Monday, March 21, 2011

Should "House" Have Gone the Musical Route?

I’m not a regular viewer of “House,” but not because I don’t think it’s a great program.  Hugh Laurie is immensely talented as is the rest of the cast.  The writing is superb and the premise and situations are as unique and sophisticated as any television program in the 21st century can be.  I just don’t like hospitals.

However, a recent episode that had a musical interlude was brought to my attention.

When Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), House’s boss/girlfriend, is set to undergo surgery for what is thought to be cancer, the man in her life starts to check out.  Emotionally, he can’t handle the pressure until he self prescribes Vicodin.  She responds to his instability by breaking up with him.

What happens during her surgery, though, is what I’d like to address…the introduction of a musical segment disguised as a dream sequence.

Is “House” jumping the shark?  Or is it just that Fox is capitalizing on the popularity of Glee by imposing production numbers on all its programs?

Many will remember when a past Fox hit, “Ally McBeal” resorted to such devices.  The show went downhill fast.

While Dr. House has always had a vivid imagination, I think the introduction of song and dance is a bit overboard.  A show based on supposed grit and realism should not veer into the absurd.

Yes, it was creative and the segment itself was colorful and well-directed, but it was out of character for the program.  In addition, there seems to be a setback for the title character.  He’s going backward instead of forward by returning to drugs.  That’s not unusual for an addict, but a TV program that gets stuck is one that gets closer to cancellation. 

Perhaps “House” has run its course, but feedback from viewers shows there are still tons of viewers.  At the end of last season the show was number 19 in the ratings, down from its top ten status, but popular nonetheless.   During the week of March 13, 2011 “House” was number three among all prime time broadcast programs, probably because of the “special” episode during sweeps.

I hope the loyal audience is not disappointed by writers and producers whose creativity may be stalled in season seven.  There are still a great many people rooting for House and Cuddy - who doesn’t have cancer, by the way.

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