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Fan Fiction For Dummies – A Glossary

DAHLINGS –
I am still going through “House MD” withdrawal, as you can imagine.
With the recent scholarly discussions on fan fiction (fiction written by fans of television shows, movies, computer games and coloring books), your faithful correspondent felt there should be a sort of glossary of terms.  Naturally, given my predilection for “House, MD”, this is my jumping off point.
The first thing one needs to know is that the show’s fans, both insane and regular folk, like to use portmanteau names (the first of them all being Bennifer for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston).  This means a relationship is there, usually romantic or sexual or both. Personally I don’t care for them, but it breaks down to:
House + Cuddy – Huddy  (Hugh Laurie & Lisa Edelstein)
House + Wilson – Hilson (Hugh Laurie & Robert Sean Leonard)
House + Cameron – Hameron (Hugh Laurie & Jennifer Morrison)
And so forth.  It doesn’t matter whether or not it happened on the actual show; these are ways for “shippers” to identify themselves.  Although many prefer the more adult “House/Cuddy” etc. As you have probably gathered from this blog, I myself tend to prefer the House/Wilson friendship.
“Ship” is short for relationship.  Every possible character combination has come up in fanfiction.  Homosexual romance and/or sex is called “slash.”Heterosexual romance/and or sex is called “het”.  Just romance is called “fluff” and usually means a light, cute story.  There are popular genres known as “hurt/comfort,” and “smut,” respectively.  I hope these are self-explanatory.
Now, dahlings, there are various genres of fanfic…there are actually hundreds, but first I shall confine myself first to some spedific House/Wilson “fic”genres.
“mpreg” Male pregnancy. One of the men (usually Wilson) has a baby and he and House raise it.  Don’t even try to wrap your mind around this.
There’s a subgenre of one or both of them being babies, or turning into babies.
Almost all have lots and lots and lots of sex.
Babies?”  “Don’t blame me, I live in the writers’ heads.”
“Post-Finale” Since the finale was left open-ended, with House and Wilson riding off into the sunset, there has been an explosion of fics in which House copes with Wilson’s death, sees his ghost, or cures him.  Some are quite amazingly good.
 “Contractverse” A series of stories based on “The Contract,” where House is tortured and traumatized in exchange for keeping Wilson alive (of course Wilson doesn’t know it).  Later stories have House a physical and mental wreck. I’ve glanced at these, but to be honest, they turn my stomach. 
BDSM – you know what that is.  Readers can ask where to find stories where House or Wilson is “the top”, etc.  For some reason, Wilson is usually the one dominating or humiliating House. 
Speaking of which, some writers write House/Wilson in abusive relationships, usually because the writers themselves are in abusive relationships.  Or concentrate on child abuse, which usually means House collapses into a sobbing heap having an epic flashback,weeping, “No, daddy, I’ve been a good boy!”
Basically, the entire panorama of human experience is filtered through these stories, making this kind of fiction even more id-driven than romance novels. 
Two other genres that are common to many fics of all kinds are:
“First Time”bazillions of these.  Most are much of a muchness.
“AU” – alternative universe.  Anything that doesn’t directly relate to the events or locations of the show.
 
From a small sampling of House/Cuddy “fics,” it seems that the concentration these days is to depart from the show’s plot and have the two characters in an established relationship.  Usually raising Cuddy’s daughter Rachel.  Some of the show’s best and most realistic fanfiction has come from this neck of the woods, in my opinion.

There are also a fair amount of “first time” fics. And lots and lots and lots of sex.
I have never read a House/Cameron fic, so I don’t know the content or genres.  If any writers would like to enlighten me, please do so in the comments.  But I’m sure there’s lots and lots and lots of sex.
 
There also seem to be quite a few “femmeslash” (lesbian) stories involving Cameron and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde).  Since Thirteen was bisexual on the show, it makes a certain sort of sense.
 Probably a fair amount of sex, don’t you think?
 
Recently my assistant Leo was reading some fanfiction.  He remarked to me, “But this has nothing to do with what happened in real life!”
I agreed with him, until I remembered that “real life” was a television show.
Damn.
Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

House Review: 8×22: "Everybody Dies" House Sees Dead People. Again.

DAHLINGS –

WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE FINALE!  I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUBSEQUENT REACTIONS.

For once, I shall begin at the end rather than the beginning. As we all know, “Everybody Dies” is the series finale.

For the sake of spending Wilson’s last months together, House fakes his own demise.  He pretends to burn to death, there is a funeral, Wilson gets a text.  He finds House grinning, sitting on a stoop.  After being yawped at endlessly about how selfish and self-centered House is, House makes the grand gesture of  sacrificing everything for Wilson.

 This begs the question: what on earth was the point of the episode?  If House has already planned his own death, down to switching dental records with his patient, who lies dead next to him in the warehouse, why is he visited by the Ghosts of Costars Past?  I mean, it’s nice to see Anne Dudek, Kal Penn, Sela Ward and Jennifer Morrison again. If only they had something more interesting to do.

So, House wakes up from shooting heroin, and is trapped in a burning warehouse.  Why is this warehouse burning?  It’s never explained, so it drops into the vast yawning pit of Baffling Events and Disappearing Characters and Plot Holes.  Again, if he’s planned to fake his own death, what’s with the ghosts and hallucinations? Why on earth did he shoot heroin?  Don’t give me that addict kerfuffle.  Surely he’s done it before. He’s taken everything before.

 Each “ghost” shows up to lecture House about himself…pardon me for putting it this way, but HOW COME THIS SHOW CAN’T MAKE A POINT WITHOUT HALLUCINATIONS?  This fall-back device is annoying.  And tired.  And ultimately boring, once you get over the pleasure of seeing the old faces again.  The same old arguments, written the same old ways. Written and directed by show creator David Shore, it’s not up to the amazing “No Reason” and not as abysmal as “Two Stories.” Pointless mediocrity is what we have after a listless final season.  It’s easy to see why the show has been cancelled.

 What’s missing from these characters is any sense of humor.  Each “ghost” solemnly lectures House about his life, his choices, fill in the blanks. Kutner is first, (Kal Penn), who asks him who the dead guy is.

“It’s James LeGros. He was the POTW for about, oh, five minutes.”

 House exposits:

POTW is a heroin addict who likes being an addict (ANVIL ALERT).  He has agreed to help House (although we’re not sure how) get out of jail. Through dialogue with Kutner, the exposition continues: House is trying to avoid jail to stay with Wilson for the remaining time.  Kutner talks about a “plan” and asks, “why are you sitting here on the floor with the suicidal guy?”

