Category Archives: medicine

New Radio interview about House, M.D. and Chasing Zebras

I did an interview this afternoon on CKWR Canadian radio. MsHouseFan was nice enough to record it :). Thanks!

You Are Invited to a Book Launch Party!

Chasing Zebras News

The official launch date of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House M.D. is Wednesday, September 1 (less than a week away and two days after my birthday). So—here is the latest news:

Please be sure to sign up to join the Chasing Zebras Forum on my “official” website. The forum will be for discussion of the book (feel free to argue with me, debate, discuss or ask questions–but as always, civility will reign). Here’s the link.

The launch party details are set and everyone’s invited. A formal invitation will be shared here, on Facebook and Twitter (and by email. The date is September 19 at Goose Island Brew Pub in the beautiful Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. If you are in town or near Chicago, c’mon and join us. If you can’t be here and would like to attend, you can join the virtual party on Twitter at

With the launch forthcoming this next week, if you don’t see CZ in your local booksellers don’t be afraid to ask about it 🙂 and if you like the book, please do share your thoughts with others around the fandom. I hope you do like the book!

You can pre-order Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House at

Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. Arrives in Bookstores Sept. 1

Someone told me that holding your book in your hands for the first time is a bit like becoming a mother. The work of more than a year, nurturing, massaging, editing, sleepless nights of writing on deadline and then finally it arrives. Writing a book is, in many respects, like having a baby. My baby has a pretty blue cover and is adorned with a marvelous portrait of Hugh Laurie! What could be better?

Yesterday I received my advance copy of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. It’s a big book–430 pages! Part of the reason it’s so big is that is contains a six-season episode guide. Every single episode in six seasons of House is summarized with callouts for episode highlights including:

  • Zebra of the Week
  • Epiphany Moment
  • House is a Jerk Moment
  • A Fine Bromance (Wilson moment)
  • Shipper Alerts
  • Musical Notes
  • Housian Ethics
  • Patients Know Best
  • Metaphorically Thinking
  • Iconic Moment in House History
  • and many, many more.

There are chapters long and short. The longe

st is “Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know”–it is the chapter on Dr. Gregory House, M.D. Anyone out there know where that quote comes from? (Hint: it’s not from House, M.D.)

There are chapters on the music of House, Ethics, a chapter on “God Religion and Hypocrisy.” There’s an interview with a clinical psychologist in which he diagnoses our troubled doctor in the aftermath of season five and the start of season two. There’s an interview with a Holmes loving House fan. There are closer looks at several episodes to highlight series themes and story arcs. There are chapters on every character–and so much more.

So take a look at the preview nicely provided on The book comes out September 1 and should be in most major bookstores. It’s on in every country, it’s a Barnes and Noble’s site and Borders as well.

Are you a writer? A reader? Neither? That’s OK, because Brenda’s Auction has something for everyone!

Begun by New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak, this yearly event raises a lot of money for diabetes research. I am excited to report that this year’s auction includes an autographed copy of my forthcoming book on House, M.D. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. along with a one-hour chat about our favorite show. Interested? The bids are already coming in, so stop on by and place your bid now…  The auction continues until May 31.  Please pass the word. There are lots of items up for auction and all for a great cause!

Chasing Zebras: THE Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.–A new book about the hit series

Chasing Zebras: THE Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.

Coming September 2010 from ECW Press–and now available for preorder on

A new book about the series House, M.D.!

Also, please visit my author site for updates on the book, excerpts, etc. in the weeks to come.

Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is the essential companion to one of television’s most popular and fascinating series. Using her unique perspective and insight into the show, writer Barbara Barnett, noted as “one of the industry’s leading experts on the series,” immerses fans new and old into the heart and soul television’s most compelling series. It will be a dog-eared resource for seasoned fans, an indispensable atlas to anyone new to the show, and valuable guide to students of television, film and pop culture.

House, MD is a study in contradictions: straightforward medical procedural on the outside; intricate character drama within. No wonder the acclaimed series is the most watched television show in the world.

Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D takes readers deep within the series’ rich layers—into the heart of its central character and his world:

Who is this medical Sherlock Holmes? Is he simply a misanthropic jerk with a brutal sense of humor–or a tormented romantic hero in the tradition of Byron?

