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Series / House

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"Everybody lies." note 
"I'm almost always eventually right."
Dr. Gregory House

House (also known as House, M.D.) is a Medical Drama series which aired on FOX from 2004 to 2012. It was filmed on the Fox Studios lot and produced by Universal. Created by David Shore, it centers around Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie), a genius diagnostician at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in Plainsboro, New Jersey.

House is only interested in unusual medical cases, and while he is abrasive socially, professionally, and personally, he is so good at diagnosing patients that the Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), allows him to continue. His best (and, really, only true) friend is Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), head of the Oncology (Cancer) department. Being a modern-day homage to Sherlock Holmes, House and Wilson correspond to Holmes and Watson, respectively. A portion of House's character arc also centers on his habitual use of Vicodin pills to cope with chronic pain in his right leg, for which he uses a cane.

Each episode is a medical procedural generally following the same format. A patient suffers unexplained, potentially deadly symptoms which worsen dramatically. House begins the case by having a brainstorming session with his crack team of doctors: Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) note , Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer). They come up with possible causes which House snarks about and mocks, and diagnose the disease incorrectly for the majority of the episode, subjecting the patient to a wide variety of tests that may or may not be ethically sound. Finally, the real problem is found via "Eureka!" Moment. The solutions are not always from House himself, and they range from the mundane to exceptionally rare, and the end result for the patient can be anywhere between an easy full recovery to a death sentence. The character development and personal interactions between House, his team, Wilson and Cuddy are the other major element of the show.

While House is ostensibly a physiologist rather than a psychoanalyst, his diagnoses benefit from him verbally pummeling his patients and their relatives or associates into revealing all the secrets they possess, such as abuse, sexual misbehavior, or drug addiction, one of which will prove instrumental in diagnosing their illness after House has ruined their lives. While he has genuine medical reasons for doing what he does, in the course of finding the solution to the puzzle, he is shamelessly manipulative and dismissive of medical and legal ethics, and it is always left to interpretation how big of a jerk he is.

House provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • AB Negative : House is, of course, the most rare blood type and "takes from everybody."
  • Aborted Arc:
    • Foreman's brain damage after being sick. It was built up as being a major deal when it was revealed, but he's quickly shown to be recovering by the end of the very next episode and then never brought up again.
    • The mystery of the identity of House's real father.
    • Chase dating Park.
    • Infamously, Kutner's suicide. It gets about two episodes of drama before the cast collectively moves on. This is due to it being a last-minute addition to write out Kal Penn, who was leaving for a job in politics.
    • The show seemed to be angling to set up Chase and Thirteen in both seasons 6 and 7, but it never went any further than flirting either time due to Thirteen being Put on a Bus at the beginnings of seasons 7 and 8.
  • Abuse Mistake: Several of these.
    • In one episode a patient gets attacked by a woman, who tries to murder him by strangulation. Or rather, that's what the audience and the doctors believe at first. It turns out that it was just erotic asphyxiation. Safe or not is debatable, but at least it was consensual.
    • In another episode, a man tries to "rape" a woman before collapsing from an ailment, but everyone except the audience knows that it's just a game between a husband and wife. Inverted at the end when it turns out that the wife wanted to murder her husband by poisoning him; the team never finds out why, though.
    • Another episode had an infant who was extremely underweight due to a medical condition. The Hippie Parents, who fed the baby a vegan diet, were thought to be at fault and Child Protective Services was contacted before they revealed that they consulted an actual nutritionist and House correctly diagnosed the child.
    • Another episode had a father come into the hospital with his two children. The son was highly aggressive and the daughter had her first period at 6, leading them to believe there was abuse (imitation from the son and molestation for the daughter). It turns out those are also symptoms of testosterone exposure, which resulted from the supplements their father was taking.
    • "Prívate Lives" opens with a man knocking on his neighbors' door in the middle of the night to tell them to stop arguing, only to find the woman has a massive bruise on half her face. He's about to call the cops before she starts Bleeding From The Mouth. She is not being abused; her bruise is caused by coagulopathy (blood's inability to clot properly), the first symptom she presents.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • House's dad.
    • Chase's parents. His father was emotionally distant, perhaps worse, and his mother was irresponsible and Chase had to take care of her. He also points out that when she drank, she would lock him in his father's study—he became interested in medicine by reading his father's medical books.
  • Accidental Child-Killer Backstory: In "Emancipation", House's teenage patient needs a bone marrow transplant from a family member, but she lies about her identity to avoid seeing her parents. House guesses that something happened that makes her think she doesn't deserve to live, so she confesses that she ran away from home because her little brother drowned in the bathtub when she was supposed to be looking after him. She assumes her parents must hate her, but House convinces her to call them by pointing out they really will hate her if she lets herself die.
  • Acoustic License: During the episode with the rocker with epilepsy triggered by chaotic music. House brings in a short Marshall stack and plays REALLY LOUD MUSIC... and then asks "so what were your inspirations for this" over the cacophony.
  • Actor Allusion: In the Season 3 episode "Airborne," House, annoyed by a crying baby on an airplane, tells the mother to give her a sedative. Not the first time we've heard that from Hugh Laurie.
  • Addiction Displacement: We see House hitting the bottle (usually bourbon) a lot more after he gets off Vicodin (presumably replacing only the psychological effects of the drug, considering that he's on high-dose ibuprofen for the pain). At one point he's also seen replacing his Vicodin addiction with obsessive cooking. He turns out to be really good at it.
  • Adoring the Pests: House once kept a rat he'd found in Stacy's house (it gave him the "Eureka!" Moment necessary to the case), calling it Steve McQueen.
  • An Aesop:
    • House chews out some vegan parents in the episode "Babies and Bathwater" for forcing their baby to live on almond milk, tofu, and raw vegetables. Although they did consult a nutritionist to make sure the diet was appropriate for a baby, cluing House in there was another reason for her illness, the show is still pretty clearly addressing its audience with a message.
      House: Raw food. If only our ancestors had mastered the secret of fire. Babies need fat, proteins, calories. Less important, sprouts and hemp. Starving babies is bad. Not to mention illegal in many cultures. I'm having her admitted.
    • There's the scene in the episode "Paternity" where House calls out a mother who isn't vaccinating her baby daughter, pretty clearly trying to teach a lesson about the efficacy of vaccines.
      House: You know what's a good business? Teeny tiny baby coffins.
    • The episode "Heavy" deconstructs the argument on body imagery and fat shaming. Not all fat people are fat because they overeat - they can have genuine medical/psychological problems that affect their bodies and you shouldn't shame them for it. On the other hand, however, obesity shouldn't be promoted or excused, because you can develop health problems which can turn fatal. Also, people who use fat shaming as a victim card aren't always saints or victims; they can often be selfish jerks with no respect for others and won't step out of their own way when it comes to their own personal health.
      • "Que Sera Sera" is a similar deconstruction. The patient in this episode is far larger than the one in "Heavy", being at least 600 pounds, so the team naturally thinks his coma (and later blindness) is caused by his obesity. The patient obstinately refuses to cooperate with any diagnosis that has to do with his weight, but only because he's had multiple doctors give him the same diagnosis and had all the tests come back fine. And at the end of the episode, it's found that he actually has lung cancer , which had nothing to do with his obesity after all.
    • On the whole, the show has the message that it's better to be completely honest with your doctors: your personal pride is not worth dying for.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: In-Universe. Amber in the season 4 finale, and House in the series finale.
  • The Alleged Boss: Type 3. Even though Cuddy is the one in charge, House tends to walk all over her to get what he wants. She is still an incredibly competent boss, however, and is usually able to stop him from going too far.
  • Alliterative Name: Martha Meredith Masters.
  • All Just a Dream: Most of the Season 2 finale.
    • Also, the Season 5 finale, where it turns out that House hallucinated (parts of?) everything that happened to him over the last episode and a half
    • The finale of Season 6 subverts this when House wonders if he's hallucinating. Then he realizes he hasn't taken any drugs yet.
    • A lot of "Bombshells" including a trippy musical number, a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid homage, a take-off of Two and a Half Men, and a '50s family comedy.
  • All-Loving Hero: Deconstructed with Wilson; he is ridiculously kind-hearted and accommodating for other people, going above and beyond to care for them, but most people are rarely that grateful in return, seemingly not seeing their relationship as close as Wilson did. In addition, these tendencies serve to destroy most of Wilson's romantic relationships because he refuses to burden his partner with his own needs. Part of the reason his relationship with Amber goes so well is that she calls him out on this and forces him to put himself first once in a while.note 
  • All There in the Script: The man who shot House at the end of Season 2 is not named in the episode, but the credits identify him as Jack Moriarty. He is also identified as such by the subtitles on the Season 2 DVD collection.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The show has two foreign themes: European and Singaporean, although all three can be heard can be heard at various times on TV syndication and on Netflix within the United States, seemingly at random. Even individual episodes will not consistently use the same theme. This is likely due to licensing issues with the original song: Massive Attack's Teardrop from Mezzanine. You can listen to all three songs here.
  • Anachronic Order: The majority of "Three Stories" is told in flashbacks, which aren't in anything remotely resembling the right order. It's even lampshaded in one part as House mentions a patient in one scenario and the team has no clue what he is talking about. He then corrects himself, saying that the farmer isn't bitten by the snake until three months after they treat the current patient.
  • Analogy Backfire: In Broken, House compares himself and one of the mental ward employees to Bonnie and Clyde. The employee then points out that those two were chopped to bits.
  • Anal Probing:
    • One episode featured a young boy who believed he'd been abducted by aliens, and he had the bleeding anus to prove it. This obviously led the team to believe he'd been sexually abused, which (predictably for House) turned out not to be true.
      • In a case of research failure meets Rule of Cool, while that patient's visit to the hospital and delusions led to an interesting (and legit) medical mystery, the final diagnostic never explains the anal bleeding in the first place, nor is it a symptom of that particular disease at all.
      • Since the primary symptom in this episode were the abduction hallucinations, the bleeding is Hand Waved away about halfway through the episode as a bleeding disorder that can be treated with medication. It's an audio Freeze-Frame Bonus.
  • And I Must Scream: One of his patients had Locked in syndrome. House puts it best when he criticizes the patient's original doctor for giving up on the spot in favor of teaching the guy to spell "KILL ME" with his eyes.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: In "Three Stories", House discusses three cases with a class of medical students that all involve leg pain. The third case is that of muscle damage due to a self-injection that lead to an aneurysm that clotted into an infarction, killing the muscle cells and bringing up the prospect of needing to amputate the leg. While House never mentions their identity per patient confidentiality, his team, who's listening in from the back, realize from the description that House is talking about himself and the circumstances that led to his current limp.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series finale, House and Wilson ride off into the sunset, Cameron and Taub are shown in the bosoms of their loving families, Chase is appointed the new head of diagnostics...
  • Anti-Hero: House himself, of course. See also Noble Bigot.
  • The Anticipator: House tries to invoke this trope with Cuddy. Thinking Cuddy is coming, he says "I did it all by myself, Mommy" after he'd resolved a case without help (contrary to her instructions). It backfires, however, as the person who comes in is actually just the janitor.
  • Anyone Can Die: First Chase's father, then Amber "Cutthroat Bitch" Volakis, then House's dad, then Kutner, an apparent suicide. The show ended with the impending death of Wilson, sick with cancer with five months left to live.
  • Arkham's Razor: In fact, one of the working names of the show was "Chasing Zebras."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In the Pilot.
    House: Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going home.
    Cuddy: To what?
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the episode "Whac-a-Mole", House tells the patient he's going to give a cocktail of four different infections to test for a genetic disorder susceptible to each of them. How will they know which one it is?
    House: Well, that's the fun part. See, if the meningococcus is king of the hill, you get to have another seizure. Serratia will shut down your lungs. If it's cepacia, you'll have a heart attack. And if it's the rhinovirus... you'll sneeze.
  • Arson Murder And Life Saving: The only reason Cuddy doesn't fire House.
  • Art Reflects Personality: Subverted in one episode where the main characters are trying to work out what's wrong with a teenage patient, and discover a very dark poem in their room. When they confront them with it and suggest they may be dealing with mental health issues, the teenager scoffs, revealing that they had just been told to make a poem in the style of Sylvia Plath for English class.
  • Artistic License – Biology: While it makes for one of the show's more gripping storylines, the depiction of Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis in the "Euphoria" two-parter has absolutely nothing whatsoever in common with the real-life condition. The microbe that causes it isn't carried by birds,note  can't thrive in a temperate environment such as New Jersey, and would have to be inhaled in far greater quantities than in the very fine mist seen in the episode. On top of that, its symptoms are actually far more like those of meningitis (as you might guess from the similar names), and while it's conceivable that it might cause some of the same symptoms that Luria and then Foreman experiences, the chances of both patients experiencing the exact same progression of symptoms are practically zero. As the kicker, the fatality rate for the disease is a staggering 98.5%, and Foreman would almost certainly have been too far gone by the time they worked out what he was suffering from.
  • Artistic License – Chess: Averted, hand-shaking and all. Of course, the Patient Of The Week was one of the contestants, and his first showing symptom was that he leaped over the table and beat his opponent to a pulp with the clock, but that's neither here nor there.
  • Artistic License – Law:
    • Vogler's ultimatum in Season 1. No, you cannot make a donation to an organization and then, weeks later, take it back because they won't do something you want.
    • Pretty much everything Detective Tritter does from the moment he pulls House over to freezing Wilson's accounts/everything would have gotten his badge suspended or gotten him straight-up arrested.
    • The Tritter arc leads to a few goofs on the New Jersey legal system—usually by confusing it for California:
      • Tritter and the other characters always refer to the "District Attorney" or "DA", which is what the head of public prosecutions is called in California. But in Jersey, the equivalent post is called the County Prosecutor (usually just the Prosecutor).
      • The judge taking House's pleas in "Words and Deeds" refers to the case after House's as People v. [Whoever]. But criminal cases in New Jersey are called State v. [Whoever]. But guess what they’re called in California.
      • "Words and Deeds" also includes a preliminary hearing on whether the evidence is sufficient to present to a jury doesn’t exist in NJ—Jersey uses grand juries for that function. But guess where judges do serve that purpose…
      • None of the offenses House seems to be charged with rates as higher than a third-degree crime under NJ law—and those carry a maximum sentence of 5 years, not the 10 usually mentioned onscreen. (Also, NJ has "crimes" not "felonies", though only NJ lawyers really know that.)
      • House is a prime candidate for NJ's drug court program, which was well established in NJ by 2006 (it was started in 1999–and even earlier in Mercer County, where Princeton is). Drug court is, systematically, letting addicts who commit crimes to feed their addictions serve their sentences by going to rehab—the deal Tritter offered and then took away because House tricked the pharmacist into giving him a dead cancer patient's oxy. No NJ County Prosecutor would let the cops stand in the way of offering such a prototypical drug court defendant a drug court plea for, um, committing a prototypical drug court offense. (Not even the notoriously aggressive Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, which covers Plainsboro.)
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • The show often features chemotherapeutic drugs as a single "chemo" chemical that you just give a patient to kill any cancer that might be anywhere in the body. In reality, chemo can use alkylating agents, antimetabolites, anthracyclines, plant alkaloids, topoisomerase inhibitors, or any number of other chemicals, and it all depends on the specific type of tumornote .
    • Interestingly enough, there are often multiple treatments for the same type of tumor, depending on allergic reactions and bodily tolerance. (read: some are more toxic than others, and God help you if you turn out to be allergic.)
    • In one episode, we see a patient ripping out his cochlear implant—cue spurting blood and frantic attempts to save his life. In real life, the external parts of the device (the microphone and speech processor) are held on magnetically, with the actual implant itself safely under the skin. Deaf people and hearing itinerants remove them all the time. It's the equivalent of someone tearing their eyes out by removing their glasses. note 
    • The series has repeatedly shown the OR with dark, dramatic lighting. While there are some cases note  where this would happen, the truth is that OR rooms are brightly lit in the majority of cases.
    • The series has confused CT and MRI machines on more than one occasion, and they show x-rays on film being hung on lightboxes, even though the majority of hospitals have switched to digital x-rays. They've also shown the doctors taking CT scans, drawing blood, and doing the lab work themselves. In reality, these jobs would be done by technologists and technicians, as doctors simply don't have the time or knowledge of how to use the equipment.
    • The series usually offers up a real howler at least once per episode, of the kind you don't even need medical education to notice. Toxoplasmosis? A fungus (in reality, a disease caused by parasitic protozoa). ALS? Affects sensory neurons (there's a reason it's also known as "motor neuron disease"). Unnoticed tumors 30 centimeters in diameter (larger than a basketball). Etc.
    • In one episode, House claims that epilepsy is curable. It is not (it cannot be cured because its causes are not fully understood), but it is treatable (there are several generations of various drugs that, taken constantly, prevent the epileptic fits from occurring). While an ordinary viewer might not know the difference, any MD student—not to mention doctor—should know this.
    • Apparently, asexuality doesn't exist in healthy people note , is the same thing as absent libidonote  and can be caused by tumors.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology:
    • Vicodin is prescribed more than 100 million times each year in the US to treat moderate pain (like arthritis) and to treat coughs. Even in long-term users, Vicodin withdrawal is usually characterized by symptoms no worse than lack of appetite, mild nausea, irritability, anxiety, and restlessness. The withdrawal symptoms House usually displays (vomiting, insomnia, sweats and chills, depression, mood swings) are what would typically characterize frequent diacetylmorphine (heroin) abuse. Vicodin is also not known to cause dissociative disorder (conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity and/or perception). That being said, the plotline of season 3 suggests that House is taking a fair amount more than a typical patient. He also didn't start hallucinating until after he suffered a serious head injury, which he proceeded to make worse by trying to remember the bus crash which caused it.
      • Additionally House is in a great deal of pain, and anyone who has ever had a crippling nerve injury can attest that a high level of pain can cause the symptoms he does experience. In fact, in patients with nerve conditions such as fibromyalgia a condition known as fibrofog can frequently occur. This generally consists of a sort of fog-like state where the person's higher functions slow. It's not much of a reach to equate that to what House experienced.
    • Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid agonist that, like any opiate, causes euphoria. It is prescribed to treat pain in opioid-dependent patients as well as addiction in heavy users of high-potency opiates. Because methadone is many, many times more powerful than hydrocodone (it's listed as a greater than 2 to 1 conversion compared to baseline (morphine), whereas hydrocodone has no consensus but is known to be less than 0.33 to 1), methadone is never used to treat even the heaviest Vicodin abuse. That would be like prescribing 99 Bananas to someone addicted to wine... no matter how much wine they drink, taking shots of vodka just isn't going to improve the situation. There are also other opioids which are more effective at managing pain, so if they specifically wanted to curb House's Vicodin use (likely, due to the risk acetaminophen poses to the liver) they would step up to oxycontin (0.33 to 1) or ms-contin (1 to 1).
    • Methadone is used to prevent heroin abuse, mainly because there are a limited number of opioid receptors in the brain and methadone fills them up (preventing heroin's effects from being felt), and because it delays the onset of withdrawal symptoms for many hours, thus reducing both the cravings and incentives for abuse in patients who take it correctly. Methadone users continue to experience physical dependence, but after the addiction is under control, the dose can be lowered to reduce dependence.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: House is more than willing to point this out to people.
    House: Cameron had concerns; Chase just agreed with her because he didn't want to lose his all-access pass to her love rug.
    Cuddy: They're sleeping together?
    House: If by "sleeping together" you mean "having sex in the janitor's closet".
    Cuddy: Here?
    House: No, the janitor's closet at the local high school. Go Tiger Cats!

    House: There's a bullet in his head.
    Cameron: He was shot?!
    House:...No, somebody THREW it at him!!

    Cuddy: Why are you here so late? Patient?
    House: No, Hooker. Came to my office instead of my apartment.

