Today, we look at the first time House said, “It’s never Lupus!” on House M.D.
In “When We First Met”, we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of pop culture lore, like the first time that JJ said “Dy-no-MITE” or the first time that Fonzie made the jukebox at Arnold’s turn on and off by hitting it.
As you know, House M.D. was a long-running sort of half-medical/half-detective series, as Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) was the Chief of Diagnostic Medicine for Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. In other words, they’re the doctors you go to when you can’t figure out exactly WHAT is wrong with somebody.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Lupus is:
…a disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs (autoimmune disease). Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including your joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
Lupus can be difficult to diagnose because its signs and symptoms often mimic those of other ailments. The most distinctive sign of lupus — a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks — occurs in many but not all cases of lupus.
As the Mayo Clinic notes, since Lupus is hard to diagnose, it naturally is a common possible diagnosis for the tricky health problems that the various patients on House M.D. are dealing with. However, since it is such a relatively “normal” disease, it is almost never dramatic enough to be the ACTUAL diagnosis, and eventually, it became an in-joke on the show, that it is “Is never lupus!,” as House would angrily shout at one of the other doctors (do note that at least once on the series it DID turn out to be Lupus).
Okay, so when did House first say, “it’s never Lupus?”
Lupus wasn’t even MENTIONED on the show until the 11th episode, “Detox,” which is also where House reveals that he is, indeed, addicted to the Vicodin that he requires to deal with the pain from the infarction in the quadriceps muscle of his right leg that causes him to need to use a cane (that’s neither here nor there, I just thought it was interesting that this episode was particularly “special”), where House’s friend, Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), the Head of the Oncology Department, rules out Lupus for the patient in the episode, stating “ANA was negative. It’s not lupus.” An ANA is an Antinuclear Antibody Test that you use to determine if someone has Lupus or not.
The first joke involving Lupus came in the second episode of Season 2, “Autopsy,” when House meets a patient who has tried to give himself a Circumcision. When House sees his bloody pants, he jokes, “Well, it’s not Lupus.”
In the 15th episode of Season 2, “Clueless,” House is arguing with Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) about the patient:
Foreman: Lupus could cause –
House: No. Lupus progresses slower, there’d be joint pain.
Foreman: So it’s not a typical case! We should get an ANA –
House: It’s not lupus! The symptoms don’t match.
So that’s the first time House ever shouted, “It’s not Lupus!”
But we want to go even further, to the first time he actually said, “It’s never Lupus!”
Finally, in the ninth episode of Season 3, “Judas,” we see House open up a medical textbook that he has cut a hole into to hide a bottle of his Vicodin pills.
Foreman, surprised, says, “You stash your drugs in a Lupus textbook.”
House then replies, “It’s never Lupus.”
Here’s a fun video showing the various times it wasn’t Lupus…
I’m pretty sure someone suggested this one, but I don’t have a record of it in my e-mail, so if you suggested this one, drop me a line and I’ll give you credit (and try to e-mail me in the future, so I will have a record of your suggestion)!
If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable pop culture first that you’d like to see me spotlight, drop me a line at email@example.com