"I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!! I WAS WATCHING, AND HAD MY MOUTH WIDE OPEN, LIKE WHAT I N THE WORLD!! I WAS BUGGING OUT!! I LOVE HOUSE!! HE ROCKS!! THIS SHOW ROCKS!! ITS [sic] JUST TO [sic] MAD [sic?!?] KUTNER WAS WRITTEN OFF LIKE A SOAP OPERA STAR. . ;("--maryannmln
"To those who might be interested in a conspiracy: When Foreman calls the ambulance at Kutner's apartment when Thirteen finds Kutner lying in his bedroom, Foreman describes Kuter's [sic] condition as "a gunshot wound to the right temple." The gun was laying [sic!!!] by Kutner's left hand."--longhorn1125
And they go on.
The above are just two of the (as of this writing) 280 comments posted on a "memorial" to the character of Dr. Kutner from House. (See "Spoilers," 4/8/09.) (And can you guess what the Solipsist has just figured out how to do?) Yes, it seems that the death of Kutner has shaken some small portion of the world that has way too much time on its hands. Apparently, a number of people were under the impression that the actor who played Kutner, Kal Penn, had died in real life and was thus quickly written off the show. Guess they didn't check Yahoo! or the news to see that, far from dying, he has taken a job in the Obama administration (which we don't yet think of as a sort of living death, but time will tell).
At any rate, this got YNSHC thinking about the lengths people go to in regards to fictional characters. It's nothing new. Arthur Conan Doyle was sick of Sherlock Holmes, and he killed him off, only to bring him back in response to public outcry. The "deaths" of Superman and Captain America were treated as newsworthy items in the most prestigious periodicals. Even by these standards, though, the reaction to Kutner's death seems a bit overblown. It's not like the show is "Kutner, MD." It's like MASH enthusiasts creating a fansite for Father Mulcahy or something!
Hold on a second.
Never mind: Mulcahy's War.
No wonder the terrorists hate us.
One can't help but remember the outpouring of emotion over Princess Diana in this context. Were people mourning a real person? A mother? An activist? Or were they simply memorializing a fairy princess? Does it matter? Maybe people just grow invested in these characters--even when these characters are real people--because of their admirable qualities. When these characters are taken from them--especially suddenly and unexpectedly--people feel the need to mourn. Maybe, as is true when dealing with the "tragedy" of a favorite sports team's loss, people prepare themselves for actual tragedies by going through the motions for strangers or fictional characters.
The problem there, though, is that it's an unrealistic preparation. Sherlock Holmes and Superman, of course, came back from the dead. And presumably Kutner could turn out to have a twin brother who's ALSO a doctor--in case the Obama gig doesn't work out. So are people really engaging in a collective catharsis, or is it more like mass hysteria?
RIP, Dr. Kutner. Forgive the Solipsist if he doesn't get all choked up.