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House Review: 8×21, "Holding On"

DAHLINGS –

My dears, what with watching ‘Holding On’ Monday night and again yesterday afternoon, there is a mountain of soiled silk handkerchiefs in the wastebasket.  Yes, the wastebasket.  They’re ruined during a good cry.  A small group of nuns embroider them until they go blind, fortunately, there are always new nuns.  In that country, any way.
The POTW of the week is a 19-year-old cheerleader played by a 30-year-old actor with the charisma of an armchair.  According to the promo monkeys, there was a SHOCKING SECRET about the patient.  Cheerleader Biff hears his long-dead brother’s voice in his head. Oh. He might be schizophrenic, but probably not. Shocking.  What makes this even more boring is that the team is now Taub, Park and Adams.

In any event, his mother, the Worst Mother Ever, had destroyed all of the pictures of the boy and his name, Christopher, was never mentioned again. However, Cheerleader Biff has secretly kept a picture of his brother.

The actual plot is that Wilson’s cancer is inoperable, and he has decided not to go the chemo route, but live the five months he has left to the fullest.  House of course cannot deal with this.  So he argues; he drugs Wilson with Propofol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson) so that Wilson can experience “death”; he fills the cafeteria with actors to play Wilson’s surviving patients. We know it is a scam the instant House introduces “Mikey.”  Another phony adolescent? Wouldn’t Wilson have recognized them? Why not a simple conversation about how many lives Wilson has saved? They always do that to justify whatever House is up to.

( Note: There is a special circle in hell reserved for the person who invented the “one person starts clapping, then another, and soon everyone is clapping”.) 

Meanwhile, Foreman has gotten House season tickets to the hockey games, “one month after Wilson’s expiration date.”  It’s no surprise that House tears them up and stuffs them down Foreman’s toilet.  What happens later is a surprise, but not the well-written, interesting kind.
Wilson has called Thirteen, who has gone blonde, for advice on how to cope.  She naturally assumes he’s going for chemo, but when he says he isn’t, she’s all like, “Okay.” This despite the fact she’s been doing everything she can to keep her Huntington’s from progressing.  Then she visits House, who’s staring gloomily at a bald patient in the chemo unit, and tells him…to be honest, I forget. The chemo suites I’ve visited are filled with bored people, most with hair, reading magazines.

Once again, the scenes between Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard are poor gold. 

House takes Wilson out for a quiet dinner, where they reminisce, chuckling. (SOILED HANDKERCHIEF ALERT!) It struck me that this type of scene has heretofore always been shown silently. As they reminisce, Wilson starts to rethink his decision.  “Don’t do this to me, Wilson,” House says quietly.  But Wilson is certain that House is conning him so Wilson can be there longer for House.  Once again, it’s about what House needs.  Wilson stands up: “I don’t owe you anything. Our entire relationship has been about you. My dying is about me.”

Wilson storms out, and breaks down crying in his car.  (SO many handkerchiefs, so beautifully played.)  Of course House follows him, and Wilson cries harder.
House: You don’t have to just accept this.
Wilson: Yes, I do have to accept this. I have five months to live and you’re making me go through this ALONE! [Wilson starts crying again]. I’m pissed because I’m dying and it’s not fair. And I need to know that you’re there. I need you to tell me that my life was worthwhile and…I need you to tell me that you love me.

Naturally, House says no.  “Not unless you fight.” 

Some fans have been deeply offended by the characters acting so out of character. In some ways House hasn’t changed.  He’s still trying to get his way, trying to get what he needs and putting himself first.
Foreman lays down the law to Wilson.  When Wilson says, “I’m not responsible for House’s happiness,” Foreman responds that he is.  And that Wilson has had three broken marriages, hundreds of colleagues, thousands of patients, and the only person who has lasted is House. Foreman: “Enduring pain to do some good for someone you care about. Isn’t that what life is?”  I beg your pardon?  Does that even mean anything?  What sort of home lives do the writers have?
During an earlier scene, the bathroom door is opened and we see the sinks overflowing and two frantic janitors.  Did House stuff hockey tickets down every toilet in the hospital? 
The Worst Mother Ever shows up at her son’s room.  But once she hears the name “Christopher” her eyes bug out and she runs.  She really is the Worst Mother Ever.
Cheerleader Biff gets an MRI scan.  When Adams and Park slide him out, as Greg Yaitaines would say, KA-BOOM!  A wall of water descends on them, breaking the ceiling and ruining the MRI. 

The most amazingly symmetrical ceiling collapse ever.

House shows up at the ER, leads the team into Cheerleader Biff’s room, and insta-diagnoses him with some sort of artery thing in his ear.  Take it out, all of his symptoms will clear up.  And he’ll stop hearing his brother’s voice. (ANVIL ALERT)!

Taub tells House he’s being an ass to Wilson.  House loses it and shouts that life is pain, he gets up in pain, he goes to work in pain, he’s considered suicide more times than he can count.

Then House finds out that Cheerleader Biff drank ammonia because he didn’t want to lose his brother’s voice.  (ANVIL ALERT)

Enraged, House runs into CB’s room and proceeds to strangle him, yelling about wanting to live and wanting to die.  Park clocks him with his own cane, and shrieks that sometimes the truth sucks. (ANVILS, SO MANY ANVILS! RUN!)
The Worst Mother Ever has taken Christopher’s photograph, but agrees to give it back if Cheerleader Biff has the surgery.  He accepts fate and loss and all that (ANVIL ALERT) and has the surgery.  But! Amazingly enough!  The Worst Mother Ever takes out a bunch of photos from his childhood.  He starts to cry but doesn’t, while she gives him a bug-eyed smile.  Seriously, this woman is frightening.  I think she wanted her son strangled so she could burn all of his pictures and forget about him, too.

