By now, it should be no secret to anyone that the titular character of the hit TV show House was based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes. I first picked up on it when I started watching the show my freshman year of college. But I only recently started rewatching season 1, and coming fresh from our Sherlock rewatch, I see the similarities much more clearly than I did all those years ago. House is the perfect Sherlock AU, and here’s why.
Obvious. Dull. Holmes = House (a play on words, since the British pronunciation of the former is “homes”). Also, Watson = Wilson. Next.
2.) Consulting Detective = Consulting Doctor
It doesn’t matter if Doyle’s creation is injecting cocaine in Victorian London, running around in modern London, a mouse, or working in a hospital in New Jersey: he solves cases that others cannot by using deductive reasoning and powerful skills of observation. Dr. House shares the same abilities and personality traits as Sherlock Holmes, including intelligence (duh), an impressive memory, a penchant for drugs, and an off-putting personality.
3.) Nothing like a good puzzle
Holmes and House aren’t just good at solving cases—they both have a preference for excitement. Anything that isn’t dull will do. Puzzles are a favorite; they long to galvanize their brainpower. They both frequently turn down clients/patients whose stories/illnesses aren’t interesting enough.
Wilson to House: “Some doctors have the Messiah complex, they need to save the world. You’ve got the Rubiks complex, you need to solve the puzzle.” (House, S1, E9)
Cabbie to Holmes: “You’ll do anything, anything at all, to stop being bored.” (Sherlock, S1, E1)
4.) Second Bananas
It is often said that Holmes is nothing without Watson. This is incredibly true for the original character, as the stories are all told from Watson’s point of view. In each retelling, their friendship and working relationship remains a vital part of the story, and House is no different. Wilson is House’s only friend, despite his numerous colleagues. Without Wilson’s support and advice, House would undoubtedly fall into a deep depression.
5.) A loveable asshole
Both Holmes and House are dicks, make no mistake. But we love them anyway, because underneath the prickly, sarcastic exteriors, we see tender hearts that are terrified of being hurt. We care for them, not because we admire their smarts, but because we see their weaknesses. With Dr. House, we see this weakness manifested in physical form as well; he walks with a cane and is in constant pain because of muscle death in his thigh. He is caustic and dejected as a result, using scorn as a defense mechanism. Despite these shortcomings, he is kind at the most unexpected of times, making those occurrences much more meaningful.
Until next time (I’ll be here, absorbed by Netflix),
The Collected Mutineer
P.S. Who is your favorite incarnation of the famous detective? Let’s chat on Twitter @ImpalaMutineers.