House, Music and Coincidence

This one’s from December 2008:

Three things I love very much.

housesoundtrackindexSo, I wouldn’t exactly say that I believe in magical musical synchronicity, because t e skeptic in me doesn’t believe in much of anything, but I sort of do. Sometimes I go through phases where I can predict what song will come on next, among tons of possibilities. Sometimes the perfect song comes on, for example, if I’m writing to someone or about to call them, and then somehow the one song that really makes me think of them comes up, (and just for a reference point, I have over 11,000 songs on iTunes). Or sometimes I’ll be thinking about a song and it comes on. Or a song that just magically fits the situation. What I’m saying is, I don’t know how it happens, maybe it’s some sort of mind over matter thing, maybe it’s completely random and I assign it meaning, but I do sort of believe in something there.

But I’m getting a little off track (though I must say that one of the songs I’m planning to write about in this post just came on), what I wanted to write about was music, House and coincidence intersecting. Oh and dreams, I’ve been dreaming partly in songs this past week.

I think I’ve clearly established the fact in this blog that I’ve seen every episode of House several times. So it shouldn’t have come to a big surprise when last March, when I was at the writing residency (which just totally rocked my world), I came downstairs and a song was playing that I knew I knew, but couldn’t place. As it played on, I suddenly realized, “Oh, that song’s on an episode of House!” It was that song “Colors” that I included in my last post, by Amos Lee. That was the first time I ever heard a song from the show in the real world. It was pretty cool. I really love that song.

About two months after that, I was working at camp on Mother’s Day Weekend, and who shows up as a guest at Camp but Dave Matthews and his family. I never met him (and honestly, didn’t particularly care either way). I’m not a big fan, but I do really love this one Dave Matthews song at the end of the House episode “Love Hurts.” The song is called “Some Devil,” and has this great line, “You said always and forever is such a long and lonely time.” I don’t know what it says about me that I’m drawn to that, but whatevs, I dig it. Anyway, so that whole weekend I couldn’t get that song out of my head. Then one of my co-workers said that DM was in an episode of House. I’m not good at celebrity recognition (and really didn’t even know what DM looked like), so I wasn’t aware, and my friend went to go look it up, and came back and said, “His name on the show was Patrick–” I interrupted b/c I instantly knew what episode he was talking about, “Half-Wit,” where the patient Patrick, is a guy who got in a bus accident at an early age, and was left mentally retarded but a musical savant. So then we joked around (we’d all been joking around about our celebrity guest all weekend), about going up to him and being like, “Hey, aren’t you the guy who played a retarded guy on that show House?” and then these guys I work with were joking that they’d follow that up with, “Oh and weren’t you in that band, Hootie and the Blowfish or something?” because we always used to listen to this 90s rock station on satellite radio and they’d always ask with any pop-ish song that came on (including DMB and other bands) if it was Hootie. We were sort of joking about that, about pretending not to know who he was because DM was all anyone on staff was talking about all weekend. There was a lot of gushing, and we were too cool for that, of course, lol.

So, fast forward a few months to this past summer. I always listened to Democracy Now! on my iPod on my long walk to work, and I always paid attention to the music played during the breaks, because I always pat attention to music. A few times I heard songs by Rage Against the Machine, one time I heard Soundgarden’s Hands All Over during a broadcast on global warming. One day I heard a song that I immediately recognized as being from House, from the episode “Family,” which I later looked up to find the name and artist, Brett Dennen’s “Ain’t No Reason.” It totally excited me to have House and Democracy Now! coinciding somehow. For whatever reason that song, and a few others from the last half of Season 3 (like Josh Ritter’s “Good Man”) have always really stood out for me.