Meanwhile House sits alone and plays the piano, which we have been waiting for all season.  Wilson eats dinner alone.  When he goes to get a bottle of wine, he sees a pack of Oreos.
Wilson turns up on House’s doorstep.  “I’m ready to start the next round of chemo?”
“Why?”
“Because you need me. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing anymore.”
“No. You’re the only one I listen to. And when I stopped, I almost killed my patient.” House says Wilson is smarter than him. He’s not okay that there are only five months left, but it’s better than nothing. House says he won’t tell Wilson he loves him, which Wilson seems pleased about.  Yours truly was disappointed.
Then, of course, the script goes south.  House and Wilson are happily planning a hiking trip, when Foreman enters with the hospital lawyer.  Seems House practically destroyed the hospital by stuffing the tickets down Foreman’s toilet.  Really?  Really?  The plumbers at PPTH are worse than security.  The tickets have House’s name and fingerprints (??) on them.  So House’s parole is revoked.  He’s going back to prison for—wait for it—six months.  When he gets out, Wilson will be dead.

Sucks to be House.  Sucks to be Wilson.  Sucks to be a fan, because next week is the final episode. It’s called “Everybody Dies.”

Random:
Why didn’t Taub and Adams think the picture was child porn?
Why is “misery” the catchall word for any kind of unhappiness?  Don’t the writers have a thesaurus?
Thirteen looks very good as a blonde.
If Wilson dies and House accepts it with serenity, your faithful correspondent is going to have to choke a bitch.

Ciao, Elisa & Fletcher

Review: House Ep. 8×13, Caveman Of The House

DAHLINGS –

Much like the doctors vying for the title of team leader, the writers of “House” are striving to see who can write the worst script before the series’ end. Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman have a strong lead with “Man Of The House.”

This script is a strange mix indeed: a cauldron of outdated sexual politics, sitcom, and…what was the third thing? Oh, yes, the patient of the week, a marriage counseling motivational speaker named…um…er…Biff. Sorry, but it’s easier to call them all Biff.

A professional speaker who urges men to be more like women and get in touch with their feelings, Biff collapses and falls off the stage.

House announces that because of evolution, it is impossible to change the way men act. (Does devolution explain the change of his character from tortured genius to bullying baboon?)

It seems that Biff had a life-altering experience three years prior, when he was beaten up in a fight in a sports bar. Since then he became a changed man, from hard-driving corporate shark to someone with very strange hair and moist, sensitive eyes. Biff claims his wife has changed “my life and my diet.” He’s gone red meat and gluten-free, which means he can now only eat cardboard. She beams.

For no other reason than for wacky shenanigans and false conflict, House starts a contest among his team for highly undesirable position of team leader. Why anyone would want a job that humiliated Foreman for years is beyond me, but it’s going be hilarious!

Whenever the camera pans around the diagnostics room, I’m distracted by the redecoration, including the mysteriously vanished garage door into Wilson’s office. Who directed this episode, Greg Yaitanes?

But wait! There’s more! Flying in from Sitcom Land it’s the long-lost Dominika, House’s green-card bride. She’s adorable. Her accent is adorable. Her long brown hair is adorable. She needs to keep her adorable self in the country, which means to pretend having lived in marital bliss with House for the past six months. So they need to learn every fact possible to each other, coached first by Park, then by Wilson. He has seniority because he has been married three times.

(Side note: in an interview prior to Season 8, when asked if they were going to bring back Dominika, David Shore said no. Apparently he felt the show needed more breasts now that Lisa Edelstein is gone. And in the new world order, they have to be nonthreatening breasts. Dominika’s breasts are adorable.)

She offers House $30,000 to pretend to be her real husband as opposed to her pretend-real-husband—they are married, yes? So isn’t he her real husband? My head aches already. God, she’s adorable. She dances around House’s living room to Amy Grant songs. As much as I actually like the character, this woman needs to get a fatal disease.

Oh, dear, your faithful correspondent forgot the patient! There’s been some diagnosing, wrong naturally. Do you really care if I recap the diagnoses so far? No, neither do I. I’ve watched the episode twice, and I don’t know if I have the stomach to do it again.

House goes to Biff and asks if he was hit in the groin during the bar fight. The answer is yes. While they discuss it, House drops things, asking Adams and Chase to bend over to pick them up. Biff never takes his eyes off House. Which either means he has no sex drive, or he’s a fanboy who can’t stop staring at HL.

The blow turned Biff’s testicles purely ornamental, which is why he is so sensitive and preaches feelings and makes pottery. And has no libido, even though his wife is the hottest woman on the show. Although less adorable than you-know-who.

House orders injections of testosterone. Biff’s wife obviously hopes that among the side effects will be getting laid more than every six months. The shots make him leaner, meaner, craving hamburgers, and cracking lascivious remarks about her ass.

The oh-so-funny B-story has House and Dominika posing in various outfits in front of a green screen, which can then be made into travel pictures. For the Las Vegas picture, they don huge Elvis wigs.

Taub asks to talk to House alone. Taub feels the team should be friends, not competitors. How long has he worked there? House announces that Taub is no longer a man because he is raising children. (Huh?)

And House is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a giant Elvis wig.

GOOD GOD, WHAT ARE THEY DRINKING IN THE WRITER’S ROOM? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SIT THROUGH THIS NONSENSE? A CHIMPANZEE TAKING A CRAP ON A NEWSPAPER WOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS!

Oh, dear, pardon my outburst. So unlike me!

“Who can turn the world on with her smile?”

Meanwhile, the patient gets jaundice. Don’t they always? By the end of the episode, he’s so yellow he looks like Big Bird crossed with Donald Trump.

House and Dominika welcome the immigrant agent, Nate, to House’s apartment. Nate doesn’t find it strange that a beautiful young woman is married to her creepy uncle. Everything is going beautifully until Nate asks to speak to a neighbor. He opens the door and—there’s Wilson! Wearing a silly hat! Wilson has dropped in from Sitcom Land to pretend to be the wacky British neighbor. But the real occupant of the apartment shows up. Ruh-roh!

Nate orders House and Dominika to be in his office at ten the next morning. Dominika might be deported! House is threatened with jail for the 35,000th time! What’s going to happen?

Long story short, the judge is so impressed by how adorable Dominika is that he’s going to let her stay for six months. But she has to live in marital bliss with House full-time. They will be spot-checked at all times of the day or night. I was hoping for deportation, but that would have been so season two.

Biff now has turbo-nads. For starters, he tells his wife that “he’s going to be the man in this relationship.” In fact, he’s going to make some kind of deal whether she likes it or not. In two viewings I did not get what the deal was, but it doesn’t matter. He’s Doing What He Wants, Damn The Torpedoes, Because That’s What Men Do.

