Gregory House was known for many things, but a gentle bedside manner wasn’t one of them. The brilliant doctor loved solving puzzles and viewed the patients who came through his hospital’s doors as just that, not suffering human beings in need of help. With strangers, he was cutting; with his friends, he was downright cruel. But behind that mask of apathy and contempt, there was the tiniest of beating hearts that popped up on occasion to remind us that House was, in fact, a person with feelings.
Of course, many of the heartfelt moments on the show came with House’s signature dose of cynicism and sarcasm, but for a guy who was dealing with a constant, intense pain from an almost fatal leg wound, and who didn’t believe in God, hugging, or the healing power of sunshine and puppies, we’ll take what we can get.
Here are the eight most heartwarming moments on House, ranked from sweet to all the feels.
7. When he sacrificed Steve McQueen
House and Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) disagreed on everything from how best to treat patients to House’s narcotic use, but over the years, they formed a professional and personal bond. When Foreman contracted a mysterious and deadly disease from a patient and the doctors were left scrambling, House seemed the most invested; partly because his idea of autopsying the carrier of the disease was shot down by the CDC, but also because it was Foreman’s life on the line.
House ended up sacrificing his beloved pet rat, Steve McQueen, in order to diagnose Foreman’s illness. Thankfully, McQueen lived, but House’s willingness to possibly kill the furry rodent and expose himself to a fatal disease showed us his softer side.
6. When he lied to a patient to save her life
One of the many surprising things we learned about House over the course of the show was that he was an avid reader of children’s books. When his favorite author was admitted after suffering a seizure and trying to kill herself, the doctor made it his mission to figure out what was ailing her. Sure, his motives were purely selfish in the beginning — the writer’s last book had some cliffhangers he needed answers to after all — but House became invested in the case once he learned the woman felt suicidal after her son’s death.
Instead of discharging her or berating her for not wanting to go through with a life-saving surgery, House decided to do what he claims everybody does and lie. He told the woman her son didn’t die in a car accident but from a brain aneurysm, something no one could’ve predicted or prevented. This wasn’t true, but it was enough to convince the patient to do the surgery and get back to her writing career. Sadly for House, she decided she was ending his favorite kid’s series in favor of something more adult oriented.
5. When he lied for a patient to save her life
In season one, a high-powered businesswoman was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Unfortunately for her, the medication she’d been taking to help hide her bulimia had caused the muscles in her body to begin deteriorating. She needed a new heart in order to live, but House knew her psychiatric condition would prevent her from ranking high on the transplant list. Naturally, he lied to the committee, omitting her drug use in order to make sure she was approved for an organ transplant. Later, when the woman confronted House, asking why he lied for her, he replied, “You’re my patient. Now don’t screw it up.” That pretty much rates a ten on House’s compassionate scale.
4. When he was willing to risk lives for the sake of true love
Not every tear-jerking moment on House came from the doctor’s determination to save lives. His relationship with Dr. Cuddy often brought out a more vulnerable side of the thorny bastard. In the show’s seventh season, the doctors were dating and while House was happier than we had ever seen him, his professional life began to crumble. After a patient died because House failed to diagnose a rare genetic condition, the doctor skipped his girlfriend’s awards ceremony to drown his sorrows at some dive bar.
House eventually apologized and admitted his love for her was causing his patients to die, but that was worth it as long as they were together and she was happy. One the one hand, this is the most romantic declaration we’ve ever gotten from House. One the other, the dude is basically saying he’s okay with people dying on his watch as long as he gets to hook up with a girl.
3. When he almost killed his best friend in order to save his life
Dr. Cuddy wasn’t the only person House truly cared for. The doctor’s bromance with Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), the head of the Department of Oncology, not only provided great comedic moments on the show, it also offered viewers a chance to see House in a new light. Wilson often looked out for House, shielding him against inquiries at the hospital and pushing him to enter rehab for his drug addiction. But when he was diagnosed with cancer in the show’s final season, it was House who became the caretaker.
When Wilson convinced himself that it was better to risk death by taking a near-lethal dose of chemo to try and eradicate his cancer in one sweep, House was down to illegally administer meds that would almost certainly kill his friend. Off the two went to House’s apartment, where House hooked Wilson up to an IV, shared some pain meds, and bonded as Wilson suffered through a host of terrible symptoms. The entire episode served as a reminder of House’s sense of loyalty to the man that had stuck by his side, but the moment that gave us real friendship goals was when Wilson returned to work to find a slideshow of photos taken by House while he was hallucinating on drugs. That’s true brotherhood.
2. When he offered to euthanize a fellow doctor
House and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) had a special relationship, bonded by similar vices and being emotionally unavailable. She was never one to back down from his incessant taunting and know-it-all attitude, and he admired her bisexual social life and the fact that she regularly frequented lesbian bars. When Thirteen left the hospital for a year, House discovered that she had been sent to prison for six months for illegally administering meds.
As the two took a road trip to a spud gun tournament, House forced Thirteen to come clean and admit she euthanized her brother who was dying from Huntington’s Disease, an illness she too suffered from and one she was worried would leave her alone and dying in the end. In the episode’s final moments, House assures Thirteen that if things ever got bad, he’d kill her, with a bat if she preferred. Classic, adorable, caring House.
1. When he faked his own death
If illegally giving your friend a lethal dose of chemotherapy is the mark of a true friend, then faking your death and sacrificing your life and career to spend the final months of his life with him definitely qualifies as going above and beyond the call of duty. In the final episode of the series, Wilson has been given six months to live and House is looking at six months behind bars after a prank gone wrong at the hospital.
In order to avoid jail time and be there for his friend in his dying moments, House fakes his death, riding off into the sunset with Wilson like the badass BBFs they were meant to be. I’m not crying, you are.