  • As Long as There Is One Man: A subversion due to the nature of the conflict, but Vogler's downfall amounts to this.
  • Authentication by Newspaper: Parodied. House is freaking out Foreman with his Crazy-Prepared-ness, and Foreman accuses him of faking his index card "predictions." House promptly whips out a picture of himself holding his prediction with a picture of... last Tuesday's newspaper. Ooh, how would I have gotten that, sayeth House.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: House and Wilson. House and Cuddy, too.
  • Back for the Finale: Kutner, Amber, Stacy, Cameron, and Thirteen. Jennifer Morrison and Sela Ward crossed back over from ABC and CBS, respectively. Not to mention Masters.
  • Back Story: All the characters have complicated past histories which House delights in making crude references to.
  • Bad Boss: House, Vogler.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Many of the cold opens in the series pull this in regards to whom House will treat.
    • In "Detox", the patient of the week and his girlfriend are making out on his bed. They promise to finally "do it", and the girlfriend reaches for something in his dresser drawer — the keys to his dad's Porsche. Cut to them speeding along the road and the car accident that leads to the patient being hospitalized.
    • In one example, a kid looks like he's going to have an asthma attack while running up to a bike racing course. He gets an inhaler, but the racer he came to see ends up falling off his bike and passing out.
    • The first episode of Season 4 has an office worker think she's hallucinating because the building she's in looks like it's starting to collapse. And then the building actually does collapse.
    • In fact, there is a first season episode that presents us with a 'double' bait-and-switch. A young diver in a tournament jumps into the water and it is suggested she passed out, but she rises out of the pool and the attention is diverted to a man having an attack. Only, the guy's illness is quickly hand waved away. Turns out the girl actually was the patient of the week, only her first symptoms appeared after all that.
    • One episode starts with a woman peering through her kitchen window as a workman climbs a ladder. The woman starts wheezing and violently coughing when suddenly the workman falls off the ladder. The workman turns out to be the patient of the week.
  • Bat Deduction: Most of House's last-minute diagnoses.
  • Batman Gambit: House pulls one on Cuddy regarding hiring the final two spots on his new team. Narrowing it down to three people, he asks Cuddy for advice. Cuddy tries to pull a Batman Gambit herself by advising House to hire the two guys. Cuddy protests when he actually follows her advice, since having an all-male team would potentially violate hiring rules, so she tells House to hire Thirteen in addition to the men...and then realizes that House had made his choice deliberately so he could get all three.
    • House's relationships seem to all be based around dueling Batman Gambits.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: One episode involves a patient who catches psittacosis thanks to his involvement in a cockfighting ring.
  • Beat: Used often for laughs, usually when House is being sarcastic.
    Walk-in patient: [feeling his own pulse] Got it!
    House: Start counting...
    [counting pause]
    House: How many?
    Walk-in patient: Twenty-six.
    House: Okay, either you suck at math or you're going to die in two seconds.
    House: You suck at math.
  • Beauty Inversion: Jamie Bamber with an unknown medical condition that makes his skin peel.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The obese patient in "Que Sera Sera" refuses to accept any diagnosis connecting his symptoms to his obesity. He got his wish: they diagnosed him with lung cancer.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: During House's stint in prison, he helped a cellmate whose pet cricket was sick. Later, when House was accosted by a group of Aryan Brotherhood thugs, his cellmate fights them off.
  • Bedlam House: Averted in that the staff of the psychiatric ward that House goes to is staffed by professional mental health workers who care about helping their patients.
  • Before My Time: In one episode, House is making one of his trademark analogies to Thirteen, in this case referencing Altered States. She tries to shut him down by saying the movie came out before she was even born. Which apparently prevents her not only from having seen the movie, but also from understanding anything he says about it.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: All of House's fellows qualify as this. Cuddy hangs a lampshade when House is hiring a new team that reporting to House means doing a lot of tiring work (some of it illegal), dealing with the consequences of House's antics and often cleaning up after his behavior.
  • Beneath the Mask: House's favorite justification for peeling them off - "Everybody lies."
  • Benevolent Boss: Cuddy, Foreman.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Masters.
    • Discussing hatred of classmates:
      Masters: I didn't want to kill anybody. I just wanted to torture them slowly in my basement, preferably with acid. You guys ever think about what you might do to House?
    The reaction of the other doctors to this line implies that all of House's fellows have thought about it.
    • Dr. Park is a bit of a doormat, but even House has to approve of her punching the head of neurology for groping her. In "Holding On", she attacks House with his cane so he'll stop maiming a patient.
  • Big Damn Hero: In the season 8 premiere, House's psychotic cellmate saves him from being stabbed during a riot.
  • Big Secret: Hiding one of these is usually the reason that most patients lie about their medical or personal histories, or withhold critical information. Diagnosis almost always exposes the secret, which then ends up being directly or indirectly responsible for the problem. Revealing the secret earlier would, of course, result in correct diagnosis and treatment much sooner, and avoiding all the torture (and near-death) caused by misdiagnosis. In a few cases, it was a parent's or other close family member's Big Secret that caused the problem.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: There are several Take Thats to The Usual Suspects, which was directed by Bryan Singer, who also produces House. They usually involve spoiling the ending.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Many episodes end with the patient cured or at least diagnosed, but with his or her personal life destroyed by what came out during the team's investigation.
    • "Joy To The World": Cuddy gets the baby she's been wanting for years, but the teen mom who delivered her and gave her child to Cuddy has only a few weeks to live.
    • The Season 6 finale. The patient House genuinely cared about dies and Thirteen's condition gets worse. However, House does not relapse into taking Vicodin and gets the oh-so-desired Relationship Upgrade with Cuddy.
    • The entire series ends on a bittersweet note. House ultimately fakes his death with everyone who knows and cares about assuming him dead and gone. He can never become a doctor again or risk exposure, Wilson is still going to die of cancer, at the end of the day the only people who know or figure out that he's still alive are Wilson and eventually Foreman, but he gets a clean slate, realizes he is capable of change, and he and Wilson can spend Wilson's final months together.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: An interracial couple faced opposition from the (white) male's father, and they interpreted this as the dad being a racist jerk. He was, sort of, just not in the way they thought. He didn't want him to date this particular black girl. House deduces that they share a rare genetic illness, meaning that they're half-siblings, resulting from an affair the father had with the woman's mother. It's implied that the relationship doesn't survive this revelation.
  • Blah, Blah, Blah: At the start of the series finale, House sits down with his team and introduces a case, where all House hears from them is blah blah blah.
  • Bland-Name Product: In "House's Head", House deliberately flashbacks to the night of an accident to try to figure out what happened. He remembers being in a bar but since he didn't focus on unimportant details all the bottles are just white and have 'beer' and 'wine' written on them.
    House: God, I hate Beer brand beer.
  • Bloody Horror: Multiple occurrences of bleeding as a symptom both to gross out viewers, and to fear for the patient's life, whether it be from the mouth, the eyes, the nose, ears, and in one episode a man's penis basically explodes and bleeds all over the toilet.
    • Topped in one episode where the patients of the week (yes, patients, plural, father and daughter) start bleeding from their pores
  • Bondage Is Bad: They dealt with bondage in the episode "Clueless", which featured a Happily Married couple who engaged in consensual rape roleplay. The husband collapses halfway through, with it later being revealed that the wife was poisoning him. They never discover her motive before turning her in to the police, with Foreman suspecting that the husband was an abuser, Chase just believing her to be a sociopath, and House being undecided between her either being a sadist who wanted to see him suffer, or that she got cold feet after her husband suggested starting a family. Cameron, who was the most supportive of their lifestyle, was just disappointed.
  • Book Ends: The pilot episode is called "Everybody Lies", and the last episode of the series is called "Everybody Dies".
    • Chase and Cameron's relationship begins and ends with them having sex.
    • One of House's first and last lines of dialogue is, "Cancer is boring."
  • Brains and Bondage: Dr. Chase. He is a young doctor on House's diagnostic dream team and a brilliant surgeon who turns out to know the dominatrix whom one patient has been seeing — they used to hang out at the same BDSM club. None of the other doctors shame him for it, only showing mild interest.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • In "Role Model", House thinks that a black senator lies about being straight. "Some day there will be a black president. Some day there will be a gay president. Maybe there will even be a gay, black president. But one combination I do not see happening is gay, black, and dead."
    • Episode "Deception": Dr. House to a hot female patient: "Yeah? What else turns you on? Drugs? Casual sex? Rough sex? Casual rough sex? I’m a doctor, I need to know."
    • Season 6, episode 19: House comments on a married couple who boasted they have an open marriage, but House correctly assumes the husband is hiding something and that they have other marital problems.
      House: Of course the husband's secret was money. If it's not sex, it's always money. Unless it's sex for money. How did he lose it anyway?
    • Season 7 episode 8: "You don't want to propose at a wedding; emotions running high, people on edge. You want to try somewhere like a Buddhist temple. Or an aquarium. Or a Buddhist aquarium."
  • Breaking Speech: House loves these. He gives them to patients when he needs to break them for information, he gives them to his coworkers when he thinks they're being naive, and he even gives one to himself.
  • Break the Cutie: House spends most of Season 7 trying to do this to Martha Masters, but fails. She's finally broken by discovering the Patient of the Week whose life she just saved is a cannibalistic serial killer on the run from the FBI, and she just helped him escape.
  • Break the Haughty: House tends to get this a lot. But even though he gets a little bit more broken every time they put him through some more misery, the haughtiness never goes away.
  • Breast Attack: In Season 5, Foreman gives House a massive "double titty-twister" as a substitute for paddles in order to shock him out of a drug-induced heart attack; House then extends his sympathies to Thirteen.
  • Brick Joke
    • "Last Resort" begins with House fiddling with Cuddy's desk, and being interrupted by the hostage situation that makes up the plot of the episode. At the end of the episode Cuddy pulls out the desk drawer and all of her files fall to the floor - House had turned the drawer upside down.
    • In "Lockdown," Wilson and Thirteen end up playing Truth or Dare to pass the time while stuck in the cafeteria alone. At one point, he dares her to show her breasts to Taub. Although Thirteen berates Wilson for making a stupid dare which can only be completed at some unspecified time in the future, since Taub isn't present, she states that she will be honor-bound to do it "tomorrow, or next year...". When the lockdown ends at the very end of the episode, after she's admitted to Wilson that none of her "truths" were actually true, Taub is very bemused when Thirteen flashes him on her way out the door.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: House. It's a given that he will become involved eventually, but the other characters often have to talk him into it while he's busy playing video games (Metroid: Zero Mission in an early season — good taste, that man!) or watching his soap operas (or downloading internet porn). Especially applies to his clinic duty, since that doesn't usually have the promise of intellectual stimulation. Since he is a Sherlock Holmes Expy, this isn't entirely surprising.
  • Bros Before Hoes: "There is a code; bros before hoes, man"
  • Brutal Honesty: This is one of House's defining personality traits, and the basis of much of his snark.
    • This goes along with his trope of "everyone lies", allowing him to rationalize his rudeness as an honorable trait.
      Patient's father: How can you treat someone without meeting them?
      House: It's easy if you don't give a crap about them.
    • The patient's daughter in It's a Wonderful Lie has been taught to always be honest, and it really stuck. When the patient is trying to deny the terminal prognosis she's just been given, the daughter lays it down straight that no, she's going to die. Even House can hardly believe how cold that was. He also calls it "pure truth" and likens it to seeing some rare astronomical phenomenon that you know you'll never see again in your life.
    • Wilson has moments of this. In the medical conference in "Known Unknowns", he writes a speech in which he admits that many doctors, himself included, have euthanized patients, even if they'll never admit to it. In the series finale, everyone else gives a glowing eulogy of House at his funeral. Wilson is midway through one of his own when he gives up and admits that House "was a bitter jerk who liked making people miserable".
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: House's methods would've gotten him fired long ago if they weren't so effective, and other times he's just plain silly. At one point, he pimpwalks into the room with a stereo slung over his shoulder. Cuddy also admits when House quits that the hospital's diagnostic department is created especially for him.
  • Bury Your Gays: A variation occurs in "Maternity", when a virus strikes the hospital's maternity ward, and the only baby which actually dies belongs to a lesbian couple. Averted with Thirteen, whose final episode as a member of the team ends with her leaving to spend what remains of her life with a girlfriend that she loves.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Said word for word by one of House's clinic patients. He responds:
    House: Are you a virgin?
    Patient: No.
    House: You're pregnant.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • House regularly singles out Chase for abuse. This has little to do with his skill as a doctor (Chase solved two cases House couldn't), and likely more to do with the fact that Chase got his job because his dad made a phone call, and is the only member of the team that House didn't hand-pick. In the early seasons when the writers seemed to feel the series needed a "villain", Chase betrayed House with one of them (Vogler) and is set up to look as if he did with another (Tritter). Some of Chase's Butt Monkeydom is a direct result of House's resentment over that. In later seasons, particularly after leaving and coming back, Chase seems to prove himself to House to some degree — as a doctor who actually wants to be there, and not just to further his own career — at which point House doesn't really treat Chase any worse than anyone else.
    • Taub gradually becomes this by the later seasons with House relentlessly mocking his appearance, personal life and general life decisions at the drop of a hat. Some of the snark is actually quite brutal. Downplayed somewhat in that Taub seems to be able to take it, for the most part, and gets back with the occasional dig of his own.

