House MD – an outstanding TV medical drama, to say the least

Time to call Dr House: goes the message on your TV screen as the vital stats are going down and a life is in a life-threatening danger. “How can you treat someone without meeting them?” “It’s easy, when you don’t give a crap about him.” And that’s Dr House for you. If you watch TV and have been paying attention, quite recently you would have seen a few TV ads of House MD or just House on STAR World, the hugely popular medical drama on US television.

First part points to a doctor who is supposed to be the only one who can bring someone back from the jaws of death – that creates the image of a doctor who would value human life to the utmost. Second part points to someone who clearly says he doesn’t care or to use the words “don’t give a crap” about his patients. That’s so ‘oxymoron’ kind of a scenario, don’t you think so? Then,

Who is Dr House?

Who is Dr House? For a series that looks like to be about hospitals, doctors, saving the patients and the like, strangely the protagonist gives an impression which is otherwise. Well, you may have seen many American medical dramas on TV like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, Scrubs or Indian ones like Sanjivani, Lifeline (Jeevan Rekha); in your mind you would have made an image of how TV medical dramas play out. They may have had different themes but in the end they converge at the similar points.

Then what’s so different about House MD, if at all. Well there is, and there is plenty. This series is unlike any medical drama on TV and stands out on its own against any other kind of TV soap operas too. It was highly recommended to me by some of my friends, and mind you 90% of highly recommended ‘referrals’ came from Doctors themselves. And to be frank I was not very sure, but once I started watching it I got hooked, flabbergasted, devoted and finally sad that it ended after 8 seasons.

Hugh Laurie as Dr House

Tempted as I am to not just talk about Dr House but reveal so many things, I am not going to do that. You must watch it and make your mind about what you think about it. (BTW, Dr Gregory House, that’s his complete name which is not used much, he is just ‘House’. I think in the series only Dr Cuddy’s mom questions why everyone calls him House and not Greg?)

But there are few things that I’ll talk about. Hugh Laurie as Dr House is exceptional. He is a genius Doctor whom everyone loves to hate and hates to love; everyone questions his approach, methods, treatments; everyone at some point in the series would hate, demean, leave him; but no one can deny his diagnosis in the end and mind you he sticks to what he believes in no matter what. And even when you disagree with him, you feel like agreeing with him at some level. A better word to describe him could be “maverick” but there is more to him than that too.

Weird as it may sound – the series undoubtedly primarily focuses on this character Dr House (and the excruciating pain he is in all the time), the Head of Diagnostics at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital or simply Princeton-Plainsboro but the overarching theme is solving medical cases. The lives of Dr House and others in the series are woven around that. And he himself doesn’t care about saving lives but solving the cases, as he says I solved the case. My work here is done.

Dr House, his team and other star cast

An eight season series which originally ran from 2004 to 2012 (comes on STAR World in India), House MD has certain team members and other characters that are central to the series. First 3 seasons have a fairly constant cast in terms of doctors, there is of course a new set of cast members in each episode since there is always a new patient, after that you again see a more or less fixed set of doctors for couple of more seasons and then season 8, that’s the last one, has major changes vis-à-vis seasons 1 to 7.

Dr Cuddy and Dr Wilson are the constant companions; Dr. Foreman, Dr Chase and Dr. Cameron form the core team from season 1 to 3, Dr. Taub, Dr. or only ‘Thirteen’, Dr. Kutner, Dr. Amber are the other key cast members in the subsequent seasons with Dr. Jessica and Dr. Park completing the list of key doctors in season 8. There a few non-doctors who also play important roles in the series. All of them make this an enjoyable series.

Dr House’s quotable quotes

In the entire series in addition to the strong plot, some unparalleled screen writing and unmatched for acting, there are plenty of dialogues in every episode which make the list of “quotable quotes”. Here are a few marvels by Dr House:

  • “Everybody lies.”
  • “Humanity is overrated.” 
  • “…there’s no I in ‘team’. There is a me, though, if you jumble it up.”
  • “…treating illnesses is why we became doctors, treating patients is what makes most doctors miserable.”
  • “Welcome to the end of the thought process.”
  • “If you talk to God you’re religious. If God talks to you, you’re psychotic.”
  • “Tests take time. Treatment’s quicker.”
  • “You can live with dignity, you can’t die with it.”

In fact to enjoy the series to its fullest, you have to be attentive enough and listen to the conversations. If you miss that, you miss the essence of it.

And the award (s) goes to Dr House, Hugh Laurie

The list of awards for the series House MD and to the actor Hugh Laurie is as impressive as the series itself. 2 Golden Globe wins and 3 nominations for Hugh (2006 to 11), 6 Primetime Emmy nominations and few wins too, Screen Actors Guild nominations and wins, and many other prestigious ones, the list seems endless. Hugh, directors, writers, guest actors, they all have done some amazing work and have been recognized with awards and laurels.

One of strangest recognitions, if I can call it so, is the fact that a doctor in Germany who apparently is a big fan of House MD medical series (like many doctors I know) solved a real life case after watching the series. (Click here to read about it). It’s kind of an award too, I guess.

Is House MD worth watching?

Well, if I were to ever make a list of top 10 must watch TV series, dramas and soap operas across genres and languages, House MD has already made the list and will stay there. I say it is fantastic, outstanding, extraordinary, awesome, and more. You have to watch it even if you end up hating and disliking. But you have to watch it, since “This is not a democracy.” 

I usually don’t include this in my blogs, but House runs on STAR World and I is telecast every weekday from Monday to Friday at 10 pm.

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And what do you think?