When I first saw the show House, I thought it was strange and abrasive , yet somehow enjoyable. Jamie and I eventually got into the show and watched it whenever we could. I remember telling Jamie one time, “You know who House reminds me of? Sherlock Holmes!”. The more I watched, the parallels became more evident.
My Dad got the first and second seasons of House on DVD on Black Friday (Actually, Ben Romeo and I did, but that’s another story) and I was excited to borrow the first season. I was sure that the special features would talk about how Holmes was an inspiration for this new show, but there was nothing! I figured I would never find out for sure.
The show did get me to break out my trusty book, The Complete Sherlock Holmes given to me by my Grandpa in 1996, and begin reading straight through it starting with the preface by: Christopher Morley and I was amazed when I saw this:
“The character of Holmes, Doyle has told us, was at any rate partly suggested by his student memories of Dr. Joseph Bell of the Edinburgh Infirmary, whose diagnostic intuitions used to startle his patients and pupils. But there was abundant evidence that the invention of the scientific detective conformed to a fundamental logic in Doyle’s own temper.”…”Of his humour, there is a pleasant income-tax story. In his first year of independent medical practice his earnings were 154 pounds, and the income-tax papers arrived he filled it up to show that he was not liable. The authorities returned the form with the words Most Unsatisfactory scrawled across it. He returned it again with the subscription I entirely agree. As many readers must have guessed, Round The Red Lamp and The Stark Munro Letters were very literally drawn from his own experiences in medicine.”
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Barnes & Noble Inc. 1992
For a while, I was content reading about Sherlock Holmes and watching Dr Gregory House who both had to be related somehow.
The writer’s strike slowed new episodes down, but we were hooked and catching up on all the older episodes on DVD. I then saw the first new episode since the strike, It’s a Wonderful Lie on January 29th. I know now that I was not the only one to catch one of the gifts given to House in that Christmas episode: “A second edition Doyle”! That’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! Finally some proof!
I decided then I would have to let the world know on my blog (It’s taken me a while, I’ve been busy). I did have to do some preliminary searching to see if someone else had realized the connection and alas, as with most good ideas, I was too late. I found an interview of David Shore, the creator of House:
Anytime one says “puzzle” and “brilliant deduction” in the same sentence, one can’t help but think of the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson. And indeed, Holmes — and the real-life physician that inspired him, Dr. Joseph Bell — were very much inspirations for “House.”
Shore now has a whole new appreciation for Holmes’ creator. “My heart goes out to the late, great Arthur Conan Doyle. How’d he do that, and make him smart every time?”
Reminded that Doyle was himself a physician (which no doubt helped), Shore sighs. “He actually was.”
Shore also hopes to draw more parallels to Holmes by drawing House’s best, and likely only, friend, oncologist Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), into the Watson role.
“We’re looking for Wilson to step up in that regard, as House’s everyman, leaning over his shoulder and going, ‘How’d you do that?’ And more important, ‘Why’d you do that?’
I also found a page by an even more avid fan than I on Connections Between House and Holmes.
The mystery of the relationship of two brilliantly deductive minds is now over for me, but there are plenty of mysteries still left to read about and watch.