If you are a fan of medical dramas, you have definitely heard of House. Whether you have seen one episode, waited anxiously for each episode to air, or binged in it a week, there is something about House that draws you in. With complex characters and interesting plot lines, the show has a little something for everyone.
House is the main doctor who isn’t the most likable guy on screen. However, his medical genius helps him solve some medical mysteries with his patients. After suffering a leg injury, House is forced to use a cane and struggles with drug addiction from painkillers. From the on-screen characters to the behind-the-scenes drama, here are some facts about the series.
Plus, if you stick around to the end, we included some plot holes and medical errors that the show must have missed.
House-made its debut in 2004 and was an immediate success. By 2008, just four years after it premiered, House became the most-watched fictional T.V. show internationally. 81.8 million people all over the world tuned in to watch Dr. Gregory House that year, according to AFP.
Hugh Laurie originally thought that Dr. James Wilson (played by Robert Sean Leonard) was the lead character. He couldn’t understand how someone as unlikable as House would be the star. The character was described as “anti-social, misanthropic, cynical, abrasive, abusive, smug” in a 2005 review.
From the very beginning, House had a hidden meaning. Look at the title: In medical jargon, a patient with a history of substance abuse is referred to as “HOUSE.” It’s actually an acronym that stands for “history of use.”
From the very beginning, we learn that House has a problem with Vicodin. Originally, the show was called “Chasing Zebras, Circling the Drain,” which is also based on medical jargon. In doctor’s speak, a “zebra” is code for an unusual diagnosis, and “circling the drain” means the patient is terminal.
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Hugh Laurie playing the role of House. He portrayed the lead flawlessly, but he wasn’t the producers’ first choice. It was his strange audition tape that ultimately landed him the role of a lifetime, but it was unconventional, to say the least.
The actor was in Namibia working on the film Flight of the Phoenix when he sent a completely improvised audition tape. He actually taped it in his hotel bathroom because “It was the only place with enough light.” His dedication certainly paid off.
Throughout the series, writers made sure to refer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s best-known running character. Just like Sherlock Holmes, House’s home address was 221B. Both characters are musically inclined: Holmes plays the violin, and House plays the piano. Both are brilliant individuals who struggle with addiction. Holmes is a morphine and cocaine addict, while House famously has a problem with Vicodin.
Even side characters are associated with Holmes. Dr. James Wilson in House is a direct parallel to Homes’ partner, Dr. John Watson. Rebecca Adler is the patient featured in the pilot named after the main antagonist in the Sherlock Holmes book series. House got shot by a man named Jack Moriarty, and the criminal mastermind in the Holmes novels is the detective’s arch-nemesis, James Moriarty.
Sherlock Holmes isn’t the only story associated with House. The show also has a surprising link to Jaws. Basically, the series’s production company is called Bad Hat Harry Production and is credited at the end of every episode.
The company’s name is a direct reference to Steven Spielberg’s classic thriller, Jaws. Remember when Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) tells an elderly man what he thinks of his swimming cap? He said, “That’s some bad hat, Harry. I’m not sure what the medical show itself has to do with Sharks, but it’s an interesting connection, nonetheless.
Dr. Lawrence Kutner, played by Kal Penn, joined the show for the fourth season as House’s new team member. He didn’t stay on the show for long, though. It had nothing to do with his acting skills or his relationship with the cast; he just had other career aspirations.
Penn asked to be written out of House in Season 5 to take a job with the Obama Administration. He actually ended up serving as Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Liaison. Not bad for an actor; I’m impressed.
Before she made a name for herself as an actress, Lisa Edelstein, who portrayed Dr. Lisa Cuddy, was infamous in the 1980s New York club scene. In 1986, there was even a profile written about her in The New York Times.
Writer Maureen Dowd dubbed the one-time NYU undergrad and Palladium bartender “Lisa E.” Edelstein was known as a “celebutante.” The actress told the Daily Dish in 2014, “It was the perfect place to be a wild, young adult. I had friends of all ages and from all walks of life, and I drank that shit up.”
