Fox's House debuted Tuesday night. Among the big changes: No cane for the previously handicapped House, though leg-twinges suggest the return of the injury is a plot possibility.
I vote for the cane. I think his character loses something important without it, as did Carrie in ER when she dispensed with her crutches. Both devices seemed to me to be integral to the characters and how they viewed and reacted to the world. Maybe the writers are just giving him his leg for a while, then taking it away, Flowers for Algernon-like to punish him for being such a bastard.
The show, one of my favorites, continues to have some of the smartest writing on TV, though I was offput by what appeared to be an inside joke.
House's boss at one point complains that he marches into her office "24 times a year." The specificity of the number rang false, and I fear it is the number of episodes in the season, which is unnecessarily self-referential if you ask me, which they didn't.
I had that issue with Boston Legal last year, which was far too profligate with the inside jokes.
There seemed to me less blood and more heart to this initial installment of House, though House should not be softened too much. If they turn him into "Home," the show will lose what makes it so compelling–an anti-hero hero that we like in spite of ourselves and him.
I will be interested to see how the show's ratings held up against Big Brother. I still think 8 is too early for a show as medically graphic as this one, particularly if that is the reason the show seemed tamer than at other times.
Plus, sometimes it is hard for me to get home from work by eight in time to see it. Don't ask me about my abilities to program my VCR, oops, I meant TiVo. TivO, that's it. My TiVo.
By John Eggerton