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House, M.D.: Season Seven – Act II

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I know it’s been a while since my last House, M.D article. In the few weeks since I last posted, Hugh Laurie has been nominated for both Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards—and Garrett Lerner, Russel Friend and Peter Blake have been nominated for a Writers Guild of America (WGA) award for last season’s finale “Help Me.” You may remember that I had the good fortune to interview the three writers the day after “Help Me” aired, and I’m thrilled they’ve been recognized by the Writers Guild for their excellent script. Good luck to all of them.  

Where We Stand at the End of Season Seven—Act I: House and Cuddy

In the final scene of “Small Sacrifices,” the closing moments in the “first act” of House, M.D.’s season seven, House (Hugh Laurie) confesses to Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) that he’s lied to Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) while apologizing to her for another lie. But what is the lie? Is the apology itself insincere, or is the lie that he tells her he’ll “never lie to” her again? The answer to that question is a critical piece of the season seven puzzle—and could have a large impact on how the rest of the season (and House and Cuddy’s relationship) will play out once the series returns from its winter hiatus (January 17).

We are now more than a third of the way through season seven, and with the show on hiatus, I thought it might be the perfect opportunity to take a closer look to see where these first eight episodes have taken the series, and where the series might head in the coming months.

The biggest change, of course, is the new dynamic between House and Cuddy. Season six ends with Cuddy’s declaration of love, which seems not only to stun him, but brings him, Phoenix-like from the ashes of real despair. We’ve seen House in dire straits before (“No Reason,” “Merry Little Christmas,” “Wilson’s Heart,” “Both Sides Now”), but a patient death in “Help Me” leaves House in a pretty fragile state (something even Foreman notices) by the time Cuddy gets to him in the closing moments of last season. He’s always gotten up an dusted himself off to see a new day and mock another colleague. But we usually see him on the edge of an abyss and have to wait until the following season to see how it all resolves.

But season six didn’t  leave House barely hanging; it left us with House and Cuddy together, holding hands. And over the summer, instead of fearing for House’s well being, fans wondered could (or should) this new relationship last more than an episode or two. 

House and Cuddy are both pretty relationship-averse; they like what they have (or may have given a chance), but neither is especially adept at nurturing it. If it all goes to hell eventually there will be possibly irreparable hurt on both sides.

House understands this, and it is his greatest fear poised on the brink of something new and ultimately terrifying for him. He is able to articulate this fear to Cuddy honestly and painfully in the season premiere “Now What?” He seems caught where he had been in season two (“Need to Know”) with Stacy.

But Cuddy reassures House that however screwed up he is, he is one incredible man and he needn’t worry about expectations of change. Even though, as House warns, he will likely do “horrible things” to her. It’s who he is. But Cuddy is aware of who House; she has fallen in love with House as he is. Why should she want him to change? 

There is a tension between the two new lovers beginning right from the second episode “Selfish,” now freed of the dreamlike cocoon enfolding them in the premiere. Striking the right balance between their professional—often contentious—relationship, and their strong feelings for each other, has made their dynamic even more complex as both characters try not to dynamite the fledgling affair.

Their efforts not to step on the other’s toes, hence, their reticence to act as they normally would at work nearly costs a patient her life in episode two. It is an important point to address early on, exploring House’s desire not to bend their relationship, refusing to risk it—instead avoiding what he does best: skirting medicine’s conventions and rules.

House is the one always willing to risk himself for the patient; he has never placed much value on his life or welfare. But now something’s changed and the risk is suddenly too great. It’s an important lesson they both must learn if their work and personal relationships have any chance of success. House must practice medicine without regard to Cuddy’s feelings; and court Cuddy as if he were not the maverick rule-breaker he must be to be effective. Cuddy has to be able to reign in her star doctor without fear.

Lying, doing things behind Cuddy’s back, are as much a part of House’s medical practice as his associative leaps. And as much as Cuddy says she doesn’t expect House to change, she wants him to change—at least in some ways. And she’s deeply hurt when House does one of those “horrible” things he warns her about in “Now What?” 