 I’d heard it all before and I knew it was a hallucination and House wasn’t dead.  Amber (Anne Dudek) shows up to take over the exposition.  She speaks in a spaced-out monotone, which fits the dialogue.

Amber is there the longest, and given the lamest dialogue, mostly standing around solemnly intoning…whatever.  Your faithful correspondent doesn’t give a damn.   Stacy, House’s great love in Seasons 1 and 2 (Sela Ward) is there to show him the life he never had, handing him a baby with matching big blue eyes.  Excuse me?  House has never shown more than a faint interest in settling down.  Yes, he bonded with Rachel Cuddy, but has she ever been mentioned again?  He looks into a suburban living room , where he is canoodling with…Dominika? 

Speaking of which, where was Cuddy during the Greatest Hits parade?

Then, finally, drama!  House crashes through a collapsing floor!  He’s trapped!  As he lies on the floor, surrounded by flames, Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) appears, urging House to die.  That he’s done everything he can, he deserves to end it.  It is such a pleasure to see her onscreen again.

 However, she joins him in the hospital with the POTW, and in a baffling turnaround, tells him he’s a “coward” for choosing suicide. Meanwhile, Foreman and Wilson have been searching everywhere.  They go to—Nolan’s office!  WTF?  Yes, it’s nice to see Andre Braugher, but–Nolan wouldn’t let House out of Mayfield unless he got clean.  And now he’s okay with House being on Vicodin?  This makes even less sense than everything else! Oh well, Nolan does fine with his three sentences.

House is alone.  “I can change,” he mutters.  But he can’t get out!  Foreman and Wilson reach the warehouse just in time to see House through the flames.  Then a burning beam comes down and the whole place explodes.


“Oh, fuck me.”

A body bag is removed, the dental records match.Your faithful correspondent was upset but all right with House being dead.  If someone was going to die, it is fitting that it should be House. 

Foreman breaks the news to Wilson

A funeral is held.  House’s ashes are in an urn.  I will forego the obvious joke.  Charlene Yi kicks off the festivities, Blythe (House’s mother) gets a line, Chase gets a line, Amber Tamblyn shows up, everybody gets a line. It’s all actually quite poignant.

Then Wilson gets up.  He starts a eulogy, but then loses it completely, calling House “an ass” for failing Wilson the one time truly needed him.  A cell phone keeps ringing during Wilson’s sort-of eulogy.  It’s in his pocket, but it’s not his phone.  He opens it and sees a text: SHUT UP YOU IDIOT.

Cut to a car pulling up.  Wilson gets out, to find House waiting for him.  Turns out, as I said at the top, House faked his own death.  He has given up his career, his identity, in short, sacrificed everything to be with Wilson.  Now tell me that isn’t true love.

“PSYCH!”

The ending montage shows the cast (Taub has both mothers and both babies, excuse me?) carrying on in the wake of House’s “death.”  The best moment is when it is revealed that Chase is the new head of diagnostic medicine.  The second best moment is when Foreman finds House’s ID card wedged under a wobbly table, and realizes what has actually happened. So, everybody dies, but they don’t.  Just that poor bastard junkie.

At the very end, we see House and Wilson on motorcycles, strapping on their gear.  “House, when my cancer gets bad—“

House gives him perhaps the happiest smile we’ve seen in eight years.  “Cancer is boring.”  With that, they ride off into the sunset, to the strains of Louis Prima singing “Enjoy Yourself,” a truly bittersweet choice.  And a perfect ending.

“Wilson, you look so gay.  Thank God.”

Farewell, House.  For better or worse, we shall not see your like again.

Random:

Your faithful scrivener has not watched “Swan Song” yet, so my opinions will be saved for another time.

It is a shame that this episode followed the “Reichenbach Falls” on “Sherlock”.  Bad timing.

Does anyone else find it sad that Chase’s team is now Park and Adams?

Wilson sitting with a blanket over him the morning after the fire broke my heart.

“Enjoy Yourself” was sung by Amber in a great creepy way when she was a hallucination in Season Five.

I love Sela Ward.  Stacy was the only one who called him “Greg” and gave as good as she got.

I missed Lisa Edelstein.

Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

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

House Review: 8×20 "Post-Mortem" or, Ferris Wilson’s Day Off

DAHLINGS –

Let me get one thing out of the way: I adore House and Wilson, in case you haven’t already noticed. Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard are perfectly in sync for this ending arc. This viewer is riveted every moment they are on screen.
Now, if only the writing would follow suit.
Once again, the POTW is interesting.  Peter Weller, who directed, appears briefly in the opening scene to call time of death on a young woman.  The body is taken to the morgue, where Dr. Biff, who has OCD if his chart is anything to go by, proceeds with an autopsy while bitching about the doctor who did the surgery.  And then tries to cut open his own brain.  Cue opening credits.

 The best moment in the show.  In the opening.

Meanwhile, Wilson has decided to take a road trip. He buys a $75,000 red car.  (Where’s Doris Egan when you need her?)  Out of the blue, his PET scan will reveal whether or not he lives or dies.  What?  Pardon me? Did they skip five years into the future?  Please, someone explain this.  Continuity is an unknown concept in the House writing room, but did anyone even READ last week’s script?

Last week, Wilson had thymoma, which could be treated with radiation, chemo, and surgery.  He went for Super-Chemo, even though he had a 75% chance of survival with traditional treatment.  Now it’s fatal?
So Wilson goes the tried-and-true bucket list route He drags House along, with Wilson calling himself “Kyle Calloway.”  Wilson is determined to “embrace the shallow.” Which we know will last for halfway through the show.  House and Wilson go to a dive where Wilson gags down an 80 oz. steak and throws it up again.  House arranges a threesome with hookers for Wilson, after having convinced him to go to hair and makeup to have a bald cap applied to make him look more like a dying cancer victim.  Good times.

 Your obedient scrivener feels the way RSL apparently did:

Tweet from Kath Lingenfelter:  Oh man, RSL was not happy with us on this gag.

Oh, Robert, you sold your soul for a mess of pottage.

Someone also explain why the female writers on this show go along with the appalling female stereotypes the show has been trafficking in the past two seasons.  Are they actually men with false names?   Do they have a secret right-wing agenda that all women are good for is sex and…sex?  Are they all former hookers, hoping to bring their deep life experience to the screen?

Does anyone remember the earlier seasons when Wilson was a suave ladies man?  A philanderer?  A “panty peeler”?  They neutered him some time ago, but really.  This is too much.   

Inevitably it all goes wrong.  Wilson sees a funeral procession (ANVIL ALERT), races his car past it, and crashes through a fence and wrecks the car.  What is it with this show and car crashes?  At least no cows were injured during the filming.  Wilson’s wallet is stolen by one of the hookers.  They end up at a bus stop, where Kyle Calloway runs screaming from this script and James Wilson returns. 

