Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) returns for a third season in the show that bears his name and, at first, he’s surprisingly less of a curmudgeon. An experimental treatment to cure the good doctor of his leg pain seems to have worked as he’s seen abandoning his cane early in the morning and jogging jocularly to work. Upon arriving at the hospital, Dr. House is soon more like his normal self: a disgruntled misanthrope with a single-minded obsession that’s both a help and hindrance to his patients. What I often find myself appreciating so much about House is not the repetitive plot lines that all seem to derive from the same script outline: patient gets sick, illness is identified, treatment doesn’t work, patient gets worse, lupus is considered, House upsets Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), lupus is dismissed, a theory pops up that the illness is one that occurs in only 3% of the population, somehow the doctors know what the treatment for said disease is off the top of their heads, patient gets better and/or patient dies. Instead, I appreciate House’s Sherlock Holmesian vibe (his apartment number, 221B, is even a silent tribute to the fictional consulting detective who resided at 221B Baker Street), and it’s a treat to watch it work in the capable hands of an actor like Laurie. With his popular work as a sketch comic on BBC’s A Bit Of Fry And Laurie (with fellow Britcomedian Stephen Fry), Laurie’s timing is impeccable and he portrays Dr. House as both a misery and a pleasure. It’s a rare ability for an actor to be able to deliver a character performance with such snarky sarcasm and still come across as enjoyable. Credit is often given to the writers in this context, but with such derivative storylines that rarely veer off the chosen path—last season’s episode when House was trapped in an airport and the season finale were two pleasant exceptions—and with supporting characters that feel more forced than authentic, the show rests heavily on Laurie’s shoulders and his ability to recite his lines with a delicate, if sure-minded, punch. Thankfully, the UK native has the chops to hold the hour-long show together despite its drawbacks and makes tuning in week after week a bit more worthwhile.
- Fox, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
- Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer
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