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Class Notes, 4/22/10

Herbie's picture

First, let me apologize to anyone who wanted to use yesterday's class notes to write her paper today.  Sorry!


In yesterday's class, we first went over some administrative things, as well as referring back to previous discussions via quotations from guest speakers and other English department faculty.  Please look at those on the Class Notes from that day.

Anne then posed a question to us: if we were responsible for ending House as a series, how would we end the show?  We then discussed the different things we could do to end the series, but also the effect of serialization, whether it was useful to analyze contemporary material, and whether we had enough distance (time-wise) to make these judgments.  We mostly wondered what particular parts of the story would need to be highlighted in the series finale.  We also discussed the dynamics of House's character, the formulaic nature of the show, and the obvious parallels to Sherlock Holmes.

We then turned our focus to the specific episode, "Private Lives."  We considered the correlations between the title and the content of the episode, the "character of the week" (i.e. the patient) and what kinds of stereotypes and exaggerations they produce, passive and active viewing, whether the Pilot episode ("Everyone Lies") influenced our viewing, and whether there is hypocrisy in Frankie's omission.  Some students were concerned that the episode emphasized negative stereotypes about bloggers and Internet use in general.  We also wondered about the relationship between blogging and framing a story.

Another central topic of discussion was whether or not seeing later episodes affects the way we watch a previous episode.  Does knowing what occurs later change our viewing?  And does placing an episode in context change our viewing?  For instance, if you watched the episode before and after "Private Lives," did that change your perception?  Is the formulaic episode structure distracting, especially when it's broken?  And is the formula based more on the cures or on the analysis?  We discussed House as a role model for analytical thinking because he doesn't allow himself limits, but there were dissenters who wondered if his lack of attention to the human reality distracts from his being a role model.



xhan's picture


 hmm, i think it depends on what your definition of role-model is. House is definitely not a conventional role-model considering in the sense that he doesn't always say or do the right thing when it comes to treating people "emotionally"- he is often rude, brash, and condescending- but i think he is very good at treating people's diseases and that his ability to do so far surpasses "ordinary" citizens. 

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