Watch With Wade: Everybody cries.

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House, Wilson

House (Hugh Laurie), left, and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard)

“House” may be one of my all-time favorite shows. I watch it over and over, never tiring of the formula, or the immense scorn heaped on by the title character, Dr. Gregory House.

The Fox medical drama ends its 8-year run on Monday.

Although I never grew up reading the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the character has endured and flourished in his 125 years and served as an inspiration for House. Holmes lives in House, as he does in a Robert Downey Jr. movie franchise, a BBC series and soon a CBS series.

Like Holmes, House shares his arrogance, his penchant for drug abuse and his keen observational skills. I was drawn in by House’s misanthropy, how he managed to solve medical mysteries while keeping patients as far away as possible. “Everybody lies,” he reasoned.

His logic can be both attractive and repulsive. While he can deduce his way to a solution almost every time, his methodology can be catastrophic. Patients are abused, colleagues are abused, ethics and rules are abused.

It’s utterly compelling.

But House has struggled in his cynicism, having only one friend and a lonely life of broken relationships and physical pain from his bad leg. He may be the world’s best diagnostician, but he can barely maintain any professional or personal relationships.

Sometimes, I see those terrible qualities in myself, and I empathize. As a mortal flesh-and-blood person, I can’t compensate with being the No. 1 medical detective nor through copious amounts of Vicodin and hookers.

All credit to actor Hugh Laurie, a six-time Emmy nominee in the past 7 years. Many, like me, have come to love the cranky and extremely difficult genius anti-hero.

Favorite episodes

In order of airdate … [Note: All episode links are Amazon affiliate links.]

  • “Three Stories” (season 1): Around the end of each season, the writers tend to break formula for some of their best and most memorable episodes. This premiere season penultimate episode serves up three mysteries as told by House to a class of med students.
  • “Clueless” (season 2): One of the rare instances in which the perp might not be the disease but an actual criminal.
  • “All In” (season 2): House, his friend James Wilson and his boss Lisa Cuddy all play in a charity poker match while also trying to unravel the mysterious ailment that killed a previous patient. A great look at the dynamic among all the main characters.
  • “No Reason” (season 2): The second season ends with House being shot by a disgruntled patient and a mind-blowing twist to crack the case.
  • “One Day, One Room” (season 3): Another non-formulaic episode, this time about a rape survivor who insists on confiding only in House. An emotionally powerful story.
  • “Airborne” (season 3): … Or the time House and Cuddy had to save an entire flight of passengers.
  • “Whatever It Takes” (season 4): The first half of season 4 involves House hiring a new team, using a reality TV-style competition. In the middle of all this (and yes, I loved it), he is pulled away by the CIA to save the life of a dying agent.
  • “Frozen” (season 4): In this post-Super Bowl episode, House must help a psychiatrist (Mira Sorvino) at the South Pole save herself. Flirting by webcam optional.
  • “House’s Head” / “Wilson’s Heart” (season 4): The season closes with a two-parter. In part 1, House survives a bus crash with head trauma and partial amnesia, but must figure out which passenger was in trouble before boarding. In part 2, he continues to struggle with a foggy memory as he races to save another passenger. Together, one of the strongest outings for the series.
  • “Here Kitty” (season 5): Or as I call it, “Death Cat!” The team must figure out why a cat at a nursing home seemingly predicts which resident will die next.
  • “Broken” (season 6): My all-time favorite episode. This 2-hour season-opening movie follows House’s treatment at a mental hospital, following a nervous breakdown and hallucinations from Vicodin abuse. Ultimately, he must learn how to start to connect to people.
  • “Nobody’s Fault” (season 8): Told in flashback, the team is investigated when one doctor is injured by a violent patient.

All episodes also available in iTunes.

Clips

Video: Hugh Laurie’s audition tape for “House”

Video: 10 reasons to love House

Video: House and Wilson discuss an asexual patient.

Video: House starts the interview process.

Also:

Did I leave out your favorite “House” episode” Leave a comment below.

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