House (TV series)

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Everybody lies.
"I'm almost always eventually right."
Dr. Gregory House

House (also known as House, M.D.) was a television series which debuted in November 2004 and ended in May 2012 centered around Dr. Gregory House, an expert diagnostician at (the fictional) Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. House, a Deadpan Snarker played by Hugh Laurie, suffers from chronic pain in his right leg and is quickly identified by the cane he uses as well as his regular (or not so regular, depending on the season) downing of Vicodin. He is abrasive socially, professionally, and personally; he usually refuses to take on a case unless something about it piques his interest and he is known to engage in bizarre (and not always legal) hobbies and pranks while working. However, he is such a genius in diagnosing patients that the Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy, allows him to continue. His only friend is Dr. James Wilson, head of the Oncology department.

The series is a medical version of a Police Procedural; every week a patient suffers unexplained, potentially deadly symptoms which worsen dramatically over the length of the episode. House begins by starting a brainstorming session with his crack team of doctors: Eric Foreman (no, not that Eric Forman), Allison Cameron and Robert Chase. An additional group of doctors were added in the fourth season: Chris Taub, Lawrence Kutner, and Remy "Thirteen" Hadley (Cameron and Chase went on to different positions within the hospital, but Chase has since returned). The last two seasons introduced doctors Martha M. Masters, Chi Park and Jessica Adams. They spend time listing the possible causes of the illness on a big whiteboard while House makes snide remarks and mocks every suggestion. They proceed to diagnose the disease incorrectly for the majority of the episode, subjecting the patient to a wide variety of tests that may or may not be ethically sound. Finally, Dr. House determines the actual problem in a Eureka Moment and reveals the diagnosis. In most cases the patient makes a full recovery, although in some episodes the patient still dies for one reason or another.

While House is ostensibly a physiologist rather than a psychoanalyst, the vast bulk of the diagnoses result from him verbally pummeling his patient and their relatives/associates into revealing all of the many steamy secrets they possess (typically abuse, sexual misbehavior, drug addiction, etc), one of which will prove instrumental in diagnosing their illness... after House has ruined their life.

Of particular note is the commitment of writers to the Dr. Jerk concept, as any real doctor who behaved this way would be immediately fired, jailed, beaten half to death, and run out of town by villagers with Torches and Pitchforks (and several of these things actually do happen to House as a result of his conduct). Among his professional behavior he has used the corpses in the morgue for personal experiments (or is hiding to avoid responsibility), broken a patient's fingers as a means of torture, helped a patient commit suicide, got an ailing patient drunk, verbally berates patients for their stupidity and/or lies and makes a habit of breaking into patients' houses. His personal life behavior isn't much better, as he has forged medical records for himself, slipped his best friend drugs, and stolen drugs from living and dead men alike and generally enjoys pranks and manipulation for fun. Although in most cases he has genuine medical reasons for doing what he does, he is generally known as a shameless manipulator and it is always left to interpretation how big of a jerkass he is. It's very rare to see him Pet the Dog, though he sometimes fakes such behavior for his own selfish ends.

Although it could be Hugh Laurie's acting that means that fans are willing to forgive him of anything.


House (TV series) is the Trope Namer for:
  • Finding Judas: This was the title of a third season episode where Wilson reports House to Tritter.

Tropes used in House (TV series) include:

Tropes A-D[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Aborted Arc: The mystery of who was House's real father.
  • Abusive Parents: House's dad and Chase's parents.
  • Acoustic License: During the episode with the rocker with epilepsy triggered by chaotic music. House brings in a marshal stack and plays REALLY LOUD MUSIC... and then asks "so what were your inspirations for this" over the cacophony.
  • Addiction Displacement: We see House hitting the bottle (usually bourbon) a lot more after he gets off Vicodin (presumably replacing only the psychological effects of the drug, considering that he's on high-dose ibuprofen for the pain).
    • At one point, he's also seen replacing his Vicodin addiction with obsessive cooking. He turns out to be really good at it.
  • Adorkable: Masters. If you don't feel the urge to hug her every time House brings her down, you should take an X-Ray of your own chest to make sure nothing's missing.
    • Kutner had this going on, as does Dr. Chi Park.
  • Again: House breaks into Cuddy's office and waits for her in the dark.

Cuddy: Again?
TWoP: She must have to check behind her shower curtain when she uses her toilet, just to make sure House isn't hiding behind it, ready to jump out and protest her latest decision to take him off of a case that can't be solved without the benefit of his amazing mind.

  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Invoked. When Amber is dying, one of her co-workers admits that no one actually liked her until that point.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Cuddy's seasons-long crush on House.
    • Cameron's crush on House may actually be a result of the Florence Nightingale Effect. House himself frequently observes that she is attracted to men who are 'broken', and proves it by attempting to initiate a relationship with her during a brief period in which he was pain-free, causing her to protest that it would be inappropriate.
  • Alliterative Name: Martha Meredith Masters.
  • All Just a Dream: Most of the Season 2 finale.
    • Also, the Season 5 finale, where it turns out that House hallucinated (parts of?) everything that happened to him over the last episode and a half.
    • The finale of Season 6 subverts this when House wonders if he's hallucinating. Then he realizes he hasn't actually taken any drugs yet.
    • A lot of "Bombshells" including a trippy musical number, a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid homage, a take-off of Two and A Half Men, and a 50's family comedy.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "New World" by w-inds is the ending theme to the Japanese dub of the second season.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Lots but Wilson stands out. He has trouble with relationships, drawn to help anyone with a problem yet highly manipulative and seems to impose himself on his patient's lives even though they don't seem to care but don't want to be rude to their doctor.
  • Analogy Backfire: In "Broken", House compares himself and one of the mental ward employees to Bonnie and Clyde. The employee then points out that those two were chopped to bits.
  • Anal Probing:
    • One episode featured a young boy who believed he'd been abducted by aliens, and he had the bleeding anus to prove it. This obviously led the team to believe he'd been sexually abused, which (predictably for House) turned out not to be true.
      • In a case of Did Not Do the Research meets Rule of Cool, while that patient's visit to the hospital and delusions led to an interesting (and legit) medical mystery, the final diagnostic never explains the anal bleeding in the first place, nor is it a symptom of that particular disease at all.
      • Since the primary symptom in this episode were the abduction hallucinations, the bleeding is Handwaved away about halfway through the episode as a bleeding disorder that can be treated with medication. It's an audio Blink And Youll Miss It.
  • Anachronic Order: The majority of "Three Stories" is told in flashbacks, which aren't in anything remotely resembling the right order.
  • And I Must Scream: One of his patients had Locked in syndrome. House puts it best when he criticizes the patient's original doctor for giving up on the spot in favor of teaching the guy to spell "KILL ME" with his eyes.
  • Anti-Hero: House himself, of course. See also Noble Bigot.
  • Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The only reason Cuddy doesn't fire House.
  • Artistic License: Biology: Every case involves an absurd diagnosis which is either medically impossible, or is a spurious misinterpretation of an actual real-life case such that Dr. McCoy would be astonished. Not surprisingly, the weekly diagnosis is explained in such fast-and-loose medical Techno Babble terms (completely backed up with real-time "Fantastic Voyage" CGI-effects) at the last minute, as to make it sound either unintelligible to anyone who's not a doctor, while likewise using metaphors sufficiently vague to sound possible someone who is.
  • Artistic License Pharmacology: Vicodin is prescribed more than 100 million times each year in the US to treat moderate pain (like arthritis) and to treat coughs. Even in long-term users, Vicodin withdrawal is usually characterized by symptoms no worse than lack of appetite, mild nausea, irritability, anxiety, and restlessness. The withdrawal symptoms House usually displays (vomiting, insomnia, sweats and chills, depression, mood swings) are what would typically characterize frequent diacetylmorphine (heroin) abuse. Vicodin is also not known to cause disassociative disorder (conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity and/or perception).
Methadone is an long-acting synthetic opioid agonist that, like any opiate, causes euphoria. It is prescribed to treat pain in opioid-dependent patients as well as addiction in heavy users of high-potency opiates. Because methadone is many, many times more powerful than hydrocodone (it's listed as a greater than 2 to 1 conversion compared to baseline (morphine), whereas hydrocodone has no consensus but is known to be less than 0.33 to 1), methadone is never used to treat even the heaviest Vicodin abuse. That would be like prescribing 99 Bananas to someone addicted to wine... no matter how much wine they drink, taking shots of vodka just isn't going to improve the situation. There are also other opioids which are more effective at managing pain, so if they specifically wanted to curb House's Vicodin use (likely, due to the risk acetaminophen poses to the liver) they would step up to oxycontin (0.33 to 1) or ms-contin (1 to 1).
Methadone is used to prevent heroin abuse, mainly because there are a limited number of opioid receptors in the brain and methadone fills them up (preventing heroin's effects from being felt), and because it delays the onset of withdrawal symptoms for many hours, thus reducing both the cravings and incentives for abuse in patients who take it correctly. Methadone users continue to experience physical dependence, but after the addiction is under control, the dose can be lowered to reduce dependence.

Cuddy: Chase and Cameron are together?
House: If by "together" you mean "having sex in the janitor's closet" then yeah!
Cuddy: The janitor's closet here?
House: No, the one at the local High School. Go Tigercats!

    • Another example:

House There's a bullet in his head.
Cameron He was shot?!
House'...No, somebody THREW it at him!!

  • As Long as There Is One Man: A partial subversion due the Evil Versus Evil nature of the conflict, but Vogler's downfall amounts to this.
  • Authentication by Newspaper: Parodied. House is freaking out Foreman with his Crazy Prepared-ness, and Foreman accuses him of faking his index card "predictions." House promptly whips out a picture of himself holding his prediction with a picture of... last Tuesday's newspaper. Ooh, how would I have gotten that, sayeth House.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: House and Wilson. House and Cuddy, too, I suppose.
  • Back for the Finale: Kutner, Amber, Stacy, Cameron, and Thirteen. Jennifer Morrison and Sela Ward crossed back over from CBS and ABC, respectively. Not to mention Masters.
  • Backstory: All the characters have complicated past histories which House delights in making crude references to.
  • Badass: House is wrestling a certain other doctor for the title of most Badass doctor on television.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Thirteen and Cuddy.
  • Bat Deduction: Most of House's last minute diagnoses.
  • Batman Gambit: House pulls one on Cuddy regarding hiring the final two spots on his new team. Narrowing it down to three people, he chooses the two guys. Cuddy protests this since having an all-male team would potentially violate hiring rules, so she tells House to hire Thirteen... and then realizes that House had made his choice deliberately to force her to have him hire Thirteen.
    • It gets even more complicated than that: House actually asked Cuddy for help choosing two of the final three candidates. She picks the two guys, expecting that House would then hire Thirteen just to be contrary. When he actually hires the two she recommended, she admits this and tells him to hire Thirteen too. Then she sees his slight smirk and realizes that's what House wanted all along.
    • House's relationships seem to all be based around dueling Batman Gambits.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: One episode involves a patient who catches psittacosis thanks to his involvement in a cockfighting ring.
  • Bedlam House: Averted in that the staff of the psychiatric ward that House goes to is staffed by professional mental health workers who actually care about helping their patients.
  • Beneath the Mask: House's favorite justification for peeling them off - "Everybody lies." See also the trope below.
  • Beneficial Disease: Used multiple times.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Masters.
    • Discussing hatred of classmates:

Masters: I didn't want to kill anybody. I just wanted to torture them slowly in my basement, preferably with acid. You guys ever think about what you might do to House?