In the episode (“Office Politics”), House treats the campaign manager during the height of the election season. The only way he believes he can make the diagnosis is by testing the candidate, who House believes has the same condition. Cuddy refuses to allow the test, but House does it anyway—and behind her back, lying about it to her.

But House’s problem isn’t so much with the lying itself. He does what he needs to do; Cuddy respects that. House does that sort of stuff all the time. But usually House owns up to his deceptions, even embracing them. But here, House’s fear that this will upset Cuddy (and the new relationship) drives House to perpetuate the deception. And when Cuddy finds out that he’s lied about lying, she feels professionally disrespected and personally hurt. In her mind, I believe, House has made of fool of her. It’s not the initial deception, but the perpetuation of it that has upset her.

Now your mileage may vary on this, and as viewers you may believe that Cuddy is unreasonably upset. In the subsequent episodes, Cuddy doesn’t help the situation; she insists on an apology. And when House tells her that he did what he did to save the life of a patient, he’s misreading why she’s so upset. Cuddy never says to House that it’s the compounding of the lie that has her so upset with him. So. House isn’t going to apologize for doing something to save his patient (especially because what he does is perfectly in character for how he practices medicine)—and Cuddy becomes entrenched in her position. She’s angry about the lie, and as time goes on, it doesn’t matter which lie—just that House lied to her!

But, we soon discover that even despite this ratcheting tension, neither House nor Cuddy have an interest in breaking up. House doesn’t seek out another outlet for his more…physical…needs. Instead, he complains about giving his hand a workout in the absence of sex with Cuddy. He wants, in his own subversive way, to let her know that his underlying feelings haven’t been altered by their fight.

There’ a short break in the tension between them when House may have exposed himself to smallpox (“A Pox on Our House”). But the two issues are unconnected, and House’s brush with death doesn’t affect Cuddy’s anger. But it does show us that anger doesn’t equal falling out of love—or even wanting to bail on the relationship. I have to say that I really loved this exploration of what it means to remain committed to a relationship even when embroiled in a heated argument.

This is an adult take, and I’m really liking it. I like the fact that Cuddy is upset by House’s deception; I like the fact that House is clueless about what’s actually upsetting her. But I also like the fact that their fight doesn’t preclude her being even more upset that House may be dying, and that in “Small Sacrifices” she expects that House escort her to a wedding (and a rehearsal dinner).

I like that without a comment (lewd or otherwise) and without missing a beat, House zips Cuddy’s dress for her as she readies herself for the dinner. This feels real to me. I think what’s remarkable is that these things happen very early in their relationship. They haven’t been together more than a few weeks, yet it’s clear they want to weather the storm and not simply say: “tried it; didn’t work. See ya ‘round.”

Maybe you disagree with me. (And I’m sure more than a few of you will—and let me know about it.)

House finally does apologize, being the first to blink in the conflict. “I will never lie to you again,” he says to Cuddy. As I asked at the time the episode aired, did he really need to make that extra (and obviously untrue) assurance? To tell her what is undoubtedly a lie—one that not even Cuddy believes he’ll keep?

It’s clear when he confesses to Wilson that he lied, he’s conflicted about it. Wilson thinks the lie is a good step, and applauds him for it. He told her what he needed to even if he doesn’t quite believe it. It is what people do occasionally to stay in a relationship. 

By the way, I like the way the writers are weaving in the relationship stuff (notwithstanding that I’m a fan of the relationship) because it’s not the focus of the show. The relationship informs both House and Cuddy’s actions without overpowering the rest of the series. It’s unobtrusive without being totally behind the scenes and lends the series more options and avenues for exploring House’s character (which always should be the object of the show).

What will happen from here on the House and Cuddy front? I do think their relationship will continue, but continue to challenge them. I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to note that we’ll soon meet Cuddy’s mother (being played by the wonderfully acerbic Candice Bergen) and sister. How that will play into and around House and Cuddy’s relationship is anyone’s guess, but I think the results will be amusing and insightful. If I were to predict, I would venture to say that we’ll be exploring the relationship for the balance of the season.

