Tonight Fox will air the last episode of House. It will be a two-hour finale, and then the show will be relegated to The Happy Land of Perpetual TV Reruns.
Kish and I have watched House, faithfully, from the beginning of the first season until tonight’s end. I don’t know how many TV shows I can say that about. Cheers was one; I’m not sure there have been any others. Not many long-running shows can hold my interest from beginning to end. Often they become rote and predictable, or they take a turn for the worse, or I just lose interest.
One reason House is the rare exception is that the show has maintained a high quality level throughout its run while at the same time staying true to its core premise and themes. Dr. Gregory House, that brilliant diagnostician who has a predictable “Eureka!” moment just about every episode, has remained a broken, deeply disturbed, drug-popping jerk who can’t maintain a normal human relationship. The show’s creators haven’t married him off, or had him adopt a child, or required him to take some other out-of-character step to try to boost ratings or keep the show “fresh.” I respect that, and I also respect that star Hugh Laurie and the creative brain trust of House have decided to call it quits while the show is still on top. There is nothing more painful than a TV show — or a professional athlete — that stays on until it is well past its prime.
I’ll miss House, but I’ll look forward to seeing the awesomely talented Hugh Laurie in other roles that allow him to stretch his acting abilities. Right now, I’m just hoping that the last show of this terrific series doesn’t fall prey to the disastrous finale syndrome that has caused other legendary shows to end with an embarrassing whimper rather than a well-deserved bang.