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House

I know I am a little behind in the times, but a few weeks ago I discovered the Fox television show House. To be honest, it was actually the reruns on USA. I've known about the show since the first commercials started appearing on the Fox network during an episode of Family Guy or the Simpsons or some such thing; I just had no desire to watch another medical drama.

There have been a million medical shows on television and if you watch the network lineups it actually seems like the medical industry is in competition with the law enforcement sector to see who can get the most number of television shows produced each year. The majority only last a short while. Some of these shows I have watched (both on the medical and law enforcement sides of the line), most I skip over completely. For me, some work great (CSI as an example), while others fail miserably (CSI Miami as an example).

House is one of those shows that work great for a number of reasons, and despite being late to the show I am going to cover them. For anyone who has seen the show, the number one reason it works so well is the main character, Dr. Gregory House, played exceptionally well by actor Hugh Laurie. How can anyone not love House? He has all the qualities everyone looks for in a friend. He's antisocial. He's outspoken. He's arrogant. He's brilliant. He's self righteous. He's almost always right (can you really be self righteous if you are actually right all the time?). Now that I think of it, those qualities do remind me of someone. Hmmmm. Not sure who. It's right there on the tip of my tongue. Oh well, if I think of it I'll let you know.

The second reason House works so well is that the show is about the people and their interactions. While their interactions mostly focus around a medical topic, it is not about the medicine. It's also not about the drama (like E.R. was after the second season). It's the people. M*A*S*H was like that, and everyone loved MASH.

Another way House is like MASH is that despite having a continuing storyline, or rather continuity in the storyline, you do not have to watch every episode in order to enjoy the show. You can catch a brand spanking new episode and it is enjoyable. Flip the channel and watch an episode from two years ago, still enjoyable. I currently have no idea when or why the first team left (or was fired or whatever), but I get to continue to enjoy every episode without knowing. It's a nice thing.

My last reason that I enjoy House, and this is an Andrew twist and the real reason for this blog entry, is that you could replace the entire medical setting with an Information Technology setting and it would be exactly the same show. Get rid of the lab coats, switch the medical jargon for technology jargon, and swap out people patients for computer patients. The rest stays the same, which gives me something I can relate to.

House's team consists of several specialists, and as he actually explains during one episode, "you pick your specialist, you pick your disease." The same thing happens with IT specialists when dealing with any computer issue. In the end, it takes a diagnostician (someone whose specialty is that they are not specialized) to figure out the real problem and solution.

Of course as an IT show it would never work. No one would watch it. The moment someone said "corrupt hard drive" during an episode, the viewer's eyes would glaze over and they would change the channel. A doctor on television says "Cyclophyllidea" and people sit up to pay attention all the more. Yet everyone knows what a hard drive is, but how many of you know what Cyclophyllidea is? By the way, it was actually on an episode of House.

I was told by a friend that the real reason it wouldn't work as an IT show is because doctors are glamorous while IT people are not. What is not glamorous about the top richest people in the world for the last 20 years? None of them were doctors, most were IT people. Name two famous doctors. Most people can't, but they can all name Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. We have them. Right? Fine. Maybe Bill Gates is not sexy or glamorous. Ok, he's definitely not. Maybe doctors are. At least on television they are. And maybe an IT drama on television wouldn't work.

What did we learn from all this? Well, I like the show House. I will continue to chuckle to myself over replacing medical jargon with tech jargon as I watch the show. And I should change my title to "Information Systems Diagnostician", as it would solve my whole problem of not being specialized.

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Suzi Maxim on :

You hit it right on...you have always been the House of the IT industry!

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