Fake News: House drinks, paper torn

Pill swallowed with water

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (Sept. 22) — The entertainment industry was rocked Monday night when a lead player on a regularly scheduled television show used a glass of water to help him swallow a pill.

Dr. Gregory House, the character played by Hugh Laurie on Fox’s medical drama House, began the second half of a two-hour season premiere by accepting pills from the pharmacy at the fictional site where he is institutionalized, then using several gulps of water to ingest the medication. Until this landmark episode, virtually all lead characters ever seen on both television and feature films would swallow pills using only their own saliva.

The scene was staged to show that House, who was undergoing detox treatment for Vicodin addiction at the facility, was mending his errant ways. He had already been through withdrawal from the painkillers during the first hour, yet still exhibited an irascible nature that generally provoked irritation among his colleagues. At several times during that first segment, he took medication without the aid of water.

“Yes, it was meant to be symbolic that he was changing, or at least trying to change,” acknowledged producer Andy Wills. “But we were also aiming to inject a bit of realism into the role. Hugh himself suggested the glass of water. The original script had called for an unnamed carbonated drink.”

For hundreds of years, actors on both stage and screen rejected the idea of a liquid lubricant to help them take needed medicine or to abuse drugs. Not only did it save on the cost of props to omit tumblers of water from such scenes; it also lent a rebellious air to the character. Shakespeare used the device extensively in his early works, though later opted for giant chalices when he had become a more established and well-funded playwright. During the intervening 400 years of theatrical entertainment, only John Barrymore in the 1921 epic film I’m Really Thirsty used a drink to assist in the swallowing of a capsule or pill.

Wills speculated that later in the season, some character on the ground-breaking show will drive to a destination, only to arrive at the front door and find a “no parking” zone. He or she will then have to follow signs to a multi-level garage, where they will take a ticket from an automated gate-opener, circle up several stories to find a vacant spot, then take an elevator back down to the main floor before entering the building.

“In the hands of a skilled actor, this could be absolutely golden,” said Wills. “They can run through a whole range of emotions and internal dialog, both while circling and while riding the elevator. And we could easily kill four or five minutes that would otherwise be wasted on character development.”

Paper suspiciously ripped

THE NEXT CUBICLE OVER FROM YOU (Sept. 23) — A coworker in your office methodically ripped a sheet of paper into tiny pieces yesterday, causing everyone nearby to perk up briefly and peer across the room to see what could be so sensitive as to require such careful destruction.

The slow, rhythmic nature of the tearing caused widespread suspicion that the document contained either embarrassing personal information or material downloaded from the Internet in violation of company policy.

“If they just balled it up and threw it into recycling, no one would’ve noticed or cared,” noted administrative assistant Anne Purdy. “But that sound of deliberate ripping made us curious about what could be so incriminating.”

A team of several employees later retrieved the scraps from the trash bin and spent most of the afternoon piecing the puzzle together. Turns out, it was just an electric bill. What a disappointing waste of time that turned out to be.

In other sound-related news on the corporate front, when you went down the hall to the restroom earlier today and encountered that group of executives chatting with their backs to your oncoming approach, you deliberately raised the decibel level of your footfalls so they would hear you. Such a strategy enabled you to avoid speaking with them or fake-clearing your throat.

All but two of the group must’ve heard you, as they stepped slightly to the side while continuing their conversation. That one jerk who always wears a red tie never did slide over so you accidentally bumped his elbow, and later will dip your soiled fingers into his Sprite.

You hate that guy.

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4 Responses to “Fake News: House drinks, paper torn”

  1. planetross Says:

    audible footsteps! … I’m taking notes from the master now!

    Does a red tie mean you can’t eat oysters? … I can never remember.

  2. Skip Dekades Says:

    I guess the water glass means that House has officially jumped the shark.

  3. finley85 Says:

    That’s crazy about House! Why isn’t the media covering this more?

    I swear, and I cannot remember what it was, but I watched a movie the other day where an actor brilliantly executed the task of talking on the telephone, then-and I promise you I saw this- actually said ‘bye’ to end the conversation, instead of the ever typical ‘cease talking &hang up’ move we’ve all come to expect.

  4. fakename2 Says:

    That was one of the scary things about that episode, the very compliance of the thing.
    There is a certain joy in tearing things up that is quite unrelated to the content of the item. I personally like pine needles, the little scales from pine cones that the squirrels drop, and the labels on beer bottles.

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