House Romance Crisis: Can 'Huddy' Survive?

Hugh Laurie had just one concern when House decided to finally pull the trigger at the end of last season and launch into a full-on, non-hallucinated House/Cuddy romance: “Just don’t mess it up.”

“That’s my No. 1 anxiety with every scene we do, every script,” Laurie tells TVLine. “In a funny way, I care much less about what we do than how we do it – which is my job, the executing part. What matters is that we get the tone right: Is this true and believable, and will it resonate with people?”

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Viewers of course found themselves in the position of “Be careful what you wish for” when House decided to brave this path. After all, would the show’s main character lose the gruff edge that distinguishes him from any other TV doc?

“The one thing we did well is keep House and Cuddy House and Cuddy,” says series creator David Shore. “There’s a real tendency, when you throw people into a relationship, to have the characters change. They start becoming happy or something.”

But House and Cuddy, after realizing very early on that they were being tempted to change their ways, have instead maintained the prickly banter that made fans root for them in the first place.

“What I’ve enjoyed about this is keeping them just as at odds and antagonistic and annoyed with each other as they always were,” says Shore, “but sleeping together at the same time.”

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The writers’ success in spinning this story, and peppering it with enough combative relationship moments, has pleased both Laurie and his leading lady. “I’ve been having a great time doing it,” Lisa Edelstein tells us with a huge smile.

Adds Laurie, “The audience has invested so much over the last seven years, we owe it to them to do something that is true to both of the characters.”

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But can Huddy survive the long haul? Or could events kicking off this Monday with the arrival of Candice Bergen as Cuddy’s mother, followed by Paula Marshall (Gary Unmarried) as Cuddy’s sister, begin to quake the already shaky ground on which this relationship stands?

“The mother and the sister, these are things we all have to negotiate in relationships, aren’t they?” Laurie notes with a chuckle. “Sometimes these are welcome intrusions… and sometimes less so.”

At the very least, the influx of Cuddy kin will make for great TV. “They’re certainly welcome and entertaining, I can tell you that,” Laurie shares. “Candice Bergen is excellent, absolutely excellent.”

Perhaps too much so. The buzz is that a House/Cuddy break-up could be on the horizon. Should a split comes to pass, you have to suspect that things will get, um, difficult in the halls of Princeton-Plainsboro.

And that begs the question: Can Fox’s hit medical drama keep both House and Cuddy around if their romance does go down in flames? “I certainly hope so!” says Edelstein. “I certainly hope so.”