|House: Season Three (2006)
Starring: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer, David Morse
It only requires the viewing of a single episode of “House” to realize that the show’s title character, Dr. Gregory House, is one of the biggest assholes on television today. To score confirmation of the accuracy of this statement, it doesn’t matter from what season the episode originates -- it’s fair to say that he’s pretty much a complete ass in each and every hour of the show that’s been produced to date. To truly discover the depths of his complete assholery, however, one really needs to watch Season Three of the series from beginning to end.
There’s something about Greg House (played by Hugh Laurie) that’s imminently likeable, even as he’s being an utter jerk. He’s a complete anti-hero, that much is certain, proving time and time again that his interests as a doctor lie far more in what he can learn from a patient’s illness than whether or not he can save their life. Oh, sure, he’s the first to do a slightly off-kilter victory dance when he succeeds at the latter, but it’s invariably the former that drives him. So why do we still find ourselves tuning in week after week? Well, for one thing, it’s because he’s hilariously funny, if often highly politically incorrect. But, then, that leads into the other reason: he says things that we might be thinking but could never get away with actually saying ourselves.
During the third season of the show, however, we witness House spiraling deeper into his Vicodin addiction than ever before, and in the process doing his best to alienate those around him. His omnipresent rudeness gets him in hot water early in the season. He not only mouths off to the wrong patient during clinic duty but, when the guy snaps back at him, he scores a thermometer in his rectum for his trouble. Unfortunately, the guy turns out to be a cop, and he makes House’s life a living Hell for a several-episode plot arc. The cop, played by David Morse (who did a lengthy stint as a TV doctor himself, playing Jack Morrison on “St. Elsewhere”), delves deep into House’s past, has him nailed to the wall for illegal Vicodin prescriptions, and, in the process, lays waste to much of House’s staff and colleagues as well, freezing their bank accounts until they’re willing to fink on him. It’s a difficult arc to watch, but it’s gripping nonetheless, with House refusing to back down until the last possible second. Then, it turns out he’s always screwed up so much that it’s too late to save himself anyway. Even when things are finally resolved, with House submitting to drug rehab, we eventually discover that, in fact, he never went off Vicodin at all, having bribed one of the nurses to bring him his pills all along.
Why is House this seemingly evil bastard? Hard to say. There’s an implication during a confession to a patient in one episode that he suffered considerable abuse at the hands of his father, but, then, this is House -- who’s to say that he was really telling the truth, despite his claims? The only time we ever see a side of House that’s legitimately sentimental comes on Christmas Eve. Sitting in his house at home, all by himself, he calls his mother and leaves a message on her answering machine, where he sounds like he might actually be a human being. Beyond that, there’s also a suggestion that he’d like to renew some sort of romantic relationship with Cuddy – it’s finally confirmed, albeit between the lines, that the two of them hooked up at some point in the past – but you just know House would completely screw it up before all was said and done. Still, it’s progress…of some sort, anyway.
The other cast members receive considerable development this season as well. House’s nemesis, Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), spends much of the season attempting in vain to get pregnant via in vitro, while his longtime friend, Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), gets shat on constantly by House, only to continue bouncing back and renewing their relationship. It’s a tug of war with both Cuddy and Wilson, knowing that they should hate him, but being unable to deny his genius. They can’t even successfully bring themselves to force him off the Vicodin, because he manages to succeed with his diagnoses despite being hooked on the pills. House’s staff, however, steadily continues to lose their tolerance for their supervisor. Drs. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and Chase (Jesse Spencer) seek solace in each others’ arms – first in easy sex, finally in an actual relationship – while Foreman (Omar Epps) comes to the horrifying realization that he’s on the path to turning into House.
It’s clear that the moment when the three members of his team lose all respect for him as a human being (though not as a doctor) comes when they realize that he has faked brain cancer in an attempt to score a new kind of drug. By season’s end, in fact, all three members of House’s team have bailed out, with intentions of moving on to greener pastures. It’s fair to say, however, that all will be back for Season Four, so no one’s shedding any tears over their departure quite yet, especially not House.
Special Features: It’s disappointing that no one from the cast sat down to do any commentaries, but we do get at least one commentary from the show’s creative team, show creator and producer David Shore and executive producer Katie Jacobs. It’s interesting, but there are plenty of moments where the pair drift into lengthy silences. Fortunately, the featurettes are more interesting: “Anatomy of an Episode” gives us an in-depth look into the making of the season’s next-to-last episode (“The Jerk”), and the two shorter segments – “Blood, Needles and Body Parts: The ‘House’ Prop Department” and “Open House: The Production Office” – are brief but illuminating. Even “House Soundtrack Session with Band from TV,” which would seem on the surface to serve no purpose other than to promote the show’s upcoming soundtrack release, gives a cool little backstage look at Band from TV, the semi-super-group formed by Laurie, Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), and a couple of other guys. (They do charity gigs on occasion, but they’ve also recorded a version of “Minnie the Moocher” for the “House” soundtrack.) Lastly, there’s a blooper reel, which is pretty standard stuff but still scores several good laughs before it’s over.