One of my biggest pet peeves this TV season (so big it made the Festivus list) has been the increasing prominence of Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) on "House," whose screentime and prominence in each episode feels wildly out of proportion for a character who isn't all that compelling. So when the cast and producers of "House" showed up for press tour, I made sure to ask why Thirteen was getting so much burn.
"Honestly, I don't think I realied how much screen time she's getting," insisted "House" creator David Shore when I brought the matter up during the session. "I like Thirteen. I think it's a really cool, interesting character, and the disease and how people react to that disease is really cool. But we are trying to find that with each of them, and hopefully, we are going to be creating a nice balance overall."
After the session, I scrummed with Shore to talk more about the ongoing Thirteen situation (or problem, depending on your POV).
"We've definitely used her a lot," he acknowledged, "because we'd set up something, so it had to pay off. We had to follow it through. It's not because we're going 'She's the focus of the show.' She is part of the show and we had set up something at the end of last year which needed to be followed through and we've done that. The trick with the series is to constantly be dealing with one, as you finish one set up another one and follow-through with that and that's what we're going to continue to do."
Fienberg, also scrumming, asked whether Shore had been following fan reaction on the Internet, where Thirteen ain't the most popular character in the show's history.
"I'm sorry, but I really try not to," Shore said. "That's a no-win situation. On one hand, everyone's got an opinion. Every opinion's valid. Mine's more valid. I'm being glib, but I really do think the reason shows work is because it's somebody's vision and it either will work or it won't work and I have to do what I find entertaining and I find interesting. At a certain point it won't work, but it has to be what I want to do... Every now and again, something's clearly not working and you do take some feedback, but you can't be at the whims of everybody. It's the same thing I have to do with the network when the network has certain reactions.
"I think you have to be careful with that, because you can find completely conflicting opinions and you can drive yourself crazy with that stuff. It's not pleasant for anybody to read, 'Why did he do that? He's an idiot.'"