House (otherwise known as House M.D.) is a medical drama series that takes place in the New Jersey Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. It follows the highs and lows of the abrasive genius Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and his rotating team of doctors as they tackle medical mysteries every week. Being an infectious diseases specialist, House and his crew usually find themselves getting involved when the patients show symptoms that cannot be immediately explained.
Because of the show's focus on finding clues, leading our characters towards the episode's final diagnosis, Gregory House himself was actually written to be based on another iconic sleuth - Sherlock Holmes. Even his name, House, is a pun on Holmes ('homes').
While House received many of the best parts of Sherlock, including his incredible mind and a sidekick with a name that starts with W, House was also made a substance user (Holmes was known for using substances in the original books); plus, House was given a leg injury and cane, giving him even more to overcome during the eight seasons of the show than the figure he was based on.
Although Dr. House is a complex character - often being a prickly and sarcastic presence, but having the capacity for genuine compassion towards his friends and certain patients - that complexity can sometimes backfire. There is a difference between being layered and deep, and tipping into actual inconsistencies in character, background and motivation.
Are you a fan of House M.D.? Read on for 20 Things About Dr. House That Make No Sense.
In the episode "Adverse Events," we find out a little more about House's past - particularly, his time in school. We learn that House was a Lacrosse cheerleader in university. This may not seem too odd at first, as we are shown multiple times that House was something of an athlete prior to the infarction in his leg - he collects running shoes and is shown to go for long runs on the rare occasions that his pain is gone.
But, for a man whose abrasive attitude and social awkwardness are heavily implied to be rooted in childhood and carried throughout his life, taking up an activity like cheerleading that involves teamwork, performance, and - well, cheer - seems out of place for him.
House M.D. is a medical drama series - emphasis on 'medical'. This means that, of course, it is meant to be set entirely in our reality. The medicine should be as accurate as possible - even when the disease of the week is something rare or outlandish.
That doesn't stop the show - and by extension, House himself - from getting it wrong sometimes. In the episode "Out of the Chute," a bull rider at a rodeo gets trampled. House deduces that the man has had an aortic aneurysm, and then proves it incorrectly by cracking the patient's chest and increasing his blood pressure - but, this is treated as the right thing to do. It's not the only instance where House made a medical error, which could have made the patient much worse (in reality) or even cost him his life.
This is the big one. It's one of the biggest criticisms to be levied against the show, and it is even a point that is brought up in-universe just because it has been mentioned so many times. For a medical doctor, House uses his cane on the wrong side of his body.
Injured on his right, House continues to lean the cane on the same side as the bad leg. However, to actually ease the pressure from that side, the cane should be on the left. This goes unmentioned for several seasons until it is brought to House's attention - and yet, he still chooses to keep the cane on the wrong side. If he cares so much about alleviating his pain, why would he continue to make things worse for himself?
To say that House lives his life in a moral grey area would be the understatement of the century. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to mention that House also frequently breaks into the homes of his patients in order to gather evidence and clues - and makes his team do so too.
The real question is, how does he keep getting away with this? They're never caught and House never gets anything more than a slap on the wrist or a stern eyebrow-raise when he commands this. Even if it's ultimately for the greater good, it seems ridiculous that he can't simply ask for entrance from the people he's treating.
For a show based on mysteries and finding clues, most of the cases that we are presented with get wrapped up by the end of a single episode. The team of fellows discovers what rare disease the person had, House says something witty, Cuddy rolls her eyes, and everyone is happy. But, there was one ongoing mystery in the show that never got resolved - the case of House's paternity.
We are presented with two candidates for House's father. First, John House, the man whom Greg's mother is actually married to and who raised him. However, for most of his life, House suspects that this man is not his father, and is ultimately proven correct. Unfortunately, his next candidate also proves not to be his true father - and this thread is left unresolved by the end of the show.
While House is a medical doctor, he is also a man in near constant pain from the muscle that was removed in his leg. To take some of the pressure off of this leg, he walks with a cane. That's what makes it so strange when you realize that the canes he uses over the course of the show are mostly not suitable to give him the support he needs.
It makes some sense for House's character to care about style, even when it comes to his canes, but as a man who lives in pain and often goes to incredibly extreme lengths to relieve his pain, why wouldn't he bite the bullet and get a medical-grade cane that's more comfortable to use?
Throughout the show, House's only real friend is the loyal James Wilson. Whenever House needs help or is spiraling out of control, Wilson is there to lend a hand or bring him back from the pits of his own mind. House, in turn, has been there for him at times, particularly towards the end of the show - but these times are a lot rarer, and it is more often House leaning on Wilson for support.
Considering how often House has lied to, manipulated, and even harmed poor Wilson, how is it that House has managed to retain his best friend for all these years? Perhaps some friendships just transcend all logic and sense of personal safety.
The main conceit of the character of House is that he is a genius misanthrope who battles with physical pain on a daily basis, as well as the emotional scarring of the event that caused it. As seasons progress, House often finds more and more drastic ways to try and relieve his pain - some of which work; at least, as temporary measures.
The problem is that, whenever House's pain is gone, his genius is diminished; this is not just down to the medicine he takes, as he has the same effect over different kinds of medication. He was portrayed as being a genius before the pain, so why is he suddenly a worse doctor when his pain goes away?
During his childhood, he was uprooted and moved around through many different countries, as his father was serving in active military duty - countries that included Egypt, the Philippines, and Japan. One country that has not been mentioned, however, was England. House has never explicitly stepped foot there in his life.
Yet, sometimes we hear the odd British phrase peppered into House's dialogue in place of a more obvious Western saying. For example, in the episode "No Reason", he uses the English word 'frock' instead of saying 'dress'. In real life, this is because House's portrayer, Hugh Laurie, is British - but there is no in-universe reason given.
