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Home » TV

Crumbling HOUSE

Submitted by on May 23, 2011 – 11:21 pm 12 Comments

*Spoilers about House season finale ahead*

Second warning, if you haven’t watched last night’s episode, stop reading now. If you have seen it, read on and discuss!

Last week I was shocked when I heard Lisa Edelstein would not be back as Dr. Cuddy for House‘s season 8 (read the announcement here) but after watching last night’s finale, I’m thinking she’ll be better off. Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) has been an ass for many years now, but in the beginning it was fun. He was a kind of wish-fulfillment character—we wish we could be that blunt and live life on our own terms.

But during the past couple of seasons, he has become much more cruel and destructive, sometimes just for sport instead of for the good of a patient. The harm he caused, though, was mostly to himself so I put up with it. When he drove his car into Cuddy’s living room last night to break up a small dinner party, he stopped being just a petulant man in arrested emotional development. He became a psychotic person who attempted, at the very least, vehicular manslaughter. House is one sick jerk who didn’t just get thrown back to square one when Cuddy broke up with him (as she should have), he’s become a character I no longer like, and not in a love-to-hate way. Edelstein’s news indicates Cuddy will finally leave House behind next year, something I’ll probably do, too.

What did you think of the finale?

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12 Comments »

  • Elizabeth says:

    I had already given up on HOUSE several seasons back for exactly the reason that the show changed from him being a (deep down) good-natured grump to malicious ass. Sad to see it continued to slide, but glad to know I made the correct decision to not keep watching.

  • le0pard13 says:

    I’ve sampled, from time to time, some HOUSE episodes through the years. It’s never caught on with me. Oh, well…

  • Jann says:

    Like Elizabeth, I stopped watching House some time ago. I have enough stress in my life without spending my free time watching mean for the sake of mean. Too bad, it was one of the very few shows I took the time to watch.

  • Carol Wong says:

    I hated the ending. They had the House character go too far. I have a deep feeling that there were other endings tossed aside in the focus group. I remember being in a focus group to choose the ending for a TV special that starred Sophia Loren. Because I didn’t think that the ending really fit with House’s character I got mad at the people who chose the ending. But I also did not like the people would thought up the part where he operates on himself either. This is awful! I was really hooked on House and so upset when lately he has done things that I thought were out of character. Now he seems to be manicial. I want the old house back now wonder that Lisa Edlestein is not coming back!!!

  • Pop Culture Nerd says:

    Elizabeth and Jann—I kept hanging on because I’m a huge fan of Hugh Laurie’s work but after last night, even he can’t make me like the character again if writers/producers keep making House do such awful things.

    le0pard13—There have been some amazing episodes throughout the years but I can see why you wouldn’t spark to it.

    Carol—I don’t think they had focus groups for this. Groups can be done for pilots and specials but episodics are produced on a very tight schedule so there’s no time for test screenings. The writers and producers are completely responsible for the ending.

  • Reader#9 says:

    I agree with almost everything you said and can understand why so many have stopped watching. For me, it’s about the puzzle. I’m no doctor nor have I even thought of studying in that arena, but I like the human nature the writers provide. Much like House, I have an epiphany during every episode and there’s a lot to be said for an A-HA! moment while sitting my couch. TV doesn’t really have many of those which is why I am such a fan of good medical and police procedurals. It also has to have honest moments of truth (which is why I no longer watch any of the CSI or Law and Order versions. The acting has become intolerable) While I do agree House’s character has spiraled into non-sensical land, the acting remains strong throughout the cast and especially with the guest stars. There’s always a moral/religious/character issue to tantalize me. This is why I will keep watching.

    All the previous aside, I don’t have a clue where the character of Gregory House goes from here based on that last scene in yesterday’s finale. I don’t think they will dumb the next season down any, but it felt it should end there.

  • Allison says:

    Oh, no! I used to like HOUSE a lot, too. He was a likeable asshole. But driving a car into a house is just plain psychotic.

