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Mystery, mystery

by hsun

I know this clip is probably not directly connected to any of the subjects we discussed in class, but as a fan of this show for quite some time, I just feel obliged to comment on it when I saw it in "Featured Clips".

As bashfully fangirly as it sounds, I actually do know some back stories about this title sequence, including the fact that they recently (namely the beginning of the new season) decided to change it--I'm sorry to report that there's no mystery here, for the sole purpose of this replacement is to take out the name of the actor who's already left the show and put new ones in. However, in other facts behind this title sequence, we can probably sniff out something that's quite interesting. 

Let's now talk about the changes this sequence has gone through before it became official: the show had another title sequence before this one that only appeared in the DVD extras, which consists of a surprisingly boring collage of banal New Jersey/east coast scenery bird views; and the present title sequence has been modified as well: note that at 00:20, the original images the show creators had in mind were images of a cane and a bottle of Vicodin--the signature personal belongings of the protagonist Dr. Gregory House, but of course, then the network strongly opposed to showing implied narcotic abuse in one of their primetime shows, so they had to tune it down to some comparably meaningless background(for other images are all medicine-related)of a boat on a river in Princeton University. Certainly we could follow up on that by commenting on the big bad wolf that is the network who is always ready to snap at intellectual creativity, but that would be too same-o same-o for my taste.

As a fan you probably know more about the show than occasion watchers, and you most certainly do obsess over it a lot more often than others. A fascinating fact about the title sequence is that there had been quite some heated discussions on "decipher conundrum" among fan communities. Remember the images we talked about just now, the ones that were replaced to suck up to the network? Yes, guess who's name showed up over the images? The only series regular that has been let go from the show. So it was loaded with predictions and metaphors from the beginning, the fans argued quite intellectually, all the parchment-colored, MRI-image style medical imageries were clear indicators of how each character fit into the show: Hugh Laurie's Dr. House is the brain and most essential organ, Robert Sean Leonard's Dr. Wilson is the dividing between the left and right part of the brain (I honestly don't know what it's properly called) as a compensation to House's social dysfunction, Lisa Edelstein's Dr. Cuddy is the nervous system of the human body that is the hospital in the show, etc., etc., and that's why Jennifer Morrison was let go because her character just wasn't given any clear functions. 

I was quite amazed by this eloquent and honestly logically valid argument when I first saw it, and then I began to wonder, so would it be any different if the original idea of a cane and a Vicodin bottle went through? Or would the fans just come up with some new argument? I guess they will, since this is one of the intriguing principles of fan culture, I forgot what it was named properly in one of the papers we read, let's just call it the mystification of cannon--to fans, all things cannon is sublime: not necessarily sublimely good, but as god's creation (hence the "cannon"reference, I argue), nothing is meaningless, coincidental or inconsistent, if something happened out of the blue, it must have been some inklings in the past. And of course there's the remixability of cannon we talked about, especially the slash fan culture--while the fans create meanings through remix, they never intend to make something out of nothing, the sole motivation behind their contribution is the firm belief of "it has been there all along".

House title design

by Critical Commons Manager

The opening title sequence of the Fox medical drama House uses a combination of aerials situating the narrative in an East Coast Ivy League university along with medical imagery such as X-rays, microscopic images and 19th century-style medical illustrations, which connote relatively low-tech forms of scientific experimentation.

House Title Sequence

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Opening titles for the Fox medical drama House

from House (2004)
Creator: David Shore
Distributor: Fox
Posted by Critical Commons Manager