  • Caffeine Failure: Peripheral plot line in the episode "Help Me"—the medical mystery of the week—stems from the crane operator apparently having fallen asleep while working, despite being literally overloaded with caffeine (due to ingestion of lots of coffee and caffeine pills). House believes this irregularity to be symptom of a hard-to-diagnose disease, and diagnosing patients with these is his favorite part of the job.
  • Call-Back: In "Holding On", Adams remarks that Wilson just wants to die with a little dignity. House responds that there's no such thing, in a reference to the pilot episode.
    • In Season 2, episode 22, House asks if Chase wants to expand his makeout pool to the newborn-to-nine-year-old graphic, referring to a previous episode where Chase kissed a young cancer patient (at her request).
    • In Season 3, House's cane collapses. Wilson says "Not me this time," referring to his previous cane-sawing prank.
  • Cane Fu: House doesn't quite fight with his trusty walking cane, but it is not rare for him to use it to block, push away or trip someone as part of his usual antisocial antics. And then there's episode "Bombshells" and the Dream Sequence of House fighting his teammembers-turned-zombies with his cane, including turning it into an axe and then into a shotgun.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': In Season 2, Foreman uses one of Cameron's cases to use for an article before she could publish her own, says she ain't his friend and is a jerk in general to her. Some episodes later, he catches naegleria while searching a patient's house and almost dies.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: In season 5 episode 9 "Last Resort", a man with a mystery illness takes hostages in the emergency ward demanding to be treated. When he catches House trying to inject him with a sedative, House points out that he's not going to shoot probably the only person who could ever diagnose him. He's right, but to prove that he's not to be messed with, he shoots one of the other hostages instead (albeit in the leg).
  • Card-Carrying Jerkass: House will remind other characters that he is a jerk as an Insult Backfire to their list of his flaws. He believes that his intelligence and skill means his attitude is justified.
  • Career-Building Blunder: Happens several times as a prominent plot point.
    • In season 2's "The Mistake": After Chase kills a patient by neglecting to ask some routine questions and gets massively sued by her brother, House decides not to fire him, not because he figured that Chase would learn from his mistake, but because he'd figured that since the news of the death of Chase's father had led to his screw-up, it wouldn't happen again because now both his parents were dead.
    • When Foreman kills a patient in Season 3's "House-Training" by misdiagnosing a simple staph infection, House doesn't even consider firing him because he knows that Foreman will "do it again." House figures, in his very own way, that since they're Super Extraordinary Doctors who specialize in Televisually Transmitted Disease and save buttloads more patients than regular ones, that this translates to them missing the really basic stuff sometimes.
    • In Season 4, Thirteen fatally confounded a diagnosis by accident. Dr. House reasoned that Thirteen would be incredibly attentive to detail after that case.
    • Thirteen helps an astronaut further her career in spite of medical considerations that could have made NASA wary. House announced that he'd dropped a dime to NASA, but it turned out he just said that so no one else would make the call. He concluded that his patient would be the safest astronaut NASA could possibly hire, given how informed she was about her condition and how desperate she was to do her job well. Plus, it meant she had to get breast implants in order to secretly save her lungs. Yay!
  • Car Meets House: In the finale of Season 7, House deliberately crashes his car into Cuddy's house. A literal interpretation of the trope, and Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • The Casanova: Chase eventually becomes this.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • "Maternity": Early in the episode, House speculates that an epidemic is spreading through the hospital's maternity ward, having come across two babies with similar symptoms. No one believes him until a third case appears on a separate floor, by which point, it's too late; the third baby dies before the virus can be identified and treated.
    • In one episode involving an agoraphobic patient, House for the most part doesn't mock or even argue much with Cuddy. When House's team asks why, he replies "I kinda hit that last night so now she's all up in my jock." The team naturally asks what the real reason is. House simply repeats himself in a loud clear voice, and they don't press the issue. The only thing they don't know is that he wasn't lying.
    • In another episode, soon after Cameron and Chase begin hooking up, when Foreman inquires, Cameron straight up tells him she and Chase are sneaking around. He laughs and tells her that has as much chance of happening as House and Wilson hooking up. Cameron corrects him: she and Chase is as plausible as *Foreman*, House and Wilson hooking up. Chase looks on in offended silence.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "Everybody lies".
    • It's never lupus.
      • It's the Moriarty of autoimmune diseases.
      • Except in one episode where Kutner took on the case of the magician from the nightclub. Right after House figures it out, he quips, "I finally have a case of lupus."
    • "How many times do I have to say idiot?"
    • "You're an ass," which is a phrase directed at House that happens at least once every few episodes by various characters.
  • C.A.T. Trap: complications relating to the MRI, CT or PET machine is almost a Once an Episode occurrence.
  • Caught in a Snare: Wilson gets caught in a net in the middle of House's living room while searching the place for a gun. Yes, House did set up a hunting snare in the middle of his home, why do you ask? Then Wilson tries to avenge himself with the same trick, but House sees it coming.
  • Celebrity Paradox: In the Season 2 episode where Wilson moves in with House, House's Tivo list is shown. One of the programs on it is the mini-series "Blackadder II", featuring Hugh Laurie.
    • And the season 8 episode "Love is Blind" has the patient mention Friends, a show that Hugh Laurie made a cameo on.
    • In "Everybody Dies", House mentions Dead Poets Society, a movie where a young Robert Sean Leonard starred. I guess giving Wilson a hard time about the porno was more amusing...
  • Cessation of Existence: House is utterly convinced that there is nothing after death. At one point, he is told that there is no way he can know for sure that that's true. He then induces clinical death on himself and does not have a near-death experience. That's all the proof he needs that he was right all along (the fact that NDE's only happen during 10-20% of cardiac arrest cases did not matter to him). However, House actually did have a vivid NDE once, after his heart stopped in the hospital, when he was treated for his leg problems. However, he dismissed it as "chemical reactions in his brain shutting down". He also cannot refrain from telling his patients that death is a total end of their existence, as he believes they should not make the choice to accept it based on their belief in an afterlife.
    • Not only does House not believe in an afterlife, he also hopes there isn't any as well, as he is afraid of the idea that his suffering might be some form of test or punishment.
  • Character Development / Wham Episode: Season 6's "Broken", in which House is rehabilitated, switches from Vicodin to less extreme medication, meets a new lover, and becomes almost kind of nice.
  • Character Exaggeration: Played for laughs in "Two Stories". House relays the events of the past days with all his colleagues at one point being portrayed as gross exaggerations of their primary traits. While they all ignore the patient who is coughing up his lungs in front of them, Foreman is a dick who refuses to consider anyone's opinion but his own, Masters is a morally self-righteous shrill, Taub immediately proposes an extramarital affair to a pretty nurse he sees while Chase suggests a threesome to her.
  • The Chew Toy: The episode "No Reason" featured a character whose sole purpose was to be slowly tortured. Beginning with having an incredibly swollen tongue, during a procedure the poor bastard's eye pools with blood and pops out of its socket. Next, while trying to urinate, his testicle swells with blood and explodes. Finally, House murders him, with robotic surgery equipment. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Chiaroscuro: Bombshells gets darker and darker throughout the episode. At the end it goes back to normal, but until then it is so incredibly dark, you'd think you're in a David Fincher movie.
  • Chubby Chef: The Patient of the Week in "Que Sera Sera" is morbidly obese gourmand who refuses to change his high-calorie lifestyle even after landing in the hospital, since cooking is his greatest joy. Ironically, his condition turns out to have nothing to do with his diet anyway — what he's dying from is a freak case of terminal lung cancer, despite never having smoked in his life.
  • Citizenship Marriage: House does this in season 7 with an eastern European woman as part of his downward spiral caused by Cuddy breaking up with him. The woman seems to actually like him, however he lost interest in her and she left after the wedding. She came back when immigration came looking for her, and because of his newly-acquired criminal record, House had to play along instead of throwing her under the bus (and admit his original complicity). The "couple" seek help from serial monogamist Wilson, who disapproves but hates the idea of House going to jail even more. It almost works, but Wilson goes overboard, tries to impersonate a neighbor to give a sterling reference, and is caught. The two are forced to cohabit for real under the threat of deportation for her and prison for him. House kinda sorta falls in love with her, or at least appreciates the domestic services she provides enough that when the notice comes that her permanent residency has been approved he throws it away before she can see it. She discovers this eventually. She's not pleased, and while the show had been teasing that she might be having some feelings for him too, this pretty much ends the relationship.
  • Code Silver: The Season 2 finale, and the Season 5 episode "Last Resort".
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In one episode, several people become sick with a disease that causes vomiting and, apparently, women puke yellow, while men puke red (he puked red because he had too many "Bloody Marys" on the plane).
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Comfort the Dying: In the season 6 episode "Lockdown", the hospital is locked down when a baby goes missing from the maternity ward. Dr. House ends up trapped in a room with an elderly man with only a few hours left to live. With nothing else to do, curmudgeonly loner House bonds with the man and helps him say his goodbyes to his daughter by leaving a voice message.
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: This is a staple of the show.
  • Contamination Situation: Not surprising, given the content of the show, there are three: "Euphoria" in season two, "Airborne" in season three, and "A Pox on Our House" in season seven.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In "You Must Remember This", Taub and Foreman are playing the video game from "Epic Fail".
    • In "Fall from Grace", House calls the janitor "Blue" again and is again told that his name is Lou, this time by Cuddy, referencing a joke from three years prior.
    • In "Painless", a man walks to the conference room, and asks which one is House. House says, "The big black guy". Later, he tells to Foreman: "Can you blame me? The last time that happened, the guy shot me", a reference to the episode "No Reason".
  • Contraception Deception: There was an episode where the Big Secret was that the wife and husband were both trying for kids, except the wife didn't actually want them so she was taking contraceptives without him knowing about it.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: In an early episode, House decides to make a point about how he's treated as a handicapped person by jamming his cane into a woman's foot as he passes her. He apologizes in a sincere fashion, and watches as the woman apologizes back for snapping at him.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: Occurs in-universe in "Tyrant", when House incorrectly assumes Wilson's Canadian neighbor is lying when he claims to have fought in Vietnam, not realizing Canada deployed troops to Vietnam in 1973 to help enforce the Paris Peace Accords.
    • There were also Canadians who contrived to enter the US military and served in Vietnam.
  • Convulsive Seizures: House has a stronger record of showing seizures besides the omnipresent convulsive ones than a lot of other media, although the good ol' convulsions pop up as well.
  • Cool Bike: House's Fireblade. Bought slightly crashed with money borrowed from Wilson. Comes with holster for his cane, and a sweet leather jacket.
  • Country Matters: Maybe subtle to the point of missing, but when Chase goes through a phase of telling Cameron he 'likes her' every Tuesday, she finds it tiresome and at one point responds with 'see you next Tuesday'.
  • Crazy-Prepared: When Wilson drugs House to bring him to his father's funeral, he successively counters House's threats of pissing in the car by handing him an empty bottle, then showing the used floor mats when House throws out the bottle. Later, when House throws his keys down a drain, he gets out a flashlight. When House drops that too, he gets another one from the trunk.
  • Cruel Twist Ending:
    • In "97 Seconds", after the patient agonizingly dies, the applicants realize that the only reason he didn't improve was because his dog (who died too) ate the pills meant for him. House was right all along on his diagnosis, meaning that had they simply took notice of the patient taking the medicine, he wouldn't have died.
    • In "Saviors", after everything seems wrapped up, complete with music from Hugh Laurie, House hallucinates Amber telling him that he's not losing his mind.
    • In "Both Sides Now", House realizes that Cuddy helping him detox and then sleeping with him was another hallucination...and then both Amber and Kutner show up.
    • In "Help Me", House convinces a woman trapped under rubble to let her leg be amputated after previously supporting her decision to wait for the rubble to be moved. She suffers a fat embolism from the amputation, and guilt from her death nearly causes House to relapse.
    • In "Fall from Grace", it turns out that the patient which the team has saved is a cannibal and a Serial Killer. He fled the hospital before the FBI agents who just arrived could catch him.
  • Cuckoo Nest:
    • The episodes leading up to and including the Season 5 finale.
    • House also enters a literal one in Season 6's opener, "Broken".
  • Cue O'Clock: In "Simple Explanation", Kutner does not turn up for work and Taub puts forward an obviously fictitious cover story for him, saying that his dog is sick and he will be there by lunch. At lunchtime, House looks at his watch and says "Look at the time. It's half past Taub-was-lying-about-Kutner."
  • Cure Your Gays: The patient in "The Choice" from Season 6 had ex-gay/conversion therapy, although he insists that he was never gay
  • Dangerous Drowsiness: In "Fidelity", a woman is admitted with symptoms of African Sleeping Sickness, with the wrinkle that neither she nor her husband have been to Africa. Her symptoms get worse, resulting in a coma.
    House: She's sleeping eighteen hours a day, it takes a team of doctors and a coma to realize she's got sleeping sickness?
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Seems to be a requirement for coming within 100 feet of Dr. House, his patients included.
    • House was physically abused by his father, sometimes having to sleep outside in the rain. Later on in his life, a clot developed in his leg. They suggested he chop it off, but he didn't agree, so he now lives with chronic pain.
    • Thirteen lived with a mother who was dealing with Huntington's chorea and, for a while, she was madly embarrassed by it, seeing as her mother would sometimes lash out due to the disease when she had friends over. Thirteen's mom died when she was around twelve and she didn't go to the hospital with her. It's revealed in the Season 4 finale that Thirteen has developed Huntington's chorea and has around twelve years to live. Later on in the show, she euthanizes her brother (and is caught) because she promised him that, once his Huntington's was too advanced, she'd kill him so he wouldn't have to live through the worst of it. (House later makes her the same promise.)
    • Cameron married a man who was terminally ill. Though she knew this, she went through with it because she truly loved him. Of course, he ended up dead. She also fell in love with her husband's best friend/best man while he was dying.
    • Chase's father left his family because he couldn't handle his wife's alcoholism. Chase, then 15, had to take care of both his mother and little sister because his mother couldn't.
  • Daydream Surprise: House has a brief one in Season 1.
  • A Day in the Limelight: On four different occasions, the series had an episode focused exclusively on a supporting character. The four episodes follow the same narrative structure, with the plot, the daily life of the hospital and the case of the week being shown from the point of view of the chosen character, with House being a mere secondary character. David Shore would repeat this strategy in his next medical series, The Good Doctor.
    • The episode "Wilson" focuses on... well, Wilson. House's case of the day is only shown in glimpses.
    • "5 to 9" showed us a day in the life of Cuddy.
    • Season 7's "Last Temptation" is this for Martha Masters before she intentionally causes a 13-year old girl to go into cardiac arrest all so she could then chop off her arm, then she resigns, before falling over a chicken.
    • Chase gets his own episode in Season 8's "Chase", in which he recovers from leg injuries from the previous episode and hooks up with a nun he treated in the clinic. The morning after, he saves her life after she suffers a carotid artery dissection.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The entire cast to varying degrees, but especially House.
  • Dead Person Conversation:
    • When House starts having hallucinations of Amber Volakis and Kutner.
    • One patient in the episode "Guardian Angel" hallucinated that she was talking to her deceased mother, which House recommended her to do because he thought that it would help discover her illness, which didn't.
    • A variation in "Brave Heart": we learn that Wilson talks to his dead girlfriend Amber. He knows she isn't there, but it helps him cope. He encourages House to try it with his late father. Needless to say, House finds it idiotic.
    • In "The C-Word", Wilson hallucinates one of his former patients, an 8-year-old who succumbed to thyroid cancer. The kid asks why he died if he did nothing wrong.
    • House has conversations with hallucinations of Amber and Kutner in the series finale.
  • Death in the Clouds: A twisted version - House needs to find out if a man vomiting with sores and severe headaches is suffering from meningitis, or something else. If it's the former, they're all dead.
  • Death of a Child: Some of the patients in the show are children, and not all of them made it past the credits.
  • Death Montage: The cold opening to "Not Cancer" shows half a dozen completely unrelated people dropping dead. Turns out they all received organs from the same person, and the Patient of the Week is the last survivor.
  • Death Seeker: House occasionally has to do diagnoses on suicidal patients, some of whom aren't gonna let being in a hospital try to stop them from ending their life.
    • Season 3's "Informed Consent" has as POTW an old (and renowned) fellow doctor who resents his failing health and simply wants to die. At one point, House tricks him (and most of his team) into thinking he's actually euthanised him, when he only put him in coma. At the end, the patient gets his wish, as his disease is incurable. He dies the next day after the answer is found, and it's heavily implied that Cameron euthanised him off-screen.
    • In "Painless", a patient who suffers from chronic and unceasing pain attempts to kill himself by running a car in a closed garage. While in House's care, he tries to kill himself again by blowing air into his blood through his IV, then once more by drinking rubbing alcohol while his son distracts the staff.
    • In "Unwritten", a novelist tries to shoot herself, but suffers a seizure that causes her to only graze her skin. While at Princeton-Plainsboro, she hides the fact that she has screws in her leg before going into an MRI, resulting in severe burns. After that, she injects a syringe that she was told had a lethal dose of morphine, but only contained a mild sedative as part of House's plan to extend her suicide watch hold.
    • In "Holding On", the patient of the week tries to kill himself by drinking ammonia after the treatment he receives causes him to be unable to hear his deceased little brother's voice.
    • A death row inmate tries to kill himself by drinking several bottles of copier fluid. House sits by the guy's bedside as his condition worsens, and the two of them each down several shots of high-proof rum. Only after a while does House reveal the truth: copier fluid is about 90% methanol, or wood alcohol, and the treatment for that is large amounts of ethanol, or grain alcohol. All those shots he had the guy drinking were slowly curing him.
  • Decade-Themed Party: In "Known Unknowns", there's an "80's Party". Dr. House comes dressed in 18th century garb because the invitation just said 80's, and didn't specify a century. Doubles as an Actor Allusion due to his role as the Prince Regent.
  • Delayed Diagnosis: The premise of the show revolves around Dr. House and his team dealing with the Patient of the Week and trying to figure out what's wrong, going through several possibilities that only end up incorrect. They only figure out the real problem by the end of the episode, and usually it is partly the fault of the patient for the misdiagnosis, because sometimes the patient lies about their lifestyle or withheld information they thought was irrelevant.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Season 3 is just one disaster after another.
  • Deus ex Machina: Most episodes end by House coming up with a brilliant but simple cure at the last moment, through some Applied Phlebotinum Techno Babble, bringing the patient back immediately to perfect health from death's door; the most obvious example is "Joy to the World" in which House performs a "Christmas Miracle" cure.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Taub in late season 7, twice: cheating on his new girlfriend with his ex-wife, who divorced him because of his infidelity and not using condoms with either woman.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: The eponymous character justifies his jerkassery with his injured leg, but he was a jerkass before that.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Detective Tritter is embarrassed by House by having a thermometer used rectally on him and left alone in a private exam room for half an hour. This was after he acted like a total Jerkass to House, kicking his cane out from under him when he refused to perform an unnecessary procedure. Tritter's response? Arrest the good doctor, freeze the bank accounts of anyone on House's team, ruin Wilson's oncology practice and remove his prescription license (potentially worsening or ending the lives of any number of cancer patients), draining valuable police funds, breaking into and searching House's home, and just generally being a dick. All the while, dangling false hope for House to avoid jail if he'll only go to rehab... which he does... and Tritter removes the deal from the table. On Christmas.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • House's train of thought is derailed by Cameron's alluring attire in this Season 2 episode.
    • In the episode "Ugly", House hires a doctor whom he's attracted to, but ends up firing her, because due to his attraction, he doesn't notice that her ideas are bad.
  • The Ditz: 90% of House's misanthropy can be traced back to frustration with patients he attracts during clinic hours... and after seeing said clinic hours, it's easy to see why.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm:
    • Martha obviously understands what sarcasm is supposed to be, but quite often fails to spot it in action.
    • Oddly enough, this becomes a key plot point when House is treating Cuddy's mother. Shortly after her condition takes a major turn for the worse, she makes a passing comment indicating that when House previously said "it's not like I have a department to run or anything," she took it to mean that he no longer had his department and is now just an ordinary doctor, which clues him in on exactly what her illness is.
  • Doppelgänger Dating: When Wilson starts dating Amber, House points out that she is a female version of him.
  • Dream Emergency Exit: Justified in the second series finale "No Reason". House comes to realise he is hallucinating, but is unable to escape until he deliberately kills his 'patient', breaking his subconscious suspension of disbelief.
  • Dream Sequence: Several in "Bombshells".
  • Dressed to Heal: House usually averts this, not so much his colleagues. Consequently, whenever House is wearing a lab coat, something's up and someone is about to be manipulated.
  • Dripping Disturbance: "Sleeping Dogs Lie" has a patient who has been incapable of falling asleep for several days. When we first see her she is in bed, eyes wide open, as the sound of the faucet seems thundering to her.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The most probable interpretation of House overdosing in "Merry Little Christmas".
    • Kutner, Kutner, Kutner. There's no real explanation given, which is sort of the point.
    • Let's not forget Taub, who made a suicide attempt in his Back Story.
    • This is House's interpretation of Wilson giving up on chemo near the end of Season 8.
  • Dr. Jerk: Most obviously with the main character, but his subordinates sometimes behave in a similar way, especially Foreman (aka "Black House").
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kutner (see Real Life Writes the Plot)
  • Drugs Are Bad: House gets hit with this frequently, especially as his escalating Vicodin use starts to seriously affect his life.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Foreman and Thirteen in Season 5.
  • Dysfunction Junction:
    • Not one character escapes this trope, including most patients of the week. In between learning about the patients' tragic pasts, we get a look into the lives of the doctors who treat them. If one of the main characters seems to have begun a stable and healthy relationship, it's a pretty safe bet they'll have sabotaged it for some convoluted and unnecessary personal reason within a few episodes. Ruining a relationship through being a Hypocrite, frequently instigating Make Up or Break Up scenarios for stupid personal reasons and otherwise being a Jerkass to your partner through lots of changing your mind and being on-again and off-again because you feel like it could be renamed Princeton Plainsboro Syndrome.
    • The misanthropic, crippled, drug-addicted House and his fellow Chase have major parental issues:
      • House goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid contact with his parents. The most extreme example of this is when his father dies and he refuses to go to the funeral despite his mother's wishes. He does end up attending but only because Cuddy drugged him so Wilson could get him in his car and escort him there. In the same episode it is revealed that when he was twelve, House told his father that he had figured out a family friend was his biological father. His father then didn't speak to him for the entire summer, communicating through typed sheets of paper (if at all). Also, his father subjected him to cruel punishments, such as being forced to bathe in ice water and sleep on the lawn.
      • Chase was left to care for his alcoholic mother after his father abandoned them. His father turns up during the thirteenth episode and bridges start to mend, but little does Chase know that his father is dying of terminal lung cancer. Chase finds out two months later in the eighth episode of the second season, through a phone call. It gets even worse in that season's twenty-second episode in which House deduces that Chase was cut out of his father's will, a fact that is confirmed in the Season 3 episode "Finding Judas". Oh, and then he murdered a mass-murderer to prevent genocide and not only does his priest tell him he's an irredeemable monster unless he turns himself in, his wife, who unwittingly influenced him into doing it, leaves him because of it. Thanks for the support, guys.
    • House's other two fellows don't have an easy time of it either.
      • Foreman is a former juvenile delinquent, and his brother is also a criminal, but unlike Foreman he never made anything of himself. Also, Foreman's mother has Alzheimer's and barely remembers him, making seeing her extremely painful. His father is extremely religious, to the point that Foreman avoids him.
      • It's implied at least once that Foreman actually took the fall for someone else, most likely his brother (which could be why Foreman resents Marcus so much).
      • It's revealed Cameron married a dying man when she was in her twenties and then fell for his best friend.
    • When we first meet Wilson he has been divorced two times and his third marriage is on the verge of complete collapse. In Season 1, he proclaims that, "[he's] only got two things that work for [him]: this job and this stupid, screwed-up friendship [with House]." Before Season 2 is over, Wilson finds himself divorced again and homeless. In Season 3 his assets get frozen while attempting to keep House out of jail and it's revealed (surprise, surprise) he's suffering from depression. In Season 4, his girlfriend, Amber, dies, and in Season 5 it's revealed that his long-lost, homeless brother that is mentioned in Season 1 is also schizophrenic and that he blames himself for him running away. Seven seasons later, all he still has is his job and his stupid, screwed-up friendship with House. And then he gets terminal cancer.
    • Cuddy is a workaholic and has apparently failed every relationship she's ever tried to make work. She also angsts about not being able to start a family due to fertility problems. In Season 5, she adopts a baby, but has emotional issues bonding with her.
    • House's new fellows have problems too.
      • Thirteen is dying from Huntington's. (Her mom died from it too.) And had to euthanize her older brother who was also dying of Huntington's and spent six months in jail as a consequence - it's complicated.
      • Kutner's parents were killed in a robbery when he was six and in Season 5 he commits suicide, and nobody knows why; not even House can figure it out.
      • Taub cheated on his wife in his backstory, causing him to lose his ability to practice his specialty, and in Season 5 has financial problems. His marital problems continue in Season 6, where his compulsion to cheat seems even more powerful than House's Vicodin dependency used to be. In Season 7 he and his wife split up, but he continues having casual sex with her - and then learns that she's pregnant immediately after making a commitment to his new girlfriend, who is also pregnant. Oh, and he also once tried to kill himself.
    • Possibly lampshaded by Cuddy after Kutner's suicide.
      Cuddy: I've hired a grief counselor, whom none of you will see, and I'm offering time off, which none of you will take.
    • Nurse Brenda, however, seems to invert this trope.

