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House producers (and a certain star) talk to reporters about last night's big twist

by Kona Gallagher, posted Apr 7th 2009 4:25PM
house simple explanationIf you're like me, then you're still reeling from the big shocker that happened in last night's episode of House. I spent the entire episode with my mouth hanging wide open, just sputtering, "what?" over and over again. After the episode ended, my boyfriend and I spent a good half an hour arguing about what really happened. Was House's theory correct, or was it just wishful thinking?

I thought the episode made it pretty clear, but there was definitely an element of ambiguity when it ended. Today, House executive producers David Shore, Katie Jacobs and, uh, a certain actor from House, held a conference call to answer some of our burning questions, like, you know, "what the hell?"

Okay, are the people who haven't seen the episode gone? Can we talk? So Kal Penn, of course, was the actor on the conference call. He gave lots of information about his new job, as well as what he knew about Kutner's suicide.

In case you haven't heard, Penn decided to leave House in order to take a job in the Obama administration. When I got my chance to speak to him, I had to congratulate Penn on having the best reason for leaving a TV show in history. We've heard "creative differences," we've heard, "I want to do movies," but this is definitely the first time a well-liked actor has left a wildly popular prime time series to work in the White House.

What made Kutner's suicide so shocking is the fact that it literally came out of nowhere. In fact, it was so out of the blue, that House convinced himself that Kutner was murdered-- because if it were a suicide, he would have seen it coming. I was curious to know how far ahead Penn knew about Kutner's suicide, and whether or not that affected his performance in the episodes leading up to it.

Penn told me, "I found out probably, half way through shooting episode 18, and no, the performance didn't change. That was the first thing I asked David Shore: 'Do you want me to change anything; do you want this to be informed that he's struggling with something?' And the answer was, 'not really.' This really is something that just comes out of left field in episode 20. We don't want to lead anyone on, and we also don't want to mislead anyone. It just is what it is, and there's no explanation for it." He goes on to say, "there are no codes [in previous] episodes for people to decipher."

The suddenness of Kutner's suicide led many viewers to believe, like House did, that it wasn't a suicide at all, but a murder. Some have speculated that the reason Taub was acting so weird is because he actually killed Kutner. On most television shows, this would be a lingering question that would be the subject of great debate for the rest of the season. House, however, is not most television shows.

David Shore and Katie Jacobs told us unequivocally that Kutner's death, was in fact a suicide. Shore says that the "why?" of it is what made him decide to go with this storyline, "[Penn's decision to leave] gave us an opportunity to do something unexpected and what's really exciting about it is it's a question that House can't answer, and he's the man with the answers to everything. It's really unexpected for the Kutner character, and that's what was exciting about it-- the unexpected nature of the event and the fact that there are no simple answers."

While there may be no simple answers about why Kutner killed himself, the simple answer about whether or not he did, is "yes."

What do you think about House's big twist? Is the suddenness of Kutner's death a great dramatic device, or a cheat ot the viewers who have spent the last couple of years investing themselves in the new characters? Leave your comments below.

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44 Comments

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Jimjhggns

yeah. I have to agree. I'd kill myself, too, if I had to work for Obama

January 06 2012 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brenda

I liked Kutner and am sad to see him go in such a permanent way. His character was becoming more and more interesting.

April 16 2009 at 11:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Prhime

was the online memorial a little too much though?

April 14 2009 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CJ

wow i never saw that coming...i do agree, though, that it is a very good reason to leave the show. At first I did think that it was murder, but i figured it out by the end. I think that the suddenness of it made it the best episode of the season

April 09 2009 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
beeniebag12

There were some things in older episodes about Kutner's personality that could have led to suicide.

The most important one being when he was talking to Taub considering Taub a friend and then Taub rebuffing him. I don't know if that was a reason but it is something.

April 08 2009 at 11:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
L:ewScannon

Kutner was murdered. Why would they give him a Hindu funeral when Hinduism celebrates life and expressly opposes suicide?

April 08 2009 at 10:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PN

I would shoot myself in the head as well if I was going to work for Obama.

April 08 2009 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ujj

Great episode, read my thoughts (sarcastic ofcourse) about the whole thing

http://musingbihari.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/making-sense-of-a-tragedy/

April 08 2009 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Holtzinger

They should have pursued the murder angle. House chasing after the murder in is off hours would have been a lot of fun. As it is I think a suicide out of the blue was a cheap and easy way to get rid of Kutner.

April 08 2009 at 3:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike Kaylor

I thought it was abrupt, and in no way a good way to get the character off of the show. If it had indeed been a murder, that would have been interesting, but to have no indication of a problem with Kutner was a bad decision.

April 08 2009 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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