Dr House The Tv Series English Literature Essay

Dr House The Tv Series English Literature Essay

1 Introduction

Dr. House is a pretty well established US TV series. Since its release in 2004 the series has been permanently popular and in 2008 it was broadcasted to 66 countries attaining overall 81.8 million viewers. In other words: Dr. House is the most successful television show in the world. This is also approved by a lot of awards the series has received. For example Dr. House was nominated for six golden globes and obtained two of them.

Overall six seasons of the series has been produced including entire 132 episodes.

But why is this series so successful. Why should it be worth watching? And what is so special about that Dr. House?

2 Dr. House – The TV Series

Image 1: Main characters of Dr. House

2.1 Origin

It was Paul Attanasio, who came up with the idea of a medical drama after he has read an article in the New York Times named “Diagnosis”. Together with his business partner Katie Jacobs and David Shore he persuaded the television network FOX to acquire his concept. Gail Berman, who was president of FOX at that time said: “I want

a medical show, but I don´t want to see white coats going down the hallway.” [2] Thus began to refine the idea of a team of doctors who diagnose and cure unusual diseases. Finally, after a lot of changes and concentrating more on the main character, they made out a character called House: An ingenious and impolite person who suffers from his injured leg.

2.2 Plot

Nearly the whole action takes place at the Princeton Plainsboro Hospital in New Jersey, the location where Dr. House is working with his team. It is staffed by the neurologist Dr. Eric Foreman, the surgeon Dr. Robert Chase and the immunologist Dr. Allison Cameron. Together they often deal with pretty scarce diseases and attempt to cure them. Moreover the whole series is traversed by Gregory House´s black humor.

2.3 Structure of an episode using the example of “House vs. God [3] “

Nearly all episodes of Dr. House are built after the same patterns. The following example of the episode “House vs. God” will give an overview about the procedure of the scenes.

At the beginning the happenings take place outside the hospital. In this case you can see the inside of a church, where a young “faith healer” cures an old woman who can´t walk ordinary. Someone might think this could be the patient of this episode. However, all of a sudden, the healer collapses on the basis of seizures. After that the intro of Dr. House shows up. Now the patient is at the hospital and House has to be convinced to take this medical case. In this episode his team assumes this part. House´s interest is aroused, because the “faith healer” thinks God talks to him.

Accordingly Dr. House makes a differential diagnosis together with his team. That

means they speculate based on the symptoms what disease the patient might have. At first they come to the solution that it has to be tuberous sclerosis, because all symptoms fit in. Later on the patient begins to run a fever which reveals that it has to be another disease. Dr. House thinks he has a herpes virus which is proved by a rash on the lower back thereupon and the patient gets cured as a result. Like most episodes this one is finished by a song playing in the background.

3 Dr. Gregory House

Image 2: Dr. Gregory House

3.1 Biography

Dr. Gregory House was born in Illinois on June 11th 1959. He loves his mother Blythe House and is dismissive against his father who is not his biological father.

House studied initially at John Hopkins School of Medicine, but he was expelled from this university because he had copied in an exam. Afterwards he continued his studies at the University of Michigan, where he finally gained his graduation.

Subsequently Dr. House started to work at the Princeton Plainsboro Hospital, a teaching hospital in New Jersey. He is an expert on the subject of nephrology and additionally the Head of Diagnostic Medicine. His specialist field is rare diseases.

Since the infarct in his right leg House has to use a walking cane and due to the pain he suffers from that he became addicted to Vicodin.

His Boss at the hospital, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, often forces him to keep up with his tasks at the ambulance, which House tries to avoid with all available means. For example he takes position in front of filled waiting room and tells the patients who he is, that he is addicted to drugs and that he is probably the only doctor, who doesn’t work voluntarily in this hospital. In doctor´s consultation´s it happens sometimes that Dr. House abandons somebody and plays with his Gameboy instead.

3.2 Character

Dr. Gregory House is actually an unconventional character as the protagonist of a US TV Series.

On the one hand he is a medical genius with a lot of knowhow, but on the other hand he can be a real scumbag. House doesn’t care about the feelings of patients and his only aim is to cure them. The way he achieves that can be really unpleasant for the sick persons, because House thinks that everybody lies. For example he asks the patients nasty questions about their life or other important things – if he talks to the patient at all. Moreover House says always what he thinks and every episode is filled to capacity with of his (sarcastic) jokes. In addition Gregory House doesn’t like changes, e.g. he has been playing the same guitar since the 8th grade and has been living in his apartment for 15 years.

In the USA the term “Houseism” exists for House´s character and his behavior, which describes his black humor, sarcastic utterances and extraordinary attitude.

3.3 Actor – Hugh Lorie

“It’s a wonderfully liberating thing. I wish I could be more like that. I think all actors care (what others think). They want to be loved. They want applause. It’s pathetic, but here it is.” [4] 

Hugh Laurie about his character Dr. House

Hugh Laurie is a popular English actor who was born on June 11th 1959 in Oxford. He has an older brother and two older sisters. His parents are Patricia and Ran Laurie, who has won a Gold Medal in Rowing at the Olympic Games 1948 in London. Hugh attended the Dragon School in Oxford, before he joined the Eton College. After that he studied at the Selwyn College in Cambridge to achieve a diploma in archaeology and social anthropology. There he also was member of the Footlights Club, where he met Stephen Fry. Together with him he managed his breakthrough especially with the series Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster. Finally in 2004 Hugh Laurie became the protagonist of the medical Drama “Dr. House”. For this role he obtained two Golden Globes and was several times nominated for the Emmy.

