- Donovan: "Point is: you rub people the wrong way. But House is okay with your lack of bedside manner. He’s okay with your willingness to argue any point with anyone - even if they outrank you. He’s okay with your peculiar fashion sense."
- Masters: "It’s peculiar?"
- Donovan: "House doesn’t think you’re weird - which is weird. But good weird."
- — Last Temptation
Martha Meredith Masters, Ph.D., M.D. was a third year medical student who graduated medical school in Last Temptation and became a medical intern. She was portrayed by actress Amber Tamblyn. Masters filled in for Thirteen for a time while Thirteen was on leave from the hospital. Masters quickly became a fan favorite and a darling of the critics, creating a character who was a true match for House’s intellect and abusive behavior. She also provided him with two challenges. Unlike his other team members, who were all board certified before they reached him, House has to deal with someone bright but untrained. He was also challenged by Masters unfailing honesty and belief in the better nature of people.
Masters' father is the classics chair (head of department) at Columbia University who met her mother, who is nineteen years his junior, when she was his student in or about 1979. Her parents have been happily married for thirty-two years. Masters describes her mother as "gorgeous" in the episode Small Sacrifices. Masters graduated high school at the age of 13 and entered college as a freshman. Before entering medical school, she obtained doctorates in both applied math (with a specialty in statistics) and art history. She entered medical school in about 2008. She interviewed at Johns Hopkins Medical School with Chris Taub.
Although she initially said she lived alone and refused to discuss whether or not she was in a relationship, she has a roommate, Donovan, whom she has lived with since they were first-year students together. It is revealed Masters has difficulty entering romantic relationships and she is unattached throughout her appearance on the series. Due to the age difference between her and most of her classmates during school (who were, on average, at least three years older than she was), she has always had difficulty forming social relationships.
Introduction to the team
Lisa Cuddy is impressed enough with Masters’ accomplishments to insist that Masters be the woman on House's team when House delays in hiring Thirteen's replacement and then goes through Dr. Kelly Benedict, Dr. Christina Fraser and Dr. Cheng in quick succession.
During her initial case, Masters has difficulty adjusting. She refuses to join the other members of the team in breaking into the patient's home and insists on presenting all possible options to the patient and telling him the truth, even though House argues that this will harm the patient. House fires her, rehires her to use her as a sounding board, then fires and rehires her again. He challenges her that she will lie to a patient and violate her principles in other ways by the time she's finished her training with him. She tells him he's wrong.
In addition, although Chris Taub interviewed her for an hour when she applied at Johns Hopkins, she does not appear to remember him when she encounters him again in House's office. This upsets Taub, who snipes at her throughout her first case. Later she tells him that she did remember him but felt too awkward in bringing it up. Eric Foreman thinks she will make a good addition to the team because she is unspoiled and hasn't picked up any bad habits. Robert Chase is entertained by watching House needle her and compared it to watching a rabbit walk into a buzz saw.. Cuddy thinks she is a rising star and wants Masters at her hospital. She refuses to let Masters quit when she becomes discouraged and gives her advice about how to get along with House.
Performance on the Team
Masters lived up to Cuddy's expectations, providing insights in all the cases she worked on.
- In Office Politics, it was her idea to give Hepatitis A to a patient with Hepatitis C in order to build up antibodies.
- In A Pox on Our House, she came up with the correct diagnosis: Rickettsialpox.
- In Small Sacrifices she realized before the rest of the team that House was talking about a rare form of multiple sclerosis.
- In Larger than Life, Masters starts blood cultures against House’s instructions, saving them valuable time when House finally realizes the patient has an infection.
- In You Must Remember This, Masters is the one who convinces the patient’s sister to donate one of her kidneys.
- In The Dig, Masters finds the root of the patient’s hoarding, which eventually leads to the correct diagnosis.
However, Masters' habit of unwavering honesty poses House with some challenges, although even he must admit at times it hasn’t been a hurdle. House tried everything to get Masters to be deceptive, or at least keep her quiet. In Family Practice, he sets her up to unwittingly assault a patient in a coma and threatens to have her thrown out of medical school and into jail if she tells Arlene Cuddy that they have been going behind her back to treat her. Despite vomitting from the resulting stress, Masters steadfastly informs Arlene’s attending physician of House and Cuddy’s deception. However, even this turns out well.
Even House had to admit how valuable Masters was to the team. When Masters graduates, he offers her an internship on the condition that she falsify that she has performed her tenth lumbar puncture as part of her practical training. Instead, Masters performs a routine LP on Thirteen. House figures it out, fires her, and Masters winds up in the surgery intern program and, during her short time there, manages to favorably impress Dr. Simpson. However, she returns to work on House’s case and accidentally points them in the right direction. However, when the patient’s parent refuse treatment so she can complete a round-the-world sailing trip, Masters fakes symptoms and obtains consent from the patient’s parents. She then decides she has to take time off to decide what she will do to make herself exceptional.
Tamblyn said in interviews that her character has an unusual dress sense, is prone to blurting out anything that comes into her head, and will not be afraid of saying no to House. Her intellect rivals that of House and some reviews have speculated that she might seem like a young version of the doctor; however it has also been said that Martha has an I.Q. that is twenty points lower than House. Tamblyn said Masters likely has Asperger's syndrome and said House probably does too.
Tamblyn said Masters will be like the little sister of the men on the team and they will not find her intellect sexually appealing. Tamblyn describes the character as an outcast and a "cute little nerd."
Donovan notes that Masters will always speak up even when she’s outranked, she makes and displays paper airplanes for fun, and is obsessed with facial symmetry. She reminded her those traits bother most people, but House wouldn’t care about them as long as she performed well.
Masters' favorite mathematical constant is Euler's number.
Tamblyn indicated in interviews that the character is based upon one of her own friends, a medical student named Martha Meredith Masters. Tamblyn describes the character as an exaggerated version of her friend, who signed a legal document promising not to sue the network due to its use of the character. So far, Fox also revealed Masters will only be temporarily replacing Olivia Wilde as Thirteen until Wilde finishes filming Cowboys and Aliens, an upcoming film scheduled to be released on July 2011
|July 2011||August 2011||September 2011|
|Season 2||Martha M. Masters||Season 1|
This article was the featured article for August 2011.