  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The pilot episode has highly stylized cinematography with all the non-skin tones being completely desaturated, and a more energetic orchestral score instead of the sparse, minimalist soundtracks used in the full series. Cuddy is also depicted as an Obstructive Bureaucrat who flat-out dislikes House and only tolerates him because of his skill, as opposed to the later episodes where she's far more sympathetic towards him, likely because the writers didn't decide until later in the first season that Cuddy was the attending doctor when House had his leg infarction, and made the suggestion to remove the damaged part of his thigh muscle.
    • Earlier seasons have several plot arcs with villain characters like Vogler and Tritter, which was abandoned in favor of character studies and relationship drama.
  • Eerie Arctic Research Station: Played with in the episode "Frozen", where the A-plot is centered on a female scientist (Mira Sorvino) stationed at a small research outpost in Antarctica suffering from a mystery illness serious enough to make her cough up blood. Because of the impracticality of sending a medical team over, Dr. House and his staff communicate with and diagnose her from the safety of their offices in Philadelphia through a satellite feed. House even manages to get into a near-affair with her despite being separated from each other by thousands of miles.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: Completely subverted with House who has a string of seemingly embarrassing ringtones that he uses completely shamelessly.
    • In fact he appears to have chosen them deliberately to embarrass and mock his team (and others ... while we don't ever hear it, he tells Wilson his ringtone for him is "Dancing Queen"). Calls from chronic adulterer Taub set off "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)".
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: Since the series takes place in the hospital a lot of patients wet their beds, which often shows a new symptom (blood in urine, urine of an unusual color).
    • House wets the bed in "Top Secret", after being unable to urinate the whole episode and using a catheter on himself.
  • Erotic Asphyxiation: The patient in "Love Hurts" gets off on this.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Once an Episode.
    • Lampshaded at times, including once when House wasn't the one that had the revelation. In the sixth season episode "Wilson" this was explicitly referred to as a "House moment", when Wilson experienced the same phenomenon himself.
    • Taub has one of these himself in "Teamwork".
    • So does Chase in Season 3, when House is undergoing withdrawal and blows a diagnosis.
    • In the episode "Joy", Wilson is talking to House, and stops in mid-conversation to say "...I just gave you the answer, didn't I? And now you're going to leave without saying a word." House, of course, does just that (although he does say "Nope" as he's leaving, just to mix things up).
    • The episode "Bombshells" has, arguably, two: first, the regular one in which House finds out what's wrong with his patient, which is heavily lampshaded by Cuddy, possibly to prepare you for the second one in which Cuddy figures out that House has started taking Vicodin again.
    • Add implausible to the mix: House's "Eureka moments" are always triggered by the most random and unlikely circumstances, which would logically mean that at least 99% of House's patients would die waiting for a plumber to scratch his crotch, or whatever other freak-clue that House needs).
      • This could be the show's subtle way of showing us how House thinks; even when he's engaged in something different, his mind is always mulling over his current puzzle. His "Eureka!" Moment is simply the part where his brain finally figures it out. Ergo, any clue could have triggered it, rather than requiring as contrived a coincidence as it seems.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: President Dibala, a genocidal African dictator and patient of the week from Season 6, was probably the most evil character on the show, but still regretted some of his troops' human rights abuses and accepted personal responsibility for them.
  • Everybody Is Single: This was the case at first, and is occasionally mentioned by a patient, although as the show has progressed this has come and gone.
    • House and Stacy broke up about five years before the series began. Their Masochism Tango relationship in Season 2 doesn't last either.
    • Taub has been married for over ten years, although their relationship is showing strain thanks to his serial adultery. They divorce in Season 7.
    • Cameron and Chase got married at the end of Season 5, only to divorce partway through Season 6.
    • Foreman and Thirteen got together, broke up, got back together, then broke up again for good.
    • Wilson was dating Dr. Amber Volakis ("Cutthroat Bitch") in late Season 4 before she died in the season finale. He got back with one of his ex-wives in Season 6, but they broke up a season later.
    • Cuddy was dating Lucas starting in early Season 6, but breaks things off with him at the end of the season for House. And now that's over.
      • It would appear Cuddy's got a new man now. House isn't taking it so well.
    • House enters into a citizenship marriage with Dominika Petrova, a mail-order hooker. He ends up falling in love with her, but she leaves him.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
  • Evil Laugh: Parodied in "Sex Kills":
    Chase: You want us to do a differential diagnosis on a dead person?
    House: We're going to cure her.
    Cameron: We're going to cure death?
    House: MUAHAHAHAHA!!! [Cameron looks confused] Doubt it.
  • Exact Words: Mixed with Tempting Fate in the Season 4 premiere episode "Alone".
    Cuddy: Hire a team. I don't care how you do it, just do it.
    • And he does exactly that. With a six-week-long job interview with 28 applicants.
    • A combination of wording and punctuation, when Foreman first wanted to do his own drug trial, he asks House and House said no, he won't give Foreman permission. Later, he tells House he is doing the trial and House doesn't have a problem with it. When asked why he didn't say no, House replied Foreman gave a declarative statement. He can't deny what isn't being asked for.
    • It could be argued that House didn't actually lie to the transplant committee to save a patient's life; they ask if there are any reasons she shouldn't be considered for a transplant, and he responds by reciting a long list of disqualifications she doesn't have. Cuddy finally gets fed up and asks if there's anything the committee "should know about". Well, since you asked, no. The disqualifying condition she does have ... I don't think the committee should know about that at all.
  • Extreme Doormat: Dr. Park, who is very much under the thumb of her conservative Filipino-Korean parents. She's slowly learning to speak up more.
  • Eye Scream: So much. Patients have had needles inserted through their eyes repeatedly, one's affliction is having worms inside his eyes, another's eye bursts out of its socket, and yet another has some kind of lenses put in them. Somebody on the writing team has to have a fetish for this. Also, there is a reason the spoiler tags are there.
  • Eye Take: Hugh Laurie could be king of this trope.
  • Face Death with Dignity: According to House, there is no such thing.
    House: Our bodies break down, sometimes when we're 90, sometimes before we're even born, but it always happens and there's never any dignity in it! I don't care if you can walk, see, wipe your own ass... it's always ugly, always! You can live with dignity; you can't die with it!
  • Fake Crossover: In a Japanese promo for the Season 4 DVD set, House teams up with fellow Dr. Jerk Black Jack.
  • Fake Faith Healer: One episode has a teenage faith healer who seemingly manages to cure one of Wilson's cancer patients. It later turned out that the faith healer just happened to have an infection that he transmitted to the cancer patient, and the infection attacked the cancer cells in the patient's body.
  • Faking Engine Trouble: In one episode Foreman is late for work and claims that his car broke down.
  • Faking the Dead: House does this in the series finale sacrificing everything about his life up to that point, rendering him unable to become a doctor ever again without exposing himself. The only people who learn he's faked are Wilson and Foreman, but he and Wilson get to spend Wilson's dying months together and House himself ultimately gets to start over again realizing he's capable of changing.
  • Fanservice:
    • Cuddy, Cameron, and Thirteen each have some blatant moments.
      • For Cuddy, House's hallucination of her in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform doing a striptease.
      • For Cameron, House using a medical robot to partially strip her.
      • For Thirteen, her workout outfit in one episode, and pretty much any time she's making out with a woman.
      • This is actually invoked in-universe. Thirteen scores an invitation to Chase's bachelor party in season 5 by suggesting she may "get drunk and make out with the stripper or become one".
    • Anne Dudek (Amber/Cutthroat) and Odette Annable (Adams) also qualify.
    • The episode "Lockdown" had a fair few, namely:
      • Dava Krause who played Daria (a minor character who rarely, if ever gets credited, let alone, speaks).
      • Shelly Cole, aka Nurse Adrienne Maldonado.
    • Also, Nurse Brenda (played by Stephanie Venditto). On fansites, she is more popular than Thirteen.
    • How many Fandom Nods can the writers put in about the House/Wilson Homoerotic Subtext? A lot.
    • Martha Masters' wardrobe of mini-skirts.
    • Amy Landecker 's appearance as Darrien.
    • In later seasons, they love to play up Chase's manwhore ways, including showing him in various states of undress. The man is pretty.
  • Fatal Flaw: Dr. House has an injured leg and is addicted to painkillers, though most characters agree that he was just as much of a miserable jerk before he suffered the injury and developed the addiction. In Season 5, House eventually refuses methadone treatment that cures his pain, because he believes that he needs to be a jerkass in order to be a good doctor; otherwise he becomes clean-shaven and accommodating, which jeopardizes the life of a Mosaic child.
  • "Fawlty Towers" Plot: A rare dramatic example in "Instant Karma" when Foreman and Chase desperately try to keep secret the fact that Chase killed President Dibala.
  • Feel No Pain: One of House's patients is a young girl with congenital insensitivity to pain. He takes a keen interest in the case, with many pointing out that he thinks her inability to feel pain could provide relief to him, someone who feels constant pain. The episode also portrays the condition realistically: if you can't feel pain, you can't know if you have a fever, or if you scratched your corneas in your sleep until you check them yourself the following morning, or if you've sustained a grievous injury that should be treated immediately.
  • Filching Food for Fun: House steals his friend Wilson's food repeatedly and sometimes eats it right in front of him to tick him off, but at times he steals his food from a fridge, only for Wilson to find empty boxes. It's Played for Laughs as they are friends who bicker all the time. House also secretly eats other doctors' food in the morgue. He just loves messing with people.
    Cuddy: You keep your lunch in the morgue?
    House: If I put it in the doctor's lounge, everybody else eats it.
    Cuddy: (points to a label on one of the containers) That's because it's everybody else's food.
  • Finger in the Mail: Parodied. Wilson "kidnaps" House's guitar in order to force him to make a decision Cuddy requested that he's been intentionally avoiding. He sends him "threatening" voice messages (actually, just speaking through a desk fan) and anonymously sending him the pick. But as House says, "I don't negotiate with terrorists!"
  • Fire-Forged Friends: House's underlings forge close bonds while working under difficult conditions, though they don't necessarily consider each other friends. Chase begins to develop feelings for Cameron halfway through season three, and they eventually start a monogamous relationship at the end of season three. Once season four starts, both Chase and Cameron seem to be friends with Foreman. In the later seasons, Kutner and Taub have a friendship. Later in the series, we see Taub and Foreman develop a close friendship and eventually move in together.
  • First Period Panic: Implied in episode "Act Your Age". When the medical team is searching for the right diagnosis on a 6-year-old girl, find a bloodied piece of clothing hidden in her room. At first they consider it coming from physical or sexual abuse at the hands of her relatives, but doctors find the blood to be menstrual. The girl has apparently already hit puberty due to abnormally high hormone levels, the source of which is later found in the episode. The family has no mother, so she couldn't have easily consulted someone about what's happening to her body.
  • Five Stages of Grief: Cameron goes through them in "Acceptance", at least according to House. It relates to her getting too close, almost unprofessionally so, to a patient with aggressive cancer who has no family and no friends. Cameron is in denial, then angry, tries to negotiate (i.e. make a new diagnosis), then depressed and finally she accepts it. In this case, acceptance translates into Cameron doing her job and finally telling the patient the diagnosis.
  • Flanderization: It's hard to remember now, but in the first season House was for the most part a cynical yet mature person. He didn't suffer fools gladly, and often got into trouble for not abiding by conventional medical ethics, but this was shown to be because House had his own well-thought-out ethical principles, which is quite different from his later "I'm a genius so I do what I want" attitude. He also didn't meddle with his colleagues' lives so much, or torment them for his own pleasure, or play childish pranks on Cuddy and Wilson. He gradually evolved into an attention hungry manchild with sociopathic tendencies and eventually into a full on sociopath. Season 8 dragged him back after nearly everyone (out of universe and in) considered driving his car into Cuddy's house Too Much, and he ends the show with a Pet the Dog moment.
    • Foreman's stoicism became gradually more apparent in later seasons, with Taub even making quips about his emotionlessness. He's much more positive and compassionate in earlier seasons.
    • Cameron in the first season was a somewhat naive, but good-natured doctor who was The Kirk to House's Spock. She became gradually more flanderized as well, even drifting into McCoy territory.
  • Flowers of Romance: In "Love Hurts", Cameron persuades her boss House to go out with her. Before the date, he takes a corsage out of the fridge, saying it's lame. His friend Wilson retorts: Cameron likes "lame". She loves the corsage but then she realizes House is trying really hard. She wants him to be honest. So he tells her she only wants to date him because she likes damaged men who need to be fixed.
  • Following in Relative's Footsteps: In "Parents" the Patient of the Week aspires to become a clown because his father was one.
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Chase drags his feet regarding the paperwork after Cameron divorces him. It came up in "Lockdown."
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric: House — loves puzzles and power. Melancholic: Cameron - feels sorry for dying people. Phlegmatic: Foreman — tries to refuse or frustrate House's games. Sanguine: Chase — upbeat and sunny, in spite of a damaged relationship with his father.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: House (the Cynic) treats patients like puzzles, Cameron (the Optimist) has high moral standards, Foreman (the Realist) takes life too seriously, Chase (the Apathetic) is the easygoing deductive reasoner.
  • Friendlessness Insult: In "Who's Your Daddy", an old college friend of House's is the patient's father, prompting Cuddy to comment, "I thought I'd met all your friend!".
  • Friends with Benefits: Chase and Cameron, at first. It ends when Chase decides he wants more and Cameron refuses, and then progresses to a Relationship Upgrade in that season's finale.
    • House fires "Foreteen" if they don't end their relationship, and so they have to keep it secret; and Chase even agrees that he and Cameron were a long-shot (i.e., it was too obvious of a copycat-plot, without this twist).
  • Friend Versus Lover: House as the friend vs. Wilson's girlfriends/ex-wives.

  • The Gadfly: House is fond of needling people for no reason except his own amusement.
  • Genius Burnout:
    • One episode had a scientific genius who took pills to suppress his intelligence and worked a menial job because otherwise he couldn't stand the intellectual difference between him and his girlfriend (comparing it to having sex with a baboon).
    • A renowned cancer research scientist was a patient of the week and Wilson confronts her because she had dropped out of the medical field entirely to pursue minor hobbies. She explained how heavy a toll that research took on her personal life, and even though she was at the forefront of a potential breakthrough, she couldn't see it through to the end.
  • Genius Cripple: Dr. House has a permanent limp due to missing part of his thigh and is also one of the most brilliant professionals at the hospital.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Every main character under House's supervision gets hired and fired on a whim.
  • Goddamned Bats: In-universe example in "Epic Fail".
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Wilson and House, respectively— to the audience, not the patients. House, no matter how much the writers try to balance his flaws by saving people, playing pranks etc., is simply too nasty and mean-spirited without Wilson there as the super-nice guy foil to House's meanness.
  • Good Doc, Bad Doc: Though Dr. House doesn't seem to care as much about his patients as he does solving the puzzle, he still hates to lose anybody under his care; he runs into a number of obstructive bureaucrat types (Vogler being one) who only care about the hospital's reputation. Cuddy, as dean of medicine, has to balance these objectives.
  • Good is Not Nice: House is manipulative, cruel, so suspicious that "Everybody Lies" is one of his catchphrases, and willing to cause people unnecessary pain to get the job done. But he does get the job done, he does save lives, and shows more caring than he's willing to admit. Hugh Laurie said "I have always thought House is unquestionably on the side of the angels, but that doesn't mean he is an angel. You don't have to be an angel to be on the side of the angels."
  • Gorn:
    • Some of the cases can get pretty graphic. Bonus points go to the crazy case in season two's finale, which includes a swollen tongue, an eyeball that gets pushed out of its socket (by itself!) and the man's testicles exploding.
    • House, near the end of season seven, performing open leg surgery on his own thigh. Even with painkillers, the operation was too much for him to bear.
  • Greek Chorus: The patient in the episode "Locked In" makes some hilariously accurate observations about the main characters as he watches them interact with one another. All these observations are only uttered in his own mind, since he has locked in syndrome and can't control anything but his eyes.
  • Groin Attack: House pushed one recently widowed person a little too far.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: There are times that Cuddy or Wilson or, later, Foreman join House's team for a particular case for one reason or another.
  • Hallucinations:
    • The last episode of season 2 involves House getting shot by a gunman who calls himself Moriarity. House attempts to diagnose the man's symptons, until he starts noticing very odd things, such as a scene transition. He ultimately realizes that he's been hallucinating the whole time and is still being rushed to the ICU after the initial gunshot.
    • Near the end of season 5, Kutner unexpectedly commits suicide. House slowly goes through Sanity Slippage as he tries in vain to decipher the reasons behind his death, and begins hallucinating an evil version of Amber Volakis, who is also dead. He tries to kick his vicodin addiction and gets a Relationship Upgrade with Cuddy, until he discovers that was also a hallucination. When both Amber and Kutner show up to taunt him about unknowingly lying to himself, he checks himself into a mental hospital.
    • House also had a patient who had been hallucinating her (unbeknownst to her) dead mother. In the end, the team manages to diagnose her by asking her to "speak with her mother", through which she remembers symptopms her mother had before dying and the team is able to identify the disease they're both carrying.
  • Handshake Refusal: House is not fond of physical contact and often will refuse handshakes, regardless of who they're from.
  • Harmful Healing: Happens Once an Episode, or very nearly. Usually because the doctors administered a treatment for an early diagnosis, which triggers symptoms that make it turn out to be wrong.
  • Hated Item Makeover: In "Lines in the Sand" House refuses to use his office after Cuddy replaces the carpet, because there was a large blood stain on it from a disgruntled patient shooting House in an earlier episode. Instead, House works from a variety of awkward spots in the hospital, including the chapel, until Cuddy puts the blood-stained carpet back after Wilson suggests that he's autistic (but then tells House that he doesn't actually believe that, he's just an asshole making petty power plays.)
  • Heel–Face Turn: In 'Everybody Dies', House fakes his own death, ending his ability to practice medicine, so that he can be with Wilson during the latter's last 5 months alive. We also see the reverse, with Wilson viciously attacking House at House's funeral
  • Heroic BSoD: See Break the Cutie above.
  • Hero Insurance: In Real Life House would be in prison with dozens of malpractice suits pending. This gets lampshaded in one episode where Cuddy mentions that the hospital has a budget for dealing with suits against House - and that he's under budget. Somehow.
    • Because he's plain awesome. As reckless as he is, most of his stuff works, and most patients aren't inclined to sue the guy who just saved their lives, even if he had to torture them to do it.
    • Also because House almost always only ever takes patients who have been through the mill already, who have seen multiple doctors who failed to diagnose their conditions. In other words, they're desperate.
    • However, in Real Life, the number one predictor of medical lawsuits is bedside manner, by far. To the extent that researchers can accurately predict lawsuits by listening to mere SECONDS of a doctor talking to a patient. How that would affect House is pretty obvious...
      • And that's why he avoids seeing the POTW as much as possible.
  • Hermaphrodite: House's team dealt with two different intersex patients:
    • "Skin Deep": Alex initially appeared to be an ordinary teenage girl, before an ultrasound showed that she had testes where her ovaries should be, the result of a very rare genetic abnormality (she has XY chromosomes, but is immune to testosterone). She has testicular cancer. House shared this information in his usual empathetic and caring style, causing her to run after him, throw away her clothes, and tearfully insisting that she's a girl.
    • "The Softer Side": Jackson, a 13-year-old boy with generic mosaicism, the discovery of which ended up being unrelated to his actual medical condition (dehydration leading to an allergic reaction to contrast material). His parents, who had kept this fact hidden from him, demanded that Thirteen be removed from the case for leading him to learn the truth.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: House fully encourages the use of drugs in some cases in order to reach an epiphany he thinks is already trapped in his mind. Well, drugs, and in one case, electric shock therapy.
  • Hired for Their Looks: House hired Cameron because it's like having a nice piece of art in the lobby even though she she was in the top of her class (But not THE top) and did an internship at the Mayo Clinic but she insists that she worked very hard to get where she is. In a subversion, House points out that Cameron, as a beautiful woman, could have easily done well for herself in life without resorting to working her ass off to become a doctor. Since she for some reason chose a difficult path when she could have had an easy one, House knew that she would have Hidden Depths.
    • Then there was Dr. Terzi in Season 4, who House brought in right to the middle of his recruiting contest, infuriating the other contestants. House is convinced that she's a brilliant doctor, but at the end of the episode he realizes that her looks distracted him and made him think she was much better than she actually wasnote , and he fires her.
  • Hollywood Atheist: House is sardonically critical of any expression of religious belief, although in some of his more reflective moments, he takes a much less confrontational view, explaining that in the absence of definitive proof one way or another, a belief is ultimately a choice between what gives more comfort. House himself simply happens to find it more comforting to think that God doesn't exist - in a Godless universe, even the most irrational events can be ultimately quantified; Magic A Is Magic A. If God exists, then there's someone who can literally say Screw the Rules, I Make Them!.
    • And then sometimes House behaves as Nay-Theist could, as if he believed in God and saw Him as his competitor. At one point he shouted at a patient's family member before performing surgery on said patient. "You'd better not be praying! I don't want to fight over credit for this." This is likely referencing the fact that people will commonly thank God for medical recovery but rarely their doctors.
  • Hollywood Provincialism: The daughter of a clinic patient tells House that he only has to wait six months until her 18th birthday to have sex with her. In reality, House could have had sex with her a year and a half earlier, as the age of consent in New Jersey is 16.
  • Homage: Multiple ones to Sherlock Holmes. "Holmes" sounds like "homes", hence "House"; Dr. Wilson's name and role echo those of Dr. Watson; House's Vicodin addiction parallels Holmes' cocaine use; House's soap operas are a nod to Holmes' monographs; both Holmes and House live at number 221B Baker street; both stories involve a character named "Irene Adler", and both House and Holmes have had a guy named "Moriarty" try to kill them. Also, it's theorized that Watson had three wives (the stories are unclear and Doyle is somewhat vague on this point), mirroring Wilson's three divorces. And in a rather self-conscious homage, Wilson's present to House is a book on Dr. Joseph Bell ("You remind me of him"), who was the real-life physician Holmes' deductive ability was based on.
    • Also, one of the members of his team gives him a "first-edition Conan Doyle" in the fourth season Christmas episode.
    • Most of all, House's "sleuthing" manner of curing an illness, is similar to Holmes's logical scrutiny of every situation (if a snide, sarcastic and cynical version) pertaining to a crime, observing and breaking down every minute detail, and analyzing it expertly with deductive reasoning. House is also an avid musician like Holmes, playing mostly piano (and some guitar) while Holmes played violin.
    • Taken to its logical conclusion in the series finale, with House faking his death, just like Holmes did.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • House and Wilson. It seems Wilson is the only person who is willing to ride out all of House's quirks, and thereby his only real friend.
    • Later, when Wilson accepted that his relationship with Amber was perfect largely because of her similarities with House:
      Wilson: Why not date you? It's perfect. We've known each other for years, we've put up with all kinds of crap from each other, and we keep coming back! We're a couple!
      House: Are we still speaking hypothetically?
    • Taub and Foreman have a lot of friendly rivalry over time, especially when Taub moves in with Foreman when his wife kicks him out.
  • Hope Spot: The last two episodes of Season 5. Cuddy helps House detox in record time so his hallucinations go away. They do and Cuddy and House make sweet sweet love, which makes our beloved Dr. Jerk the happiest he's been in ages. Awwwwww. Then, House gets Cuddy so angry she talks about how she overreacted to his latest insult and walked out of her office leaving him behind... except that's not how he remembered it. Cue the montage of what he thought happened and what did. No Cuddy helping him detox, so he was popping pills like crazy instead. This means, of course, no sweet sweet love. And the lipstick he was nursing the whole episode turns out to be a pill bottle. Not only is he still hallucinating, he can't even tell the difference anymore. Season ends with "Crazy House" being both his personality and his destination. AUUUUUGH.
  • Hospital Hottie: All of the main characters are played by attractive actors, but Cuddy gets objectified quite a bit by House, especially with regards to her tight business skirts.
  • House Inspection: In "Painless", Cuddy is very worried about a Child Services inspection which she needs to pass in order to keep her adopted daughter. Naturally, when the inspector arrives, the house is a complete mess due to her cleaning lady arriving late and the inspector arriving an hour early. The inspector finds a messy house, a dirty diaper hastily hidden in an attaché case, and ants on the floor...and passes Cuddy anyway due to her having a steady income, being apparently loving and actually worried about her messy house, all of which makes her better than most of the applicants he visits.
  • Huddle Shot: One of the signature shots early in the series.
  • Hypochondria: People with this have shown up in a few episodes.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Again, in the pilot, where Cuddy says she won't take his cane to stop him getting away because it would be juvenile, then follows him into the lift to stop him getting away.

