his rational confirmation.

House's personality is that of brilliantly logical anti-social curmudgeon; in an ocean of touchy-feely be-nice-to-all (epitomized by his friend and personality-foil Wilson), he's a breath of fresh air, problems and all. My primary wish is that they'd show him finally applying his mind to solving his drug problem.

I think you're right on, Phil. I, too, would like to see House solve his drug problem, but note that by most people's standards today, they would call him selfish for taking the drugs, and that is part of his "badness", along with being anti-social. Without better premises I think the writers have boxed themselves in and are eventually going to destroy House. I hope I'm wrong.

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I think you're right on, Phil. I, too, would like to see House solve his drug problem, but note that by most people's standards today, they would call him selfish for taking the drugs, and that is part of his "badness", along with being anti-social. Without better premises I think the writers have boxed themselves in and are eventually going to destroy House. I hope I'm wrong.

I have watched the first two seasons of the show on DVD so there is much I have not seen after that and in that context I would like to say that I love and admire the character of Gregory House and though there is much room for improvement in the show I just love it.

My only contention is that as far as I have watched the show, House's requirement to deal with pain has often been stated as his "drug problem" and I would respectfully like to differ.

I have a great deal of personal experience with pain and painkillers but for any rational person as myself and House it can never become a "drug problem". Yes, the pain itself could become a major problem but not the drugs needed to relieve the pain. It's a health problem not a moral issue.

What I would like to see is House medically solve his problem of pain but he is essentially a diagnostician so this would be a stretch. But then again, not that big a stretch for House's genius :-)

That is all, thank you.

- Hema

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I have a great deal of personal experience with pain and painkillers but for any rational person as myself and House it can never become a "drug problem". Yes, the pain itself could become a major problem but not the drugs needed to relieve the pain. It's a health problem not a moral issue.

Hema - I totally agree. There is so much legal insanity related to the use of opiates that it's become a problem for those who really need such drugs for pain relief, for which there is still no good alternative. However, at least as portrayed in the show, House seems to have stepped beyond the use of the drugs for pain relief, into getting high. At that, there should still not be a legal issue unless it interferes with a professional's job performance.

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However, at least as portrayed in the show, House seems to have stepped beyond the use of the drugs for pain relief, into getting high. At that, there should still not be a legal issue unless it interferes with a professional's job performance.

Hello Phil,

If the show has indeed come to this and House's professional genius is compromised by his own actions in any way then I am sad and at that point it certainly becomes a moral issue which even may become a legal one (in the objective sense of course and not as things are) if it leads to professionally criminal negligence.

It would be a shame since David Shore had really done some great work on the show which Laurie portrayed fantastically:-(

But then I think of Sherlock Holmes and my horror when I first read that he turned to narcotics when he was not on a case and his mind had to have a high. I was sad but I respected that since he never lost his sleuthing genius. I may be grasping at the straws but I hope House could be like that :-)

- Hema

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I have watched a couple of episodes of House. I can agree with much of the positive commentary. However, am I the only one who wonders if there is some rule that prevents House from ever smiling when a crisis is over. His grubby appearance and constant bellicose attitude are annoying to me. You can be just as effective without this.

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I have watched a couple of episodes of House. I can agree with much of the positive commentary. However, am I the only one who wonders if there is some rule that prevents House from ever smiling when a crisis is over. His grubby appearance and constant bellicose attitude are annoying to me. You can be just as effective without this.

Arnold is (very unfortunately) not the only one to voice such thoughts. It's more likely that he is among the majority but I disagree.

In the present day and age if you show a smiling, laughing, polite doctor in America it would be grotesquely ridiculous if you show him to be brilliant at his job too.

A brilliant mind is no longer realistically compatible with a laughing and polite public countenance. Even in AR's novels, publicly, the heroes and the heroines had very little to smile about and to be sure they were only sometimes caustic with others and in a very subtle manner but often times they had to be abrupt with others as if they didn't exist and that was the 50s!!

House passes caustic remarks where they are rightfully deserved and sometimes even when they are not deserved but he is shown to be a very sensitive person and right in judging people around him and treating them right once he has known them to be moral and for that you only need to see how tender and respectful he is of Dr. Cuddy even if his casual exchanges with her may be called by some as callous and perhaps be called "sexual harassment" by some "modern people". Once he has known someone he is also shown to have come around to respecting some of his patients like the black sax player only to name one.

As for House's "grubby" appearance - that is not true!! He is just not nattily dressed and pays little attention to personal appearance but that doesn't make his appearance to be "grubby" ! He does have a stubble but it's such an insignificant non essential. You will, however, notice that House is always dressed comfortably and practically.

This is not to start a discussion but to only voice my thoughts so let's put it down to respectful disagreement and leave it at that.

- Hema

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Last Tuesday we saw the season finale of House. It was a huge surprise. I'll ruin it for you because shame on you for not having watched it. And if you live in Canada, shame on you twice, because Global showed it again last night at 2000 hours. Just kidding; but I will ruin it: Foreman, Cameron, and Chase leave the hospital.

Duh! Why didn't I predict that, perhaps being off by a season or two? It didn't cross my mind. Of course! It's a student hospital; the three were there to learn from House. They must eventually leave if House is any good. House doesn't need a teaching assistant.

We can still have story lines with the three that left but it's not necessary. We want three new types of characters to foil and highlight other facets of Gregory House. What type of moral characters are those who left, and what types can we now expect as possibilities?

The show can outdo Law and Order perhaps in years on the air. House can even leave Princeton and the show will still be House. I perhaps don't envy the writers now having so many options in front of them. Unless they have already decided where they are going for the next few seasons, I expect it to be hard to choose.

