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    Derivations of House M.D. (mostly for the character)

Below we have information and links to how House is derived from and related to:

Sherlock Holmes (also see Introduction on the home page, Similarities and Differences):
Season 1 DVD
Holmes himself was based on Doctor Arthur Conan Doyle's teacher Doctor Joseph Bell so "House" brings the story full circle. Gregory House, M.D., like Holmes, is an observational genius with the ability to create a pattern out of small things,. Also like Holmes, House is anti-social (only interested in the puzzle) and takes a drug (in House's case for pain as well as the boredom that plagues both fictional characters). Even the names are similar: Holmes (one letter different from and sounds like 'Homes' which is another word for House).

Dr. Gregory House doesn't have Holmes' distant, cultured politeness. He is too "21st century American" and so is distant, uncultured and rude. His friend is not named Dr. John Watson but Dr. James Wilson who, like Watson is married and unlike Watson doesn't seem to be writing stories about his companion. And the cast also consists of a team of "Baker Street Irregulars" to follow House's orders — and in typically modern fashion these grown up versions of the original "helpers" (those Holmes used to send out to do the tedious work) offer their own opinions and, occasionally, stand up to their leader. Instead of criminals, the enemy is germs, diseases and other vulnerabilities of the human body.
Cyrano de Bergerac
We didn't see this until "arlykeeno" posted the idea on the Television without Pity forum saying, "how much House resembles Cyrano, too. Not the nose, of course. But the quick, self-deprecating wit, the temper, the intelligence, the ability to piss everybody off, and the feeling that he's not worthy of love because of his physical appearance."
This poster also wrote a review of a Cyrano at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival last summer (2004), which later reminded her of House (except for some of the details like being a brilliant swordsman instead of a brilliant doctor and having a prominent nose instead of a bum leg, and House is not the wordsmith that Cyrano was, though he has that cutting wit mixed with the social vulnerability):
"If 'Cyrano de Bergerac' provides a lesson in looking beyond appearances, it also provides a fabulous character for an actor to dig his teeth into. Cyrano is bold, brave, and as fabulous a swordsman as he is a wordsmith. He's also mocking, uncompromising and a bit egotistical, he doesn't suffer fools gladly (or any other way) and... And he doesn't believe he's worthy of love.

"Cyrano tells us, 'This nose of mine, which precedes me by a quarter of an hour wherever I go, forbids me ever to dream of being loved by even an ugly woman.'

"As a dashing action hero with a brilliant mind, Cyrano is sympathetic and admirable (as well as fun to watch). Add in his crushing vulnerability and self-sacrifice when it comes to love, and Monsieur de Bergerac can break your heart."
This connection is also seen by the New York Times, which wrote on June 5, 2005 (a week after we wrote the above remarks about the Cyrano idea and quoted the review): "House is bitter, wickedly irreverent and lame - a damaged romantic hero in the tradition of... Cyrano de Bergerac..."    —read more of the article

Quotes from "Cyrano De Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand, translated by Louis Untermeyer that remind us of House (Heritage Press 1954)
  • On the clothes he wears:
    Valvert on Cyrano: "In boorish clothes—no gloves — no frills—no lace—
    No ribbons—no trim knots upon his sleeves!" [no white coat]
    Cyrano: "I wear my decorations in my mind.
    Clothes make the man, and so I have to be
    More careful if less vain. I take great pains
    Never to leave my soul uncleansed, nor bear
    An insult without washing it away [this line does not apply]
    I'll not be seen in any company
    With conscience dirty and my honor smirched
    And every scruple torn to shameful rags.
    What shining gems I own, I wear inside.
    And when I venture forth, I clothe myself
    In independence and sincerity.
    Lacking a dashing figure, I contain
    My soul as in a corset. I put on
    Deeds for my decorations; bristling wit
    Instead of perfumed lace and ribbon-knots.
    And when I go into the street, the crowd
    Will hear the truth ring out like clashing spurs." [p. 34]
  • Cyrano: "I have my bitter hours.
    Facing this ugliness. When I'm alone...." [p. 44]
  • Le Bret (a friend of Cyrano's): "If you would ease that stubborn soul of yours,
    ...fortune and fame might come..."
    Cyrano: "...I prefer to sing, to dream, to play
    To travel light, to be at liberty,
    To look straight, to talk loud and fearlessly,
    To cock my hat at any angle....
    To work without the thought of a reward!
    Start on that long-planned voyage to the moon!
    Never to write a line that does not ring
    With truth, which has its well-spring in the heart
    To be content to say 'My garden's small,
    My fruits and flowers are few. but they are ,mine.'
    Then if success should chance to come my way
    No tribute need be paid to Caesar—none.
    Whatever fortune—or misfortune—comes
    Is mine, and only mine. In short, though I
    Am no huge elm or oak-tree, yet I scorn
    To be the parasitic ivy. I will climb
    Slowly, uncertainly, and so perhaps
    To no great height. But I will climb alone."
    Le Bret: "Alone, so be it. But not pledge to turn
    Against the world! Where did you ever get
    This mania for making enemies?"
    Cyrano: From seeing you make friendships easily
    With people whom you flatter—and despise
    I force myself to make a few faint friends;
    But I am overjoyed when I can say:
    'I made another enemy today!'
    ...Being unpleasant gives me curious pleasure." [p. 81-82]
"The Byronic Hero"
The author of the book, The Byronic Hero in Film, Fiction, and Television sees the character of House as fitting that model.
The Fisher King
Others on the Television Without Pity Drama forum's House Forum also had references to the Fisher King as a cultural nuance basis. Upon looking this up on the Internet we found the following in a page from the University of Idaho. According to one tradition:
"...the immediate prototype of Chrétien's Fisher King is Bran the Blessed.... Bran assembled his army and invaded Ireland.... Bran was wounded in the foot by a poisoned spear. An old poem in the Book of Taliesin refers..., 'I was with Bran in Ireland; I saw when 'the Pierced (Thick) Thigh' was slain (wounded).' ...Greatly tormented by his wound, Bran ordered the survivors to cut off his head, which they did....

"...That the Fisher King is incapacitated in some manner or another remains one of the few threads consistent to almost every version. The general conception of the Fisher King is that he is either very old or afflicted by some grievous wound. In the case of the latter, the injury is usually located in the generative region (the groin or thigh), but it can be manifested in the foot or heel as well, and is invariably a source of tremendous pain and agony."
"Britomart" posted on the Television Without Pity Drama forum's House Forum this quote from Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray
"You are an extraordinary fellow. You never say a moral thing, and you never do a wrong thing." which "deekay" related to what Cameron "said to House: 'I figured everything you do, you do it to help people. But I was wrong. You do it because it's right.'
ZaratHOUSEtra The "Wild Wisdom" of Dr. House (Nov 24th, 2009) translated by Heather.
Bernadette Dahan-Delelis wrote five scholarly articles on the connection between House and Nietzschean philosophy as it is developed in Thus Spake Zarathustra. The above link takes you to the translation.
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