House, M.D. 8:00pm on FOX - Series Finale
I am commandeering today's What to Watch, and making it a tribute to the series finale of House. Partially because if you are not in to The Bachelorette or basketball there is really nothing of note to watch. I know that this (and arguably last) season have declined in quality very noticeably and quite a bit, but I think it still deserves a moment to sit back and honor what has been one of the best medical and character driven dramas in television history.
I still remember the time that I watched the first episode of House, and I remember thinking to myself…wow, now that is a good television show. It took more than a season to catch on and was in danger of cancellation (are you listening networks? Remember when you didn't cancel shows after only two bad airings), but it wasn't until someone had the brilliant idea to put it on after American Idol that it rocketed in ratings and became one of the highest rated dramas on television. And, deservedly so. While the team and ensemble cast were great, this show was all about Dr. Gregory House. A lot of that had to do with the fact that this was a character that we have rarely seen depicted on television. Nobody was shy about the fact that he had flaws and that he was an asshole, but on the other hand, he was so brilliant you couldn't help but cheer when he finally had his light-bulb moment, limped out of a room and went to go save another life. Even though the show became a bit formulaic (aka you always knew at what moment he would figure out what was wrong) you still wanted to go on the journey with House and his team every week. But then…there were also those occasional episodes that they turned the formula around; House figured out the answer just a moment too late, and you were left watching a heartbreaking death scene.
However, for me, the high point of the series came when they stepped out of their hospital and stepped in to another hospital…this time a mental institution. At the end of Season 5 House reaches rock bottom with his Vicodin addiction after he hallucinates "relations" with Cuddy. At the beginning of season 6, he checked himself in to an institution for rehab, and we hope he will finally get help. The two hour episode played out like a great film and was one of the best depictions of life inside a mental hospital since One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. How Hugh Laurie did not win an Emmy for these two episodes is beyond me, but he, of course, had extremely stiff competition from Bryan Cranston.
Consequently, I don't think you can talk about this series without giving major kudos to Hugh Laurie. The show most likely would not have worked if he hadn't so brilliantly been able to make you love him and want to punch him all at the same time. You could probably argue that he was almost like a villain, yet audiences loved him enough to keep coming back for more week in and week out.
As for tonight's episode…I'm a little bit worried as to what is going to be the state of affairs with our friends at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital as the episode is entitled Swan Song: Everybody Dies. The episode begins at 8:00pm with a re-cap of where the show has been and where it stands. From what we know right now, Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is close to death, and knowing how House might react to this, I wouldn't be surprised if he is as well. I only wish that we could end on a happy note for our favorite down-on-his luck character, but given that would be a complete reversal from the tone of the entire show, I also know that probably cannot happen. I am anxiously waiting to find out what does.
Overall I will take this moment to say….thank you House, M.D. You've made us laugh, you've made us cry…. now, please rest in peace in that little place we call television heaven.