The reaction of the other doctors to this line implies that all of House's fellows have thought about it.
    • Dr. Park is a bit of a doormat, but even House has to approve of her punching the head of radiology for groping her.
  • Big Damn Hero: In the Season 8 premiere, House's psychotic cellmate saves him from being stabbed during a riot.
  • Big Secret: Hiding one of these is usually the reason that most patients lie about their medical or personal histories, or withhold critical information. Diagnosis almost always exposes the secret, which then ends up being directly or indirectly responsible for the problem. Revealing the secret earlier would, of course, result in correct diagnosis and treatment much sooner, and avoiding all the torture (and near-death) caused by misdiagnosis. In a few cases, it was a parent's or other close family member's Big Secret that caused the problem.
  • Biting the Hand Humor: There are several Take Thats to The Usual Suspects, which was directed by Bryan Singer, who also produces House. They usually involve spoiling the ending.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Season 6 finale. The patient House genuinely cared about dies and Thirteen's condition gets worse. However, House does not relapse into taking Vicodin and gets the oh-so-desired Relationship Upgrade with Cuddy.
    • The entire series ends on a bittersweet note. House ultimately fakes his death with everyone who knows and cares about assuming him dead and gone. He can never become a doctor again or risk exposure, Wilson is still going to die of cancer, at the end of the day the only people who know or figure out that he's still alive are Wilson and eventually Foreman, but he gets a clean slate, realizes he is capable of change, and he and Wilson can spend Wilson's final months together.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: An interracial couple faced opposition from the (white) male's father, and they interpreted this as the dad being a racist jerk. He was, sort of, just not in the way they thought. He didn't want him to date this particular black girl. House deduces that they share a rare genetic illness, meaning that they're actually half-siblings, resulting from an affair the father had with the woman's mother. It's implied that the relationship doesn't survive this revelation.
  • Blah Blah Blah: At the start of the series finale, House sits down with his team and introduces a case, where all House hears from them is blah blah blah.
  • Body Horror: Many of the nastier cases.
  • Book Ends: Several episodes, including Season 4's "Alone" and Season 5's "The Greater Good". The first season is bookended by the philosopher Jagger and "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
    • The entire series. The pilot episode is called "Everybody Lies", and the last episode of the series is called "Everybody Dies".
  • Brains and Bondage: Chase.
  • Breaking Speech: House loves these. He gives them to patients when he needs to break them for information, he gives them to his coworkers when he thinks they're being naive, and he even gives one to himself.
  • Break the Haughty: House tends to get this a lot. But even though he gets a little bit more broken every time they put him through some more misery, the haughtiness never goes away.
  • Breast Attack: In Season 5, Foreman gives House a massive "double titty-twister" as a substitute for paddles in order to shock him out of a drug-induced heart attack; House then extends his sympathies to Thirteen.
  • Brick Joke: "Last Resort" begins with House fiddling with Cuddy's desk, and being interrupted by the hostage situation that makes up the plot of the episode. At the end of the episode, Cuddy pulls out the desk drawer and all of her files fall to the floor - House had turned the drawer upside down.
  • Bros Before Hoes: "There is a code; bros before hoes, man."
  • Brutal Honesty: This is one of House's defining personality traits, and the basis of much of his snark.
    • This goes along with his trope of "everyone lies", allowing him to rationalize his rudeness as an honorable trait.

Patient's father: How can you treat someone without meeting them?
House: It's easy if you don't give a crap about them.

    • The patient's daughter in "It's a Wonderful Lie" has been taught to always be honest, and it really stuck. When the patient is trying to deny the terminal prognosis she's just been given, the daughter lays it down straight that no, she's going to die. Even House can hardly believe how cold that was. He also calls it "pure truth" and likens it to seeing some rare astrological phenomenon that you know you'll never see again in your life.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: House's methods would've gotten him fired long ago if they weren't so effective, and other times he's just plain silly. At one point, he pimpwalks into the room with a stereo slung over his shoulder.
  • Bury Your Gays: Or your gays' babies, at least, in "Maternity".
  • But Not Too Bi: Thirteen sleeps with women, has relationships with men.
    • Subsequently averted, as of Season 8 she is in a relationship with a woman.
  • Butt Monkey: House regularly singles out Chase for abuse. This has little to do with his skill as a doctor (Chase solved two cases House couldn't), and likely more to do with the fact that Chase got his job because his dad made a phone call, and is the only member of the team that House didn't hand-pick.
  • Cane Fu: House doesn't quite fight with his trusty walking cane, but it is not rare for him to use it to block, push away or trip someone as part of his usual antisocial antics. And then there's episode "Bombshells" and the Dream Sequence of House fighting his teammembers-turned-zombies with his cane, including turning it into an axe and then into a shotgun.
  • Career-Building Blunder: Happens several times as a prominent plot point.
    • In Season 2's "The Mistake": After Chase kills a patient by neglecting to ask some routine questions and gets massively sued by her brother, House decides not to fire him, not because he figured that Chase would learn from his mistake, but because he'd figured that since the news of the death of Chase's father had led to his screw-up, it wouldn't happen again because now both his parents were dead.
    • When Foreman kills a patient in Season 3's "House-Training" by misdiagnosing a simple staph infection, House doesn't even consider firing him because he knows that Foreman will "do it again." House figures, in his very own way, that since they're Super Extraordinary Doctors who specialize in Televisually-Transmitted Disease and save butt-loads more patients than regular ones, that this translates to them missing the really basic stuff sometimes.
    • In Season 4, Thirteen fatally confounded a diagnosis by accident. Dr. House reasoned that Thirteen would be incredibly attentive to detail after that case.
    • Thirteen helps an astronaut further her career in spite of medical considerations that could have made NASA wary. House simply concluded that his patient would be the safest astronaut NASA could possibly hire, given how informed she was about her condition and how desperate she was to do her job well. Plus, it meant she had to get breast implants in order to secretly save her lungs. Yay!
  • Car Meets House: In the finale of Season 7, House deliberately crashes his car into Cuddy's house. A literal interpretation of the trope, and Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • The Casanova: Chase eventually becomes this.
  • Cassandra Truth: In one episode involving an agoraphobic patient, House for the most part doesn't mock or even argue much with Cuddy. When House's team asks why, he replies "I kinda hit that last night so now she's all up in my jock." The team naturally asks what the real reason is. House simply repeats himself in a loud clear voice, and they don't press the issue. The only thing they don't know is that he wasn't lying.
  • The Cast Showoff: House is the latest in a long line of Hugh Laurie characters who plays piano. He also plays, like Hugh, the harmonica and the guitar.
    • He gets a full-blown musical song when Cuddy is knocked out for an operation. It's "Get Happy" done vaudeville-meets-Across the Universe, and it is glorious.
    • In the episode "We Need the Eggs", Charlyne Yi (Park) sings and plays "I've Got You Babe" on a guitar.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Everybody lies."
    • "It's never lupus."
      • "It's the Moriarty of autoimmune diseases."
      • Except in one episode where Kutner took on the case of the magician from the nightclub. Right after House figures it out, he quips, "I finally have a case of lupus."
    • "How many times do I have to say idiot?"
  • Celebrity Paradox: In the Season 2 episode, where Wilson moves in with House, House's Tivo list is shown. One of the programs on it is the mini-series Blackadder II, featuring Hugh Laurie.
    • And the season 8 episode "Love is Blind" has the patient mention Friends, a show that Hugh Laurie made a cameo on.
    • In "Everybody Dies", House mentions Dead Poets Society, a movie where a young Robert Sean Leonard starred. I guess giving Wilson a hard time about the porno was more amusing...
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Omar Epps (i.e. Dr. Foreman) looks a LOT like Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. This was referenced in the episode "Ignorance Is Bliss":

House: Got all of my starters back plus a couple of free agents. I feel like Mike Tomlin. (looks at Foreman) Probably not as much as you do, but you get the idea.

  • Character Development/Wham! Episode: Season 6's "Broken", in which House is rehabilitated, switches from Vicodin to less extreme medication, meets a new lover, and becomes almost kind of nice.
  • The Chew Toy: The episode "No Reason" featured a character whose sole purpose was to be slowly tortured. Beginning with having an incredibly swollen tongue, during a procedure the poor bastard's eye pools with blood and pops out of its socket. Next, while trying to urinate, his testicle swells with blood and explodes. Finally, House murders him, with robotic surgery equipment. Fortunately, it was All Just a Dream.
  • Chiaroscuro: "Bombshells" gets darker and darker throughout the episode. At the end, it goes back to normal, but until then, it is so incredibly dark, you'd think you're in a David Fincher movie.
  • Code Silver: The Season 2 finale, and the Season 5 episode "Last Resort".
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In one episode, several people become sick with a disease that causes vomiting and, apparently, women puke yellow, while men puke red (he puked red because he had too many "Bloody Marys" on the plane).
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Commercial Break Cliffhanger: This is a staple of the show.
  • Contamination Situation: Not surprising, given the content of the show, there are three, "Euphoria" in Season Two, "Airborne" in Season Three, and "A Pox on Our House" in Season Seven.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In "You Must Remember This", Taub and Foreman are playing the video game from "Epic Fail".
    • In "Fall from Grace", House calls the janitor "Blue" again and is again told that his name is Lou, this time by Cuddy, referencing a joke from three years prior.
    • In "Painless", a man walks to the conference room, and asks which one is House. House says: "The big black guy". Later, he tells to Foreman: "Can you blame me? The last time that happened, the guy shot me" — a reference to the episode "No Reason".
    • In "Holding On", Adams remarks that Wilson just wants to die with a little dignity. House responds that there's no such thing, in a reference to the pilot episode.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: In an early episode, House decides to make a point about how he's treated as a handicapped person by jamming his cane into a woman's foot as he passes her. He apologizes in a sincere fashion, and watches as the woman apologizes back for snapping at him.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: Occurs in-universe in "Tyrant", when House incorrectly assumes Wilson's Canadian neighbor is lying when he claims to have fought in Vietnam, not realizing Canada deployed troops to Vietnam in 1973 to help enforce the Paris Peace Accords.
  • Convulsive Seizures: House has a stronger record of showing seizures besides the omnipresent convulsive ones than a lot of other media, although the good ol' convulsions pop up as well.
  • Crazy Prepared: When Wilson drugs House to bring him to his father's funeral, he successively counters House's threats of pissing in the car by handing him an empty bottle, then showing the used floor mats when House throws out the bottle. Later, when House throws his keys down a drain, he gets out a flashlight. When House drops that too, he gets another one from the trunk.
  • Cruel Twist Ending:
    • In "Saviors", after everything seems wrapped up, complete with music from Hugh Laurie, House hallucinates Amber telling him that he's not losing his mind.
    • In "Both Sides Now", House realizes that Cuddy helping him detox and then sleeping with him was another hallucination... and then both Amber and Kutner show up.
    • In "Fall from Grace", it turns out that the patient which the team has saved is actually a cannibal and a Serial Killer. He fled the hospital before the FBI agents who just arrived could catch him.
  • Cuckoo Nest:
    • The episodes leading up to and including the Season 5 finale.
    • House also enters a literal one in Season 6's opener "Broken".
  • Cure Your Gays: The patient in "The Choice" from Season 6 had ex-gay/conversion therapy, although he insists that he was never gay
  • Dan Browned: Read more here. Although the editor is a frustrated physician, he does say that House is better than most other medical shows.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Seems to be a requirement for coming within 100 feet of Dr. House, his patients included.
  • Daydream Surprise: House has a brief one in Season 1.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode "Wilson" focuses on... well, Wilson; House's case of the day is only shown in glimpses. "5 to 9" showed us a day in the life of Cuddy.
    • And Season 7's "Last Temptation" is this for Martha Masters before she intentionally causes a 13-year old girl to go into cardiac arrest all so she could then chop off her arm, then she resigns, before falling over a chicken.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The entire cast to varying degrees, but especially House.
  • Dead Person Conversation:
    • When House starts having hallucinations of Amber Volakis and Kutner.
    • One patient in the episode "Guardian Angel" hallucinated that she was talking to her deceased mother, which House recommended her to do because he thought that it would help discover her illness, which didn't.
  • Death by Sex: One of the most common causes of rare, horrific and hard-to-diagnose illnesses, according to the show. It gets even more so if you include pregnancy as a cause.
  • Death in the Clouds: A twisted version - House needs to find out if a man vomiting with sores and severe headaches is suffering from meningitis, or something else. If it's the former, they're all dead.
  • Death Montage: The cold opening to one episode shows half a dozen completely unrelated people dropping dead. Turns out they all received organs from the same person, and the Patient of the Week is the last survivor.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Season 3 is just one disaster after another.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Most episodes end by House coming up with a brilliant but simple cure at the last moment, through some Applied Phlebotinum Techno Babble, bringing the patient back immediately to perfect health from death's door; the most obvious example is "Joy to the World" in which House performs a "Christmas Miracle" cure.
  • Did Not Do the Research: When House steals Wilson's pad, we can see what he writes. The prescription is for "Vicodin ES 5/500", which doesn't exist. So, House is either taking regular 5/500 mg Vicodin or 7.5/750 mg Vicodin Extra Strength. Or he's usually prescribed the lower dose, but intentionally throws the ES on in a futile attempt to confuse the pharmacist.
  • Disability as an Excuse For Jerkassery: The eponymous character justifies his jerkassery with his injured leg, but he was a Jerkass before that.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: House's train of thought is derailed by Cameron's alluring attire in this Season 2 episode.
    • In the episode "Ugly", House hires a doctor who he's attracted to, but ends up firing her, because due to his attraction, he doesn't notice that her ideas are bad.
  • The Ditz: 90% of House's misanthropy can be traced back to frustration with patients he attracts during clinic hours... and after seeing said clinic hours, it's easy to see why.
  • Doppelganger Dating: When Wilson starts dating Amber, House points out that she is a female version of him.
  • Dream Sequence: Several in "Bombshells".
  • Dressed to Heal: House usually averts this, not so much his colleagues.
    • Consequently, whenever House is wearing a lab coat, something's up and someone is about to be manipulated.
  • Drink Order: House seems to really like whiskey, especially bourbon.
  • Dripping Disturbance: One episode has a patient who has been incapable of falling asleep for several days. When we first see her she is in bed, eyes wide open, as the sound of the faucet seems thundering to her.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The most probable interpretation of House overdosing in "Merry Little Christmas".
    • Kutner, Kutner, Kutner. There's no real explanation given, which is sort of the point.
    • Let's not forget Taub, who made a suicide attempt in his Backstory.
    • In "Locked In"'s writer commentary, they promised to offer Season 6 spoilers somewhere in it to get people to care what they thought of Mos Def. It was probably a joke, but did they ever not sound like it. Taub killed Kutner, maybe, if they were joking, hopefully.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kutner (see Real Life Writes the Plot).
  • Drugs Are Bad: House gets hit with this frequently, especially as his escalating Vicodin use starts to seriously affect his life.
  • Dr. Jerk: Most obviously with the main character, but his subordinates sometimes behave in a similar way, especially Foreman (aka "Black House").
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Foreman and Thirteen in Season 5.
  • Dysfunction Junction:
    • Not one character escapes this trope, including most patients of the week. In between learning about the patients' tragic pasts, we get a look into the lives of the doctors who treat them. If one of the main characters seems to have begun a stable and healthy relationship, it's a pretty safe bet they'll have sabotaged it for some convoluted and unnecessary personal reason within a few episodes. Ruining a relationship through being a Hypocrite, frequently instigating Make Up or Break Up scenarios for stupid personal reasons and otherwise being a Jerkass to your partner through lots of changing your mind and being on-again and off-again because you feel like it could be renamed Princeton Plainsboro Syndrome.
    • The misanthropic, crippled, drug-addicted House and his fellow Chase have major parental issues:
      • House goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid contact with his parents. The most extreme example of this is when his father dies and he refuses to go to the funeral despite his mother's wishes. He does end up attending but only because Cuddy drugged him so Wilson could get him in his car and escort him there. In the same episode, it is revealed that when he was twelve, House told his father that he had figured out a family friend was his biological father. His father then didn't speak to him for the entire summer, communicating through typed sheets of paper (if at all). Also, his father subjected him to cruel punishments, such as being forced to bathe in ice water and sleep on the lawn.
      • Chase was left to care for his alcoholic mother after his father abandoned them. His father turns up during the thirteenth episode and bridges start to mend, but little does Chase know that his father is dying of terminal lung cancer. Chase finds out two months later in the eighth episode of the second season, through a phone call. It gets even worse in that season's twenty-second episode in which House deduces that Chase was cut out of his father's will, a fact that is confirmed in the Season 3 episode "Finding Judas". Oh, and then he murdered a mass-murderer to prevent genocide and not only does his priest tell him he's an irredeemable monster unless he turns himself in, his wife leaves him because of it. Thanks for the support, guys.
    • House's other two fellows don't have an easy time of it either.
      • Foreman is a former juvenile delinquent, and his brother is also a criminal, but unlike Foreman he never made anything of himself. Also, Foreman's mother has Alzheimer's and barely remembers Foreman, making seeing her extremely painful.
      • It's revealed Cameron married a dying man when she was in her twenties and then fell for his best friend.
    • When we first meet Wilson he has been divorced two times and his third marriage is on the verge of complete collapse. In Season 1, he proclaims that, "I've only got two things that work for me: this job and this stupid, screwed-up friendship [with House]." Before Season 2 is over, Wilson finds himself divorced again and homeless. In Season 3, his assets get frozen while attempting to keep House out of jail and it's revealed (surprise, surprise) he's suffering from depression. In Season 4, his girlfriend, Amber, dies, and in Season 5, it's revealed that his long-lost, homeless brother that is mentioned in Season 1 is also schizophrenic and that he blames himself for him running away. Seven seasons later, all he still has is his job and his stupid, screwed-up friendship with House. And then he gets terminal cancer.
    • Cuddy is a workaholic and has apparently failed every relationship she's ever tried to make work. She also angsts about not being able to start a family due to fertility problems. In Season 5, she adopts a baby, but has emotional issues bonding with her.
    • House's new fellows have problems too. Thirteen is dying from Huntington's. (her mom died from it too). And had to euthanize her older brother who was 'also' dying of Huntington's (and spent six months in jail as a consequence - it's complicated). Kutner's parents were killed in a robbery when he was six and in Season 5, he commits suicide, and nobody knows why; not even House can figure it out. Taub cheated on his wife, causing him to lose his ability to practice his specialty, and has financial problems in Season 5. His marital problems continue in Season 6, where his compulsion to cheat seems even more powerful than House's Vicodin dependency used to be. In Season 7, he and his wife split up, but he continues having casual sex with her - and then learns that she's pregnant immediately after making a commitment to his new girlfriend, who is also pregnant. Oh, and he also once tried to kill himself.
    • Possibly lampshaded by Cuddy after Kutner's suicide.

