Saturday, September 16, 2006

I hate House!


[posted by dinah]


There is a piece of my brain that is missing, I'm sure of it. It's the part that encodes names and facts about, and truly understands, Pop Culture. I think I had a little of it when I was a kid-- back then I could remember what artist sang what song, I could even remember their names, I watched the more popular TV shows (hey, if you check out the comments one of Dr. A's old posts, you'll see that I know all the lyrics to the Gilligan's Island theme song...so it was once intact), I knew who was in and who was out. Now, well, I recognize names, but I'm not so good at putting names and faces together. Whitney Houston, I was informed yesterday by a CNN BREAKING NEWS ALERT, has filed for divorce (for this they send me a special e-mail???) from her husband, some guy I never heard of. Is this something people care about and why don't I get a CNN alert for every celebrity divorce? Oh, the list of what I don't know is pretty long and I get some pretty strange looks from patients who are forced to explain a lot of things to me when I say "It's a familiar name..."

Okay, so some of my family members like this show House. The premise for the show, as discerned by the family member stuck with the option of either watching or relocating to another room in our house (that would be me) is as follows: There's this unshaven, utterly obnoxious doctor who is nasty to everyone from his co-workers to his patients and he has some problem with his leg-- until this season--which forces him to walk with a cane; just in case that's not enough, he pops narcotics throughout. He calls it like it is in the most unsavory of ways, a disenfranchised misanthrope, his saving grace, and the premise for the plot of each show is that he's an intelligent, unyielding diagnostician who refuses to settle for anything short of cure for his patients---when push comes to shove either he's devoted to them or devoted to his narcissistic need to be right in every show.

So if the medical puzzles were interesting, with some hint of realism, that might carry the show for me. Ah, last episode, we started with a psychotic kid with night terrors-- hallucinating and convinced that objects had been implanted in him by aliens-- gosh, the kid even gets one of the housestaff to believe in the aliens. House pieces together that his problem is the partial chimeric brain from a failed twinning process during the boy's invitro conception 10 years earlier. A psychiatric consult is never called -- I was dying to slip just a little anti-psychotic into the kid's ginger ale-- but by the end of the episode, Dr. House (he's either an infectious disease doc, or some super internist) is seen performing an open neurosurgical ablation of the brain tissue formed by the twin's DNA and the child can now live happily ever after.

Nothing about this protagonist is likeable, in fact, he's every patient's nonchalant, flippant, acerbic nightmare of a doctor. His only saving grace is his limp, it somehow makes him vulnerable, and that of course was cured serendipitously by the ketamine he was given intra-operatively during the final episode last season (who would have guessed ketamine could have such magical powers??) -- surgery of course was required to treat the gunshot wound he sustained at the hands of a disgruntled patient's husband : this fits in nicely with the current medical blog concern with violence to doctors. According to a DJ in Baltimore, the limp was cured because it was hurting the actor's back to walk that way, but he was back to both his cane and his vicodin by the second episode of the season.

My family loves this show, my friends love this show, my patients love this show. In my state of Pop Culture Brain Disorder (PCBD--what do I take for this, Roy?) I just don't get it.