  • How do House’s colleagues and patient relate to and reflect him and each other?
  • How do the music, settings, even the humor enhance our understanding of the series narrative?
  • What does the series say about modern medicine? Ethics? Religion?


Writing about  House for Blogcritics magazine, I thought it would be nice to develop a book to serve as a guide for the intelligent fans of the show. Rather than a straight-on episode guide, I wanted to do a book about the series’ character and story narratives and the themes, it would provide intelligent and thoughtful analysis of the complex series.

I’m not really a television watcher, but when I started watching House, I was immediately drawn to the writing and the indelible performance of Hugh Laurie as the central character. Always fascinated by romantic anti-heroes, especially “Byronic Heroes,” I felt that there was much lurking beneath the surface of this “medical procedural drama.”

Like my blog “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process,” Chasing Zebras takes readers between the lines and action and takes an introspective look at House and his world.

House demands deeper thinking and analysis than most TV shows. Sure it’s fun to laugh at House’s antics; cringe at his anti-social behavior and grin the interplay between the characters. But the show is much more than that. House is meant to provoke discussion and thought. House offers commentary on everything from ethics to mental illness, race, relationships, family dysfunction, sex. The scripts are fragile and intricate Faberge Eggs and half the fun is getting inside them to poke around and find the inner depths within the writing and performances.

A new bit of fanfiction

I’ve decided to jump back in to writing House fanfic after a hiatus (and a couple of aborted stories). This one will span the time between seasons five and six (like “Floating did between seasons two and three). Not sure if time will permit me to write all summer (working on several other projects, including, of course my regular Blogcritics feature–and something bigger, which I hope will come to fruition within the next several weeks).

anyway…here’s the link. The first three chapters are up, and I hope to update it a couple of times each week (or more frequently as time permits).

Hope you enjoy. Please rec if you do…

Ethics and House, MD

I’ve been laying low lately and working on a long piece about the Ethics of Dr. Gregory House.  It’s become one of the most complex projects I’ve undertaken, but enlightening and quite fun.

Part One is up at Blogcritics, here

Here’s the beginning….

In the House, MD season three episode “Son of Coma Guy,” House’s patient, Gabe Wozniak, ask him what last words he’d like to hear from his own father. House hesitates, but answers honestly, “I’d like him to tell me that I was right; that I did the right thing.” What does it mean, to do the “right thing?” It sounds lofty and idealistic — and completely unlike what most people (think they) know of Dr. House.

Within the universe of House, MD, Dr. Gregory House (portrayed by Hugh Laurie in a consistently complex, and often brave, performance) is widely perceived by most of his colleagues (even those who respect him) to lack any sense of ethics. He’s bigoted, he doesn’t care about patients — often, he doesn’t even know their names! He’s blunt and overly harsh, refusing to suffer fools (or idiots or morons) gladly (or at all). On more than one occasion, both dean of medicine Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and House’s best friend James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) have wondered aloud if House has “even read an ethical guideline.” He’s been called many things, from “lucky” to “reckless,” “arrogant” and “preening” to “smug” and “needy.”

But House also has a reputation for integrity, according to one of his archest enemies, Edward Vogler (season one). He’s renowned as a physician and people come from far and wide (and even Cuba) to tap into his medical expertise.

Admittedly, House has done some things to warrant the less celebrated aspects of his reputation. His colleagues, hospital lawyers, and even some patients must sometimes wonder if House operates under any sort of ethical framework at all. After all, House has afflicted a coma patient with a migraine to test the efficacy of an anti-migraine drug; he has ventured into the morgue and shot a dead person in the head to perform an MRI (performing it on a live patient would have been quite deadly — and the dead guy had, explained House, donated his body to science). He has performed one physician-assisted suicide (but refused to do another, even though everyone from Wilson to his team were pushing him to do it). He has lied to the transplant committee to avoid condemning a patient to certain death, and he provoked any number of patients into physically attacking him (albeit all for a greater medical good).

“You are aware of the Hippocratic oath, right?” asks Dr. Eric Foreman in the first season episode “Damned if you Do.”