Alternative Character Interpretation: Is House a soulless Jerkass misanthrope who's only in the medical profession for the puzzle/challenge, or a Jerk with a Heart of Gold doctor profoundly committed to saving his patients regardless of the law, traditional medical ethics or common sense? He argues that the non-compassionate approach is more successful as shown by this quote: "What would you prefer - a doctor who holds your hand while you die or one who ignores you while you get better?".
Arc Fatigue: Appears whenever House questions his ability to be an exceptional diagnostician without being a drug-addicted misanthrope. If he hasn't found the answer in seven seasons, it certainly feels like he never will.
The Vogler arc in season one was disliked for similar reasons. Having a megalomaniacal hospital administrator harass House did not exactly endear fans. In later interviews, David Shore admitted that he was forced to write the plotline to appease Fox executives, mainly because House struggled in the ratings during season one. Fortunately, by the time that side plot ended, ratings were healthy enough for renewal, so Shore was able to get rid of the character.
Thirteen. She's either loved or hated, with a very vocal portion of the fanbase thinking she gets way too much focus despite being boring, and another portion thinking she deserves the Character Focus that she gets.
Park, to a lesser extent; while quite a few fans consider her to be absolutely hilarious and easily the best thing about Season 8, others resent her for swallowing up all the character development episodes in the season, meaning that Adams ends up falling into the background once Park joins the cast. For some she falls in the category of lovably adorable, for others she fails to live up to the dramatic quality standard set by the rest of the show's characters.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: House is a paragon of Dr. Jerk while one of the ongoing arcs of the series is that he is an incredibly toxic influence on anybody who has to deal with him for an extended period of time (which turns everybody else in the cast into a Dr. Jerk, and a seriously hostile and backstabbing one at that in various examples), and while many people are saved by them there is the Inferred Holocaust of how much their lives will be destroyed (in the long or short term) by the secrets that House forces them to disclose... after some time it may be pretty hard to watch.
Bobbin Bergstrom was originally one of the show's on-set medical advisers and has appeared more than any character other than the main six as a nurse. This includes the new team - she's been in 69 episodes to Taub and 13's 39.
Dr. Darryl Nolan, played by Andre Braugher in the sixth season premiere. While the episode itself led to a massive Broken Base, Braugher's performance was uniformly praised.
Amber "Cutthroat Bitch" Volakis, a delightfully antagonistic doctor who was one of the candidates for House's new diagnostics team. Fans were bummed when she didn't make the final cut, then rejoiced when she returned as Wilson's girlfriend then cried when she died, then rejoiced once more when she returned as one of House's hallucinations.
A big and often used is if you are a genius who other people have to depend on, you can basically be a dick to everyone with little to no consequences. Though this is more of a Truth in Television variety because often those who don't have to deal with you constantly will let you get away with being an ass if you are good for the bottom line. However, the verse Aesop is also given which is much more family friendly. To wit:
1) House will often intentionally behave like even more of a complete and utter dick than his own natural personality would be, simply because he can. While often it's played for laughs, his cavalier/antisocial/sociopathic tendencies have more than once lead to a patient ending up with lifelong injuries that wouldn't have happened if everyone had just done their job right the first time, at which points he usually feels legitimate remorse and sometimes contemplates (however briefly) if he should really keep doing things that way.
2) In a nod to realism early on, Cuddy mentions that she got him for a steal, salary-wise, because his rampant Jerkass tendencies meant that no one else would ever hire him.
Patient rights are basically hindrances that prevent doctors from doing their jobs correctly. Every time a patient is shown refusing treatment, the team finds some way to either bully, trick, or otherwise manipulate them into conceding. In nearly every episode, the team is shown breaking into the patient's home in order to find out what the patient is hiding from them.
You know all those episodes where House is hypnotized, seriously injured, dreaming or sitting in a sensory deprivation tank and he talks to people he knows who are "manifestations of his subconscious" in stride...
"Oh no, the death cat is attacking you, you're gonna die," said sarcastically to Kutner two episodes before his suicide. Six episodes previously, he described himself as exactly the sort of person who would not commit suicide.
