14 May 2006

Evolution is real! Foreman -> House

I'm going to jump between episode title meanings and Foreman's similarities to House...and I promise that I'll start the list of common diagnoses used throughout Seasons 1 and 2 (and eventually 3, hopefully 4, etc.) as well as my take on the clinic patients.

Fifth episode of season 1 is entitled "Damned if You Do". It's mentioned in passing by Chase as House takes the case back from Cuddy:

House: Yes, she did. Well done. [Cameron smiles.] But your unwillingness to stick by your diagnosis almost killed this woman. [No more smiles.] Take a lesson from Foreman: stand up for what you believe. Okay, let’s go figure out how to save a nun. [He leaves.]

Chase: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

This quotation isn't just the source of the title; it's also the first indication that House and Foreman are very much alike. In a sense, Foreman is both House's opposite and House's protege of sorts. Initially, it shows through each doctor's willingness to stick by what they think is the right diagnosis or treatment and advocate for their patient. The similarities become even more dramatic later on, but for now, I'll focus on the episodes as I go.

Another interpretation of "Damned if You Do" applies to House himself. Early on, he (incorrectly) cites a Circle of Hell from Dante, which repeats itself at the conclusion of the episode; furthermore, House declares that faith is irrational, which Wilson later points out to House in terms of his fate in the afterlife:

Wilson: You do realize if you're wrong, about the big picture that is, you're going to burn, right?

House: What do you want me to do? Accept it, pack it in?

Wilson: Yeah. I want you to accept that sometimes patients die against all reason. Sometimes they get better against all reason.

House: No, they don’t. We just don’t know the reason.

Wilson: I don’t think the nuns would agree with you on that

In a sense, House is damned if he does reconsider the big picture (he's afraid he might lose his brilliance) and damned if he doesn't (going to Hell). Again, this can apply to House's "doppleganger", Foreman, who tells Cuddy about the hyperbaric oxygen treatment. He's damned if he tells, bringing House's ire upon himself, and he's damned if he doesn't, since he'll be violating what he feels is an ethical responsibility to treat the patient solely on what they can prove.

This really is the first direct connection made between these two, and while it seems to place them on opposite sides of the ethical spectrum, it shows how these two are both excellent doctors with the same goals of solving the patients' cases and disregarding higher authorities in the hospital to do so.

It's very interesting how well the writers scripted "The Socratic Method". Socrates advocated dialogue between a wise mentor and the inquisitive student as a means of learning, which House mentions in his conversation with Wilson:

HOUSE: If it wasn’t for Socrates, that raving untreated schizophrenic, we wouldn’t have the Socratic method – the best way of teaching everything, apart from juggling chainsaws. Without Isaac Newton, we’d be floating on the ceiling.

WILSON: Dodging chainsaws, no doubt.

HOUSE: And that guitar player in that English band – he was great. [ stopping at Lucy’s room ] You think I’m interested because of the schizophrenia.

Even the final diagnosis of Wilson's disease is a result of the Socratic Method; rather than House who comes up with the diagnosis, it is Cameron who comes up with Wilson's, as House subtlely led his team towards the final answer, through an analysis of the evidence and symptoms and asking questions of his team.


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