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Tonight's episode of House...
amen
clean_exorcism wrote in asexuality
Okay, so tonight's episode of House just ended, featuring the asexual couple, and... I couldn't be more disappointed and downright pissed off with how they handled it.


For those who didn't see it: essentially, an asexual couple gets "debunked" by the guy having a tumour in his pituitary gland causing a lowering in his libido and erectile dysfunction, and the woman was just apparently playing asexual to make her husband happy. And, of course, smartass comments from House about how absurd the notion of asexuality is. Heck, even Wilson didn't seem too convinced about it being an actual orientation. At least not compared to the previews.

I'm just so angry with how asexuality as a whole was discredited and treated like anyone who is asexual has something wrong with them. I'm seriously considering writing an angry email and giving them a piece of my mind (and am probably going to once I go punch a pillow or something.)

I mean, this is one of the first times asexuality was explained and handled on a major TV show, and had so much potential to actually inform people and give some visibility to the asexual community. Instead, they just informed the international audience that there's no such thing as a real asexual... unless there's something wrong with you.

I had so much hope for this, too, and I hate to say it, but I kind of lost a bit of respect for one of my favourite shows.

Anyway, I know I can't be the only one who saw it, so what are your guys' thoughts/feelings/rages? Are you going to be joining me in the angry emails?


(And on a lighter note: this little rant worked me up enough to finally delurk myself after like a year, and actually post something other than the rare comment! :) )

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Something wrong with you or you're lying and making the "sacrifice" to not have sex, as the wife said.

I'd write an angry email except I don't see how it would change anything at this point. It isn't like House would post a retraction. I'd be more likely to reply to, say, a newspaper article.

I'm trying to find a contact email address right now. >:(

I am in complete agreement. "Bleh" was my thought as the credits rolled.

The ONLY good thing that came of the plotline is that howevermany viewers did hear Wilson say it was an actual orientation that affects 1% of the population. Hopefully some of them were listening.

Hopefully most of those howevermany viewers will also remember that Wilson tends to be the voice of reason and that all 1% can't have pituitary tumors or be faking it to please their partners who do?

But that they managed to fall into BOTH the "have you have your hormones checked?" trope with him and the "you're just making it up for [whatever reason]" trope with her in the space of the B plot of one episode?

Bleh bleh bleh

--Signed an aromantic asexual doctor

Totally agree with everything you just stated. The way they insinuated she had affairs ("remembering" sex being fun, she has her needs), it was very frustrating to have it be a medical condition and neither of them actually asexual.

I took the line about needs being more she was self pleasuring than having an affair... but either way, I agree. It was so disappoinging. Though I DID like that he didn't want the treatment because it would change him...

but it also gave the viewers the thought that only men with E.D. are asexual. There must be men who get erections but have no desire for physical sex...

I'm so, so disappointed. I love House, I've been a fan for years, but this was just... wow.

I agree that the previews were very misleading. In the actual episode, no one seemed to believe that asexuality is real. What the heck was the point of including it then?

I'd totally be in favor of sending an email. Even if it doesn't change anything, it's better than doing nothing.

After reading, your comments I'm not sure I want to watch it anymore. If you do find a contact email, let me know. (I'll watch the show then write a bitterly angry email)

You beat me too it. I hit "Enter" and saw your post. I agree with you 100%. I didn't see any previews, but when I saw Wilson mention it to House I REALLY was hoping that House wouldn't find anything physically wrong. That they really were a happy asexual couple and that this show would shed some light on asexuality.

Especially with all the gay undertones of the show between House and Wilson, why is it that being "gay" is okay but someone not having a sexual libido and not wanting sex isn't? It's just so frustrating!!

I'm replying to the "screened" replyer who didn't log in.

"My question to you- why is it gay when two heterosexual dudes very good friends? As a complete heterosexual myself, I can very safely say that not all men that get into very close relationships with other men ever have even vague sexual feelings about their friend. Saying that there are "gay undertones" when two dudes are close friends is just about as ignorant as saying that asexuality is a medical symptom, and to the "true" heterosexuals (relative to a sliding scale of sexuality assuming the same libido) that keep an ear to the sexual rights rail it is downright infuriating (and a little insulting, when contrasted with countless credible homosexuals that contend that they have absolutely no desire for women). We all have incorrect assumptions about sexuality and relationships, it just seems that the team of writers at Fox got a larger soap box then most people do with which to spread theirs."


My reply to you: The writers of the show THEMSELVES have stated that House and Wilson have a homoerotic undertone to their relationship. You can find that being stated in almost anything you find House Related. So, by me saying they had a gay undertone I was not making assumptions about guys who are close friends, i was going off of already written canon of House and speaking SPECIFICALLY about House which has nothing to do with other men who may or may not have very close relationships with other men. I never once say that two men cannot have a close relationship without being gay, or even hinted at it. My post is only, specifically, stated around the show House M.D. and the characters of House and Wilson (who are based off Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, who ALSO have a homoerotic undertone to it that is very much accepted by the literary community)

Here are the Twitter accounts of the Writer and the Executive Producer/Director of this episode:

https://twitter.com/#!/retlefnegniL writer
https://twitter.com/#!/GregYaitanes" director

Still trying to find contact info for Fox itself...

