I was going to say that “House” has finally lost its luster.
Why? For one thing, overpopulation. Here’s a drama series, now in its fifth season, with too many regular characters who have nothing to do. Between Dr. House’s old staff, his new staff, his private detective, Drs. Wilson and Cuddy, and the patients-of-the-week, the Fox show has become something of a traffic jam. When the “House” writers finally devote an episode to the once-prominent Cameron-Chase romance next Tuesday, it will feel like nostalgia night.
I was also going to say that the “House” storylines have grown increasingly preposterous over the years -- and they were cuckoo to start with. Sometimes, the medical mysteries and the dramas about the doctors’ personal lives are so over-the-top, I have to go into denial to get through the hour. I have to work to suspend my wild disbelief while I’m watching the insanity unfold -- doctors breaking into patients’ homes, House having his P.I. go through Wilson’s garbage, Thirteen getting fired but not leaving. But then later on, or during the commercials, I shake my head and laugh at the lunacy. OK, Cuddy just drugged House so that Wilson could kidnap him and drive him to his father’s funeral. Got it.
And yet I would much rather say something completely different here...
CONTINUED AFTER THE JUMP
Against all odds, and against all the evidence of sloppy storytelling and excessive implausibility , “House” remains one of network TV’s most dynamic hours. Obviously, Hugh Laurie is outrageously good; he has created an awful, brilliant, condescending, needy, childlike, curmudgeonly character with nary a wrong note over five years. His House already deserves a spot in the TV character hall of fame, near Archie Bunker and Hawkeye Pierce.
But I do find that, despite the occasional bum episode, the drama that is built around Laurie is still good, too. Weird, but good. “House” can’t be approached and judged as a typical medical procedural, even while it has that formulaic quality. The show needs to be viewed as a comic psychodrama in which all the medical cases reflect aspects of the doctors, and all the doctors reflect aspects of House, and House reflects the naked id. It’s a crazy “House” of mirrors. The crowded cast, the overheated action, and all the absurd twists and turns are the show’s unique stylization. “House” may be mainstream TV’s boldest-ever psychological farce.
Yes, I have sometimes joined in the chorus of fans who feel that “House” is over. But right here, right now, I’m feeling more optimistic. With Olivia Wilde’s Thirteen getting more compelling, and House and Cuddy getting romantic, and bold direction that can turn a prime-time hour into a dreamlike fantasia, the show still deserves a chance.
Where do you stand on "House" these days?
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsMatthew Gilbert is the Globe's TV critic.
Sarah Rodman is a staff TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.