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Taking my little notes: House S1

Just finished rewatching House S1. I was really surprised by how much more I enjoyed it than I did on first viewing, when I was very focused on the medical mysteries and found the characters something of an annoying distraction. I'm also watching now from the perspective of a writer, taking notes to ensure continuity in my fic, and am particularly interested in how and when specific details about the characters are revealed that get developed further over the course of the series (or don't, as the case may be).

House is very recognizably House from the beginning, but much more obviously a good man who might be abrasive, embittered, and socially ill at ease, but always tries to do the right thing and questions himself when he finds that difficult. He dreams about himself as a warm and caring physician, and he manages to be one when it counts (e.g., to persuade the pregnant patient's husband to authorize a C-section). He mocks his subordinates along with everyone else, but he also acts as a true teacher and mentor as he guides them through the cases and helps them face some hard truths about themselves. He has not forgiven Stacy for betraying his trust in her and has held himself apart from romantic relationships since. Although he makes references to prostitutes and porn, there's no evidence as yet that he actually makes use of them. Later in the series, the writers will take this character and twist it into a grotesque parody of himself, almost as if they just wanted to see how over-the-top he can be without alienating the audience.

S1 Wilson is much more House's partner in crime than the spineless mark he's made out to be later. Given House's clear preference for strong women like Stacy and Cuddy, this portrayal makes much more sense to me. House respects intellect and chutzpah, and early Wilson has both in spades. They have a relationship of equals, with little sign of the parasitism that will evolve later on: House buys the monster truck rally tickets for the two of them, and Wilson's purchase of House's lunch could easily be interpreted as a one-time deal, precipitated by an annoying conversation. Most of all, I was struck by how much less "likeable" Wilson is - smart and funny, yes, but an unrepentant womanizer, and skilled at delivering bad news to his patients without being obviously affected by it. There are only the faintest allusions to the preferences for safety and routine that will be played up later as he becomes the complementary foil for Unfettered-but-Self-Destructive!House.

Cuddy is similarly much more of a match for House in S1. From the pilot, she gives him just as good as she gets, and really seems to be the kind of person who could claw her way up to being one of the few female Deans of Medicine,at least until Vogler shows up to dazzle her with his dollars. I love the sassy Cuddy who tells House she will win their game because she has such a head start on a man who is already miserable. It's really too bad that her character will have to appear so ineffectual over the next few years as her employee's behavior becomes more and more outrageous.

I really don't have much to complain about regarding the Cottages. They're young, still learning about themselves and maturing as physicians and people, which accounts for any changes observed over the years. Their backstories are also nicely consistent with their interactions with House, their patients, and each other as far as I can tell. Notably, Chase's abandonment issues and Cameron's preference for doomed relationships sets them up nicely for the train wreck of their eventual marriage and divorce.

I'm saving thoughts on Stacy for a later post. Next up: Season 2!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
lz1982
Jul. 29th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
House was definitely nicer in Season 1. He even bonded with some of the patients, and it seemed his reason for distancing himself was so he wouldn't get emotionally attached, not because he was uncaring or "only cared about the puzzle," as they repeated ad nauseum in later seasons.
flywoman
Jul. 29th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I agree with you - he comes across as a man of deep feeling who can only handle so much, not a callous logic machine who just happened to choose medicine as a venue for problem-solving. It's also funny that his fellows keep saying that he never meets with patients, because I'm pretty sure that he does deal with them in person in every S1 episode, at least eventually.
lz1982
Jul. 30th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that was always the big "moment" of the episode. He had some good scenes w/ clinic patients too (like the guy pretending to be mute and the syphillis lady--I loved her).
flywoman
Jul. 31st, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Oh, yes, those were great, especially Georgia the neurosyphilis lady. He's really very gentle with them unless they prove that they're idiots or do something else to piss him off.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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