There is an old lady with Alzheimer’s at the bus stop, and Wilson is determined to stay with her until the cops arrive.  House and Wilson ride a bus back home.  Wilson talks about a traumatic senior year incident that left him scarred (a girl dumped him for–wait for it–Kyle Calloway).  One can hardly believe he got married three times after that shattering incident.  

Once again, Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard give the script far more than it deserves. Wilson is terrified to return to the hospital and find out his fate.House says, “I could live without Kyle Calloway,” making it more than clear that he can’t live without Wilson.  A tear slipped down my perfectly pink cheek. 
Meanwhile, back to the POTW.  He applied for the slot in House’s team that Chase got and thinks Chase has wasted his life.  Again, what?  Chase has helped save hundreds of lives, killed an evil African dictator, got Epiphany Face last week.  What more do you want, Dr Biff? 

Since House isn’t around, they again swap around the script so Chase can do all of the standard House misdiagnoses and stand up against the rest of the team and Foreman to do what’s right.  In one shot he’s leaning over a morgue table staring downward, in a pose so House-like it’s ludicrous.  “We’re missing something,” he keeps saying.  He even gets his own whiteboard.  Then—Epiphany Face!  There’s a quick explanation that Dr. Biff’s OCD causes him to use way too much hospital soap.  Combined with energy drinks, he went crazy, etc. etc.  There, there, it makes no sense to me either.

Now that he’s learned his own version of Epiphany Face, Chase is ready to move on from PPTH.  Foreman can’t persuade him to stay, so they have an awkward hug.  Chase goes to where House is staring at Wilson’s PET scan, they exchange perfunctory goodbyes, and Chase says, “Let me know how Wilson is.” And leaves.  One more time: WHAT?  Chase has known Wilson for eight years and he walks out?

 I’ve got a new series to star in, “Chicago Fire.” Later.

After Chase leaves, House sees something on the PET scan. From House’s expression, we know it is BAD NEWS.
Your faithful correspondent’s best guess is that Chase will return to operate on Wilson, since Dr. Biff said, “Statistically, you’re the best surgeon in this hospital.”
Again, what?
Random:
Jesse Spencer does a superb job.  He plays the change in Chase from fellow to leader subtly.  However, it leaves almost as big a hole in the cast as Cuddy. When the three remaining fellows are together, they look oddly pathetic.
Speaking of the three remaining fellows, it was such a pleasure to barely see Adams and Park.  Whatever happened to Taub’s babies? No, wait, I don’t want to know.
Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

House Review: 8×19, "The C-Word"

DAHLINGS –

 
For the last few days yours truly has been insanely busy.  And I know how many of my beloved readers hunger for my reviews.  My Twitter feed has been filled with moans of “When, when?” Here you are, darling hearts.  Although I’m not sure what “The C-Word” stood for besides Cancer.  Caring?  Columbia?  Concord Grapes?  It was directed by the show’s star, Hugh Laurie.
 
As I mentioned in my previous review, it’s rather annoying that the show is pulling out this manipulative melodramatic twist for the last few episodes, but better late than never.  This was a complex episode despite some major flaws.  And by far the best this season.  
 
The heart of the show has always been the relationship of House and Wilson.  They have drugged each other, stolen from each other, lied to each other about matters great and small.  And yet the friendship continues.  (One might consider them two halves that make a whole. Or not.)  The regrettable loss of Cuddy has made the House/Wilson dynamic even more central.  This is why the show has been so difficult to watch it this season being tossed to one side in favor of outlandish plots and insipid characters.  Matters have not been helped by Robert Sean Leonard’s uninterested acting and Hugh Laurie’s phoning it in.
 
However, both actors brought their A-game, particularly Robert Sean Leonard.  This was a stellar performance, revealing more of Wilson than we have seen in eight seasons.  The darkness and anger that has been glimpsed sporadically in the past comes front and center.  Both House and Wilson suffer from an inner darkness that they medicate in different ways.  House is an antisocial drug addict; Wilson hides himself behind a cheerful shiny surface. As we discovered at the end of last week, Wilson has cancer, Stage Two thymoma. At the latest doctor’s office, House says, “How many times have I told you I wanted to be alone and you’ve made yourself a pain in the ass?  I owe you.” 
 
Unfortunately, the POTW plot is a straight rehash of “Finding Judas”.  Sick child of feuding divorced parents is put on a carnival ride by the father.  Disaster ensues.  Emily, the daughter, is either cute or crying “Ow, ow, ow!” She has a genetic illness, and her mother (Jessica Collins) is a humorless geneticist specializing in same.  It’s never clear what the father does, but he’s a lot more fun. Chris L. McKenna portrays the confused, loving father, creating a fully rounded character from sketchy material. For some insane reason, Foreman wants Dr. Mom to head the team.  Once again, disaster ensues.
 
Dangerous experimental drugs have been a go-to plot device last season and this season.  Last year House mainlined a drug that caused tumors in his leg.  This time the child is used as a lab rat by her mother, giving her daughter a drug that has not yet received FDA approval.   Joint custody is so not a good idea.

“Mommy’s sorry for almost killing you, sweetie.  She’ll be more careful next time.”

Emily’s illness, as it turns out, is not caused by genetics but from a tumor in her heart.  House has been working with the cases less and less this season, so it’s Chase who gets to have Epiphany Face and solve the puzzle.  One suspects that the show is setting up Chase to be the team leader as the series ends.

 
And, of course, the main plot: Wilson is determined to use an extreme form of chemotherapy to blast his cancer.  It is literally life or death.  The inherent unbelievability of this plan is given what writers call “explainers,” those sentences that explain why a course of action is being taken that would otherwise make the viewer go, “Huh?”  It is clear that Wilson has an excellent chance of survival with traditional therapy (thymoma is almost never fatal).  The “explains,” if you will, are brought to the table when Wilson refuses to die in a hospital.  Then he produces a series of objects from patients who died unexpectedly of cancers with high survival rates.  House objects, but Wilson is determined to go through with it.   What else can House say but, “we’ll do it at my place”?
 
Once the medical equipment is in place, House raises a toast “to stupidity.” Before Wilson can agree, House goes on to give a blood-curdling description of what Wilson can expect. “Agony isn’t a word or a concept. It’s your only reality.”  He then asks, quite reasonably, “What are we doing here, Wilson?” Indeed, what are they doing there?  Wilson looks determined.  This is another moment that outlines how rickety the conceit is, but Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard sell it as well as they can. 
 