If you watched the series, you probably remember that House’s various T.V. shows became a constant joke. On several occasions, he mentioned another Fox show that he loved watching: The O.C. The teen drama was a huge hit back in the early 2000s. I remember watching it in middle school.
The funny thing is Olivia Wilde actually starred in The O.C. as well. From 2004-2006, she played Alex Kelly, who dated both Seth Cohen and Marissa Cooper. In 2007, she joined the cast of House as Dr. Remy “Thirteen” Hadley.
Countless guest stars appeared on House throughout the show’s run, and one of them was Dave Matthews. He was featured in the Season 3 episode “Half-Wit,” but that’s not the only connection between House and the musician. Dave Matthews songs were used on the show twice!
During the “Love Hurts” episode at the end of Season 1, Matthews’s song “Some Devil” plays. And in the Season 5 episode “Not Cancer,” the song “You Might Die Trying” plays. Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump also appeared in Season 8, Episode 17. Brandy appeared early on in the series, and Meat Loaf also made a cameo in 2009.
Hamilton writer Lin-Manuel Miranda starred in a two-episode arc of the show. He played House’s roommate in the psych ward, Alive. Executive producer Katie Jacobs was so excited to have Miranda on because she was such a big fan of his work.
Miranda told Playbill: “I’m such a fan of the show, so I said yes, and we immediately got to work on clearing my summer so I could go out to L.A. and film it. I’m immensely proud to be a part of it, and I can’t wait to see it. I hope I did right by them!”
Fox was looking for a reliable series to compete with NBC’s Law & Order and CBS’s CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) franchises before the show premiered in 2004. Although House was a medical drama and not a crime show, it became a huge success.
When the 100th episode of House aired in 2009, the show’s creator, David Shore, told Variety: “The more I worked on it, the less able I was to make it work as a procedural, but the more the character started to come alive for me.” It was the hit show Fox was looking for at the time.
House has become a world-famous character, but actor Hugh Laurie partly based the character on his father. Ran Laurie was a British doctor, a rowing champion, and an Olympic gold medalist. That’s an accomplished man right there; no wonder he wanted to be like him.
Since Ran was a doctor, Hugh was able to slip into the role by somewhat emulating his dad. In 2004, the actor admitted to USA Today that he felt guilty “being paid more to become a fake version of my own father.”
As you can imagine, the fictional show is inspired by real-life medical mysteries. David Shore explained how two medical writers are working on the show. One was Lisa Sanders, a physician who wrote a column in the New York Times Magazine called “Diagnosis.”
Sanders eventually became a technical advisor on the series. The second writer was Berton Roueché, who spent 50 years as a staff writer for The New Yorker, writing pieces on unusual medical cases. His knowledge of intriguing cases inspired countless episodes of the show.
If you’re familiar with House, you definitely recognize the haunting theme song: “Teardrop” by Massive Attack. However, it didn’t actually appear on the show until the ninth episode of the series entitled “DNR.”
One of the main reasons that a specific song was chosen was because of its thumping beat that mimics the sound of a human heartbeat. The song was also used in Prison Break, another Fox show, in the episode entitled “Tonight.”
Before Hugh Laurie snagged the role, actors like Denis Leary, David Cross, Rob Morrow, and Patrick Dempsey were all contenders for the part of House. Kyle MacLachlan also auditioned to play the crazy doctor but described it as one of his life’s worst auditions.
Dempsey, as we know, ended up playing another Doctor. Chances are you recognize him as Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepard on Grey’s Anatomy, another extremely popular medical drama. He was clearly destined for that role, so it looks like the stars aligned for the actor.
As House, Laurie is the only cast member who was featured in every episode of the show. The role earned him the world record for being the most-watching leading man on television. By 2010, he also reportedly made £250,000 ($336,000) an episode. That is quite a raise from Season 1, where he apparently started out with “mid-five figures” per episode.
But it wasn’t just fun and games. Laurie told Radio Times that he had to have his car windows tinted while filming the show so that random people wouldn’t snap pictures of him. He even stopped going to the supermarket because he “couldn’t stand people photographing the contents of my shipping basket.”