  • I Can't Feel My Legs!: Plenty of the patients of the week. Also Chase, after he gets stabbed. Later, he recovers.
  • Idiot Ball: The reason that patients not hiding a Big Secret fail to provide critical information. A major attack of stupidity prevents them from realizing that a particular fact is relevant to their condition, despite the obvious connection, and being (repeatedly) asked about it by House or his team. Usual patient response, "I didn't think it was important/relevant." This is more common to the secondary clinic patients than the patient of the week.
    • House would argue that any patient willing to die to keep the Big Secret is holding onto the Idiot Ball.
    • The "Eureka!" Moment in "Last Resort". It sticks out more due to the circumstances.
    • House himself gets a rare case of the Idiot Ball in "Frozen", resulting in a case being much tougher than it needed to be.
      • Almost all clinic patients we see are examples of this, mirroring House's low opinion of clinic duty.
  • I Got You a Drawer: Denied with Chase and Cameron.
  • If Jesus, Then Aliens: Averted with House himself. Like most (non-Hollywood) atheists, he simply doesn't believe in God because he hasn't seen any proof. Played straight with Chase, a former seminarian and the most credulous when it comes to supernatural causes of illnesses.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Cuddy's mom to House.
    • In season one, Wilson gives one to Cameron in regards to House.
  • I Lied: Given the pilot episode is titled "Everybody Lies," it requires a separate page for a comprehensive list. The story arc where House lies to Cuddy about a malaria test finishes with House telling Wilson that to repair their relationship, he lied.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The homeless patient in the episode "Fall from Grace" turns out to be a cannibalistic serial killer when his presence in the hospital got through to the FBI, but he remains on the loose. Those weren't animal bones he confessed to have eaten...
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: A stage magician manages to pull off some amazing tricks, that impressed and stumped even House himself. One such trick was a simple "pick a card" trick. Then he threw the deck at a window, where a card stuck to the glass. When House took the card and told him it wasn't his card... he found his card, between the two panes of the double-pane glass! If the guy wanted to make a convincing case for "magic is real" then he has certainly done so.
  • Improbable Antidote: A death row inmate tries to kill himself by drinking several bottles of copier fluid. House sits by the guy's bedside as his condition worsens, and the two of them each down several shots of high-proof rum. Only after a while does House reveal the truth: copier fluid is about 90% methanol, or wood alcohol, and the treatment for that is large amounts of ethanol, or grain alcohol. All those shots he had the guy drinking were slowly curing him.
  • Improbable Taxonomy Skills: Coupled with his implausible diagnostic skills, House is able to recognize things that entire teams of forensic pathologists couldn't, using either minute samples or none at all; the inevitable explanation is either convoluted and implausible, or else "they were looking in the wrong place."
  • Induced Hypochondria: How House confirms that a mystery illness is really mass hysteria.
  • Informed Self-Diagnosis: House himself, as well as Amber.
    • Also the patient of the week in Season 5's "The Greater Good" self-diagnoses her spontaneously collapsed lung.
  • In Medias Res: See Once a Season. Other examples pop up too (like season 7's "Two Stories").
  • Innocent Innuendo: House pretends to play this trope straight with Thirteen in one scene of the season 4 episode "Don't Ever Change", but subverts it at the end.
    House: You do it both ways, right?
    Thirteen: What?
    House: The ultrasound, standing up and lying down. What else would I mean?
    [House pauses; then, as Thirteen starts to leave with the patient, he smiles and winks at her]
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Cutthroat Bitch (or CB for short) - Amber.
    • Thirteen - Remy Hadley.
    • Big Love - Cole.
    • Scooter/Bosley/Ridiculously Old Fraud - Henry.
    • Mini Stud - Taub.
    • Grumpy - Brennan.
    • House Lite - Foreman.
    • The Oncologist Boy Wonder - Wilson.
    • Overly Enthusiastic Former Foster Kid - Kutner.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: Seen once every episode or so, especially in earlier seasons.
  • Insufferable Genius: House, and the patient of "The Jerk".
  • ...In That Order: Dr. House says to a female patient he dislikes, "If you're gonna kill me and rape me, please do it in that order."
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: A running theme in the show- House is both brilliant and self-isolating. Though he can be charming and charismatic, he finds most people to be moronic, and rarely makes an effort to form relationships. Even his only friend, Wilson, attempts to end their friendship on at least two occasions throughout the course of the show.
    • Martha Masters- She was smart enough to start college at age 16. Unlike House, she strives to make friends but is rejected for being socially awkward.
      • Interestingly, in one episode Cuddy mentions that Masters and House have a combined IQ of over 300 (we can deduce that they each have an IQ of about 150- remarkable considering less than 0.2% of the human population has an IQ score above 145.) Being at that rare a level of intelligence can explain why they have trouble relating to other people.
  • Intoxication Ensues: "I'm not on antidepressants, I'm on speeeeeeeeeeeed!"
  • Ironic Echo:
    Lisa: [to House] I'm gonna do you the biggest favor one doctor can do another. I'm going to stop you from killing your patient.
    House: [to Lisa] I'm gonna do you the biggest favor one doctor can do another. I'm going to stop you from killing your patient.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Cameron. Also done with Foreman in the Season 3 arc involving his resignation.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Parodied in "The Down Low" (which involves a patient and his friend who are drug dealers):
    House: I need the drugs.
    Eddie: We're in textiles.
    House: I NEED THE DRUGS!!! [Beat] Huh. Works for Jack Bauer.
  • Jerkass: As Wilson puts it in one episode, House has a Rubik's Complex - he doesn't care about the well-being or happiness of his patients, just that he solves the puzzle, and his patients surviving is a happy coincidence, or to quote House verbatim, "I solve puzzles. Saving people is collateral damage." Consider the case in "Informed Consent" - the patient is 71 and flat-out requests that House euthanize him because he doesn't want to live hooked up to machines; instead, House puts him in a coma and carries on working. Eventually, he gets his solution... then Cameron aids in killing the patient because his disease is terminal.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • House's tendancy to shoot down uninteresting cases and throw out simple solutions is because his department specializes in solving the unsolvable. Hampering them with someone who has an easily diagnosable disease just because they are rich makes the department less able to handle the mysteries that come their way.
    • Detective Tritter from Season 3, despite being a Jerkass, definitely has a point about how House behaves and that he has a problem with his Vicodin
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the end, House's patients' lives are his top priority, despite his very rough personality. He also clearly places great value on his friendship with Wilson.
    • In the first season, he lies to a transplant committee, risking his whole career, in order to save his patient. When the patient asks him why he did that, he merely states "you're my patient". Note that despite the contention that he cares only about the puzzle, he'd already solved this case. He knew what was wrong with the patient, and this action was solely about saving her life.
    • One example of this is an episode where he was able to diagnose a 66-year-old patient before the halfway point, but the patient needed a new heart. His age and risk factor meant there was no chance of getting one through the normal red-tape, so House made a plan to acquire the heart from an overweight lady brain-dead from a car crash whose organs would have been rejected for general use anyway. It ended up a little more complicated than that and House said some very mean and cruel things to the grieving husband ("We're talking about meat") but his goals were to save someone who could be saved because of her.
    • In the S4 finale House risks his life by undergoing deep-brain stimulation at Wilson't request. ("You want me to risk my life in order to save Amber's? <beat> Okay.") This is on the off chance that he can remember anything from the night of the bus accident that might help them diagnose her. He remembers, but the diagnosis is fatal. On the other hand it *does* send him into a violent seizure while still undergoing brain surgery. All this from a man who claims that he doesn't care about anyone.
    • In the S6 finale he practically risks his life going into the ruins alone and later helping the fireman trying to set the woman she found there free (and to save her leg) even though her case is pretty straightforward. When the patient dies of complications in the ambulance, he becomes extremely upset.
    • In the series finale House fakes his own death, risking jail time and a lifetime ban on returning to medicine, so that he can be with Wilson, who has terminal cancer, for his last few months.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Edward Vogler, the first villain House comes across, appears to be at least somewhat interested in the hospital's (and the patients') interests at first. But we then find out he's merely a patronizing, self-satisfied bastard who's just trying to make money while conning everyone at the hospital into being submissive workers. Fortunately, House wins in the end.
  • Jesus Was Crazy: House once asked for a differential diagnosis on Jesus, and Martha comes up with schizophrenia. The episode itself was about a patient that was very religious, and House believed that the strong convictions was caused by a medical problem.
  • Jewish Mother: Cuddy's mom. This would be unremarkable (Cuddy is, after all, Jewish), except that she converted. Enforced Trope?
  • Jitter Cam: Used abundantly in "Both Sides Now" as a hint that House's mental state is not quite what it seems.
  • Jumping the Shark: Invoked Literally - at the beginning of "Here Kitty", House built a racetrack in the clinic, put a toy shark under the ramp at the end of the track, and then tried to make a toy car jump the shark. Cuddy caught the car in midair, though, before it reached the shark.

  • Karma Houdini:
    • House is the poster child. The man can't go an episode without doing something that would cause any normal doctor to get arrested and/or his medical license revoked. That being said, he has been physically assaulted by patients, their relatives, and even his own fellows, and once he was even shot in his office.
    • The cannibal serial killer whom the team treated also escaped punishment and was never heard from again.
    • Tritter uses a sick and blatantly illegal mixture of bribery and coercion on Wilson and House's fellows, doesn't keep his word regarding a plea bargain, and doesn't even get a slap on the wrist.
    • Whitney in "Joy to the World", who cheats on her fiance and gets pregnant, but whose infidelity is covered up by House. He claims he did so to "save their marriage", but all he did was saddle the poor man with an unfaithful future wife.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being in his mid-forties, 5'6" and balding with an egg-shaped head, Taub seems to attract younger women pretty easily.
  • Keeping the Handicap: In the episode House Divided, House intends to cure the deaf patient Seth Miller by installing a cochlear implant, but Seth refuses to undergo the procedure.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • House pulls a few of these, usually when he's been deprived of Vicodin and feeling really out of sorts. One of the worst was a shot at Cuddy.
      House: It's a good thing you failed to become a mom, because you suck at it!
    • Cuddy gets her revenge in the Season 6 episode "Ignorance is Bliss". After gunning for an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with Cuddy for half the episode she gives him an address. House suspects it's phony, but has it checked out and excitedly prepares for dinner. He makes the three-hour drive to find an empty house and a house-sitter who says she was told to offer him a turkey sandwich. Granted, House's plan was to try to split Cuddy and Lucas up, but he still seemed very hurt by the deception.
      • Wilson certainly thought so. In "Wilson", he buys the condo Cuddy and Lucas were about to buy right out from under them, and tells House he doesn't regret it, because Cuddy "hurt my friend".
    • Foreman gets one when not only the patient he couldn't help but see as himself having made wrong choices dies, but tries to ask his mom for help and she's forgotten who he is (but offers comfort anyway).
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Tritter probably didn't expect tripping House and complaining about waiting times to earn him 2 hours with a rectal thermometer. Similarly, House probably didn't expect abusing Tritter, a police detective, to result in him trying to ruin House's life with a drug investigation in response.
  • Kiss of Distraction: In "Half-Wit", Cameron kisses House to distract him while drawing blood, but he catches her.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Dibala in Season 6. Despite appearing in one episode, he ends up having a massive impact on several characters lives and in some ways, changes them for the worse. He’s the closest thing the show has to an irredeemable character.
  • Knight Templar: Tritter really believes he's doing the right thing with his investigation and prosecution of House.
  • Lab Pet: Inverted. House captures a wild rat in a co-worker's home, and decides to keep it as a pet, naming it "Steve McQueen." It is later indicated that he occasionally uses the rat for medical experiments.
  • Lactating Male: In the B-plot for "Skin Deep", House is treating a man with couvade syndrome (sympathetic pregnancy) who is experiencing lactation among other symptoms. When his wife goes into labor, he gets contractions too. This gives House his "Eureka!" moment and allows him to diagnose his primary patient, a beautiful model with testicular cancer. She was genetically male (unknown to her) but androgen insensitivity syndrome led to her developing external female characteristics. What the doctors had thought were undersized ovaries were really undescended testicles. House handles this with his usual sensitivity and tact.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • House gets a phone call updating him on what has happened to the patient, but he's not asked to do anything. He sums it up by saying that it is basically an exposition call.
    • A more blatant one comes in an episode with a case of what appears to be smallpox that survived in in a glass bottle. Taub points out that this scenario is almost impossible so House calls up the CDC. Also counts as It's for a Book.
      House: Hello, I'm a screen writer working on a film and I was wondering is it possible for smallpox to have survived underwater in a glass bottle for 200 years.
      CDC Guy: Well, I suppose...[click]
    • In "Ugly", House lampshades a camera technique for the camera team following him. The show itself uses this technique practically every episode.
      House: Walks look good on camera. They give the illusion of the story moving forward.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After years of sleeping around, Taub gets his ex-wife and a nurse pregnant at the end of season 7, and is stuck raising his daughters Sophie and Sofia in season 8.
  • Last-Name Basis:
    • All characters are referred to only by last names, except Thirteen, Stacy and Amber, whose name became a plot point in one episode. House is only referred to as "Greg" by his mother and Stacy, and on one occasion, Wilson. Even the Chase/Cameron and Cuddy/House romantic couples keep this trope (Thirteen never calls multi-episode boyfriend Foreman "Eric" either). Stacy is the only one who approaches this the way a normal person might — she calls the series' main character "House" during hospital business but in less formal situations (and when addressing him directly) she refers to him as "Greg." She also calls Cuddy "Lisa" at least once.
    • He seems to resent being called by his first name most of the time, whether because he perceives it as patronizing or overly familiar. Oddly, he didn't object to being called Greg in the mental hospital in the first couple of Season 6 episodes.
    • And yet in that semi-infamous first season speech to the waiting room:
      House: Hello, sick people and their loved ones! In the interests of saving time and avoiding a lot of boring chit-chat later, I'm Dr. Gregory House. You can call me Greg. I'm one of three doctors staffing this clinic this morning. ... This ray of sunshine is Dr. Lisa Cuddy. Dr. Cuddy runs this whole hospital, so unfortunately she's much too busy to deal with you. I am a BOARD [read:bored]-certified diagnostician with a double specialty of infectious disease and nephrology. I'm also the only doctor currently employed at this clinic who's forced to be here against his will. That is true, isn't it? But not to worry, because for most of you this job could be done by a monkey with a bottle of Motrin. Speaking of which, if you're particularly annoying you may see me reach for this. It's Vicodin — it's mine, you can't have any. And no, I do not have a pain-management problem, I have a pain problem. But who knows — maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm too stoned to tell. So, who wants me? [everyone stares] And who would rather wait for one of the other two guys? [everyone raises their hands] Well, I'll be in Exam Room 1 if you change your mind.
    • Lampshaded by Cuddy's mom in Season 7.
    • Occasionally, the show draws attention to this with a little You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious. For instance, when Foreman thinks he's dying in Euphoria (part two), he calls Cameron Allison.
    • Thirteen is, if anything, a direct inversion to this. Everyone calls her by her nickname. The first time her actual surname is used, by Cuddy, it's so bizarre that House actually calls it out (jokingly, it would seem) as wrong.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The Season 4 DVD has pictures of the candidates who win the season-long competition, as well as giving the actors' names. The winners aren't decided until almost the end of the season.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The show began two of the last three seasons with Two Part Episodes dedicated to the title character escaping a mental institution and prison, respectively. He also ended up in a romantic relationship with Dr. Cuddy, who was completely absent for the final season along with most of the original cast.
  • Law of Inverse Paternity: Comes up every so often.
  • Laxative Prank: In one of the petty battles between Cuddy and House, Cuddy replaces House's Vicodin with laxatives. Being House, he finds a way to amp up the stakes:
    House: I know when my Vicodin isn't Vicodin. Do you know when your birth control pills aren't birth control pills?
  • Lead In: The second type. The show was already pretty successful when FOX started airing it right after American Idol. The viewership ballooned to a whopping 24 million/week. Even after being moved to another time slot, ''House still draws around 18 million/week, and is now used as a Lead In for other shows needing a boost.
  • Layout of a Season: "Broken" opens the sixth season with House's stay in the mental hospital. It mentions that he will be seeing his doctor for outpatient therapy after being discharged. This is not referenced again until a couple of episodes before the finale.
  • Lethal Diagnosis: Patients with relatively mild symptoms tend to get spectacularly worse once diagnosed - even though the diagnosis is usually wrong.
  • Licensed Game: A cellphone game, notable for having a "Blind Idiot" Translation, in part likely due to being made by a Spanish company then translated. See a Let's Play of it here.
  • Lie Detector: House once used a Cat scan as a lie detector, observing which parts of the patient's brain were active to tell when he was lying.
  • Life Will Kill You: Invoked in almost every episode, and far from always subverted by the doctor somehow managing to save the patient anyway.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Pointed out by House as the reason why Chase is attracted to a doctor he was responsible for hiring as part of House's diagnostics team, demonstrating this with a side-by-side photo projection which shows an uncanny physical resemblance between the woman and Chase's late mother.
  • Like You Were Dying:
    • Subverted in an episode where Wilson finds out that a patient he had diagnosed with terminal cancer is actually going to be fine. To his surprise, the man is outraged, because knowing he was dying had made his life happier, and finding out that he's not made him miserable.
    • Played straight in a different episode. A young girl with terminal cancer who has an astonishing bravery and dedication to enjoying the little time she has left. Despite his best efforts as misanthropy, the girl's zest for life rubs of on House and he ends up buying a motorcycle. The series' last shot is of House and a terminally ill Wilson going touring on motorcycles.
  • Little "No": Wilson, when House revealed that he replaced the wall between their offices with a remote-controlled garage door.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: The patient from the episode "Autopsy". House was the only person who didn't seem to sympathize with her (for the most part; at the end of the episode, he seemed to warm up to her as well, ). This all becomes a bit too saccharinely sweet at the very end, since no other patient was ever hugged by the whole damn staff !
  • Lopsided Dichotomy: House talking about the iPhone:
    House: Either that costs more than 25 bucks, or I'm seriously starting to doubt Steve Jobs' business strategy.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers:
    • Lucas, House's romantic rival for Cuddy in season 6, is implied to not be good in bed and often leaves Cuddy sexually frustrated, such as in "Nine to Five" when he only lasts for a whopping two minutes, much to her displeasure.
    • In "Act Your Age", the father of the Patient of the Week felt he was too old to be able to sexually satisfy his younger lover, so he began to rely on testosterone cream so he wouldn't disappoint her, but this ended up causing him to pass the excess hormones to his daughter via sweat.
  • Love Hurts: This comes to head in a Season 7 episode when two relationships end up almost breaking at a wedding and one actually does, due to severe trust issues: Taub's marriage, House and Cuddy, and Wilson's relationship with his first wife. However, only Wilson's relationship trouble is permanent in this case.

