‘Entertainment’ Archive

“House” fails while Hugh Laurie prevails

The TV show House┬áisn’t very good anymore. But Hugh Laurie just keeps getting better and better.

I’ve always been a big fan of the show, particularly Hugh Laurie. His performance is consistently excellent and, well, I have a crush on him, too. (Full disclosure.)

For the most part, it’s been a quality show. It’s hit some rough spots, like the Survivor-esque competition to fill the empty spots on House’s team a few seasons ago. But it’s always managed to bounce back.

I don’t think it will this time. The new characters are just attempts to re-boot old ones that didn’t work all that well before — again, on House’s team. The smart, sexy, spunky brunette; the awkward yet brilliant neophyte. There’s a reason the earlier incarnations aren’t still around.

"House" fails while Hugh Laurie prevails

There’s some hope in the current House-Wilson storyline (and Robert Sean Leonard is always excellent, too, not incidentally), but I think this is it. The show hasn’t jumped the shark yet and I hope it doesn’t. But I predict this is the last season.

I think even the writers can tell. Perhaps I’m sensing their heavy sighs of disinterest. Sometimes you can almost hear it in the storytelling.

But despite that, or maybe because of it, Hugh Laurie’s performance keeps getting better and better — in sometimes subtle and stunning ways. I’ve always been in awe of his acting (and accent) on the show. Over eight seasons, the way his character has developed and evolved is brilliant and visceral, it seems. Laurie has gotten inside the skin of Gregory House. He’s extremely comfortable there. His exuberant disregard for the rules (and largely, often sadly, other people) is effortless. When House is in pain, what Laurie shows us is heartbreaking. It’s humanizing.

But as the show seems like it’s becoming broader (perhaps unintentionally veering toward self-parody), Laurie is becoming more intimate. I wish I could pinpoint the episode — it was within the last week or two — but there was a moment. Someone said something to him, and in response Laurie/House said more with the twitch of an eye than pages of dialogue ever could.

Hugh Laurie knows Gregory House better than I’d bet many people know their own selves. Some of that is being an actor; some of that is being a genius, which I think Laurie is, particularly in this role.

So no matter how bad the show might get — and I do hope it improves — I will keep watching. Because I can’t wait to see what Hugh Laurie does next.