Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ian in the House

I finally watched the show House, M.D. tonight on Fox. I was impressed -- it was a quality drama, certainly more engaging than Grey's Anatomy. The characters actually seem to have some depth, and one gets the impression that the script might actually have been written with the consultation of a real life M.D. That's not to say that the show accurately depicts the workings of a hospital, as it too falls victim to the universal TV medical drama fallacy that any single doctor can and will care for every type of patient and disease that walks through the door. It appears that TV scriptwriters skirt the issue of specialization as an expedient for limiting the number of characters in the show while still allowing for breadth in subject matter, a dramatic contrivance for which I can't say I blame them. Nonetheless, most disease entities presented in House actually exist, and the on-screen presentation fortunately does not completely do away with verisimilitude. The 'mystery' format also makes for fun watching from the standpoint of a medically trained individual, as it provides the opportunity to guess the diagnosis ahead of the revelation in the show (for instance, I called the upper lobe lung cancer and the Lambert Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome in the pregnant patient in tonight's episode).

Of course, I could nit-pick every detail and tell you that small cell lung cancers occur much more commonly close to the lung hilum, rather than the periphery; that any doctor who suggests the diagnosis of myasthenia would also recognize that eyelid weakness is the first and most sensitive manifestation; and that nobody walks into the OR without a mask, as Dr. House did during the emergency thrombectomy; etc. But frankly I'm more inclined to be charitable towards this show than towards Grey's Anatomy. At least this show won't lead my future patients to think that I'm just another surgical intern like the ones on 'that TV show,' and hence must be a blundering fool. Oh well.


At 3:36 AM, Blogger phoenix said...

YAY!!! You finally watched it and I am glad to see that you actually enjoyed it. It's funny, when House walked into the room without his mask, I KNEW you were gonna mention it. :P

The show pension for drama is what makes this show work. No overly used dramatics... just good drama. House tends to take the "cases no one else can solve". If a doctor can not come up with a answer, he is who they turn to. They will always throw in a nother patient so you can see more of his inability to "like" people, but deep down he does. He just does not know how to express it as you saw last night. He will tell anyone to their face that he doesn't like them, and no one is his friend.

I think it is that inability to commit to a real friendship that makes this show work. He also does not follow the rules, openly takes management drugs for pain and is down right cynical.

You missed alot of episodes to understand all the dramatics behind House the person... but I think you will find yourself watching it again just to see who he disses next :P

At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

After turning SeaMetBlog upside down looking for your website, so I could see your ongoing critic of Grey's Anatomy, I'm pleased to see you're taking on House as well. As an officially non-MD person in the house (heh), I'm also pleased your impression matches mine. I watch Grey's because I'm in Seattle and it's required, and I watch House to enjoy the medical mystery aspect and more accurate (tho still fictionalized) depiction of hospital life.

...now if only one of the shows would showcase an ethicist, I'd be in heaven... ;)

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Unfortunately I managed to miss the last two episodes of Grey's Anatomy, as well as the last House. I'm slipping! And considering that most of the visitors to my blog seem to come by way of Grey's Anatomy links or searches, it appears that the franchise may be in jeopardy unless I resume my TV watching duties. Aargh!

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