thoughts on pop culture

House Season 6 Episode 3: The Tyrant


courtesy FOX Network

House has posed many intriguing questions during the last five years, and this week’s episode was no exception. Making the doctors question the meaning of “Do No Harm” is exactly the kind of moral dilemma that I’d like to see more shows attempt to tackle. I’m sure the haters out there have simply dismissed the African dictator plot as extremely contrived, but I cannot agree. Other shows are too weak-willed and mainstream to even acknowledge the horrible acts that are committed in countries that most Americans can’t point out on a map. Instead of picking an easier storyline, House went so far as to cast massive star James Earl Jones as the dictator in question. With Boston Legal off the air, it’s great to see another show choosing subject matter that makes viewers think.

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October 8, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Renewed, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on House Season 6 Episode 3: The Tyrant

House Season 5 Episode 24: Both Sides Now

I am a colossal fool.

I actually bought into last week’s episode and the House-Cuddy hookup that wrapped it up. I can’t believe I didn’t even see this coming.

I’ve said it about a million times–we know that the patients on House always parallel what’s going on outside the exam room. Tonight the patient had ‘alien hand syndrome’ as a result of a procedure to split his brain in two. Oddly, I wasn’t even tipped off to the outcome of the episode when Thirteen made a totally obvious comment about the question of identity raised by their patient. My suspended disbelief even stayed intact as the episode got more and more ridiculous–with House announcing his Cuddy hookup to the entire staff after being encouraged by Wilson to be a bigger asshole than normal! Ultimately, the big reveal showed us that House quitting vicodin cold turkey was just a bunch of shit and that everything since his conversation with Cuddy last week was just a vision.

Despite my disappointment with the reveal, I enjoyed a couple parts of the episode immensely. House treating Cuddy’s potential feelings like an illness to be diagnosed was both funny and true to his character, although ultimately this led to the climax and my disappointment. Better still was the appearance of Carl Reiner as clinic patient Eugene Schwartz. At first I thought this was just an excuse for Reiner to cut up and give House/Cuddy something to fight about. I wasn’t prepared for the heartbreaking revelation that Eugene really had pancreatic cancer all along.

The good lines were spread around tonight:

  • House – “It’s like locking the barn door after the horse got out and it’s had its face between your breasts for an hour and a half.”
  • Wilson, responding to House’s update about getting busy with Cuddy – “Wow. You were sober AND SHE was sober?”
  • Thirteen to Taub about Chase/Cameron – “It’s always a sad thing when sperm comes between people.”
  • House – “Great advice, you pretend I’m gonna do that.”
  • Cuddy to House about his announcement to the staff – “What you did is beyond asshood!”

Another thing sticks with me about this episode. When House retrieved Wilson to assist with the patient in the MRI lab, he told Wilson he needed his special skills. Wilson came and talked the patient in a way that kept him preoccupied while the team could look for the underlying problem. I was left with the impression that even House realizes that Wilson has a talent for interacting with people who have mental problems.

The following are the three notes I wrote, in the order I wrote them, during the big climax scene in Cuddy’s office.

  1. What is going on with House?
  2. Is this whole thing a hallucination?
  3. Are you fucking kidding me?

As I watched the closing montage, I found myself unfulfilled by the Chase/Cameron wedding, even though I wanted them to be together. More importantly, I was shocked to see House actually allowing himself to be taken to rehab. At least I thought it was rehab until I saw the sign over the door that said Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. Was House actually committing himself? I guess we’ll find out for sure in a few months, but he made it pretty clear last week that vicodin-induced hallucinations would be easier to overcome than being a wacko–at least from a career perspective. This makes me think it really is rehab, and that it just happens to be a very serious program that actually takes place at a mental institution.

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Science, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

House Season 5 Episode 20: Simple Explanation

I was all set to write a pretty standard post about this week’s House until about 8 minutes into the episode.


Holy shit Kutner is dead!  This took me completely by surprise.  Perhaps I need to start paying attention to the teasers for next week’s episode.

As an aside, the White House announced today that Kal Penn has accepted a position with the Obama Administration, so the departure was definitely his idea.

I wanted to believe it when House started talking murder instead of suicide, but when the very next scene included Meatloaf’s wife trying to kill herself, I saw a classic House patient/doctor parallel, and realized that Kutner definitely pulled the trigger on his own.  Later in the episode, Cuddy pulls it together nicely by pointing out that House doesn’t want to believe it was a suicide since Kutner shared so many of House’s character traits.

I think it’s a shame for Meatloaf that he ended up in this episode since the Kutner story completely overshadowed the actual case at hand.  When I look back at this episode, I’m probably more likely to remember the little drunk pageant girl than Meatloaf.

Near the end of the episode, when Taub actually grew a pair and confronted the patients, I was excited.  I thought we might see a new Taub from now on.  Then it all melted away as soon as he was alone, and we got to watch him cry like a baby as the episode ended.  However, before he wilted like a little girl, Taub did deliver the best line of the night, and he bitchslapped House in the process.  As House was obsessing about Kutner’s “murder”, he asks Taub what doesn’t seem right about it, and Taub’s response is, “A man who only pursues the rational, suddenly pursuing the irrational.”  That called out the theme of this episode–watching House, who always strives to cut emotion out of the case, allow emotion to rule his own analysis of Kutner’s death.  I guess Greg House is human after all.

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on House Season 5 Episode 17: The Social Contract

House Season 5 Episode 6: Joy

I’m over the moon for House.  The show and main character.  I know it may seem like I rarely post negative commentary about the shows I watch, but good television makes me want to write.  

Tonight’s episode was a classic–here come the spoilers.

I really enjoyed that this episode didn’t start with someone passing out during the intro.  The whole ‘creepy music/extreme close-up/what the fuck is going on?’ vibe was one of the better hooks that the show has used in a very long time.  The medical mystery was a great one, especially the way the daughter patient’s kidney donation dovetailed with the story about Cuddy preparing to be a mother.  Our closer look at Thirteen’s depraved street life was also nice, but not as nice as the huge laugh I got from Taub’s totally awkward cocaine buy.  

Finally we have the House/Cuddy storyline.  Like House, I’m selfish and therefore glad Cuddy didn’t get her baby.  She needs to concentrate on taking care of House and cleaning up his messes, which doesn’t leave time to change diapers.  I’m a fan of the long-awaited kiss, and also thrilled that it didn’t lead to an immediate jump into the sack.  I’m hopeful that this development will add another dimension to their relationship, not end it.  Obviously House’s past relationships have not ended well, but I think this one could bring new life to a series that has risked a lot with all the cast shake-ups in the past 18 months.

House Quote of the Week: “There are plenty of babies in the sea.  The world is full of teenage boys riding bareback.”

October 28, 2008 Posted by | Drama, Television | , , , , , , | 2 Comments