House Opening Sequence

Rewatching House¬†for the first time since it initially aired, I’ve noticed details which had not occurred to me before, some more obvious than others. I get different things out of it than I did 10, and certainly 14 years ago. I like it when the creators of such things have an attention to detail, but the immediate topic is simply the placement of names in the opening credit sequence.

House uses a cold open (the title sequence begins after an opening scene, usually of how the patient-of-the-week collapses, experiences something clinically strange, or otherwise how/why they wind up at Princeton Plainsboro). The title sequence itself is relatively short, around 30 seconds; but is stylish. Actor credits are displayed against a sequence of (mostly) anatomical images (brain, chest x-ray, etc.), the outlier being an aerial shot of a river.

Immediately obvious is the connection between ‘top-billing’–Hugh Laurie, who plays Gregory House–and the image of a cranium/brain. This forms the basis of postulating a relation between the image shown and characteristics possessed by each actor’s character. A quick analysis is given below.

  • Hugh Laurie (House)
    • Image: Brain
    • House is smart. Yes, this one is obvious and boring to mention; but it stands to reason that a defining character trait of House is his intelligence, making this pairing appropriate.
  • Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy)
    • Image: Vein? Nervous system?
    • Both interpretations of the image relate to her role as an administrator (regulator)–of both the hospital and of House.
  • Omar Epps (Foreman)
    • Image: Chest (x-ray), rib cage, sternum, heart? lungs?
    • Displayed this way, the chest can represent many things; strength, defensiveness, but transparent.
  • Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson)
    • Image: Brain (middle), corpus callosum
    • The corpus callosum allows communication between the hemispheres of the brain; it balances and forms connections.
  • Jennifer Morrison (Cameron)
    • Image: A river
    • An outlier (see below). However, it being an outlier can itself be thought of as representing the occasional social-awkwardness of her character. Not to mention the multitude of symbolic meanings for water/movement.
  • Jesse Spencer (Chase)
    • Image: Spine
    • As per the phrase “grow a spine.” Chase has a ‘spine’ in this sense.
  • …and while not a character, the final image is of the text “Created by David Shore” placed above a headless torso. Faceless, not on screen. Is the ‘head’ of the show.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that according to the show’s creators, the opening images do not have a thought-out relevance in-line with what I out-lined above. Happy accidents can be as fun to analyze as anything else (this is not an endorsement of getting bogged down in irrelevant details).

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