I am watching House MD: S1,E1.

A patient with orange skin colour shows up with back spasm. Upon conversing with him a little, Dr House asks if he consumes ridiculous amounts of carrots and megadose vitamins, to which the patient affirms. Dr House then tells him that carrots are turning him yellow and niacin is turning him red. Find some finger-paint and do the math.

Why would he ask him to get finger-paint? Also why hasn’t the patient’s wife noticed his changed skin colour even if she is having an affair ?

1 Answer 1


Using paint, it would be easy to experiment with colors and notice that when you combine red and yellow, you get orange. Referring to finger-paint specifically adds an element of insult, because finger-paints are generally used by kids.

So House is just being sarcastic and insulting; telling the guy a simple way that even a child could figure out that red and yellow make orange.

While it's not necessarily realistic that the guy's wife wouldn't notice his change in color; the implication is that she isn't paying attention to him in general; she isn't taking the time to look at him or notice things about him. A more common real-world example would be if a woman gets a new haircut; a loving/devoted husband would generally notice and say something, while a distant or unloving husband wouldn't notice.

  • House uses a similar method in a later episode, asking doctors to draw a patient's unusually colored stool using crayons; theorizing that it's a combination (color mix) of two separate symptoms. He effectively reverse engineers it by observing which colors were using in making the drawing and then considering what the separate colors could mean.
    – Flater
    Mar 21, 2020 at 21:51

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