Edited at 2012-01-24 02:49 am (UTC)

It looks like the writer is trying to do some damage control. I wouldn't mind knowing this background story she keeps talking about DMing that apparently makes the episode OK.

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Hi, I am not on your forum but I just watched House and then googled asexuality as I didnt know anything a about it, so I did what you thought might happen, hopefully many other people will do the same. I know it is upsetting but if you watch House alot as I do you realize he is an ass about everything and everyone so take it with a "grain of salt" as they say and hopefully more people will research the truth.

Okay - seriously. From my own watching experience with House - why on earth would you expect this show to treat anything with dignity? The fact that House was featuring asexuality should have been the first clue that this was going to go to hell in a hand basket very quickly.

THIS. Oh, so much this.

I already dislike the show intensely so it hasn't fallen in my opinion (the obnoxious genius trope gave me serious rage from the get-go) and popular though it may be, it's never going to be an advocate for anything.

I'm sad it didn't pan out, too. I was expecting that if they had TWO asexuals, that at least if one of them turned out not to be asexual the other still would be. I'm glad they pointed out that it's a valid sexual orientation, but nobody needs ANOTHER blatant suggestion that everyone is sexual. I usually like the show quite a lot, and I'm okay with the fact that House himself is a total ass, but yeah. Having asexuality treated sensitively on the shows Huge and Shortland Street was nice, but seeing something as popular as House make it a point to say "And the moral of the story is: House is right that everyone is actually motivated by sex, and it's absurd to think otherwise" . . . is disappointing.

Time to add "Maybe you have a tumour!" to the bingo card? :(

I've never even watched a single episode of House and this still makes me mad. ugh.

Grabbed this off of tumblr:

“I did a lot of research on asexuality for the episode. My original intent was to introduce it and legitimize it, because I was struck by the response most of you experience, which is similar to the prejudice the homosexual community has received. People hear you’re asexual and they immediately think, ‘What’s wrong with you, how do I fix you?’ I wanted to write against that. Unfortunately, we are a medical mystery show. Time & again, my notes came back that House needed to solve a mystery and not be wrong. So in THIS CASE, with THESE patients, it was a tumor near the pituitary. But I hoped I could (now it seems unsuccessfully) introduce asexuality to the general public and get them asking questions. All they need to do is one google search and they can see for themselves it’s a real community of great people. Originally, part of my dialog included thoughts about whether as a species we’ve grown past sex. Any time we tackle a subject, we risk the possibility of not doing it justice. I apologize that you feel I did you a disservice. It was not my intent. Asexuality is a new topic for me and definitely one I find fascinating. It is a subject I would like to continue to explore here or on future shows I write for. I think it speaks to where humans are now and where we are going. I will do my best in the future to do it justice.”

— House writer Kath Lingenfelter on writing the eighth episode of season nine (“Better Half”), in a Twitter response to AVEN user cleuchtturm.




Which, really, doesn't even adress the issue that a tumor near the pituitary glad wouldn't cause asexuality since it's a lack of sexual attraction, not low libido. And this "Originally, part of my dialog included thoughts about whether as a species we’ve grown past sex." just seems... I dunno mildly offensive to me? Like, great she was going to bring up asexual supperiority? That'd help.

Apology doesn't say 'I'm sorry I misrepresented asexuality', it says 'I'm sorry you people got offended'.

Nice.

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Methinks that this house ep may have just made 1% of seven billion people (that is, 70 000 000 people), very, very mad.

But we'll only be mad until we have our tumours removed, right? ;)

I tweeted my disappointment - introducing asexuality and debunking it in one go? So not funny.

But then again, I called it.

In response to all the "apologies for offending" - just because it's one couple in one situation doesn't make it any less offensive. If that's someone's first exposure to asexuality, then it's already formed the way they're going to think about it. Representing asexuality as a scam just once is one time too many. And if you've "researched" asexuality and still decide to represent it in a way that damages the asexual community in order to feed the ego of your (already completely unlikeable for the last two seasons) character, then screw you.

Yep. It'd be like if homosexuality wasn't very well-known, and a gay guy was introduced and House thought "Hm, something's wrong with him because all guys like vagina," and he spent the episode figuring out what was wrong with him and by the end of the episode it's revealed the guy is straight or became straight. Followed by House nodding sagely and saying "See, like I said, all guys like vagina." If nobody'd heard of homosexuality and this was one of their first exposures to it, every gay person they met after that would be subjected to this whole "have you tried a cure?" mentality because House showed it's a) possible to cure them and b) completely legitimate to automatically suspect their homosexuality as something that just isn't right. :(

did you ever see the tv show Godivas? (it's canadian, only lasted two seasons). It was an amazing show on sexual interaction with people. Anyway there was one male character who identified himself as asexual... in the second season he ends up meeting up with a group of people who are all asexual, and makes really good friends with two people in the group, where there becomes a slight struggle between them and his other friends... in case you ever happen upon watching it I don't want to spoil any more of the story...