When House is suddenly attacked by a mysterious man (who is named in the credits as 'Jack Moriarty', continuing on the Sherlock Holmes theme), it sends everyone into a state of shock; though House is obviously not the most likable person, for someone to storm into the hospital and harm him is very unsettling.
In the aftermath, House goes out and purchases a gun. This feels like a logical next step after facing down a gunman, but House also says to Masters that the Second Amendment is the part of the Constitution which says that people have the right to be stupid. Danger can make people reckless, but it doesn't diminish the fact that House flipped on his principals, when he is shown to be incredibly stubborn about his beliefs or lack thereof.
As a part of his mean and repellent exterior, House likes to tear people down and make jokes at their expense. If there's something about you that's possibly worth making fun of in one way or another, House will dig and dig at it until he gets a rise or you go away and leave him in peace - even, and especially, when it comes to his team of fellows.
In one particular instance, in the episode "The Social Contract", House picks on Taub by making mean-spirited jokes. This is pretty standard procedure for House.
Hugh Laurie is a pretty good looking man. Even as House, where he appears disheveled and with a constant case of stubble, it's not hard to see why some women may find him attractive.
Of course, it doesn't make much sense for the women who actually know him to fall for him, considering he's a total jerk and often makes gender bias comments just to drive them away. Cameron's initial attraction makes a little more sense, as she is drawn to 'broken' people, but Cuddy is almost always sparring with House and finds herself genuinely disturbed and upset by him on multiple occasions. So, even though their relationship does not last, the fact that he managed to attract her in at all is a little questionable.
Being such an incredible doctor, House knows exactly what he's doing when it comes to treating his patients. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of various diseases and what to do with them, which is what makes him so great.
Of course, House is also in extreme pain all of the time, which leads him to test various medications on himself to make the pain go away. Being such a knowledgeable doctor, he should know the often high risks that come along with these medications - including affecting his abilities as a doctor. And yet, he keeps testing these potential cures on himself.
When House and the team of fellows are called in for cases of rare diseases, it is almost always the members of House's talented group who actually get sent in to deal with the patients - talking to them, performing the basic checks and tests, and acting as liaisons between the injured individual and the aloof House.
Because House's team is not called in every day, and House himself keeps the interaction with patients to a minimum, it comes as something of a surprise to hear that House apparently visits the Human Resources department two times every day on average. Visiting HR on a frequent basis makes a lot of sense for the character, but twice a day? Even if we take this as slightly exaggerated, it seems a bit impossible.
In the season two episode, "Distractions," we first meet House's old schoolmate, Philip Weber. The two immediately clash, based on years of old grudges and resentment.
In the past, Weber discovered that House was copying one of his exam answers. Almost immediately, he turned House in - which resulted in his expulsion and cost him a prestigious internship. Weber took the internship for himself, and House has never forgiven him. House is so intelligent that one has to wonder why he would cheat on a test. Weber says House was known for cutting corners, but that seems hard to believe considering how in-depth and relentless House can be when it comes to treating the sick.
House breaks a lot of rules - but sometimes, that rampant rule-breaking moves into breaking the actual law. In season three, a series of events leads to House being caught with illegal medication by Detective Tritter. This soon gets amped up to a charge of trafficking narcotics when excessive amounts are discovered in his apartment.
By the finale of this story arc, House manages to get away without having to do any jail time - just going to rehab - and Detective Tritter disappears from his radar. The circumstances that lead to this, and the final conclusion of the judge presiding over House's case with Tritter, are shaky at best - but House keeps getting away with things.
When we are first introduced to House, we're not given a complete explanation as to what actually happened to his leg, but in the masterful episode "Three Stories," we finally get the full account of the infarction, and painful aftermath.
We learn that Stacy, acting as House's medical proxy while he was in a coma, opted to have House's leg muscle removed because House continued to refuse amputation. House's resentment and anger ultimately collapsed their relationship - but Stacy only tried to do what he wanted and also somehow find a middle ground. He's still not over it when she finds him again and asks him to treat her new husband.
As per the previous entry in this list, the injury to House's leg takes place before the series begins. In all the time since then, House is miserably bitter about the incident, often using it as an excuse to lash out at the people around him and take so many painkillers that he can hardly see straight.
Even though he eventually gets over his resentment to Stacy and is able to move on, it still takes him six whole seasons of the show (in the episode "Help Me") to finally admit that he should have had his leg amputated from the beginning. If he had, he would have saved himself all this pain. For such a brilliant doctor who is troubled by so much pain, why couldn't he come to this conclusion sooner?
Apart from generally keeping his interactions with real patients to an absolute minimum, House causes a great deal of other problems for Cuddy and the hospital. Not only should he be doing significantly more clinic duty - or at least, some actual clinic duty - but he is abrasive and rude to everyone around him, causing the many complaints to HR that we mentioned before.
Furthermore, it has been stated that the head administrator, Cuddy, sets aside $50,000 every year for legal expenses against Princeston Plainsboro that have been caused by House. Add to that his salary, which must be fairly large, and all the medications that he uses, and House must surely be more trouble than he's worth to keep on.
We all have a birthday, even if we choose not to celebrate it. While Gregory House may seem like the kind of guy to let a date like that go unnoticed so that he can avoid having to socialize further with the people around him, he must surely know what the actual date of his birth is, right? Same should go for the hospital in which he is employed.
And yet, we see proof of House's birthday multiple times, and on at least two separate occasions, we are told conflicting things. When we see his driver's license in "Two Stories," his birthday is stated as May 15th, 1959. However, his patient band in "No Reason" says his birthday is June 11th, 1959.
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