 It’s only a matter of time before Wilson is a grey-faced, vomiting mess.  Director Laurie chooses to shoot many of these scenes in tight close-up, letting us see into their emotional lives, particularly House.  House is tender with his sick friend, even with all of the snarky jokes he uses to cope.  He holds Wilson’s head when he throws up into an emesis basin, then wipes his mouth expertly and goes on to the next task.  This kind of care is exhausting, round-the-clock work.  The realism with which this is shown makes these scenes hard to sit through.  (Kudos to the makeup people.  Wilson’s pallor and cracked lips are heart-rending.)

 
House never touches anyone or lets them touch him, with exception of the women he’s been involved with.  With Wilson, the boundaries are dropped.
 

House giving the last of his Vicodin to Wilson.  

A million fangirls scream around the world


But then, crazed with pain and illness, Wilson lashes out at the unfairness of getting cancer, and spews out venomous truth at House.  House sits, hurt, and silent.
House is usually silent when the people he cares about rage at him.  If anyone has any thoughts about this, please post them in the comments.

 
There is an unfortunate cut at the end of this scene to cute Emily, asking, “If I die, will my parents get back together?” (Your faithful scrivener burst out laughing.)   
 
The parents reconcile and Wilson survives the treatment.  There is a reference to three days having passed.  Three days?  Three days?  The child had the usual dozen wrong diagnoses, then major surgery in only three days?  Wilson went through all of that in three days?  You might argue it’s “television time,” but the script itself says three days. Even though Emily is still going to die an early death, she’s okay with it and her parents reconcile.
 
Wilson apologizes for his splenetic remarks, then asks for one last thing: to make it to the bathroom.  House hauls him up and half-carries Wilson to the bathroom.  Wilson notices that House is in extreme pain and asks if how he felt is how House feels all the time.  House gives an answering grunt.  “It really does suck being you, doesn’t it?” Wilson observes.  “At least I don’t have cancer,” is the response.

However you choose to view their friendship, it is indeed true love.  It would have been perfect had the episode ended there.  Instead, House and Wilson return to work.  Wilson finds an open laptop on his desk, hits a button.  Journey blasts out, accompanied by a photo montage of House and two hookers clowning with an unconscious Wilson ala “Weekend At Bernie’s.” Your mileage may vary, but it was a cheap, jarring end to an otherwise excellent episode.

 
“When did I get the time, money and energy to do this? When my Vicodin’s all used up? Ah, screw it.  Par-TAY!”

What did you think about the ending montage?  Feel free to discuss in the comments.
 
Random:
 
Why on earth did they do it in House’s living room and not the bedroom?
 
Apparently Emily’s parents have been raging at each other for years.  One wonders how long the detente will last once their daughter is back to dying on schedule.
 
What is with the cinematography this season?  Half of the show was almost pitch black.

Anything you’d like to say in the comments?  Just bear in mind that I am always right.

House Review: 8×18 A Lifeless "Body And Soul"

DAHLINGS –

“House,” you have abused me long enough. You have bewildered me with your nonsensical plot lines, badly written dialogue, anvils dropping faster than summer rain…but this time, “Body And Soul” crossed the line.

 You ruined my makeup. 
It was the reverse of the Season 6 finale, “Help Me.” That was a shattering episode with a horrendous ending. Let my guest blogger, House’s leg, explain:

 Greg drags me to hell and back in this giant wrecked parking garage, I get bent all kinds of ways, we have to go home WITHOUT the cane! So I’m not only throbbing, I’m burning, stabbing, aching, off the charts on the pain scale!  Greg doesn’t take the fucking Vicodin! It’s not a moral decision, jerk-off, it’s PAIN! What about PAIN don’t you understand at this point? Man, I was seriously pissed, but it’s not like I have hands or a mouth or free will. I’m just a goddamned leg, for Christ’s sake.

Then Cuddy showed up and I had to act like I wasn’t in shrieking pain because Greg was getting all like “wow, she’s here, I’ve wanted to bone her since the Crusades! And I looooove her.” They kiss and through some sort of magical endorphin boner process, I’m not supposed to hurt. AFTER ONE OF THE WORST DAYS OF MY LIFE.

Yes, the leg was extremely upset.

In reverse, last night’s episode was horrendous with a shattering ending.

The press release claimed the story was about dreams. There were dreams, and hallucinations. Why, why, WHY do they keep going back to hallucinations? If it weren’t for hallucinations, vomiting blood and paralysis, “House” would be ten minutes long.


Plot A:

The POTW is a cute little eight-year-old boy from Hmong ancestry. Whatever that is. Somebody in the comments can explain it, because I don’t care enough to look it up. Besides, the Hmongs on the internet are complaining the show got it all wrong. Amazing how many people this show can piss off.

Cute Hmong Boy dreams he is being choked by his late grandmother and wakes with acute respiratory distress. House brings several boxes of files to the team about Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome among males in the Hmong community. They eventually decide to look into infection, as well as the possibility of inhaled toxins.

Hmong Mom is an engineer, but Scary Hmong Father-in-Law is convinced that Cute Hmong Boy is possessed by demons. The young lad does have a collection of symptoms as assorted as a Halloween trick-or-treat bag. The most striking symptom is levitating. (And no, they never really explain the levitation, which sucks since it’s the only interesting symptom and looked good in the promos).

“Man, that is some seriously sick shit.”

 Cute Possessed Hmong Boy speaks in tongues, wakes up from another choking dream with bruises on his neck, and crashes every five minutes.

One of the boy’s dreams involves Scary Hmong Father-In-Law choking him, which not only looks real but also seems possible. Even logical. It hints at possible child abuse. In earlier days, child abuse often played a part in family secrets. But that was when the show made some sort of sense. Instead, oooo, is it disease or is it …SATAN? 

Once again, it’s “Faith vs. Science”. This dead horse has been beaten until it’s the consistency of chopped liver.

At the patient’s home, the doctors discover a slaughtered pig and assorted voodoo-type thingies in the boy’s bedroom. Sleeping in an abattoir, now THERE’S a recipe for PTSD. Cute Hmong Boy’s father went crazy and killed his boss. Scary Hmong Father-in-Law thinks his son was also possessed.  Your faithful correspondent thinks it is because the son was choked and forced to sleep in a room with large dead animals.  Be that as it may, SHFIL convinces Hmong Mother to ditch common sense in favor of an exorcism. And slaughter another swine in the boy’s hospital room. Now I truly believe the show is written by the interns while the writers sit out by the pool and smoke crack.

During the exorcism, which involves pretty red cloth, Cute Hmong Boy crashes (again). Against House’s orders, Adams injects ibuprofen into the boy’s IV because she believes he has patent ductus arteriosis, which starts at birth but for some magical reason never manifested until now. Guess it was the demons.