I haven't seen that, sounds interesting. There's an asexual character on Shortland Street (New Zealand soap) and there was a minor asexual character on the canceled American show Huge.

I really don't know what's more depressing: the fact that they got it that wrong, or the fact that they got so much right and then undermined it all so spectacularly...

Blarg, now I'm worked up enough to want to reply to that 'apology' from the writer.

I did a lot of research on asexuality for the episode. [...] People hear you’re asexual and they immediately think, ‘What’s wrong with you, how do I fix you?’ I wanted to write against that.

This begs the question of THEN HOW COULD YOU SCREW IT UP SO BADLY.

Unfortunately, we are a medical mystery show. Time & again, my notes came back that House needed to solve a mystery and not be wrong.

Ignoring the fact that it's ridiculous to think your main character can never be wrong, this should have sent up flags for you as a writer. If it turns out the only way you can handle your subject matter is offensively, YOU SHOULDN'T WRITE IT.

So in THIS CASE, with THESE patients, it was a tumor near the pituitary. But I hoped I could (now it seems unsuccessfully) introduce asexuality to the general public and get them asking questions.

You've got them asking questions all right. The same questions we've had to deal with for too many years already. "Are you sure you're not just sick? Are you sure you don't have a tumor? Are you sure you're not lying/faking it? Can't it be fixed?" We could do without those.

Besides the fact that a tumor would not "cause" asexuality. Like others have said, no libido =/= asexual.

All they need to do is one google search and they can see for themselves it’s a real community of great people.

Except that humans, as a species, like first impressions. If someone has never heard of asexuality and their first exposure to the idea is on a very popular medical-related show, wherein it turns out that the ace people actually AREN'T ace, one just has a tumor and the other is faking it, the damage has already been done. The first impression has been laid. Now any viewers who didn't know about asexuality before are under the impression we're all just broken or biological freaks. A one-liner about 1% of the world being ace doesn't make up for the glaring "These people aren't having sex. FIX THEM." message.

If anyone goes to do a search for asexuality now, they'll be doing so under the impression that they're going to talk to a community of people who actually do want sex, we just need surgery and we'll be back to normal. IF you had done your research, you should know your storyline was offensive and hurtful to everyone who identifies as ace.

If your goal was to spread awareness of asexuality, you should have told an empowering or at least respectful story. Seeing as how you didn't, I'm more inclined to believe you just wanted to use asexuality as an edgy plot device.

Originally, part of my dialog included thoughts about whether as a species we’ve grown past sex.

Now you're going to pull asexual elitism into this too? Seriously? We have enough trouble with elitists misrepresenting us as it is. All I can say is thank gods that you didn't include that part, because that would have only made it worse.

Any time we tackle a subject, we risk the possibility of not doing it justice. I apologize that you feel I did you a disservice. It was not my intent.

There's a difference between innocent ignorance and willful misrepresentation. Considering that you claimed to have done research, this feels like the second. =/

Asexuality is a new topic for me and definitely one I find fascinating.

We're not fascinating. We're just people. Please treat us like regular people who just don't partake in one particular activity. We don't want your fascination. We just want you to acknowledge that you messed up and misrepresented a group.

It is a subject I would like to continue to explore here or on future shows I write for. I think it speaks to where humans are now and where we are going.

WE'RE JUST PEOPLE. Asexuality is not the wave of the future! It isn't like 100 years from now everyone will be asexual and those of us who are now will be cranky old people wearing big hipster glasses and going, "I didn't want sex before not wanting sex was cool. Now get off my lawn!" Please stop acting like you think we're some kind of ultra-evolved species. This is just proof that you haven't understood asexuality at all and have little business playing around with it.

Hey everyone! I am a sexual, so I can't entirely relate to how angry/frustrated/insulted you must feel after watching that episode of "House," but as a blogger for a relationship/dating website I was able to share some of the reasons the episode was so unbelievably false with people looking for answers. Check out the full post here (http://blog.planetlovematch.com/post/House-False-Portrayal-Asexuals.aspx) and let me know if there's any changes or recommendations!

Not bad. Nice and concise, though you have one typo ("shame of you" instead of "shame on you"). Thanks.

I went to the IMDB boards for House (I used to frequent there as far back as the days of season 3) and looked for reaction posts - some people were offended by the portrayal of asexuality, some people had never heard of it and were asking if it even existed (so I kindly explained that it was and pointed them towards AVEN) and some people seemed to just ignore/accept the storyline for what it was.

And then in one of my posts I wrote this and thought it was good enough to share.


"But see, in that case they could have left the word 'asexual' out of it and just presented a problem where both the husband and wife had no desire for sex - except that would mean the ending would have to change, because obviously she wasn't asexual, just in love with him so much - so perhaps keep it at 'she'd voluntarily be celibate to spend her life with him' and go from there. I think it would fit better with the overall theme of "we're together because of love despite what happens".

That would be a much better ending, actually. Fits the A-plot nicely as well as the correlation to House and Wilson's relationship."

I'm late to the conversation (almost posted about this myself) but I too have to register my disappointment. On the other hand, House's incredulity is characteristic to the show, and typical of the medical community in general. My major objection was to the junk medicine behind the fictional diagnosis.

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