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Guest Blogger Barbara Barnett: Five Things You Need to Know About Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.




Barbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV’s antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature.

Barnett’s regular column, “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D.” features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie.

Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn’t exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing.

She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it’s not her last.

Visit Barbara’s website at

Five Things You Need to Know About Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.

by Barbara Barnett

1.    I interviewed a Sherlock Holmes expert/House fan to uncover the hidden (and not so hidden) connections between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s great Victorian detective and Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital’s Dr. Gregory House. Did you know, for example, that Conan Doyle was a physician as well as a writer? His mentor Dr. Joseph Bell was a very House-like doctor, able to diagnose people just from looking at them. Also the names of House and Wilson are plays on the names Holmes and Watson. And–House and Holmes both live at 221B.

2.    I interviewed a child/family psychologist who’s also a House fan to figure out what’s ailing Dr. House when he lands in a psychiatric hospital at the beginning of season six.

3.    The chapter exploring Dr. Gregory House is called “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know,” something Lady Caroline Lamb said of her lover, the poet Lord Byron. House is very much a product of this great tradition of “Byronic” heroes like Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre) and more modern takes on this literary archetype like Rick Blaine (Casablanca) and Batman (The Dark Knight)

4.    The episode-by-episode guide (all six seasons) explains the title of every House episode. Every  title has a meaning that ties into the themes and ideas of the episode. In “Simple Explanation” (Season 5), House’s fellow Kutner commits suicide. The title suggests the simple explanation to understanding suicide is that there is NO explanation. House literally makes himself crazy trying to understand the inexplicable.

5.    The episode guide finds each episode’s “bromantic” moment, exploring the interesting relationship between House and his best friend Wilson. The guide also ferrets out the “shipper alerts”–the main relationship issues and highlights of each episode, whether that’s between House and Cuddy, House and Cameron, Foreman and 13, or Chase and Cameron (and any other pairing!)

Be sure to join Barbara on March 25 at the Pump Up Your Book’s March 2011 Facebook Party where you can talk to the author and win a copy of her book!  Visit and leave a comment to let us know you’ll attend!


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