Ten years ago today, House enjoyed its series premiere on Fox. For eight seasons, Dr. Gregory House remained a fascinating figure in network television. The character of Dr. House propelled Hugh Laurie into main stream pop culture celebrity status and the series changed the way medical procedurals were portrayed.
Six years before Steven Moffat’s and Mark Gatiss’ series premiered, Dr. Gregory House made the world ready for a modern day Sherlock. If you’ve not seen the correlation between the two iconic characters yet, let me count the ways Dr. House M.D. was really Sherlock Holmes.
1. Houses, Homes And Humble Beginnings
This is pretty obvious. Our good doctor’s last name is House which is another word for Home. Homes. Holmes. Yeah, I believe you get the point. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the character of Sherlock Holmes, the detective was inspired by real life professor Dr. Joseph Bell. Dr. Bell’s work was integral in the creation of forensic crime scene investigation. While Sherlock Holmes was not a medical practitioner, David Shore honed in on Doyle’s inspiration and gave Gregory House an M.D.
2. Narcissism And Loneliness Go Hand In Hand
Sherlock Holmes fights deadly criminals to solve murders while Dr. Gregory House battles life threatening viruses to cure patients. However, the two men are indifferent to the people they work for. These clients and patients are viewed as annoying yet necessary variables. What drives them is the challenge in solving whatever mystery is on the agenda. Obviously, Holmes and House lack basic social skills leaving them to be condescending, anti-social narcissists. In between cases, Holmes can be found playing the violin or reading the paper while House could be tinkering on the piano, playing video games or spending time with prostitutes.
That’s not to say they don’t have friends…
3. John Watson vs. James Wilson
While Dr. House and Mr. Holmes are the definite Alpha males in the relationship dynamic here, both Watson and Wilson remain loyal friends who continually put up their difficult personalities. House and Holmes are also reliant on the two as they remain their only “human” connections to the world. Allegedly, the character of James Wilson was originally scripted to work closely with House much like Holmes and Watson do. But ultimately, that task was handed down to House’s team of doctors who worked weekly in solving whatever medical mystery was at hand.
David Shore took some liberties with the characters and switched some details of Holmes and Watson when originally creating doctors House and Wilson. In the original Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Dr. Watson has a lame leg from a wound received in the war. In House, Dr. Gregory House is the one with the persisting limp which leads to his Vicodin addiction.
It’s also worth noting that Sherlock Holmes was quite the fan of Cocaine.
4. Keen Observation And Deductive Reasoning Skills
Whether it’s solving a murder or trying to save a life, the two men find stimulation in the challenging mysteries before them. Sherlock Holmes and Gregory House are both gifted with a keen sense of observation and deduction which leads them to turn down cases they find easy and boring. Mr. Holmes has the ability to realize many details and facts about a person just by looking at them. Dr. House can assign a patient’s diagnosis through witnessing tiny details exhibited through a person’s body language.
5. Home Is Where The House Is
In the series House, David Shore made it a point to sprinkle in references to the original source material whenever possible. A patient featured in the series pilot was named Rebecca Addler which was a reference to the character Irene Addler from the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novels. In the season 2 finale, Dr. House was shot by a crazy man named “Moriarty”. Most noteably, Dr. Gregory House lives in an apartment numbered #221b which is an obvious reference to Sherlock Holmes’ famous residential address 221 Baker Street.