I really appreciated House's reaction. It shows his genuine passion for his art, his self-sufficient ego. And it shows that he really is a happy man deep inside, except for the physical pain which haunts him, and his capacity for nihilism. His misanthrope, for example, is not a tragic flaw that will promise his doom, it is merely a symptom of something very curable.

Anyways, some thoughts to end the season ...

Jose.

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I have watched a couple of episodes of House. I can agree with much of the positive commentary. However, am I the only one who wonders if there is some rule that prevents House from ever smiling when a crisis is over. His grubby appearance and constant bellicose attitude are annoying to me. You can be just as effective without this.

If House were personable and professional, if he was easy to get along with and easy to like, the show would not be a comedy. I think the comedic value here is a very positive and important to the show.

Today, doctors are expected to be martyrs for altruism, they’re expected to serve and not expect payment, and to hold everyone else’s judgment above their own, from the State to insurance carriers to the patients themselves. The services they provide belong to us by right, we’re taught, and if we have a problem with how the services were provided we can demand restitution. Nobody wants to accept responsibility for their health, so they put the blame on their doctor.

What the show does, knowingly or unknowingly, is it removes from House's character all those traits people confuse with being altruistic. House doesn’t care how other people feel, he doesn’t have a good bedside manner and he’s rude and disrespectful even to those he works for. Also, he will often set people against each other. I watched an episode this week where he rigged a secret santa, giving everyone his name, and delighted in watching their behavior when they found out. His games always serve a purpose in the end besides his own entertainment, but he is cunning and manipulative in his means.

So why, then, even though this is a thoroughly unaltruistic man (at least, in the popular sense of the term), is he allowed to work in this hospital? What’s more, why do his coworkers constantly seek his advice and approval? What’s so special about him, if he’s not a civil servant?

The answer, obviously, is he’s the opposite of a civil servant. House is a man who stands on his own judgment and accepts no other as a substitute. He is relentless in his search for the truth and will uncover it with or without the approval of others. In that search he uses his reason, not his emotion or his “compassion”. That’s what makes him so good, and for me it’s like a big “in your face” to our altruistic culture and what makes me laugh. This is why I don’t mind House’s eccentricities and even enjoy them, because they make his virtues stand out even more. This is not a character who believes he is a sacrificial lamb, and that’s what I love about him.

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What the show does, knowingly or unknowingly, is it removes from House's character all those traits people confuse with being altruistic. House doesn’t care how other people feel, he doesn’t have a good bedside manner and he’s rude and disrespectful even to those he works for. Also, he will often set people against each other.

One is led to conclude that the above behaviour is the alternative to altruistic 'niceness'. That being forcefully moral should entail rudeness; that all the good qualities of House must be tainted with oafishness.

I want my heroes not to be painted with warts. Being 'nice' is not a weakness. How much more impact a controversial decision is, when made with a smile. It shows supreme confidence, and that the decision is not an angry tantrum.

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One is led to conclude that the above behaviour is the alternative to altruistic 'niceness'. That being forcefully moral should entail rudeness; that all the good qualities of House must be tainted with oafishness.

House is one of my favorite current shows, and I really enjoy the character (though I think there've been some attempts to either water down House as the series progresses, or perhaps there are new writers who simply don't "get" the character.) I enjoy the character largely because he's extremely dedicated to reason, including openly bashing religion, which is unheard of in any other show.

I don't see him as "oafish". I think the better idea is "mischievous" - in some ways his attitude is like an overgrown kid, a prodigy who enjoys "stirring the pot" in order to observe human behavior, and to reinforce his often negative view of humanity. To some degree it's a Gail Wynand-like characteristic. Overall, House is portrayed as a truly brilliant man with some fairly serious flaws.

I forget if I've posted this thought on the Forum before, but it seems very likely that House is abstractly modeled on Sherlock Holmes, including the drug problem and his loyal friend/sidekick Wilson, somewhat analogous to Watson (even the names are similar.)

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One is led to conclude that the above behaviour is the alternative to altruistic 'niceness'. That being forcefully moral should entail rudeness; that all the good qualities of House must be tainted with oafishness.

I want my heroes not to be painted with warts. Being 'nice' is not a weakness. How much more impact a controversial decision is, when made with a smile. It shows supreme confidence, and that the decision is not an angry tantrum.

That would be the conclusion if all the other docs were parasites, and we only had House as an alternative. Actually most of the other characters are independent and rational and personable, so I don't think the show suffers such an association. What House's annoying eccentricities do is filter out the nonessentials. In every episode it's clear that he's a brilliant doctor. In fact, he always seems to be two steps ahead of his colleagues, and he saves patients where everyone else fails. We understand that the reason he's practically revered by the community is for his exceptional medical abilities, which have nothing to do with self-sacrifice (the supposed virtue of healers).

Also, House's rudeness is just not presented as if it was something to admire. The other doctors are intelligent, they work hard, and they're good people. I sympathize with his coworkers, and with the patients, for what they have to deal with. At the same time, I laugh because I know they're getting the best there is.

I'm not arguing that this is an ideal hero, only that his flaws have a comedic purpose that I think is positive. In the end, though, taste is a very individual thing and I won't say you should enjoy it just because I do. :)

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I forget if I've posted this thought on the Forum before, but it seems very likely that House is abstractly modeled on Sherlock Holmes, including the drug problem and his loyal friend/sidekick Wilson, somewhat analogous to Watson (even the names are similar.)

I just re-read this thread and saw that Hema had mentioned Sherlock Holmes in connection with House, so perhaps I picked up the idea from her post.

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