On House

House vs. Cuddy

Money and the Bastion of Painful Truth

By Virginia Baker

Why is Greg House such a bastard?

It’s a fair question to begin with here. Differential diagnoses, anyone? How do we find the truth about a man who hides it as cleverly as this one does?

Symptoms don’t lie. He cheats, he steals. He fibs. Breaks the rules and plays everyone from patients to friends and even his superiors like tools to be leveraged in the pursuit of solving whatever medical conundrum has captured his attention. There are no limits to where House will go or how many boundaries he’ll push to find the answers. Once House zeroes in on the weird, the baffling, or (especially) any disease the average doctor is not equipped to address, he is then driven–possessed, really–to take any measure, no matter how extreme, to solve the puzzle.

For a man driven by mysteries, House is himself the ultimate enigma. Why, really, is he such a bastard? Does he have to behave so badly to be so effective? Couldn’t a more polite approach be just as valuable?

Well, no, actually. More often than not, it is his willingness to apply whatever leverage or machination he has to that solves the puzzle and saves the patient. And though he seems like the prince of freefall–a gleeful explorer of hypocrisies, vulnerabilities, and humanity’s every weakness–if you look closely, you see that he rarely applies his manipulative tools without reason. Therein lies the ultimate mechanism of his success: House is willing to do, say, or risk anything to get to the truth, no  …

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