If you are a fan of the TV medical drama House like I am, you see people whose lives have become unmanageable every week, led by the not-so-good Dr. House himself. “Lead” is probably too kind of a word for the fictional Gregory House, as he doesn’t really lead anyone.
Play games with them? Yes. Humiliate them? So true. Deceive them? Spot on. But lead them? Not really.
As a result, his team of doctors all come across as lost souls.Oh sure. They are technically the best at what they do, but even on the job their lives are corrupted (and that word is charitable to them).
First there is Australian Dr. Robert Chase, who is serially promiscuous. He once was married to a previous doctor on the House team, but it didn’t last.
Of the same ilk as Chase is Dr. Chris Taub. He is separated from his wife.
Taub has had two children during the separation. He has a child through a nurse and also has a child through his wife, conceived after they were separated.
Newcomer Dr. Jessica Adams is more moral it seems, but has been a victim of men like Chase and Taub. Her husband cheated on her with a woman he met on the plane coming back from their honeymoon.
She seems to have sworn off men, and works all the time. As Taub says of her, “Adams works 80 hours a week fixing bunions on hobos because she can’t face getting to know someone new.”
Another recent addition to House’s entourage, Dr. Chi Park, is a young Asian American woman who is still living at home. It’s not that she wouldn’t want to ge involved with men, it’s just she is afraid to offend her family, or so she says.
Furthermore, Park has a major inferiority complex. She tells Taub, when he advises her to go out with a guitar player who asked her for a date,”I’m not that good at guitar. Or flirting or small talk. I’m not as pretty as Adams, I have stuffy clothes, and I hate my hair.”Finally, there is House. He is currently married to a woman solely for the purpose of getting her a green card illegally and it is common for him to take up with hookers. His last meaningful relationship, one with his boss Dr. Lisa Cuddy, ended with House in jail.
House drove his car into the woman’s house after she broke it off . Cuddy had come to the conclusion everyone else has: House is hopeless.
On this theme, in a recent episode the “patient of the week” is a man named Henry. His girlfriend, a woman wh he says “changed his life”broke up with him a few months ago.
Henry keeps a life-sized doll customized to look like this woman. Like House, the breakup sent the poor chap off the deep end.
As the doctors discuss whether Henry has a disorder or is just weird, House says sarcatically,” You know what’s really crazy? Living with a human being. Someone with opinions and feelings. Gets mad just ’cause you want to take Salsa classes with them one night a week. One night.”
Taub adds”,He’s just running away. He hangs out with a doll, he never needs to fear rejection.” Park replies,”It’s sad.”
House them comes in for the kill. He tells his team individually,”Your doll is your kids( to Taub). Yours is your parents (to Park), yours is your charity (to Adams). All excuses for not being in a relationship.”
Not neglecting Chase, House tells him,”You don’t go looking for the right person. You just shack up with whoever’s in the room, and then you get surprised and/or divorced when it doesn’t work out.
“I’m surprised you haven’t asked Adams out yet.” (The sparks have been flying during this episode, something which the perceptive House definitely has noticed).
Interestingly enough, it is Adams who later does the asking, after seeing what Henry has become. She tells Chase, who is suspicious,”It’s time for a change”
Equally interesting is that Chase the playboy turns her down. He tells her,”I don’t really think that’s a good idea for me right now.” Chase also has learned something from Henry’s case, and from House.Of all people, it is Dr. House, one of the most relationally dysfunctional characters in television history, who has hit on a truism: We need healthy relationships.
Unfortunately, in our time, the tail is wagging the dog. Technology has replaced humans as our source for flesh and blood human dialogue and interaction.
Even as late as the early 20th century it wasn’t that way. In Ireland, for example, people would gather around the hearth and fire of a storyteller in large numbers, listening to him tell exciting tales handed down from one generation to another.
Today, we meet with people through machines. One of my students lamented this, saying that people of his generation never see each other anymore. They just text.
I think some of the most misunderstood people in the Bible are Job’s friends, men who existed long before Facebook and MySpace. The first half of the Old Testament book which bears Job’s name shows that he and his friends really go at it: face-to-face.
Knowing the end of the book of Job, we usually think of what insensitive boobs the man’s friends were. However, I think we have them wrong.
First, when they learned of Job’s suffering they gathered together to console him. They didn’t even say a word for a week and wept with him (Job 2:11-13).
Their arguments were not unkind. They were meant to rattle Job’s brain and get him to think. His responses were of a like kind.
For example, Zothar, speaks about Job’s idle talk. Job replies after Zothar speaks that his friends think they are “it” and that it is clear from their arguments that when they die, wisdom will disappear (Job 11:1; 12:1,2). Job’s friend Eliphaz, after the patriarch goes on for a while, basically calls him a blowhard(Job 15:2)!
I could see me having the same kind of conversation with a couple of my close friends. We will nag, insult, cajole and kid to make a point, knowing full well that below the surface is love, caring and brotherhood. We want the best for each other.
We need in-your-face living and loving relationships, even though they are costly and painful. We need them although it may mean sacrificing our time and energy to be with people who may be different from us.
Facebook, your cell phone, and Skype just don’t cut it, that is if you want to keep sane.