"I've hired a grief counselor, whom none of you will see, and I'm offering time off, which none of you will take."

    • Nurse Brenda, however, seems to invert this trope.


Tropes E-H[edit | hide]

  • Empty Promise
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: House, Wilson and Chase.
  • Eureka Moment: Once an Episode.
    • Lampshaded at times, including once when House wasn't the one that had the revelation. In the sixth season episode "Wilson", this was explicitly referred to as a "House moment", when Wilson experienced the same phenomenon himself.
    • Taub has one of these himself in "Teamwork".
    • So does Chase in Season 3, when House is undergoing withdrawal and blows a diagnosis.
    • In the episode "Joy", Wilson is talking to House, and stops in mid-conversation to say "...I just gave you the answer, didn't I? And now you're going to leave without saying a word." House, of course, does just that (although he does say "Nope" as he's leaving, just to mix things up).
    • The episode "Bombshells" has, arguably, two: first, the regular one in which House finds out what's wrong with his patient, which is heavily Lampshaded by Cuddy, possibly to prepare you for the second one in which Cuddy figures out that House has started taking Vicodin again.
    • Add implausible to the mix: House's "Eureka moments" are always triggered by the most random and unlikely circumstances, which would logically mean that at least 99% of House's patients would die waiting for a plumber to scratch his crotch, or whatever other freak-clue that House needs.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • House asking to be taken off the case of a patient who'd asked for him specifically, because she'd been raped.
    • When the girl who was going to give her baby up for adoption to Cuddy changes her mind, House goes to Cuddy, kisses her... and leaves, decidedly not taking advantage of her.
  • Everybody Is Single: This was the case at first, and is occasionally mentioned by a patient, although as the show has progressed this has come and gone.
    • Taub has been married for over ten years, although their relationship is showing strain. They divorce in Season 7.
    • Cameron and Chase got married at the end of Season 5, only to divorce partway through Season 6.
    • Foreman and Thirteen got together, broke up, got back together, and are presently split.
    • Wilson was dating Dr. Amber Volakis ("Cutthroat Bitch") and later got back with one of his ex-wives. It didn't last.
    • Cuddy was dating Lucas for a while, but breaks things off with him at the end of Season 6 for House. And now that's over.
      • It would appear Cuddy's got a new man now. House isn't taking it so well.
  • Evil Laugh: Played for laughs in "Sex Kills":

Chase: You want us to do a differential diagnosis on a dead person?
House: We're going to cure her.
Cameron: We're going to cure death?
House: MUAHAHAHAHA!!! [Cameron looks confused.] Doubt it.

Cuddy: Hire a team. I don't care how you do it, just do it.

    • And he does exactly that. With a six-week-long job interview with 28 applicants.
  • Extreme Doormat: Dr. Park, who is very much under the thumb of her conservative Filipino-Korean parents. She's slowly learning to speak up more.
  • Eye Scream: So much. Patients have had needles inserted through their eyes repeatedly, one's affliction is having worms inside his eyes, another's eye bursts out of its socket, and yet another has some kind of lenses put in them. Somebody on the writing team has to have a fetish for this. Also, there is a REASON the spoiler tags are there.
  • Eye Take: Hugh Laurie could be king of this trope.
  • Fake Crossover: In a Japanese promo for the Season 4 DVD set, House teams up with fellow Dr. Jerk Black Jack.
  • Faking the Dead: House does this in the series finale sacrificing everything about his life up to that point, rendering him unable to become a doctor ever again without exposing himself. The only people who learn he's faked are Wilson and Foreman, but he and Wilson get to spend Wilson's dying months together and House himself ultimately gets to start over again realizing he's capable of changing.
  • Fan Service:
    • Cuddy, Cameron, and Thirteen each have some blatant moments.
      • For Cuddy, House's hallucination of her in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform doing a striptease.
      • For Cameron, House using a medical robot to partially strip her.
      • For Thirteen, her workout outfit in one episode, and pretty much any time she's making out with a woman.
    • Anne Dudek (Amber/Cutthroat) and Odette Annable (Adams) also qualify.
    • The episode "Lockdown" had a fair few, namely:
      • Dava Krause who played Daria (a minor character who rarely, if ever gets credited, let alone, speaks). [1]
      • Shelly Cole, aka Nurse Adrienne Maldonado. [2]
    • Also, Nurse Brenda (played by Stephanie Venditto). On fansites, she is more popular than Thirteen.
    • How many Fandom Nods can the writers put in about the House/Wilson Ho Yay? A lot.
    • Martha Masters' wardrobe of mini-skirts.
    • Amy Landecker 's appearance as Darrien.
  • Fatal Flaw: Dr. House has an injured leg and is addicted to painkillers, though most characters agree that he was just as much of a miserable jerk before he suffered the injury and developed the addiction.
    • In Season 5, House eventually refuses methadone treatment that cures his pain, because he believes that he needs to be a Jerkass in order to be a good doctor; otherwise he becomes clean-shaven and accommodating, which jeopardizes the life of a Mosaic child.
  • Fawlty Towers Plot: A rare dramatic example in "Instant Karma" when Foreman and Chase desperately try to keep secret the fact that Chase killed a genocidal African dictator.
  • Finger in the Mail: Parodied. Wilson "kidnaps" House's guitar in order to force him to make a decision Cuddy requested that he's been intentionally avoiding. He sends him "threatening" voice messages (actually, just speaking through a desk fan) and anonymously sending him the pick. But as House says, "I don't negotiate with terrorists!"
  • Five Stages of Grief: Cameron went through them in "Acceptance" (well, at least House claimed she did).
  • Foot-Dragging Divorcee: Chase drags his feet regarding the paperwork after Cameron divorces him. It came up in "Lockdown".
  • Foot Focus: The state of a patient's feet (almost always an attractive female) has been important to the diagnosis multiple times, and it is always accompanied by a gratuitous shot of their bare feet.
  • Friends with Benefits:
    • Chase and Cameron, at first.
    • House fires Foreteen if they don't end their relationship, and so they have to keep it secret; and Chase even agrees that he and Cameron were a long-shot (i.e. it was too obvious of a copycat-plot, without this twist).
  • Friend Versus Lover: House vs. Wilson's girlfriends/ex-wives.
  • Genius Cripple: Dr. House.
  • Genre Savvy: House, usually.
    • In Season 8, Foreman has developed a very specific type of Genre Savvy--he knows full well that he's trapped in an episode of House. So far, he's caught almost every trick, trap, and prank that House's played, though it's been a near miss thing.
  • George Jetson Job Security Every main character, including House.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Season 4 Episode 7 "Ugly":

Wilson: Where did you get those keys?
House: Blue the janitor.
Wilson: What?!
House: That's his name.
Wilson: His name is * Lou* !
House: I owe him an apology.

