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DEA vs. 'House'

Does the DEA control what we watch on TV? Active commenter bruce is stirring up controversy with recent accusations about the TV show 'House'.

We have not been given, nor will we be given, an adequate explanation for why House's chronic pain is suddenly manageable without painkillers. Keep in mind House had a legitimate, verifiable medical condition (infarction leading to muscle death) in his leg, so it's not like fibromyalgia or bad headaches some other painful condition that is hard if not impossible to medically verify.

The DEA has been writing letters to Fox complaining about House's "flagrant use and abuse of narcotics without consequence" for years now, and finally the network, writers, and producers all caved in to the government's demands... in the worst possible way. They decided to make the vicodin House had been taking for over a decade into a sudden hallucinogen, causing him to see dead people. They showed him going through the painful detox, and now he's just fine and dandy, no reference to his pain at all. And there won't be any further reference to his pain, other than "it's all manageable."

Idiots will consider this to be "character growth" but you can do your own Freedom of Information Act request and get the letters the DEA sent to Fox demanding that "House" no longer show a character using drugs and performing well (exceptionally well, in fact) at his job, without horrible consequences. You know, "for the children."

House's chronic pain and need for vicodin (in reality he should be on something much stronger and without the toxic acetaminophen that vicodin contains) were a central part of the show and the character of Dr. Gregory House. If they are going to destroy the character like this - at the request of the government, no less - then I won't be watching the show for much longer.

They gave the DEA final script approval over all episodes of House. Talk about big brother. Then again, "big brother" is the very essence of drug prohibition.

This thread also appears in comments from the House season premier recap a few weeks back. Viewers seemed disappointed that House's hallucinations were blamed on Vicodin. Not sure if this is a DEA conspiracy, pressure from lawyers in the Standards and Practices dept., bad writing, or what, but the impression is that Vicodin was thrown under the bus for political reasons and House will now tell patients with chronic pain to suck it up and deal.

Thanks to Sleepy for digging this one up!

Posted By jamesk at 2009-10-07 12:04:32 permalink | comments
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McWeed. : 2013-08-09 20:57:37
why do you think we watch all of these cop shows? the cops breaking the law to enforce the law because the guy is always guilty. I.E. it's ok to break into his home he's guilty,we saw him commit the crime in prime time. so it's ok that the cop ignores the Constitution. That's been on your screen for years.
guest : 2010-06-09 21:30:29
There are reasons why the writers portrayed the cop as such a power abusing, rights dismissing bully. You can bet there was a little pressure applied when they didn't comply without it.
Anonymous. : 2010-06-07 12:49:36
" We as a nation should outlaw big macs and fast food."

That's right, because the solution to disapearing freedom is to bad even more things!

guest : 2010-06-07 02:04:20
More people die from over eating than from from drugs. We as a nation should outlaw big macs and fast food. Why we are at it we should also ban freedom!
Greg. : 2010-05-03 17:30:08
Nope, the hallucinations stopped after detox, before therapy. Hallucinations thus far seem to be most likely caused by chronic vicodin use.
guest : 2010-01-18 10:34:10
There is no conspiracy. House had conversion disorder. Hallucinations, pain that was once unmanageable becomes manageable with therapy. Look it up, fits perfectly.
Michael J. McFadden. : 2009-11-11 22:47:52
Anonymous, you make some good points. Thank you!


Anonymous. : 2009-11-06 08:06:35
"One particular episode of 7th Heaven..."

There's a reason I don't have a TV; thanks for reminding me ;)


"The idea of the government using our tax money to practice this sort of cultural indoctrination through our supposedly independent entertainment media should be deeply shocking to any American"

Not so. Anyone paying attention over the last 50-60 years would not be surprised at this at all. Mass media grew up in an environment of cultural indoctrination that continues to this day. What's more, our media are an expression of culture (and today one of our culture's main embodiments), so it would be surprising (if not impossible) is this weren't the case.

But one has to be careful to keeps carts and horses straight. It's not so much that the government controls media; it's that both government and entertainment arise from the same cultural teleologies. It doesn't really help to view them separately.

We live in a culture of control, and that it expressed in every cultural artifact, from TV shows to governments.

Michael J. McFadden. : 2009-11-06 00:49:05
This will be a bit long, but it speaks directly to how this sort of government programming control was accepted years ago without criticism - in both the "War On Drugs" and the "War On Smokers." From pgs. 208/09 of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains":

"Under the sway of the office of President Clinton's drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, some of America's most popular shows -- including 'ER,' 'Beverly Hills 90210,' … and '7th Heaven' -- have filled their episodes with anti-drug pitches to cash in on a complex government advertising subsidy." (Daniel Forbes. A Salon Special Report., 01/13/00)

One particular episode of 7th Heaven featured an evil twin smoking after his smoking father passed away from lung cancer, while one of the regular teen characters started smoking, influencing two toddlers to emulate him by pretending to smoke with crayons as another teen regular kept loudly proclaiming all smokers’ stupidity and another younger teen quit a newly acquired habit to prove that he wasn’t stupid. To top it all off, yet another smoking character was thrown into the mix to rudely blow smoke in a nonsmoker’s face at an outdoor café while the home she was house-sitting simultaneously burned down from one of her cigarettes… after which she simply lit up another smoke and stalked off with a comment about the place being insured and nonsmokers being uptight! (No, I am not making this up.)

Incredibly, TV networks even accepted having government officials review and alter scripts dealing with drugs to fit specified guidelines and received for this the equivalent of over ten million dollars a year in releases from PSA obligations that they could then sell to commercial sponsors. The idea of the government using our tax money to practice this sort of cultural indoctrination through our supposedly independent entertainment media should be deeply shocking to any American (Forbes. op.cit.).


The Cosby Show, Full House, Roseanne, Happy Days, even Buffy The Vampire Slayer all caved in or were paid off for their antismoking themes and episodes... even though some of their commercials "for the children" were for stuff like Mike's Hard Lemonade with its rather devastating alcohol content.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

primordialstu : 2009-10-09 21:39:51
If in fact it is true that the DEA was writing to "House" all along, then they were telling the DEA to fuck off for five years. I seriously doubt that the writers are sucking up to the government at this late date. The character of Dr. House has gone through a few changes over the years and even kicked the vicodin habit before (after the awesome ketamine episode). I will bet that the writers are just setting up another surprise for later in the season.
soma_junkie : 2009-10-09 17:03:23
Why not tell the DEA to fuck off?? There's an idea!

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