Monday, June 01, 2009
Speaking of House, I got into this show for the first time in the US, watching several episodes at a time. This puzzled me. Of course, Hugh Laurie's performance is dazzling, the show is beautifully made, entertainingly gory and very funny. Its increasingly absurd plots don't seem to matter once you have accepted the logic of the thing. But, I realised while watching the two series openers last night, every episode is exactly the same - two plots, one about House's life and one about a baffling case, are entwined and resolved with House's life still a mess and, usually, the patient cured by a masterpiece of diagnosis. The dramatic tension all springs from one question - is House's brilliance as a doctor and sarcasm generator enough to compensate for his human failings? I also realised that what keeps one watching is the ingenuity with which the writers wring variations out of this theme. House episodes are like Saki short stories - you read one and think, 'Hmmm that's clever', you read another, then another, then another until, finally, it becomes apparent that the variations are the point. Well, that and the fact that House's view on life and humanity are so spot-on. Oh, also we all have a fondness for obscure diseases - they're so consoling.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:07 am