The Wilson Situation

As we moved into hiatus, Wilson and Sam (Cynthia Watros) are no longer together. As fragile as House and Cuddy’s relationship appears, “Small Sacrifices” suggests that it’s actually more durable than we might imagine. On the other hand, the renewed relationship between Wilson and Sam is easily broken when Wilson proposes.

Sam’s excuse that Wilson doesn’t trust her falls flat to my ears. Wilson discovers problems (potentially serious problems) with Sam’s radiation dosage records, and rather than believe she’s made some potentially very reckless errors, he’d rather believe (as does House) that she’s overdosed patients intentionally, pursuing a more radical therapy course than indicated (which is the sort of thing House would certainly do).

But to me, that alone would be insufficient to scrap a relationship that’s been going on for months, and leads me to believe that it’s an excuse. Sam doesn’t want to marry serial groom Wilson; so on this flimsy pretext, she leaves.

Wilson is now single while House is involved in a serious relationship. How will Wilson react? As House’s relationship with Cuddy matures and House finds his footing within his changed surroundings, will he become less needy of Wilson? And along with the breakup, how will that affect Wilson’s “need to be needed” now that he’s not—needed? Will he become clingy and prove himself as needy in that respect as House has in the past? Or will he seek out new and needy companionship? There is a lot of interesting potential in that breakup, given the time and circumstances. I hope the series explores this altered dynamic between House and his bestest buddy.

Exit “13” and Enter Martha M. Masters

Olivia Wilde’s movie career has created for the House folk a new opportunity. With Wilde’s departure (temporary or not), the team needed a female presence to balance the testosterone-laden Diagnostics Department. At the end of “Now What,” we are not only left with the question of what’s to be next for House and Cuddy, but what’s next for “13?”

She vanishes without a trace (with some suggestion that House may actually know what she’s up to), and Cuddy insists House hire (and we all know how enthusiastic he is about hiring new fellows). So, Cuddy foists upon him third-year medical student Martha M. Masters (Amber Tamblyn). Masters, who is geeky, brilliant, socially awkward and just as much outside the circle as House, has provided new opportunities and challenges for House and the team. She has a particularly rigid moral code, and like House wants to do the “right thing.” However, she believes, unlike her new boss, that she can achieve that without lying, cheating or stealing. Her record so far is mixed, and for the moment, House is tempering his frustration with her. In the end, will she show that there’s more than one way to be “right?” Or will House end up eating her alive?

One thing we know about House is that he respects his staff most when they stand up to him, offer him alternative scenarios and theories and prove him wrong. I can see Martha has the tenacity to do this, and at the same time, be tempered by House’s wisdom and understanding that sometimes doing the “right thing” requires re-interpreting, if not completely breaking, the rules. I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going in the coming months. Tamblyn told me recently that she’s signed for the balance of the season, so even if and when Olivia Wilde returns, she might stay around for a bit. I’d actually like to see the two of them in scenes together: the cynic vs. the idealist.

The Boys

Taub (Peter Jacobson) is getting a taste of his own medicine in a way as his wife Rachel has become emotionally involved in an ironic long-distance relationship. Her new confidante and friend is also the spouse of an unfaithful partner; Taub wants her to end it, and although they’ve never met, he considers it emotional involvement. All I can say is “good for you Rachel,” and don’t give up the supportive friend. You go, girl!

In the meantime, I think that both Omar Epps and Jesse Spencer as Foreman and Chase respectively are being underutilized. And that’s unfortunate. Both have had a few nice scenes here and there, but I hope the show picks up either on the fallout from season five’s Dibala affair or from his divorce from Cameron. The series writers are notorious for picking up on old threads and teasing them back to the surface, so I hope that happens in the not too distant future.

House comes back January 17. I will appearing on Fox’s Madison Wisconsin affiliate to talk about season seven (and Chasing Zebras, of course) sometime during that week (the interview is being taped January 13). I’ll post more information about that on my Twitter feed as time gets closer as well as details about a major book signing in Chicago coming up on January 20.

What do you hope to see on House in the coming months? Let me know in the comments thread! Wishing all of you a very happy new year!

