Life is a series of rooms

Posted: October 6, 2008 in All and Sundry, commentary

My favorite lines, and my most unforgettable ones, in season 3 of House M.D. are from the episode “One Day, One Room,” where Dr. House was forced to play “therapist” or friend to a rape victim who came to his life unexpectedly one clinic day. The girl was suffering from something and he wanted him to test her urine for STD. As he is a curious doctor, as expected he stumbled on the answer to what was ailing her. She was apparently raped. And to make matters worst, her urine test showed that she was pregnant. She then insisted that House be her doctor; not really to cure her of anything, but just to have daily conversations with him. As usual, House didn’t want anything to do with the girl, until she tried to kill herself to get his attention. “Why did you choose me?” he asked her every time they met. The girl always said, “I don’t know. I just want to talk.”  House kept trying to draw her out of her shell, to make her talk about what happened (as it is part of her coping). But the girl always refused.

In one of those moments when they were stuck in the room arguing about life:

Dr. House: They’re out there, doctors, lawyers, postal workers, some of them doing great, some of them doing lousy. Are you going to base your whole life on who you’re stuck in a room with?
Eve: I‘m gonna base this moment on who I am stuck in a room with! It’s what life is, it’s a series of rooms, and who we get stuck in those rooms with, adds up to what our lives are.

The dialogue that followed was brilliantly written reflecting ethical arguments on abortion and suicide. Being a cynical and very pragmatic doctor, (in fact I see him as a scientist and more than a doctor) House tried to convince the girl to get rid of the baby she’s pregnant with, naturally because she was carrying the spawn of the “devil,” the man who raped her. The girl insisted that she will keep the baby. It is not her place to deny the unborn human being in her uterus a chance at life:

Eve: Abortion is murder.
Dr. House: True. It’s a life and you should end it.
Eve: Every life is sacred.
Dr. House: Come on. Talk to me. Don’t quote me bumper stickers.
Eve: It’s true.
Dr. House: It’s meaningless.
Eve: It means that every life matters to God.
Dr. House: Not to me. Not to you. Judging by the number of natural disasters, not to God either.

“Even if it will remind you of that moment?” House asked. And the girl answered yes. But then she asked him, “Do you think the man who did this to me, regret what he did?” House told her, “it doesn’t matter.”

For some strange reason, towards the end of the episode, the girl was able to make House admit that he is as wounded as her. So when House asked her again, “Why did you choose me?” She readily replied, “Because I felt that there is something in you that’s wounded too.” Then told him that she is ready to tell him what happened to her.

At the end of the everything, the girl thanked him. He answered, “hey, just depends on who you’re stuck in the room with.”

Such insight gleaned from an unusual dialogue between a rape victim and an unwilling doctor made my hair stand on its end. Again, this series has successfully made me laugh out loud, giggle, cry, and most of all, it made me think. It’s take on the intricacies of life, and the human condition, told through black humor, is an example of one of those rare gems you enjoy in a medical drama these days. It’s not sappy. And just the right blend of drama and comedy. (Not to mention Hugh Laurie hotness) I wonder why somebody told me it’s too cynical. When in fact, I think it’s earnest.

So which room are you in now, right at this moment?

  1. ella says:

    mam claire! i love this series. my brother who’s in med school buys all the dvds so we’re pretty much obsessed with the show. 😀

  2. reefer says:

    me too! as in. luvvvv it.

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