In the wee-hours of the morning while channel surfing for something other than infomercials, I'm grateful for the USA network and its late-night programming. While other cable channels are running 6 Week Body Makeover and Cash Flow Generator ads as early as 2am EST, USA's programming often runs until 5am or, even better, all night!
I enjoy most of USA's original programming - Monk, Psych, The Starter Wife, and even In Plain Sight if there's nothing else on - but the best late night USA programming is syndicated from the big four networks.
While I love six straight episodes of Law & Order: SVU as much as the next person, the best late-night USA marathons are back-to-back-to-back episodes of the FOX medical drama House M.D. On Thanksgiving, USA played 24 hours of House, and I watched most of them. 24 hours of yummy Hugh Laurie + co-stars??!! Huddy-, Hameron-, and Hilson-shippers are sure to be pleased! My fingers are crossed that their Christmas marathon is just as fabulous.
My one complaint with House marathons is that the episodes are rarely aired in any real order. A majority of the episodes may be from a single season, but the order will skip around and the first few episodes will run again towards the end of the marathon. That's no way to run a marathon!
If I could have House marathons my way, they would go something like this:
House, M.D. Marathon: 24 Hours of "It's Not Lupus"
- "Pilot" (1.1) Introducing Dr. House: he's an ass, but it's hard not to love him.
- "Maternity" (1.4) The choices doctors make are never easy. This clinic case - 'woman with a parasite' is one of my favorites.
- "Babies & Bathwater" (1.18) Cuddy finally stands up to Vogler, and there is a bittersweet ending for the patients.
- "Kids" (1.19) There's a meningitis outbreak at the hospital following a competitive swim meet, and it's a 12 year-old diver who seems to be the sickest.
- "Three Stories" (1.21) Carmen Electra guest stars in House's diagnostic fantasies and we finally learn the sacrifice House made that ended his marriage and left him a pill-popping cripple.
- "The Mistake" (2.08) Chase's negligence leads to the death of a patient and consequences for all.
- "Skin Deep" (2.13) The eventual diagnosis of a supermodel's symptoms is one of the series' most surprising.
- "Safe" (2.16) Buffy alumnus Michelle Trachtenberg guest stars in a role she was apparently born to play: whinny, annoying teenager.
- "All In" (2.17) House meets a boy with the same symptoms as an elderly woman he wasn't able to save years ago. The question is, how far will he go for his diagnosis?
- "Euphoria Parts 1 & 2 (2.20 & 2.21) A patient puts Foreman's life in danger and Foreman puts Cameron's life in danger. Tensions amongst the team have never been higher.
- "No Reason" (2.24) The first, of apparently several, episodes where someone pulls a gun on House. And maybe for good reason.
- "Meaning" (3.1) See House Run. Plus one of the show's happiest endings for this week's patient.
- "Son of Coma Guy" (3.7) While bordering on fantasy, this episode offers more insight into why House is the way he is. Although it's never quite clear if he's being honest.
- "Finding Judas" (3.9) House suffers Vicodin-withdrawal symptoms and puts his young patient in further danger. The 'House in pain' episodes are always good ones. Karma, much?
- "Merry Little Christmas" (3.10) Guest star Meredith Eaton is one of the few characters sharp-tongued enough to keep up with House. She's a pleasure to watch.
- "Airborne" (3.18) House's diagnostic skills have never been more vital than when he and Cuddy are trapped on an airplane at 35,000 feet with a dying and potentially contagious man.
- "Alone" (4.1) Wilson kidnaps House's guitar and refuses to return it until House hires a new team. The (sexual?) tension between the two men in this episode will satisfy any Hilson-shipper.
- "Frozen" (4.11) House diagnoses a patient in the South Pole, and even though he and guest star Mira Sorvino can only communicate via webcam, their chemistry more than heats things up.
- "House's Head" (4.15) As House struggles to remember who he saw dying following a serious bus crash, we see inside his head where Cuddy does a strip-tease.
- "Wilson's Heart" (4.16) I don't think anyone is capable of watching this extremely moving fourth season finale without crying like a baby. If you weren't already in love with Wilson, you will be when it's over.
- "Lucky Thirteen" (5.5) The writers really try to make you like Thirteen despite her many personal failings, and in this episode, they almost succeed.
- "Joy" (5.6) Cuddy struggles to save the pregnant woman whose baby she hopes to adopt. The episode ends with a moment Huddy-shippers have been waiting for.
- "Let Them Eat Cake" (5.10) This episode aired for the first time on Tuesday and I've only seen it once, but the Kutner-Taub patient scam/fiasco was just so entertaining, I had to include it.