But we’ll never know. Or care.

Plot B: 

Park has a sex dream about Chase. Chase has a sex dream about Park, which is quite funny. Any time I can get to see Jesse Spencer without his shirt is a good time. At the end, Park decides that the reason they have sex dreams about each other is because they’re good friends and comfortable with each other. So she farts.

(I hope that means I’m good friends with George Clooney.)

Plot C: 

Adorable Dominika is now the Dominika The Wonder Whore, as she demonstrates that she is a crack shot AND an ex-cop who reads about quantum physics in the tub. AND she’s made thousands of dollars selling knishes AND she knows how to fix small appliances AND she knows how to tilt her head adorably while delivering appalling dialogue in an adorable accent…she is House’s “dream girl”!
 
I’ll be in the lavatory retching if you want me.

Ahem.

Dominika reveals that she has fallen for House…they start kissing…ick augh bleagh Creepy Grandpa and That Girl blechh…when the INS calls and halts this abomination.  Dominika discovers House done her wrong by throwing away her INS notifications. Farewell, Dominika! Don’t let the door hit your adorable ass on the way out.


 “It’s been real–oh, wait–“

 Just as we’re settling back with an ice-cold martini, House visits Wilson to tell him he’s “surprisingly depressed” that Dominika has left. Wilson emotionally coldcocks House by announcing, “I have cancer. Stage Two. ” The promo for next week shows Wilson coughing up blood on House’s couch, refusing to die in the hospital.

There were three possible reactions on the part of yours truly.

The first is: “Are you joking? The oncologist gets cancer? House’s only friend gets CANCER? In time for May sweeps? Are they so cynical that they think all of the millions of fans who deserted the show will come back in droves because Wilson is probably DYING? What kind of manipulative merde is this? Why did I ever think this show had a shred of integrity?”

The second is: “Wow, Robert Sean Leonard is going to knock it out of the ballpark!”

The third is: “OH GOD NO NOT WILSON PLEASE DON’T KILL WILSON IF WILSON DIES THAN HOUSE HAS TO COMMIT SUICIDE THEY ARE NOTHING WITHOUT EACH OTHER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T KILL WILSON OH MY GOD THAT PROMO IS UNBEARABLE TO WATCH I HATE YOU DAVID SHORE DIE DIE DIE I’M GOING TO ROLL UP IN A BALL AND CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP.”

Mine was number three. Mascara was smeared. Eyeliner washed down the cheeks. Tears streaked the NARS blush. Martinis were gulped down between sobs.

“House,” this will not stand. Pardon the pun. It was only this afternoon that one and two kicked in. Yes, I am mortified at my initial reaction. 

If Wilson dies and House does an “Out of the Chute” redux, I want him to miss the pool and hit the pavement. Now THAT’S what I call a finale.

Random observations:

I’d much rather see Chase and Park get it on than Chase and Adams.  Why do they keep insisting that Park is ugly and Taub is a ladykiller?
Hugh Laurie continues to look weird. And old. Someone is not moisturizing enough.
If the last two episodes involve a grieving House drinking, taking pills and staring into the middle distance, how we will know it’s actually the end of the series and not any other episode?

Feel free to discuss this episode in the comments, and remember, I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

House Review: 8×17 "We Need The Eggs" Is Rotten

DAHLINGS –

Ladies and gentlemen, we might have a winner in the race for the worst script for House before the show leaves the airwaves for good. Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman had a strong lead with “Man Of The House.” It was neck and neck with “Gut Check,” written by David Hoselton and Jamie Conway.

But leading the pack by a length as we go around the home stretch is “We Need The Eggs,” written by Sarah Hess and Peter Blake.

Imagine you have a friend-of-a-friend, an obnoxious drunk who brays with laughter at his/her own jokes. Now imagine that friend-of-friend is a shambling, fetid zombie.

(Note to self: do not watch the Season Two arc involving “the love of House’s life”, Stacy, played by Sela Ward, on the same day a new episode airs. Said arc is sensitive, well-written, two adults behaving in a believably screwed-up way. “Distractions” begins House’s hiring of hookers for uncomplicated sex.)

This ostensible premise is a large slab of fatback about how we all want love but fear it too much, and the substitutes we choose instead. “We Need The Eggs” is a quote from Annie Hall:

I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, ‘Doc, my brother’s crazy, he thinks he’s a chicken.’ And the doctor says, ‘Well why don’t you turn him in?’ and the guy says, ‘I would, but I need the eggs.’ Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They’re totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.

OUCH! That anvil hit my foot! And so early in the episode! House says the movie is a critique of “our modern mores”. (Annie Hall was made in 1977.)

The underlying premise is how the show demeans women at every opportunity. Not just House, the show itself.

Open with a man out on a date with a woman, Molly, who is not his girlfriend. She likes him and tells him she wants more. His eyes promptly begin to bleed. Way to avoid commitment.

I have to admit here that I was filled with excitement because the arcade game owner was played by my old pal Eddie Pepitone.

The POTW, Biff, is in love with a rubber sex doll, Amy, played by a rubber sex doll. He’s had it customized to look like a yoga instructor he dated for the length of your average high school crush. He loved her but she didn’t love him.











“You come here often?”

Perverted Biff adores Amy (reminding your faithful correspondent of both Lars and The Real Girl and “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning” from Supernatural, in which a man is in love with a—surprise!—rubber sex doll). Speaking of Supernatural, the segment I enjoyed the most was when Amy became “real”, climbed on top of Perverted Biff and proceeded to gush blood from a wound on her torso all over both of them. But of course it’s a hallucination, the go-to device for damn near everything this season.

His illness is from using tap water in a neti pot.

Parallel with this is a sitcom so tawdry I wanted to erase it from my mind half-way through. One imagines the guffaws in the writer’s room: “That’s really sick!” “Let’s go there!” “Omigod, House and his hooker—genius!” “We make hot chicks to do sexy things—no, STUPID sexy things!” Greg Yaitanes: “Ka-boom!”

House’s favorite hooker, Emily, is quitting to get married. He needs a new hooker/rubber sex doll! OUCH! That anvil hit my other foot!

House interviews a parade of prostitutes at his office. One is rejected because she can’t fix small appliances. The last one is reduced to standing on her hands and spreading her legs wide open. Cue laugh track.

House goes to Wilson for advice, Wilson points out that House is married to a beautiful, intelligent woman—adorable Dominika! House enlists Dominika in an adorable plot to break up Emily’s marriage. They hide in her truck called “Knishing On A Star”. Har har.