The next day or so, turning the corner from my road to head to work, again listening to Democracy Now! I heard a song I recognized, but couldn’t tell from where. I just knew I’d heard it before, but when the break was over, Amy Goodman only announced the name of the song, “Time to Pretend,” and never the artist. I didn’t think much of it. Then the next day, still crazed over the song “Electric Feel” by MGMT, I decided to listen to the rest of the album. I put it on and went to the other room to straighten up my apartment, and as the first song played, I was like, “OMG, that’s the song!” and I went and looked at my iTunes screen and it was indeed “Time to Pretend.” I was just like, whoa. It’s funny when the same songs keep cropping up. And I can’t go anywhere or do anything without paying attention to what music is playing, whether I want to or not.

Then, a little over a month ago, some friends visited from NJ, and we went out to this pretty nice restaurant on the island during their last night here. Music was playing quietly in the background, to the point where I had to almost strain to hear it, but even in those cases, my attention is always drawn. A song came on that again I vaguely recognized but couldn’t place. I was sort of singing along, I knew the words, I just couldn’t place it. And then it hit me that this song, too, was from House. After coming home and doing some research I found it was “In the Waiting Line” by Zero 7. The wildest part was, I already had the song on my computer and didn’t notice it. A friend gave me his whole music collection and it’s so massive that months later, I still haven’t listened to all of it, so that was a nice surprise.

By this point, I could pretty much sing along to any song from any episode, b/c I’d seen them all so many times, and I was starting to feel a real fondness for the music on the show.

After that was when I gave in to the obsession and started collecting the soundtracks from the various seasons of House. I found that the Zero 7 song wasn’t the only one I already had. I also had a song by Gomez, and “Feel Good Inc” by Gorillaz, which plays during one of the very few scenes where House is running.

Just when my TV watching habit couldn’t get any worse, I suddenly got into watching Grey’s Anatomy. I had a lot of resistance to that show. A girl’s not exactly apt to love a show that the guy she once lived with used to drool over and referred to as his “slutty hospital show.” But because he had liked it so much, I had seen a lot of episodes (albeit oozing with jealousy all the while) and then last winter, some of my girl friends would come over and we’d watch it on Thursdays, but not enough to really keep up with the storylines fully.

So for whatever reason, I started watching all the old episodes on my computer. I think it’s partly that I’ve exhausted House and I needed something medical to watch. When I had TV, I used to watch all these mystery diagnosis shows on the Discovery Health Channel, which were great. Sometimes, because of my prolific House-watching, I could solve the mysteries before the answer was revealed, or knew what specific diseases and their treatments were before it was discussed. So I had to fill that void, and started watching Grey’s Anatomy, and LOVING IT way more than I thought I would. I’m a little obsessed. It’s different than other shows I follow, namely House and The Office, because they’re so witty and super intelligently clever, whereas Grey’s is more emotional, but OMG I love it so much. And especially Dr. Alex Karev.

And the point is, of course I pay attention to the music there too. I’ve noticed some cross pollination between Grey’s and House (and have recognized at least two people who appear in both shows – there’s a woman who plays a freaked-out mom in an early episode of House who plays a woman who’s dying of cancer who won’t stop eating cake (and also hooks up with Alex in a bar bathroom) on Grey’s, and a patient in the House episode “Fools for Love” plays Meredith and Derek’s last clinical trial patient on Grey’s. Damien Rice is in both shows, twice in each. And Brett Dennen has songs in a few Grey’s episodes. I also noticed in Grey’s that during the first season, the makers of that show must’ve been obsessed with Tegan & Sara – practically every song from So Jealous (love that album) is on that first season, including my two favorites, “Fix You Up” and “Where Does the Good Go” and even in the first episode of Season 3, “Time Has Come Today,” the one where Izzie is laying on the bathroom floor, there’s a bunch of flashbacks, and a few of the flashbakcs are to a “mixer” that happened just before the first episode, and Tegan & Sara is playing in those flashbacks too! Weird.

But what really blew my mind was in the last episode I watched. I didn’t watch the seasons in order, and actually got to season 2 last (a lot of which I had already seen, but it’s amazing how much I didn’t remember), and in the last episode of that season, what song comes on but “Colors” by Amos Lee! It came on during a “prom” they have at the hospital. It gave me chills. That’s the only song that has actually been on both shows. It was a great way to end the viewing marathon with, it just seemed so synchronous, and so funny since that is the song I’ve been all hung up on, and included in my last post. It gave me chills when it came on.

So this is all obscure and kinda useless to anyone else, but it makes me happy, so I’m writing about it..

And here comes the dream part. A few nights ago, I had a dream that was very strange. It reminded me of the Orcas Island Writers Festival, there were all these tents set up with different workshops going on inside, and somehow Alex from Grey’s was in this dream (and just for the record, I don’t usually dream about fictional characters, but this time I did, and we were dating, and he had a baby daughter…???), and in one of the tents, the song “Hit the Ground” by Lizz Wright (which is a House song) was playing. What struck me was how clearly I heard the song in the dream, every word. That’s unusual. It was really, really striking. Then last night I dreamt about Damien Rice’s “Sleep, Don’t Weep” which is not one of my favorite songs off of 9 Crimes, but is in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, in a three-parter that has to do with a ferry crash (I must say one of the things that draws me to the show is that it takes place in Seattle, and that they’re always showing ferries, but I do NOT like the idea of them crashing being put into my head). Again, the song was very vividly in my dream. The rest of the dream was much stranger though, I mean just beyond bizarre, trying to escape some sort of haunted, evil house with a brother of some sort that seemed and looking nothing like my brother. Weird shit, I tell ya.

Again, this may be my strangest blog post. I realize no one is really going to care about the intricacies of my favorite TV shows, but I don’t care, it’s all been in my head, some of it for months, and I need to get it out. So there.

Oh and I must say, about two weeks ago, I went to Seattle and saw my friend Eileen (also known as BlueShine), who’s recently returned from Iraq, and we were just talking, shooting the shit, and she was telling me that there was one point when they couldn’t really go anywhere, and she watched House for twelve hours. Oh, it warmed my heart and got me all excited to know she was into House too.

Anyway, I’m shutting up now.

Currently Listening:
“Hope for the Hopeless” – A Fine Frenzy – of course, a song from House, one I’ve been listening to a lot lately and lovin’ it. I love this woman’s voice. Here’s the words:

Stitch, in your knitted brow
And you don’t know how
You’re going to get it out
Crushed, under heavy chest
Trying to catch your breath
But it always beats you by a step
All right now

Makin’ the best of it
Playin’ the hand you get
You’re not alone in this

There’s hope for the hopeless
There’s hope for the hopeless
There’s hope

Cold, in the summer breeze
Yet you’re shivering
On your bended knee
Still, when your heart is sore
And the heavens pour
Like a willow bending with the storm
You’ll make it

Runnin’ against the wind
Playin’ the cards you get
Something is bound to give

There’s hope for the hopeless
There’s hope for the hopeless
There’s hope
There’s hope
There’s hope
There’s hope

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3 thoughts on “House, Music and Coincidence

  1. I haven ‘t systematically watched a TV show since I got Firefly and Jericho in box sets — showing up every week at the same time, or remembering to set the recorder, is too much like a job — but I used to enjoy catching House episodes most Thursday evenings before I went back to work. I enjoyed him for a lot of the same reasons I did Monk.

    • I never saw Monk, but a friend of mine was really into it. It was about an OCD cop or something, right?

      As for House, it was my first TV show that I got into as an adult. It kinda broke a long period of disinterest in TV. Hahaha, that didn’t last, that’s for sure! Sometimes I think that what I really want to do is create and write for a TV show, tell a long story in a visual way.

      ~EJ

      • Yeah, Monk was Tony Shaloub — a detective with OCD and extreme germ phobia. One episode he provided a temporary home for an abandoned toddler, and was considering adopting him. The scene where had to change the kid’s pullups and wound up withou about thirty garbage bags inside of each other and screaming was hilarious. But the kid started picking up Monk’s hangups, and was eventually going around in a little suit and refusing to touch anything outside because it was dirty, and Monk realized adoption wouldn’t be good for the kid.

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