  • Paulette Feeney says:

    Well, I am in the minority here…the ending was powerful and completely in character for House; I do not think he is psychotic. Mentally ill? Yes! I screamed out loud when he drove into the home, wondering if he knew (or cared) where the daughter was at the time. As he is revealing more of himself, he is becoming less likable, less “acceptable” which I think was his fear all along. I am still a fan and will still watch.

  • Hira Hasnain says:

    Yes, I believe I’m in the minority as well. Because I simply loved it, although I am sad about Lisa Edelstein leaving the show.

    Personally, I think they had to make him do something absolutely crazy in order for Lisa Cuddy to give up on him entirely. And for all that she has put up with from him, it had to be something completely drastic. And what’s more drastic than driving your car through someone’s dining room? (Well, other than there ACTUALLY being people in it! lol :P) I think this was just something they’d been building towards for Edelstein’s exit, unlike Kutner’s abrupt demise, which just left a collective “huh? what just happened?” question mark in the minds of millions of fans!

    Also, I think that House will finally be able to make a fresh start – and we might witness him rising from his self-destructive behavior. I’m too invested in House to give up on him NOW! 🙂

  • Well, I confess I read your spoiler before I watched House on the DVR. I’m bad that way–like House I have very little impulse control!

    I thought that the moment when he told Cuddy that, yes, he felt hurt, was incredibly powerful. Everything that came after was anticlimactic. I found the car/dining room scene incongruent, somehow, and not very effective. It was as if the writers just thought–What crazy thing can we make him do? Perhaps it’s just too much like what an actual person might do. The imitative fallacy kicked in. I want more from my fiction.

    I’ve rarely been so personally invested in a fictional character as I have been w/ House. There are times, particularly at the beginning of a season, that I just can’t watch because it’s so painful. I’m not a fan of train wrecks.

    I will watch next season, because I think Hugh Laurie is adorable and brilliant. I would watch him cook eggs or make toast. Pretty much anything.

    Finally, the Taub storyline w/ the two pregnancies? That’s just dumb.

    Terrific post and what great comments. You have the best readers!

    P.S. As someone who tends to write some very unlikeable characters, I know for a fact that readers will only let a writer go so far. People avoid unlikeable characters just the way they avoid unpleasant people. It’s a balancing act, trying to go just far enough to keep the story interesting. I hate to give a reader a good reason to stop reading.

  • Pop Culture Nerd says:

    Reader#9—I like the medical puzzles, too, but I have to be invested in the patients. Afsoun, with all her lies and “art” talk, was so self-sabotaging, I stopped caring whether or not she got better.

    Allison—I know. He’s full-on a-hole now.

    Paulette—You might not be in the minority. See Hira’s comment below! House’s not caring where Cuddy’s daughter was before plowing his car into her living room made the act more despicable to me.

    Hira—That’s a good point about Kutner’s abrupt death. House is no longer just self-destructive, though; he’s potentially harmful to other people. I’ve rooted for him to vanquish his demons for years but it looks like he’s moving backward, not forward. Since next season is rumored to be the show’s last, I’ll probably tune in towards the end to see how everything is wrapped up (though I doubt it’ll be a happy ending) but don’t think I can put up with House every week anymore.

    Laura—I’m so lucky and grateful to have such great, smart readers and published authors like you here. I think Hugh Laurie is brilliant, too. Did I tell you I bumped into him at a movie theater? I don’t normally get starstruck but he rendered me speechless. And thank you for understanding the line between an unlikeable character readers can still root for (I like grumpy, prickly characters) and one who’s irredeemable.

  • Christine says:

    FINALLY watched this DVR’d episode recently. Brian and I looked at each other at the end with the same expression…WTH?! We’re fans of Hugh Laurie, but the writers need to bring their A-game for next season to keep us watching. There was something about the scenes with Cuddy and Wilson w/ the police and then him on the beach that seemed different enough, that I was thinking it was going to turnout to be a hallucination or something. *sigh* I’d hate for this series to go out on a sour note.

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