Television: Doctor Is in ... a Bad Mood

On House, Hugh Laurie has turned an egocentric, pill-popping misanthrope into a regular heartthrob

Women under 50 generally don't lust after leading men with canes--and neither do television network executives. But British actor Hugh Laurie is about to start his second season upending such TV truisms as an infectious-diseases specialist--whose cleverness is matched only by his astonishing rudeness--on Fox's hit medical drama House, the No. 9 prime-time show among women this year. "Perfection is intensely annoying," says Laurie, who, as if to demonstrate, carries his prop cane in the wrong hand, according to the show's physical-therapist viewers. "Audiences were ready for a character who didn't obey the usual pieties of modern life."

A favorite to win...

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