This Blog Is On the “House”

21 10 2009

Dr. HouseJust wanted to take a moment to put in a word for what is one of the best shows on TV. “House,” airing on Monday nights on Fox at 7pm has for a few years now been must-see TV for me. Admittedly, the “storefront story” is usually the same – bizarre medical puzzle stumping genius doctors for approximately 50 minutes until a completely unrelated and innocent statement is made which magically reveals that the condition is not the incurable disease once thought but is instead the fact that the patient got a splinter from a rare African wood imported to the US and handled by a guy who sneezed on it and kept it in his house for a while to let his dog with mange defecate on it resulting in a deadly toxin that has created a multitide of symptoms which on any other occasion would look like an auto-immune disease ravaging the body when it simply requires 3 doses of Nyquil and a roll of cherry lifesavers to chase it from the bloodstream. That part of the show is always a bit predictable, but interesting if you like the medical mystery thing; still, it is hardly the most interesting and poignant part of the show.

On the second level of the story-telling is the character (or lack thereof) development of those on the show. These are people with complex pasts, complicated relationships, all kinds of psychoses, neuroses, and just wads of life-stink. These people are flawed beyond imagination, just like every other real group of people in the world. The writers didn’t even provide us with a “foil,” some archetype of perfection to stand over and against all these pathetes running around in the sewers of their own devices. It’s just a bunch of broken people doctoring up broken people. Still, as engaging as I find these characters, this is not the most powerful part of the show.

“House,” more than any other show I am aware of, overtly wrestles with the questions of God  – if he’s really there, who He is, how He works, and all those things that we ask deep down and deny publicly that we would ask such things. Meanwhile, the world around and outside the church find no shame in asking them, and “House” is evidence of that.

House, the character, is staunchly atheistic (or so it seems), yet the show itself often allows for “mysteries” that House insists can be explained scientifically but which are more suited to the realm of the supernatural. Some of the most honest, open, and important questions about God are being asked on that show almost weekly – questions I don’t always hear so often from “church-people” on Sundays. This season has presented moral, ethical, and eternal questions on the value of life (the evil ones, not just the innocent), the measure of wealth against family, and how to live and relate in light of an oncoming and certain day of death – just to name a few.

If you are not a “House”-watcher, you are missing what I think is an important conversation by the world around us about God, life, morality, relationships, and perspective. Admittedly, the answers provided by the characters are not satisfying or pretty or pleasant to see or within a Christian worldview. There is adult content, language, and elements with which some Christians may be quite uncomfortable. It is not a show for the faint of heart or those weak in discernment or those who want to continue living in a safe “God-bubble” secluded from the issues and questions in our culture. However, I believe that we would be remiss to not hear and be able to engage the questions about God our world is (and we are) asking. “House” is a pretty scary, often uncomfortable, and yet somehow refreshing place to hear them.

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3 responses

21 10 2009
Jennifer Dolcelli

And I thought it was just a show with a cranky character … thanks, Kris for making me think deeper.

21 10 2009
Andrea

I absolutely love House! I am speaking of both the television show and in many ways the “character” (and I use that word loosely) himself. I may find House wonderful and interesting and thought provoking for entirely different reasons than you. I am totally drawn in by his pseudo honesty. There is something very frail about him … about the way that he hides behind his uncivil, brash, offensive and tasteless manners. He appeals to my need to analyze and understand him. No, I am not some crazy person that would stalk him, I completely get that he is not a real man but an actor playing a part. Still .. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT MAKES HIM TICK! There … so ya see, House is a fantastic show for many reasons!

9 05 2010
Shane Cole

Great insight, Kris. Your blogging is as artful as your song-writing. I enjoy the show for the same reasons. The first-class writing, production values and acting keep my attention and provide a unique forum for bringing up the big questions that House and the rest of us wrestle with. I haven’t been as intrigued by a show since “The West Wing”. Just saw Iron Man 2 and loved it as well.

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