This is WORD FOR WORD from the article in the latest TV guide magazine
Last season was the roughest yet for Dr. Gregory House. His closest colleague, Wilson, quit Princeton-Plainsboro, one of his protégés, Kutner, killed himself, and House’s abusive father died after a long estrangement. Capping it off, the addicted doc’s steamy sexual affair with boss Cuddy turned out to be a mere hallucination- a side effect of his Vicodin habit- and the season ended with House limping his way into a mental institution.
Hugh Laurie, however, appears no worse for the wear. The actor turned 50 last June, and when he walks into the courtyard of a famous Hollywood hotel, motorcycle helmet in hand and a summer beard in place, he looks happy and rested, even buff. “I’ve become rather obsessed with boxing, so I’ve been getting slapped about” he says with his gentlemanly British intonation before sitting down to talk about the new season, which includes, among other surprises, a guest appearance by James Earl Jones as an African dictator who seeks treatment at Princeton-Plainsboro.
sixth season kicks off with a two hour mini movie of sorts. The opener is set inside Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital, and aside from an appearance by Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), there’s not a regular cast member in sight. Guests include Franka Potente from “Run Lola Run” and Tony award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda “In the Heights” as House’s roommate, buts it’s mostly Laurie’s premiere. “I think it’s fair to say I’ve never had so much to do in one episode,” Laurie says. “I think I’m in every scene, so for people who don’t like me, I recommend seeing how your garden is doing that evening.” Now that would be Crazy talk!
Last we saw House, he was staring back at Wilson from the inside of a loony bin. Is there hope for the poor bugger?
Absolutely. In laymen’s terms, House was cracking up, and we find him at the start of this season appraising his moral place in the world. What’s so interesting about this episode is that House’s most redeeming feature- his ability to heal people-has been taken away. No matter how obnoxious or cruel he is, House always heals someone, which brings him down on the side of the angels. But if you take that away, who is he? A mixture of cruelty and neurosis and self-destructive energy.
Sounds like a fun two hours.
It is fun, because we get to see House and his most disruptive. His first order of business is to become such a problem that the institution can’t hold him. He disrupts group meetings of other patients’ treatment and just generally causes mayhem.
Andre Braugher plays Dr. Darryl Nolan, the head of the facility. House must be a major pain in his butt.
Nolan hold the key to House’s freedom. A clean bill of mental health from him and House gets his medical license back, which is the most important thing in House’s life. So yes, he and House go at it. Andre has a gravitas by the bucketful, and rather than playing the caricature of the administrator as sadistic jailer, he comes at House with a plaintive, kindly quality. This rattles House to no end. But it’s not giving too much away to say that House is healed by the end of the two hours. He detoxes from Vicodin and starts to get his life back together.
Does that mean House will be more lucid and, dare we say, more human this season?
He starts by keeping his acerbic impulses under control, yes-trying to connect with people in a kindlier fashion. It’s not yet clear whether it’s an effort of will of whether he has actually effected a transformation. We’re going to find that out around episode 7. But at the moment, House appears less caustic, which is not to say he’s all sunshine and poppies.
What about those “Huddy” fantasies from last season? Is there a chance that House and Cuddy will get together for real?
Ah, yes. Huddy. It’s not an attractive word, is it? For the moment, House will behave with a certain amount of…not exactly sobriety, but he won’t be yelling from the balcony that he slept with the hospital administrator. But he does still have that certain childish, mischievous ting about him, and the fundamental affection House and Cuddy have for each other is not going away. They’re both in need of warmth and human touch, and as long as that’s there, they will either be mean to each other or try to sleep with each other. So stay tuned.
House’s original team- Chase, Cameron, and Foreman- reunites this season. Did that feel like getting the Rat Pack back together?
Well, the other day, Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer, Jennifer Morrison and I were in the same camera frame, and we realized it was the first time in three years that’s happened. We disbanded to make room for the new interns, which proved quite popular and successful.
was a terribly small show when it started. We had six actors, and it’s hard to play cards with the same six people, so we expanded. And having everyone back together, with these particular actors, definitely has rewards. For instance, we just filmed a scene where Chase is in over his head about something, and I watched Jesse, thinking this is something he does fantastically well. There’s something about the way Jesse plays him, the way he implies that Chase has a fairly unapologetic need to look out for himself, that is absolutely compelling to watch. And when it goes wrong- and something’s about to go very wrong for Chase- you can tell how much it matters to him. That’s lovely to watch, as are all the other members of House’s team. But Rat Pack? I don’t know about that. Personally, I’ve never felt I was part of a pack of anything.
But you’re a part of one of the most successful programs of TV. That must count for something. Plus you have three children, a family, your boxing partners.
People who want to hit me? Is that what you’re saying? I do feel extremely fortunate, but it us not in my nature to express my feeling of good fortune. As soon as I do, I fear I will be struck down by a thunderbolt. The fact remains, however, that we have now done 50 movies’ worth of material on House
. And much of it is pretty good.
Robert and I did a scene the other day, and we laughed afterwards because we’d done scenes like that- Wilson and House going over something inside House’s office- probably 40 or 50 times over the course of the show. And, somehow, there’s always comfort in that. At this point in the series, we’re not trying to change the nature of the show. It’s not like Robert and I are going to do a scene upside down or underwater. We’re like bluesmen. Bluesmen play the blues- not bluegrass. To some extent, season six in, my love for House
is really an embrace of what we are and what we’re doing. It’s not going to change. Even this time in the loony bin, as you call it, won’t change House. House will always be House. But that’s just fine with me.