We're huge TV fans at Art Attack, but we hold a special place in our hearts for Dr. Gregory House. For seven years, the brilliant curmudgeon has lied, deduced, cracked wise, reasoned and sexually harassed his way into becoming one of the most compelling characters on television, a 21st-century echo of his literary predecessor, Sherlock Holmes.
Now, we've sat through some trying times on House. The awkward transition to season 4 (which introduced Kal Penn, Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson as series regulars) was downright laughable, while watching House drive his car through his ex-girlfriend's house last season was enough to make us break up with the show...temporarily.
But the show's also had its stunning moments, mostly due to Hugh Laurie's deft acting and perfect timing. The final two episodes of season 5 redeemed the entire year, while the season 6 opener (which tracked House's efforts to get clean and...dare we say it...happy in a mental hospital) has yet to be recreated in terms of power and drama.
But this show, like all good things (and most bad things, too), must come to an end. And we have a feeling the end is nigh.
It's not just that Lisa Edelstein unexpectedly quit over the summer; other cast members appear to be losing interest (or at least pursuing other work) in the show: In a conference call with reporters Monday, producer David Shore said Wilde is expected to be in few episodes this season, including a "goodbye" episode (Shore also hinted this might also be the final season). And Robert Sean Leonard's airtime was noticeably cut last season when he went to rehearse a show on Broadway.
One of our friends' criticisms of the show is that "each episode is exactly the same," right down to the look House gets on his face when he realizes he's found the correct diagnosis. But we would argue that it is a great show that tells the same story every week in an incredibly different way. And even though we're honestly kind of ready to see it go off the air once and for all, we won't stop watching until the final episode's credits roll.
Here are five signs the show is essentially over.
5. Hugh Laurie's starting to lose interest. Time was, we barely heard a peep out of Laurie, who we're guessing would use his hiatuses to get some well-deserved R&R (he's notorious for pulling 60-hour-plus weeks). Though he hasn't come out and said, "I'm getting kind of tired of this," Laurie's got a big, non-House-filled year coming up, including the release of his blues album Let Them Talk and his starring role in the much buzzed-about film The Oranges, which made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival a few weeks ago.
4. The season 8 premiere is exactly the same as the season 6 premiere. Okay, okay, so a mental hospital isn't exactly the same as jail. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's a little easier for House to get drugs in jail than in a mental hospital. But they're both institutional settings, both with stringent rules, neither of which House does well with.
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3. The show is going through its third (or fourth? or fifth?) wave of casting changes. When the producers cast Olivia Wilde as Thirteen, they weren't hiring an actor, they were hiring a problem. Her film schedule has brought her in and out of the series for the past year or so, causing producers to scramble for another token young female lead (last season it was Amber Tamblyn; this season it's Odette Annable). To be honest, we've enjoyed watching Wilde grow with her character, who has recently become probably the second-most interesting character on the show.
2. It's already been lupus. A running gag on the show, the phrase "It's never lupus" became immortalized on T-shirts and coffee mugs. Then a patient was actually diagnosed with lupus in the middle of season 4. If we go by this logic, the show really died somewhere between seasons 4 and 5.
1. The only thing left is death. House has overdosed, self-operated, been in a bus crash, had sex with many hookers, been shot, had a heart attack, been electrocuted, self-operated, been in drunken bar brawls...oh yes, and there was that one infarction that caused muscle death in his thigh, which led to his limp. We're actually kind of surprised he hasn't died already. Let's just hope the producers give him a worthy parting.