  • Mad Doctor: House himself is really just a Dr. Jerk. However, at one point he had two dozen or so candidates who were competing for a coveted position on his diagnostic team. When it seems that one of their patients has polio, which is mostly a third world disease, it turns out that one of the doctors was deliberately poisoning the patient to mimic the symptoms of polio in order to, as he put it, "raise awareness". After House disqualifies him, he tells Foreman to call the cops.
  • Made of Iron:
    • House has been shot in the body and neck at point-blank range, with zero long-term effects; he walks away from bus-crashes which kill co-stars, and from motorcycle-accidents which barely faze him; he gets beaten up various times with very little effect, and he downs bottles of prescription-painkillers daily for years with no long-term impact, just a few short-term hallucinations that 2 months of rehab cure entirely.
    • In "Everybody Dies" he somehow survives an explosion in a burning building by heading out the back.
  • Made of Plasticine: Each week's patient suffers a life-threatening illness from some trace-substance they encounter— even coming from within their own bodies— and even the minutest exposure was months or years beforehand.
  • Magical Defibrillator:
    • House is better at this than most medical dramas, getting the paddles for a v-tach or v-fib and whipping out the drugs for an asystole. But the writers still get this wrong enough that the guy who does the Medical Reviews of House has adopted a catch phrase of "You don't shock a flatline."
    • The defibrillators also have a tendency to backfire, particularly if your name is Lawrence Kutner. On multiple occasions, he would use the defibrillators and something would go horribly wrong, such as zapping himself or lighting the patient on fire.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: Subverted. House gets all the strange cases because that's what he specializes in, and other doctors will send their patients to him (and some patients will swim across an ocean, literally). However, this still doesn't account for the rarity of most of the diseases on the show. His awful bedside manner could also play into this.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • Once in a while, we see a surgeon or radiologist in the background doing their jobs. Most of the time, it's one of the main characters. It's possibly due to Cuddy's lack of any actual control over them, but you'd think the technicians and surgeons would be upset that these guys from Diagnostics are doing their jobs. Also, the main characters tend to do a lot of nurse-work, as on most medical drama shows.
    • Interestingly, in the two episodes from Season 6 where the POV is switched from House ("Wilson" and "5 to 9"), the nurses (or at least the ones serving as personal assistants to Wilson and Cuddy, respectively) have a bigger role, so it seems that this trope applies more to House's team than to the hospital as a whole. The trope is played however painfully straight with Chase, who, despite being an intensive care specialist, once he got magically transformed into a surgeon is able to handle any surgery under the sun.
    • Possibly justified. The few times we do see House working with the rest of the hospital staff, he invariably manages to really piss them off, with several threatening to report him for unethical conduct. And in one case, he actually blackmails a doctor into committing a breach of ethics for one of his patients. It's quite believable that no one outside his team will work on his cases if they can avoid it. Add in that House doesn't trust anyone. He assumes that previous doctors and nurses have screwed up tests and diagnoses. He wants everything done by his chosen few because he has a modicum of trust in them.
    • It's flat out stated by Cuddy in one episode that half of the hospital staff refuses to work with House.
    • It's explicitly Lampshaded in the Vogler arc that most individual doctors in other departments have a far heavier caseload than the entire Diagnostic Medicine department, so part of House's reasoning is that given that his team has so much "free time" they might as well do everything for a particular patient up to and including changing bedpans on the off chance that in the process they will notice some obscure detail that will give him an insight into a particularly puzzling case.
    • Occasionally the main characters head out to investigate a patient's home or workplace for potential causes for their ailments, up to and including wrangling animals that might have passed on an infection. This should not even fall under the purview of anyone employed by the hospital.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Seemingly played straight but ultimately subverted in "Fools for Love". The white Patient of the Week had a seemingly racist father who didn't like him dating a black woman, to the point of beating him over it. As it turns out, it wasn't her race he had a problem with, but the fact that she was the product of an affair he had had, and thus the patient's half-sister.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • House himself, obviously, as well as all the other doctors to a certain extent.
      House: I'd have to learn how to manipulate someone new.
      Wilson: Wow, I think I'm gonna cry.
    • Dr. Amber Volakis, a candidate for House's new team, proved to be ruthless in her goal through rhetoric and backstabbing. She almost takes pride in having the nickname "Cutthroat Bitch" bestowed upon her by House.
    • Wilson often plays the game back at House, even though his intentions (usually) aren't as devious. After one instant of manipulation House calls him out, smiles, and respectfully calls him "you manipulative bitch".
    • Dr. Nolan, the head of the Mayfield Psychiatric Institute, has become the one character in the entire show who has somehow managed to stay one step ahead of House at all times. For example, knowing House would cheek his medications, he switched House to placebos. Knowing that House would cause a riot among the in-patients, he gave the in-patients what they wanted, but didn't give House what he wants. And knowing that House would sneak to the phones to try to get Wilson to break him out, he called Wilson first to tell him to not do anything House tells him to do.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: "House vs. God", with Boyd, the faith healer.
    • In "Guardian Angels", the patient appears to be communing with the dead. She appears to be seeing one of House's deceased relatives, until he reveals that he was playing along so she'd cooperate with the diagnosis. Ultimately, they find the cause of her hallucinations, and they go away.
    • In "Unfaithful", a priest has a vision of Jesus. Since the priest has lost his faith (much to House's delight), he seeks treatment for hallucinations, and immediately begins display other, more serious symptoms. At the end, he turns out to have a genetic condition that explains every symptom except hallucinations. House decides that the hallucination was brought on by alcohol, and the timing was just a coincidence. The priest, however, believes that God sent the vision to save his life, and his faith is restored.
    • In "Body and Soul", the patient's grandfather believes his symptoms are signs of demonic possession (even appearing to be floating in the air, though House dismisses it as an illusion). When the team is unable to solve the case, the grandfather conducts an exorcism, and Adams, at the exact same time, tries a last-ditch treatment. The boy is completely cured, and it's impossible to say what cured him.
  • Meaningful Name: Amber in the Season 4 finale.
    • Given who House is a Shout Out to, Jack Moriarty in the Season 2 finale probably also counts.
      • Also given that, the name "House" is a play on the name "Holmes," and "Wilson" is a play on "Watson."
    • Foreman's name could be related to his willingness to become a leader, not to mention his actual role in Season Eight.
  • Medium Blending: "Epic Fail", with 3D animations from the video game designed by the patient supplanting reality.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • House mercy-killed a patient at least once. Wilson euthanized a dying cancer patient when his pain was too much for him to take. Cameron euthanized a patient with terminal amyloidosis. According to Wilson, this is fairly common among doctors, even if they don't acknowledge that it's euthanasia.
    • Thirteen euthanized her brother, who was suffering from late-stage Huntingtons. House has offered to kill her when she is in the same situation.
  • Mind Screw:
    • The Season 5 finale, for us, and for House. He wisely decides at that point that he needs help, and takes a stay at the local asylum.
    • The episode, "Lockdown", had chockloads of this: A newborn baby goes missing; Taub and Foreman get high on House's Vicodin and pretty much play "chase me" to read each other's medical profiles; Wilson and Thirteen play truth-or-dare (resulting in Wilson getting caught stealing one dollar from the cafeteria cash register and Thirteen flashing Taub at the end); and Cameron comes back to get Chase to sign the divorce papers and they end up having sex instead. LIKE WOAH.
    • Many of the season finales tend to be like that. The first half of the two-part Season 4 finale, "House's Head", involved House deliberately inducing hallucinations to jog his memory of a crash he was in, and of course there was the Season 2 finale, where House gets shot in the opening moments of the episode and everything from that point until just before the end is all just a hallucination. Hallucinations pop up again in the series finale when House talks to various characters, past and present, dead and alive during a very dark time.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Discussed at the start of Season 5, when Wilson is seemingly blaming house for Amber's death. When pressed on the matter, however, Wilson freely admits that it was the result of an absurdly improbable set of Disaster Dominoes that he can't feasibly blame House for, and instead talks about how much worse in general House has made his life, whether or not it's been intentional.
  • Mirror Character:
    • There's a recurring subplot about Foreman's similarity to House. One episode had him mulling it over the whole episode, and then they walk into the elevator at the end, and realize they're wearing the exact same type of jeans and sneakers. Foreman resigns as a result of this.
    • In the eighth season, the show gives Chase a number of similarities to House. He's lonely and unhappy, at one point he ends up temporarily paralyzed below the waist, giving him a limp, and even showcase the fact that he's pretty brilliant when not overshadowed by House... this is all to foreshadow Chase eventually replacing House as head of diagnostics. Fortunately, they don't derail him and make him a clone; it was all part of natural development.
  • Mistaken for Gay: House and Wilson. House naturally tries to feed the image of a Transparent Closet, initially just to screw with Wilson but eventually as part of a plan to earn the trust of the woman who mistook them for gay so that he can sleep with her. Wilson foils it — by publicly proposing to House.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: House snorting white lines of... antihistamine. Also cooking and shooting experimental drug that he hopes will promote the re-growth of muscle tissue in his bad leg. It doesn't go well.
  • Mock Millionaire: One episode had Taub running into and treating his former high school classmate Neil who invites him to his fancy office and asks him for advice on improving a medical device he invented. Taub, who misses his former privileged life, had just lost a bunch of money in the housing bubble crash and had gone through a particularly humiliating day with House asks him for a job and he proposes they become business partners. Taub hands his resignation to House and goes to meet Neil with the money... and finds a secretary who tells him that Neil was just a temp using the CEO's office to con a bunch of doctors out of their money (using the "high school classmate" and fake illness for all of them) and was just arrested. Taub then spends the entire following episode trying to convince House not to fire him.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Season 6 episode "Lockdown" frequently switches between House talking to a dying patient, Cameron and Chase discussing their ruined marriage and Thirteen and Wilson playing a hilarious game of Truth Or Dare. The same episode also has Foreman and Taub getting high on pain medication and punching each other for fun before Taub gets hold of Foreman's medical profile, causing Foreman to immediately become serious again.
    • Season 1 episode "Three Stories" starts as a Wacky Breather Episode and ends as a Tear Jerker.
    • Season 5 episode "Saviours" looks like it's going to end with shots of Cameron and Chase announcing to everyone that they're engaged, complete with a slow-motion hugging and smiling scene. House even looks like he'll end the episode playing merrily away at his piano. Then the music stops, as we realize that House is starting to hallucinate.
    • Season 7: Bombshells which features a bunch of really funny dream sequences which parodies of sitcoms the 50's, Zombie Movies, and War Movies. All because Cuddy and House are having nightmares about Cuddy who may have metastatic kidney cancer.
      • And then it does a mega-whiplash when after what was being a tremendously Happy Ending after learning that her tumor was benign and her other symptoms were an allergic reaction, Cuddy discovers House's caring attitude was drug-induced and dumps him.
    • Season 7's "Fall from Grace": After the obligatory happy scene in which the patient is cured, Masters comes back to his room to find the entire floor crawling with FBI agents, who have informed the staff that the patient was a cannibalistic serial killer
    • Season 8's "Body and Soul" was lighthearted, between Park and Chase fantasizing about each other and House lying to Dominika about the arrival of her naturalization certificate. In the final scene of the episode, House learns that Wilson has cancer.
    • Season 8's 'The C-Word' was one of the series' darkest episodes, with Wilson giving himself a large dose of chemo at House's apartment so that he'll either die or be ready for surgery on his thymoma, to avoid the possibility of dying in a hospital. He hallucinates an 8-year-old who died under his care, goes through extreme pain and becomes so weak he can't even walk on his own. He begs for death so he can escape the pain and passes out The episode ends with Wilson surviving, coming back to work and opening his laptop. House put a slideshow on there of himself and 2 hookers doing various humiliating things to Wilson's passed-out body, which Wilson finds hilarious
    • "Everybody Dies": In the opening scenes, House has done heroin and is waiting for death in a burning building; Wilson and Foreman see him die in the building's collapse shortly after he decides to live. During his scathing eulogy at the funeral, Wilson gets a text from none other than House. In the series' final minutes, Wilson finds House alive, realizes that House has sacrificed everything for him, and the two ride off to enjoy their last five months together.
  • Morality Chain: Masters for House. He asks her to be one, as he fears that without a moral and ethical anchor, he could lose Cuddy.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: In the episode "Informed Consent" House diagnosed Dr. Ezra Powell, a famous scientist who once conducted an unethical and illegal experiment on babies, and who believed that patients' rights hold back research.
  • Moral Myopia: Happens from time to time, either when one of the characters sticks to their version of morality and ignores the wider consequences, or when the production staff thinks that a particular lifestyle choice or moral choice is right or wrong and will then tailor the character(s) and or storyline to justify their opinion, even if it's contrary to the nature of a character... or reality. YMMV, but one point where you could pick on this is the Dibala case early in season 6, where Chase intentionally screws up a test to kill the patient because he thinks it will prevent a genocide, ignoring the fact that genocidal leaders don't act alone and killing one person isn't going to magically stop their plans from happening at all. Realistically, one of his underlings will just take up his position and commit the genocide anyway. The writers obviously ignore this reasonable explanation to make Cameron the Straw Idealist, with her arguments being extremely weak and making no sense. This was apparently enough to cause fans of the show to buy into the ridiculous justification Chase has for committing murder and getting away with it.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Cuddy, especially once she started her relationship with House. Now the show doesn't miss a chance to show her in various states of undress, including nothing.
    • Thirteen seems to be a conscious effort to create a Lipstick Lesbian Hospital Hottie Ms. Fanservice.
  • Multi-Gendered Split Personalities: In an episode, a girl develops an alternate personality whom she considers her "boyfriend". Oddly enough, she tests positive for pregnancy and the doctors think he got her pregnant, which doesn't turn out to be true.
  • Münchausen Syndrome: One episode dealt with a woman with Munchausen Syndrome and the argument over if she was sick, or if all her symptoms were manufactured.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The go cart racing scene in Season 7.
  • Mushroom Samba: Dr. Park, after eating ice cream laced with LSD.
    Taub: We didn't find any drugs.
    Park: Then why am I completely tripping balls right now?
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • In "House Training" Foreman is so determined that the patient can be fixed by giving her radiation treatment, but it turns out that she just had a Staph infection and the radiation treatment destroyed her immune system, essentially killing her. Foreman doesn't just believe he made a mistake and attributes what he did as akin to pulling a trigger.
    • In "97 Seconds" this happens to Thirteen when she realizes the patient died because she didn't bother to confirm he actually took the medication she gave him. House doesn't fire her because it was such a huge mistake and she beats herself over it so much that he's sure she'll never make such a mistake again.
    • In "Broken: Part 1", House becomes pissed when a fellow patient at Mayfield is forcibly medicated and rendered catatonic, then depressed, due to his delusions of being a superhero. He sneaks him off to an amusement park and restores his self-esteem by convincing him he could fly with a skydiving simulator. His plan to subvert Mayfield's administration goes awry when "Freedom Master", believing he could fly, leaps off of a second story and nearly dies. House is aghast at what happened and practically begs Dr. Nolan to help him.
    • In "Fall From Grace", the team (and Masters, in particular) has this moment when they realize the patient they had helped, and who subsequently absconded from the hospital, was a wanted cannibalistic serial murderer.
  • Nausea Dissonance: Thirteen once tries to make Chase, who is eating a sandwich, lose his appetite by deliciously describing one of the patient's latest meals: pig rectum with a side order of sphincter. It doesn't work; Chase looks at her defiantly and takes another bite.
    Taub: I think they call that 'breakfast' in Australia.
  • Near-Death Experience: House has had plenty of these.
  • Necro Cam: While not in the traditional sense, the show uses a form of the Necro Cam by often zooming inside the patient's body and showing what was going on inside that caused their illness in the first place. One of the grossest cases is when we explore a patient's fungi-infected lungs.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One episode preview made it look like House had finally lost it by showing a clip of him shouting "I NEED THE DRUGS!". In the actual episode he was just parodying the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • Never Suicide: Played with in "Simple Explanation". When Kutner was found dead of a shotgun wound, House was temporarily convinced it must have been murder because he hadn't noticed any signs that Kutner was depressed (possibly because they had to Drop A Bridge On Him at the last minute), but there was no way that could have been the case.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the sixth season finale, House supports the decision of a woman whose leg is trapped under several tons of rubble not to let anyone amputate, despite the risk of lethal toxins resulting from muscle death entering her bloodstream if it takes too long for her to be freed, thanks to obvious parallels with the incident that ruined his leg. However, after Cuddy calls him out, pointing out that his own decision not to amputate has left him crippled, bitter, and alone, he changes his mind, convinces the woman that they should amputate, and performs the procedure himself. Everything seems fine... until, on the way to the hospital, the woman starts suffering from an embolism caused by the amputation, and House is unable to do anything except watch her die in front of him. A little later, Foreman points out that he did the right thing, only for House to yell that it doesn't matter because she "died anyway".
  • No Name Given:
    • Dr. Remy Hadley was merely called "Thirteen" for much of the fourth season, and the nickname is still more prominent. Foreman called her Thirteen even while they were dating. Her surname is not revealed until her fourteenth appearance, and her forename is not revealed until her twenty-second. She refers to herself as Thirteen.
      • Blink and miss, but even her hospital ID card says "Dr. Thirteen"!
    • Also, the name of Cameron's late husband is never revealed. She refers to him as her husband even while engaged to Chase.
  • Non-Standard Prescription: Including cigarettes, a wet cloth and candy (as a placebo).
    • House offers to write a woman a prescription for a wet cloth after she'd brought her son into the clinic for "rashes" (it was red dye).
    • Another episode has House filling a prescription bottle with candies in order to get an annoying patient without a real problem to leave. Later, the patient comes back and asks for a refill because it worked so well.
    • In the episode "Damned If You Do", House gives a mall Santa a prescription for cigarettes as a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • "That whole thing with the duck was hardly unexpected."
    • "You couldn't be curious about heroin?" "Not since last year's Christmas party."
    • In 1987, Cuddy was married for 6 days.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In many episodes, as long as House cures whatever is causing the disease, the effects it had are either glossed over or vanish.
    • Averted in many other episodes, patients with transplants or various glands removals or so on are very frequently told they'll have to take medicines for the rest of their lives, be immunocompromised, or so on.
  • No Sympathy: For the sake of his ego, House goes out of his way to provoke this in other people. He also pulls this himself; one prime example is his goading and bullying of Stacy's husband Mark.
  • Not Even Bothering with an Excuse: Frequently happens, by the titular character mostly, but also by others.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore
    • At the end of Season 3, Foreman and Cameron quit, and House fires Chase. Season 4 begins with House assembling a new team of diagnosticians.
    • At the end of Season 4, House is involved in a bus crash along with Amber, who was going out with Wilson. Amber dies, and her death creates a schism in House and Wilson's relationship. House's own guilt over her death and Kutner's subsequent suicide also pushes him to the brink of insanity.
    • The end of Season 7 and the beginning of Season 8 represent major changes in the series: Cuddy steps down as the dean of medicine and is succeeded by Foreman, who manages to get House out of prison on a strictly supervised probation. The rest of House's team splits up, leaving him with only a meek and mousy hand-me-down from neurology when he returns from prison (though most of his team later returns). Taub is now a single father of two daughters (one from his ex-wife and another from the woman he cheated on her with), and Thirteen was in prison after euthanizing her severely ill brother. In addition, Wilson has cancer and only five months to live.
  • Not Me This Time: House is Cuddy's first suspect when she hears someone's been stealing meds from the pharmacy in "5 To 9." No, it was actually a lab tech, the medicine being stolen wasn't even Vicodin, and House had nothing to do with it.
    • Invokes in a season 3 episode when House's cane collapses. Wilson says "Not me this time," referring to his previous cane-sawing prank.

  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    House: [to Wilson] Wait a second, this isn't just about the sex. You like her personality. You like that she's conniving. You like that she has no regard for consequences. You like that she can humiliate someone if it serves... [his eyes widen, long pause] Oh my God! You're sleeping with me!

  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Although House and Cuddy aren't married, Arlene Cuddy certainly proves to be this. Oy vey.
  • Occam's Razor: In the aptly-titled episode, "Occam's Razor", House's initial suggestion for the diagnosis of the patient was the pharmacy giving him the wrong medicine for his cough, as the symptoms shown are identical to the side effects. However, the team thinks otherwise. As House finds out later, it really was a pharmacy error.
  • Odd Couple: House stays in Wilson's apartment (and vice-versa). A bonus trope from this pairing includes Wilson catching House while masturbating (and the Unusual Euphemism "your morning glory.").
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In the episode "Mirror, Mirror", Cuddy pranks House by swapping his Vicodin with laxatives. He later tells Cuddy he can tell when his Vicoden is not Vicodin. He then asks if she can tell when her birth control pills are not birth control pills. The look on Cuddy's face goes from a laugh to oh crap in a second.
    • The last few minutes of "Fall From Grace": the patient of the week was a cannibal and serial killer. House's team cured him and he skipped town shortly before the FBI showed up to arrest him.
    • In the end of "Both Sides Now", House realizes he hallucinated detoxing and hooking up with Cuddy without even realizing they were hallucinations.
  • Old Shame: In-universe. Wilson acted in his roommate's college film, which turned out to be a porno (Wilson himself does not appear in the actual sex scenes though). House finds out and has GIANT POSTERS hung up in the hospital lobby, and soon everyone is quoting the film's horrible, horrible lines ad nauseam.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: House and his underlings are pretty much Omnidisciplinary Doctors. Officially, House - nephrology/infectious disease, Cuddy - endocrinology, Wilson - oncology, Cameron - immunology, Chase - cardiology and intensive care (he also did a residency in neurosurgery, but never became certified in it), Foreman - neurology, Kutner - sports medicine, Taub - plastic surgery, Thirteen - internal medicine. But they regularly carry out their own blood tests, MRI scans, and even surgery, jobs that are usually reserved (sometimes by law) for specialists. Oh and the 25-year old omnidoctorate Martha M. Masters (no not Eminem), whose combined doctorates of applied mathematics and art history, (yet not medicine funnily enough) ... don't expect any advanced deconstruction of 15th century Impressionism or constrained numerical optimisation anytime soon.
    • It's specifically stated in Whac-a-Mole that House doesn't trust the nurses not to screw up the tests. And it's reasonable to assume that the team has time to run all these tests, since House is very selective about what cases he'll take.
    • Foreman, Taub and/or Chase, and Wilson are the only doctors that seem to use their specialties, save a few sound bites, such as House talking about infectious disease in "Airborne".
    • It's especially weird that Cameron, the immunologist, works in the ER.
    • In the episode Epic Fail there is also a patient who works on video games. What he does is never described, but apparently he worked with what seemed like only three other people on a fully 3D game, programming, modelling and animating. And also he dissected dead birds.
    • Chase's official specialties are in cardiology and intensive care. And then he ended up as the Head of Surgery for awhile.
    • Taub's actual specialty is infectious disease. There's an entire subplot in one Season 7 episode centering around him having to re-certify in it. He went into plastic surgery for the money and to be his own boss.
  • Once an Episode: It's not lupus. It's never lupus... except for the one time it was. Justified in that it's a common autoimmune disease which can present with a broad array of symptoms; not only does it make sense to rule it out early, but since House's team only sees "difficult" cases to begin with, it's entirely possible that lupus has been ruled out before they even open the file.
    • Before then, hilariously lampshaded at least once:
      Foreman: You keep drugs in a lupus textbook?
      House: Oh, it's never lupus.
    • Most episodes have House making his (reluctant) rounds at the clinic. This became rarer in later seasons.
      Patient: I can't remove my contacts and they are irritating my eyes.
      House: That's because you're not wearing contacts, you're trying to remove your cornea.
    • House calling someone a moron/idiot.
    • Someone calling House an ass. Usually Wilson or Cuddy.
    • Most episodes have the doctors checking out the Patient of the Week's home looking for clues, usually without their consent. Once House and Chase investigated Cuddy's house. Hilarity Ensues. When they investigated Stacy's house, she left them cookies.
    • The team finding out the patient has lied about some detail relevant to the case that usually results in the patient getting sicker due to them having not told the truth. Sometimes several times an episode. If it weren't Truth in Television, it would be a wallbanger, as people (both on the show and in real life) apparently don't realize there is nothing to be gained by not telling your doctor everything relevant to the casenote .
    • Cameron or Cuddy (or later, Masters) throwing some type of hissy fit because House did/wants to do something rude, risky, or dishonest.
    • Someone vomiting up blood or blood spewing from some kind of orifice.
    • A lot of early episodes had a sequence with a simulation of the interior of the human body while House explains his diagnosis and/or treatment. This too became rare in later seasons.
    • In the Cold Open, someone would show signs of being sick, coughing up blood, whatever, only for someone else in the scene to suddenly be more sick. Rather than being an occasional subversion of the Patient of the Week being the person who was obviously sick, this was the norm.
    • The patients' loved ones pretty much always seem to feel they need to help somehow, hovering close by, trying to follow their loved one into the O.R., etc, when what they actually needed to do was get out of the way of the doctors and nurses.
  • Once a Season: Usually a hallucination episode somewhere near the end of the season.
    • Seasons 4, 6 and 7 have also featured an episode near the end of the season which begins In Medias Res.
    • And, of course, some use of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. Referencing it in dialogue has practically become a Mandatory Line in and of itself.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: The man with "locked-in syndrome".
  • One of Our Own: Used sparingly compared to other medical shows, but Foreman has been infected with the week's mystery disease and Cameron has had an AIDS scare. Played straight in the fourth Season Finale, "House's Head" / "Wilson's Heart", where House spends the entire first part trying to figure out why he was involved in a bus crash and which of the other passengers is dying, only to figure out that it's Amber Volakis. The trailer for the second part uses the exact trope name. There are also the episodes where Cuddy appears to get Meningococcus and where she believes she has cancer, though it's benign.
    • And in "Three Stories", where one of the mysteries is what happened to House's leg.
    • In Season 5, Thirteen is in a Huntington's drug trial.
    • And Chase gets stabbed and paralyzed by a patient gone crazy.
    • And now Wilson has cancer.
  • Only Friend: Wilson is House's.
  • The Only One: House, most of the time.
  • Only Sane Employee: Cuddy is technically Dean of Medicine and chief administrator of the hospital. Her real job is keeping House and his increasingly House-like fellows under some measure of control.
    • Or, at least, that's all we see of her until her Day in the Limelight episode, where we see her struggling to maintain a relationship and be a mother and deal with House and run a hospital. Amazingly, she does all of these successfully, even forcing the hospital's insurance provider to back down, which almost cost her her job.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In Euphoria, House began to suspect something was wrong with Foreman when he laughed at him shooting a corpse. Foreman is as close to a stoic as there is on this show. When he later laughed at a case of irony as the patient was dying, that confirmed something was wrong.
    • House has had a number of these:
      • In "The Softer Side", everyone suspects that House is on heroin due to his relaxed, caring attitude.
      • In "Private Lives", Wilson fears for House's mental health when he discovers that House is reading a book of sermons.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: completely and utterly subverted. If you watch the blooper reel, you'll see that Hugh Laurie manages to keep his American accent even when he's laughing like crazy.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In "Love Hurts" we start a scene to hear Chase telling Foreman, "...So the bear wipes himself on the rabbit."note 
  • Pac Man Fever: Whenever House is shown playing video games, mostly Metroid.
  • Parental Issues: House has had four episodes devoted to his daddy issues and Chase's mom was an alcoholic while his Dad abandoned him. Foreman's mom has been shown to be suffering from Alzheimer's and only remembers who he is some of the time, while his father is extremely religious and doesn't even try to understand what's happening in Foreman's life. Guilt over not spending more time with his mother before she died in Season 6 is the only reason Foreman still talks to his father.
    Foreman: Mom, it's Eric.
    Mrs. Foreman: My boy's name is Eric.
  • Passing the Torch: During the second half of Season 8 it's revealed that House has been training Chase to be his successor. This is then expanded upon in the final episode, where in the end it's revealed that Chase has taken over House's role, as well as his team at Princeton-Plainsboro, and is shown in his final scene, to be sitting at what was formerly House's desk.
  • Patient of the Week
  • Patriotic Fervor: When overseas job relocation comes up in a conversation between House, Adams and Park in season 8, House dismisses patriotism with his usual cynicism:
    House: Patriotism is nothing but loyalty to real estate. Real estate that's been conquered 800 times by 800 different regimes with 800 different cultures. But each time its just the best.
  • Perma-Stubble:
    • House almost never bothers giving himself a close shave as part of his lax nature regarding the hospital's dress code.
    • This rubs off on Chase in the later seasons.
    • Detective Tritter has a hard-boiled set of stubble.
  • Pet the Dog: While a few have been faked to get what he wanted, House has had plenty of these moments.
  • Phantom Limb Pain: Wilson's downstairs neighbor still suffers phantom pains from losing his arm during peacekeeping activities in Vietnam. House successfully treats him after initially alienating him by questioning his veteran status.
  • Phoning the Phantom: In season 5, episode 22, "A House Divided", House has started consulting his hallucination of deceased former fellowship applicant Amber Volakis for assistance in his diagnoses — he reasons that the hallucination is a manifestation of his subconscious and has access to information he's consciously forgotten. In order to not draw attention to himself, he clips on a Bluetooth headset so he can freely talk with the hallucination.
  • Phrase Catcher: "You're an ass!" for House, especially in Season 8.
  • Playing Drunk: In one episode, House does this to try and break up the relationship between Cuddy and her boyfriend.
  • Plot Tumor: Especially around the last two or three seasons, you could probably cut out all the medical cases and not really miss much regarding the story arcs. Justified in the last season in that they were told the series was canceled, so they wanted to wrap up the series appropriately.
  • Poor Communication Kills: More like "Poor Communication Causes a Dangerous Hostage Situation." One episode has a patient hold House and several Clinic patients at gunpoint because he's been sick for years and no one has ever been able to figure out what's wrong with him. At the end of the episode It's revealed that he has an infection that he got when he was in Florida. The disease he has is extraordinarily rare outside of the tropics but is fairly common in them. The reason that it went undiagnosed for so long is that he didn't know that Florida is located in the tropics, so he kept telling his doctors that he had never been to the tropics, so they ruled it out as a potential cause of his illness.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-universe House had taken to calling Remy Hadley/Thirteen and Foreman "Foreteen".
  • Power Trio: The show started off with two parallel power trios: House/Wilson/Cuddy and Foreman/Cameron/Chase, then hired a third (Kutner/Taub/Thirteen) in later seasons.
  • Pregnant Hostage
  • Pretty Boy: Chase.
  • Prisoner's Last Meal: The Cold Open of the Season Two premiere episode, "Acceptance", starts in a prison where a condemned man on death row tells the warden what he would like for his last meal—deep fried shrimp, lobster (both boiled and grilled), a strawberry malt, and "those chocolate donuts that come in a box." The man never had lobster before. The warden assures the prison will "do their best to accommodate" and gives him the rundown on the rest of the schedule for his day of execution.
  • Private Detective: Lucas Douglas in Season 5.
  • Product Placement: Pretty painful at at times. During "Gut Check," a long, lingering shot on Wilson's car's logo, which then faded to a view of the dash and its in-dash GPS. You would've been forgiven for thinking that it had transitioned to a commercial break.
    • There was also the time when the Doctors memorably demonstrated the ample trunk space of the VW Golf by stashing the Oerlikon 22 mm autocannon from Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (it makes sense in context) within.
    • Apple Macbooks seemed to become unusually prolific in the show starting in mid-Season 2. Oddly enough this is actually justifiable, as they also became a lot more popular in the real world at that time due to the transition to using Intel processors.
    • Initially averted with House's game console choices; he starts off using a Game Boy Advance SP, then for the rest of Season 1 alternates between a Nintendo DS and a PlayStation Portable. Starting in Season 2 however he only ever plays with the PSP, and is also seen using a PSP Go in latter seasons, and finally a Play Station Vita near the very end of the show.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson (Thirteen and Taub) finally get billing in the Season 7 opening titles. No cool walk like the original trio, however.
    • Ironically, Olivia Wilde hasn't appeared in a single episode since the promotion.
      • This has since changed with Season 7, Episode 18 "The Dig".
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: House frequently trespasses in patients' homes to find medical evidence. But somehow, whenever he presents this evidence to the patient or family, they do not see anything wrong with it. An example is when he accused a patient's father of abusing her when they found a bloodstained shirt in her room, and he doesn't think anything of it.
    Masters: Aren't you curious how we came up with this diagnosis?
    Patient: You're doctors. Isn't that your job?
    Masters: But how we knew you were drinking apple cider?
    Patient: Well you'd have to have found that in my house, so I guess you guys broke in there.
    Masters: That doesn't bother you?
    Patient: Medicine is like politics— at the end of the day all that matters is results.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: House, Cameron and Wilson.
  • Put on a Bus / Commuting on a Bus: Get the popcorn, this will take a while. Lets go through this with each character in turn.
    • Stacy was put on a bus after hooking up with House in Season 2.
    • Chase was fired by House at the end of Season 3, and commuted as a surgeon at the hospital. After House had gone into rehab, he was roped back to work for Foreman (and later House, who had taken an advisory role until his medical license returned.) By the time House had got his license back, and his marriage with Cameron broke down, he jumped off the commuting bus and back into the team.
    • Cameron left her job to support Chase, commuting as the senior ER doctor for the hospital. She is also roped in to help Foreman when Chase was. The breakdown of her marriage to Chase moved her onto a long-distance bus (to the surprise of her actress).
    • Kutner left via bridge rather than bus.
    • Taub took a small bus trip when Foreman took over until House got his license back.
    • Thirteen is put on one for a short while in Season 6 alongside Taub, then returns. She's put on another one in Season 7. She's back. She was put on another bus near the start of season 8, returning for the series' last 3 episodes.
    • Cuddy was put on one after season 7.
    • Amber was literally on a bus, along with House, who wanted to stay on it because of the pain) until Amber convinced him to get off.
      • And of course, Amber was on that bus because earlier she had been on another bus.

