Thursday, June 4, 2009

Taking Time to Process the Suicide of a Fictional Character

*This post contains spoilers about the last season of "House." If you haven't watched all the episodes yet, and plan to, don't read any further.*

When Dr. Kutner committed suicide on "House," I was surprised. I wasn't alone, actually. I was also disappointed, because Kal Penn is a likable actor, and I would have liked to see him continue on the show. I wondered why the writers would do it, but it turned out that Mr. Penn, the actor, wanted to take a job with the White House.

Okay, fine. If that's what he wants, good for him.

But now, according to this article, Mr. Penn, the actor, still hasn't started his new job:

Despite announcing in mid-April that Penn's character had been killed off so he could accept a position as an Associate Director at the White House Office of Public Liaison, the actor, who was an early Obama supporter, has yet to actually start work for the administration.

I guess these things take time- one has to move to a new city, and, um, do other things when you start a new job in a new city. Meet your coworkers. Oh- I bet there are background checks, since it's a government job.

But, according to the White House, the real problem is:

The exit of Penn’s character, or rather the reaction to it, is, according to the White House, why the pause button has been hit on Penn taking up his new position.

"The suicide of his character on House was quite shocking," Inouye says, "so everyone thought there should be a bit of timely delay before he takes up work for the administration."

The White House feels that people need time to process the death of the fictional character that Mr. Penn, the actor, portrayed on a television show, before they will let him start his new position?

Don't get me wrong. I believe suicide is a tragedy. When it happens to an actual person. When it happens to a fictional character, no matter how much I liked that character, and how much I thought he brought to the show on which he appeared, I shrug my shoulders and move on.

Because it was just a fictional character.

What if Dr. House had been right, and it had turned out that Dr. Kutner had been murdered? Would the White House delay Mr. Penn's, the actor's, start at his new job until the killer had been caught?

Or, perhaps the White House is afraid that Mr. Penn, the actor, will get high and try to score some White Castles?

The White House does know the difference between reality and a television show, right?

Original pic source.

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