I figured out, in an instant, why I'm so defensive of, and protective towards, House. It's so simple, so obvious, I can't believe I never saw it before. I've always said that there's no such thing as a real-life Wilson. There couldn't be; chronic pain wears people out. Not just the sufferer, but those who care about the sufferer. And while the sufferer can't leave, the carer can--and eventually has to.
Everyone starts out, of course, with the best of intentions. The sufferer [having been through this before] pushes the would-be carer away, for the carer's own protection. The carer pushes back; he or she is convinced s/he's different, and can take it all--the pain, the depression, the resentment, the health crises--all of it. And if the carer is truly determined, it works. For a while.
Sufferers of chronic pain wear you out. It isn't intentional, but it is inevitable. They really want to believe, each and every time, that this person who cares will stick around. In the back of their minds, they know what the outcome will be, has to be--but hope is a strong thing. So they think, okay, let's try this just one more time. And, just about the time they begin to believe that they've found a saint--a Wilson, if you will--too many bad days in a row happen. Or a medical crisis. Or the ninety-third argument about too much or too little pain medication. Or something. And the carer, a human being with a healthy instinct for self-preservation, begins to pull away. This distancing may not even be conscious--but the sufferer quickly picks up on it.
And then, despite the sufferer's best intent, s/he becomes clingy, dependent--frightened of being deserted again. And eventually, it all falls apart. Because the carer's instinct for survival takes over, and the carer moves on while the sufferer vows [yet again] to keep those walls firmly in place next time. And that is why there is no such thing as a Real Life Wilson.
And this fits, exactly, what I see happening with House and Wilson--why I've been so vocally dissatisfied with seasons three and four. Because Wilson's wearing out, becoming tired and resentful of being House's Wilson. And that is why season one Wilson doesn't exist anymore, and season four House has become so desperate for Wilson's approval.
For many in the fandom, the name Wilson has become synonymous with compassion, caring, empathy, an endless store of patience; "Wilson" isn't simply a person anymore, it's a way of being. And no; there is no such thing as a Real Life Wilson. But--in their fictional world-- it seems that there may soon be no such thing as a Real Life Wilson for House, either.
12.02.07 12:55pm ETA: You kids may have noticed my uncharacteristic lack of written response to your comments here. There's a reason, and it's personal--painfully personal. I shared private thoughts and feelings with this wee essay--and honestly wasn't expecting comments on it! The perception of some of your comments takes my breath away; others, it's clear, have never been on either side of this situation but are trying their utmost to understand. So I appreciate all your replies, but feel a need to simply let these thoughts stand as they are, and speak for themselves. Thanks for understanding!
ONE MORE THING: Just so there's no misunderstanding here; I was not ever among those who theorized that Robert Sean Leonard could or would leave the show. I don't think for an instant that he will--but the actor leaving the show has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm talking about. The two issues have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. My point is... oh, never mind. Never should have posted this piece; sorry for any confusion.