From Petpluto at Art at the Auction:
House is problematic in the way above, but also for the reason articulated by MaggieElizabeth, a poster at Television Without Pity:
Ninety percent of the time, the woman gets to be the normal one.
Sure, she’s competent, she’s tough, and she’s strong — but she’s ordinary, and all the while she’s surrounded by weird and unpredictable male characters with funny, charismatic personalities.House is the eccentric; he’s the genius, he’s the mastermind, he’s the guy who does not conform to society’s standards and doesn’t have to because he’s so damn brilliant. Cuddy may have been the youngest Chief of Medicine around, but she is still nothing special when compared to Gregory House. This isn’t House’s problem, not really. I’m not advocating a world in which men are always the normal ones and women get to be the weird, charismatic unpredictable ones. Just like the problem with a movie isn’t that it in particular can’t pass the Bechdel Test, but that most don’t. The problem isn’t that Star Wars in particular doesn’t have two women discussing something other than men; the problem is that a significant portion of the films made don’t. The problem isn’t that House is a surly misanthrope genius, but that there are a bevy of male characters in House’s shoes and very few women. The problem with the genius man or the man with incredible gifts is that there is no counterbalance. The Pie Maker on Pushing Daisies with his power to wake the dead; Chuck from Chuck having the incredible ability to see and remember hundreds of data-encrypted pictures; House; Walter Bishop; the guy on The Mentalist; the guy on Lie to Me; the guy on The Eleventh Hour; the guy on Journeyman. The women who are on these shows are sometimes capable, sometimes not, but almost always ordinary as well.
Petpluto acknowledges some exceptions (Buffy, Starbuck, etc) but adds:
But these shows (most of which are off the air) don’t carry enough weight to strike a proper counterbalance to the overall spectrum of shows where the opposite is true. And that is the issue with most of these problems. On their own, a show with stronger male characters, or smarter male characters, is not inherently problematic. But when most shows employ that narrative, it becomes more so.