House MD is a TV series about an antisocial, unorthodox doctor who is not only a brilliant diagnostician but is also bestowed with masterly people reading skills.
Besides, the series is very well written and has incredible Mark Twain-esque and Oscar Wilde-esque hilarious and witty dialogues that’ll blow you away.
Even if you’re not from the medical field (neither am I), I highly recommend this series if you’re interested in human behavior, which you obviously are or you wouldn’t be reading this. If you’re in some way associated with medicine and also happen to be interested in psychology, then this series is definitely going to be a piece of heaven for you.
What got me particularly hooked to the show was solely this character of Dr. House, even though occasionally there were interesting medical cases too. In each episode, besides solving complicated medical cases, House MD sheds light on the darkest corners of the human psyche too.
Personality traits of House
House is the most logical person in the world. He values logic and reason above everything else. This is perhaps his most admirable trait. Not only does this trait help him with diagnostics, but it also enables him to be an exceptional reader of human behavior. Most people take a casual approach toward human behavior and are somehow convinced that the principles of reason and deduction cannot be applied to it. But not so Dr. House.
He treats human behavior like any other scientific phenomenon. He observes it, comes up with theories about it and tests it, often resulting in breath-taking predictions and conclusions. This, I think, is the biggest takeaway from the TV series- that human behaviour can be analyzed and predictions can be made out of that analysis, just like any other natural phenomenon.
In fact, when I created this blog, my central purpose was to convey this very message about human nature, that it is not outside the realm of reason.
House tells others the often-uncomfortable truth of why they’re doing what they’re doing right in their face. He mocks illogical behavior and insults people who hold on to their delusions. He’s the stereotypical antisocial genius who, ironically, has a better understanding of people than those who are social.
I guess stereotypes are there for a reason. You have to, in one way or the other, detach yourself from something in order to make it objective and gain mastery over it.
House doesn’t always succeed in solving cases and predicting human behavior, but that doesn’t stop him because he understands that perfection is an impossibility. In fact, he wants his team members to be willing to go wrong, or else he doesn’t hire them or fires them.
He understands the importance of trying and failing, trying and failing until the truth is reached. Anomalies, mistakes, and failures are all nothing but vehicles to reach the ultimate answer.
Knowledge is power and power corrupts. House is also a master manipulator, a Machiavelli who employs sly tricks to get what he wants. But mostly, he tricks people for not only his but also their own good. He also tricks people to show them the truth of who they really are and why they do what they do.
An analysis of House’s personality
House’s personality gives tremendous insight into the personality of a typically antisocial person. If you’ve watched the TV series, you may be able to relate. If not, I’m sure it’ll at least spark your interest in this amazing character.
House claims that he cares about no one but himself. He repeatedly claims he’s ‘solving puzzles’ not saving lives. But the truth is he cares more about his patients than his team of diagnosticians. He’s willing to take the bravest risks for the sake of his patients and if a patient dies, he’s more affected than the others.
Another successful way by which he unconsciously hides his extraordinary care for his patients is by not seeing his patients except for medical reasons. He doesn’t want to reveal his caring side to his patients and so he avoids them as much as he can.
House cares so deeply about the others that it’s almost unreal. So he has constructed this persona of ‘I don’t give a damn about others’ to hide his extremely sensitive side.
He cares about others so much that he knows them better than they know themselves. He knows their past, their fears, their insecurities, and their hopes. He’s closer to them than anybody else but the funny thing is, they all think he’s a selfish jerk.
The sole reason everyone thinks House is a jerk is that he attacks their irrationality and delusions. No one wants to be shaken out of their comforting lies and face the truth. When people are confronted with an uncomfortable truth, all their repressed fears rise to the surface and they end up hating the person who delivers them from falsehood.
A course in people reading skills
Watching House MD is like taking a course in people reading skills. The more you watch the show, the more you get familiar with the quirks of the characters, and more importantly, the reasons behind those quirks. I’ve always stressed the importance of past experiences in understanding people’s personality and this TV series does a great job in elaborating those principles.
More than anything else, this TV series will convince you that human behavior can be very, very predictable. After all, that’s the whole fun of studying human behavior- being able to predict it successfully.