The Jerk (House)

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"The Jerk"
House episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 23
Directed byDaniel Sackheim
Written byLeonard Dick
Original air dateMay 15, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Human Error"
House (season 3)
List of House episodes

"The Jerk" is the twenty-third episode of the third season of House and the sixty-ninth episode overall.


Nate, a mean-spirited sixteen-year-old chess prodigy (Nick Lane) collapses after suddenly losing control and beating up a fellow teen (Ben Bledsoe) he had just defeated at chess. He first complains about head pain, but other symptoms, hypogonadism, organ failure, and chemical imbalance which may explain Nate's cold personality, arise. Chase finds HPRT enzyme deficiency, which could mean Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome. Cameron says Kelley-Seegmiller victims self-mutilate, chew their lips, and bang their heads against the wall.

The Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome matches—except for the personality problem, so House suggests that his personality is not a result of the disease. House engages in a chess match with Nate to stress him, in order to see whether he will start to self-mutilate, which will prove the Kelly-Seegmiller diagnosis. Instead, Nate has a seizure.

Eventually, House realizes that Nate holds his chess pieces in a peculiar way because he cannot bend his thumb, meaning that his bones have formed abnormally. The patient is diagnosed with juvenile hemochromatosis. Nate's anti-social personality wasn't a symptom; he's just a jerk.

A large subplot revolves around figuring out who sabotaged Foreman's interview at New York Mercy Hospital. When House denies that he sabotaged the interview, others (Cuddy, Wilson, Cameron, and even Chase) become suspects. Chase, realizing that everyone was chasing ghosts, figures out that House sabotaged the interview after all. House confirms this, and says that the hospital Foreman applied to is "a place where you treat boils and cysts and build your 401(k)."


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