House decided he needs an entirely new team in Season 4. He is presented with 30 candidates eager to learn from him. Among these hopefuls was Dr. Remy Hadley, played by the beautiful Olivia Wilde. She was assigned the number 13.
Even though 13 is generally considered unlucky, she was picked to join House. She ended up being referred to by the number, and the nickname stuck. Wilde ended up leaving the show in 2011 to focus on other acting projects. Ironically, her departure date was October 13th.
Lupus was the subject of an ongoing joke on House and even became a fan-favorite meme. Dr. Allison Cameron first brought it up as a possible diagnosis for one of her patients in the Season 1 episode “Detox.”
The autoimmune-disease-as-red-herring diagnosis went on for four seasons until the episode entitled “You Don’t Want to Know.” The writers finally created a storyline where a patient had (and was correctly diagnosed with) lupus. When the diagnosis ended up being correct, House said, “It’s happened… I finally have a case of lupus.”
Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison were a couple on screen as well as off-screen. Spencer popped the question in December 2006. It was right around that time when their characters, Dr. Robert Chase and Dr. Allison Cameron, began dating on the show. Fans were excited to see their romance go beyond House.
Unfortunately, the duo called the engagement off in August 2007, just weeks before they were supposed to walk down the aisle. In a joint statement, the couple said, “After much consideration, we have decided not to get married.” Shortly after, their characters also split up. But their on-screen relationship lasted longer than real-life engagement.
After the Season 7 finale, Dr. Lisa Cuddy left the show because actress Lisa Edelstein’s contract was up – along with those of her castmates Omar Epps and Robert Sean Leonard. Fox offered them a pay cut, and while Epps and Leonard took it, Edelstein did not. That May, she announced that she would not be returning to the show.
“After much consideration, I am moving onward with a combination of disappointment at leaving behind a character I have loved playing for seven years and excitement of the new opportunities in acting and producing that lie ahead,” she stated. David Shore said he didn’t know the actress was leaving and would have liked to “write out the character as she deserved it.”
House’s motto “Everybody Lies” was first used on another binge-worthy medical show, Scrubs. In Season 2, Episode 12, “My New Old Friend,” Dr. Bob Kelso says those famous words. The wise old doctor tells a young surgeon, “Everybody lies, Dr. Turk.”
Do you know what the coffee machine says? If you pay attention to the coffee machine in the team’s bullpen, you’ll notice it says, “Good Coffee: Cheaper than Prozac.” The first time it appeared was in episode three of the series called “Occam Razor.”
In 2008, Michael Weston joined the cast as private detective Lucas Douglas, and producers were hoping to create a spinoff show surrounding his character. Unfortunately, the idea didn’t end up working out. Executive producers David Shore and Katie Jacobs “just didn’t feel like it worked.”
After eight years on the screen, House won 2 Golden Globes, 5 Primetime Emmy Awards, a Teen Choice Award, and a Peabody. It is still syndicated in various countries and gains new audiences all over the world through streaming. I’m definitely going home and binging it.
Despite making the role of House look easy, Laurie put a lot of effort into his character and worked grueling hours. Throughout the show’s run, he was away from his family in Britain, and his lead-role prevented him from physically being able to take on many other acting jobs. He later described working on the show as a nightmare. The actor explained:
“I had some pretty bleak times, dark days when it seemed like there was no escape. And having a very Presbyterian work ethic, I was determined never to be late, not to miss a single day’s filming… but there were times when I’d think, ‘If I were just to have an accident on the way to the studio and win a couple of days off to recover, how brilliant would that be?’”
Considering the series was headlined by an unlikeable, cynical lead, it’s clear that the network executives had their own ideas about developing the series. They didn’t try to make House more likable, but Fox insisted that the character have an enemy pushing back against his behavior.
Creator David Shore wasn’t happy with the idea but ultimately created Edward Vogler, the hospital administrator. But Shore never intended for him to stick around. Early on, he stated that the character would only appear in a few episodes. As the series progressed, Shore eventually wrote him off.
When the writers were trying to figure out how to portray Dr. House’s enigmatic character, the main conflict was playing out his injury. The creators knew they wanted House to be handicapped or have some form of disability, but they couldn’t agree on what exactly it should be.
