October 11th, 2018
If you’ve been considering a revisit to the classic Fox medical drama House, M.D., well, we’ve got bad news. Dr. Gregory House, the complex, brilliant and curmudgeonly lead character who many fans could swear had been played by veteran British actor Hugh Laurie, has evidently been recast by way of some rift in the space-time continuum. And what’s worse? Dr. House is now portrayed by whoever this is.
This universe-hopping goofus also appears to answer to the name of Hugh Laurie, as the acting credit is still present after the show’s title card, so we can assume it’s only a matter of time before the Laurie most viewers are familiar with is tragically sucked into whatever parallel dimension this little fucker popped out of. The only distinction between the two as far as SAG-AFTRA crediting purposes are concerned is this chucklehead here goes by the moniker Hugh “The Clam Man” Laurie, like he thinks that’s cool or something. He’s the worst, and some of the changes made to the character himself are possibly even more godawful.
Dr. House was always an abrasive, opinionated and volatile man whose disposition many other characters found barely tolerable. But it was never because he went around asking people if they’d ever shook hands with Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath. That’s what he does now, and when they answer “no” he says, “Well I have” and grins.
This new Dr. House, who has invaded every episode comprising the eight seasons of the show’s run, is frustratingly addicted to online shopping. This, however, is not to say he even knows how to operate a computer, because he doesn’t. Many a storyline devolve into House screaming for Dr. Cameron to log into his Amazon account for him so that she may apprehensively peruse the site while he squints over her shoulder at the screen, occasionally pointing with his cane at whichever frivolous item of home decor he wants added to his cart. During these sessions he sporadically murmurs, “Mm-hm, need that,” or “Yeah, I know just where to put him.” We binge-watch House, M.D. to witness cartoony representations of blood cells rupturing inside sick people’s veins, not this bullshit.
To add insult to injury, Dr. House now fancies himself an amateur falconer and is often seen sporting an old falconry glove, even when shoulder-deep in open-heart surgery. Nearly every episode features at least one overlong scene in which the titular doctor climbs to a parapet towering high above the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in order to summon his raptors. House has dubbed his prize bird of prey Dr. James Wilson, a character who many may recall having previously filled the role of the yin to House’s yang, head of the department of oncology and human.
The Mandela Effect conspiracy theory has previously been called to task for its supposed removal of a cornucopia from the Fruit of the Loom logo, and for the disappearance of a monocle allegedly donned by Mr. Monopoly, among other pop culture conundrums. But the switcheroo played on everyone’s favorite grumpy doctor takes the cake as the ultimate insult to our timeline thus far. It’s unclear why the Mandela Effect couldn’t have gone easy on Dr. House and maybe just given him, say, a second cane and fucked up both his legs by devastating them with infarctions or whatever. But no, now before we turn on an episode of House we’re going to have to steel ourselves to stare at this annoying prick’s stupid face for 45 minutes.
As if things couldn’t get worse, the Season 1, Episode 6 entry “The Socratic Method” has been completely overhauled into an episode entitled “Red Delicious”. The cold open kicks off with a disgraced police commissioner feasting from a giant bushel of apples while attending a Sugar Ray concert. “An apple a day and all that,” he muses before immediately breaking out in hives and crumpling from the bleachers to the dry earth below.
Throughout the episode, House and his diagnostic team frustratingly miss all the obvious signs that their patient is suffering from a simple allergy to apples. The commissioner’s condition predictably improves and declines based on whether or not the medical staff has allowed him access to the sweet, edible fruit.
In lieu of habitually popping Vicodin for his persistent leg pain, House now sports a baffling addiction to a generic brand of children’s gummy multivitamin, which seems less cool and just goofier than anything else. Probably dangerous in excess too, but still, come on. #NotOurHouse
Season 8’s story arc has been altered to include a plot in which crooked multi-billionaire Culkin Weatherby has bought the hospital, his sole justification for such a purchase being a shot at revenge on House for some unspoken perceived slight. His vengeful methods consist primarily of playing some sick pranks on the doc, such as in the second episode of the season when Weatherby rents out House’s office to a meat packing plant, which has the space converted into a makeshift cold storage chamber.
Dr. Cuddy, on Weatherby’s payroll, locks House away to dwell deep within his subarctic tomb until such time as House has conjured up a reasonable prognosis for his current medical investigation. Unbeknownst to anyone but Weatherby, House’s gummy vitamin candies have been switched with barn owl poison, causing the doctor to fall into a deep slumber inside the frozen hell of dangling beef torsos. When we return from commercial break, Mr. Weatherby stands snickering over a motionless House, who has tragically transformed into an icicle man. The billionaire opens a window and chucks House out of it, smashing him into a bajillion pieces on the street below. House’s loyal falcons collect him so that his medical team may puzzle the man back together.
After 21 episodes on the receiving end of silliness, House beseeches Weatherby to justify his animosity toward him. The trickster reveals his hatred began when Dr. House once hollered, “Yo, Jimbo” at Mrs. Weatherby while hobbling out of a bar the couple was entering. Mr. Weatherby was at once both so perplexed and enraged by the comment that he decided to dedicate his life to getting even with the good doctor.
House and Weatherby end up burying the hatchet when they both come to the realization that the other is a master of their particular endeavor; one a virtuoso of medicine and the other super rich and pretty good at playing foolish pranks.
The series finale of this unfortunate new incarnation of the show, entitled “Where is House?”, finds the cast without a clue as to the whereabouts of our grouchy lead. When the hospital is besieged by an onslaught of patients suffering from a resurgence of bubonic plague, House’s team, lacking their mentor, quickly gives up hope. In a climactic moment, the staff comes to the realization that House has taught them everything he knows and his disappearance serves as a ceremonial passing of the torch unto them. This revelation instills in them the drive to cure what ails their patients and, after emerging victorious, Mr. Weatherby constructs a new hospital wing dedicated to their old friend House.
In the penultimate scene of the series, Dr. Cuddy is transferring a container of old files to a storage room in the new wing and drops the box, spilling its contents. A folder falls open to reveal that Gregory House was in actuality a patient who had died in the hospital during the mid-nineties following an accident in which, drunk on too much honey walnut shrimp, House had concealed himself inside a storm drain from a disinterested volunteer fireman as a test of his hiding ability and was cruelly swept out to sea. Dr. Cuddy looks on speechlessly as the file photo of House smiles and winks before frowning sternly and disappearing.
In the final moments of the show we see Dr. House joining his relatives at a House family reunion held as per tradition in a barren field at dusk. All members of the family are dependent on the use of canes and possess a general air of irritability. They are also all doctors.
“So,” croaks Dr. Great-Aunt Golgoth House, “do you believe these humans can comprehend the knowledge you have bestowed upon them?”
“I think so,” replies House with a glimmer in his eye. “I suppose deep down I know there to be some hint of goodness in humanity after all.”
“That was always your problem,” bellows Dr. Great-Great-Uncle Selbius Flooj-House. “Now then, as you have finally arrived, we may proceed with the ceremony.”
All Houses stand equal paces from each other, forming a large circle around the dead grounds. They hold high their canes, unleashing unfathomably radiant beams of light which converge in the center of their ring. The earth rumbles beneath them, and in the last split-second we glimpse what could potentially be an ancient structure pierce the terrain, as if rising up from the arid landscape before the scene abruptly cuts to black.
It seems odd that, considering all the ill-advised narrative changes made to the show as we knew it, the concluding moments of this classic series finale were left essentially unchanged.