4 House´s team

4.1 Dr. Eric Foreman (portrayed by Omar Epps)

Image 3: Dr. Eric Foreman

Dr. Eric Foreman is a black neurologist with the best qualifications in House´s team.

The only thing that is known about his childhood is that he comes from a poor background. At the age of 16 he was caught, when he burglarized into a house. Later on he studied at Hopkins Medical School. Moreover has a brother named Marcus who is in prison and his mother suffers from Alzheimer´s disease.

Foreman´s relationship with his superior Gregory House is obviously the most complicated one. He despises House regarding his attitude to other human beings, however, it is often said how similar Foreman is to House. Due to his criminal history and his skin color he has to submit to the (racist) jokes House makes about him.

4.2 Dr. Robert Chase (portrayed by Jesse Spencer)

Image 4: Dr. Robert Chase

Dr. Robert Chase is an Australian surgeon with intensive-care medicine as his specialty.

Chase´s father was medical specialist for rheumatology. He abandoned him and his mother, who became addicted to alcohol subsequently and died from this, when Chase was 16. After that he attended a Catholic school, but he didn´t pass the exams and had to go. Thus he decided to study medicine and when he met his father again, he helped his son to receive a position in House´s team.

Chase is very loyal to House and when an argue breaks he consequently stands on his side.

4.3 Dr. Allison Cameron (portrayed by Jennifer Morrison)

Image 5: Dr. Allison Cameron

Dr. Allison Cameron is an immunologist and the only female person of House´s team.

It is not so much own about Cameron´s childhood, but there are hints that – in contrast to Foreman and Chase – her girlhood was eventless. She finished school with a high graduation and before practicing at Princeton Plainsboro Hospital she was employee at the prestigious Mayo Clinic.

At the Age of 21 Cameron married a man who came down with thyroid cancer and died after six months of marriage from the consequences of his disease.

As opposed to Dr. House Cameron takes care of every patient – even if someone is a criminal. This often leads to conflicts with her boss House, who is only interested in restoring somebody´s health and doesn´t give a crap about the feelings of a patient. Cameron, however, makes an effort to build trust in the relationship to her patients and engages accountability towards them. When she is faced with a problem she always tries to find a solution which implies minimal harm to the parties included.

5 Other important characters

5.1 Dr. James Wilson (portrayed by Robert Sean Leonard)

Image 6: Dr. James Wilson

Dr. James Wilson is Head of the Department of Oncology at the Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. He is House´s best friend and besides the only person who gets along with his particular kind. Wilson lost his uncle to cancer, whereupon he made the decision to become an oncologist. As far as known he was married three times and has a brother who is homeless and hasn´t been seen by Wilson for nine years. House often contacts him to ask questions about the diagnoses of a patient. Wilson however, often reveals the background of house´s or the patient´s behavior. These conversations frequently lead House to the solution of the medical case.

5.2 Dr. Lisa Cuddy (portrayed by Lisa Edelstein)

Image 7: Dr. Lisa Cuddy

Dr. Lisa Cuddy is Dean of Medicine and administrator of the Princeton Plainsboro Hospital.

Cuddy wanted to become a doctor since her childhood, consequently she attended a medical school and afterwards the University of Michigan, where she had the first contact to Gregory House. She was prosperous student and as a result Dr. Lisa Cuddy became the first female and at age of 32 the second youngest Dean of Medicine ever.

When House became his infection in his right leg (this has happened before the story of the series starts and is shown in an episode by a review), he was brought to the Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. Against House´s will Cuddy, who was responsible for him, decided to take of the dead leg muscle. Thereof House´s suffers from a chronic pain and is handicapped in order that he is only able to walk by using a walking cane.

As Cuddy being the superior of House after he took up employment again their relationship is not easy at all. House doesn´t care about rules and has often crazy ideas. For Example when he asked Cuddy, “Is it still illegal to perform an autopsy on a living person?” [5] , she had to stop his lunatic plan. Cuddy is always the one who has to put House in his place and also the only person who has the authority to do this.

6 Similarities between Dr. House and Sherlock Holmes

Image 8: Dr. House and Sherlock Holmes

Close inspection reveals that there are parallels between Dr. House and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle´s detective Sherlock Holmes. The Reason that David Shore (the producer of Dr. House) is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, has obviously influenced the conception of the series. The biggest correlation can be seen in their character: Both are arrogant and both use the same methodology to solve a case.

Furthermore House and his best friend Wilson were supposed to cooperate like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. According to Robert Sean Leonard – the actor of Dr. James Wilson – House´s team has assumed this part.

Here is a short overview of the similarities of Dr. House and Sherlock Holmes:

Dr. House Sherlock Holmes

Main Character

House

Holmes

Best friend

Dr. Wilson

Dr. Watson

Drug addiction

Vicodin

Cocaine

Instrument

Piano

Violin

Address

Apartment 221B

221B Baker Street

7 Appendix