Finding Dr. Gregory House in the “Survivor” Arc


Published at Blogcritics.org

by Barbara Barnett

The substantive difference between words and deeds is one of House, MD’s most important themes. Wrapped in a medical procedural package, and occasionally bordering on comedy, the series is essentially a detailed character study of one of the most complex characters ever written for television (and certainly network television).

House is played by the ever-amazing Hugh Laurie (please forgive my entirely forgivable use of hyperbole), each week peeling back minute facets of this intricately crafted character, letting us glimpse the wounded, intellectual and deeply sensitive man beneath the sarcasm, cynicism, rudeness, and labyrinthine game-playing of his façade.

Left at the end of season three with no team, House, under pressure from Wilson and Cuddy, set out to hire a new staff. The “hiring arc,” also known as House Survivor lasted for eight episodes (not counting the season premiere). Had this been a “normal” 24 episode season, it would have taken up only a third of the season four narrative. As it played out, however, with the season delivering only 16 episodes, the “survivor” arc spanned half the season, giving it too much weight and not quite enough room for everything else that might have gone into the series’ fourth season. A very good (but slightly lopsided) season might have been exceptional had the full slate of 24 episodes aired. (The nine post-“survivor” arc episodes contained some the series’ best, including “Frozen,” and the breathtaking finale episodes “House’s Head” and “Wilson’s Heart.”)

On the other hand, the “survivor” arc serves to give us some insight into the “real” House; what he values and what he does not value in a medical colleague; how he thinks, and even how he feels. And it gives us a rare extended glimpse of House, the teacher.

Continued here….. http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/07/01/072141.php

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