To all the Huddy fans out there, I am sorry for your loss.
In the closing minutes of this week’s much-hyped, retro-tastic House, Cuddy (played by Lisa Edelstein) pulled the plug on her months-long romance with Dr. Crankypants (Hugh Laurie) after she uncovered his latest deep, dark deception: He needs Vicodin in order to be a good boyfriend.
To make matters worse, the breakup triggered a full-on relapse for TV’s most prolific drug-addicted MD. In short, the long-running drama changed the game once again, and series creator David Shore is here with an exclusive post mortem.
TVLINE | Why did you break up House and Cuddy?
We knew it wasn’t going to last forever. We knew it couldn’t last forever. We had it mapped out since the beginning of the season that it was going to last almost exactly this long. It’s like anything else we do on the show. We go, “Let’s explore that. And once we’ve exhausted the exploration, let’s move on.” Now we move on to what it’s like for the two of them to be broken up, which is different than [anything] we’ve seen. And it all has to come back to the reality of these characters. I believe these characters are in love with each other. And I believe in a certain way they always will be. But I also believe House is not a good boyfriend. House is not a good spouse. He’s got deep issues, and the reasons Cuddy breaks up with him are very valid. Taking House down an ultimately happy road just seems unrealistic.
TVLINE | Is it fair to say the breakup will stick?
Yeah, it’s fair to say that. I can’t [say they’re done] forever, but we don’t want to jerk the audience around.
TVLINE | When you were outlining the story, did you leave yourself some wiggle room in case, you know, the romance proved successful beyond anyone’s imagination?
That’s always a possibility. You never know how things are going to unfold. My bigger concern was that putting them together was going to damage the dynamic of the show. But I think we pulled it off. It was a tricky thing. Keeping House as House and keeping Cuddy as Cuddy [while in this] relationship was important to us. And it was challenging.
TVLINE | Were the elaborate fantasy sequences a way to cushion the blow for Huddy fans? Like, maybe they’ll be too transfixed by all the pretty bells and whistles to be too upset about the split?
No. If anything I was worried we’d piss them off more with the sequences. [Laughs] Whenever you do something [different], you get scared that you’re going to do it badly and that you’re going to alienate people. And it was important that we do it in a House-like way, and I think we pulled it off. I don’t expect unanimous consensus, but I’m happy with what we did.
TVLINE | How did the idea for the fantasy elements come up?
There was talk at one point about doing each act [of the episode] in a different genre, which I think would’ve been bad; it would’ve worn thin. And then we realized that there was an opportunity to do that in a limited extent. We used them to throw little grace notes out there that were important to the story.
TVLINE | House, it seemed, officially fell back off the wagon at the end of the episode. Is he back to square one now?
He’s certainly back on Vicodin. Probably fair to say he’s back to square one.
TVLINE | So, was his entire recovery period all for naught?
That’s the [big] question. That’s the challenge going forward. It’s frankly a timely issue out there. [Laughs] Staying clean is an ongoing challenge. And it doesn’t happen without slips. Sometimes extended and serious slips.
TVLINE | Would it be correct to assume that if House can’t be happy with Cuddy, he can’t be happy with anyone?
It’s going to be a challenge with anyone. Cuddy, on the face of it, was his best hope. But hope doesn’t die easily. And striving for happiness is not something that you can easily walk away from.
Thoughts on this week’s House? Did you love the fantasy elements but loathe the demise of Huddy? Or is it the other way around? Share your thoughts in comments.