Eye For Film >> Movies >> House MD: Season Six (2009) Film Review
When it comes to television show anti-heroes, Dr Gregory House is a diagnosis ahead of the rest. And he begins Season 6 at, arguably, his lowest ebb yet - in a psychiatric hospital. Although he has checked himself in voluntarily, to finally kick his Vicodin habit, in the double-episode opener, he finds himself at the mercy of Dr Nolan (Andre Braugher, powerful as always), who will only agree to recommend the medical board reinstate him if he first submits to treatment.
What develops is a carefully constructed, multi-layered plot - with plenty of nods to One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, sans the Nurse Ratched types - which sets the tone for the entire season. House begins to realise he must let people around him in if he is to improve his lot and he also gets the tantalising prospect, at least intially, of romance with psyche ward visitor Lydia (Franke Potente). Although he is only in the hospital for two full episodes and a handful of other occasions it is perfectly populated with fantastic characters, including irrepresible, manic depressive Alvie (Lin Manuel-Miranda), with whom he strikes up an unexpected friendship.
On managing to make it back to the ward, the season proceeds in much the same way as those that have gone before, with a 'disease of the week' around which to hang all the story arcs and soapier goings on. The writers are crafty enough to stick to a formula yet still keep things fresh, with the 'central' diagnosis often kept very much on the fringes, so that the relationships within the story are allowed free reign. And it is the relationships and emotions rather than the medicine and the jargon that really hold the key to House's lasting success. Each character is carefully drawn, from House and his unrequited love for boss Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) to his friendship with long-suffering pal Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and his much put-upon staff Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), Chase (Jesse Spencer), Foreman (Omar Epps), Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and Taub (Peter Jacobson). There's also room for Wilson and Cuddy to have quirky episodes of their own, offering plenty of variation to keep viewers hooked.
Sitting at the show's hub, as always, is Hugh Laurie, who is, quite simply, masterful in the central role of the misanthropic doc. He has the sort of face the camera loves and brings to the role a depth of emotion that goes way past the basic requirements of the script. In House he has created as emotionally complex and interesting a character as any on TV in recent years and unlike series such as CSI, there is no cheating in terms of back story.
Characters don't suddenly develop new traits overnight or, for that matter, lose old ones - so it is possible to suspend disbelief and truly care what happens to them. Even those characters who only drop by for one episode are surprisingly well-rounded for cannon fodder and the diseases and illnesses are carefully chosen to mirror the psychological state of other characters in the cast. For well-acted drama, with plenty of laughs and even a few tears, this is just what the doctor ordered.Reviewed on: 30 Sep 2010