“Can you believe anyone watches this?” “No one does. That’s why we’re cancelled.”

After viewing some old videos of Evil Corporate Shark Biff, House has some kind of epiphany. House and Taub go see Biff. House announces that chronic hoarseness is a symptom of chronic thyroiditis. Biff’s not hoarse now, but he was three years ago. And chronic thyroiditis comes and goes. The Magi-Cam goes into Biff so that House can rattle off some gibberish that means, “you’re sick.”

They’re going to treat Biff with steroids. Testosterone and steroids! Biff will Hulk out! Maybe Chase will get stabbed once more! House says, “Kicked in the nuts is kicked in the nuts.” I rewound the scene to see what that had to do with anything. I still don’t know. Enlighten me in the comments, won’t you?

But Biff spoils the fun by refusing the testosterone, despite the health risks. “I’m a better man without it,” he sighs. His wife leaves the room to hang herself because now she will never have sex again.

Cut to wacky C-story: House is putting the team, save Taub, through a series of idiotic contests (suturing pigs’ feet) for the bafflingly coveted position. Taub gets it by offering to split the difference in his salary with House.

At the end, as Amy Grant blasts on the soundtrack, House comes back to his apartment to find it immaculate and hideously decorated. Adorable Dominika is doing adorable dance aerobics in the kitchen. Cut to House making a series of facial expressions until he says (and I want you to know I said this with him): “Honey, I’m home!”

Ruh-roh.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Review: House, 8×12, "Chase" vs. God

DAHLINGS –

The plot of “Chase” can be summed up in one phrase: boy gets nun; boy sleeps with nun; God gets nun.

Watching this knowing that the show has been cancelled fills one with an odd combination of sadness and relief. The slackness of tone gives one the impression the writers were already looking for new jobs.

Like “Wilson” and “5 to 9”, “Chase” focuses on a single character. Jesse Spencer is one of the strongest actors in the cast, but he’s working with weak material. The episode attempts to tackle the subject of faith from a different angle than House’s impenetrable atheism. Chase was sent to seminary school, as has been mentioned over the years. The reason for his leaving? Crisis of faith? Disillusionment? No, being a horny teenage boy and having an affair with the groundskeeper’s wife. We’ve been waiting eight seasons for this?

Naturally, Almost-Nun is a blonde babe, like the “asexual” woman a few episodes back. Your faithful correspondent is not certain whether she is a noviate or a postulant, but honestly, who cares? She is going full-on Catholic, becoming a cloistered Carmelite nun, forbidden to speak, and presumably, stop dying her hair blonde and wearing underwire bras.

Chase and Blonde Not-Virgin-Mary have a number of dreary conversations about faith. These are eerily similar to the debates House had in “Unfaithful” or countless other episodes where he stumbled across some poor sap who believed in God.

If Chase is not sure he wants to return to PPTH, why is he hanging around? He’s on crutches from being stabbed in the heart last week (don’t ask). Somehow being stabbed in the heart doesn’t seem to have slowed Chase down. Including the inevitable scene where Chase and Not-Virgin-Mary tumble into bed and make sweet, sweet love. He even opens the tiny bandage for a reason that escapes me and we get to see the near-fatal, traumatic…pencil-sized wound.

After Wilson donated part of his liver to a friend in “Wilson”, he winced whenever he moved. Even after he left the hospital. But it clearly doesn’t impair Chase from cavorting with Not-Virgin-Mary.


“So, do you like to swing?”

But God has Other Plans for Not-Virgin-Mary. Post-coital in Chase’s bed, her neck swells up. She’s rushed off to PPTH for surgery! Which Chase performs! Huh? Hadn’t he decided he didn’t work there anymore? Did I miss something?

Not-Virgin-Mary has a vision during surgery that God is calling her. Somehow one night of sweet, sweet love has convinced Chase he loves her. But no. She’s going to put on the habit and leave our corrupt world behind. I’d care if they had bothered to give Not-Virgin-Mary a personality, but the writers forgot. They were too busy writing YET ANOTHER PRANK WAR, this time between House and Taub. Although it was a pleasure to see Taub without those dreadful twins, the prank war…it’s so tedious that describing it will set off my narcolepsy.

“Ha! I win!”

Chase goes weeping to House, who gives him a fatherly talk about Chase reassessing his life after his mistakes. No, don’t ask me what that means. It didn’t stop Chase in Season Two when he killed a patient in “The Mistake.” (Maybe he reassessed his life that time during the commercial breaks?) Perhaps one of my darling readers can explain the to me in the comments.

The upside of all of this is that Adams and Park have virtually nothing to do. The downside is that Wilson appears for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him scene.

Feel free to respond in the comments. And yes, the show was canceled. All the talk of “deciding to come to an end” sounds suspiciously like public relations hooey. Let’s hope the series finale leaves the cast alive—most of them, anyway. When you comment, remember, I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Review: House Season 8 Ep. 10, "Runaways"

DAHLINGS –

It would seem that, in its return to basics, “House” has established several ongoing motifs.

1) The team does almost all of its work without him. However, House
occasionally swings by for the epiphany. Or to say “put him on interferon”.
2)There is an amazing amount of time spent on meaningless mind games and
high-larious pranks.
3) Park is quirky and says “surprising” things.
4) Adams is a hologram.
5) Foreman is in almost every scene. Which is odd, because he’s not on the team
anymore. As Dean of Medicine, he’s getting more screen time than Cuddy did. I adore Foreman, but really. Doesn’t he have a large teaching hospital to run?

On a cheerier note, your faithful correspendent could actually recall this week’s episode, “Runaways.” Last week’s episode, “Better Half,” was so dull it could have been a filmed blocking rehearsal. Even now I can’t remember the plot…oh, yes, early onset Alzheimer’s, a fascinating, tragic disease that the show managed to make neither fascinating nor tragic. It was even irritating when House spoke Portuguese. Yes, House knows every single language ever invented, but please, just once, show, have a translator come in! There was some kind of prank war. And fisticuffs.

What “Better Half” clearly demonstrated was that the chemistry between House and Wilson seems to have evaporated. The rapport is no longer, the relationship is no longer there, it’s two actors in a room. Neither of them particularly interested in what’s going on.

Hmmm, I remembered more than I thought I would.

Back to “Runaways.”