    • And Season 2 Episode 23 "Who's Your Daddy?", when House gets a massage for his dead thigh muscle which happens to be very close to his...
  • Goddamned Bats: In-universe example in "Epic Fail".
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: Wilson and House, respectively-- to the audience, not the patients. House, no matter how much the writers try to balance his flaws by saving people, playing pranks etc, is simply too nasty and mean-spirited without Wilson there as the super-nice guy foil to House's meanness.
  • Gorn: Some of the cases can get pretty graphic. Bonus points go to the crazy case in Season Two's finale, which includes a swollen tongue, an eyeball that gets pushed out of its socket (by itself!) and the man's testicles exploding.
    • House, near the end of Season Seven, performing open leg surgery on his own thigh. Even with painkillers, the operation was too much for him to bear. Jesus.
  • Greek Chorus: The patient in the episode "Locked In" makes some hilariously accurate observations about the main characters as he watches them interact with one another. All these observations are only uttered in his own mind, since he has locked in syndrome and can't control anything but his eyes.
  • Grey's Anatomy Emergency Medical Response
  • Groin Attack: House pushed one recent widower a little too far.
  • Harmful Healing
  • Heel Face Turn: In "Everybody Dies", House fakes his own death, ending his ability to practice medicine, so that he can be with Wilson during the latter's last 5 months alive. We also see the reverse, with Wilson viciously attacking House at House's funeral.
  • Hero Insurance: In Real Life, House would be in prison with dozens of malpractice suits pending. This gets Lampshaded in one episode where Cuddy mentions that the hospital actually has a budget for dealing with suits against House - and that he's under budget. Somehow.
    • Because he's Crazy Awesome. As reckless as he is, most of his stuff works, and most patients aren't inclined to sue the guy who just saved their lives, even if he had to torture them to do it.
  • Homoerotic Subtext : House and Wilson. It seems Wilson is the only person who is willing to ride out all of House's quirks, and thereby his only real friend.
    • Later, when Wilson accepted that his relationship with Amber was perfect largely because of her similarities with House:

Wilson: Why not date you? It's perfect. We've known each other for years, we've put up with all kinds of crap from each other, and we keep coming back! We're a couple!
House: Are we still speaking hypothetically?

    • Taub and Foreman appear to be heading that way, considering they're living together now.
  • Hollywood Atheist: House is sardonically critical of any expression of religious belief, although in some of his more reflective moments, he takes a much less confrontational view, explaining that in the absence of definitive proof one way or another, a belief is ultimately a choice between what gives more comfort. House himself simply happens to find it more comforting to think that God doesn't exist.
    • And then sometimes House behaves as Nay Theist could, as if he believed in God and saw Him as his competitor. At one point he shouted at a patient's family member before performing surgery on said patient. "You'd better not be praying! I don't want to fight over credit for this."
  • Homage: Multiple ones to Sherlock Holmes. "Holmes" sounds like "homes", hence "House"; Dr. Wilson's name and role echo those of Dr. Watson; House's Vicodin addiction parallels Holmes' cocaine use; House's soap operas are a nod to Holmes' monographs; both Holmes and House live at number 221B; both stories involve a character named "Irene Adler", and both House and Holmes have had a guy named "Moriarty" try to kill them. Also, it's theorized that Watson had three wives (the stories are unclear and Doyle is somewhat vague on this point), mirroring Wilson's three divorces. And in a rather self-conscious homage, Wilson's present to House is a book on Dr. Joseph Bell ("You remind me of him"), who was the real-life physician Holmes' deductive ability was based on.
    • Also, one of the members of his team gives him a "first-edition Conan Doyle" in the fourth season Christmas episode.
    • Most of all, House's "sleuthing" manner of curing an illness, is similar to Holmes's logical scrutiny of every situation (if a snide, sarcastic and cynical version) pertaining to a crime, observing and breaking down every minute detail, and analyzing it expertly with deductive reasoning. House is also an avid musician like Holmes, playing mostly piano (and some guitar) while Holmes played violin.
    • Taken to its logical conclusion in the series finale, with House faking his death, just like Holmes did.
  • Hope Spot: The last two episodes of Season 5. Cuddy helps House detox in record time so his hallucinations go away. They do and Cuddy and House make sweet sweet love, which makes our beloved Dr. Jerk the happiest he's been in ages. Awwwwww. Then, House gets Cuddy so angry she talks about how she overreacted to his latest insult and walked out of her office leaving him behind... except that's not how he remembered it. Cue the montage of what he thought happened and what actually did. No Cuddy helping him detox, so he was popping pills like crazy instead. This means, of course, no sweet sweet love. And the lipstick he was nursing the whole episode turns out to be a pill bottle. Not only is he still hallucinating, he can't even tell the difference anymore. Season ends with "Crazy House" being both his personality and his destination. AUUUUUGH.
  • Hospital Hottie: Just about everyone in the main cast.
  • Hospital Paradiso
  • Hot Mom: Cuddy.
  • House Rules: Just for Pun.
  • Huddle Shot: One of the signature shots early in the series.
  • Hypochondria: People with this have shown up in a few episodes.


Tropes I-L[edit | hide]

  • I Can't Feel My Legs: Oh, Chase. He's getting better... a little.
  • Idiot Ball: The reason that patients not hiding a Big Secret fail to provide critical information. A major attack of stupidity prevents them from realizing that a particular fact is relevant to their condition, despite the obvious connection, and being (repeatedly) asked about it by House or his team. Usual patient response, "I didn't think it was important/relevant." This is more common to the secondary clinic patients, than the patient of the week.
    • House would argue that any patient willing to die to keep the Big Secret is holding onto the Idiot Ball.
    • The Eureka Moment in "Last Resort". It sticks out more due to the circumstances.
    • House himself gets a rare case of the Idiot Ball in "Frozen", resulting in a case being much tougher than it needed to be.
    • Special note to the clinic patient who got an infection... down there because she was using jelly as birth control. Strawberry jelly.
      • Let's not forget the one who was using her inhaler by spraying it on her neck.
  • If Jesus, Then Aliens: Averted with House himself. Like most (non-Hollywood) atheists, he simply doesn't believe in God because he hasn't seen any proof. Played straight with Chase, a former seminarian and the most credulous when it comes to supernatural causes of illnesses.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Cuddy's mom to House.
    • In season one, Wilson gives one to Cameron in regards to House.
  • I Just Want to Be Special
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The homeless patient in the episode "Fall from Grace" turns out to be a cannibalistic serial killer when his presence in the hospital got through to the FBI, but he remains on the loose. Those weren't animal bones he confessed to have eaten...
  • I'm Not Afraid of You
  • Improbable Taxonomy Skills: Coupled with his implausible diagnostic skills, House is able to recognize things that entire teams of forensic pathologists couldn't, using either minute samples or none at all; the inevitable explanation is either convoluted and implausible, or else "they were looking in the wrong place."
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Cutthroat Bitch (or CB for short) - Amber.
    • Thirteen - Remy Hadley.
    • Big Love - Cole.
  • Induced Hypochondria: How House confirms that a mystery illness is really mass hysteria.
  • Infant Immortality: Subverted.
  • Informed Self Diagnosis: House himself, as well as Amber.
    • Also the patient of the week in Season 5's "The Greater Good" self-diagnoses her spontaneously collapsed lung.
  • In Medias Res: See Once a Season. Other examples pop up too (like Season 7's "Two Stories").
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy: Seen once every episode or so, especially in earlier seasons.
  • Insufferable Genius: House, and the patient of The Jerk.
  • In That Order: Dr. House says to a female patient he dislikes, "If you're gonna kill me and rape me, please do it in that order."
  • Intoxication Ensues: "I'm not on antidepressants, I'm on speeeeeeeeeeeed!"
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Cameron. Also done with Foreman in the Season 3 Arc involving his resignation.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Parodied in "The Down Low" (which involves a patient and his friend who are drug dealers):

House: I need the drugs.
Eddie: We're in textiles.
House: I NEED THE DRUGS!!! (Beat) Huh. Works for Jack Bauer.

  • Jerkass: As Wilson puts it in one episode, House has a Rubik's Complex - he doesn't care about the well-being or happiness of his patients, just that he solves the puzzle, and his patients surviving is a happy coincidence, or to quote House verbatim, "I solve puzzles. Saving people is collateral damage." Consider the case in "Informed Consent" - the patient is 71 and flat-out requests that House euthanize him because he doesn't want to live hooked up to machines; instead, House puts him in a coma and carries on working. Eventually, he gets his solution... then Cameron aids in killing the patient because his disease is terminal.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the end, House's patients' lives are his top priority, despite his very rough personality.
    • One example of this is an episode where he was able to diagnose a 66-year-old patient before the half-way point, but the patient needed a new heart. His age and risk factor meant there was no chance of getting one through the normal red-tape, so House made a plan to acquire the heart from an overweight lady brain-dead from a car crash whose organs would have been rejected for general use anyway. It ended up a little more complicated than that and House said some very mean and cruel things to the grieving husband ("We're talking about meat") but his goals were to save someone who could be saved because of her.
    • In the Season 6 finale, he practically risks his life going into the ruins alone and later helping the fireman trying to set the woman she found there free (and to save her leg) even though her case is pretty straightforward. When the patient dies of complications in the ambulance, he becomes extremely upset.
    • In one occasion, he lies to a transplant committee, risking his whole career, in order to save his patient. When the patient asks him why he did that, he merely states "you're my patient".
  • Jesus Was Crazy: House once asked for a differential diagnosis on Jesus, and Martha comes up with schizophrenia. The episode itself was about a patient that was very religious, and House believed that the strong convictions was caused by a medical problem.
  • Jewish Mother: Cuddy's mom. This would be unremarkable (Cuddy is, after all, Jewish), except that she converted. Enforced Trope?
  • Jumping the Shark: Invoked Literally - at the beginning of "Here Kitty", House built a racetrack in the clinic, put a toy shark under the ramp at the end of the track, and then tried to make a toy car jump the shark. Cuddy caught the car in midair though, before it reached the shark.
  • Karma Houdini: House is the poster child. The man can't go an episode without doing something that would cause any normal doctor to get arrested and/or his medical license revoked. That being said, he has been physically assaulted by patients, their relatives, and even his own fellows, and once he was even shot in his office.
    • As far as we know, the man who shot House is a Karma Houdini as well.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being in his mid-forties, 5'6" and balding with an egg-shaped head, Taub seems to attract younger women pretty easily.
  • Kick the Dog: House pulls a few of these, usually when he's been deprived of Vicodin and feeling really out of sorts. One of the worst was a shot at Cuddy.

"It's a good thing you failed to become a mom, because you suck at it!"

    • Cuddy gets her revenge in the Season 6 episode "Ignorance Is Bliss". After gunning for an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with Cuddy for half the episode, she gives him an address. House suspects it's phony, but has it checked out and excitedly prepares for dinner. He makes the three-hour drive to find an empty house and a house-sitter who says she was told to offer him a turkey sandwich. Granted, House's plan was to try to split Cuddy and Lucas up, but he still seemed very hurt by the deception.
      • Wilson certainly thought so. In "Wilson", he buys the condo Cuddy and Lucas were about to buy right out from under them, and tells House he doesn't regret it, because Cuddy "hurt my friend".
    • Foreman gets one when not only the patient he couldn't help but see as himself having made wrong choices dies, but tries to ask his mom for help and she's forgotten who he is (but offers comfort anyway).
  • Killed Off for Real: First Chase's father, then Amber "Cutthroat Bitch" Volakis, then House's dad, and now Kutner, an apparent suicide.
  • Kiss of Distraction: In "Half-Wit", Cameron kisses House to distract him while drawing blood, but he catches her.
  • Lampshade Hanging: House gets a phone call updating him on what has happened to the patient, but he's not asked to do anything. He sums it up by saying that it is basically an exposition call.
    • A more blatant one comes in an episode with a case of what appears to be smallpox that survived in in a glass bottle. Taub points out that this scenario is almost impossible so House calls up the CDC. Also counts as It's for a Book.

House: Hello, I'm a screen writer working on a film and I was wondering is it possible for smallpox to have survived underwater in a glass bottle for 200 years.
CDC Guy: Well, I suppose... [click]

  • Last-Name Basis: All characters are referred to only by last names, except Thirteen, Stacy and Amber, whose name became a plot point in one episode. House is only referred to as "Greg" by his mother and Stacy, and on one occasion, Wilson.
    • He seems to resent being called by his first name most of the time, whether because he perceives it as patronizing or overly familiar. Oddly, he didn't object to being called Greg in the mental hospital in the first couple of Season 6 episodes.
    • And yet in that semi-infamous first season speech to the waiting room:

"Hello, sick people and their loved ones! In the interests of saving time and avoiding a lot of boring chit-chat later, I'm Dr. Gregory House. You can call me Greg. I'm one of three doctors staffing this clinic this morning. ...This ray of sunshine is Dr. Lisa Cuddy. Dr. Cuddy runs this whole hospital, so unfortunately she's much too busy to deal with you. I am a BOARD [read:bored]-certified diagnostician with a double specialty of infectious disease and nephrology. I'm also the only doctor currently employed at this clinic who's 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. It's 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? (everyone stares) And who would rather wait for one of the other two guys? (everyone raises their hands) Well, I'll be in Exam Room 1 if you change your mind."

  • Law of Inverse Paternity: Comes up every so often.
  • Laxative Prank: In one of the petty battles between Cuddy and House, Cuddy replaces House's Vicodin with laxatives. Being House, he finds a way to amp up the stakes:

House: I know when my Vicodin isn't Vicodin. Do you know when your birth control pills aren't birth control pills?

