It’s no big secret that Dr. Gregory House (along with elements of the show) is modelled on Sherlock Holmes. Thus the pun, if that’s what it is, connects with the viewer at some level, even if it’s not totally conscious. I will admit that it took a while for me to get the point; I may have even read it somewhere before it dawned on me.
This is not so much about how slow we may have been on the uptake as much as it is a search for other such title subtleties.
What other shows or even movie titles are puns of this sort?
Ever since I read that House was patterned after Sherlock Holmes, I wondered the same thing–if “house” chosen as his name because Sherlock’s names sounds like “homes.” I’d never heard anyone else make that point before, though, so I wasn’t really sure. Now at least I know that I’m not the only one who believes it!
**The Icicle Thief** (Ladri di saponette) was a reference and a pun on The Bicycle Thief (Ladri di Biciclette). The pun didn’t translate directly (the Italian means “The Soap Thieves”), but the English title does match pretty neatly. So you have one film that does what you’ve asked about in two languages.
It’s way off in another realm of wordplay, and it’s been a while since I noticed it cropping up, but the old TV detectives had some rather obvious names: Peter Gunn, Mike Hammer, Shaft, etc., which had some “below-the-belt” overtones.
There was a short-lived sitcom a while back involving some “Seinfeld” people. In order to indicate that it was like “Seinfeld” without mentioning the name, they called it “It’s Like, You Know.” Not a pun, but a bit of a hidden reference.
This doesn’t refer to another movie, but it is a punning reference to the movie’s star: Where There’s Life
It stars Bob Hope.
Silent comedies often had titles that referred to films they were parodying. For instance, Buster Keaton’s One Week was a parody title of Three Weeks (the press material called it “one third as passionate”).