Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Next on HOUSE

Let me open by admitting that I am too quick to judge things I know little about. Before movies, I snicker at previews I don't find immediately compelling. Bars I don't regularly frequent I refer to as "lame." I quietly criticize people I'm unfamiliar with based on what they're wearing, who they're talking to, or what music they like. There's no reasoning behind it, but mostly, I want to be the first to point out whether or not something sucks.

So keep that in mind.

I've never watched the Fox hit drama HOUSE, MD. Not once. However, being a regular viewer of Fox's Sunday NFL coverage, I am subjected to an onslaught of overzealous network self promotion; promotion that uses phrases like you won't wanna miss this week's all new or the most riveting episode of the season or with an ending you won't forget all while giving away an entire series' worth of plot lines. Which, of course, makes me miss or forget them all.

This phenomenon is not limited to crappy network series'. Anyone who has skipped school or work to watch fourteen straight hours of basketball during March Madness has endured the barrage of the Masters: a tradition unlike any other commercials. These networks, they never want viewers to be happy with they're doing or what they're watching. They want us always thinking there is something much, much better coming soon.

As I stated above, I've never seen HOUSE, MD. But from all of the ads I've seen, I feel I have an excellent grasp on the show. I know that:

1. Dr. House walks with a limp, and often times, a cane.
2. His colleagues and supervisors seldom approve of Dr. House's unconventional methods.
3. Amid all of his unorthodox medical procedures, Dr. House rarely finds time to shave.
4. The stresses of work often cause Dr. House to slip into an English accent.

And the plot, too. Please notice how in the previous sentence the word "plot" is singular. Though there are many episodes in two seasons of the show, there is but one plot. A person is ill/injured. That person seeks medical treatment, only to have it fail. Dr. House steps in, uses some method that his colleagues don't approve of, and, of course, saves the patient.

The night is late, and moist. Around a large table in a poorly decorated conference room sit a team of writers, working on the next episode of the hit show HOUSE, MD. They are amid serious discussion.

WRITER #1: Well team, we've been at it for hours, but somehow we can't think of anything for next week's HOUSE, MD. It's about time to call it a night.
WRITER #2: Wait...I've got it! A patient comes into the hospital with some kind of rare disease that no one on earth can cure!
WRITER #3: Like cancer?
WRITER #2: No, some kind of rare heart disorder. The patient will come in, and first be seen by the Token Hispanic Doctor, who will be unable to properly diagnos or treat the patient. And then...
WRITER #4: [interrupting] And then Dr. House limps in and saves the day without using common protocol!
WRITER #2: That's exactly what I was thinking!
WRITER #3: It's genius!
WRITER #5: I dunno guys. Maybe this week we could have the Token Woman Doctor or the Token Black Doctor save the patient through practical methods used in hospitals every day.
[a long, extended silence]
WRITER #5: I'm fired, aren't I?
WRITER #1: Oh yeah.

But again, this is not an isolated incident. The next show that comes to mind is the CBS crime drama NUMBERS, where a mathematician is called on to help solve crimes. The commerical first shows a series of crimes. Followed by a law enforcement agent saying either this doesn't make any sense or everything is....random! Followed by the appearance of our mathematician hero. Followed by him doing a bunch of calculations on a blackboard. Followed by the voice-over guy telling us what day and time to watch. I've never watched NUMBERS, but I've got a good idea of how it ends.

As for HOUSE, I've come up with a few suggestions based on my familiarity with the show--which is miniscule--that would increase the popularity of the show, or at least make waiting for the football game to return from commercial more bearable:

1. A developing habit of Dr. House to refer to all of the nurses as "sweet tits."
2. Dr. House begins deferring to his conservative supervisor in the late hours, after the crack wears off.
3. Just once, Dr. House's unorthodox methods end up killing anywhere from two to five patients (and the Token Black Doctor, if he isn't dead already).
4. A season ending thriller: Dr. House may or may not have a first name, and if he does, there's a good chance that his first name is actually "Doctor."

Someone told me, as I was writing this, that HOUSE, MD "isn't that horrible," and that I "shouldn't write about a show you know nothing about."

But I do know something about it. A few things, actually. And I'm comfortable enough with myself to make fun of this show until I'm forced to sit down and watch it.

And on that day, probably because there was nothing else on, I'll give HOUSE, MD the due that it truly deserves--whether it be bad or good. For now, I'm going downstairs to watch TV--and to have commercials for crappy TV shows that won't make it to next fall flung at me every seven to nine minutes.


Truly, a tradition unlike any other.

1 comment:

Chad said...

So you don't like tv commercials and only want to watch quality programming? One word Cass: Tivo.
-Chad