House Divided

House MD Season 2

There was an article in Salon a couple of weeks ago that took the Fox TV show, House, to task for its implausibility. In summary:

I call "House's" world the Beautiful Hospital. There are the wide, bright hallways, miles of floor-to-ceiling glass, and the many private, luxurious patient rooms (none of which appear to belong inside the hulking brick institution seen in the bird's-eye credits). Mostly it is a Beautiful Hospital because it is staffed almost entirely by a trio of gorgeous and impossibly brilliant physicians. No one else works at the Beautiful Hospital except a few secondary gorgeous and brilliant doctors and an ever-changing cast of extras whose only job is walking down the hallways in scrubs.

By my incomplete count, the three handsome doctors who work under House -- Cameron, Chase and Foreman -- all sadly lacking a sense of humor, are educated in the entire gamut of medical specialties, from brain surgery to dermatology to obstetrics. Their patients have diseases like adrenoleukodystrophy, cervical spondylosis and Miller-Fisher syndrome; a surprising number wind up getting experimental surgeries, organ transplants and drugs not on the FDA-approved list. (On "House," the correct diagnosis always follows a lot of wrong ones and the patient's near death at the hands of the brilliant diagnosticians.)

I just finished Seasons one and two of House on DVD and I would concur with most of the slings and arrows hurled. Not that it stops my enjoyment of the show which I actually first started viewing on recommendation of my brother, the cardiologist (Jewish mother-like reference intentional). After all, House MD rests on two pillars; first is Gregory House, played with bug eyed brilliance by the former Bertie Wooster himself, Stephen Fry. The second column is whatever malevolent spitting critter is starring as the disease of the week. Consequently, none of the crticisms levelled in the article actually detracts from the show, IMHO. No, my problem with House is this: for a show that purports to be set in Jersey, there are no desis in the hospital.

No Indians in Princeton-Plainsboro. Are you kidding me? This is is not Montana or Wyoming, this is the Garden State we're talking about here, the original desi wonderland, the place where "American Born Confused Desis Emigrated From Gujarat Housed In Jersey" comes from! Stir in the first gen immigrant parents' mentality of sending their kids to med school if possible (I should know :-), and wonder why is it that a hospital series set in the middle of Jersey doesn't have a single desi doctor or patient in its first two seasons? That I find hard to believe!

However, this is not to say India itself doesn't make any notable appearances. Reference to vindaloo curry aside, there is an episode in Season two which starts with House poring over a Hindi journal on neuroscience. I have no idea whether any such publication exists but subsequently that episode then segues into a discussion of the prevalence of clinical trials in India and on the questionable ethics thereof. Kudos for bringing that up at least.

House MD Season 2
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- May 20, 2007 9:50 AM // TV