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House Season 5 Episode 17: The Social Contract

Quick, what disease gives a guy a bloody nose and makes him an asshole?  Don’t know the answer?  Don’t worry, like always, the patient on House doesn’t really matter.

What to do with a patient who says everything that comes to his mind?  You send Cuddy a page so she can come to his room and get objectified for your entertainment!  It was delightful to watch Cuddy pretend to be angry with House when she was really loving every moment the patient spent drooling over her ‘pistons’.

Taub was the other victim of House’s games this week.  First the patient makes fun of his giant nose, then Taub gets caught in the middle of Wilson and House’s tug-of-war.  Admittedly, it was fun watching Taub try to show House his mad racquetball skills in the morgue using a squash racket.

I went through a major swing in opinion during this episode.  I started off a bit fed up with House and Wilson’s little soap opera in which they perpetuate their blissfully co-dependent relationship while making everyone around them suffer.  When Taub asked if Wilson was depressed, I was wondering how anyone could spend that much time with House and not be institutionalized.  Though I will admit that I loved it when Wilson called House a dick.

Later, just when I was disappointed that Wilson was crawling back to House, I was reminded why I love this show.

Wilson points out that he and House don’t share in the collaborative lies that are a part of the normal social contract of friendship.  House agrees by telling Wilson that going to see his brother could be a disaster.  Then House becomes human for a moment and offers to do more than help Wilson lie to himself, he offers to go with him to deal with the reality of his situation.  This is what makes their relationship special.  Wilson and House share a true friendship, where honesty trumps making people feel good about themselves. I don’t think many of us can say we have relationships based on this kind of truth.

The patients on House are really just props.  They serve as a mirror so House and company can examine their own reflections.  Tonight it helped House see that being a complete dick is not the best way to go through life.  However it also let him see the consequences of a relationship based on half-truths and white lies.  Given the choice, I don’t think most of us are brave enough to pick honesty over feeling warm and fuzzy.

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March 9, 2009 - Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , ,

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