House‘s titular diagnostician won’t have med student Martha Masters to push around much longer. As first reported by TVLine, Amber Tamblyn‘s run will wrap up by season’s end, if not before May sweeps. And the actress’ decision to discharge herself from Fox’s hit medical drama didn’t come easy. “There is a reason I’m leaving,” Tamblyn shared as part of this in-depth interview with TVLine, “and it’s a really good reason.”
Read on for more about that, the big Joan of Arcadia reunion she enjoyed before checking out of Princeton-Plainsboro, and how “juicy” things will be when Masters gets Thirteen’s number. (House airs Mondays at 8/7c.)
TVLINE | How has it been for you, vying to be the voice of reason against Dr. Cranky Pants all season long?
You mean Dr. Hottie Pants? Dr. Sexy Face? I shot my last episode, and I’m sad to be done, but it was a really fun experience, something I would never take back.
TVLINE | You’ve had some really great verbal volleys with Hugh Laurie.
Yeah, they were really cool in writing me some great stuff when they didn’t have to do that. I could have just been the background doctor person, but they were great to me as an actor.
TVLINE | And wasn’t Masters fired once or twice along the way…?
Masters has been fired so many times by House, I can’t even keep track. [Laughs] When someone asks about that, I’m like, “Yeah, which time?”
TVLINE | Toward the end of last week’s episode, Masters said, “I was wrong, ” to which House said, “Not yet.” Was it your interpretation that he realized he went too far by “blowing up” that guy’s heart?
No, I don’t think he ever feels like that. [Laughs ] I think he was not being the champion that he usually is about himself. Normally he would be, “Ha-ha, I told you so. Idiot.” This is just a darker way of him expressing that he’s right without being egotistical about it. It was interesting to see, leading up to that, how he’s off of his game because of what’s going on with Cuddy, and his inability to make that work. He can get everything else in his life to work exactly the way he wants it to, but he’s pretty much handicapped in the relationship department — much the way Masters is in the social department.
TVLINE | At the end of the day, will Masters be better or worse for this experience?
I think she’ll be both. When characters leave House, they are forced to grow exponentially — whether it’s in a good way or in a bad way. [In the end] it’s a pretty fascinating thing that happens for her. It’s pretty unique.
TVLINE | This Monday’s Patient of the Week is played by Chris Marquette (Joan of Arcadia)– someone you know just a bit.
Yes, indeed! That’s actually happened twice now, because Sprague Grayden was on House [in mid-January]. But Chris and I worked pretty heavily together on Joan of Arcadia, so it was clearly as if nothing had ever changed. Like, I was making an inside joke that only he and I would know. Chris has an infectious laugh the way that Jason Ritter (The Event), who played my brother on that show, does, and it makes you want to make them laugh harder. Chris’ character is a pretty serious one for House, but still, we would get each other to laugh.
TVLINE | Was it pure coincidence that he was cast?
Total coincidence. In fact when I told the director, he was like, “Oh my god, I wonder what that would have done to my choice in casting him had I known that?” But we’re totally different characters than we were on Joan of Arcadia [playing boyfriend/girlfriend].
TVLINE | Before you leave House, will there be any overlap with you and Olivia Wilde?
We have two episodes — one where we actually work together — and it was super, super fun.
TVLINE | Does the fact that Thirteen is back (starting April 11) have anything to do with why Martha leaves?
No, it had more to do with us the actors. They really wanted me to stay, but there are reasons I have to leave, because of other things I’m doing. It was my 13th episode, and that’s when Olivia had finished her film and was due back. But I was glad — I was going to be real peeved if I didn’t get to do something with her, because I’ve heard nothing but amazing things. My boyfriend (actor/comedian David Cross) has worked with her, and I’ve heard she’s a really rad chick that I would get along with well. If they hadn’t given us at least one scene, with me being the only other female team member, it would have been a missed opportunity. I think they knew better than to pass that up, so they gave us some really cool scenes together. It will be definitely juicy for House fans.
TVLINE | So what are your plans for the spring, if not House?
I am taking a little break and adapting a book that I worked three years trying to buy the rights to.
TVLINE | So although leaving was a difficult decision, it was the right decision.
House is such a great environment to work in, exactly what every actor wants – good writing, steady work, great actors and great producers. I was the most sad to say goodbye to Hugh, because he’s the most incredible and giving actor to work with.
House fans, will you miss Masters when Tamblyn’s time on the show runs out later this spring?