  • Queer People Are Funny: There's plenty of jokes about House and Wilson being mistaken for a couple. Or anything about Chase, for that matter.
    • There are plenty of jokes about Thirteen's bisexuality, though they are usually used to further characterize House (and sometimes Foreman) as a Jerkass.
  • Quick Nip: House, with painkillers.
  • Quirky Doctor: Dr. Gregory House uses comatose patients as cup holders, watches sports with clinic patients, avoids seeing his own patients as long as possible, has a bedside manner akin to Lex Luthor when he finally does see them, refuses to wear a tie, plays with his Game Boy/cane/ball while his patients code, and has a running commentary on Cuddy's boobs. He is a jerkass every chance he gets, apparently for his own entertainment. This apparently improves his thinking processes.
  • The Quisling: House accuses Cuddy of being this, even dropping the name. She gets better later on though.
  • Race Against the Clock: the patient-of-the-week's "countdown to death", but made more dramatic by the fact that 1) the patient's remaining time is never certain to begin with, 2) it can be extended or shortened by anything the team does, and 3) the patient sometimes dies.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Episode "The Mistake" as told through narratives by House and Chase to the hospital lawyer, Stacy.
    • "Nobody's Fault" follows a similar format, with narratives from House, Taub, Adams and Park to Dr. Cofield.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot
    • Kutner was hastily removed from the show when Kal Penn took a job with the Obama administration.
    • Olivia Wilde is curiously absent from the early 7th Season episodes when TRON: Legacy was filming.
    • Wilson doesn't appear in several early episodes of season 8. Likely due to Robert Sean Leonard going back to Broadway for a stint.
  • Really Gets Around: Several regular characters.
    • 13 in season 5, during her Huntington's reveal downward spiral, but also because All Gays are Promiscuous on TV.
    • Chase after his divorce from Cameron and again after his legs are crippled
    • Taub regularly cheated on his wife Rachael until he divorced her - later he cheated on his girlfriend with Rachael and impregnated them both
    • House himself, though mainly with prostitutes.
    • House's mother.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The opening theme for House is the opening of Massive Attack's "Teardrop" from Mezzanine, except in countries where the rights to the song aren't available. There, it's replaced by a rather similar original song called "House".
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Foreman got his job because House researched his past and discovered a criminal background as a teenager. This not only interested him as far as his personality but also because he wanted someone with the skills to break into people's houses (to find environmental health sources and/or evidence of lying). Mirrored in the season 8 premiere when Foreman, as the new Dean of Medicine, gets House out of prison and gets him his job back.
  • Recycled IN SPACE! (House is Sherlock Holmes... IN A HOSPITAL!)
  • Relationship Sabotage: In the 6th Season, House decides to try this on Cuddy and Lucas.
  • Repeat What You Just Said: House is known for having Eureka Moments inspired by unrelated conversations with others so much that other characters (especially Wilson) notice the distant look in his eye while they're talking and lampshade.
    Wilson: I've just given you the answer, haven't I? And now you're going to walk out of here without saying a word.
    House: [walking out the door] Nope.
  • Reset Button: With House's personality. He's gone through several traumas, relationship collapses and explicit moments of revelation, and yet House manages to remain the same as he's always been. This is part of the point being made about House (that his nasty personality isn't a result of any one factor). Still, when watching the show, if it looks like House's personality is about to make a turn for the better, think again.
  • Retroactive Wish: "I am surrounded by naked cheerleaders!"
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why Kutner committed suicide.
    • Moriarty. We still don't know why he shot House, and it was confirmed in dialogue that he was never caught, so he's still out there...
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Several episodes' plots, per Word of God. One in particular, "Lines in the Sand", seems to be inspired by this story.
    • "Here Kitty" was based off this
    • Many of the early episodes are based on Berton Roueché's "Annals of Medicine". For example, the episode "Damned if You Do" was based on his article "Antipathies".
    • "The Tyrant" in the sixth season rips from the worst of Africa's genocidal atrocities. It has Rwanda's ethnic cleansing of "cockroaches" and the Sudan's use of child-soldiers.
    • "Alone" involved a patient in a coma after a building exploded and having a massively contrary medical history, the twist was a mistaken identity where their patient was actually a minor co-worker in the Cold Opening and the person they thought they were treating had died. This came from a real life event, where a car accident left two friends with only mild similarities being mistaken for the other because of their injuries and hospital conditions, even their family didn't catch it.
    • "Family Practice" inverts this.
  • Rule of Symbolism: "No Reason". House himself as his rational and cruel side, Moriarty as his emotional side/conscience and the patient as his crippled, self-destructive side that keeps getting worse. Makes sense.
  • The Runaway: There's an episode where House's team treated a female teenager working in a factory who it turns out had run away from home after she killed her own brother (whether this was purely accidental or the result of a quarrel gone out of hand is left unmentioned). She's reunited with her parents at the end after the doctors manage to track them down.
  • Running Gag: Bad things happen when Kutner gets hold of defibrillator paddles.
    • "Is it lupus?" "It's not lupus." Except that one time. Ditto for Multiple Sclerosis and Wegener's Disease.
    • House stealing Wilson's food.
  • Sarcasm Failure
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Vogler in Season 1.
    • Also the dad in the episode "Instant Karma".
  • Secret Santa: House slips his name as the only one to mess with his team. They figure it out quickly, but he ends up getting gifts from all of them anyways.
  • Secret Test of Character: We first meet Cuddy's mother pretending to be an average clinic patient, who House treats in his typical fashion. After he learns who she is, he holds his tongue around her, which she holds as proof that House cares about Cuddy.
  • Self-Harm: The patient in "Control".
  • Sequential Symptom Syndrome: House uses this to prove that the sick passengers on a plane who were thought to be suffering from a deadly outbreak of meningitis (which started when one passenger exhibited real symptoms of a meningitis-like illness) in fact are simply under the effects of mass hysteria and psychosomatic illness. He announces that the original sick passenger did indeed have meningitis and that they may be infected if they have any of a long list of symptoms, including the nonexistent symptom "trembling in the left hand." Cue a planeful of suddenly shaking hands.
  • Serial Killer: In the last minute of "Fall From Grace", it's revealed that the patient the team has treated and fled afterwards was this.
  • Sex for Solace: Thirteen slid into a downward spiral of partying and drunken one night stands with random chicks due to being unable to deal with her Huntington's disease.
  • Sex Is Interesting: Thirteen.
  • Share the Male Pain: In "Autopsy" House encounters a patient who bumblingly tried to circumcise himself and is visibly uncomfortable with the result.
  • Sherlock Scan: House was inspired by Sherlock Holmes after all... Though House is more prone to being wrong.
    • His wrong assumptions, however, are justified considering that many diseases and/or disorders sometimes have the same symptoms. You can see this especially in episodes where the Patient of the Week has a disease/disorder that is considered rare.
  • Shipper on Deck: House for Park and Chase
  • Ship Tease: Most conversations between House and Cuddy, and scenes between House and Wilson too...
  • Shirtless Scene: House, Chase, Foreman. Guest star Jamie Bamber gets a scene that seems to lampshade his tendency to be shirtless in other things—he's shirtless, but his skin is peeling off.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Poor Cuddy runs straight into Woobie territory in "Joy". Despite having done all the work of a Cesarean on a dying surrogate mother, saving both her life and that of Cuddy's soon-to-be adopted daughter, it seems the mother wants her back now. Is it any wonder that House finally decides not to be a jerk to her, for once?
  • Shout-Out: Has its own sub-page ShoutOut.House.
  • Significant Anagram:
    • In the episode "House Training", Gregory House suggests a particularly fitting anagram of his name: "Huge ego, sorry".
    • One of Wilson's ex-wives named their problematic dog Hector because "Hector does go rug" is an anagram for "Doctor Greg House". She hated both the dog and House.
  • Significant Monogram - Certainly James Wilson's initials are reminiscent of John Watson, and arguably Gregory House's, depending on how you stylize the "G".
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Both played straight and averted. If the Patient of the Week has any kind of psychological problem, you can be pretty sure it's because of single underlying cause or traumatic event which will come to light and/or be resolved by the end of the episode. However, it's averted in the case of the main cast (see Dysfunction Junction), especially with House himself: other characters repeatedly have to remind him that fixing his leg will not automatically make his life better and his problems are much more deep-seated.
  • Sleepwalking
  • Slipping a Mickey: Often.
    • House drugs Wilson's grape-soda and steals his pants in order to save his career from himself.
    • In "Birthmarks", Cuddy drugs House so Wilson can take him to his father's funeral.
    • In Season 4, 13 slips House narcotics in revenge for switching out her decaf so they can run tests.
    • In one episode, House and Wilson do this to each other. House doses Wilson with amphetamine, and Wilson doses house with anti-depressants. Both of them are livid when they figure it out, culminating in the immortal line:
      Wilson: I'm not on anti-depressants, I'm on speeeeeeeed.
    • House's solution to a dinner with Cuddy's massively rude, judging mother is slipping a sedative into her coffee. When Wilson admits he's relieved at this new situation, he also passes out; it turns out House thought Wilson would also be insufferable over dinner.
  • Smarter Than You Look: The subplot of "Carrot or Stick" follows House realizing this of Rachel Cuddy. He assumes the toddler is "dumber than a paste sandwich," (he had watched her eat while holding her spoon backwards earlier,) but after training her with educational toys for a week, he's surprised to discover she's better at lying than is typical for someone her age.
    House: She seemed so dumb, but when the pressure was on, she knew what had to be done and she did it.
  • The Smurfette Principle: "Do you smell that? It's a sausage fest. Hire a female doctor."
    • To wit, there is only ever one female on House's team (Cameron for seasons 1-3, Thirteen for seasons 4-6), and Cuddy even says during the Survivor arc that House must hire a female to balance out Taub and Kutner.
    • As of season 8, House now has two females on his team. However, only one of them meets the show's standard for attractiveness.
    • Masters and Thirteen were both on the team in season 7, but Thirteen was on a leave of absence for all but 2 of the episodes with Masters.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: House licking the homeless woman's vomit early in Season 1.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Rachel Cuddy goes from being played by an infant to being played by a toddler very quickly. Could actually be Dawson Casting because she's treated by characters as though she were about 12-18 months, even though she looks about four years old.
  • Soap Within a Show: House is always watching Prescription Passion, a medical soap opera that forms the base of Season 4 episode "Living The Dream".
  • Sociopathic Hero: House approaches this sometimes. Notably, he seemed to enjoy yelling at his patient repeatedly and torturing her in "Who's Your Daddy?".
    • He also has a history of drugging people, though he usually turns out to be acting in (what he thinks are) the person's best interests, not out of simple malice. He once sedated a patient he had just kidnapped to keep him in the hospital, he sedated Cuddy's mom to keep himself from telling her what he thought of her, he gave Wilson amphetamines in an attempt to prove that he was depressed, and later sedated Wilson to keep him from giving a speech that would have destroyed his career.
    • In Season 4's "Painless", House doesn't even flinch when he orders torture as a treatment.
    • In another episode, he heavily implies having killed Wilson's cat. He also suggests killing his second cat, too. Twice.
  • Spoiler Cover: In the 4th season the big question is "Who will be in House's new team?", with three new doctors chosen halfway through the season. The British DVD release shows the three doctors who make the cut on the back cover. The Polish DVD release features them on the front cover.
  • Spy Speak: Both parodied and played straight in the episode "All In" when House calls Wilson during a poker game. Wilson's first response has him going overboard just to screw with House, but he does actually attempt to pass coded information later ("cardiac" to refer to the hearts in his hand).
    House: Keep your answers short and discreet. Is Cuddy still playing?
    Wilson: The chicken is still in Picadilly Square.
  • Stalling the Sip: In "The Choice", the patient of the week is a man who's started lactating, a sample of which is in the meeting room. House pours some in his coffee, leading to everyone else slowly looking horrified as he gets ever closer to drinking it while giving out his orders... then he tells them to get a move on and disposes of it.
  • Status Quo Is God: House has appeared to be accepting his drug addiction, gone cold turkey on his addiction, be cured of his addiction by special coma treatment... in general tried to move out of misery multiple times per season. Only extremely rarely are they a sincere attempt at change, and either way we always get our jerk back.
    • Occasionally lampshaded by Wilson and/or House.
    • Season 5 has a notable example. Episode "Dying Changes Everything" initially seemed like an example of Nothing Is the Same Anymore - Wilson quit his job at the hospital and cut his ties with House... but a few episodes later he was back.
    • Season 5 also has House cure his pain with methadone, shave his beard, quit his job and go seek a post at another hospital. Status quo is restored in about 20 minutes.
    • Probably the biggest one, after all House went through with getting new team members, rehab, and leaving the hospital to find a way to avoid Vicodin, he ends up coming back to work with Chase, Cameron, and Foreman all over again. Minus the Vicodin. For now, maybe.
      • Subverted to a moderate degree a few episodes later with the cast shuffle.(Cameron leaves, Taub and 13 return.)
      • In Season 5, House finds a that Methadone cures his pain completely, but he quits it— simply because without pain he's not House. This is a pure status-quo argument, since the entire series House whines non-stop about how he's a jerk because he's in pain. Also, most people who knew House before the pain in his leg began there wasn't really any difference in his personality before then and he was still a world renowned doctor, thus there was no actual reason curing his leg pain should affect who he is or how well he works.
  • Stealth Pun: A musical pun: in the episode "Half-Wit" House plays the opening part of a song with a musical savant on a piano. The song is "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats, on a show that airs on... Mondays.
    • In the episode where Wilson consumes amphetamines, he mentions that Dr. Stein is probably away. Yeah.
    • Cameron's tendency to cry "lupus"note  (to the point that the one time it actually was lupus, nobody even considered it until the end). What does the word "lupus" mean in Latin? Wolf.
  • Stepford Smiler: Several patients and their family members. The patient's wife from the episode "Clueless" was a notable example, pretending that her marriage was perfect and that she cared about her husband... whom she was constantly poisoning. At the end of the episode House speculated that she was poisoning him because she got tired of maintaining the facade of happy wife.
    • It is sometimes suggested that Wilson may be this kind of character as well, at least to a degree (episodes "Resignation" and "The Social Contract" come to mind here).
    • And while House might like to think that he has no emotion and doesn't care about anything, it's clear that he's just as lonely and insecure as the rest of us.
  • Stock Scream: A Wilhelm scream is heard on season 7's episode Bombshell, on House's dream, where he shoots zombie-Taub.
  • The Stoic: House. Though he usually doesn't fall into this, Kutner takes Amber's death far better than the rest of the cast, and is seen calmly watching TV and eating dinner during the end-of-episode montage.
    • Of course, we all know what happened later...
  • Story Arc: The strongest story-arc involves House organizing a mass job interview to fill in positions for his team, which lasts through half of the fourth season.
  • Straw Character
    • "Saviors" features a borderline-Straw Environmentalist as the Patient of the Week.
    • "House Vs. God" features a strawman evangelical Christian.
    • "Office Politics" has a straw political consultant and campaign ad.
  • Straw Hypocrite
  • Strictly Formula: The medical aspects are generally background noise for whatever drama is going on in House's life. In "Words And Deeds" (S03E11), they discovered the patient had fallen in love with his brother's fiance; being in her presence was literally killing him. So the team wiped his memory of her. And basically every bit of personal information in his life. Turns out he had a bug which was causing false memories of the fiance; she wasn't even his brother's fiance. After The Reveal, the episode finished out with the plot about House's life, with no mention of the massive lawsuit that would be realistically be bearing down on the hospital.
    • Subverted in "One Day, One Room" when the Patient of the Week is introduced about 10 minutes into the episode and then diagnosed 5 minutes later. The remaining half-hour is given over to a series of philosophical debates between her and House. In place of House trying to find a diagnosis, House tries to get her to open up about the specifics of what happened to her, which she does at the end.
    • There are House episodes that subvert the formula completely, but they're so few-and-far-between in the midst of the formulaic ones, casual viewers would never know they exist. These include:
      • "Three Stories". This season one episode had House lecturing a room full of interns about three similarly themed cases. Each of the three patients had a problem with one of their legs, and may have had to amputate in order to avoid complications. The first one was a farmer, who had to get the amputation. The second one was a volleyball player, who was lucky enough to keep her leg. The third case was a shocker. It was House. He knew keeping his leg would cause him never-ending pain, but he was desperate to keep his leg, despite his ex-girlfriend Stacy Warner trying to convince him otherwise. The rest is history.
      • "Broken". The Season 6 two-part opener was House kicking his Vicodin habit, courtesy of a mental hospital. It lampshades AND subverts the mental hospital tropes that have been set by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest decades ago. House spends the episode disrupting the ward's system, but realises by the end that he needs their help (opposite to Cuckoo's Nest, where the hospital staff are genuinely sadistic). Even better, the one-shot characters never grated and had viewers longing for their presence afterward. The episode was so wonderfully produced and written, casual viewers could have easily mistook it for an HBO series.
      • "5 to 9" (also in Season 6). Viewers get to see a day in the hospital through Cuddy's perspective. It was a refreshing change of pace compared to the usual hectic activity of the hospital. It's also pretty amusing when viewers realize how little importance House's antics are to her day-to-day activities. The only irksome detail was the number of disgruntled patients always calling Cuddy a bitch when they didn't agree with her decisions. note 
      • "Two Stories", an intentional Call-Back to "Three Stories" in the name, in Season 7. House goes to a career day at a school as a favor to Cuddy, who's trying to get Rachel into that school, and ends up getting himself sent to the principal's office, where he chats with a young couple.
    • The series' formulaic nature is nicely summed up here.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: House and Tritter have the same mantra: "Everybody Lies"
    • In "Nobody's Fault", Taub and Adams use the exact same line-"he's not wrong"-in separate conversations defending House's behavior.
  • "Stuck at the Airport" Plot: In "Failure to Communicate", a snowstorm gets House and Stacy (ex-girlfriend, the hospital's chief lawyer) stranded in an airport unable to fly back from a mandatory out-of-town meeting with medical insurance officials. Highlights include House writing ideas on walls instead of the usual whiteboard, instadiagnosing other people around, talking about personal things with Stacy, causing authority problems in his team by being absent and hard-to-reach. He's still the one who solves the Medical Mystery of the Week.
  • Stylistic Suck: Prescription Passion, House's favorite soap opera.
  • Suntan Stencil: A patient sees House during his clinic hours about weird white spots he acquired while sunbathing, believing it to be some kind of rash. House uses his combined skills of Doctor Jerk and Sherlock Scan to figure out the man's son is a practical jokester with coins in his pocket he placed on his dad while he was sleeping.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Throughout the show, House commits major violations of medical ethics and sometimes outright breaks the law to save his patients — acts that he rarely faces consequences for, since his patients and their families are too grateful to press charges (or are at least willing to settle out-of-court). When Foreman briefly quits and applies the same methods in his work elsewhere, he's swiftly and unceremoniously fired by numerous employers for being a massive legal liability, as anyone attempting such methods would be in real life.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The new ducklings.
    • House consciously does this in the episode "Airborne", where he must solve a medical mystery on a plane without his usual team. He promptly instructs a blond boy to fake an Australian accent and agree with him no matter what he says, a dark-skinned passenger to disagree with him, and a female passenger to be morally outraged, filling (what he perceives are) the roles of Chase, Foreman and Cameron respectively.
    • Played with in the episodes following the departure of Martha Masters. When 13 comes back from prison, she's blonde with her normal hairstyle, until Martha leaves. Next episode, she's got long, thick red hair with straight bangs, just like Martha.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Episode 15 in Season 7 introduces us to House's cane-axe-shotgun. In a dream. But it's still very very cool.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: PPTH's security. Full stop.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Possibly one of the few reasons why House still remains likable, despite his jerkishness.