In a Season 3 episode, Wilson is asked by Cuddy why he's late, and he loudly snaps, "The buses suck!" (He was forced to take the bus to work as Detective Tritter impounded his car). Considering bus-related incidents in the next season, the line isn't quite so funny...
In Season 4, when a patient is seeing dead people everywhere, Amber makes a comment about seeing ghosts. For the rest of the series after she dies, she becomes "Gazoo" to House.
If the ghost of a many you killed doesn't screw with your head, there's something wrong with your head.
Gotta Ship 'Em All: The only character who weren't shipped with every other character by at least a handful of fans were Foreman, who was really only shipped with Thirteen, and Taub, who wasn't shipped with anyone. One of the more common non-canon pairings was Cameron and Thirteen, two characters whose time on the show barely overlapped and who never spoke directly to each other.
While Season 1 is still seen as one of the show's better seasons overall, it does suffer slightly from the actors and writers still clearly finding their feet, and drags somewhat during the Vogler arc. Season 2 is where the show really hit its stride, featuring some of the strongest episodes in the show's run and very few (if any) clunkers.
Many fans also point to the penultimate episode of Season 1, "Three Stories" as the exact point where the show took off, as it finally gave the full backstory to House's injury and fleshed him out as a character, and is often considered a strong contender for the show's best episode overall.
"Alvie was grateful I had gotten him out of trouble. It enabled him to go stay in Phoenix without worrying about immigration looking for him there." Poor Alvie note this episode aired in 2010; about 2 weeks prior to the airdate, Arizona passed an extremely strict anti-illegal immigration law.
In "Mirror Mirror", Kutner and Amber are debating which of the two the patient is mimicking. Suddenly a new symptom sets in, and Kutner says "it looks like he's mimicking whichever one of us is dying". Both doctors end up dying within the next year or so.
When he's trying to figure out why Wilson is dating Amber, House asks "she's not dying, is she?" Then came the season 4 finale.
In "No More Mr. Nice Guy," also in season 4, Chase tells House, "Amber's good...at being bad. You might not be able to destroy her."Ouch.
In Season 5, when House is having hallucinations of Amber, he tries to deflect when confessing his hallucinations to Wilson that he is seeing Kutner. At the end of the season, when he hits his nadir, he actually does hallucinate Kutner along with Amber.
"Emancipation" gives us this gem from House to Wilson: "Holding things in can give you cancer" Dear effing God, Greg.
House learns in Season 5 that Wilson sent a password-protected file to Gonzalez at New York-Mercy, leading House to infer that Wilson was sending his medical records. Gonzalez' specialty is oncology, with a recent article on managing suicidal thoughts in terminal cancer patients. 3 seasons later, Wilson gives up on chemo for his terminal cancer.
Season eight episode "Parents" has a virginal 16-year-old male get symptoms of partial paralysis that wound up being caused by syphilis. Since the disease wasn't given by his mother through childbirth, House realized that the patient got it from his estranged father, the one he idolized to the point of wanting to be a clown (his dad's profession) to make kids happy. Pretty unsettling to begin with, but given the Penn State sex scandal still fresh on everyone's minds (the episode first aired on November 14th, 2011), even more so.
During the Vogler arc, House makes a speech about Vogler's business practices, and how he repeatedly uses underhanded tactics to avoid dropping prices on his medications, making sure they remain as high-priced as possible. While this has always been a commonplace occurrence in pharmaceuticals, arbitrary price-hiking of vital medication became an especially hot-button issue in 2015, when a company increased the cost of an HIV-treating medicine from $13 a pill to $750 a pill. With the national scandal that arose from the action and Martin Shkreli (the man responsible) being called "The Most Hated Man In America" for the action, it's rather hard to see House in the wrong for refusing to go along with Vogler's speech.
In "Hunting", an episode early in the show's run, Wilson jokes that House could hit another patient to see his ex-girlfriend (after he already hit one earlier in the episode). House jokes that he'd just keep doing the same thing, becoming formulaic, which, as of now, remains the primary complaint about the show.
In "Role Model", House tells Joe Morton's character (a black senator) that he's not going to be president because "they don't call it the White House because of the paint job". The senator even agrees, though he says it's important to make the try anyway. Good thing someone thought the same way.
In "Informed Consent" and "Lines in the sand" a girl played by Leighton Meester develops an infatuation with House. Both Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester were in 'The Oranges' in which their characters engaged in an affair.
In "Wilson", they move in together. And an episode later ("The Down Low"), they're being Mistaken for Gay and Wilson actually proposes to House in a restaurant. Of course, he's only doing it to get back at House.
Informed Wrongness: In the first season's Vogler arc, everybody is pissed off with House because he wouldn't give official praise to a drug produced by Vogler's firm, which is just an "improved" version of an older drug, only much more expensive. First, Vogler was forcing a doctor into praising his commercial product. Second, tricking patients into paying more than necessary for a medicine they need is still unethical even if the expensive version also works. Third, House initially agreed to do it, but in the end couldn't bring himself to, which was shown to be not out of spite but out of moral obligation. Vogler was not just being bossy or annoying, he was being downright immoral. And had House gone along, this would not have been the last time Vogler would have forced him to lie to further Vogler's professional interests. House was acting according to his professional integrity (for once) by standing up to him, but he got smacked for it. (Compare and contrast season three's Tritter arc, where the antagonist is similarly petty and unfair, but House is actually making it worse by being an actual selfish prick, and actually brought the problems on himself by being a Jerkass in the first place.
It Was His Sled: House assembles a new team in Season 4 replacing Chase and Cameron with Taub, Kutner and Hadley.
Did you really think they would kill Foreman near the end of the season?
Did you really think they would kill Houseat the end?
Did you really think they'd fix House's leg for real at the beginning of the season?
Did you really think they'd actually get rid of Chase, Cameron, and Foreman when House fired them in the last episode?
Though Chase and Cameron did "stay fired" in the sense of being off of House's team for over a season— they just remained at other jobs in the hospital and were in many episodes at least briefly— and except for a brief period Cameron was never a member of House's team again. That was probably more of an aversion of Status Quo Is God than most fans expected.
Series finale: Did you really think House was going to die?
"It's not lupus." (See Once per Episode.) Ended up subverted when "It was finally lupus" in Season 4's "You Don't Want To Know." Good night, sweet meme. Parodied in its own sponsorship messages, on the channels it broadcasts on in the UK - one sting features a girl playing with two dolls, one in a lab coat, the other a suit jacket. She makes one say to the other "It must be Lupus!"
Sarcoidosis is approaching lupus status, too, and so is Amyloidosis.
And Wilson's disease (although it once WAS Wilson's Disease, but the team couldn't even name it for a minute)
We're gonna have to intubate!
In-show example: "Be not afraid. The forest nymphs have taught me how to please a woman." Of course, the fandom has fun with this too.
House's expression in "Spin" has become the default image macro◊ for saying "DO WANT". Photoshopping it into horrific contortions like this one◊ is also popular.
Misaimed Fandom: There are a lot of people admiring and/or saying how awesome House's jackass behavior is, ignoring the fact that about 80% of the show's running time is spent on explaining how said behavior ruined his entire life and made him an extremely bitter and miserable broken man with no hopes in life.
Chase's seems to have been basically murdering President Dibala because he was a murderous dictator. This caused Cameron to leave him, anyway; whether or not he actually did the wrong thing is left for the audience to decide, particularly given Dibala flat-out telling them that the first thing he's going to do when he gets better is go home and commit genocide.
Foreman's and House's may have been helping Chase cover up president Dibala's murder.
Masters seems to have had hers in her final episode, "The Last Temptation": A 16 year old girl doesn't want to let them amputate her cancerous arm (yet) so she can beat the youngest person to sail solo around the world record, but Masters wants her to do it immediately, so she drugs her, sending her into cardiac arrest, and then manipulates the parents into signing over their consent, so that the girl WAKES UP WITHOUT AN ARM and is understandably horrified. This is presented as being more or less the right decision, and House doesn't object, despite the fact that she got the idea to do it from Wilson's story about Stacy and House and his leg. She realized the crossing herself and couldn't accept it, looking like she wanted to throw up afterwards and decided to give up on the internship because of it.
Many have called MEH at House driving his car into Cuddy's dining room, saying that it makes him go from "eccentric, Jerkass but brilliant diagnostician" to "illogical, psychotic attempted murderer."
Older Than They Think: Many fans have accused the extremely similar anime Black Jack of ripping off the premise of House. In fact, the original Black Jack manga predates House by about thirty years. Oddly enough, there's a commercial break of sorts in Japan who is a Crossover between those two series, and with their respective voice actors reprising their roles.
One-Scene Wonder: This being a medical drama, there are plenty of patients who qualify as One Episode Wonders, but Eve from "One Day, One Room" is easily among the most memorable. Not only is her episode a complete departure from the usual formula, but she brings out a surprisingly humane side of House. It also helps that her episode is considered to be one of the best.
Edward Vogler from Season 1, for quickly descending into being a cartoonishly evil Jerkass despite a background and motives that could have made him much more interesting. Tellingly, after his introductory scene the only time he behaves like anything other than a Card-Carrying Villain is in his final episode, in a bit that turns out to be All Just a Dream. The main reason he isn't even more unpopular is because he appeared early enough in the show's run that most fans quickly forgot that he ever existed.
Tritter in Season 3. Creating an Arc Villain was seen as unnecessary, he was a bit cartoonishly evil, and the attempts to play him up as "House, but as a cop" just wound up seeming forced. His arc is pretty much universally disliked.
Foreman is on the fast track to this due to fans losing their patience over the whole "Foreman is House" B story.
Cameron in the earlier seasons, for being preachy and obnoxious.
Thirteen, for having the worst characteristics of Cameron, and being used as a Ms. Fanservice with little personality. Getting extra screentime because she has Huntington's didn't exactly endear her to fans either.
Seasonal Rot: While the show is generally regarded as a solid show as a whole, most people won't deny some slumps in its history.
Season 4 is an odd case, with the first half being generally disliked by fans due to the Loads and Loads of Characters nature that results from House's job interview process — and that's before you get to those who hated it on general principle due to its clearly Reality TV-inspired nature — but the second half being seen as one of the strongest runs of episodes in the show's history.
While it's relatively difficult to find a consensus, many fans will agree that the latter third of the series was a step down, with issues like Cameron leaving, the Huddy relationship, Cuddy not returning for Season 8, and Thirteen's temporary absence & replacement with Masters.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: When it first aired, House was considered revolutionary since its protagonist was an undeniable jerk of an antihero, which, at the time, was a rarity outside premium cable. By 2019, protagonists like House have become the norm and as this article explains, because of various Real Life factors such as the "Me Too" movement and general Executive Meddling overreaching, means that while the concept of "toxic asshole equals quick-and-easy Anti-Hero" has not been totally phased out, it is starting to show that it's worn out its welcome as audiences can only take so much of obnoxious characters before Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy can set in.
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The overall theme of the show is that it's better to be completely honest with your doctor, even if it's at severe emotional cost, than it is to die.
House chewing out some idiot 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 point nonetheless stands.
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.
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.
Sophomore Slump: Inverted by the actual sophomore season of the show, as Season 2 is pretty unanimously considered to be the show's best season. Played straight by Season 5, the second season after the Retool, which is seen as one of the show's weakest, most forgettable seasons outside of Kutner's suicide and a strong finale.
In "Fall from Grace", House flies toy helicopters around the hospital, they are obviously CG-I'd. But they're not bad CG-I... however when he takes the crew on a monster truck later on, everyone jerks back as the car appears to speed up but the background is moving at the exact same speed.
In season 2's "Humpty Dumpty", the bandage covering Antonio's hand amputation wound is quite obviously pasted on.
In "House Divided", House practices pouring flaming shots, eventually setting a cadaver on fire in the process. The fire is hilariously fake.
When House tries to revive the baby in "Forever" Hugh Laurie is holding a pretty obvious doll.
The writers seem to have some weird ideas on communicating with children about sex. One episode featured a mother who never lied to her 10-year-old-ish daughter. As such, the daughter naturally knew the mother's sexual preferences and how they have changed ("She used to like being on top, but now she likes being face-down") and an older brother Promoted to Parent telling Foreman it's fine for him to speak about analingus... in front of his two underage siblings. Huh.
Given the regular appearance of things that would gross out a police coroner, they're included for the obvious reason of presenting a gross-out factor to the audience; while the apparent pretense is "realism," this is contradicted by the fact that doctors are used to it. This is lampshaded in at least one instance, in which House is, as usual, trying to mooch off of Wilson's lunch; Wilson responds "if you're trying to gross me out," and relates what he deals with daily as the head of the Oncology department.
One episode had House add a sample of male human breast milk (from a male patient who has started lactating because of a hormone imbalance) to his coffee, while his team look on in horror and disbelief.
In "Histories", House tastes a patient's vomit for diagnostic purposes.
The same episode also contains a scene where a patient attempted a self-circumcision with a pair of box-cutters. Included a Gory Discretion Shot but the description and the fact that even House was horrified was enough to invoke this reaction in the audience.
Strangled by the Red String: Foreman and Thirteen go from polite but distant colleagues to a committed relationship over the space of a couple episodes.
Strawman Has a Point: A rare case where the strawman is the lead character. In "Fetal Position", Cuddy takes a risky course of action, motivated by her desire to save a woman's fetus, when House wants to terminate the pregnancy. The show makes it clear that Cuddy is supposed to be considered right but House's course of action was probably much more advisable. As he himself points out at the end of the episode, 9 times out of 10, Cuddy's course of action would have killed both mother and child, whereas House's would save the mother 10 out of 10 times.
In-universe; the episode where the team is treating a teenage patient who had a heart attack before his operation to have a deformed part of his skull removed. They're filmed the entire time due to the teenager being part of a documentary, with House constantly angry at the crew for putting his team under pressure and generally mocking the crew. In the very end, the crew sends House and Cuddy an early cut of the program to be aired... which paints House as an extremely caring doctor. House reacts in horror, although it's never revealed if it was genuine or not.
"Autopsy" skirts being this for much of its running time, and eventually crosses into it outright in the penultimate scene, when Wilson reveals that House's theory that the Littlest Cancer Patient's bravery was a symptom of her medical disorder was incorrect, and that she really is just that brave after all, which inspires House into buying his motorcycle.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Adams, while an obvious Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Thirteen, toned down the traits that caused Thirteen (and before her, Cameron) to annoy some viewers, making her an overall more likeable character. Unfortunately she spent most of the season shoved into the background in favor of giving Park most of the character development, making it seem like she was just filling the role that Thirteen would have had if not for Olivia Wilde deciding to quit the show.
The identity of House's biological father. They could have added a story arc about this at any point post-"Birthmarks" but instead did a single episode in Season 8 which raised more questions than it solved: the likeliest candidate also wasn't House's father, and House uncharacteristically finds closure in this.
Thirteen's Huntington's. The season 4 finale set up a potentially great One of Our Own plot, but Thirteen pulled off the impossible when her illness made herless likable, as the arc focused on girl-on-girl action rather than characterization or the illness itself. The gravity of the entire situation was undermined by the fact that she appeared healthy; illness as an Informed Attribute doesn't work, especially on a show that prides itself on bizarre or gross-out conditions. Season 7 episode "The Dig" was a genuinely moving plot centered around her Huntington's, but was basically a standalone plot.
Toy Ship: The episode "Two Stories" had House's Career Day antics land him in the principal's office alongside a young couple that was caught going a bit too PDA for elementary school at recess.note It was eventually established that the kids were in fifth grade, which isn't an unrealistic time to start seeing the opposite sex in a different light.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: The very divorced parents of the littlegirl in "Finding Judas" are dismissed as being worthless and annoying by all medical personnel they meet to the point where they temporarily lose custody of their child simply because they argued a lot while going through what can only be described as every parents' worst nightmare i.e their child is slowly burning to death and not even the doctors know why. Even when they agree with advice from the doctors they are still treated as though they clearly don't care about their child and are unworthy of being parents!
Wangst: House during the Tritter arc. It gets really hard to stomach towards the end of the arc, when House keeps playing the victim after he's committed multiple felonies in the name of standing on principle, and refused Tritter's entirely reasonable offer for a plea bargain.
What an Idiot!: 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.
The Woobie: Wilson got divorced three times, temporarily homeless, his assets get frozen while attempting to keep House out of jail, he suffers from depression, 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. Added to that his best friend is a socially inept, merciless asshole. Plus those eyes...Even worse now that he has cancer. They never give him a break.