Right at the top, House announces for the 107,406,321th time, “People don’t change.”

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, BANISH THIS PHRASE TO THE BLACK HOLE OF WRITER’S PURGATORY! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NEVER USE IT AGAIN! IS IT SO MUCH TO ASK THAT IN A SEA OF CLICHÉS, YOU CAN’T LEAVE OUT ONE???

Ahem. I beg your pardon. It’s a bit of a sore point.

A teenage runaway arrives the clinic with an ear bleed. This was once the hospital where seeing House was truly the last-case scenario. Desperate people came from other countries because he was a world-famous diagnostician. Now, it seems, all one needs is a trip to the clinic or the ER and House pops up, ready to go.

The teenager is supposedly homeless but she has set up shop in an abandoned house. Can’t recall her name, so let’s call her…Biff. Poor Biff has Druggie Mom. Druggie Mom and Biff briefly reconcile when Druggie Mom tells Biff, “I only did drugs after you were asleep, honey.” “I love you, Mom.”

House no longer has an ankle monitor on, so he drags to team to oh-so-wild-and-crazy places. Such as a shooting range, where he dresses like Elmer Fudd. Then a turtle race, in which Park gets to be quirky at a turtle.(Don’t these doctors have tests to run? Laundry? Anything?)

House’s biting wit is on display when he can’t stop giggling over the name “Pooholtz.” Straight out of Oscar Wilde’s playbook.

Foreman’s extramarital affair ends when he learns the wife has told the husband and the husband doesn’t mind. It makes no sense, but it’s just as well, as the wife is an even worse actress than Park.

Taub…remember when Taub was a wonderfully dry, snarky doctor? About two decades ago? Taub’s storyline is one of the best arguments for Planned Parenthood that I’ve seen yet. He bonds with the Sophii by telling them about football.

ANYWAY, Biff’s diagnosis is worms. Rather like the girl who went fishing with her parents and ate undercooked trout and ended up with tapeworm, Biff went swimming with Druggie Mom and contracted worms. Druggie Mom goes to bond with Biff. But Biff has run away once again, just as…somebody else ran away. I mean, the B-plot is always the A-plot on training wheels.

And there were two wacky civil way reenactors.

My hand on the Bible, I am not making any of this up.

Next week’s episode is supposed to be iconic.

ETA: As I was writing this, the Fox network announced that it is bumping “House” off the schedule for the month of March, extending “Alcatraz” in its place. You may draw your own conclusions.

ETA Part Two: Feel free to discuss this review in the comments. However, personal attacks will not be published.

Ciao,
Elisa

Review: House Enjoys "The Perils of Paranoia" 8.06. And "Pencils."

DAHLINGS –

I didn’t review last week’s Parents because I had so little to say. Team: Teenage girl has MPD and cancer. House: dead child was deaf. It was supposed to have a “shocking twist.” If it was the child’s elaborate sarcophagus being opened, one must assume the promo monkeys never saw a few episodes of NCIS. Or one episode of Supernatural, where the gore-covered bodies pile up like cordwood. As usual, the episode botched the presentation of mental illness. The creators must dislike the mentally ill almost as much as they dislike women. House got punched a few times. Everybody had a glass of sangria and sobbed despairingly on the lawn.

Moving on to The Perils of Paranoia, the cutesy title warning of the stinking mound of ordure that was about to happen. My agonized screams could be heard for miles. My assistant Leo came in with a peach mango martini pour moi and stared at the flat screen in disbelief. “Why are you watching this crap?”

“I don’t know…” I gasped. “It used to be Hugh Laurie but he’s had all of this plastic surgery and he’s phoning in his performance. And Robert Sean Leonard but he’s not even trying to hide his contempt for the material. And Lisa Edelstein, but she’s gone. BUT I CAN’T STOP! GOD HELP ME, I CAN’T STOP!”

Leo shook his head with a sigh and took a seat.

You know when you see a comedy and all of the decent jokes are in the trailer? That was this week’s “prank war” between House and Wilson. I was so looking forward to it! Wilson believes House has a gun in his apartment. When he goes to ransack the place, an improbable hunting net traps him in the air, which is a funny image. What followed was ludicrous slapstick. Wilson finds a gun in a box marked “House,” in case House forgets who he is when he opens the box. In a scene that lasts approximately ten years and is written in crayon, House waves it around, points it at himself and Wilson, demonstrating with a pencil that the barrel is blocked. “You win,” Wilson sighs.

“Naturally Wilson doesn’t call the police because the crazy felon who runs Diagnostics has a gun,” I remarked to Leo.

“That’s ‘cause they’re married.”

The POTW is a prosecutor, who collapses with a heart attack in the cold open, but of course it’s not a heart attack or we’d have no show. We barely have one as it is. Turns out the uncharismatic patient has a secret bunker behind a bookcase on his wall (OH, COME ON!) loaded with a small infantry’s worth of automatic weapons and C-4 explosives. His wife does not take the news well.

“Sorry, honey,” he tries to explain. “I totally forgot to tell you that I built an underground bunker.”

“Why?”

“Well, I had a free weekend…”

He only eats food he cooks himself—I’m assuming he grows his own meat and vegetables at his secret farm under the back porch—and drinks bottled water. The world is going to hell in a hand basket and this guy wants to go vigilante on the bad guys’ collective asses. Come to think of it, Hitler had a lovely secret bunker, with curtains. But I digress.

House thinks the paranoia is a symptom (that means that most of the GOP presidential candidates have diphtheria, too. Sorry to spoil this so soon). The patient didn’t have vaccinations. Do you think that storyline had anything to do with Fox News having a segment on parents refusing vaccines? Do it, Moms, or your kid will throw chairs through the window while hallucinating they’re being attacked by bears. Bears? Seriously? Vigilante Patient has an underground bunker and he’s afraid of bears? Does anyone even clock into the writer’s room?
“Oh, shit, bears!”

Speaking of ham-handed product placement, Adams, the pretty one, while driving with Park, the one whose voice annoys me so I want to reach down her throat and pull out her vocal chords, mentions her Ford cruise control. And a minute later we sail into a Ford commercial! My dear readers, I hoped the creators had a shred of integrity intact, but the Ford ran over the last shred. At least Adams didn’t crash the car into the patient’s house.

Long story short: the patient is paranoid. And he has diphtheria.

Park is paranoid that the rest of the team doesn’t like her. Unfortunately, she’s right. She goes to House for consolation. She is an idiot.

Wilson is paranoid that House has a gun. Wilson should be.

I’m going to make a stretch here to say that Taub is paranoid that Foreman has no personal life. Never mind the details. Foreman hooks up with a horrifically buff former America’s Top Model contestant who’s married. One saving grace of this episode was that Taub was relegated to snarking on the sidelines.

When Vigilante Patient is on the mend, he promises his wife they’ll move to a new house without a secret bunker. “Oh, honey, can it be English Tudor?” she asks, caressing his cheek. “Now that I know you’re an insane time-bomb who still might go off any minute, I love you even more.” Cue heartwarming music. VP plans to donate the arsenal to the Peace Corps. As long as the new house has no bears.

I mentioned the show’s overall dislike of women at the beginning. That was code for “rampant misogyny.” As a friend tweeted, “This is a sausage fest.” They are trying to fill the void left by Cuddy’s departure (her name has been uttered once or twice). Cuddy was a confident, mature, sexual woman with an impressive job. Now we get, what, an anonymous pretty cipher and a teenage geek? And a passel of middle-aged men? Eeeew.

One feels a certain fondness for middle-aged writers and directors, getting back at all of the girls who wouldn’t date them in eleventh grade.

Meanwhile, during clinic duty, House barks out the names of female clinic patients until he gets to the standard-issue Hollywood Hot Babe, and takes her into the clinic room. Har de har har. Let’s laugh at the less attractive women in the waiting room. Is it me, or is House’s awful make-my-ears-look-big dyed haircut making him look more Creepy Grandpa each episode?

“It’s not you,” Leo assures me. “He is Creepy Grandpa.”

The crowning touch is a scene where Chase and Adams, the pretty people, are on the verge of hooking up when Park gets on the elevator. Standing on either side of her, they look like her parents. She gets up her courage asks Chase for a drink, causing him to squirm with a “kill me now” expression on his face, before he agrees. Ha ha ha! Less attractive women are so funny! Especially when they come on to cute guys who’d rather suck on a tailpipe than get naked with them. But, who knows, maybe Chase and Park will get it on. I’d rather that that Chase and Adams.

Side note: what is with the gruesomely thin women on this show? America’s Top Model weighs about 70 pounds but still looks like she could out-bench-press Foreman. When she walks toward Foreman in the gym, he looks like a sofa compared to her. At least women who don’t eat make cheap dates.

At the close, House puts the box with the gun on the upper shelf on his closet, and then takes out his father’s ceremonial Marine sword, caressing it gently before returning it to its hiding place. This was the “mid-season finale” (when did television start using that term?). I guess come January we’ll be watching House explore his daddy issues. Because, honestly, what’s left?

Watching this mess lurch to its conclusion, Leo and I touched glasses. “We lived through it,” he said.

“But at what cost?” I retorted, paranoid that my IQ level had dropped twenty points.

In January House MD will be back to slog toward the finale.
Feel free to express yourself in the comments. But bear in mind that I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa

EDITED TO ADD: Hugh Laurie has announced he is leaving acting after the final season of House. That’s too bad, but understandable. A weekly series is an unbearable grind.

If you are going to post Anonymous comments, let it be known that you have to sign them somehow if you want to be published.

Book Review: Inside House’s Head, and Everyone Else’s

DAHLINGS –

Some of you might have guessed that I am an avid (some might say obsessed) fan of the show “House MD.” And, it almost goes without saying, highly intelligent. So when I found House and Psychology: Humanity Is Overrated(Wiley, 2011), it had to be on my bookshelf.

After I read it, of course. In two sittings.

This is not an official guide, nor is it the usual fan fluff. Edited by Ted Casio and Leonard L. Martin, the book is an anthology of writings by well-known research psychologists and sociologists who are also avid (some might say obsessed) fans. The latest psychological research (including the most up-to-date studies on addiction) is combined with psychological theory. Liberally peppered with scenes and quotes from episodes, it is great fun to read.

The book is divided into four sections.

Part One, The Good: Unlimited Vicodin;

Part Two, The Bad: Psychological Malpractice;

Part Three, The Ugly: Is That My EKG?

Part Four is “House and The Hero’s Journey,” based on the works of Joseph Campbell. It casts House as a “mythic hero.” This is a view some take of House, but for my taste, antisocial bitter sonofabitch does just fine, thank you. But I digress.

About but not limited to the study of the mind of Gregory House, the chapters address authenticity of self, creativity and happiness, to name a few topics. They also include the psyches of the other people in his orbit, as well as dissections of the actual show itself.

“The Psychology of Humor in House” is easy enough to grasp, but how about “You Are Not as Special as You Think: The Political Psychology of House, MD”?

As an example, an excellent article, “Not Even Gregory House Is An Island,” by Dr. Megan L. Knowles, a social psychologist, is about House and the role social support (and his rejection of same) plays in his life. For obvious reasons, James Wilson, his only friend, plays a large part in offering tangible and emotional support, but there are also examinations of how members of the team provide support to each other, and what types.

Other denizens of Princeton-Plainsboro–Cuddy, Cameron, Foreman and Chase–are all examined through different lenses by different psychologists. So are their dealings with House. For instance, the sexual ambivalent-avoidant relationship between House and Cuddy is examined at length, as is her involvement with Lucas in “Love, Liking and Lupus,” by Lindsey M. Rodriguez and Edward R. Hirt.

House and Psychology: Humanity Is Overrated goes up to the end of Season Six. The examinations of the characters through psychology not only give a vast deal of enjoyment, but as a bonus, a deeper insight into oneself as well.

Ted Casio is a psychology teacher and a writer for the Hollywood PhD blog in Psychology Today. Leonard L. Martin is a professor of social psychology at the University of Georgia.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough, for both the casual, avid and obsessed fans. For one thing, you can impress the heck out of your fellow fans with your intimate knowledge of what makes House and his fellow doctors tick.

The book’s website is http://houseandpsychology.com/

You can purchase the book either in trade paperback or for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/House-Psychology-Overrated-Ted-Cascio/

Go forth and enjoy!

Ciao,
Elisa

Review: House MD "Parents" Ep. 8×06 – Clowns Shouldn’t Reproduce

DAHLINGS –

The confusion over Season Eight has been cleared up at last! While we fans were wondering, “What happened to this show? When did it become such a car wreck?” there is now an answer!

In a recent interview, Hugh Laurie, former pillar of artistic integrity, is quoted as saying: “Whatever we’re doing now on the show, we’re doing it for its own satisfaction. I don’t feel like we’re struggling to prove ourselves to executives or critics. Not to be complacent about it, but I think we’ve moved beyond that stage.”
Source: http://tinyurl.com/c39t9q8

Clearly, beyond the stage of producing decent television. Mr. Laurie is making it clear that they no longer give a damn about what they are creating. (Those of us who have recently wondered if Mr. Laurie has been assuaging the tedium of playing the same character for so many years with, ahem, illegal substances can rest assured that “coffee” is what is keeping the company going. Naturellement .)

This week’s episode, “Parents,” was as multilayered as a tuna melt, with the same mushy texture.

I am going to cut directly to the shocking (!) family secret (!): Ben is a teenager who wants to go to Klown Kollege because of his loving memories of his Dead Clown Father. But Dead Clown Father isn’t actually dead. He shows up at the hospital where, after giving DCF a quick glance, House announces that DCF molested Ben and gave him syphilis when Ben was a wee bairn. (House deduces this from the way DCF is walking. Maybe it was from a stilt accident, but what do I know?) The family is shattered, Ben is ruined for life by finding out his DCF is a live CF and a child rapist and the police are called.

Oh. Wait. None of that happens.

Taub decides not to tell Ben how he got syphilis but they don’t show that part—because it might have involved some actual writing—and DCF shuffles out of the picture, presumably on the hunt for more young wanna-be Bozos. Bear in mind, this entire sequence of events, including the Magi-Cam during the “let’s just get this crap over with” explanation takes three minutes of screen time. Not even a final reaction shot from Ben, who is actually an interesting patient.

“Come here, little boy, and I’ll show you my balloons.”

The theme of this episode is parents. Good parents, bad parents, bad clowns who molest children parents, and Taub. I know there was supposed to be a connection to Taub’s story and Dead Clown Father, as in, what’s better, an absent father who molested you or a present father who doesn’t touch your privates? Or something along those lines.

Taub’s two illegitimate daughters are both named Sophie. Most of the episode is taken up with Taub’s—uh, Taub’s—Taub’s futzing around with the babies because the ever-annoying Rachel wants to move Sophie #1 to Portland along with her new BF. Meanwhile, Ruby, the other baby mama (be grateful she’s not named Rachel) bitches at Taub that she can’t afford a baby yada yada. I used to love Taub before his personal life became The B-Story That Ate The Show.

House isn’t around much for “Parents.” There is a passing mention of his two fathers. At last! An exploration of this pivotal shaping of House’s character and worldview. Oops. It’s a throwaway line. House wants to accompany Wilson to Atlantic City to sing ringside at a prizefight. So most of House’s storyline is devoted to getting his ankle bracelet off. Or dealing with a fat clinic patient who is convinced who has diabetes. Or randomly announcing that everyone’s parents screwed them up.

Or trying to find out what Adams’s deep dark secret is. Adams, as usual, seems faintly distracted, as if worried she left her Iphone at the mall. Her big secret is that she was a good girl who ran away to see if she was a rebel, but she wasn’t. Is anyone even IN the writer’s room?

Most of my notes are along the lines of “Taub? Again?” and one notation: WILSON. Robert Sean Leonard has dropped any semblance of interest in his character—I don’t blame him—who has largely been reduced to sight gags. When one starts to feel nostalgic for the chicken bet, one is peering into the abyss. Foreman calls Wilson into his office and tells Wilson that it’s his duty as a friend to stay with House and watch the fight on television. Wilson realizes, shocked, that this is the truth as well as his higher duty (to be honest, the way RSL played it I was sure Wilson was faking) and takes the tickets out of his pocket.

The end of the episode shows Wilson coming to House’s place with pizza and beer, eagerly turning on the fight, only to see Foreman and House sitting ringside, toasting each other with a beer. Ruefully, Wilson eats pizza.

As my betters say, WTF?

David Shore and company are doing the artistic equivalent of leaving a flaming bag of dog poop on the audience’s collective doorstep.

POST EPISODE CONCLUSIONS:

Hugh Laurie has it in his new contract that he only has to work eight hours a day.

Robert Sean Leonard has gone even more meta than the show itself by delivering his lines as if even he can’t believe them.

Nice little anecdote about how Chase became interested in medicine.

Foreman as Dean of Medicine continues to delight—when he isn’t involved in stupid gags.

Terra Nova is on before House to make House sound like Chaucer. The strategy isn’t working.

Ciao,
Elisa

Review: House MD "The Confession" Ep. 8×05

DAHLINGS –

Confession: your faithful chronicler finds herself brought so low as to be groveling for a crumb of ANYTHING. The theme song is back! Amazing how the smallest things can make one ridiculously happy.

Everything’s going to be okay! Brilliant of TPTB to wait 4 episodes until the theme song came back, along with Chase, Taub, and the diagnostics office!

Chase! Taub! Wilson! Whiteboard!

What does it say about an episode that the best thing I can say is that it didn’t make me angry, and I chuckled a few times?

“House M.D.” is not even trying to be a serious program any more. The show has morphed into a meta parody of itself. The characters becoming caricatures, the “fun” back in the form of jokes that aren’t funny, and wild n’ crazy antics! And everybody involved knows that, so in later episodes we might possibly be spared any form of gravitas. “House” can’t pull it off any more. It’s back to hooker-on-a-Segway time. You want serious character development? Sorry, we got tired of doing that.

We open on a pleasant rural town, Cedarville, in the 1950s. Bob Harris, Champion Little League coach, Harvest Scholarship Fund treasurer, and owner of the town’s only gas station, is receiving an award for being a pillar of the community at a county fair. (A county fair? Near Princeton?) He is watched by local beauty queen Miss Cedarville.

Quick cut to a motel room, where Bob is putting his pillar to good use having sex with Miss Cedarville. The inevitable happens: he has a heart attack on top of her. Rule Number One on House: Do.Not.Have.Sex.Ever. It either brings you to the brink of death or merely ruins your life. Or you drive your car into your ex’s house.

Suddenly we time-travel to the present. Chase and Taub stand before Foreman’s desk. There’s some old-school banter, then reality jumps the rails once again. Taub was counting on two days off, because he has to look after his two children. It’s not noted exactly why the mothers took off at the same time or why Taub can’t afford a nanny, but what the hell, the babies are adorable and good for some sight gags. Not to mention House torments Taub about the babies’ paternal origin. What happened to Season 4/5 Taub, who gave as good as he got, and more important, DIDN’T HAVE PLOT LINES THAT CLOG THE SHOW AS MUCH AS GREASE CLOGS A SINK DRAIN? He even gets Wilson (the head of Oncology, as if that matters any more) to baby-sit and roll them around the lobby, thus dooming Wilson’s chance of being taken seriously by any of the staff ever again.

The POTW (Jamie Bamber, late of Battlestar Gallactica) has “confessed” the truth to his wife. True to her 1950s values, she will stand by her man. Cutting to the chase (pardon the pun) the patient’s problems include:

Seizure. Check.

Liver failure. Check

Eeeew! Skin peeling off in sheets! Like the ballerina in “Under My Skin” in Season Five! Except this is even more disgusting. (Whatever happened to the cases where people had gone to dozens of doctors before they went to House?)

The entire town of Cedarville time-travels to PPTH to offer Galatica Guy a piece of their livers. However, Galatica Guy “confesses” everything from ripping off his neighbors to embezzlement to being a vampire—oh, wait, that’s another show. Cedarville promptly time-travels back to the 1950s.

If it hadn’t been obvious from the get-go that the confessions are the principal symptom, it’s evident that suddenly the team have forgotten they’re doctors and haven’t noticed Altruist Guy’s and Galactica Guy’s defining characteristics were overdone and obviously a symptom from the first scene. And both are diagnosed by one of the ducklings in the same crazy way. I mean, come on, it’s one thing to repeat plot-lines from earlier seasons, but a plot line from two episodes ago?

Meanwhile, Adams and Park still haven’t learned to act, which makes Chase and Taub back quite refreshing. House rags on Chase for staring at Adams’s non-existent breasts. Later it’s back-story time for Adams, and forgive me, but I wasn’t listening. But it was probably a “confession” of some kind. The scenes between House and Wilson seem off-kilter. I’m guessing the actors are saying their lines and going home.

Without going into the details of House hiring a construction crew and Foreman never noticing, or how Galactica Guy’s skin peels off but his face reminds intact, or Taub’s two goddamn babies, TPOW is diagnosed with Kawasaki’s Disease. And is able to lie to his wife about having an affair. “I knew it,” she gushes, and they return to the 1950s.

The end is very funny but also preposterous. The construction has been to make a wall that rises at the touch of a remote that slides up to reveal—wait for it—
Wilson’s office. Why get into whether or not Wilson knew about it, or where the damn wall goes when it raises up, etc. etc. ?

The best thing to do is to pretend it’s a sitcom and wait for the canned laughter.

Ciao,
Elisa

P.S. When you respond to this review, please bear in mind that I am always right and do not approve hate mail.

Review: "House" & "Risky Business" Hit A New Low 8×04

DAHLINGS –

Viewers who thought the creative minds behind House MD had destroyed the character in the season 7 finale are in for an unpleasant surprise. Apparently House can still be plumbed for new depths, while being stripped of whatever compassion, sense of ethics, and humanity he may have possessed in the past. Moral turpitude found new lows in last night’s episode of House, “Risky Business.” At the time, the episode seemed merely stupefyingly dull. However, in the cold light of morning 8×04 is simply hideous.

To the tune of “Morning Has Broken,” the patient of the week (Michael Nouri) is a business magnate who intends to move his company to China, thereby losing thousands of American jobs and destroying family tradition. His daughter vehemently opposes his decision. Unfortunately, her pro-America argument is interrupted by Nouri finding his hand very small.

Once we’re back at the hospital, Adams strides in, in a low-cut black dress reminiscent of the sorely missed Cuddy. Except that Adams is barely out of high school and the costumers had to pleat her chest to give her cleavage. As always, her cascade of hair is impeccable. It’s a bit disconcerting when she’s bending over the patient—wouldn’t a real doctor wear a ponytail or a braid to keep stray hairs from getting everywhere? (Your faithful correspondent has long, flowing hair, so I know whereof I speak.) Even Thirteen used to pin some of it back. Oh, wait, that was when this mess resembled an actual television program. Adams yammers at Nouri about ethics, which seems rather odd when he’s in an MRI. Aren’t the patients supposed to remain silent? (Correction: he was being radiated, as a commenter pointed out. My narcolepsy must have kicked in.)

House lectures Adams about the 99% and why they deserve to get the shaft. And why she should drive her car through her ex-husband’s living room.


Oops. That was when David Shore et.al actually cared about what they were doing. My respect for Hugh Laurie drops another ten points with each episode. He practically slept through this one. (Not to mention that his hair and beard are still that bizarre ginger color.)

The bottom line: House buys stock in the company when it drops because of the news of Nouri’s ill health. He then makes a huge profit when Nouri decides to move the company to China! He urges the magnate to sign the press release, in front of the magnate’s horrified daughter. Way to go, you rascal House, you! Insider trading, ruining thousands of lives, losing thousands of American jobs, AND wrecking the magnate’s family in the process!

**********************************************

Pardon me, I had to pause writing the review so I could vomit.

***********************************************

The show has moved me, it has made me think, it has angered me, it has bored me. But except for last season’s finale, I have never felt utter DISGUST. Is this supposed to be cute? Is this “going back to the fun”?? What do they do in the writer’s room, torture kittens?

Dr. Park floats around the periphery, her disciplinary hearing won because, well, she’s just so adorable, how can you fire her? (Besides, she’s signed up for the season.)

The POTW’s illness is described quickly with some medical gobbledy-gook. This season, the MagiCam has been used to (loudly) distract from whatever diagnosis House is spouting. The visuals have become as confusing as everything else. Can someone tell me what the diagnosis was? It involved a lot of spinning red discs, that much I know.

At the end, House buys back his old department with his ill-gotten gains and Wilson (who is on for a few nanoseconds) a check for $5000. I suppose this is supposed to make up for all of the money House owes Wilson, and it conveniently buys his friendship for the rest of the season as well. Which is nicely symbolic of Robert Sean Leonard keeping his job.

In the last moments, we discover that Adams is going through a divorce (gag me) that will supposedly give her character some depth. Given her age, she must have been married down South. House hands her a baseball bat and watches, grinning, as she destroys the orthopedic equipment that has occupied his “office,” as “Morning Has Broken” plays on the soundtrack. Yes, nothing says “catharsis” like trashing expensive medical equipment out of spite.

As one friend wrote to me:

The $5000 was money he stole from Wilson – he was just returning it.

Crimes committed by House in this episode-
Insider trading (twice)-
Blackmail of patient for money-
Theft of $5000 from Wilson-
Theft of a $200,000 piece of medical equipment (he pawned it somewhere presumably? must be a great pawn shop!)-
Assault on ortho guy (shining a light in his eyes designed to make him ill*), near assault on ortho guy (only saved by having an epiphany at the last moment)

Pretty good record for a guy on parole….

* I shall be honest and admit I had to cover my eyes during this section, because I have a mild medical condition where I cannot look at flashing lights.

On the positive side…

On the positive side…

Hmmm.

Wilson looks hot.

Foreman’s character is being fleshed out beautifully, after years of standing around looking sullen. He projects authority, intelligence, and humor.

Not to worry, House will have his minions tearing up Foreman’s office for no good reason before season 8 is over.

Edited To Add: The ratings are also hitting new lows. 6.55 million viewers, down 19% from last week. Oh, dear, I forgot the juggernaut that is Dancing With The Stars. And Two And A Half Men. And Mike and Molly at 9:30 EST.

Ciao,
Elisa

Review: Is "House" Now A "Charity Case" ? 8×03

DAHLINGS —

Episode 8×03, “Charity Case,” is aptly named. It sits on the street, legs crossed, begging bowl in lap, looking toward the viewers. “Please help me! Please, give me my demographic! Look, I gave you back the Magicam! The whiteboard! Clinic duty!”

This episode reminded your faithful correspondent of a rickety beach house. Boards slapped on haphazardly to keep the wind out. Poles keep the walls from collapsing. Years ago, this was a lovely house, but time, the elements, and spectacularly bad judgment have brought it to this sorry state. Very well, I’ll stop the metaphor there and leave out the part about the bad wiring.

In the open, as soon as the POTW (Wentworth Miller) talked to the woman at the shelter, I knew after his exit she would find a mysterious check for ONE MEEILLION dollars! (Pinky at mouth.) As soon as Mr. Handsome leaves, he collapses and we go to:

The utter lack of credits. What foolery is this? If you’re going to go “back to basics,” why not restore the song? Is NBC too cheap to pony up the money for the rights? Is it because Odette Annable might jump to the other show when it’s renewed and they’ve have to remove her credit? Just a sort of orangey picture and a huffing noise. Only “Supernatural” can pull this off.

Mr. Handsome is a gazillionaire who gives all of his money away and lives in poverty. Naturally, this does not sit well with his wife, who probably wants a decent three-bedroom apartment with a view. Like the environmentalist in S5 “Saviours,” the POTW feels that other people are equally deserving–if not more so–than his own offspring.

House is sure Mr. Handsome’s extreme altruism is a symptom, that nobody is that generous.

As in:

S2: “Autopsy” – House believes courage is a symptom (no)
S4: “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – niceness is a symptom (yes)
S5 “Brave Heart” – bravery is a symptom (sorta)
S6: “Instant Karma” – millionaire gives up money to save his son (it didn’t make any sense at the time, either)
S7: Some guy jumps in front of a train to save a little girl – heroism is a symptom (can’t remember)

13 puts in an appearance, telling House she has found the right girl and doesn’t want to be a doctor any more. Since we already know this is Olivia Wilde’s last episode, listening to her argue with House is tiresome. But—and this is bizarre—the most colorless character on the show suddenly seems like a STAR because she’s in the same room with House’s two new little girls.

These two actresses…I mean, why? Charlene Yi can’t act and has the most annoying voice since Cuddles, the Downy Soft bear. Odette Annabel can’t act either, but she is excellent at wearing her hair in a fetching cascade down one side. The reason why they have been hired might be that Laurie, Shore and Yaitanes are all having mid-life crises and nothing eases the pain like a barely pubescent female. In fact, this may be why Hugh Laurie is using Just For Men on his hair and beard, rather than the foxy silver it is in real life. From the front he looks like he’s wearing three reddish brown pom-poms on his head.

Getting “back to basics” means bringing back the Magicam (a welcome addition); a repeat of the scene where House pitches small objects (peanut shells) from the balcony toward the back of a janitor; clinic duty, which manages to be unfunny AND derivative. A kid is masturbating. Wow. Back to the fun, indeed.

Wilson puts in an appearance as House’s conscience and provides the epiphany, I forget how.

Foreman gets to break House’s balls over deliberately dosing Mr. Handsome to create symptoms before Mr. Handsome can be discharged. “You’re off the case.” I like this Foreman. But then, I’ve always loved Foreman.

Still, the void created by the lack of Cuddy is unmistakable. No mature female on the show, no interesting sexual politics, no one for a woman over the age of 18 to identify with. No woman who can act. Yi and Annable enact a subplot about Yi’s inability to accept charity (OW! That anvil hurt when it hit my foot!). Chase is going to appear ridiculously old when he shows up; House already looks like their horny grandfather.

To cut to the chase (God, I miss Chase), House and his two little girls/new team solve the case. Mr. Handsome’s altruism is a symptom of a nodule on his thyroid. Before he diagnoses Mr. Handsome, House tries to get a ONE MEEEILLION DOLLAR donation to get his team back. And presumably the office next door, now being used for orthopedics. He diagnoses Mr. Handsome, and no ONE MEEILLION DOLLARS for poor House. Oops.

Then it’s time for a last dose of altruism, as House selflessly sends Thirteen away to a life of Sapphic pleasure in Greece. And Ms. Wilde to a multi-million dollar movie career.

So perhaps it’s not altruism, it’s sour grapes.

Ciao,

Elisa