Dr. House: The character born of a betrayal and the why of Hugh Laurie’s shame

In November 2004, a so-called medical fiction hit US screens Dr. House. Gradually, the series began to gain a loyal audience as everyone discovered that medicine was perhaps not the core of the plot, but the repellent (but fascinating) personality of the protagonist. And over time, Dr. House it became one of the great unbeaten ratings, far exceeding the most optimistic expectations.

At the beginning of 2004, the FOX signal was looking for a project that would focus on the world of research. NBC had Law and orderand CBS had CIS, two very successful proposals, both based on attractive research. At that moment, Paul Attanasio appears on the scene, a renowned producer who offered an idea along those lines.

Attanasio was a close follower of a column published in the New York Times, which told the way in which different teams of doctors treated patients with the most atypical diseases. On that basis, Attanasio proposed to FOX to develop a series of research, but set in the world of medicine, with a group of doctors at the forefront of the story. The channel gave the green light to the show, and the producer commissioned David Shore to write the pilot. But when the screenwriter started working, he couldn’t help but betray the producer’s request, according to a note: “The more he wrote, the less the idea of ​​doing a show about research worked, and the more life the central character took.”

Unexpectedly, a misanthropic doctor emerged from Shore’s mind, disinterested in traditional emotional ties, addicted to vicodin due to chronic pain (House comes from “History of Use”, medical jargon that refers to a history of addictions or ailments) , but brilliant in each of his deductions. In that sense, one of his main influences came from a key figure in mystery literature, Sherlock Holmes. Shore based numerous features of his House from the Baker Street detective, making deductive power and his incalculable knowledge his main strengths.

House was as perfect as a doctor, as imperfect in the social fabric that revolved around him, and undoubtedly had infinite potential as a television creature..

Hugh Laurie, the perfect Dr. HouseArchivo

The production of the series needed an actor who achieved a complex balance: playing a character despicable for his peers, but fascinating for the audience. You had to love rejecting House (or maybe, rejecting loving House). For that reason, the performer had to be chosen meticulously, because a misstep could mean ruining the soundness of the first script. Patrick Dempsey applied for the role, only to later retire to another medical drama, called Grey´s Anatomy. Kyle MacLachlan did the casting but couldn’t show off, as did other names like Denis Leary, Rob Morrow and David Cross. Among the nominees was Hugh Laurie, a British actor who had played some small roles in film and television..

Laurie was in Namibia filming The flight of the Phoenix when the scenes he had to memorize for the casting audition came into his hands. At the time of making the video call, the actor settled into the bathroom of his hotel room, “because it was the only place with good light.” Bryan Singer, associate producer and director of the future pilot, was enthusiastic about the test, and not knowing that Laurie was English, he exclaimed, “Come on, this is what we need, a good American guy!” The actor, meanwhile, was very relaxed. After reading the scenes she received, which did not include the title of the project, Laurie was convinced that House was a secondary who attended who she thought was the star of the show, Dr. Wilson. Shortly afterwards, he received a call from the production: he had been chosen to play Gregory House, the protagonist of the story.

With everything ready to begin filming, FOX demanded a change. In the original premise, House used a wheelchair, but the channel requested a change. Shore and his team then switched to the cane, an inseparable companion of the doctor. For its part, Laurie built her character in detail, and for that she was inspired by a very close figure: that of her own father, Ran Laurie, who had been a prestigious English doctor and Olympic rowing medalist. Ran’s influence was so decisive in House’s inspiration that Hugh confessed in a note that he was ashamed to “have a high salary playing a fake version of his father.” and detailed: “He was a very kind soul, and of course a huge doctor.”

House was in charge of a team of doctors, who helped him treat the atypical diseases that occurred every week (and as we know, were never lupus). The rest of the characters who completed the fiction, of course, fought against House’s ego, but nevertheless, they all gained a decisive weight in the evolution of the story. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), oncologist and great friend of the protagonist, Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps), Dr. Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) were on the central team, while Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) was his boss and with whom he had a relationship that ranged from complicity to rivalry.

From FOX, they believed that such a strong character should have an antagonist, an idea that did not excite David Shore. However, the pressure was too strong and so was born Edward Vogler (Chi McBride), a pharmaceutical businessman who serves as House’s nemesis. In a few episodes, Shore ruled out Vogler, when he convinced executives that the series could work perfectly without such resources (although similar figures would reappear in later seasons, such as the cop played by David Morse). As the chapters run, Dr. House It was established as a notable success, and Fox was looking for a show that would compete with it CIS y Law and ordersoon found in this drama set in a sanatorium, its most profitable title.

At the end of the two thousand, Dr. House it was the series that had to be seen yes or yes. Critics were tired of praising Laurie’s work, in the context of a tremendously addictive fiction, of ingenious scripts, with very atypical characters for television. There was something about House’s personality that was fascinating, because his interaction with any character was unpredictable. It was a title no one knew what to expect, and that was its main virtue.

In 2008, when he was averaging his fourth season, Dr. House it became the most watched fiction on the planet, with an average of almost 82 million people tuning in to the new episodes. For her part, Laurie was considered the sexiest man on television, and the second most attractive doctor on the small screen (preceded by George Clooney in ER.).

The popularity of Dr. House it also had its correlate in Laurie’s salary, which went from earning fifty thousand dollars per episode in the first season to seven hundred thousand during the eighth year. David Shore and his team of screenwriters were confident that House would be able to sustain the structure of the series, beyond the inevitable departures of many of the actors and actresses in the cast. Throughout its 177 episodes, there were many characters who arrived and others who left. The initial team fragmented, welcoming a second generation of House assistants; Among them were Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), Dr. Taub (Peter Jacobson) and Dr. Kutner (Kal Penn), who died unexpectedly when the actor who played him resigned from the show to work on Barack’s presidential campaign. Obama.


Of all the farewells throughout history, the one that caused the most injury was Cuddy. When the production of Dr. House he had to shrink the budget, he warned some of the cast members, that salaries were going to suffer a decline. Everyone accepted the deal, except Lisa Edelstein, who did not renew the contract. That way, Cuddy just disappeared from season to season. At that time and through a statement, the actress said: “After much thought, I will continue with a feeling of disappointment, saying goodbye to a character I loved to play for seven years, but without losing the enthusiasm for new opportunities that awaits me the performance ”. For his part, Shore regretted not being able to give the story of Cuddy and House a closure that matched the story they both shared.

On May 21, 2012, Dr. House it came to an end. As is usual in so many years of fiction, the rating had dropped considerably, and the last episode was far from the formidable numbers of the opening seasons. But today, there is no doubt that Dr. House It is still a key television series of the 21st century. Hugh Laurie continued a successful career in television, but the memory of Gregory House remains intact in his fans. And for that reason, from time to time, it is inevitable to return to the best episodes of this series and remember why for so many years, the vicodin, the lupus, and the “everyone lies”, became popular nods within the language of millions of viewers.

Dr. House is complete on Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button