Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What Sherlock Has Wroght

This is a bit late, but I do know that there are apparently enough folks that watch House for the show to have been picked up in syndication on more than one station.  That said, I think it is okay bring up my recent discovery.  I know.  I know.  More than a few saw the final episode documentary with the show's  finale last year.  I didn't see it until yesterday.  I learned something that until that point, having watched House from the beginning, I did not know.  House, in particular the title character Gregory House,  was inspired by Sherlock Holmes.  Suddenly, it all fell into place for me.  It also explained why the last two seasons before the show's final season stunk so badly.  It was because all the episodes about House's new love of Cuddy, his search for his new team, and his stint in drug rehab had all left the simple premise that started the show, which was Dr. House solved the mystery illness.  All the other side stories left the cannon of the idea that Dr. House was a modern character version of Sherlock Holmes. Attempts to change the character of House is as useless as trying to change the character of Holmes.  The two characters are who they are.

It is also because of the leaving of the cannon, particularly the Cuddy loves House season, that both my wife and I quit following a show that we had loved at its beginning.  House was no longer solving mystery illness and was instead doing comedy bits from a bad buddy movie as he and Wilson babysat for Cuddy's adopted child.  And so the last season sat on my DVR until I decided to watch it.  Once House got out of prison, for a time, the show actually returned for the most part back to cannon.  House was Holmes again.

I thought about this. Here was a character whose intellect needed to be constantly challenged.  He only became engaged when there was a puzzle to be solved.  His only friend a gentle, ladies man of sorts, and relatively normal human, Dr. James Wilson.  Wilson was also one of the few characters who understood House well enough to challenge him and was an excellent foil character.

Like Holmes, House was a drug addict.  He used drugs to numb the real pain of his leg and the pain of the ordinary attacking his keen mind. He was also socially inept and egotistical as well as quite musical.  Holmes played the violin and House the guitar and piano.  Holmes unlike House did love "The Woman" but never really consummated the relationship.  Irene Adler was the only person who ever got the best of Holmes.  Perhaps he knew what would happen.  House, and alas the series writers, did not seem to know the doctor was too egocentric to actually maintain a relation. The attempt also damaged the series.

So, the last episode of House, despite its triteness, actually fits the Holmes idea.  It was a version of Reichenbach Falls from the Holmes' story of "The Final Problem." The episode of course was followed by a very short version of the return story called "The Adventure of the Empty House."  So knowing this, I was willing to forgive the House writers for such a trite end, since it was a homage to the original.

It also got me to wondering how many characters have been inspired by Doyle's seemingly immortal Consulting Detective. So other than the obvious, Sherlock and Elementary and the recent movies, here is a sampling according to a few different sources: Psych, The Mentalist, the original Batman (inspired by not adaptation of), and of course most modern detectives owe to the great detective, especially  Hercule Poirot and Nero Wolfe.  There also the British cartoon Danger Mouse and of course Disney's The Great Mouse Detective.  It is truly fascinating.  Heck, even Snoopy and Woodstock occasionally dressed up and did Sherlock Holmes.