Watched House MD?

by Steve Ray on November 12, 2007

Most interesting part is in blue text below.

NO TV in our house
Janet and I got rid of our television service earlier this year and we love it. We don’t even get the local channels anymore. I was raised without TV since my dad would not get a TV — saying “We will read in this house instead!” and I am forever grateful. Our kids never complained, in fact they like the house without TV too. We all find we can get a lot more done without it. What we do now is watch DVDs which we rent from Netflix. We have date nights, family nights and just watch good movies and shows for the fun of it. Our life is richer without television.

HousePortrait1.jpgJimmy Akin introduced us to the series called Monk several years ago. We’ve rented those DVDs and even bought the first few seasons. Great fun! Then we discovered House M.D. At first I hated the show and thought “No doctor could be that arrogant and disgusting and get away with it in a hospital.” But a few friends liked it so Janet and I gave it another chance. Now we really enjoy House.

About House MD
He is arrogant, selfish, rude and self-destructive. But he is also brilliant, insightful, caring and usually the only one that can get through to people. You often wonder if reaches people in pain and suffering because they sense he can relate to them — and also because he is brutally honest and rude.

Everyone has a love/hate response to House — no one is without an opinion, not only the people around him in the hospital, but the viewer as well. He is a drug addict hooked on pain killers and unable to get close to people. The other main characters — mainly doctors and hospital administrators —  are all screwed up, sexually immoral, and lonely.

In spite of all this, our whole family has taken to these shows and they stimulate a lot of good discussion — not the least about how living such lives apart from God and his Laws, can leave a person alone, disfunctional and sad. But the moral, theological and philosophical issues raised make for great discussion — a way of stimulating discussion with adults and older kids — very real current topics to think about, wrestle with, and confront our secular culture about.

Warning: I would NOT recommend this for younger kids. There is crude discussion and mature topics. It is for adults and mature teenagers. And even some adults will probably not appreciate the show.

HouseExamines.jpgBut these shows wrestle with philosophical and moral issues that other shows won’t touch with a ten-foot pole. House the existence of God, yet the topic comes up over and over again. He admits his despair and that he has no ultimate meaning for his life. The challenge of solving medical mysteries is an existential way of entertaining himself in the midst of an absurd, cruel and meaningless existence.  He loves the challenge because it gives meaning to an otherwise meaningless existence.

In one episode he treats a Catholic nun (which was very well done and respectful) in which they argue about God. She actually wins the discussion. In another show one of his doctors named Chase defends religion and reveals that he had been in seminary. The show ends with Chase standing in the back of a Catholic Church looking up at the tabernacle with a longing in his eyes.

Abortion and the value of human life has surfaced on a number of occasions. In “One Day, One Room” House treats a young woman with a STD who is pregnant. House pushes her to get an abortion; the girl is a thinker and believes in God and the value of human life. The dialog is intriguing, but in the end she aborts. We were very disappointed.

HouseHandSm.jpgThe Little Hand
But then comes a great episode in which an older woman is pregnant with a baby that is literally killing her because of medical issues. House refuses to call it a “baby” and mocks those who do. He refers to the unborn child as a fetus (yelling “fetus” at others who refer to it as a baby, including the mother who refuses to give it up). He also calls the baby a parasite.

Ultimately because of heroic efforts, Dr. Cuttey convinces House to operate on the baby in utero. When House cuts open the womb a small hand reaches out and grabs House’s finger (click on picture for larger image). With hands covered with blood, House freezes as the miniature hand with minute little fingers grasps his large index finger. So, it is not just a fetus — it is a little human being grasping desparately  — asking for House to save him.

I won’t tell you how it ends, but House can’t get the “baby” out of his mind, referring to it absentmindedly as a “baby.” His staff looks at each other and comments something like “He called it a baby!” House keeps rubbing his hand and looking down at the finger which had been grasped by the baby. Quite moving. Anyway, thought I would share this with you.

Two Follow up Articles:

Pedagogical Value of House

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron Cone November 12, 2007 at 10:54 AM

It’s hard to imagine that such thought provoking writing and enactment could come from a TV series.

Barbara November 12, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Considering that Drudge got canned for showing an image like that on TV News, that’s great! Hope Drudge feels vindicated.

Kevin Jones November 12, 2007 at 6:16 PM

Is it just me, or are the only religious people on that show blacks or women?

