One of my favorite shows on television aired for the last time Monday night. "House" and cast took their final curtain call and left a show that ran for eight seasons, 177 episodes.
If you never saw the show, you missed out. House, played by Hugh Laurie, was the most unlikeable, despicable character who has ever taken a lead role in a television series. That's why most people loved him.
The pilot, which was called, "Everyone Lies," aired Nov. 16, 2004, on Fox. The title quickly became the premise of the show. Dr. Gregory House trusted no one. Everyone had something to lie about, and no one is capable of change. The finale was titled "Everyone Dies." True. Everyone does die at some time. I think the writers used the title to make people believe that either House himself or his only friend and fellow doctor James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), who was recently given just months to live due to cancer, was going to die.
It wouldn't be anything new for the writers to kill off a character. I don't just mean random patients, but actually characters. Two doctors who worked for House were killed, one by suicide, the other a car accident. So what was to stop them from killing off one of the top two characters? I was hoping a lot. It's one thing to end a show. It's another to kill off the characters. I hate when they do that.
The final episode revolved around the last patient who was suicidal. House became attached to the idea of suicide. The patient told him "reality sucks." So essentially, what purpose was there to live? The show opened with the patient, dead on the floor, and House passed out on the same floor, in a burning building. House makes no attempt to get out. A parade of past characters appear in his mind to talk him out of just giving up - to not just lay there and die.
When talking to his fellow colleague who was killed in a bus wreck, House comments on how happy his former patient looks. "He's happy," House said. "He's dead," she replied. It makes the viewer wonder just what is going on in his mind. Maybe he will just lay down and die.
Another doctor he once worked with, but since moved on, appears to talk to him. He figures she's there to tell him not to do it. He's wrong. She tells him he deserves death as a reward for all he has been through. Wilson has decided not to fight the cancer and give up, why shouldn't House? She tells him to go ahead and take the cowardly way out. She has his attention.
House makes his way to the door of the building just as Wilson and House's boss reach the door of the building after a long search for him. A flaming board falls, blocking House from view. The fire consumes the building. It explodes. I burst into tears.
A body is pulled from the building and confirmed to be that of House. A small memorial is held in his honor, and everyone tells their stories about what a great guy and doctor he was. But not Wilson. He is the only one who says what an ass House was. Everyone in the room is surprised at his honesty. Wilson's phone beeps with a text message that reads, "Shut up, you idiot." I am still crying.
House is alive. He faked his death to spend Wilson's last days with him. He, for the first time in his life, did something for someone other than himself. As he lay waiting to die in the fire, he decided that maybe he could change. He and Wilson get on motorcycles and ride off into the distance.
"House" was the most watched television program in the world in 2008. During its eight-year run, the show received five primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Peabody Award and nine People's Choice Awards. Not bad for just eight years.
In a preview story from The Associated Press, Frazier Moore, television writer, said, "It will be painful saying goodbye to 'House.'" It was.
It ended just as it began with the cynical doctor and his smart mouth. The character stayed true to himself to the end.
So "rest in peace," Dr. House. You will be forever missed.
I will leave you with a quote from the infamous Dr. Gregory House.
"What's the opposite of 'Thank you'? I'm pretty sure it ends in 'you.'"
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)