The original idea was to put House in a wheelchair, but the writers felt it would be too limiting and restrict his character. They also tossed around the idea of depicting his injury with a scar. They scrapped that idea because it required a big makeup investment. Eventually, they decided on a cane and limp, but the other two ideas were used. In one episode, House used a wheelchair on a bet, and you could occasionally see the scar on his leg.
When the show was still in development, Fox had some specific ideas for House’s best friend, Wilson. The network wanted him to be a nice guy in contrast to House’s character. But during his audition, Sean Leonard gave Wilson a bit of an edge. David Shore explained:
“Bryan Singer, who was directing it, went off to give him the note outside the room, and I was sitting there in the room, thinking about it and going, ‘I think that’s a bad idea… There has to something about this guy that would make him be friends with House. And I ran out of the room to tell Bryan that I didn’t agree with that note and to tell Robert. As soon as I get it out of my mouth, Bryan said, ‘Oh, it’s a terrible note. We’ll have him read it that way, we’ll get him the part, and then we’ll do it our way later.”
As we mentioned, Kal Penn played the part of Dr. Kutner but left when he was offered an incredible opportunity to work for the White House as an associate director for Public Liaison’s office. Penn’s departure meant that he would have to be written off because he chose not to take any acting roles while he was working for the Obama administration.
On the show, his character committed suicide, but Penn had no idea they would kill him off. The actor expressed that he felt “more than a little bit of shock and loss” when he found out about his character’s death. Despite the unexpected demise, the actor left the show on good terms and was on set during the suicide episode. He also returned for a brief appearance in the series finale.
When David Shore started working on House, he didn’t think much about how the story would end. In fact, he thought the show would get canceled at any point. With an uncertain future for the series, Shore didn’t come up with an ending. Up until the final season, the ending was still up in the air.
“In my mind, that would have been incredibly pompous. The idea that this was going to last more than 12 episodes and that I could plan an ending is just way too arrogant,” Shore expressed. “It’s American network T.V. I fully expected it would just stay on the air, and I would tell individual stories about this individual until they told me I couldn’t do it anymore.”
After House’s relationship with Cuddy collapsed at the end of Season 7, House drove his car into Cuddy’s home during her dinner party with her new man. Many fans felt unsettled by this dramatic ending. It gave off the vibe that House was trying to kill her and changed the show’s nature.
In interviews, creator David Shore clarified that House saw them leave the room first. He further explained that the violence wasn’t directed at Cuddy herself… just her house: “Even in that moment, I don’t think he wanted to kill anybody. But who knows? Probably part of his mind did. It was a lashing out – a very extreme lashing out. I don’t think it was a murderous lashing out.”
After eight wonderful seasons, the show ended with a bang when House faked his own death so that Wilson could spend his last few months on an adventure with his best friend. Fans speculated that House really was dead at the end of the show, but creator David Shore said the ending was intended to be taken at face value. But that doesn’t mean House’s fate wasn’t in danger in the writer’s room.
Shore admitted he considered killing House in the finale. “Everything was on the table, and that seemed like a natural [choice] in some ways – that is an ending. And this [episode] is a nice ending for the series, but it’s not an ending to House, and that’s part of it,” he said. “House as a human being – a fictional human being but still a human being – won’t be over until he dies. So, there was some talk about that.”
One of House’s most prominent characteristics was his injured leg that left him with a limp. But as it turns out, the fictional limp caused actor Hugh Laurie some real problems. While filming the series, the actor admitted that “the show might last through to series seven, eight or nine but I don’t know if I will because I’m starting to lose my knees. It’s a lot of hip work. Things are going badly wrong.”
After spending various years playing House, Laurie found it difficult to stop limping. Even while taking on different projects, he would find himself slipping back into House’s limp. He admitted, “I can’t remember any of the lines at all, but when ‘action’ is shouted, I start limping. I’m like a dog that’s been prodded with electrodes.”
Throughout the series, we learn things about House’s past. In the episode “Adverse Events,” we find out that Dr. House was a lacrosse cheerleader while he was at university. We know that he was an athlete before his injury. He collects running shoes, and on the rare occasions where his pain is gone, he is seen going on long runs.