I initially warmed to House’s cynicism and dark humor, but I’ve been having second thoughts. Sure, the show reveals him to be a very damaged human being in need of God, therapy, or drugs. But while his nihilism is explicit, witty,and memorable, the rebukes to his misanthropy are mostly implicit and subtle, if they are made at all. Can’t the show have an anti-House, a wit who has true virtues but can compete with House on his own snide level?

As it is, the show serves to make evil look more glorious and authentic, while it makes good look illusory and phony.

One of House’s sayings, “Humanity is overrated”, ended up on the t-shirt of that mass murderer in Finland. Some people can’t tell an anti-hero from a hero, and I think some of these people write for the show.

Linus November 12, 2007 at 9:39 PM

I stopped watching T.V. last Thanksgiving. I do watch a D.V.D. occasionally, usually something educational or some documentary. But I find I’m usually too busy for that now. I’ve taken up art work again and photography in a limited way. I’m building my own ” picture book” of nature. Really, T.V. has reached the point where I regard it as morally objectionable for all-even the ads!!! And I don’t miss House or any or the rest. As far as that goes, there was quite a bit wrong with the old movies of the 50’s and 60’s that I didn’t notice the first time through. And early T.V. wasn’t all that innocent either. I would suggest that people take up a hobby and drop all that visual stuff. Many of the old radio programs are available through the local libraries and I enjoy these. Linus

Joseph Fromm November 12, 2007 at 10:54 PM

Cable / Dish / TV free for over three years now and love it!

Denise November 13, 2007 at 12:48 PM

Thank you for sharing. I enjoy both Monk and House, also. I watch both with my teen. My two little one’s have watched a few Monk episodes with us, but NEVER House. I must say that House does have many messages within the script and I will miss it IF it goes off the air. My son and I wait eagerly for our Tuesday night date watching House. Last week’s program did cause me some concern, with House’s excessive vulgarity toward the female CIA physician. THAT ruined the show for me, BUT there was a complete turn around when the grand finale came up. Once again…House was right…and so was Dr. Foreman. The show regarding the “fetus” brought tears to my eyes when the baby’s hand reached out and touched House. House is definately disturbed and lost, but at the same time one can see that he is a human being searching deep within himself. There have been episodes when God has spoken to him, through other’s actions and words. I think that Dr. Wilson is the one who will ultimately be the one who can bring House around. He is the one who is bold enough, quick witted, yet humble , who can do the job. My favorite was when Wilson “stole” House’s guitar. Classic.

I must say that I wish we could abolish the TV in our home. Though we do enjoy EWTN and some Discovery Channel. If only we could have a service where we could just purchase what we want and not get all the garbage that comes in the total package.

So we do enjoy some television and our kids are allowed SOME computer time, (Thank God that we had the grace to fight the will of our teen regarding online gaming), there is nothing better than The Great Outdoors.

Keith Johnson November 26, 2007 at 8:18 PM

I happen to watch a lot of TV and enjoy it very much. Of course most of the stuff on TV is trash but I go to sleep during most of the trash and relax. Also, I like sports and real life TV such as Court TV. The news bores me because most of it is makebelieve, but it is useful at times. I think those who don’t watch TV wear it on their sleaves and miss some really great stuff. If you have enough brains to pick out the good from the bad then TV is great.

Keith Johnson November 26, 2007 at 8:21 PM

Oh I forgot. I don’t watch House. It is boring! What a wast of time and money to by or rent the DVDs. Talk about make-believe! I have better things to do with my time.

Joe November 27, 2007 at 11:25 AM

Lest anyone think that House was embellishing or exaggerating in order to appeal to pro-lifers watching the show, here is a link you might want to check out. My wife and I haven't watched television for 2 1/2 years and we are loving it. We have more time for reading, talking, walking, and playing with our son. Also, I've never watched a single episode of House. I linked here from EWTN.

Joe November 27, 2007 at 4:49 PM

Duh, here is the link. I messed up above.

Darrell May 22, 2011 at 11:52 PM

i imagine they got the idea from real event…was Doctor operating on a baby with spinal bifida…the baby grabbed his finger as if to say thank you…remeber seeing the picture yrs ago…
God says he knew us from the day of conception…!!..a baby begins life long before its born…

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