"Allow me to give House the same respect he gives his own patients: House Season One is a wet dog's lawn ornament squeezed into the form of a DVD. Sorry, fanboys! It just is."
---from the review
...This Show's Series Premiere Was Also "Premiere Reviewed," Scene By Scene!
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House: The First Season
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''What would you prefer: a doctor who holds your hand while you die or who ignores you while you get better?''
...Such is the ethical question posed by the title character of House; FOX TV's new medical drama. The question is as unrealistic as it is myopic. A doctor who could care less about his patients will never care enough to bother saving their life before leaving the hospital early to go play golf. Comparatively, any doctor who cares enough to hold a patient's hand when they're in pain will likely do anything it takes to make sure they get better. That's my belief as a close relative to two such caring doctors, kids, and I stick to it...no matter how many fanboys House has.
Fanboys disagree. Oh, how they disagree! Maybe they think an obnoxious doctor can be a successful doctor if TV told them so; I don't know. I just know that this series' formula in its first season...sucked. Patient comes in. House could care less. House gives initial prognosis. House nearly kills patient!!! House is allowed to continue treating the patient he almost killed (?!?). Then House, in the last minutes of the episode, discovers a crackpot "cure." What's really annoying: the "cure" was something any idiot could've figured out. DOn't argue, fanboys: in one episode, it turned out the patient had a unique case of: measles...and nobody else could diagnose it properly. Seriously?!? Measles?!?
Allow me to use the same "wit" as House, as I say the brutal truth: it's amazing this series survived season one, with a series premiere that was, beyond any reasonable doubt...dumb. I even offered my own scene-by-scene premiere review online; not because I loved it, though because I was that annoyed, by all the ineptitude of it all. At one point: House actually asks one of his colleagues to break into a patient's home to "search for clues." This scene was annoying on two levels. One: you're doctors, guys! You are not "CSI"! Yet to add even more ineptitude to the scene: Dr. Home Wrecker actually takes a break from burglary, to make a sandwich. No, I'm not kidding. House then learns the sandwich was a ham sandwich, leading to a "brilliant" diagnosis that, we're led to believe, no other doctor could have possible solved: tapeworm. Tapeworm?!? I don't know about you, but tapeworm is not a medical "mystery" that only a "brilliant" doctor can solve. That's just silly. The way he solved it? That's even sillier.
Fanboys might insist this was a one-episode fluke. Let's watch episode #2, and see. House treats a 16 year old with night terrors. Among a number of outlandish, shot-in-the-dark theories is House's claim that this 16 year old boy might have syphilis. Time out please...what?!? Let's just play hopscotch right over that one, as we say: wrong!!! Turns out the boy is suffering from a mutated form of measles. For those fanboys keeping score at home: House's first two "brilliant" diagnosis that no other doctor could have solved are: 1) tapeworm, and 2) measles. You want me to believe House is some sort of genius because idiot doctors around him cannot diagnose measles?
Third time's the charm? Not for episode three, it wasn't. Turns out the pharmacy screwed up. Oopsie! Yeah, see: they gave the boy gout medication instead of cough medication. The ending implies this is likely, but...come on now. A pharmacy too dumb to know the difference between prescription medication and a cough drop...? Look; people can watch what they want to watch, but come on: fans and agnostics alike can agree how totally stupid season one was. Confess it, and feel better.
That's the problem with House, Season One; House may be a brilliant doctor, but season one never coherently proved this. We're told House is "brilliant" because of simple "A-Ha!" brainstorms that House could never have solved by himself unless 1) he's surrounded by total idiots, or 2) he read the script. Here's one example of the latter. A patient is missing. The entire hospital is looking for him. In strolls House, who muses, "Check the roof. Someone often leaves that door open." Mind you; as evident in the prior hospital-wide search, many doors were open throughout the hospital, but House is "sure" the roof is the key. Sure enough, the patient is there, but...why? There's no logical reason aside from the script wanting us to "see" how brilliant House is. Yet in order to see this, we would also have to see how he surmised that one patient, in a multi-story hospital, would stroll several flights of stairs, and straight outside, to the roof. This isn't clear, so House's genius isn't clear either.
Mind you; I never said the show was poorly cast. Lisa Edelstein is perfectly chosen as House's "boss" at the hospital. Omar Epps, one of the more memorable guest stars on E.R., is one of House's teammates. Joining in the fun is House's estranged wife, played by Sela Ward. Then, of course, is Hugh Laurie as House. These are great actors one and all. All they need are superior scripts to work with. Maybe in season two...or, with all due respect, three...?
Yet this is a review for season one, fanboys. Send in your comments to the contrary if you must, though the truth is evident, people: season one was crap. Though hey; how often has that happened for the best of shows, eh? There are those similarly ho-hum first seasons of Seinfeld and Simpsons to consider, yes? Yet those shows improved themselves because of their humility to admit that the first season sucked, and the show's cast and crew humbly changed the show for the better. Will House improve? If it wants to: yes. All it needs is a nudge into Reality Check City. This first season was bunk. Accept it, deal with it, improve it, and the show will be all the better for it.
DVD Extras: FOX doesn't seem to keen on wild publicity stunts for this series, now that it's been picked up for a second season. For one thing the discs are double-sided so good luck not scratching them. Yet for diehard fans (and believe me, I know there are a lot of them) you can take a tour of the set, see an overview of the medical cases, see a homage to House's many quips and "House-isms," and enjoy a casting session with Hugh Laurie. I feel the urge to offer a snide House-ism of my own when the DVD offers an explanation of the "concept" of the show, but...no; I'll leave House be...for now anyway.
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