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[personal profile] mrph
House is one of those shows that I've enjoyed for a long time, but haven't really watched in order. Mostly, you don't need to - it's a 'problem of the week' structure, after all, and any arc-plot tends to be fairly minor.

However, as someone pointed out that it's all on Netflix now, I thought I'd make an effort to watch it in order, to fill the gaps. I've just finished season 1, which means I've just seen 'Three Stories'.

I'm impressed. It's a very sneaky piece of writing - a change of pace that wouldn't work so well without the many 'standard' stories before it, as well as a set-up for the season finale. And then there's the mood whiplash...
By way of explanation, here's a brief summary of the set-up:

House's ex, who's now married, drops by to ask if he'll help treat her new husband (the set-up for the finale). Once she's gone, House - who hates teaching - is roped in to provide a diagnostics lecture to a bunch of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students.

He's entertaining, unfair, cynical and harsh. The starting point is a simple example: three different patients walk into the hospital complaining of leg pain. What would the students do?

Each of the three is based on a real case, but as House is our unreliable narrator (and the patients are anonymous), they're initially portrayed as caricatures: the farmer, the golfer and the volleyball player. It's a bit larger than life. House bluntly explains the stakes and the no-win situations, but it's still one of the lighter episodes, in many ways.

And then, almost without warning, it isn't.

Apparently it won an Emmy and a Humanitas Prize. I can see why. Like some of the stand-out moments in other shows (e.g. Doctor Who's "Blink") it takes your familiarity with the usual structure and rules, then uses them to fuel something a little bit different to the norm.

Good stuff.
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