Amber Tamblyn on Bittersweet House Departure: 'I Didn't Want To Go'

In the end, Martha Masters just couldn’t play House. Yes, on Monday, Amber Tamblyn’s season-long run on Fox’s medical drama came to an end when her by-the-books character spent a painful day playing by Dr. Crankypants’ rules – in other words, none. While the PYMD’s fate was left up in the air, Tamblyn’s next step is pretty much set in stone: The Joan of Arcadia alum is developing a new Fox series with House exec Katie Jacobs and The Wire co-creator Ed Burns that will find her playing a public school teacher. Just hours before her swan song aired, the actress explained why she opted to not permanently call House home and revealed what Hugh Laurie did that brought her to tears. (No, the nice kind of tears… You’ll see.)

TVLINE | Do you think House drove Masters out of the medical profession or just Princeton-Plainsboro?
That’s a good question. It’s left open… I think she is going to still practice [medicine]. At the end of the day, she just couldn’t do what House does.

TVLINE | House creator David Shore has made no secret of the fact that he would’ve loved to have kept you around full-time. At what point did you decide you were going to leave to pursue this new series with Ed Burns and Katie Jacobs?
I’ll be perfectly honest. The three of us – me, Katie Jacobs and David Shore – were talking about doing something together. That was the original situation. And it just seemed kind of impossible for David to be working on more than one incredible show [at the same time]… I didn’t really want to separate myself from either one of them. I think they’re both so fantastic. But realistically, we knew it was not going to be able to work out that way, so Katie and I got his blessing and went and did our own thing… Thirteen episodes was always what I signed up to do. That was the plan all along. I never had any intention of staying longer than 13 episodes. That got really emotionally difficult toward the end because I didn’t want to go. But Katie and I fell in love with this other project and I knew the time was right.

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TVLINE | Was there ever a moment when you considered sticking around?
I don’t think I could’ve. I like to jump around a lot. I feel this way a lot about projects. I felt this way about Joan of Arcadia, because people were really upset about that ending and they always ask and I always say, “I think it’s better to have two really fantastic seasons of television than… Who knows what would’ve happened after that?” I don’t like to get comfortable where I am. I think it’s dangerous to be too comfortable in what you’re doing.

TVLINE | Which of your House castmates will you still be friends with five years from now?
All of them. I text all of them almost every day. Peter Jacobson does not save my number, so I’ll text him something and he’ll be like, “Who is this?!” And I’m like, “Your worst nightmare, jerk.” Even Olivia [Wilde]. I only worked with her for a week but she’s so awesome. We’ve been texting back and forth. We’re going to try to do dinner next time she’s in town. I really had a Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz moment. I felt like I was coming out of some amazing dream that I’m sad is ending. But I’m also excited because I get to take one of those people from the dream and make a new dream.

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TVLINE | Did you get a nice send-off?
Hugh Laurie asked me if I wanted to go get drinks after work one day, and I said, “I’d love to.” So I put on my best red lipstick and went to meet him for drinks and he had rented out a restaurant and thrown me a big surprise going-away party. Everybody was there. It was like this whole sit-down dinner. And Hugh gave this really sweet speech about us working together. I was in tears. It blew my mind. And this was on a work night too. I think that’s a pretty rad send-off… No one’s ever done that for me. I called my boyfriend afterwards crying because I was really touched by it, especially since I’m not a main cast member.



Comments (135)

  • I am beyond excited to see this new Ed Burns project with Amber! Everything he and David Simon do is brilliant and I know it will be a realistic portrayal of the teaching profession if he is involved.

    Comment by laylagalise – April 19, 2011 02:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I like the show a lot. I keep on watching the show, even re-runs. They should continue this show for years. It’s just so hard to imagine if there’s a a real person with that character (House). He is unbelievably sooo sarcastic but makes it funny sometimes.
    I liked the return of Thirteen. I think she is hot. I like Amber, she is a good actress. I’d like to see her be back someday. I missed Jennifer M., but I rather have Thirteen.
    House should have a girlfriend. More power to the show….

    Comment by Timmy – April 19, 2011 03:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
    I come from the UK and even if we do not like some of the views you have to respect the fact that everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am pro Mr Laurie but then I have been since the early days of Alfresco. I love all aspects of his work especially when he works with the delightful Stephen Fry (Jeeves and Wooster I really love)
    I have not yet seen season 7 of House but I am awaiting the DVD sereis 7 to come out in September 2011. When I first saw that they were going to enter a relationship (House and Cuddy) I was not sure if I wanted that as the sexual tension make it all the more fun…… I will reserve my opinion for after I have watched the seventh series but I have loved series 1 to 6 and the first two episodes in series 6 Hugh acted fantastically. I am really looking forward to when the Oranges is released in the UK and I am very excited as I have a ticket to see Hugh see the blues at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and his CD will be great like the Band from TV. I am interested to see what Hugh will do if House season 8 is not commissioned.

