Tag Archives: garrett lerner

Interview with House MD writers Friend and Lerner

When we last we saw Dr. Gregory House at the end of “House’s Head” (part one the House season finale), he was barely alive, lying on the floor of a bus. The entire episode was a weird and emotionally powerful rollercoaster ride, as we follow House (played to perfection by Hugh Laurie), while he tries to reassemble bits and pieces of his memory after being involved in a bus accident.

Using flashbacks, hallucinatory visions, and dreams to make sense of his foggy and fractured memories, House risks his life to identify a possibly fatally ill fellow passenger, knowing that the clock may be running out. A final and extremely risky attempt to recreate the scene just prior to the crash, which House enhances by using a dangerous Alzheimer’s drug, causes his memories to flood back, but also sends him into cardiac arrest. Cuddy and Wilson revive him and, in a very tense moment, House manages to croak out the words. “It was Amber. Amber was on the bus with me.” Part two which airs this Monday evening on FOX is sure to leave us with more questions than answers — and a whole summer to discuss and analyze what it all means for House and his colleagues.

I had the opportunity to speak with two of the finale’s writers, Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend (who are also series executive producers), to get their thoughts on the season finale, the character of House, and the future for the series, which is heading into its fifth season this September.

The season finale originated with a story idea from the creative mind of Doris Egan. “House wakes up in a coffee shop and doesn’t know how he got there,” they explained. “He knows that something bad has happened: he’s seen a fatal symptom in somebody, but can’t access his brain.” 

Everyone on the staff, said Lerner, thought it was a great story idea, and plans were made to craft it into a blockbuster two-part story. Part one was intended to get the coveted post-Super Bowl slot, taking advantage of the huge audience (and justify the equally huge cost). “People would then tune in Tuesday (the series regular time slot)” and hopefully continue to tune in weekly.

But Egan was already working on episode 12 (“Don’t Ever Change”) and was too busy to work on the two-parter. So Lerner and Friend along with David Foster and Peter Blake sat in a room and thrashed out the script. But, with the WGA strike looming, it became clear that there would be no time to ready it for the Super Bowl, so “Frozen” was substituted.

Designed to be a big-budget project and very expensive for series television, they were not certain that the network would be willing to pay the incredibly expensive production costs when the episode was moved from the post-Super Bowl slot. “We thought the episode would never see the light of day,” admitted the Lerner and Friend. “But to their credit,” Friend acknowledged, the network approved the expenses and it became a two-part season finale.     Continued at Blogcritics…..


House, MD Season Finale News

After what seems to have been a century (but was only, in fact, two months) we finally have solid information on the four remaining episodes of House’s fourth season. The series will be settling into its Monday night post-Bones time slot at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on April 21, with a re-airing of  “Don’t Ever Change,” which is where we last left off.

Then. (Insert fanfare-ta-da-da-da!) Then the new episodes begin April 28 with “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” featuring a “too nice” emergency room patient with a potentially much more serious problem than has been diagnosed. Of course, House thinks the guy’s “niceness” is a symptom.

courtesy FOX flashIn the meantime, as Amber and House continue their competition for Wilson’s attention, chaos is certain to ensue. Since most House episode titles convey a multitude of meanings, one can only guess who is no longer going to be playing “nice” (along with the patient, that is). Is it Wilson? Amber? Or is it House himself, who seemed to have given his blessing to Amber and Wilson’s relationship when last we saw them in February? Let the speculation begin!

In the May 5 episode, “Living the Dream,” House’s obsession with soap operas comes into play as he notices something is not quite right with an actor on his favorite show Prescription Passion. Neither House’s team, nor the actor himself, believe anything is awry, as they dismiss House’s assessment that the soap star (Jason Lewis) has a serious medical condition.

The fourth season finale, a two-parter called “House’s Head,” will air on consecutive Monday nights, May 12 and May 17. In part one (May 12), House is a passenger on a bus when it is involved in a serious accident. With a head injury causing him short-term memory loss, he begins to piece together recalled fragments about a fellow passenger who was exhibiting signs of a “deadly illness.” Unable to recall who the person was, or even how he came to be riding on the bus, House desperately tries to process the information from “fleeting flashes” to save the life of someone who may not even know he or she could be dying. As part two, “Wilson’s Heart” (May 19) unfolds, and House continues to pieces together his murky memories of the accident and the night before, his friendship with Wilson is pushed to the limit.

I have not seen any of the episodes, so this is all I know from the latest FOX press release. Sorry. If you’ve seen the previews shown following recent reruns on FOX, you can see flashes of the accident, and House inside the bus as it happens.

One more bit of news for readers of this column. I will be interviewing House executive producers/writers Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend after part one of the season finale airs on May 12. I’m very excited to have the rare opportunity of a one-on-one (I guess it’s technically one-on-two) converstation with Friend and Lerner, who are the writing team behind several particularly character-driven episodes, including “Skin Deep,” “Meaning,” “Cane and Able,” and “97 Seconds.” Oh, and I almost forgot to say — they are also two of the season finale writers. So stay tuned!