“I cure illnesses,” Doctor Gregory House claims as he pops a handful of vicodin. “Not patients.”
Out of all of the television doctors I’ve seen, I can’t think of a single one who approaches House. Not only is he brilliant, he’s manically brilliant, to the point that Sherlock Holmes seems quite sane and well-balanced by comparison. He’s also a complete and total jerk ass. There are quite a few people in this world who have taken refuge inside a shell of sarcastic cynicism, but House has refined his to a suit of plate mail worthy of the dark ages. It’s very, very rare for House to show emotions other than driven genius or smug dickishness, and yet he does have extremely human moments. We watch the show to catch House when he’s vulnerable just as much as we watch it to see him piss off any number of people in the name of medical science.
Added to this is the fact that Hugh Laurie is an outstanding actor, and British at that. He knows the essence of dramatic presence and comedic timing, and wields both of them with the practiced precision of a master craftsman. On another show, he might completely outshine all the other actors and characters, but House is an ensemble show more than a vehicle for the curmudgeonly diagnostician, with everybody turning in believable and potent performances. Robert Sean Leonard in particular does a superlative job portraying the long-suffering Dr. Wilson, a man who stubbornly remains House’s friend despite the many, many, many things House does that might alienate other people.
I haven’t even mentioned the many odd diseases House and his team need to tackle in every episode, the very well-paced and nuanced tension between House and Dr. Cuddy, the head of medicine, and the dynamics of House’s team, both with each other and their madcap mentor. Oh, and did I mention the show is set in Princeton, New Jersey, not all that far from Philadelphia?
It’s another show about which I can’t say enough good things, and another show you should be watching if you aren’t already.