  • Take a Third Option:
    • At the end of the series, House is stuck in a burning building. On the one hand, he can easily escape the building, but then he would be arrested for violating parole and would be unable to be with Wilson before he succumbs to his cancer. On the other hand, he can just stay in the building and die, thus escaping the misery of his life. Instead, House fakes his own death so that he can be with Wilson during his last months to live.
    • An episode in the first season shows this is how House got his leg in the state that it is: an infarction caused the muscle cells in his thigh to die. House refused to have it amputated, instead insisting that a bypass be done to remove the blood clot. The procedure caused such intense pain that he had a heart attack and had to be placed in a medically induced coma. Stuck with the option between having the leg amputated or keeping it intact and possibly dying from the pain, House's girlfriend and medical proxy, Stacy Warner, instead opts for a surgery Cuddy suggested that only amputated the dead muscle tissue. It works, but the surgery leaves House in constant pain and impairs his leg's mobility.
  • Take That!:
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: At least one Patient of the Week turned out to have been poisoned by his wife after House and his team had ruled out everything else. She did get arrested for it, although they never found out why she was doing it.
  • Techno Babble: Most use of medical terminology on the show.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Let's just say that House and his underlings don't exactly love one another. Still, they work together to save lives, and they usually succeed.
    • Cut-throat teamwork would be more appropriate; House sums this up succinctly with the observations that "competition works—" and later, he says that "conflict breeds creativity" after he drives a wedge between "Foreteen", causing them to they immediately turn on one another by topping each other's diagnoses (correctly, of course).
  • Televisually Transmitted Disease: "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." One of the few cases where expecting zebras is actually okay, because (as House Lampshaded in the pilot) this show is about a team of doctors hunting zebras, because a case with a horse would never have come to their office.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: A literal example happens in "Act Your Age", where two young children are exposed to high levels of testosterone from their father (who was using a male enhancement cream). It causes the girl to go through puberty early, and the boy develops an unhealthy crush on Cameron and flies into jealous rages.
  • Textual Celebrity Resemblance: Wilson observes that House's biological father resembles Sean Connery.
  • The Last DJ: House is this a lot of the time.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: From a season 7 episode: "There are two kinds of people: those who move on, and those who can't."
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Literally. She has Huntington's Disease.
  • This Means War!: The escalating prank war between House and the adjacent Orthopedics department. Also, Wilson and House in season six are convinced that they're pranking one another, until they lose their flatscreen as a casualty of war and realize that Lucas has been behind the pranks.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The episode "No Reason". Are House's hallucinations side-effects from the ketamine coma he was put into? Or is he still in the coma?
  • Throwing Out the Script: House does this in an early season when asked to give a speech about a new drug the chairman of the hospital wants him to puff up. He nearly gets fired for it.
  • Token Trio: House's team twice: White Girl with a tragic past (Cameron), Black Guy who constantly challenges House's authority (Foreman) and White Foreign Butt-Monkey (Chase). Later we also get the White Bisexual Girl with the tragic disease (Thirteen), White Jewish Guy who constantly challenges House's authority (Taub) and Adopted Indian Butt-Monkey (Kutner).
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Foreman, most definitely, and arguably House himself during the Tritter arc.
  • Tournament Arc: In season 4, House temporarily hires over 20 people, and put them through a serious of tests to remove people who would be a problem. Once it is down to 10 people, he increases the challenge by having them help him diagnose and prognose various Patients Of The Week, break up into rotating teams, etc. It ends with him hiring 3 people.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Now that Wilson himself has cancer, he doesn't want to go through what his patients have.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: In earlier seasons, there are repeated mentions as to House's love for Reuben sandwiches. As time goes by, however, House just steals Wilson's lunches. It's also been mentioned that House loves Wilson's macadamia nut pancakes.
  • Trickster Mentor: All of House's fellows took up his fellowship originally to learn from a world-famous diagnostician and medical practitioner. When House does have a lesson to teach, he'll choose a convoluted conspiracy or backhanded means of bringing the subject to understanding, every time.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Not exactly 'triumphant', but "Enjoy Yourself"'s apparition at the finale is certainly happier than its creepy first appearance as sung by Amber's hallucination on season 5.
  • Trust Me, I'm a Doctor: House certainly isn't afraid to mention his profession in order to establish his authority or otherwise be a snarker. Once, after bluntly telling a female patient that he wants to inspect her vagina, he tells her, "I'm a doctor, so it's okay."
  • Truth in Television:
    • Everybody lies: Patients frequently, and infuriatingly, withhold important information from their physicians. Especially about sex and drugs.
    • In the eighth season, when Wilson gets terminal cancer and refuses treatment. Most doctors take the same route, having witnessed the misery and suffering of the alternative many, many times.
  • Tsundere: Four of the six original main characters.
    • Dr. Park is a Type 2, much more dere-dere, until you push her too far.
  • Twist Ending: Most of them are Cruel Twist Endings, so see that trope listed above for examples.
    • The end of "Unplanned Parenthood" is a bit more lighthearted than these other examples, but still qualifies.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Yes, there are only ever two women in the main cast.
  • Two-Timing with the Bestie: In the episode "Fidelity", a patient delays her diagnosis of African trypanosomiasis (or sleeping sickness) due to the fact that she could only have contracted it through sex, and she didn't want to admit she was unfaithful to her husband. At the end of the episode, it is revealed she had slept with (and presumably gotten the illness from) her husband's best friend, who he had been seen jogging with at the beginning of the episode.
  • Twofer Token Minority: There is a gay couple in Maternity with one being of Asian descent also.
  • Typhoid Mary: In "Maternity", an elderly volunteer unwittingly passes around a virus that is lethal to infants.
  • Underappreciated Women's Work: In "5 to 9", the show follows Cuddy in her job as the hospital's administrator. It turns out dealing with House's antics is barely a fraction of her workload, yet another stressful distraction from keeping the hospital running. Some dubs rename the episode "Wonder Cuddy".
  • Ultimate Job Security: Dr. House, and he knows it. In Season 1, he's so sure of it that he basically dares Vogler, the new chairman of the board, to try to fire him. Vogler takes the dare. House wins, but it's a near thing.
  • The Unfair Sex: In the episode Carrot or Stick, one of Chase's ex-hookups hacks his Facebook account to post a naked picture of him with a photoshop-shrunk member, and later donates money to charity from his credit card. Everyone just tells him he deserves it and has to bear the consequences, and no one suggests he goes to the police despite the acts of unauthorized photography, misrepresentation, and fraud. In the end, the perpetrator was the sister of a girl he hooked up with, and that Chase had spoken to but ignored after she said she wouldn't sleep with him on the first day. Her actions are still treated as completely justified by the show.
  • Un-Paused: In one early episode, a patient is having seizures. He will stop in the middle of a sentence for a few moments before going right back to what he was saying, unaware that he lost any time.
  • Unreliable Narrator: House is revealed to be one of these in the Season 5 finale. Though this is more to the character's point of view as the show has little narration at all.
    • Played less seriously in early episodes "The Mistake" and "Three Stories", and "Nobody's Fault" in the final season where the bulk of the episodes consist of characters reliving past events from various viewpoints with various differences. The trope shows up briefly in the series finale "Everybody Dies" when House skips over a part of a conversation with the patient in his recollection of the case.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • In the episode "Euphoria Part 2", House whips up a veritable storm (including pop cultural references) of these to explain to a worried mother that her child does in fact not have epilepsy.
      House: In actuality, all your little girl is doing is saying yoo-hoo to the hoo-hoo.
      Mother: She's what?
      House: Marching the penguin. Ya-ya-ing the sisterhood. Finding Nemo.
    • In Season 3, he asks Cuddy "Did the panty hamster get a spin on the wheel?"
    • In Season 6, the patient is a drug dealer for the mob, but claims to work in "textiles." House needs to find out what drugs he was exposed to, but since the patient obviously can't admit to anything, they have to refer to his product as "hosiery" and "culottes."
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • At the conclusion of "Maternity", House wonders how a respiratory virus spread through the maternity wing, given that none of the babies who were affected (one fatally) had the same medical staff prior to infection. He gets his answer when he sees a volunteer who hands out free teddy bears to the newborns; said volunteer happens to have a chest infection, and after coughing she wipes her hands on the bears, thus spreading the virus.
    • In the Season 7 finale, Cuddy's sister pressures her into going on a date with a banker she knows, which ends up indirectly affecting everything that happens for the rest of the series. Mainly in that it causes House to go crazy when he finds out and smash his car into her living room, which gets him jailed for the better part of a year, and causes Cuddy to quit and leave the state, in turn causing Foreman to take over her position. The disbanding of House's team also causes Thirteen to give up being a practicing doctor. Then, at the end of the final season a prank gone awry leads to House's parole being revoked, which in turn causes him to fake his death.
  • Very Special Episode: The episode with Kutner's suicide strays into this territory.
  • Villain Has a Point: Tritter had House on forgery and fraud charges, and wasn't far off when he said House was going to kill someone if the police didn't step in.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: House and Wilson, one of the best examples on TV. They love each other deeply, but are also constantly pranking and sniping at each other.
  • Wacky Racing: House, Cuddy, Wilson and Sam at the Go-Kart. Sam makes a point of driving her opponents off the road; House stops her car by disconnecting a power line with his cane. Complete with holocaust allusions on Cuddy's part and Evil Laugh on House's part.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: "Brave Heart".
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: House, with his father; also Chase, in regard to House. He had problems with his own father, kept trying to win his approval until he finally realized that his father didn't care and that it was easier for Chase himself not to care whether his father cared.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Foreman in "Forever", after his brain biopsy turns him incredibly optimistic and agreeable.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Amber dies in the Season 4 finale "Wilson's Heart".
    • From "Simple Explanation" and beyond, Kutner kills himself, Chase proposes to Cameron, House begins to doubt his talent to see everything coming, House hallucinates seeing Amber, Chase and Cameron break up, House detoxes off Vicodin, House and Cuddy have sex... So what was next? House DIDN'T detox off Vicodin, House and Cuddy DIDN'T have sex, House starts seeing Kutner along with Amber, and finally goes into a psychiatric institute! We had to ask!
    • The last 5 episodes of the series: Wilson gets diagnosed with cancer, he undergoes a nightmarish and potentially lethal chemo treatment, a follow-up scan reveals the cancer is terminal, Wilson gives up on chemo, reducing his lifespan to about 5 months from 3 years, House has his parole revoked and won't be out until after Wilson's dead, Chase resigns, House fakes his own death, thereby ending his medical career, to avoid prosecution and be with Wilson for those last 5 months, Chase takes over House's position as diagnostics head.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I punched my attending in the face."
    • "I have cancer."
    • And from the finale: SHUT UP YOU IDIOT.
      • After years of cynicism, death-seeking and backtracking on every chance to be better, "you're right, but I can change".
    • "What's my necklace made of?"
    • "We're not friends anymore, House...I'm not sure we ever were."
    • "I don't want him to hate me."
    • "I need help."
    • "They didn't break me... I am broken."
  • Wham Shot: House staring silently, mouth half-open, at Wilson's cancer scan results.
    • Amber's first appearance near the end of Season 5.
    • House banging his fists on the door to his isolation room in Mayfield, screaming "HELP ME, SOMEBODY HELP ME!" at the top of his lungs during the intro to "Broken".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't find out the real story of the guy who shot House (unless what House imagined was from him remembering having seen him before), nor do we see him again.
    • Also, there is a cannibal serial killer out there who was saved by the team...
    • Literally, with Steve McQueen. Word of God states that he passed away at some unspecified point, which isn't really surprising since the average lifespan for a rat is only about two or three years.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: These happen pretty much all the time.
    • To the point where you can accurately guess the dialogue during the part where Cuddy confronts House in his office. It goes something like this.
      Cuddy: House, how could you [do something illegal/unethical/mean] to [Patient]!
      House: [Snippy Remark]
      Cuddy: House, don't you dare [Insert Something Bad Here].
      House: Yes, Mom.
      Cuddy: Look, House. If you do this, we'll get sued!
      House: I'm going to save [his/her] life!
      Cuddy: No, you just want [to solve the puzzle/drugs]!
      Rinse and repeat. Oh, and if Cuddy says no, House will probably try to get Wilson to help him.
    • It's gotten to the point where the bar for this trope is so high on the show that House needs to do something really outrageous for this to really qualify.
    • Lampshaded in the episode where House kidnaps an actor from his favorite soap.
      Foreman: You kidnapped him?
      House: It's cool that I haven't lost the ability to surprise you.
    • Also seen between Foreman and Chase after Chase alters the tests of an African dictator patient, effectively killing him.
  • Wilhelm Scream: In a Zombie Apocalypse Dream Sequence.
  • Will They or Won't They?: House/Cameron, House/Cuddy, House/Stacy, and to some extent House/Wilson.
    • Answers, in order: No, yes but not anymore, yes but only once, and pretty much..
  • With Friends Like These...: House and Wilson. Mostly House but Wilson has had some crappy moments as well.
  • World of Snark
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Not spoken outright, but in "After Hours" Chase goes to considerable lengths to warn Thirteen that he's going to move her out of the way when she refuses to allow him to take her stab victim, parolee friend to the hospital (even though she'll die if he doesn't). When she still refuses, he moves her out of the way without hurting her, prompting her to attack him. After several very weak looking punches and one that looked like it might have hurt, Chase easily overpowers her (with a distinct look of Oh, Crap! on her face as he does) and she ends up on the floor. Later in the episode, she's putting ice on her neck and he apologizes for having hurt her - even though she nearly killed her friend and assaulted him in the process.
    • She doesn't invoke this trope later, though, and tells him what he did was necessary.
  • Writer on Board: When it happens it's oftentimes painfully obvious.
  • Wrong Genetic Sex: In one episode, a woman turns out to be suffering from testicular cancer, due to a surprisingly common medical condition that causes some people with XY chromosomes to develop into infertile women with internal testicles instead of ovaries.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: One of Wilson's ex-wives tells House that she named their yappy unpleasant dog Hector because the dog reminded her of House, and "Doctor Greg House" is an anagram of "Hector does go rug."
    House: First, "Hector does go rug" is a lame anagram. You want a better one for "Gregory House"? "Huge ego. Sorry."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The beginning of Season 3. House is happy (and drug-free) because he doesn't need a cane anymore and the leg pain is gone. As you can probably tell, this really doesn't last for long.
    • It happened again in Season 5. House switches to a different drug which allows him to be completely pain free, only to find it compromises his intellect (or so he says).
      • House still had his limp while on methadone, but it was not as pronounced. To what degree House's limp is due to his chronic leg pain or his lack of thigh muscle seems to vary.
      • It's interesting: when House's pain was cured by the new treatment after being shot, he was shown running 8 miles to the hospital with no limp whatsoever, a completely new and pain-free man but it was short-lived when the pain returned; but when the pain was completely cured on methadone, he threw away his cane but was still limping. (Strangely, House then quit methadone because the pain "made him a better doctor—" insert any applicable trope here).
    • Also Real Life Writes the Plot: the reason the leg pain was gone in those episodes was that Hugh Laurie was starting to develop actual pains from walking around with the cane all the timenote .
    • The Season 5 finale.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Cuddy's mother. Made grating by the fact that she had converted.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: When Foreman thinks he's dying in "Euphoria, Part 2", he apologizes to Cameron for stealing her article and exposing her to his disease - and calls her Allison.
    • House calls her "Cutthroat Bitch" most of the time, so when he suddenly calls her Amber, she senses something's not good. He's firing her.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Dr. Cuddy as a Sexy Schoolwoman in a Dream Sequence that is, for some strange reason that should be incredibly obvious, very popular on YouTube.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: Cuddy is trying to sober up the team in "House Divided" and gives them breath mints.
  • You Never Asked:
    • Almost always completely averted, since House and his team almost always ask the most relevant questions; often to the point of bullying the patient or breaking into their homes to get useful answers. If a patients doesn't provide the right answers, it's because he or she is either lying to hide a Big Secret, or has picked up the Idiot Ball.
    • Played straight in "Private Lives" the patient, who recently went vegetarian, is having all sorts of medical issues and is given many proclamations of death, yet when House finally asks her about the quality of her bowel movements, the answer is obvious (and easily remedied). However, that is one of the FIRST questions doctors will ask when getting a history.
    • The team always breaks into to the patient's home in order to "test for environmental causes;" if they simply ask for a key, House and the team condemns them as "cowards".
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: If a convincing diagnosis is made at all before the end, it's usually made around the halfway mark. Of course, it'll be the wrong one. Alternatively, it's the right diagnosis, but other things get in the way - for example a patient is correctly diagnosed as having Strongyloides, but his helper dog eats the pills the doctor in charge gives him. Result - one dead patient who didn't get his medication, one dead dog who did. Another case is House suspects Erdheim Chester's in both an old woman and a young kid in "All In" within the first fifteen minutes, but the tests were screwed up because of the timing and they went through about fifteen other things.
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: In the episode "The Itch".
    House: You won't feel a thing... Except this excruciating pain.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): House MD


"House meets Black Jack"

This one off, non-canonical commercial brings Dr. Gregory House and the unlicensed surgeon Black Jack, together for the first and only time ever, as part of a cross promotion between the TV Series, House and the Black Jack OVAs.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / FakeCrossOver

Media sources: