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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.

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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.”

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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!

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169 Comments
  1. jules says:

    Season 1 of House: 22 episodes
    Season 2: 24 episodes
    Season 3: 24 episodes
    Season 4: 16 episodes
    Season 5: 24 episodes
    Season 6: 21 episodes
    Season 7: 23 episodes

    So the marks do bear a general relationship to the length of the previous seasons, even if it’s not exact.

    Plus the marks set the scene — jail — and we see a shadow of House and the cane to tell us he’s in conflicted circumstances. Shadow = distress. Cane = Still House.

    I think the marks represent the seasons and the new jail setting and the shadow and cane represent House and his mental state, with LOOK! SEASON 8 IS ABOUT TO START! and LOOK! HOUSE IS IN JAIL AND CRANKY! as the overriding messages. I seriously doubt they were trying to communicate in semaphores or Morse code or anything.

  2. A says:

    I count 112. I think he was sentenced to 120 days and we’re going to start the season with one week left to go.

  3. Ammy says:

    Sigh. Why does anyone mark a prison wall? To show how many days they’ve been in there. The only other explanation is days he’s been without Vicodin, or being beaten up.

  4. gregory house says:

    It doesn’t mean anything you all miserable idiots! It is just a marked-up chalkboard!

  5. Uhm. The cane propped up against the wall in the poster has to count for something, doesn’t it? It’s part of the puzzle. The counting is probably for the number of days he’s tried to walk without using it.

    It sort of fits. Cane’s propped up against the wall and the count is 1 in the very last line. Seems to signify another attempt, doesn’t it?

    And watch the teaser again. He’s not using his cane.

    http://www.tvline.com/2011/09/house-season-8-promo-odette-annable/

  6. Steve says:

    Guys it’s so obvious it’s ridiculous! The funny part is that it’s even in the trailer that’s been shown. It’s the number of times that it’s been suggested that it’s Lupus. BY SEASON! Which is why season 4 is shorter because naturally there were fewer chances to think it was lupus.

  7. carol says:

    The rows represent the seven past seasons and the first episode of season eight. This is a blunt reference to the cliche of inmates counting off the time served in prison. Just like the orange jumpsuit poster was a nuance-free reference to the cliche of serving time on a chain-gang.

    Next I imagine we will have a poster House banging his metal plate on the dining hall table to start a prison riot, just like Cagney and Raft in those old movies. There is nothing at all subtle or layered or profound about “House” this year.

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