But it’s been implied that House’s social awkwardness and abrasive attitude stem from his childhood. Cheerleading requires teamwork, performance, and, well… cheer! It seems a little bit out of place for his character.
House is a fictional show, but it’s set in our reality and based on real stories. They try to make things as medically accurate as possible, no matter how rare or unusual the disease is. However, that doesn’t mean the show (and, by extension, House himself) doesn’t make mistakes.
In the episode “Out of the Chute,” a bull rider gets trampled at a rodeo. House assumes that the guy had an aortic aneurysm and then realizes he was wrong by cracking the patient’s chest and increasing blood pressure. However, that would have been the correct thing to do. That wasn’t the only time House made a medical error that could have made the patient worse in reality.
House’s cane is one of the show’s biggest plot points, which is why it is the most criticized. For a brilliant medical doctor, House uses his cane on the wrong side of his body. He is injured on his right, yet he continues to lean the cane on the same side as the bad leg.
If you ever had a leg injury, you know that to ease the pressure from the right side, the cane should be on the left. It goes completely unmentioned for a few seasons until it is finally brought to House’s attention. But even still, the character chooses to keep it on the wrong side.
It would be an understatement to say that House lives his life in a moral grey area. That’s why it’s not very surprising that he frequently breaks into his patients’ homes to gather evidence and clues, and he has no problem making his team do so as well.
But the real question is, how the heck does he keep getting away with this? He never gets caught, and neither do any of the other doctors. He never has any real consequences, and even if it’s for the “greater good,” it’s a crime to break into someone’s house. I mean, why doesn’t he just knock and simply ask his patients if he could come in – LEGALLY.
For a series focused on mysteries and finding medical clues, most of the presented cases get wrapped up by the end of a single episode. The team figures out what rare disease the person has, House says something witty, Cuddy rolls her eyes, and they call it a day. But there was one case left unsolved: House’s paternity.
We are presented with two possibilities for House’s dad. The first is John House, the guy who raised Greg and is married to his mother. But growing up, he suspected that wasn’t his birth father, and he turns out to be right. But the next candidate wasn’t his father either. House’s true paternity wasn’t resolved by the end of the show.
House is a medical doctor with constant pain due to the muscle that was removed from his leg. He walks with a cane to remove pressure from that leg. However, the cane he uses is not strong enough to give him the support he needs in reality.
It makes sense for his character to care about style when it comes to canes. As a man who lives in pain and goes to extreme lengths to relieve it, why wouldn’t he just go ahead and get himself a medical-grade cane that would be much more comfortable and actually do the job?
House’s only real friend on the show is the loyal James Wilson. Whenever he is spiraling out of control, Wilson is right there to help bring him back from the pits of his own mind. House has also been there for him, specifically towards the end of the show. But more often than not, it’s House leaning on Wilson.
Despite the number of times House lied to, manipulated, and hurt poor Wilson, how is it that he managed to keep his best friend all this time? If I had a friend who treated me the way House treats Wilson, I don’t think I’d stick around. But Wilson is clearly way more loyal than I am.
One of House’s main qualities is that he is a genius pessimist who deals with physical pain daily. He also deals with the trauma of the events that caused it. As the show progresses, House finds more drastic ways to relieve his pain – some work better than others, at least, temporarily.
There is only one problem: Whenever his pain is gone, his genius diminishes. This isn’t just because of the medication he takes since it happens with all kinds of different drugs he tries. But the thing is, he was depicted as being a genius before the injury, so why is it that he is suddenly worse at his job when the pain goes away?
Throughout his childhood, House was uprooted and forced to move to several different countries since his father served in the military. The countries he lived in included Egypt, the Philippines, and Japan. One country that was notably never mentioned was England. House has never admitted to stepping foot there.
Yet, sometimes we hear odd British phrases in House’s long dialogues as opposed to American sayings. One example is in the “No Reason” episode: Instead of saying “dress,” he used the English word “frock.” This is likely because Hugh Laurie, the actor who plays him, is British in real life.
