Exclusive First Look: The First House Season 8 Poster! What Does It Mean?!

The marketing gurus over at Fox are forcing us to put on our thinking caps where House‘s Season 8 key art is concerned.

The first teaser poster features the shadow of Hugh Laurie’s titular MD against a marked-up chalkboard, his iconic cane resting off to the side. It’s a provocative image to be sure, but the message it conveys is a mystery wrapped in an enigma and thus open to varying interpretations.

House Spoiler Alert: First Video of House in Prison

What do you think it means? Look it over and then scroll down to read some of Team TVLine’s theories.

Michael Slezak | “With the premiere titled “20 Vicodin,” I wonder if that’s how many pills House was able to smuggle into prison, or score during his prison stay. If so, he’d have had to go through long stretches of sobriety to make the supply last, so perhaps each of the rows on the chalkboard represents his longest Vicodin-free periods. Note that the rows do not all contain the same number of lines, which is somewhat peculiar in and of itself. There’s 15 in one row, 17 in another, etc., and 112 total.”

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Matt Webb Mitovich | “Sure, Slezak, get all thinky on us. I think it’s as simple as seven full rows of tick marks equals seven seasons. And now, with the lone scratch, we’re starting Season 8. That’s why the tallies aren’t bunched in the usual groups of five, because they instead represent just ‘a run of episodes.'”

Andy Patrick | “I think it means he’s doing an homage to Bart’s detention blackboard from the opening of The Simpsons.”

House Scoops and Spoilers are Running 24/7 on Twitter via @MichaelAusiello

Intriguing hunches. Personally, I’m leaning towards Slezak’s argument, with a slight tweak. I think the 112 lines represent the number of Vicodin tablets House consumed during his prison stint, and the “20 Vicodin” title refers to how many he has left.

Thoughts? Which theory most closely matched yours? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Eduardo says:

    House is going to prison, there´s a trailer showing it :)

  2. sarah says:

    Seasons – fourth row is shorter – writers strike

  3. Michael Sacal says:

    I see a bunch of Hs.

  4. P says:

    Matt might be right, because the 4th line is much shorter – remember that was the season when sue to the WGA strike, seasons were cut short?

  5. Elizabeth says:

    If I’m right with my theory do I win a prize or something?

    I saw 8 rows – one was smaller (the strike-shortened season?) Do the amt. of tick marks equal the amount of episodes?

    • Rob says:

      No, because the first row only has 15 marks. There were 22 episodes in season 1. If it is about the seasons, the ticks must mean something else

      • Mr. FiveseveN says:

        It is the seasons and episodes. Remember tally marks have a line through them to complete a set of 5. Line 1 has 22 NOT 15. Line 2 has 24 NOT 17 and so on…

      • Lynn S says:

        I count 16 letters in the first row…the long line through each of the tally marks counts as 1. Like when you tally five with 4 vertical marks and one mark through them to make 5…..hum?

    • claudiacole says:

      I don’t think the the tick marks are the amount of episodes because they usually had 24 eps not 17 and 15, but the eight seasons is right i think and the number off ticks have to mean something

  6. Sally says:

    It matches the trailer :D Can’t wait for it!

  7. Matt says:

    I think they represent all the patients he’s saved over the last seven seasons, and the one line at the bottom represents House…. He’s saved a lot of other people, now it’s time for House to save himself!

    (Would be interesting to see if the number of lines in each row tallies with the number of patients House saved in each season… especially the 4th line is shortest and 4 was the shortest season!)

  8. Kardiac says:

    Slezak’s numbers are off by seven. When you count hash-marks, you count the horizontal line as well… so it’s 16, 18… etc. for a total of 119. I’m with Mitovich. It’s the number of seasons… though I’m sure there’s a Slezakian double meaning in the number of lines.

  9. joemoc says:

    While the number may be indicative of something else, the length of the lines has to be a representation of the number of seasons the show has been on.

    Notice how the fourth line is shorter than the others? If you match it up with the seasons of the show, it was the fourth season that was cut short due to the writer’s strike with only 16 episodes that year.

  10. Cynical says:

    The tick marks represent the millions HL sucked out of the series in lieu of an Emmy.

  11. Robert says:

    There is 112 lines, so it does not equal the episode count thus far. The total amount of episodes is at 155. The shortest line has 11 lines, where the shortest season was 16 episodes. The lines, however, are as follow: 15, 17, 17, 11, 16, 16, 19, and 1.

  12. Rick R says:

    If you take all the hashmarks (112 – 2) and divide by 5 you get 22.add 22 to 112 and you get 134. Th end date of season 7 to the premier date of season 8 is 134 days.

  13. Nate says:

    I don’t watch the show but isn’t it just the old jail thing where they mark off how many days they’ve been in there?

    • Thomas says:

      Probably. This is dumb. People need to get a grip.

    • Katie says:

      Almost certainly. Surely if season 7 proved anything, it was that the people currently involved with the production of House are not particularly deep thinkers. I like the poster for what it is – it’s stark and simple. But I suspect that’s all it is: simple.

  14. Michelle says:

    I love the idea of them representing seasons, but there’s not enough hash marks to equal episodes.

    Therefore… days in prison. Or amount of times House has gotten beaten up for running his mouth in prison.

  15. ann says:

    They are counting the time until the show gets cancelled ;)

  16. Doya says:

    They had fans looking for clues last year because there was so much that made no sense there must be a puzzle to solve. That turned out to be a lie; TPTB just f/u the season. Now they are actually trying to manufacture a puzzle? Too Late!

  17. McScotty says:

    yeah, I agree with Matt. that’s as mysterious as I can be/can handle!!

  18. Debbie J says:

    Maybe the stroke marks represents how many times David Shore had to explain and convince people that Rachel was NOT in harm’s way.

  19. Michael Sacal says:

    Just what we needed after Lost, ANOTHER set of mysterious numbers!!!

  20. Lisa says:

    It means HL won’t be there as much this season, it will just be his shadow and the show will use his cane for support as it ticks away the number of times the screw the fans who continue to believe in them and their “vision” of misery and doom.

  21. Greg says:

    the lines represent time in jail

  22. jm says:

    Bad Photoshop siluet

  23. Eric says:

    Laurie Hugh is my role model

    everytime I act, i keep wishing that he would be my director

  24. Roger says:


  25. Wolfie says:

    each line of marks count off a season of HouseMD
    the last line is the first ep of season 8

  26. Kyndria Brown says:

    It’s how many episodes were in each season, with the final row being episode 1 of season 8. Duh.

  27. Deez says:

    Actually its quite obvious and the first thing that popped into my mind:
    its the number of days he will spend in jail :)
    i thought about his Vicodin but i dont think so cuz the lines arent really shorter…

  28. B. Hold says:

    Slezak is close. Each line contains the number of days that House goes without dropping the soap.

  29. gfmlinz says:

    The lines must be the seasons could the ticks be how many Vicodin we see him taking during each season ?

  30. Will Golder says:

    8 rows..one for each series.

    The one with one line is for this season?

  31. LOL says:

    Is that the number of hours of makeup HUGH LAURIE needs to look younger?!

  32. Alain says:

    Number of pills he swallowed per day…

  33. sawsan says:

    I think the person who said that the 112 lines represent the number of Vicodin tablets House consumed during his prison stint, and the “20 Vicodin” title refers to how many he has left.

  34. Chris says:

    I think the one single hash mark that is not crossed out is the one final act that is beyond forgiveness of either Wilson, Cuddy or both! Something that maybe even House himself cannot forgive. His shadow and cane to the side mean that something happens that not only makes him feel like he is beyond redemption, but that ends his career, perhaps even his life.

    • charles says:

      Oh, I like how you think. I do believe it’s not actually a mystery at all, apart from ‘House is in jail’. But I like your take on it.

  35. laura says:

    Now that’s some math! Lol
    I can’t wait for the new season :)

  36. Nada says:

    House is in jail but this represents days with no vicodin, take one pill House and you’ll be free again!

  37. Amanda says:

    could be the days without using the cane??

  38. Vinicius says:

    The marks represents each season of House M.D
    There is 7 lines and he begins to write the 8th

  39. Ali says:

    I have a few theories. I liked Matt Webb Mitovich’s idea about the seasons, it makes sense. I also think that the tallys might represent the amount of patients he saved and the lines or grouping represents the seasons. I think the vidocin idea is kinda far fetched, but possible. Nevertheless, I am sooo excited about the new season and I simply cant wait to see this new season and I hope there is a 9th season.

  40. Ahmed Mansour says:

    I think its a prison wall !!!

  41. Lisa says:

    Completely agree with Nate. Prisoners mark the wall one line for each passing day they’ve been in jail. We’ve already been told that he’ll be in jail for months, rather than days. We already know that when he gets back, both of Taub’s kids will have been born, so I’m baking on days in jail.

    • Amy says:

      i agree, we are told he is 8 months in to his sentence, these groups could be months, with the vertical lines being how many vicodin he’s had, or people he’s saved, each month.

  42. Samantha says:

    It’s Seasons and episodes.He is in Hawaii.

  43. hussen dizay says:


  44. Sam says:

    They represent the number of episodes
    Each line represents a season, with 8 lines in total
    Every vertical line is an episode, and every horizontal one is 5

  45. Lanturut says:

    They represent countdown time to his release.

  46. christopher marshall says:

    i think the amount of rows and marks might mean, the amount of weeks house has spent in jail ( rows ) the marks might be how often he has been picked on each week

  47. Chris says:

    I see a double rainbow all the way across the sky.

  48. Dani says:

    It’s literally Hugh counting down until his contract is over. The last few might be drawn in blood….

  49. katie says:

    not in prison, new career…. he’s a teacher