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Information about House MD"Pilot", also known as "Everybody Lies", is the first episode of the TV series House. The episode premiered on the FOX network on Nov. 16, 2004 (13 years ago). It introduces the character of Dr. Gregory House (played by Hugh Laurie)—a maverick antisocial doctor—and his team of diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey. The episode features Dr. House's attempts to diagnose a grade-school teacher after she collapses in class.
House was created by David Shore, who got the idea for the curmudgeonly title character from a doctor's visit. Initially, producer Bryan Singer wanted an American to play House, but British actor Hugh Laurie's audition convinced him that a foreign actor could play the role. Shore wrote House as a character with parallels to Sherlock Holmes—both are drug users, aloof, and largely friendless. The show's producers wanted House handicapped in some way and gave the character a damaged leg arising from an improper diagnosis.
The episode received generally positive reviews; the character of House was widely noted as a unique aspect of the episode and series, though reviewers such as Sherwin Nuland of Slate believed that such a cruel character would not be tolerated in real life. Other complaints with the episode included stereotyped supporting characters and an implausible premise. The initial broadcast of "Pilot" was watched by approximately seven million viewers, making it the sixty-second most-watched show of the week.
PlotShortly after the start of class, kindergarten teacher Rebecca Adler (Robin Tunney) becomes dysphasic and falls to the floor and starts seizing. Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) attempts to convince the misanthropic Gregory House to treat Adler, but House dismisses him, citing boredom. When Wilson claims that the patient is his cousin, House agrees to take the case. Hospital administrator Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) approaches House in the elevator and attempts to persuade him to fulfill his duties at the hospital's walk-in clinic, a task House loathes because of the uncomplicated nature of the cases brought to him. House refuses, claiming that Cuddy cannot fire him due to tenure, and hurriedly leaves. When House's team attempts to perform an MRI on Adler, they discover that House's authorization has been revoked; Cuddy grants House authorization for diagnostics in exchange for his required attendance in the clinic.
During the MRI, Adler's throat closes up, prompting two members of House's team, Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison (18 walls)), to perform a tracheotomy. Working in the hospital's clinic, House treats a ten-year-old boy whose mother allows him to use his asthmatic inhaler only intermittently instead of daily as prescribed. House scolds the mother for making such a drastic medical decision without first learning more about asthma. During his monologue, House stumbles on an idea and leaves quickly to treat Adler; he diagnoses her with cerebral vasculitis, despite having no proof. Adler temporarily improves greatly on a steroid treatment.
On House's insistence, neurologist Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) and Cameron break into Adler's house to find anything that might account for Adler's symptoms—seizures, dysphasia, and airway constriction. They find an opened package of sliced ham (which is not kosher) in Adler's kitchen, leading Foreman to reveal that Dr. Wilson had lied to House to convince him to treat Adler (Wilson is Jewish). House dismisses the lie and concludes that Adler is suffering from cysticercosis due to eating undercooked pork; the tapeworm inside of her reproduced, and its larvae were absorbed into her blood stream, infesting her brain. Adler, wishing to die with dignity, refuses to accept more treatments unless there is evidence that the diagnosis is correct, but House attempts to persuade her otherwise. During the conversation, Adler asks for the cause of the limp in House's right leg. House reveals he had an infarction in his thigh muscles that led to muscle death, which could have been avoided if his doctor had made the correct diagnosis. House continues, claiming that death is ugly and that Adler cannot die with dignity, but she still refuses treatment. House is ready to dismiss the case when Chase provides an idea for noninvasive evidence of Adler's tapeworm infection; by taking an X-ray of her leg, House proves that Adler is infested with tapeworms and her condition is treatable. After seeing the evidence, Adler happily agrees to take her medication to kill the tapeworms.
ReceptionHouse's premiere episode was generally well received. Critics reacted positively to the character of House; Tom Shales of The Washington Post called him "the most electrifying character to hit TV in years". The New York Magazine called the series "medical TV at its most satisfying and basic", and stated that the cast consisted of "[professional] actors playing doctors who come to care about their patients", while The Boston Globe's Matthew Gilbert appreciated that the episode did not sugarcoat the flaws of the characters to assuage viewers' fears about "HMO factories". Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times said that though the characters might be a turn-off to some viewers, the gore and "derivative gall" of the show were positives to fans of procedural dramas; TV Guide's Matt Roush stated House was an "uncommon cure for the common medical drama". Critics of The A.V. Club called House the "nastiest" black comedy from FOX since the 1996's short-living TV series Profit. Critics considered the series to be a bright spot among FOX's otherwise reality show-based broadcast schedule.
The episode's format was compared to a rival TV series, Medical Investigation. USA Today favorably stated House as more character-driven than Investigation's "plot-driven procedural", and the San Francisco Chronicle felt that House was the better show due to the title character. Variety's Brian Lowry, meanwhile, stated that the two shows were too similar and House was mismatched among FOX's other programs. Other complaints included perceived stereotypes of young, attractive doctors. Sherwin Nuland of Slate gave the first episodes of the series a highly negative review, stating that "Of all the medical errata in this series (and there are some whoppers), the greatest is surely the conceit that a physician so remote, so neglectful of duty, so sadistic, so downright cruel as Gregory House would be tolerated in any hospital." Kay McFadden of The Seattle Times felt that Laurie's portrayal of House humanized the character, but also revealed the show's deepest flaw: "a reliance on shallow cuteness for comic relief". Other complaints included a lack of characterization for the supporting characters in the first few episodes.
The premiere attracted approximately seven million viewers in the United States, making it the sixty-second most-watched show for the week of Nov. 15–21, 2004 (13 years ago). The United Kingdom terrestrial premiere was broadcast on Jun. 9, 2005 (12 years ago) by Five and garnered a ten percent share, 1.8 million viewers. Christopher Hoag, who composed the music for "Pilot" and the first season of House, was nominated in the 2005 (12 years ago) Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Music Composition for the episode. Shore received a Humanitas Prize nomination for writing the episode, but lost it to John Wells, who wrote the The West Wing episode "NSF Thurmont".
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