    Comment by Lisa O'Neill – April 19, 2011 03:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ”A few months ago a friend who had a meeting in NYC walked into a bar/restaurant before boarding the train home. She sat at the bar to eat. A man, alone, was sitting at the other end and smiled at her, saw she was also having dinner and asked her to join him. She knew the man was Hugh Laurie; you know those eyes. He was very kind, they had a nice conversation and he paid for her dinner. No come on. Just nice. Publicity for throwing a cast member a going away party? He’s obviously a good guy who enjoys making people happy. As to this season, All In The Family wasn’t perfect and what a run that had. Hugh Laurie is a class act. Cynics can choose not to watch. Ah those eyes.”

    And they simply ignore and forget Jennifer Morrison. After 6 years.
    So classy. Really.
    Awful people.

    Comment by Chisciotte – April 19, 2011 06:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Sorry, I’m wrong.
      Correct quote is:
      ”Hugh Laurie asked me if I wanted to go get drinks after work one day, and I said, “I’d love to.” So I put on my best red lipstick and went to meet him for drinks and he had rented out a restaurant and thrown me a big surprise going-away party. Everybody was there. It was like this whole sit-down dinner. And Hugh gave this really sweet speech about us working together. I was in tears. It blew my mind. And this was on a work night too. I think that’s a pretty rad send-off… No one’s ever done that for me. I called my boyfriend afterwards crying because I was really touched by it, especially since I’m not a main cast member.”

      Comment by Chisciotte – April 19, 2011 06:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Look at the shows FB page, this show has a fan basis in excess of 20 million people. I would like to see any of the cynics who put negative comments regarding actors, series etc try to write even one episode of House fit for the series. The people behind the scenes care about each other and do a good job. If you dont like, go watch Greys anatomy instead

    Comment by Cj – April 19, 2011 06:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What makes House such a great show is the fact that the show always ends with a valuable lesson about life. I am inspired every time I watch an episode. And, I truly believe that the characters’ real life personalities shine through their characters on the show, which is what makes the show so compelling. Sometimes I feel like I am not as inteligent as I need to be to get everything out of the show the writers intend for the viewers. And that is one thing in itself which draws me to the show. I think that is what draws most viewers. House, the character, is not as sarcastic or rude as people generally perceive him to be. He is in a class that most will never quite understand. The character’s intelligence and foresight into seemingly impossible issues and problems are almost always beyond that of others’, so when House calls someone an idiot, what he is really saying is that after it is all said and done, the patient will more than likely go on to lead a healthy life; in essence, House is the most caring, warmhearted, and plainly generous person of them all. He uses his skillful talent and finds cures for people’s sicknesses. House never forsakes his patients beyond resonable measures. House finds hope in hopeless situations. A real self-centered person wouldn’t try 2% as hard as House tries. The saddest thing about this show is that some fail to realize how nice House truly is. Think about it…

    Comment by Phynomeagle – April 19, 2011 06:52 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love the show but it does always begin with the same. A few more actors would spice it up or having House’s crazy cousin or a long lost brother or just something new. For some odd reason my DVR will not allow me to set HOUSE on automatic record does anyone else have that problem? I like it and love the new part where the one doctor the short one is having an affair with his Wife even though he has a girlfriend ha that is what usually happens in real life and it is HOT…The Wife being hotter than the new girlfriend I love it…I missed out on a few episodes due to my DVR not allowing me to auto record it but I try to remember to set it every week manually…I will stay as long as it stays on. I also LOVE Warehouse 13 if you ever get a chance to watch it just try it out and a new season is almost here. Hugs and thanks to all the cast for the super entertainment…It reminds me to take my vicoden lol…

    Comment by Sweetheart24 – April 20, 2011 03:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Every single episode of House I have ever seen has been very good, including all of them this season. Actually this is the first season I have watched pretty much every episode.

    Comment by DOUGLAS H WALDROOP – April 20, 2011 10:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I hate to admit that House being with Cuddy ruined the show because I hate to admit all those people who say that you can’t put the leads together were right. I still believe you can put them together if it is written well.

    Comment by John Stone – April 21, 2011 01:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wow, I enjoyed reading these comments very much, this is the first time in ages that I see the nice ones outweighing the mean. Thanks everybody :)!

    Comment by dalilita – April 21, 2011 06:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It used to be about the medicine, but for many seasons now they just make random stuff up and it changes before each commercial break. Now it’s all soap opera but with characters that don’t change. I love the characters, but they play the same skits over and over again. All the same. I really liked Tamblyn, but they barely tapped the potential for her character. If the show is to survive it really needs to change direction. Otherwise call it quits.

    Comment by Badger – July 22, 2011 02:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Maybe there was a goodbye party for Jen Morrison even if the cast didn’t agree with what the writers did? We will never know. But although I love Jen Morrison I would love to see her back for the finale as closure as she loved house.
    On the contrary house has recently changed from being a medical drama series to being more of a drama with less medical.

    Comment by Thomas – April 16, 2012 08:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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