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4 out of 6
For those of you who like to ponder in between reading great fanfic, here's something that I just couldn't let go of. 
My 2 Qs: How many of you think House was talking about a prettiness differential or the Hoyay potential? Also, does this explain Wilson's reaction to the Poconos invite, the "I met someone who made me feel funny" or his undying devotion to House? Read carefully because House's comment is filled with all sorts of implications.

In the Family episode, House and Wilson are walking down a hospital corridor at 1am in the morning. House hits the floor thanks to Hector's fascination with chewing. on his cane. Chase and Cameron with the extraordinarily sensitive hearing - appear. They explain to House that Nick's condition is worsening and they still don't know what's wrong with Matty. Cameron says she thinks they should go with the 4 out of 6 bone marrow transplant. 

House replies: "Did I mention my concerns about 4 being less than 6? Wilson's first wife ignored a similar issue. Of course that time it was only fatal to their marriage."

Camera pans to Cameron and she's wearing her confused face. 

Some very bright people over at TWOP seem to think it has something to do with a prettiness differential (see No Reason). However, read below for an alternate explanation, complements of Wikipedia.

The Kinsey scale attempts to measure sexual orientation, from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). In the Kinsey Reports, an additional grade was used for asexuality. It was first published in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) by Alfred Kinsey, Wardell Pomeroy and others, and was also prominent in the complementary work Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).

Introducing the scale, Kinsey wrote:

Males do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.

While emphasising the continuity of the gradations between exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual histories, it has seemed desirable to develop some sort of classification which could be based on the relative amounts of heterosexual and homosexual experience or response in each history... An individual may be assigned a position on this scale, for each period in his life.... A seven-point scale comes nearer to showing the many gradations that actually exist." (Kinsey, et al. (1948). pp. 639, 656)

The scale is as follows:

0Exclusively heterosexual
1Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6Exclusively homosexual

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I haven't seen the episode yet, so this is just a wild stab in the dark, but could it not be a reference to penis size?

It's not especially flattering, but it does at least imply that House has seen Wilson's cock.

I'm probably misinterpreting it completely, though.

It's a really blatant reference to penis size, six being the (colloquial) average length of the erect male penis and four being on the short side, ergo "fatal" to Wilson's marriage. There was a very long thread about this in house_wilson when the episode first aired.

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Thanks. I just decided to look it up. Given the way these writers use text, I am thinking they were talking Kinsey instead of pretty.

They were talking about marrow compatibility - so I assume House was referring to Wilson and Wife #1's compatibility with each other.

Not following you exactly. I don't think House was referring to Wilson and first wife's compatibility because House said the wife ignored a "similar issue." I think House was referring to a "barrier" to their compatibility.

*raises hand up high at the back of the class* Oh, OH! I have an interpretation! Pick meeee.

I always thought that this comment was House just saying, "Duh, four is less than six, Cameron." The "similar issue" that Nameless Wife the First ignored was something just as obvious. I didn't think, when I first saw the episode, that the numbers actually mean anything (or imply what kind of issue it was). I think the problem with the wife that House mentions could be a lot of things: cheating, attractiveness or being gay.

I would lurv to believe the line was a subtle hat tip to Kinsey. In fact, I will pray that it is so. *prays*

I definitely think it was hat tip to Kinsey because it aligns so well. Of course, the other beauty in it is that people can also remain in the valley of De Nile and conclude that it means something other than that. I think it also makes sense for it to be Kinsey when consider all of the comments from previous S3 episodes leading up to it.

I really really like this theory *nods* I like it better than any of the other theories I've read. I would love if it is indeed a reference to the Kinsey scale and another subtle hint towards especially Wilson's sexuality

I'd like to think that the writers were both that creative and subtle. It would be filled with awesomeness.

Some very bright people over at TWOP seem to think it has something to do with a prettiness differential (see No Reason).

Oh yes, the very bright people over at TWOP. :eyeroll:

That can't even be a valid theory, because what House says in the line retorts that theory. "Wilson's first wife ignored a similar issue."

