Mystery Solved: House is Like Holmes

It took me two-and-a-half years, but I finally figured out that the Fox medical drama House has patterned the title character, an arrogant doctor who solves sadistic medical mysteries, after Sherlock Holmes.

Beyond the similarity of the names Holmes and House, both feature characters who are arrogant and addicted to drugs (Holmes abuses cocaine and morphine; House takes Vicodin for a leg ailment). They're both incredibly difficult to get along with and have only close friend and confidante -- Holmes has Dr. Watson, House has Dr. Wilson.

Sherlock Holmes Baskerville PipeIn an overt nod to Holmes on this week's episode, House was shopping for a cane when he put a curled Baskerville pipe in his mouth. (You'd think a guy whose patients regularly develop excruciating maladies from exposure to exotic toxins would have the sense not to do that.)

A House fan site runs down all of their similarities, which include another obvious clue that I missed: House's house has the address 221-B.

My favorite connection is that both characters love lowbrow culture. Holmes is a regular reader of "agony columns," melodramatic Dear Abby-style advice features for the lovelorn and desperate, and House is a regular viewer of General Hospital who once used the pseudonym Luke N. Laura.


Seriously? The first episode I remember thinking "He's like Sherlock Holmes with attitude." About 3 episodes into the series it was obvious that they'd based the character off of Holmes. Even my wife, who's never read any Doyle, said "He reminds me of Sherlock Holmes".

So by the third episode someone who'd never even read a Holmes story figured out that they were basing House on a medical version of the character.

Your deductive skills might not be up to par with Watson, much less Holmes.

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