Release Date:April 12, 2010
Summary:Go crazy trying to figure out this app - what it's for, and what you gain from it. You'll have better luck trying to figure out House, himself.
My boyfriend and I have our respective addictions – I have my daily desires for yoga, running, reading back articles of The New Yorker, eating peanut butter on celery and drawing comics of an inconsequential nature, while he enjoys swinging clubs at the driving range, playing guitar, and listening to The Mother Hips. But, our addictions merge happily in the form of making dinner, camping, playing with our puppy, Eva, and watching, among other shows, Grey’s Anatomy and House. Go ahead and laugh: Grey’s Anatomy is definitely the more soap opera of the two medical shows, veering more toward the social interactions in and out of the hospital, who’s sleeping with whom, and what emotional outburst will draw the highlight of the episode. But, as Ocie likes to point out, his vocabulary wouldn’t be peppered with such jargon as intubation, whipple, and scut, to name but three of the words overused on Grey’s Anatomy. Then again, with House, our medical jargon has expanded, seemingly exponentially, to include meningitis, MS (multiple sclerosis), aphasia, pleural effusions, and more that tend not to surface in everyday speech. House is just a better show, if you want medical authenticity, witty repartees, and a Sherlock Holmes mystery drama. And, I suppose, a certain absorption of medical terminology.
I suppose because the show is so brilliant, I was expecting the recent app, InHouse, by FOX Broadcasting, to be the tv app par excellence. House, for anyone who watches the show, is all at once aloof, misleadingly roundabout, beguiling, a walking intertextual reference. His character is a puzzle, a conundrum, and yet he’s not that complex a person for having, almost innately, a genius mind for medical mysteries. If we want to winnow his character down to simplistic means, his self-imposed social ostracism grew from an adolescent narcissm -his intimidating and unreal breadth of intellect unknowingly stagnated any emotional maturity, and thereby arrested his development, forever entrenching him in those adolescent proclivities of egotism, rebellion, that sense of “no one gets me.” In short, a grown adolescent is an a**. You could almost reason this as the Occam’s Razor for personality. In all fairness, no one does truly understand House, just as no one understands why a teenager may break out in aggressive retort and slam his door shut; I suppose in that same manner, it’s nearly impossible to understand the House app.
The app begins and ends in confusion, with no clear instructions to guide you in its use, and with vague, cryptic sections that leave you feeling dissatisfied, a bit empty, confused, and perhaps even with a twinge of irritation. For that, it’s a success, because that is exactly how people feel after an interaction with House, himself. The app opens to a stark image of House facing you with that deeply cutting stare of his, as if those crystal blue eyes of his are already in the process of deconstructing you, ripping your every cell of character and thought apart for his own personal dissection and pleasure – his sadism of the mind. It’s actually a good picture of him, clearly delineated from the background, and exhibiting such detail, his 5 o’clock shadow nearly prickling out at you, that it made me do a double-take, wondering if I had HD on my phone. The next screen serves as the main page of the app, acting as a conduit – biologically, even, each tab is represented in the form of a neurotransmitter – for all the other features. There are 7 tabs, including Free Clinic, Appisodes, Houseisms, Writers Room, Music Room, Dark Room, and Media Room, each of which is heavily disappointing, and difficult to understand, instruction-wise.
Like any House nerd, I immediately took to the Houseisms route, because what would House be without the mocking, taunting witticisms he effortlessly peppers in every sentence? It was too bad I was unwittingly dismayed that the only “houseisms” present were the weakly written ones, like “You should have kept reading. Heart Disease is kind of below my pay grade.” Funny, to be sure, but only within the context of the episode. Also, it’s debatable whether a diagnostician would earn more money than, say, a heart surgeon, who deals with heart disease. Of course, House is a genius, and works at this highly regarded institution, and Cuddy has a soft spot for him, so it’s believable that his pay would be astronomical (despite other colleagues, like Taub, grumbling about settling for a lower pay than he would have had as a plastic surgeon). I did enjoy one of the house quotes, but I was annoyed that there were only three quotes, instead of the alleged four, the fourth one instead being a reminder from the creators to tune in next monday for more houseisms.
I was happy to hear House’s voice calling me a “free loader” when I tapped on the Free Clinic tab to check out next. He says something for each tab you select, but that’s the extent of House’s involvement – he’s mum, otherwise. Just like the Houseisms tab, I was disappointed that the environment shown in Free Clinic (House’s iconic desk, giant red ball, cluttered desktop and more) as well as all the other tabs is static, unable to be interacted with save for one element. The Free Clinic, it turns out, isn’t anything special – it’s just a place to enter in your information should you wish to be included in a weekly rally for free prizes, in the form of cast-signed props. Needless to say, I shamelessly plugged in my info.
The Dark Room was utterly confusing to me, the environment being set amidst a wall of x-rays that just act as film reels – only they’re static images, as well, just showing you various screenshots of the most recent episode. The Appisodes link is beyond bizarre: a video turns on with a man posing as “Nurse Jeffrey, coming May 24″ and the word Appisodes written in black bold, with a question mark. I’m all for mysteries – I watch House, after all – but this isn’t a mystery so much as a question mark left hanging, with you wanting to hang yourself from it. If there is anything absolutely worthwhile on this app, it is definitely the exclusive content in the Media Room tab. For this week, there’s an interview with actors Lisa Edelstein (Dr. Lisa Cuddy) and Robert Sean Leonard (Dr. James Wilson) discussing their experience with Hugh Laurie directing. I was laughing the entire time, watching Lisa’s life-changing and amazing description juxtaposed against Robert’s dry wit about Hugh’s vision, describing it as “the worst experience you ever had, add the Great Depression, and watching Parenthood six times in a row.” It was just an amazingly funny mock-interview – grandly entertaining, but not giving you any true information, at all.
I really wanted to like his app, but all I can say is I shouldn’t have expected anything more from FOX. House as a show, as a character, is beyond ingenious, but this app is convoluted to the point of no direction, no interest, and no interpretation. Not even the excellent interviews can save it. It certainly doesn’t do justice to the show. I’m sure most fans would rather surf the web for House-related trivia and facts, and still end up wasting their time in a more productive way than bothering with the InHouse app.