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Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House

John Doyle: Television

House is going. These shows should go with it Add to ...

The news that House (Fox, Global, 8 p.m.) will end this May, after eight seasons, is most welcome. Enough already.

Right now, the only possible use I have for Dr. Gregory House is a diagnosis for the source of the massive headache I have while writing this. And, no, sunshine, it wasn’t another night of drinking 14 pints.

Like many series, especially those built around one central character, House ran out of steam several years ago. Enough with the mystery ailments, the dyspeptic sarcasm of Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) and the sudden revelation just before the last commercial break. House should have ended when Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) stopped patrolling the hospital in her tight skirts and heels.

One of the great mysteries of life has to be the fact that viewers stick with shows that are ceaselessly repetitive, creaking bores. Herewith, a (short) list of shows that should be cancelled.

Two and a Half Men. After all the fuss about Charlie Sheen’s bizarre departure and the arrival of Ashton Kutcher, the show became merely repulsive. Tonight’s episode is called Sips, Sonnets and Sodomy, with characteristic crassness. It comes with this summary: “Strained relationships and girl-fighting result when a huge storm traps Walden, Alan, Zoey and Lyndsey in the house on Valentine's Day.” Whatever. Every day is vulgarity day on this show.

The Bachelor/ Bachelorette franchise. Tonight, on The Bachelor (ABC, 8 p.m.) there is a shocking twist, we are informed. Ben cancels a cocktail party! Also, on a trip to Belize with some bachelorette, “Lindzi and Ben hover over one of the world's most impressive sinkholes.” There’s a joke to be made about the sinkhole that is this dreary narrative of dreadful people feigning romance, but I’m too headachy to make it. And I suspect a lot of viewers are fed up with the dates, the roses, the fake tears and laughter of nitwits seeking fame on a tawdry show that has long since lost its novelty value.

CSI: Miami. It will soon be 10 years since the debut of this spinoff from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Ten years of Lieutenant Horatio Caine (David Caruso) taking off his sunglasses and gazing in puzzlement at yet another dastardly act. And then putting his sunglasses back on. Ten years of slow-motion explosions and drug dealers sneering like pantomime villains. Ten years of female characters in implausibly flimsy outfits and Horatio Caine never taking off his sunglasses to look at them. Because he’s not that kinda guy.

Grey’s Anatomy. On this week’s show, “Amelia arrives at Seattle Grace to beg Derek for help with the gliosarcoma case. Cristina and Owen engage in heated arguments during marriage counselling, and Meredith is given a chance to shine when a man enters the ER after getting his hand stuck in a meat grinder.” That’s pretty much what’s been happening on Grey’s since it started. ABC’s tagline for Grey's Anatomy used to be “Operations. Relations. Complications.” Over and over, the same three ingredients. And an inevitable moment of emotional vulnerability.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A weekly reminder that Ice-T can’t act. At this point, we know, we know. He’s not going to suddenly acquire acting skills, so just make it stop.

Whitney. Like Ice-T, Whitney Cummings is a tad lacking in acting skills. The show is simply a bunch of garbled jokes about relationships. On this week’s episode, Whitney and Alex (Chris D'Elia) go back to the night they first met. Maybe everybody can go back to when this horror didn’t air?

Before I run out of space here, some other self-explanatory suggestions for instant cancellation – anything with a Kardashian, The Biggest Loser and any show with Real Housewives in the title. Wait a minute – also anything with Kevin O’Leary. I think he gave me this headache


Party Down (bold, 10 p.m.) is one of the more bizarre shows to be found on bold, CBC’s artsy channel. Made for U.S. cable, it’s a cult show (now cancelled) that failed to find a big audience, but succeeded in being hilarious for a while. It’s an ensemble piece about a group of wannabe actors, writers and comics in Los Angeles who pay the rent by working for a catering company. Mockery of showbiz ensues.

Check local listings.

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