I believe that would imply that Wilson's first wife would be the 6 and Wilson the 4. That's pretty low for Wilson on the, for lack of a better term, prettiness scale. And even if his wife was "prettier" than him, being less pretty then who you marry doesn't exactly constitute failure of a marriage (they got together somehow, right).

I think the Kinsey scale theory is a better fit for the dialogue and just makes more sense in the overall context of what's happened.

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Cameron seemed confused. Do you really think she would be confused by a dick size joke? Maybe it's a cultural thing. But 4 out of 6 didn't signal dick size to me. I also think it's a departure from House's recent jokes, which seem to have more to do with sexual orientation then equipment. I don't recall House making a joke about Wilson's family jewels. I mean making reference to Wilson's dick seems to me tantamount to an admission that he's seem it or has thought about it.

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I think the Kinsey scale theory is intrigueing, kudos for coming up with it. I did initially think it was just a penis joke. But now I think, maybe that's what House wanted the ducklings to think. While he knew that Wilson would get that the true meaning was a reference to the kinsey scale. Because House does often hide the truth in jokes in plain sight, eg like when he tells Cuddy that Wilson wet himself, or tells Stacy he's gay.

I love meta analysis, and I don't generally like to completely shoot things down, but I really think it's just a comment on the [non] compatibility of Wilson and his first wife. Nothing more.

Now, I DO think it was a rather cryptic comment, and may reference something specific that we don't know about.

But I doubt that it's any sort of rating (Kinsey or otherwise) or a penis joke. (Actually, I don't see how it could be a reference to Kinsey at all. The phrasing House uses suggests 6 is better than 4, which makes no sense if 6 is "totally homosexual" - why would Wilson's wife WANT a gay husband? For that matter, why would she want a husband who preferred men (i.e. a 4)?)

The numbers in that comment HAVE a context, established in canon. Bone marrow compatibility. Anything else, in my opinion, is stretching.

You make a very good point. Well I don't think she would have or could have ignored it if Wilson were a 6. Ya' think?

House replies: "Did I mention my concerns about 4 being less than 6? Wilson's first wife ignored a similar issue. Of course that time it was only fatal to their marriage."

Sorry to destroy dreams... but he clearly talks about the compatibility level of an organ in transplants...

So you think the organ he was talking about in Wilson's case was his penis?

Wow. I'm sort of doubting that this is the writer's secret meaning, but now that I read it, it makes a lot of sense.

Okay, I just want to believe it. (Plus, haven't the writers admitted themselves that they're adding subtext ON PURPOSE?)

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I too am hoping that the writers are much smarter and more subtle than a simple dick joke but alas, you may be right. I think we'll have to wait til next season to put the jok einto some kind of context. I'll still be holding out for the Kinsey scale.

I think it depends on if you think the writers are smart enough or blatant, enough to refer to this. There is evidence to both sides, I can think of occasions where the subtext caused me to go into a laughing fit, but there are also plots that are thrown away. There are really two trains of thoughts.

1. The writers are genius and would write something that most would think of as a dick joke, but the hardcore Hilsoners would find something reeking of gayness in the words.
2. It's a dick joke
Make of it what you will.

LOL. Great comment. Like I said season 4 should hopefully shed some light on where they're going with this - if anywhere.

At the time it was first broadcast in the States, the general consensus was "dick joke," which IS a running theme of the show. It's hardly a third season episode without pee and a dick joke, but the gay reference are usually MORE blatant (starting at least with the "back door" remark in Cane&Able) and I just don't think our friends among the H/W contingent on the writing staff are all that subtle. I also wasn't that enamoured of HL's delivery of the line, one of few times, I can say that. This was the episode where I really started feelng that TPTB were asking Mr. Laurie to carry a little too much on his shoulders.

I've thought that for awhile. I felt as if HL's "tempo" was a little bit off but I don't include that scene among them. I'm think that HL is probably very, very tired - given his marketing commitments to the show and his other projects.

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