  • Lead In: The second type. The show was already pretty successful when FOX started airing it right after American Idol. The viewership ballooned to a whopping 24 million/week. Even after being moved to another time slot, House still draws around 18 million/week, and is now used as a Lead In for other shows needing a boost.
  • Lethal Diagnosis: Patients with relatively mild symptoms tend to get spectacularly worse once diagnosed - even though the diagnosis is usually wrong.
  • Licensed Game: A cellphone game, notable for having a Blind Idiot Translation, in part likely due to being made by a Spanish company then translated. See a Let's Play of it here.
  • Life Will Kill You: Invoked in almost every episode, and far from always subverted by the doctor somehow managing to save the patient anyway.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: House and Wilson.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Pointed out by House as the reason why Chase is attracted to a doctor he was responsible for hiring as part of House's diagnostics team, demonstrating this with a side-by-side comparison with a photo projection which shows an uncanny physical resemblance between the two women.
  • Nailpolish-remover Bisexual: Thirteen.
  • Little No: Wilson, when House revealed that he replaced the wall between their offices with a remote-controlled garage door.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: The patient from the episode "Autopsy". House was the only person who didn't seem to sympathize with her (for the most part; at the end of the episode, he seemed to warm up to her as well).
  • Living Emotional Cane: Wilson to House.
  • Lopsided Dichotomy: House talking about the iPhone:

"Either that costs more than 25 bucks, or I'm seriously starting to doubt Steve Jobs' business strategy."

  • Love Hurts: Someone on the writing team must have had a really terrible relationship at some point.


Tropes M-P[edit | hide]

  • Made of Iron: House has been shot in the body and neck at point-blank range, with zero long-term effects; he walks away from bus-crashes which kill co-stars, and from motorcycle-accidents which barely phase him; he gets beaten up various times with very little effect, and he downs bottles of prescription-painkillers daily for years with no long-term impact, just a few short-term hallucinations that 2 months of rehab cure entirely.
    • In "Everybody Dies", he somehow survives an explosion in a burning building by heading out the back.
  • Made of Plasticine: Each week's patient suffers a life-threatening illness from some trace-substance they encounter-- even coming from within their own bodies-- and even the minutest exposure was months or years beforehand.
  • Magical Defibrillator: House is better at this than most medical dramas, getting the paddles for a v-tach or v-fib and whipping out the drugs for an systole. But the writers still get this wrong enough that the guy who does the Medical Reviews of House has adopted a catch phrase of "You don't shock a flatline."
    • The defibrillators also have a tendency to backfire, particular if your name is Lawrence Kutner. On multiple occasions, he would use the defibrillators and something would go horribly wrong, such as zapping himself or lighting the patient on fire.
  • Magnetic Plot Device: Partially subverted -- House gets all the strange cases because that's what he specializes in, and other doctors will send their patients to him (and some patients will swim across an ocean, literally). However, this still doesn't account for the rarity of most of the diseases on the show. His awful bedside manner could also play into this.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything:
    • Once in a while, we see a surgeon or radiologist in the background doing their jobs. Most of the time, it's one of the main characters. It's possibly due to Cuddy's lack of any actual control over them, but you'd think the technicians and surgeons would be upset that these guys from Diagnostics are doing their jobs. Also, the main characters tend to do a lot of nurse-work, as on most medical drama shows.
    • Interestingly, in the two episodes from Season 6 where the POV is switched from House ("Wilson" and "9 to 5"), the nurses (or at least the ones serving as personal assistants to Wilson and Cuddy, respectively) have a bigger role, so it seems that this trope applies more to House's team than to the hospital as a whole. The trope is played however painfully straight with Chase, who, despite being an intensive care specialist, once he got magically transformed into a surgeon is able to handle any surgery under the sun.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Seemingly played straight but ultimately subverted in "Fools for Love". The white Patient of the Week had a seemingly racist father who didn't like him dating a black woman, to the point of beating him over it. As it turns out, it wasn't her race he had a problem with, but the fact that she was the product of an affair he had had, and thus the patient's half sister.
  • Manipulative Bastard: House himself, obviously, as well as all the other doctors to a certain extent.

House: I'd have to learn how to manipulate someone new.
Wilson: Wow, I think I'm gonna cry.

    • Dr. Amber Volakis, a candidate for House's new team, proved to be ruthless in her goal through rhetoric and backstabbing. She almost takes pride in having the nickname "Cutthroat Bitch" bestowed upon her by House.
      • And House cuts her from the team for this reason (though it may be that he feared the competition -- it certainly proved this way when she became Wilson's love-interest, whom House indirectly becomes responsible for killing through his drunkenness and forgetfulness.
    • Wilson often plays the game back at House, even though his intentions (usually) aren't as devious. After one instant of manipulation House calls him out, smiles, and respectfully calls him "you manipulative bitch".
    • Dr. Nolan, the head of the Mayfield Psychiatric Institute, has become the one character in the entire show who has somehow managed to stay one step ahead of House at all times. For example, knowing House would cheek his medications, he switched House to placebos. Knowing that House would cause a riot among the in-patients, he gave the in-patients what they wanted, but didn't give House what he wants. And knowing that House would sneak to the phones to try to get Wilson to break him out, he called Wilson first to tell him to not do anything House tells him to do.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: "House vs. God", with Boyd, the faith healer.
    • Series 4 Episode 4, though it sits mostly on the mundane side, excepting House's deceased Grandfather.
  • Meaningful Name: Amber in the Season 4 finale.
    • Given who House is a Shout Out to, Jack Moriarty in the Season 2 finale probably also counts.
      • Also given that, the name "House" is a play on the name "Holmes"
  • Medium Blending: "Epic Fail", with 3D animations from the video game designed by the patient supplanting reality.
  • Meganekko: Cameron and Cuddy.
    • And now Dr. Park, House's new Filipino-Korean fellow.
  • Mercy Killer: House actually mercy-killed a patient at least once. Wilson euthanized a dying cancer patient when their pain was too much for them to take. Cameron euthanized a patient with terminal amyloidosis
    • Thirteen euthanized her brother, who was suffering from late-stage Huntingtons. House has offered to kill her when she is in the same situation.
  • The Messiah: Wilson certainly fits this trope a huge percentage of the time. Giving part of your liver to your friend/patient who is dying certainly fits him in this category. In fact, he is always so ridiculously accommodating for other people, trying to help them out and take care of them, that it destroys his romantic relationships because he never wants to burden his partner with his own needs. Amber gets really pissed when he tries to take care of her.
    • Deconstructed really as people are rarely that grateful for what Wilson does for them and don't think of their relationship as being as close as Wilson seems to consider.
  • Meta Twist
  • Military Brat: House. And, of course, his father abused him.
  • Mind Screw: The Season 5 finale, for us, and for House. He wisely decides at that point that he needs help, and takes a stay at the local asylum.
    • The episode "Lockdown" had chock-loads of this: A newborn baby goes missing; Taub and Foreman get high on House's Vicodin and pretty much play "chase me" to read each others' medical profiles; Wilson and Thirteen play truth-or-dare (resulting in Wilson getting caught stealing one dollar from the cafeteria cash register and Thirteen flashing Taub at the end); and Cameron comes back to get Chase to sign the divorce papers and they end up having sex instead. LIKE WOAH.
    • Many of the season finales tend to be like that. The first half of the two-part Season 4 finale "House's Head" involved House deliberately inducing hallucinations to jog his memory of a crash he was in, and of course there was the Season 2 finale, where House gets shot in the opening moments of the episode and everything from that point until just before the end is all just a hallucination. Hallucinations pop up again in the series finale when House talks to various characters, past and present, dead and alive during a very dark time.
  • Missing Time
  • Mistaken for Gay: House and Wilson. House naturally tries to feed the image of a Transparent Closet, initially just to screw with Wilson but eventually as part of a plan to earn the trust of the woman who mistook them for gay so that he can sleep with her. Wilson foils it -- by publicly proposing to House.
  • Mistaken for Junkie: House snorting white lines of... antihistamine.
    • Also cooking and shooting up... an experimental drug that he hopes will promote the re-growth of muscle tissue in his bad leg. It doesn't go well.
  • Mock Millionaire: One episode had Taub running into and treating his former high school classmate Neil who invites him to his fancy office and asks him for advice on improving a medical device he invented. Taub, who misses his former privileged life, had just lost a bunch of money in the housing bubble crash and had gone through a particularly humiliating day with House asks him for a job and he proposes they become business partners. Taub hands his resignation to House and goes to meet Neil with the money... and finds a secretary who tells him that Neil was just a temp using the CEO's office to con a bunch of doctors out of their money (using the "high school classmate" and fake illness for all of them) and was just arrested. Taub then spends the entire following episode trying to convince House not to fire him.
  • The Mole: Dr. Chase during the Season 1 arc with Vogler.
  • Mood Whiplash: Season 6 episode "Lockdown" frequently switches between House talking to a dying patient, Cameron and Chase discussing their ruined marriage and Thirteen and Wilson playing a hilarious game of Truth Or Dare. The same episode also has Foreman and Taub getting high on pain medication and punching each other for fun before Taub gets hold of Foreman's medical profile, causing Foreman to immediately become serious again.
    • Season 1 episode "Three Stories" starts as a Wacky Breather Episode and ends as a Tear Jerker.
    • Season 7: Bombshells which features a bunch of really funny dream sequences which parodies of Sit Coms the 50's, Zombie Movies, and War Movies. All because Cuddy and House are having nightmares about Cuddy who may have metastatic kidney cancer.
      • And then it does a mega-whiplash when after what was being a tremendously Happy Ending Cuddy discovers House's caring attitude was drug-induced and dumps him.
    • Season 8's 'The C-Word' was one of the series' darkest episodes, with Wilson giving himself a large dose of chemo at House's apartment so that he'll either die or be ready for surgery on his thymoma, to avoid the possibility of dying in a hospital. He hallucinates an 8-year-old who died under his care, goes through extreme pain and becomes so weak he can't even walk on his own. He begs for death so he can escape the pain and passes out. The episode ends with Wilson surviving, coming back to work and opening his laptop. House put a slideshow on there of him and two hookers doing various humiliating things to Wilson's passed-out body, which Wilson finds hilarious.
  • Morality Chain: Masters for House. He actually asks her to be one, as he fears that without a moral and ethical anchor, he could lose Cuddy.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: In the episode "Informed Consent", House diagnosed Dr. Ezra Powell, a famous scientist who once conducted an unethical and illegal experiment on babies, and who believed that patients' rights hold back research.
  • Moral Myopia: Happens from time to time, either when one of the characters sticks to their version of morality and ignores the wider consequences, or when the production staff thinks that a particular life-style choice or moral choice is right or wrong and will then tailor the character(s) and or storyline to justify their opinion, even if it's contrary to the nature of a character... or reality. YMMV, but one point where you could pick on this is the DeBalla case early in Season 6, where, when the man specifically states that once he gets better he will go back to his country to commit genocide, House's team, particularly Cameron, suddenly get hung up on the immediate "sanctity of human life" and "duty of a doctor", ignoring the fact that if they let him go back to his country healthy they will be enabling genocide, whether they like it or not. Instead of discussing the morality - which they do excessively in every other case - they ignore the fact that they were murderers either way once he was on the table - if they cure him they kill thousands, if they kill him, they kill one person.
  • Munchausen Syndrome: One episode dealt with a woman with Munchausen Syndrome and the argument over if she was actually sick, or if all her symptoms were manufactured.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Cuddy, especially once she started her relationship with House. Now the show doesn't miss a chance to show her in various states of undress, including nothing.
  • Near-Death Experience: House has had plenty of these.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One episode preview made it look like House had finally lost it by showing a clip of him shouting "I NEED THE DRUGS!" In the actual episode, he was just parodying the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In the sixth season finale, House supports the decision of a woman whose leg is trapped under several tons of rubble not to let anyone amputate, despite the risk of lethal toxins resulting from muscle death entering her bloodstream if it takes too long for her to be freed, thanks to obvious parallels with the incident that ruined his leg. However, after Cuddy calls him out, pointing out that his own decision not to amputate has left him crippled, bitter, and alone, he changes his mind, convinces the woman that they should amputate, and performs the procedure himself. Everything seems fine... until, on the way to the hospital, the woman starts suffering from an embolism caused by the amputation, and House is unable to do anything except watch her die in front of him. A little later, Foreman points out that he did the right thing, only for House to yell that it doesn't matter because she "died anyway".
  • No Name Given: Dr. Remy Hadley was merely called "Thirteen" for much of the fourth season, and the nickname is still more prominent.
    • Foreman called her Thirteen even while they were dating.
    • She refers to herself as Thirteen.
    • Also, the name of Cameron's late husband has yet to be revealed. Since she was Put on a Bus, it may never be.
  • Noodle Incident: "That thing with the duck was hardly unexpected."
    • "You couldn't be curious about heroin?" "Not since last year's Christmas party."
  • No Ontological Inertia: In many episodes, as long as House cures whatever is causing the disease, the effects it had are either glossed over or vanish.
  • No Sympathy: For the sake of his ego, House goes out of his way to provoke this in other people. He also pulls this himself; one prime example is his goading and bullying of Stacy's husband Mark.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The end of Season 3.
  • Not So Different: There's a recurring subplot about Foreman's similarity to House. One episode actually had him mulling it over the whole episode, and then they walk into the elevator at the end, and realize they're wearing the exact same type of jeans and sneakers. Foreman actually resigns as a result of this.
    • There are also some similarities between House and Tritter; in episode "Son of Coma Guy", Tritter even says "Everybody lies" to Foreman - and he never heard House saying that before.
    • Don't forget Amber:

House, to Wilson:"Wait a second, this isn't just about the sex. You like her personality. You like that she's conniving. You like that she has no regard for consequences. You like that she can humiliate someone if it serves... [his eyes widen, long pause] Oh my God! You're sleeping with me!"

