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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

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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.

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. 11, Tumor Ex Machina

DAHLINGS –

The opening of “Nobody’s Fault” is a disheveled hospital room, covered with spatters of blood. A bottle of Lidocaine lies of the floor. It’s one of the best cold opens in a long time, but then, I love gore.

I spoke too soon. We are plunged into an extremely dark room, House sits opposite a Dr. Cofield, played with a stunning lack of charisma by Jeffrey Wright. Cofield is the head of Neurosurgery at New York’s Mercy Hospital. He was once Foreman’s mentor, so Foreman has brought him in to cover his own ass. (Why a head of Neurosurgery is involved in this is one of those things best not thought about or your ears will start to bleed.)

Director Greg Yaitanes loves effects that draw your attention away from the story to the direction, so the first few minutes are spent puzzling, “why hasn’t PPTH paid its light bill” and “This is a modern hospital, why are they sitting in room straight out of the 1920s?” .

Cofield is there to investigate a violent incident involving the POTW, a chemistry teacher who collapsed while jogging and now cannot feel his arms or legs. Since once again I don’t remember the patient’s name, let’s call him Biff. House begins by saying the incident is “nobody’s fault.” That bad things happen. Since Cofield seems never to have been in a hospital before, he is inclined to disagree.

The case is examined from each team member’s perspective. During the case proper, the lights are on, but when it returns to the investigation, the lights go out and there is an eerie blue tinge. Make sure to watch this in a darkened room or you won’t see a thing. And somehow Jeffrey Wright manages to suck all of the energy out of each scene he’s in., which affects the overall pacing of the episode.

“Do you think you could turn on the light on the table?” “No.”

Biff was involved in a classroom chemistry explosion but for some reason nobody thinks that has anything to do with what’s happening.

The only member of the team who acts as though he is not spoiling his trousers with terror is Taub. Park and Adams are both…well, they’re Park and Adams.

In keeping with this season’s direction, there is a pointless prank war going on between Chase and House. But more on that later.

Biff has a rash under his arms, so House orders him pumped full of steroids in hopes of making the rash worse. Unfortunately, this gives Biff a major case of ‘roid rage. In one of those “this needs to happen even if it makes no sense”moments, Chase and Adams decide to biopsy the rash. Chase wheels in a table, revealing that he has a scalpel and a bottle of Lidocaine. Biff goes berserk and stabs Chase with the scalpel. There is an excellent shot of a stunned Chase not realizing that he has a scalpel stuck in his chest.

(For the record, Jesse Spencer knocked this out of the park. He tends to be criminally underused.) They rush him to the OR. With Cofield, Adams blames herself. Taub guesses that Chase might be at fault for bringing a scalpel into a room containing a psychotic patient. (YA THINK?)

There is a temporary moment of dramatic tension when Chase can’t feel his legs, but by the end of the episode he’s in physical therapy. When House opens his Vicodin bottle, it explodes (prank war). This gives House an epiphany, so he sprints out of the hearing the same way he sprinted out of the hearing during Season Three when he was on trial for abusing drugs.

ANYWAY, House realizes that Biff’s being in the explosion loosened cancerous tumor cells from his lymph node which proceeded to go through his entire body. Since we’ve completely forgotten about Biff, my only reaction was “Huh?” However, Biff’s wife isn’t buying it and rushes Biff to another hospital.

As usual when we reach heavy dramatic moments toward the end of the episode, it starts pouring rain outside. The entire team gathers to hear Dr. Cofield give his verdict. It’s something along the lines of House being brilliant but a complete disaster, when they are suddenly interrupted! By Biff’s wife!

House was right! Biff will be cured by House’s diagnosis! “He saved my husband’s life!” she exclaims breathlessly to Cofield.

Your faithful correspondent dropped her drink, exclaiming, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

But no. Cofield announces that the incident is indeed nobody’s fault. House, ever maddened by good news, yells at Cofield for being a coward. Then he visits Chase, who’s walking on a treadmill, and says, “They were wrong. I’m sorry.” Chase and House share a manly moment of silence before the end credits.

Next week, the episode is about Chase. Since we see him talking about leaving PPTH in the promo, then in a lab coat, it’s a good bet that the status quo will be preserved. People don’t change.

Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

Season Seven of "House MD" – If I Were In Charge

DAHLINGS –

So, here in America, Fox ran the latest episode, “A Pox On Our House.” I won’t go into the derivative plot lines (think “Euphoria” meets whatever episode the cat’s death triggered the epiphany a few seasons ago), cardboard writing, and do not get me started on the new character Mary Sue Masters–oh, excuse me, Martha M. Masters. I might muss my coiffure.

Here’s what I would do were I in charge of House:

I would drag David Shore, Katie Jacobs and John C. Kelley to a secluded place, tie them up, and say, “Write your way out of THAT, swines!”

However, first I would force them to release all of the gag reels, blooper reels, outtakes, and that very special footage of House and Wilson making out that was cut from S4 right before Wilson hooked up with Amber.

Also the very special footage of House and Wilson making out after Wilson gives House the organ.

Also the very special footage of House and Wilson making out because…well, just because.

Also the very special footage of House and Cuddy making out when they’re in the car in “5 to 9”.

Also the very special footage of House and Cuddy making out after the party in “Known Knowns”.

Also the naked pictures of HL in his dressing room from the hidden security cameras.

Then I would present Hugh Laurie with a plane ticket back to England, so he can resume making good television.

And then I would tearfully wave good-bye to Robert Sean Leonard as he beats a hasty retreat to NY, yelling, “Free at last! Free at last!” (Actually it would be a joyful hello, since I live in New York City.)

And then I would give Omar Epps his own show. And Lisa Edelstein her own show. They would have to sign contracts not to do anything medical-related, but I still want them to keep working. P-Jac will find work soon enough.


And then I would strip Jesse Spencer naked and make him play Schumann on the violin as foreplay. (It would only have to be the one time.)

And then I’d bring back Cameron…oops. No more show.

Have I left anyone out? 13’s already gone. As is Doris Egan.

Now it’s your turn. Feel free to use the comments to say what you would do if you in charge of House this season. But remember, I am always right.

Ciao,

Elisa & Bucky The Wonderdog