Kutner Suicide Sparks House Search

Nothing like a suicide to get tongues wagging and fingers tapping as the American portion of the internet seems to have erupted in a frenzy of speculation about the death a TV character. Lawrence Kutner (played by Kal Penn) committed suicide in tonight's episode of House, the immensely popular medical series starring Hugh Laurie as the sarcastic and brilliant doctor.

Good news for the producing network, Fox, but are plot stunts the best way to give oxygen to a series running out of puff? I like House. I've watched it since it was first aired in the UK. An inspired, and rare, character for mainstream television with all the flaws and successes of an eccentric genius inflicted upon patients who expect a tranquillizing bedside manner. But is it just me, or has the writing been going downhill for a long time? Stealing the format of The Apprentice felt lame and I looked forward to fast-forwarding all those obvious competitive clich├ęs. The Apprentice itself works on a voyeuristic level because they are real people. The same format in a scripted series smells like writers without a clue.

Since then we have been subjected to a confusion of characters. House's old team has not left but breeze in and out like ghosts, meaning that the new team has not had a chance to lay claim to their characters. The question being dangled in front of the audience is whether the previous team would return, but isn't this just too obvious? We know Robert Chase, Allison Cameron and Eric Foreman; give the others a chance. Instead we're inflicted with Foreman hanging around like nemesis. House has a living team and a shadow team - perhaps a psychoanalytic metaphor but I don't think it works.

When you get the chance, have a look again at the first series. The writing was generally strong and the use of hallucinations, dreams and fantasies to manufacture faux suspense was not needed. Bring back some of the original writers like John Mankiewicz, or get the current writers to watch again why the series became a hit.
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