Bond Girl and Creepy Grandpa coming up with a plan

Wearing a wire, Dominika propositions the fiancé, a fat man (visual gag: beautiful woman, ugly guy, the uber-pairing for most sitcoms) who is ready and willing, but—wait for it—he’s not Emily’s fiancé. He’s her brother! Cue laugh track to hysteria and applause.

House begs Emily to reconsider. It creeps her out that House is living with a fake wife. Maybe she would be okay with a rubber sex doll.

“I see the way she looks at you. I see the way you look at her,” wise hooker Emily says. “It’s not the way my pimp looks at me.” Oh, wait, that last line might be a misquote.

House is stunned at this revelation. He and Dominika might be in love. At least for this episode’s purposes. For a character David Shore said they weren’t bringing back, Dominika is getting an awful lot of screen time. All right, so it’s not Karolina Wydra‘s fault that she’s trapped in this crummy storyline. But why is she so cursedly adorable? Why are all of the women such ciphers?

Oops, I forgot, this is House.

In other boring relationship news, Adams and Chase debate why neither of them have relationships. Yawn. Taub invites a woman over by lying to her. Yawn. Park meets a fellow nerdy music lover and they play guitar together. That’s cute.

House almost kisses Dominika when she says she fixed the blender. You see? A hooker couldn’t fix the blender! Dominika is the woman he’s been searching for! She’s adorable! Then he pulls away—he’s scared of love—his relationships always end badly—he’d have to run his car into his own apartment–!

But when he opens a letter that says Dominika has been approved for citizenship, he throws same into the trash. Much the way he deleted the message on his answering machine while Wilson was staying with him, saying there was an apartment available.

In Episode 10 of Season 2, Stacy compares House to hot vindaloo curry. She starts to tell the same Woody Allen joke, but before she can deliver the “egg” punchline, House interrupts with “curry.”

God, I miss curry.

“Why am I even here?”

NOTES:
House + Dominika = Eeeeeew
I’m starting to wonder if Hugh Laurie isn’t just high on life.
Robert Sean Leonard is mugging his way through his scenes with a palpable air of disdain.
The rubber sex doll is the perfect actress for House.
I wish Dominika was played by Eddie Pepitone.
The “Park looks nerdy but says shocking things” is getting old.
After this episode, I’m going to my doctor to get checked for an STD.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

DISCLAIMER: I am a reviewer, not a recapper. There’s a difference. You want a recap, go to another site.

To those who ask, “If you hate the show so much, why do you keep watching?”

Because I need the eggs. OUCH!

House Review: 8×16 "Gut Check" = Airsick Bag

DAHLINGS –

A while back I mentioned that the writers of House are in a race 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.” But there is a serious contender, “Gut Check,” written by David Hoselton and Jamie Conway.

Disclaimer: I do not usually use the vulgarities written here. But desperate times and all that.

Words cannot adequately convey what sheer torture your faithful correspondent endured watching this. Director Miguel Sapochnik has directed some of the worst episodes of House (“Larger Than Life”, “Family Practice”), and he truly let out all of the stops on this suckfest.

The program’s slide into the cesspot is positively meta. Is the show itself some sort of sick House-ian screwing with the audience, putting us through the wringer for their own amusement? Are they teaching us a lesson, as House so often does? If so, the lesson is: never take for granted that you have viewed the suckiest episode of House. There’s still more manure to be mucked out of the writer’s room.

The patient of the week…oh, the hell with it, he’s Hockey Biff…is an “enforcer” on a hockey team, the big guy who punches out the smaller guys on the rink. In the opener, after the usual fancy slow-fast-loud-silent things they like to do when there’s action, they go straight to the inevitable scene of the patient vomiting blood. Although this time it’s on ice. Very pretty. Points to the art department.

House just happens to have a hockey table game when the case is brought in, which made me want to take an axe to my television. Does House have a secret underground bunker of toys suitable for every case? The show likes secret underground bunkers (oh, dear, yours truly is going to be called out because it was an above ground bunker in “Perils of Paranoia”).

Taub hates Hockey Biff because he reminds Taub of all of the bullies he endured in school. But then Taub likes Hockey Biff because…um…sorry, I have no idea.

Biff and Taub share a moment.

Hockey Biff has the requisite paralysis, the word “sarcoidosis” is thrown around, and Hockey Biff grows breasts. Didn’t a gentleman lactate on this show recently? Taub diagnoses Hockey Biff: the man has mononucleosis, which back in the day was known as the kissing disease. Dear readers, I suffered from mono in my youth, and the most dramatic symptom was lassitude. But then, I already had breasts.

For an instant Hockey Biff considers no longer being an enforcer, but his moral dilemma is neatly solved by a $2.1 million dollar contract.

But Hockey Biff is merely a footnote to two of the most unbelievable, intellectually insulting and badly acted character arcs—wait, that’s been most of the character arcs recently. In any event.

For the “wah-wah-wah” part of the show, Park wants to escape living with her parents, so Chase offers her his spare bedroom. Adams has been firmly pushed into the background so that Park can say and do wacky things. Expect Charlene Yi to land a quirky role in a sitcom next season. That’s obviously what she’s being prepped for. Park moves in, but so does her grandmother, Popo. Chase takes a liking to Popo. Short but seemingly never-ending short story short, Park moves back in with her parents, and Popo stays with Chase.

Wah-wah-wah!

The egregious, deplorable House/Wilson plot is the cement shoes tied to the feet of “Gut Check” that pulls it to the bottom on the swamp. On the one hand, we get to see more of Wilson than we have all season. On the other hand, we have to live through moronic shenanigans that make the Three Stooges look like Chekov.

The set-up: Wilson cannot sleep because the new baby next store is keeping him up all night. House makes the instantaneous deduction that in reality Wilson regrets not having children. House reveals to Wilson that Wilson impregnated Beth, a falconer (a falconer! How delightfully random—NOT) eleven years before, and as a result, there is a male heir to the Wilson name. Wilson, having had a lobotomy this season, is overjoyed and doesn’t question for a minute that his best friend of many years never mentioned this before. House vowed to keep it a secret. Since when has House successfully kept a secret from Wilson? Since when has House wanted to keep a secret from Wilson? In reality—oh, God, this show is so bad I’m referring to earlier seasons as “reality”—House would have lost no opportunity to browbeat Wilson about his love child.

Instant child! A little boy with glued-one eyebrows meets Wilson, they have everything in common, Beth never appears, and on the second meeting, Duncan declares, “I love you, Dad,” and gives Wilson a big hug. How did House manage all of this with such lightning speed? How did he know that the conversation with Wilson was going to happen? Oh, I forgot again, making sense stopped making sense to the creative staff by the end of Season Seven.