Everyone is shocked when House is suddenly attacked by a mysterious man (the man who is credited as Jack Moriarty). Even though House isn’t the most likable person, the fact that someone intended to harm him is unsettling, to say the least.
Afterward, House went out and bought a gun. It seems reasonable after he was facing down a gunman. House also tells Masters that the Second Amendment is part of the Constitution, which says that people have the right to be stupid.
House likes to tear people down and make jokes at their expense. It’s all part of his mean and repellent exterior. If there is something that you’re insecure about, you could count on House to point it out and really hit you where it hurts. House will dig and dig until he gets a rise out of you.
Work is no exception. He says things that are uncalled for to his team all his time. One specific instance was in the episode “The Social Contract,” where House makes cruel jokes at Taub’s expense. But when it comes to House’s mean-spirited nature, this was just another day at the office.
Hugh Laurie will always be known as the grumpy doctor after landing the iconic show’s lead role. He certainly made a name for himself, and the world acknowledged his acting chops when he scooped up a Golden Globe for his amazing performance.
After leading eight medical drama seasons, Laurie never had another role quite as iconic and probably never will. It’s extremely rare to get one role as notable as House. Since the series’s conclusion, Laurie had some supporting roles in shows like Veep and The Night Manager.
Dr. Chi Park was a major character in the eighth and final season of House. The doctor was beautifully portrayed by Los Angeles-born comedian and actress Charlyn Yi. The talented star is a jack of all trades, and her performances include music, magic, and games.
In 2009, her screenwriting debut, the feature film Paper Heart, won the Waldo State Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival. Charlyn continues to act in hit movies like This is 40, Second Act and Always Be My Maybe. If that wasn’t enough, she is also a voice actress, playing several animated characters in the series Steven Universe.
Amber Tamblyn is an actress, writer, and director. She gained national attention as Emily Quartermaine, her character in the soap opera General Hospital. She really made a name for herself as the lead in Joan of Arcadia, winning a Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. Then she landed another starring role in House.
The talented actress spent seven seasons wonderfully portraying Martha M. Masters. We have definitely seen the actress since House wrapped. She was featured in 24 episodes of Two and a Half Men and has been an active voice in the #MeToo movement.
Odette Anable is a stunning actress and model and is recognized for her most notable role as Dr. Jessica Adams in House. Her character was the last to join House’s Diagnostics Team, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t give a memorable impression on the show’s last season.
After the series ended, she went on to star in two shows that were one-season wonders: The Grinder and The Astronaut Wives Club. Then, she landed a major role as Reign on Supergirl. She currently has more projects in the works, so this isn’t the last of Annable.
Peter Jacobson’s portrayal of Dr. Chris Taub in the medical drama was remarkable. The dynamic character was both an addict and the voice of reason for other medical staff. He had plenty of other roles before and after playing the doctor, but nothing as notable.
However, he certainly brought that same acting talent to his other roles in shows like Ray Donovan, The Americans, NCSI: Los Angeles, and Colony. You can currently catch him on Fear of the Walking Dead, where he plays Rabbi Jacob Kessner’s recurring character.
Dashing Australian actor, Jesse Spencer, had a leading role in House from 2004-2012. The last time we saw the heartthrob as Dr. Robert Chase on the series was when he replaced House as the Head of Diagnostic Medicine.
Since the finale of House, Spencer continued to act in Hollywood. These days, you could catch him on Chicago Fire, where he played the lead role of Captain Matthew Casey since 2012. He also plays that role on Chicago P.D. and on Chicago Med. With his talent and good looks, it’s safe to say we will continue to see more of him.
Robert Leonard was the actor who played House’s only true friend, James Wilson. He is one of the most beloved supporting characters in the series, thanks to their bromance. However, House isn’t the first time you saw him. You probably recognize Leonard as Neil Perry from the movie Dead Poet’s Society (1989).
After his unforgettable portrayal of Wilson, the actor went on to play more recurring roles in shows like Falling Skies and in the miniseries The Hot Zone. He also took his talents to the stage and was featured in Stage Productions for To Kill a Mockingbird and Camelot, just to name a few.