  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Although House and Cuddy aren't married, Arlene Cuddy certainly proves to be this. Oy vey.
  • Old Shame: Wilson acted in his roommate's college film, which turned out to be a porno (not the actual sex scenes though). House finds out and has GIANT POSTERS hung up in the hospital lobby, and soon everyone is quoting the film's horrible, horrible lines ad nauseam.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: House and his underlings are pretty much Omnidisciplinary Doctors. Officially, House - nephrology/infectious disease, Cuddy - endocrinology, Wilson - oncology, Cameron - immunology, Chase - surgery, Foreman - neurology, Kutner - sports medicine, Taub - plastic surgery, Thirteen - internal medicine. But they regularly carry out their own blood tests, MRI scans and even surgery, jobs that are usually reserved (sometimes by law) for specialists. Oh and the 25-year old omnidoctorate Martha M. Masters (no not Eminem), whose combined doctorates of erm applied mathematics and art history, (yet not medicine funnily enough) ...don't expect any advanced deconstruction of 15th century Impressionism or constrained numerical optimization anytime soon.
    • Foreman, Taub and/or Chase, and Wilson are the only doctors that seem to use their specialties, save a few sound bites, such as House talking about infectious disease in "Airborne".
    • It's especially weird that Cameron, the immunologist, works in the ER.
    • In the episode "Epic Fail", there is also a patient who works on video games. What he does is never described, but apparently he worked with what seemed like only three other people on a fully 3d game, programming, modelling and animating. And also he dissected dead birds.
    • Actually Chase's official specialties are in cardiology and intensive care. And then he ended up as the Head of Surgery for awhile.
  • Once an Episode: It's not lupus. It's never lupus... until it is.
    • Before then, hilariously lampshaded at least once:

Foreman: You keep drugs in a lupus textbook?
House: Oh, it's never lupus.

    • Most episodes have House making his (reluctant) rounds at the clinic. This became rarer in later seasons.

Patient: I can't remove my contacts and they are irritating my eyes.
House: That's because you're not wearing contacts, you're trying to remove your cornea.

    • House calling someone a moron/idiot.
    • Most episodes have the cottages checking out the Patient of the Week's home looking for clues, usually without their consent. Once House and Chase investigated Cuddy's house. Hilarity Ensues. When they investigated Stacy's house, she left them cookies.
    • The team finding out the patient has lied about some detail relevant to the case that usually results in the patient getting sicker due to them having not told the truth. Sometimes several times an episode. If it weren't Truth in Television, it would be a wallbanger, as people (both on the show and in real life) apparently don't realize there is nothing to be gained by not telling your doctor everything relevant to the case.
    • Cameron or Cuddy (or later, Masters) throwing some type of hissy fit because House did/wants to do something rude, risky, or dishonest.
    • More recently, someone vomiting up blood or blood spewing from some kind of orifice.
  • Once a Season: Usually a hallucination episode somewhere near the end of the season.
    • Seasons 4, 6, and 7 have also featured an episode near the end of the season which begins In Medias Res.
    • And, of course, some use of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. Referencing it in dialogue has practically become a Mandatory Line in and of itself.
  • Once For Yes, Twice For No: The man with "locked-in syndrome".
  • One of Our Own: Used sparingly compared to other medical shows, but Foreman has been infected with the week's mystery disease and Cameron has had an AIDS scare. Played straight in the fourth Season Finale, "House's Head"/"Wilson's Heart", where House spends the entire first part trying to figure out why he was involved in a bus crash and which of the other passengers is dying, only to figure out that it's Amber Volakis. The trailer for the second part uses the exact trope name. There are also the episodes where Cuddy appears to get Meningococcus and where she believes she has cancer, though it's benign.
    • And in "Three Stories", where one of the mysteries is what happened to House's leg.
    • And now Wilson has cancer.
  • Only Friend: Wilson is House's.
  • The Only One: House, most of the time.
  • Only Sane Employee: Cuddy is technically Dean of Medicine and chief administrator of the hospital. Her real job is keeping House and his increasingly House-like fellows under some measure of control.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "Euphoria", House began to suspect something was wrong with Foreman when he laughed at him shooting a corpse. Foreman is as close to a stoic as there is on this show. When he later laughed at a case of irony as the patient was dying, that confirmed something was wrong.
  • Out-Gambitted
  • Pac-Man Fever: Whenever House is shown playing video games, mostly Metroid.
  • Parental Issues: House has had four episodes devoted to his daddy issues and Chase's mom was an alcoholic while his Dad abandoned him. Foreman's mom has been shown to be suffering from Alzheimer's and only remembers who he is some of the time.

Foreman: Mom, it's Eric.
Mrs. Foreman: My boy's name is Eric.

  • Passing the Torch: During the second half of Season 8, it's revealed that House has been training Chase to be his successor. This is then expanded upon in the final episode, where in the end it's revealed that Chase has taken over House's role, as well as his team at Princeton-Plainsboro, and is shown in his final scene, to be sitting at what was formerly House's desk.
  • Patient of the Week
  • Perma-Stubble: House, Chase in the later seasons.
  • Pet the Dog: While a few have been faked to get what he wanted, House has had plenty of these moments.
  • Playing Drunk: In one episode, House does this to try and break up the relationship between Cuddy and her boyfriend.
  • Plot Tumor: Especially around the last two or three seasons, you could probably cut out all the medical cases and not really miss much regarding the story arcs. Justified in the last season in that they were told the series was canceled, so they wanted to wrap up the series appropriately.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-universe House had taken to calling Remy Hadley/Thirteen and Foreman "Foreteen".
  • Power Trio: The show started off with two parallel power trios: House/Wilson/Cuddy and Foreman/Cameron/Chase, then hired a third (Kutner/Taub/Thirteen) in later seasons.
  • Pregnant Hostage
  • Private Detective: Lucas Douglas in Season 5.
  • Product Placement: Pretty painful at at times. During "Gut Check", a long, lingering shot on Wilson's car's logo, which then faded to a view of the dash and its in-dash GPS. You would've been forgiven for thinking that it had transitioned to a commercial break.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson (Thirteen and Taub) finally get billing in the Season 7 opening titles. No cool walk like the original trio, however.
    • Ironically, Olivia Wilde hasn't appeared in a single episode since the promotion.
      • This has since changed with Season 7 Episode 18 "The Dig".
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: House frequently trespasses in patients' homes to find medical evidence. But somehow, whenever he presents this evidence to the patient or family, they do not see anything wrong with it. An example is when he accused a patient's father of abusing her when they found a bloodstained shirt in her room, and he doesn't think anything of it.

Masters: Aren't you curious how we came up with this diagnosis?
Patient: You're doctors isn't that your job?
Masters: But how we knew you were drinking apple cider?
Patient: Well you'd have to find that in my house so you guys broke in there.
Masters: That doesn't bother you?
Patient: Medicine is like politics - all that matters is results.

  • Puppy Dog Eyes: House, Cameron and Wilson.
  • Put on a Bus/Commuting on a Bus: Get the popcorn, this will take a while. Lets go through this with each character in turn.
    • Chase was fired by House at the end of Season 3, and commuted as a surgeon at the hospital. After House had gone into rehab, he was roped back to work for Foreman (and later House, who had taken an advisory role until his medical license returned). By the time House had got his license back, and his marriage with Cameron broke down, he jumped off the commuting bus and back into the team.
    • Cameron left her job to support Chase, commuting as the senior ER doctor for the hospital. She is also roped in to help Foreman when Chase was. The breakdown of her marriage to Chase moved her onto a long-distance bus (to the surprise of her actress).
    • Kutner left via bridge rather than bus.
    • Taub took a small bus trip when Foreman took over until House got his license back.
    • Thirteen is put on one for a short while in Season 6 alongside Taub, then returns. She's put on another one in Season 7. She's back.
    • Amber was literally on a bus, along with House, who wanted to stay on it because of the pain until Amber convinced him to get off.


Tropes Q-T[edit | hide]

  • Queer People Are Funny: There's plenty of jokes about House and Wilson being mistaken for a couple. Or anything about Chase, for that matter.
  • Quick Nip: House, with painkillers.
  • The Quisling: Cuddy.
  • Race Against the Clock: the patient-of-the-week's "countdown to death", but made more dramatic by the fact that 1) the patient's remaining time is never certain to begin with, 2) it can be extended or shortened by anything the team does, and 3) the patient sometimes actually dies.
  • Rashomon Style: Episode "The Mistake" as told through narratives by House and Chase to the hospital lawyer, Stacy.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot
    • Kutner was hastily removed from the show when Kal Penn took a job with the Obama administration.
    • Olivia Wilde is curiously absent from the early seventh season episodes... right about when Tron: Legacy was filming.
  • Really Gets Around: Several regular characters: Thirteen in Season 5, exclusively with women even though she's bisexual; Chase after his divorce from Cameron; Taub regularly cheated on his wife Rachael until she left him - later he cheated on his girlfriend with Rachael and impregnated them both; House himself, though mainly with prostitutes.
    • House's mother.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The opening theme for House is the opening of Massive Attack's "Teardrop", except in countries where the rights to the song aren't available. There, it's replaced by a rather similar original song called "House".
  • Recruiting the Criminal: Foreman got his job because House researched his past and discovered a criminal background as a teenager. This not only interested him as far as his personality but also because he wanted someone with the skills to break into people's houses (to find environmental health sources and/or evidence of lying). Mirrored in the Season 8 premiere when Foreman, as the new Dean of Medicine, gets House out of prison and gets him his job back.
  • Recycled in Space: House is Sherlock Holmes... IN A HOSPITAL!
  • Relationship Sabotage: In the sixth season, House decides to try this on Cuddy and Lucas.
  • Reset Button: With House's personality. He's gone through several traumas, relationship collapses and explicit moments of revelation, and yet House manages to remain the same as he's always been. This is part of the point being made about House (that his nasty personality isn't a result of any one factor). Still, when watching the show, if it looks like House's personality is about to make a turn for the better, think again.
  • Retroactive Wish: "I am surrounded by naked cheerleaders!"
  • Riddle for the Ages: Why Kutner committed suicide.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: Several episodes' plots, per Word of God. One in particular, "Lines in the Sand", seems to be inspired by this story.
    • "Here Kitty" was based off this
    • Many of the early episodes are based on Berton Roueché's "Annals of Medicine". For example, the episode "Damned If You Do" was based on his article "Antipathies".
  • Running Gag: Bad things happen when Kutner gets hold of defibrillator paddles.
    • "Is it lupus?" "It's not lupus." Except that one time.
  • Sarcasm Failure
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Vogler in Season 1.
    • Also the dad in the episode "Instant Karma".
  • Serial Killer: In the last minute of "Fall from Grace", it's revealed that the patient the team has treated and fled afterwards was this.
  • Sex for Solace: Thirteen slid into a downward spiral of partying and drunken one night stands with random chicks due to being unable to deal with her Huntington's disease.
  • Sex Is Interesting: Thirteen.
  • Sherlock Scan: House was inspired by Sherlock Holmes after all... Though House is more prone to being wrong.
    • His wrong assumptions, however, are justified considering that many diseases and/or disorders sometimes have the same symptoms. You can see this especially in episodes where the Patient of the Week has a disease/disorder that is considered rare.
  • Shipper on Deck: House for Park and Chase.
  • Ship Tease: Most conversations between House and Cuddy, and scenes between House and Wilson too...
  • Shirtless Scene: House, Chase, Foreman.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Poor Cuddy runs straight into Woobie territory in "Joy". Despite having done all the work of a Cesarean on a dying surrogate mother, saving both her life and that of Cuddy's soon-to-be adopted daughter, it seems the mother wants her back now. Is it any wonder that House finally decides not to be a jerk to her, for once?
  • Should Have Thought of That Before X: In the episode "Hunting".

Kalvin: This is none of your business!
House: Well, you should have thought of that before you stalked me. Now I'm interested.

  • Shout-Out: An episode of Scrubs spoofed House, with Dr. Cox taking House's place and even giving him a limp and a cane temporarily, and giving stylistic flashbacks.

House: I don't have to watch The OC, but it makes me happy.

Patient of the Week: I think it's mercury poisoning. I ate a ton of sushi.
Thirteen: And you're currently getting mixed reviews in Speed-the-Plow on Broadway? (blank stares) Google it.

    • In the same episode, the Internets huddle up and collect theories to what's wrong with Jeremy. The first and most popular theory is that he has been possessed by the demon Legion, which with high probability is a Shout-Out (or Take That?) to Anonymous of 4Chan.
    • And we finally get Robert Sean Leonard singing some Broadway in "The Down Low". He does a short rendition of "One", from A Chorus Line.
    • There's a picture of Stephen Colbert behind House's desk in the episode "Open and Shut".
    • The show has made plenty of references to 24 over the years:
      • When House had a famous baseball player as his patient he greeted him with: "I'm Dr. Gregory House, and today is the coolest day of my life", spoofing 24s first season narration "I'm federal agent Jack Bauer, and today is the longest day of my life."
      • When they have a patient with an unknown, contagious disease Cuddy puts the patient's dead body in isolation, telling House he needs level three clearance to see it. House suggests they should call Jack Bauer.
      • When House needs a drug dealer to give him the drugs he had been dealing in "The Down Low", he shouts "I NEED THE DRUGS!" Cue a Beat, followed by "Huh... works for Jack Bauer".
      • When brought in by the CIA for a consultation, he says the building looks better on 24.
    • When one of the new duckling candidates is revealed to be Mormon, House promptly nicknames him Big Love.
    • In the episode "Wilson", House and Wilson are talking in House's office, when Wilson says "I'm not here for an argument". House retorts with "Oh right, that's room 12A". Room 12A was the Argument Clinic room in the classic Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch.
    • In the episode "Deception", after House cuts a patient's bruise and confirms his current diagnosis because of the fruity smell of the pus (no, seriously), he looks up, takes a long whiff off the scalpel, and says "I love the smell of pus in the morning. Smells like... Victory."
      • This allusion was used again in the Season 6 episode "The Tyrant".
    • In the episode "Knight Fall", House addresses the apothecary employee as "You embossed carbuncle", in reference to King Lear.
    • In the episode "Massage Therapy", the patient and her boyfriend are named Jenny and Billy respectively, would be a coincidence if not for the fact that Jen's actor plays Jenny.
    • In "You Must Remember This", Taub says that he figured Foreman's apartment would be more "Mod Squad". Omar Epps Starred in the Mod Squad Remake.
    • House's driver license lists his address as 221 Baker Street, Apt. B. This is the same address as Sherlock Holmes.
    • In "Three Stories", House uses the phrase, "Allons-y!" This can be doubted, however, as it's a French phrase. Also, in another episode, House says: "There is only one truth" - a famous Sherlock Holmes quote.
      • What Doctor could that be referencing? It's too old to be the Tenth, because he doesn't say Allons-y until an episode released July 1st of 2006, and "Three Stories" came out more than a year before that. I don't know of any old Doctors who were known for saying this particularly.
      • To be fair, this is Doctor Who we're talking about.
    • Looks like another Doctor Who reference cropped up, possibly confirming the former mention. In the episode "Bombshells", Taub tells Foreman that he stayed up until 3:00 in the morning watching classic Doctor Who.
    • In "Last Temptation", the patient is mentioned to be slowly turning blue, prompting House to say, "At least we can rule out the blue gum."
    • In "Two Stories", House fills his story to the fifth grade class with obvious film references, including Pulp Fiction, The Thomas Crown Affair and Thunderbolt And Lightfoot, and also quotes from A Few Good Men and Ghostbusters. Each time the same kid calls him on it.
    • From "Perils of Paranoia", we have House mentioning Arceus as having created the world with three types of matter. When Taub asks "Arceus?", House casually says "Look it up," and continues on with the conversation.
    • During the pre-credits sequence of "Known Unknowns", the Patient of The Week drags her friend along stating: "C'mon Phoebe, victory or death! Or possibly cake." Cake or death?
  • Significant Anagram: In the episode "House Training", Gregory House suggests a particularly fitting anagram of his name: "Huge ego, sorry".
    • One of Wilson's ex-wives named their problematic dog Hector because "Hector does go rug" is an anagram for "Doctor Greg House" (she hated both the dog and House).
  • Significant Monogram: Certainly James Wilson's initials are reminiscent of John Watson, and arguably Gregory House's, depending on how you stylize the "G".
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Both played straight and averted. If the Patient of the Week has any kind of psychological problem, you can be pretty sure it's because of single underlying cause or traumatic event which will come to light and/or be resolved by the end of the episode. However, it's averted in the case of the main cast (see Dysfunction Junction), especially with House himself: other characters repeatedly have to remind him that fixing his leg will not automatically make his life better and his problems are much more deep-seated.
  • Sleepwalking
  • Slipping a Mickey: House drugs Wilson's grape-soda and steals his pants in order to save his career from himself.
    • In "Birthmarks", Cuddy drugs House so Wilson can take him to his father's funeral.
    • In Season 4, 13 slips House narcotics in revenge for switching out her decaf so they can run tests.
  • The Smurfette Principle: "Do you smell that? It's a sausage fest. Hire a female doctor."
    • To wit, there is only ever one female on House's team (Cameron for Seasons 1-3, Thirteen for Seasons 4-6), and Cuddy even says during the Survivor arc that House must hire a female to balance out Taub and Kutner.
    • As of Season 7, House now has two females on his team. However, only one of them meets the show's standard for attractiveness.
  • Sniff Sniff Nom: House licking the homeless woman's vomit early in Season 1.
  • Soap Within a Show: House is always watching Prescription Passion, a medical soap opera that forms the base of Season 4 episode "Living the Dream".
  • Sociopathic Hero: House approaches this sometimes. Notably, he seemed to enjoy yelling at his patient repeatedly and torturing her in "Who's Your Daddy?".
    • He also has a history of drugging people, though he usually turns out to be acting in (what he thinks are) the person's best interests, not out of simple malice. He once sedated a patient he had just kidnapped to keep him in the hospital, he sedated Cuddy's mom to keep himself from telling her what he thought of her, he gave Wilson amphetamines in an attempt to prove that he was depressed, and later sedated Wilson to keep him from giving a speech that would have destroyed his career.
    • In another episode, he heavily implies having killed Wilson's cat. He also suggests killing his second cat, too. Twice.
  • Spy Speak: Parodied in the episode "All In" when House calls Wilson during a poker game.

House: Keep your answers short and discreet. Is Cuddy still playing?
Wilson: The chicken is still in Picadilly Square.

  • Status Quo Is God: House has appeared to be accepting his drug addiction, gone cold turkey on his addiction, be cured of his addiction by special coma treatment... in general tried to move out of misery multiple times per season. Only extremely rarely are they a sincere attempt at change, and either way we always get our jerk back.
    • Occasionally lampshaded by Wilson and/or House.
    • Season 5 has a notable example. Episode "Dying Changes Everything" initially seemed like an example of Nothing Is the Same Anymore - Wilson quit his job at the hospital and cut his ties with House... but a few episodes later he was back.
    • Season 5 also has House cure his pain with methadone, shave his beard, quit his job and go seek a post at another hospital. Status quo is restored in about 20 minutes.
    • Probably the biggest one, after all House went through with getting new team members, rehab, and leaving the hospital to find a way to avoid Vicodin, he ends up coming back to work with Chase, Cameron, and Foreman all over again. Minus the Vicodin. For now, maybe.
      • Subverted to a moderate degree a few episodes later with the cast shuffle.(Cameron leaves, Taub and Thirteen return).
        • In Season 5, House finds a that Methadone cures his pain completely, but he quits it-- simply because without pain he's not House. This is a pure status-quo argument, since the entire series House whines non-stop about how he's a jerk because he's in pain.
  • Stealth Pun: Actually a musical pun: in the episode "Half-Wit" House plays the opening part of a song with a musical savant on a piano. The song is "I Don't Like Mondays" by the Boomtown Rats, on a show that airs on... Mondays.
    • In the episode where Wilson consumes amphetamines, he mentions that Dr. Stein is probably away. Yeah.
  • Stepford Smiler: Several patients and their family members. The patient's wife from the episode "Clueless" was a notable example, pretending that her marriage was perfect and that she cared about her husband... whom she was constantly poisoning. At the end of the episode, House speculated that she was poisoning him because she got tired of maintaining the facade of happy wife.
    • It is sometimes suggested that Wilson may be this kind of character as well, at least to a degree (episodes "Resignation" and "The Social Contract" come to mind here).
    • And while House might like to think that he has no emotion and doesn't care about anything, it's clear that he's just as lonely and insecure as the rest of us.
  • The Stoic: Though he usually doesn't fall into this, Kutner takes Amber's death far better than the rest of the cast, and is seen calmly watching TV and eating dinner during the end-of-episode montage.
    • Of course, we all know what happened later...
    • This troper saw that scene and thought it showed how lonely and empty Kutner's apartment (and life) felt at that moment.
  • Story Arc: The strongest story-arc involves House organizing a mass job interview to fill in positions for his team, which lasts through half of the fourth season.
  • Straw Hypocrite
  • Strawman Political: "Saviors" features a borderline-Straw Environmentalist as the Patient of the Week; "House vs. God" features a strawman evangelical Christian.
  • Strictly Formula: The medical aspects are generally background noise for whatever drama is going on in House's life. In "Words and Deeds" (Season 3 Episode 11), they discovered the patient had fallen in love with his brother's fiance; being in her presence was literally killing him. So the team wiped his memory of her. And basically every bit of personal information in his life. Turns out he had a bug which was causing false memories of the fiance; she wasn't even his brother's fiance. After The Reveal, the episode finished out with the plot about House's life, with no mention of the massive lawsuit that would be realistically be bearing down on the hospital.
    • Subverted in "One Day, One Room" when the Patient of the Week is introduced about 10 minutes into the episode and then diagnosed 5 minutes later. The remaining half-hour is given over to a series of philosophical debates between her and House.
    • There are House episodes that subvert the formula completely, but they're so few-and-far-between in the midst of the formulaic ones, casual viewers would never know they exist. These include:
      • "Three Stories". This Season One episode had House lecturing a room full of interns about three similarly themed cases. Each of the three patients had a problem with one of their legs, and may have had to amputate in order to avoid complications. The first one was a farmer, who had to get the amputation. The second one was a volleyball player, who was lucky enough to keep her leg. The third case was a shocker. It was House. He knew keeping his leg would cause him never-ending pain, but he was desperate to keep his leg, despite his ex-girlfriend Stacy Warner trying to convince him otherwise. The rest is history.
      • "Broken". The Season 6 two-part opener was House kicking his Vicodin habit, courtesy of a mental hospital. It lampshades AND subverts the mental hospital tropes that have been set by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest decades ago. House spends the episode disrupting the ward's system, but realizes by the end that he needs their help (opposite to Cuckoo's Nest, where the hospital staff are genuinely sadistic). Even better, the one-shot characters never grated and had viewers longing for their presence afterward. The episode was so wonderfully produced and written, casual viewers could have easily mistook it for an HBO series.
      • "5 to 9" (also in Season 6). Viewers get to see a day in the hospital through Cuddy's perspective. It was a refreshing change of pace compared to the usual hectic activity of the hospital. It's also pretty amusing when viewers realize how little importance House's antics are to her day-to-day activities. The only irksome detail was the number of disgruntled patients always calling Cuddy a bitch when they didn't agree with her decisions.
    • The series' formulaic nature is nicely summed up here.
  • Stylistic Suck: Prescription Passion, House's favorite soap opera.
  • Sure Why Not: The Portmanteau Couple Name "Fourteen/Foreteen" was invented for the Foreman/Thirteen pairing, natch. This is an Official Couple, and that particular name has an added connotation (fourteen = thirteen + one), so House has used that portmanteau name. He does not want them shipped, but...
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The new ducklings.
    • House consciously does this in the episode "Airborne", where he must solve a medical mystery on a plane without his usual team. He promptly instructs a blond boy to fake an Australian accent and agree with him no matter what he says, an Ambiguously Brown passenger to disagree with him, and a female passenger to be morally outraged, filling (what he perceives are) the roles of Chase, Foreman and Cameron respectively.
    • Played with in the episodes following the departure of Martha Masters. When Thirteen comes back from prison, she's blonde with her normal hairstyle, until Martha leaves. Next episode, she's got long, thick red hair with straight bangs, just like Martha.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: Episode 15 in Season 7 introduces us to House's cane-axe-shotgun. In a dream. But it's still very very cool.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: PPTH's security. Full stop.
  • Sympathetic POV: Possibly one of the few reasons why House still remains likable, despite his jerkishness.
  • Take a Third Option: At the end of the series, House is stuck in a burning building. On the one hand, he can easily escape the building, but then he would be arrested for violating parole and would be unable to be with Wilson before he succumbs to his cancer. On the other hand, he can just stay in the building and die, thus escaping the misery of his life. Instead, House fakes his own death so that he can be with Wilson during his last months to live.
  • Take That: House's favorite soap opera appears to be mocking Grey's Anatomy.
    • In the episode "Simple Explanation", House delivers the line, "Did you deduce that by taking off your sunglasses to the strains of a Who song?" to Cameron.
    • House invites Wilson over to watch a The L Word marathon. When Wilson's surprised to hear that House watches that show, House adds: "On mute".
    • As is the Season 5 episode "Simple Explanation".
    • And parts of "Wilson". "Because if you die, I'll be alone."
    • A few parts of the sixth season finale. Averted with the end of the episode, however.
    • The Patient's fading Hallucination in "Guardian Angels" "...Goodbye mama".
    • The Patient of Season 7 Episode 3 happens to write books sharing some similarities with a vampire story you may know.

House: Huge Jack Cannon fan, by the way. Love your books.
Alice: Really? My fans tend to be overly-annoying teenage girls.

House: I know. All they care about is who is hotter, Jack or Deacon. Like Sarah can't love both of them.

  • Techno Babble: Most use of medical terminology on the show.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Let's just say that House and his underlings don't exactly love one another. Still, they work together to save lives, and they usually succeed.
    • Cut-throat teamwork would be more appropriate; House sums this up succinctly with the observations that "competition works--" and later, he says that "conflict breeds creativity" after he drives a wedge between "Foreteen", causing them to they immediately turn on one another by topping each others' diagnoses (correctly, of course).
      • Ironically however, "Cutthroat Bitch" (a.k.a Amber Velakis) is fired by House for being too competitive (though whether it's for being competitive to other team-members or to House himself, is up for grabs). In other words, she's the best choice, but House feels either professionally obligated, or personally threatened (particularly when she returns and takes "part-time custody" of Wilson from him-- which continues even after she dies).
  • Televisually-Transmitted Disease
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: From a Season 7 episode: "There are two kinds of people: those who move on, and those who can't."
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Literally. She has Huntington's Disease.
  • This Means War: The escalating prank war between House and the adjacent Orthopedics department.
  • Three Token Band: House's team twice consists of a foreign Butt Monkey (Chase/Kutner), a belligerent, super-competent ethnic who challenges House (Foreman/Taub), and a hottie with a tragic past (Cameron/Thirteen).
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The episode "No Reason". Are House's hallucinations side-effects from the ketamine coma he was put into? Or is he still in the coma?
  • Throwing Out the Script: House does this in an early season when asked to give a speech about a new drug the chairman of the hospital wants him to puff up. He nearly gets fired for it.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Foreman, most definitely, and arguably House himself during the Tritter arc.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Now that Wilson himself has cancer, he doesn't want to go through what his patients have.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: In earlier seasons, there are repeated mentions as to House's love for Reuben sandwiches. As time goes by, however, House just steals Wilson's lunches.
  • Trust Me, I'm A Doctor: House certainly isn't afraid to mention his profession in order to establish his authority or otherwise be a snarker. Once, after bluntly telling a female patient that he wants to inspect her vagina, he tells her, "I'm a doctor, so it's okay."
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: The episode "Hunting" proves that when Dr. House fights, he fights dirty. He even caused anaphylactic shock in his opponent to win... and to prove a diagnosis for the Patient of the Week as well.
    • This was an act of "Tough Love", since House was only acting out of medical necessity to save the Idiot Ball holder and his son, due to his refusing treatment for both of them. Here, House provoked the man into hitting him, solely so House could hit him back in the liver with his cane, and prove that he had cystic parasites in his liver by rupturing one of them. Like everything else House does, this was justified because it saved the life of an Idiot Ball jockey, and wouldn't be risky otherwise (usually)-- and here, House was practicing his own brand of medical responsibility by saving the guy's son as well.
  • Tsundere: Four of the six original main characters.
    • Dr. Park is a Type 2, much more dere-dere, until you push her too far.
  • Twist Ending: Most of them are Cruel Twist Endings, so see that trope listed above for examples.
    • The end of "Unplanned Parenthood" is a bit more lighthearted than these other examples, but still qualifies.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Yes, there are only ever two women in the main cast.
  • Typhoid Mary: In "Maternity", an elderly volunteer unwittingly passes around a virus that is lethal to infants.


Tropes U-Z[edit | hide]

  • Ultimate Job Security: Dr. House is this trope incarnate, and he knows it. In Season 1, he's so sure of it that he basically dares Vogler, the new chairman of the board, to try to fire him. Vogler takes the dare. House wins, but it's a near thing.
  • Un Paused: In one early episode, a patient is having seizures. He will stop in the middle of a sentence for a few moments before going right back to what he was saying, unaware that he lost any time.
  • Unreliable Narrator: House is revealed to be one of these in the Season 5 finale. Though this is more to the character's point of view as this show has little to narration at all.
    • Played less seriously in early episodes "The Mistake" and "Three Stories", and "Nobody's Fault" in the final season where the bulk of the episodes consist of characters reliving past events from various viewpoints with various differences. The trope shows up briefly in the series finale "Everybody Dies" when House skips over a part of a conversation with the patient in his recollection of the case.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In the episode "Euphoria (Part 2)", House whips up a veritable storm (including pop cultural references) of these to explain to a worried mother that her child does in fact not have epilepsia.

House: In actuality, all your little girl is doing is saying yoo-hoo to the hoo-hoo.
Mother: She's what?
House: Marching the penguin. Ya-ya-ing the sisterhood. Finding Nemo.

  • Up to Eleven: House uses this to describe himself when he replaces Vicodin with cooking.

"What did you expect? I'm an addict. I turn everything Up to Eleven."

  • Very Special Episode: The episode with Kutner's suicide strays into this territory.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: House and Wilson, one of the best examples on TV.
  • Waking Up At the Morgue: "Brave Heart".
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: House, with his father; also Chase, in regard to House. He had problems with his own father, kept trying to win his approval until he finally realized that his father didn't care and that it was easier for Chase himself not to care whether his father cared.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Foreman in "Forever", after his brain biopsy turns him incredibly optimistic and agreeable.
  • Wham! Episode: From "Simple Explanation" and beyond, Kutner kills himself, Chase proposes to Cameron, House begins to doubt his talent to see everything coming, House hallucinates seeing Amber, Chase and Cameron break up, House detoxes off Vicodin, House and Cuddy have sex... So what was next? House DIDN'T detox off Vicodin, House and Cuddy DIDN'T have sex, House starts seeing Kutner along with Amber, and finally goes into a psychiatric institute! We had to ask!
  • Wham! Line: Say it with me, folks: "I punched my attending in the face."
    • "I have cancer."
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The go cart racing scene in Season 7.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't find out the real story of the guy who shot House (unless what House imagined was from him remembering having seen him before), nor do we see him again.
    • Also, there is a cannibal serial killer out there who was saved by the team...
  • What the Hell, Hero?: These happen pretty much all the time.

Cuddy: House, how could you [do something illegal/unethical/mean] to [Patient]!
House: [Snippy Remark]
Cuddy: House, don't you dare [Insert Something Bad Here].
House: Yes, Mom.
Cuddy: Look, House. If you do this, we'll get sued!
House: I'm going to save [his/her] life!
Cuddy: No, you just want [to solve the puzzle/drugs]!
Rinse and repeat. Oh, and if Cuddy says no, House will probably try to get Wilson to help him.

    • It's gotten to the point where the bar for this trope is so high on the show that House needs to do something really outrageous for this to really qualify.
    • Lampshaded in the episode where House kidnaps an actor from his favorite soap.

Foreman: You kidnapped him?
House: It's cool that I haven't lost the ability to surprise you.

    • Also seen between Foreman and Chase after Chase alters the tests of an African dictator patient, effectively killing him.
  • Wilhelm Scream: In a Zombie Apocalypse Dream Sequence.
  • Will They or Won't They?: House/Cameron, House/Cuddy, House/Stacy, and to some extent House/Wilson.
    • Answers, in order: No, yes but not anymore, no, and pretty much.
  • With Friends Like These...: House and Wilson. Mostly House but Wilson has had some crappy moments as well.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Not spoken outright, but in "After Hours", Chase goes to considerable lengths to warn Thirteen that he's going to move her out of the way when she refuses to allow him to take her stab victim, parolee friend to the hospital (even though she'll die if he doesn't). When she still refuses, he moves her out of the way without hurting her, prompting her to attack him. After several very weak looking punches and one that looked like it might have hurt, Chase easily overpowers her (with a distinct look of Oh Crap on her face as he does) and she ends up on the floor. Later in the episode, she's putting ice on her neck and he apologises for having hurt her - even though she nearly killed her friend and assaulted him in the process.
    • She doesn't invoke this trope later, though, and tells him what he did was necessary.
  • Writer on Board: When it happens it's oftentimes painfully obvious.
  • Wrong Genetic Sex: In one episode, a woman turns out to be suffering from testicular cancer, due to a surprisingly common medical condition that causes some people with XY chromosomes to develop into infertile women with internal testicles instead of ovaries.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The beginning of Season 3. House is happy (and drug-free) because he doesn't need a cane anymore and the leg pain is gone. As you can probably tell, this really doesn't last for long.
    • It happened again in Season 5. House switches to a different drug which allows him to be completely pain free, only to find it compromises his intellect (or so he says).
      • House still had his limp while on methadone, but it was not as pronounced. To what degree House's limp is due to his chronic leg pain or his lack of thigh muscle seems to vary.
        • It's interesting: when House's pain was cured by the new treatment after being shot, he was shown running 8 miles to the hospital with no limp whatsoever, a completely new and pain-free man but it was short-lived when the pain returned; but when the pain was completely cured on methadone, he threw away his cane but was still limping (strangely, House then quit methadone because the pain "made him a better doctor--" insert any applicable trope here).
    • Also Real Life Writes the Plot: the reason the leg pain was gone in those episodes was that Hugh Laurie was starting to develop actual pains from walking around with the cane all the time.
    • The Season 5 finale.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Cuddy's mother. Made grating by the fact that she had converted.
  • You Called Me "X" - It Must Be Serious: When Foreman thinks he's dying in "Euphoria (Part 2)", he apologizes to Cameron for stealing her article and exposing her to his disease - and calls her Allison.
    • House calls her "Cutthroat Bitch" most of the time, so when he suddenly calls her Amber, she senses something's not good. He's firing her.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Dr. Cuddy as a Sexy Schoolwoman in a Dream Sequence that is, for some strange reason that should be incredibly obvious, very popular on YouTube.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: Cuddy is trying to sober up the team in "House Divided" and gives them breath mints.
  • You Never Asked: Almost always completely averted, since House and his team almost always ask the most relevant questions; often to the point of bullying the patient or breaking into their homes to get useful answers. If a patients doesn't provide the right answers, it's because he or she is either lying to hide a Big Secret, or has picked up the Idiot Ball.
    • Played straight in "Private Lives": the patient, a recent vegetarian, is having all sorts of medical issues and is given many proclamations of death, yet when House finally asks her about the quality of her bowel movements, the answer is obvious (and easily remedied). However, that is one of the FIRST questions doctors will ask when getting a history.
      • The team always breaks into to the patient's home in order to "test for environmental causes"; if they simply ask for a key, House and the team condemns them as "cowards".
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: If a convincing diagnosis is made at all before the end, it's usually made around the halfway mark. Of course, it'll be the wrong one. Alternatively, it's the right diagnosis, but other things get in the way - for example a patient is correctly diagnosed as having Strongyloides, but his helper dog eats the pills the doctor in charge gives him. Result - one dead patient who didn't get his medication, one dead dog who did. or House suspects Erdheim Chester's in both an old woman and a young kid in "All In" within the first fifteen minutes, but the tests were screwed up because of the timing and they went through about fifteen other things.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Martha Masters pulls off a couple.
    • Amber also did on occasion.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: In "Bombshells", House dreams of one. It involves him killing his teammembers-turned-zombies with his cane, which can apparently turn into an axe and a shotgun. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.