Despite Duncan neither acting nor speaking like an eleven-year-old (he prefers prosciutto to peanut butter) Wilson is delighted that he has a son. Robert Sean Leonard sells the heck out of the subplot, but underneath he seems to be saying, Are they really asking me to say this crap? But when Duncan wants to move in with Daddy because Mommy is moving to Costa Rica to save wildlife (ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?) lobotomized Wilson believes it and freaks out. In the past, Wilson would have seen right through the scam, and played House against himself, perhaps pretending to be overjoyed with his new “son” and telling House that from now on, his “son” was going to take all of his time, so bye-bye, House.

But no. House unmasks that “Duncan” is Wendel (with one l, thank you to the reader who picked up this error), a child actor he hired to show Wilson that he never really wanted a child. Wilson starts to get angry, but then remembers that was the old Wilson, with a brain and a backbone. So he sits back on the couch and gives a forced chuckle. (I swear, Robert Sean Leonard looked like he was dying of embarrassment at that moment.) At the end, he is shown happily making pizza with House. Insert agonized scream from yours truly.

Lobotomized Wilson: Kid? What kid? You want some prosciutto?

What has happened to Wilson? Why didn’t he have more of reaction when he found out his best friend had kept his son a secret for eleven years? Why didn’t he have more of a reaction when he found out the boy he’d bonded with was a hired actor? Why is he there at all? For House to make mildly lascivious homosexual jokes to? For fan service? If he has to be there, at least give him back his frontal lobes.

Random Notes:

Hugh Laurie continues to look weird. Are they foreshadowing cancer, or does he just look weird?

Odette Annabelle is definitely being sidelined. Now that they’ve got adorable Dominika, the man fantasy girl-with-boobs quota has been filled.

Until next week, that is. From the press release 8×17 :

Meanwhile, House is interviewing for a new favorite hooker, since his current favorite, Emily, has decided to get married and leave the business

We can hope that House is using this plot for sly commentary on the objectification of women on television. But probably not.

Ciao
Elisa & Fletcher

Note to anonnonablog regarding “Chasing Zebras”: you have to go to Amazon to buy the book.

House Review: 8×15, "Blowing The Whistle"

DAHLINGS –

It can be shattering to discover that someone you worshipped has shortcomings. That is what happens to the POTW, Army Biff, in “Blowing The Whistle”, when he finds out his father’s death was not honorable, but a drunk-driving traffic accident in which Dad killed a pedestrian.

Now for the important, shattering, truth: at times I have mixed feelings about House MD. I actually shed a few tears after the episode. Not because of the episode. Your faithful correspondent is deeply saddened that the show she has been intimate with for years is packing its bags and leaving. I know you are all shocked and amazed that I have any shortcomings, but there you are.

With only a handful of episodes left, so it’s hard to tell what is important or unimportant, or unimportant now and extremely important later. In latter seasons, they built up to some major astonishments (for example, in Season 6, discovering that Dr. Nolan, House’s psychiatrist, had been advising him behind the scenes all season without the audience’s knowledge). This episode is surprisingly good, which this season means mediocre in any other season.

Perhaps one of you out there could explain the POTW’s A-story to me. Army Biff (Arlen Escarpeta) leaked a video of a civilian massacre, yes? He will go to prison, yes? His by-the-book brother is well and truly pissed, yes? Army Biff feels it is a matter of honor to let the public know what the military is doing. Biff’s Brother (Sharif Atkins) feels it is a matter of honor not to let the public know what the military is doing. Have I gotten this straight?

Army Biff was a more significant presence than most of the season’s POTWs, with a more compelling story, even if I had trouble following it. Army Biff refuses treatment unless he is given a public forum for the video he leaked and his reasons for doing so. Both sons venerate their late father and each feels in his own way that Dead Dad would approve of what they are doing. Biff knows that his dad died in an accident, but he suspects a military cover-up. However, it is Biff’s Brother who covered up the accident. I did wonder why it would be so shattering to find out that your father killed someone accidentally while drunk…well, perhaps that would upset one a tad. My apologies.

The show might have cast two actors with a passing resemblance to each other. Atkins does a lot with a little, most of which consisted of standing about scowling with disapproval.

House sits with Army Biff and gives a speech about honor. It sounds fairly close to an old-time House monologue :“You’re not doing this for honor. You’re doing this to please your father. And the pathetic thing is, the man you’re trying to please never existed.” (House daddy-issues alert!)

The B-story, taken from “Half Wit” and a few other episodes, has House pretending to have liver failure. In “Half Wit” he faked brain cancer to get experimental drugs to get high. It would have been much more fun if he had let Wilson in on his scheme, as he had when he faked having syphilis to screw with his team in an earlier episode.

“Breaking The Record” for scenes set in the men’s room while House is taking a crap

Adams is the one who diagnosises hepatic encephalopathy from a few vague symptoms. Everyone gets very freaked out. He’s sick! Maybe he’s dying–again! It is obvious that House is again trying to screw with his team. It is Chase, the team member who has known House the longest, figures out how House has been doing it. I mean, Chase has been to this rodeo before.(Note: Jesse Spencer has shaved his neckbeard! God, he’s beautiful. But I digress.)

There were two clinic scenes this time. As often happens, those were some of the best parts of the episode. However, in the first clinic scene, Wilson sounds so much like House that it’s possible Hugh Laurie wasn’t available that day and Robert Sean Leonard was swapped in. But still, highly amusing to see the patient busted for compulsive nose picking. In the second, House has a hungover clinic patient hop on one leg while singing the “iCarly” theme song.

Taub has been freed from the confines of that godawful marital soap opera, allowing him to be the Taub we all know and love. (His gaming name is Taubinator!)

Yet another gaming scene. Taub wins, which means House is dying.

Park gets to be the self-righteous one this go-round, and she is more entertaining to watch than Adams. I may dislike her intensely, but she has a personality to dislike intensely. But if you were deathly ill, would you want someone nattering away at you about right and wrong? If he wasn’t so weak, my bet is Army Biff would take a swing at her.

Wilson is around more, which is always a treat. As I wrote above, I do wish House had let Wilson be his co-conspirator, rather than let his friend worry along with the others. Wilson looks harried and unhappy in most of his scenes. I am hoping that this is the character, not the actor. But then, Hugh Laurie has been phoning it in all season and it’s almost over, so why try too hard? It’s still a shame.

After the past two episodes, “Blowing The Whistle” is a definite improvement. Let us hope the upward trend continues. In what fashion the series ends is anyone’s guess. Your faithful correspondent hopes that the series ends with House and Wilson getting married.

Feel free to discuss in the comments. Bear in mind that I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa and Fletcher

Random notes:

Seizure in the cold open – check
Blood in odd openings – check
Sarcoidosis – double check

Hugh Laurie looks weird.

