I was 10 years old when House MD first aired. As a nurse’s daughter, I had seen enough sickly patients and ER re-runs to know I wasn’t interested in medicine or anything else involving sharp objects and squealing infants. I didn’t like the needles or the cold stethoscopes that always sent shivers down my spine and if asked, I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a veterinary artist when I grew up (a vet that paints their subjects afterwards, for those who don’t speak child) or a publisher specializing in scratch-and-sniff novels. At the time, my interest in television was limited to American Idol and various episode of The OC, and if someone had handed me a medical dictionary and asked me to read a page, I probably would’ve cried. Therefore, when I sat down beside my mother one evening to watch “some new medical show” on FOX, I was fully prepared to hate the crippled doctor who hobbled across the screen. Apparently, the world had other plans.
Now, I could drown you in the buckets of my obsession that I have subjected my friends to for the past 8 years or I could rattle off quotes from each and every season but for your sanity’s sake, I won’t. However, I cannot let this show get axed without fully dissecting its greatness and brainwashing you all into trading in your Grey’s Anatomy DVDs for House’s. So, without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned from House MD over the years:
Do What’s Right, Even If It’s Hard
“You asked me why I like you. You’re abrasive and rude, but I figured everything you do, you do it to help people. But I was wrong. You do it because it’s right.”
Okay, I know I said I would avoid using quotes but I really couldn’t help it this time. Cameron said this in her first goodbye speech in season 1 (all of you avid viewers know this was not her last) and for some reason, it has stuck with me ever since. House has abused clinic patients. He has sacrificed one baby to save two others. He has fired a dying team member to force her follow her true ambitions. He has even accepted his best friend’s decision to die from cancer rather than make him seek treatment. While there were times (AKA, every time) where his search for the truth prompted some outrageous actions, in the end, House always put his career on the line to do the right thing which is something I aim to accomplish in my own life (perhaps without the “career on the line” bit).
It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
Any regular person who has seen 3+ episodes of House can and will explain to you the basic, predictable structure of the show: House finds a patient, House cures the patient, patient isn’t cured, House has an epiphany, House cures the patient for real, show ends. When these people make such bold announcements in my presence, I often mentally respond with: “Congrats amateur fan on cleverly decoding the extremely complicated design of House MD and demonstrating your intellectual prowess.” Then, out loud, I agree and move on with other topics to avoid offending whoever attempted to undermine my favorite show by claiming the meaning was that simple. While, yes, House MD retains a certain step-by-step design, perhaps making it slightly predictable, the most important element of this formula comes from its message, that it is okay to make mistakes, to not be 100% correct on the first try, and to do trial and error until you come up with the right answer. Granted, it probably shouldn’t be done on human beings but my point still stands.
Have Confidence In Yourself
If I had a nickel for every person that House has ever yelled at for not standing up for themselves, I’d be Bill Gates. And Steve Jobs. And like, every celebrity. Combined. I’d be wealthy, okay? From team members to patients to even his own boss, the list of people that have fallen victim to House’s confidence tirades is endless. Through shocking demands and harsh truths, House has transformed everyone he’s come in contact with for the better, making them more independent and confident about themselves. He taught me to take chances (and by that I mean choosing-to- jaywalk-when-there-are-no-cars-around sort of chances, not those life-or-death kind of chances…let’s be real) and to follow my own advice. I have yet to kick, punch, or injure anyone along the way so I would say it’s been pretty effective so far.
Value Your Friend(s)
In my opinion, the friendship that exists between Wilson and House remains the biggest mystery presented on the show. Wilson has been nearly fired on multiple occasions, has gone through 3 wives and has lost a girlfriend as a result of House’s reckless behavior. This does not fall under my definition of friendship, or, at least it didn’t used to. I always thought being friends with someone required common personalities or at least some shared idiosyncrasies but I’ve realized that what kept lovable, kind-hearted James Wilson coming back to the miserable, snarky Gregory House was not linked to any sort of personality trait or monster truck infatuation. What kept Wilson coming back was the unspoken promise to support his friend and to be there for him, no matter how many pills he popped or patients he offended. In the end, House supported Wilson and Wilson supported House in one of the greatest TV show bromances ever invented. (Cheesiness level: Maximum. New achievement unlocked: Walking Hallmark card.)
No explanation needed. (Brownie points for whoever gets this reference.)
I was 10 years old when House MD first aired and I will be 18 when it ends. Since then, while I still have not embraced the practice of medicine (ask me to diagnose a sick child and the only thing I could tell you is that it probably isn’t Lupus), I have become more invested in writing and television (and writing about television) than ever before. In addition, I have produced a 200 page fan-fiction centered around my favorite characters and created a series of booklets listing my favorite “Houseisms” complete with pictures and character descriptions. By 13, I had a YouTube account filled with fandom videos and dedications (that no one will ever ever find) and at 14, I had begun actively participating in the online House forum (yes, I was that bad). At one point, I even grew into the habit of calling Tuesdays “Hughsdays” in honor of Hugh Laurie. (I have also managed to retain a handful of friends through it all, which may be the biggest accomplishment yet.)
While it may not have been the best show on the planet (I’d say it jumped the shark right around the time a gunman held up the hospital), House MD has forever changed my life for the better in ways this article cannot even begin to express. So with that I say: goodbye Dr. Cameron, Dr. Chase and Dr. Foreman, the original ducklings. Goodbye Wilson and your overwhelming powers of compassion. Goodbye Coma Guy, clinic patients, and angry hospital staff. Goodbye Thirteen, Amber, Kutner, Taub, and Cuddy. Goodbye cane and Vicodin. Goodbye whiteboard. And last but not least, goodbye House, the show that made me question everyone and everything. I did not want to like you as much as I did but as you know, you can’t always get what you want.
Images via Fanpop