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Revision as of 13:10, August 18, 2009

This article is about the character. For info about the show, see House (TV series).

Hello, sick people and their loved ones! In the interest of saving time and avoiding a lot of boring chitchat later, I'm Doctor Gregory House; you can call me "Greg." I'm one of three doctors staffing this clinic this morning. This ray of sunshine is Doctor Lisa Cuddy. Doctor Cuddy runs this whole hospital, so unfortunately she's much too busy to deal with you. I am a Board certified diagnostician with a double specialty in infectious disease and nephrology. I am also the only doctor currently employed at this clinic who is forced to be here against his will. That is true, isn't it? But not to worry, because for most of you, this job could be done by a monkey with a bottle of Motrin. Speaking of which, if you're particularly annoying, you may see me reach for this: this is Vicodin. It's mine. You can't have any. And no, I do not have a pain management problem, I have a pain problem. But who knows? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm too stoned to tell. So, who wants me? And who would rather wait for one of the other two guys? Okay. Well, I'll be in Exam Room One if you change your mind. - Dr. Gregory House, introducing himself to the clinic patients in Occam's Razor.

Gregory House, M.D., (almost universally referred to as House and rarely as Greg or Dr. House) is the main character and protagonist of the House series. He is portrayed by the actor Hugh Laurie.


House was born on June 11, 1959 (according to his hospital admission bracelet in No Reason) or December (in the episode The Socratic Method), to John House, a Marine pilot, (who was in the episode Birthmarks proved to not be his biological father; a family friend whom House was closer to is most likely his biological father). and Blythe House, a housewife. As his father served on active duty through most of House's childhood and adolescence, House has lived in a variety of countries where his father was stationed, several of which, such as Egypt and Japan, have been identified in the series.

House was obviously a bright child, a mixed blessing as his demanding father and loving mother obviously had high hopes for him. He cultivated a variety of interests, such as chemistry and playing the piano, which have served him well into adulthood. However, it appears that his isolation from people his age and his poor relationship with his parents led House to become something of a loner. It is intimated that he frequently rebelled against his father and was punished as a result, although it is not clear whether this was physical abuse or merely emotional isolation.

It was during his visit to a Japanese hospital that House met up with a disheveled man who appeared to be a janitor who was, nevertheless, the person with the most medical knowledge in the hospital. He later discovered the man was a buraku, a member of an "untouchable" caste who did not even try to fit in with the rest of the doctors. The incident convinced the young House to become a doctor as, despite their distaste for him, all the personnel in the hospital listened to the buraku when they needed to. This would tend to indicate that the young House, although knowledgeable in his youth, was often ignored by those in authority who thought they knew better.

In school, House was a good student, and obtained admission to Johns Hopkins Medical School. However, he was caught cheating by Philip Weber, the man whom he later treated as his arch-nemesis, and was expelled. Despite his academic misconduct, House was accepted at the Medical School of the University of Michigan, where he became a legend and first came to the attention of a young undergraduate student, Lisa Cuddy. During the season 4 episode Games, House mentions that he got a perfect score on his MCAT examinations. Also, House is believed to have met his best friend, James Wilson, in a medical convention, by paying bail money for Wilson's "crime" named as vandalism, assault and property destruction.

House is currently the head of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital's Department of Diagnostic Medicine. His medical career before he joined Princeton-Plainsboro is shrouded, but it appears that although his skills as a diagnostician were unparalleled, his disregard for the finer points of medical ethics, his inability to work well with other people (both subordinates and supervisors), and what appears to be a disregard for routine work made him almost unemployable.



Several years before the start of the series, House suffered an infarction in his leg. Unfortunately, the only symptom was leg pain, and by the time House himself realized that he was suffering from muscle death, the leg was in such a bad state that amputation was the recommended course of action. However, House rejected the suggestion and instead underwent a procedure to bypass circulation around the dead muscle. The result was intense pain during the healing process, which nearly resulted in cardiac arrest until House was put into a chemically induced coma. However, while House was comatose, his girlfriend and medical proxy Stacy Warner decided to go with Dr. Cuddy's suggestion to have the dead muscle surgically removed. Although this most likely saved House's life, it left him with permanent intense pain in his right leg.

As a result of the pain, House became addicted to the narcotic pain killer Vicodin. Although House realizes he is addicted, he believes the Vicodin is the only thing that will overcome the pain and allow him to function. His dependence on the drug has gotten him into trouble on several occasions, and his colleagues are unsure whether House's anti-social personality traits are the result of his addiction.

House's condition is most likely made worse by the fact that prior to the infarction, he was quite an active athlete, engaging in paintball (where he met Stacy), golf, running and lacrosse (in high school,hinted in Season one "Paternity" and revealed in Season five "Adverse Events").


House's willingness to take risks and experiment with his patients extends to his own health. Beyond his use of Vicodin, he has frequently used himself as a guinea pig for drugs and medical tests. Some of these tests are aimed at curing his leg pain, while others are to help his patients or satisfy his own curiosity. This disregard for his own well-being horrifies Wilson and Cuddy, who see it as an expression of his self-destructive impulses.

House's self-experiments include:

  • Injecting himself with nitroglycerin to cause a migraine headache, in order to prove a rival's migraine cure was flawed. He later used LSD to offset the migraine and antidepressants to nullify the LSD's more potent effects (Distractions).
  • Grafting the pain-free spinal nerves of a CIPA patient onto his leg, which was halted after Wilson pointed out he was risking paralysis in one of his patients (Insensitive).
S04E16 House suffers a seizure1.

House suffers a seizure.

  • Faking brain cancer to enter a clinical trial where a drug-dispensing chip would be installed into the pleasure center of his brain. This effort was derailed when his team uncovered his deception (Half-Wit).
  • Sticking a knife into an electrical socket to see what would happen if he was temporarily dead. What, if anything, he saw was never disclosed. He hinted at seeing nothing by saying "I told you so" to a dead patient (97 Seconds).
  • Injecting himself with blood from a sick patient to test if a blood transfusion caused his symptoms (You Don't Want To Know).
  • Undergoing hypnosis and overdosing on the Alzheimer's medication physostigmine to unlock memories lost after a bus crash. The latter of the two put House into cardiac arrest (House's Head).
  • Deep brain stimulation with an electrical prod to complete the missing memories. The electrical current caused a seizure, which combined with House's fractured skull to create a bleed in his brain and send him into a coma. He awoke from the coma at the end of the episode, but any damage has yet to be revealed (Wilson's Heart).
  • He experiments with Methadone in the episode The Softer Side and becomes a nicer person. Cuddy and Wilson go to confront him on why he is acting nice, but they find him in his office, not breathing. They manage to resuscitate him in time. It is later revealed that the Methadone caused this. He then was going to quit his job because Cuddy wouldn't allow him to take Methadone, as she was worried that he was going to kill himself taking it. At the end of the episode, he decides he doesn't want to be on Methadone anymore, reasoning he couldn't do his job right because he was pain free, and therefore nicer.
  • putting himself into insulin shock in an attempt to get rid of his hallucinations (Under My Skin).

House isn't the only one who does experiments on himself. In the episode "No Reason", Cuddy gives House ketamine to reboot his nerve connections in his hallucination. Near the end of the episode, House comes to, and tells Cameron to tell Cuddy to give him ketamine. Another example is in the episode "Resignation" when Wilson slips House anti-depression medication.


Equipped with a dry, acerbic almost cruel sense of humor, House is enigmatic and conceals many facets of his personality with a veneer of sarcasm. He is narcissistic and gives the impression of holding most people he comes into contact with, in utter disdain which has caused him to labeled "a misanthrope." He has contempt for most societal institutions including feminism and religion. House is an atheist and it is implied that he is nihilistic. With all these traits it would perhaps be accurate to describe him as a byronic hero. Despite his cynical view of the world, he does seem to care about his colleagues to a certain extent and while considering them "idiots" is able to sometimes put aside his pride and apologise when he has offended them (something he does quite regularly). House largely conceals his affection toward his colleagues beneath his flippant exterior however. House is a total maverick and has stated (perhaps jokingly) that he frequents prostitutes. In one episode he is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. While some doctors have a Messianic complex, House simply has a "Rubik's complex", that is to say, he's more concerned with figuring out what is wrong with his patients than he is with saving their lives. The latter he does simply because it's his job. This is shown when he sometimes tries to diagnose patients after they're dead, such as in the episode "97 Seconds"


Although House has had a number of co-workers, employers, lovers, and acquaintances during his life, it appears that he has only had five real relationships during his life. This is primarily because House's personality is most likely a deliberate attempt to alienate those who want to get to know him better. The five people who have been able to overcome his defensiveness have found a person worth salvaging, or even cherishing.


House talks to Wilson

  • James Wilson -Wilson is House's best and perhaps only friend, although Dr Lisa Cuddy can also be considered as one of his friends as she has constantly risked her career to protect him. Although, like just about everyone else, Wilson admires House for his considerable medical skills, and probably cares more for House as a human being. However, even Wilson agrees that this has led to a co-dependent relationship, with Wilson acting as an enabler. For example, Wilson kept House well supplied with Vicodin and often makes excuses for his behavior to get House out of trouble. For those who know both of them, they realize that Wilson will drop everything when House needs him. When Stacy eventually left House, it was Wilson who kept him going. As a result, Wilson is very protective of House. However, Wilson is no pushover; he often challenges House over his behavior and is not above tricking him to show House that although he might be right about almost everything, that skill doesn't apply to his own behavior.
  • Stacy Warner - House's only real romantic relationship with a woman, and probably the only person House has ever loved. Although their relationship broke up over House's anger about his disability, it's clear that they are physically, emotionally, and intellectually attracted to each other. Unlike most people, Stacy can see right through House's defensiveness and can often see through his attempts to manipulate her. Most of House's fear of relationships can probably be tracked back to the pain he felt when Stacy walked out of his life.
  • John House - House's father was a strict disciplinarian, but although his punishments were severe, they were never arbitrary or fueled by anger. As a Marine, John probably felt his son would respond well to the same sort of discipline that made him the man he did. Instead, House is almost the antithesis of his father. Where John is compulsively neat, Gregory dresses like a slob. The father is punctual while the son is constantly late. Where John is straight-forward, his son is manipulative. However, although House clearly wants nothing more to do with his father, it is just as clear that his father wants to have a relationship with his son and share the important things in his life.
  • Blythe House - From the way House treats women, one might expect that his relationship with his mother was troubled. However, House's mother loves him unconditionally, and the reverse is true as well. It was probably this unconditional love that led House to pursue his dreams. However, House realizes that he is a disappointment to his mother because the thing that his mother wants the most is for him to be happy, and he seems incapable of being anything other than miserable. His wish to avoid his father has the unfortunate fallout of taking him away from his mother as well.
  • Lisa Cuddy - The relationship between House and Cuddy is, to say the least, incredibly complicated. They have known each other since their days at the University of Michigan, where Cuddy was an undergraduate and House was "already a legend." Cuddy was also House's attending doctor during his time in hopsital for the infarction, and after he had recovered, created the "Department of Diagnostic Medicine" especially for him. It was strongly implied in the season three episode "Top Secret" that House and Cuddy have slept together at least once, sometime in the past. Throughout the series, so many people have accused Cuddy of sleeping with House that even House has asked if there is anything to the rumor. However, House eventually reveals he has feelings for Cuddy when he passionately kisses her in the season five episode "Joy", after learning that her planned adoption fell through. After Cuddy helps House go through a violent and painful detox in "Under My Skin" both Cuddy and House admit their feelings for one another and begin kissing very intensely as the episode ends. However, in the following episode, Both Sides Now, it is revealed that House's detox and night with Cuddy were merely a hallucination.

More insights into House's view of relationships were obtained in the episode Mirror Mirror. When House was with the mirror patient Number 13 was in the room with them. The patient chose to mirror House. At first, the patient started to make comments about how good-looking Number 13 was, then he started to express regret about how it was impossible for him to do anything about it. It appears from this that House would like to have relationships with some of the women he works with, like Cuddy and Allison Cameron, but knows that pursuing such a relationship would be inappropriate and near impossible.


House prefers to be addressed as "House" by everyone and is rarely addressed as "Greg". The only people he doesn't object having address him as "Greg" are Stacy Warner and his parents. He usually takes being addressed as "Greg" as a sign that the individual is being overly familiar and he often goes out of his way to hint that it takes more than calling him by his first name to strike up a friendship with him. Dr. Marty Hamilton tried to get on House's good side by addressing him as "Greg" in DNR only to have House pause carefully and carefully emphasize "Marty" in return. Wilson has also referred to House as "Greg". One example of this is in "Joy to the World" where a gift he gave to House has a note that reads: "Greg, made me think of you."

Sherlock Holmes references

Main page: Sherlock Holmes connections
  • House lives in apartment 221B. This is similar to 221B Baker Street as seen in Holmes.
  • House's friend is Doctor James Wilson; Holmes' is Doctor John Watson.
  • "House" is a synonym of "Home", which is a homonym of "Holmes."
  • Both have drug issues - House with Vicodin, Holmes with cocaine, morphine and tobacco.
  • House calls all his associates by their last names, the same with Holmes calling John Watson by his last name.
  • Can deduce and diagnose a great deal just from looking at a person, as can Holmes.

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