Thank God Dominika wasn’t around.

Nothing can make me care about Adams having sex. Seriously. Nothing.

DISCLAIMER: Before all of the House/Cuddy fans explode, yes, I miss Cuddy and I miss Lisa Edelstein.

House Review: 8×14, "Love Is Blind" Has A Tin Ear

DAHLINGS –

In its continuing efforts to make us forget that this was once a brilliant, ground-breaking television drama, writer John C. Kelley (late of NCIS) and director Tim Southam bring us this listless effort.

While not as bad as “Man of The House” (but really, what could be?) instead of a profound examination of a family mired in duplicity, and how House came to be the man he is, the viewer is treated to a parade of sloppy jokes and lazy clichés. The reason it has taken so long to write this review was that I kept delaying having to rewatch it.

Consider this: you have approximately 42 minutes of time to fill. You have to make choices about what to fill that 42 minutes with. Let’s divide it into chunks, like a large sundae.

Chunk One, melted Wavy Gravy:

WHO IN THE NAME OF JESUS THOUGHT PARK HAVING AN ACID TRIP WOULD BE FUNNY? And those cartoony visions of Chase, Adams and lastly, Taub as the tooth fairy? What show is this?? If I want to watch “Who Shot Roger Rabbit” I’ll go to Netflix, thank you very much.

Apparently the POTW was hoping to have hallucinations, so he laced his ice cream and candy with LSD. During the usual search of the patient’s dwellings, Park ate some of same, and so we are inflicted with Disney-itis.

Under the influence, Park attacks Wilson. Wilson tries hard to give a shit.

This waste of screen time needs to apologize to its viewers.

Chunk Two, Vanilla:

The patient, who we shall call Blind Biff, has loud explosions going off in his head, like the deaf teenager a few seasons back. Biff has a deeply masochistic girlfriend/slave who has been taking care of him since college.

However, he’s met someone new who expects him to be independent. Biff is ready to be independent. He wants to give Masochist Melissa the old heave-ho and ride off into the sunset with Shiny New Girl. Who, for some reason, is never shown. A throwaway line, “I don’t want her to know I’m in the hospital” takes care of that. Good work, writers!

However, some treatment or other renders Blind Biff Blind Deaf Biff (say that five times fast) and before you can say “low self-esteem” Masochistic Melissa has thrown herself across Blind Deaf Biff sobbing how much she loves him. Blind Deaf Biff is no fool. Screw independence. Shiny New Girlfriend isn’t going to stick around with someone who is going to need full-time care. So, in a triumph of self-preservation that left me misty-eyed, he asks Masochistic Melissa to marry him. “YES!” she yells. Blind Deaf Biff is deaf no more! His hearing returned magically to hear her chaining herself to him for life! Now he is only Blind Biff!

I half-expected the wife from “Nobody’s Fault” to run in and scream, “He saved my husband’s life—whoops, wrong episode.”

Chunk Three, Rocky Road that fell out of the cone onto the sidewalk: House’s family.

Blythe comes to the hospital to see her son. Now, bear in mind that she was presented as a loving parent in “Daddy’s Boy” and “Birthmarks.” A veritable June Cleaver who looked the other way while Ward was beating up the Beaver.

House wants nothing to do with her, and wants her to think he was in Africa the past year. This makes no sense, particularly when she reveals that she knew he was in prison the entire time. Uh, Blythe, could you explain why you never bothered to contact YOUR ONLY SON during all of that time? She tricks Wilson into thinking she has cancer, causing House to show up at her hotel. House learned his manipulative skills from someone, clearly.

Blythe answers in a hotel bathrobe. House discovers she is in bed with…Thomas Bell, his biological father! Played by Billy Connelly, whom I adore and who did his best to sell this trash. (Diane Baker, who plays House’s mother, was born in 1938. Billy Connelly was born in 1942, which makes him seventeen years old when House/Hugh Laurie was born. Who knew Blythe liked them so young?)

“You were such a tender piece of young flesh, then, Tom.”
“Thank you, Mommy Dearest.”

You may recall some episodes back that House read a book of essays by Bell, who was a minister, and apparently quite devout. (This show will absolutely torture you if you have any memory at all.) Since then, he has morphed into a carefree Scottish man who was a chaplain in the American Navy (?) who did quite a bit of partying back in the day. Bell and House not only have matching birthmarks on their heads, they have them on what a romance novel would call their “manhoods,” as well.

We further learn that Blythe was quite the hippie, taking drugs, sleeping around, demonstrating against the war while ignoring that her child was being abused and seemingly not noticing that her husband was a Marine. There are enough disconnects here to cause a power shortage to the entire Eastern Seaboard. Including the fact that not only did she not feel it necessary to contact her son while he was in prison, but also that she got married to Bell two months after House Sr. died in Season Five. So she lied to House for YEARS?

Bell says quite rightly that he could “have done something for the boy” and House might not have turned into “a pill-popping sociopath”. This last is at a cozy dinner at a restaurant where House has brought Dominika because the company is lacking in adorable, and Wilson…because he’s there. House stands up and pulls out his manhood to show the matching birthmark.

I will pause here to note that Wilson doesn’t look at all surprised. I assume he’s seen it before.

Bell loses his cool, whereupon Blythe says the hoariest line in all of drama [if you don’t apologize to my son] “You will never see me again!”

Oh, really? The man you’ve been balling while your son is in prison? “You will never see me again!”

Now, honestly, who says that? And over a personal spat? Are the interns writing the scripts? “Dirk, get me a soy latte and write Scene 36 while you’re at it.” It’s a cheap line for a cheap moment of cheap drama.

Bell and his son bond later, I have no idea why. House says he “respected” his father and I did an honest-to-God spit-take. Champagne all over the Aubusson. The man he didn’t visit for a year while the guy was dying. (Am I sensing a pattern in this family?) Who he wanted to give a “bastardodgy”. If House respected his father, I am Lady Gaga.

The sludgy fake whipped topping to this sundae:

Wilson does a DNA test which proves that Thomas Bell is not House’s father after all. Let us consider this matter…Bell and House have matching birthmarks in the same two places; at age eleven House had catalogued all they have in common physically…but Bell is not his father?

“Your mom’s a slut,” Wilson observes. The House of yore would have had an actual reaction, instead of “She’s less boring than I thought.”

I wish I could say as much for this episode. Sorry for so few details, but I simply could not get through it more than twice. The second time I kept screaming uncontrollably, which is why my dialogue quotes aren’t more precise.

We are now coming to the final eight episodes. As much as I will mourn and miss this show (or what this show used to be) all I can say is, thank God.

Feel free to discuss this in the comments, and bear in mind: I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa