~ 3 May 2005 ~

Sherlock’s House?

Although I don’t watch a great deal of television, I’ll have to admit I’ve recently become addicted to Fox’s House. If you haven’t seen it (perhaps you’re one of those Amazing Race watchers), it’s about an eccentric-genius physician who solves medical mysteries that would stump the average M.D. Dr. House generally isn’t too fond of his patients—or anybody else, for that matter. He’s bitingly sarcastic, and unblushingly un-PC, so it’s no big surprise that I like the show.

Another reason I like the show is House’s striking similarity to Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character, Sherlock Holmes. In addition to their shared powers of deduction, there are numerous other likenesses. For example, Holmes’ trusted friend was Dr. Watson; House’s best friend and confidant is Dr. Wilson. Holmes had an addiction to a “seven percent solution” of cocaine; House has an addiction to prescription painkillers. Holmes played violin to soothe himself; House plays piano. Holmes at times bent the law and allowed some criminals to go free; House at times bends the rules so patients can get better treatment.

More analogies can be drawn, but I found this post on the House message board (yes, I was reading the TV show’s message board, so what?) most interesting:

In general, however, I think Holmes is depicted pretty realistically through House. There are some obvious parallels-the artificial stimulants, the one friend, the all logic no emotion, inability to relate to humans, brilliance in his field, the ability to diagnose without seeing, and of course, the “House/Holmes” wordplay.
What i find most ironic:
Dr. House is supposed to be based on Sherlock Holmes. In one review, he was described as “Sherlock Holmes with a stethoscope.” However, Sherlock Holmes’s character was based on “author” Arthur Conan Doyle’s college professor-Dr. Joseph Bell, a brilliant doctor who was able to diagnose patients at a glance, without hearing about their symptoms. he was also described as rather distant, unemotional-a man of logic, not feeling…sound like anyone we know? (sic)

It’s good to see that the “game is afoot” somewhere in the landscape of television today. While House is thoroughly entertaining, I still long for the days of Jeremy Brett’s dead-on portrayal of Holmes that used to air on PBS.

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