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Shannon Wilson

    My idea of the final show: A wheelchair-bound biker has a sick son. As House treats the boy, he has confrontations with the father, who conveys to him some deeper ways to find satisfaction with life. This character is played by HL. We would all love to see such an acting tour de force. The story of a wise stranger, to whom House can relate, who has things of importance to tell him, would make an honorable finale. I would appreciate assistance in communicating this idea to the writers.

  • One of the things that happens when a series and its fandom mature into year seven, is there evolves and entire spectrum of opinion. Some people like the way a series matures; others don’t. Saying something is “bad” is different than saying “I don’t like where it’s going.”

    Differences of opinion are expected, but let’s all keep perspective and civility–and respect each others’ opinions. As some who’s been watching since season one, and who still enjoys it–how is my opinion less authentic than someone who says the “show is bad”? The answer is: it’s not.

  • Kim

    Barbara do you know why they took out the House on the road episode?

  • Nola

    Isabella, quite a few of your questions have been answered by David Shore over the past few days. I dont want to post anything here as some may not want the episodes to be spoiled for them. But if you google David Shore you will find out if Oliva is coming back, if Amber is staying and why the multi episode vacation arc has been scrapped. All I will say is the multi episode vacation arc was the baby of Katie Jacobs who was left in charge of House while David worked on developing The Rockford Files. Well Rockford has been shelved and David is back in charge at House and has reworked many episodes.

    And I do agree with you that I too would love to see Stacy come back. Sela Ward is a fine actress.

  • For me, it is must see TV.It’s practically real life. And I know that’s probably not the best thing– I ought to be using my own creativity, not wallowing in someone else’s to that extent. But I love House. And a lot of other people seem to feel the same way.

  • Hi Barbara, thanks for the recap of this part of Season 7. I was sorry there was no Xmas-related show. Why don’t they do that any more? I wonder why there’s always a big break in the middle of the winter– is it because they have to make more eps or ?? I would have liked to see Xmas/Chanukah be a part of it.
    But I like your careful surgical examination of the season very much. I think that it’s odd that Cuddy, having told House she doesn’t want him to change, immediately begins trying to change him. Suppose that is the way people are,but he doesn’t even call her on it. I wonder why? And another thing– they aren’t going to Mont St Michel according to an interview Lisa E. gave before the PC Awards. That’s too bad, after all that nice build-up… can’t they ever have a vacation? (What about those pictures of the 2 of them cuddling on a beach???)
    And what about Lucas? I had thought, and heard, that he would be coming back into the picture and causing complications, but so far, no sign of him. I do look forward to meeting Cuddy’s family– what about Cuddy meeting HOuse’s mother, whom he actually seems to care about? And the real, biological dad? Isn’t there a story there perhaps?
    I don’t think House and Cuddy will, or should, break up… if they do, what will be left in the series for those who are interested in the personal lives of the doctors to look forward to? Only if Stacy were to return would I be able to accept a breakup at this point. They barely know each other as lovers… I hope they continue!
    I also think Wilson and Sam will get back together and probably get married. Just think it will happen. Wilson won’t be infantile enough to feel left out of House’s affair, it seems to me– and that would be boring. But if House should realize at Wilson’s wedding that he really wants to marry Cuddy… and she wants him to ask her (she clearly does!)– and then perhaps she fell ill with a truly mysterious disease– wouldn’t that be interesting? (Hey, House people, let ME write for you– at least, the plot stuff. I don’t know about the medical terminology and puzzles!)
    I hope Olivia Wilde returns; I like Martha M. and hope she is also around. But most of all I’d like to see Cameron come back, even just for a few episodes each season that HOUSE continues. I believe Chase still loves Cameron and she loves him. It makes no sense to just drop her the way the writers and producers have done. She’s a great favorite of the fans. Silly thing to do…
    As for Taub, I hate to say it but I don’t care at all what happens to him. I’d like to see something nice or fun or pleasant happen to Foreman, but I just don’t care enough about Taub. He bores me.
    Sorry Peter J… I’m sure it’s not your fault!
    I love HOUSE and Hugh Laurie and think it is getting better all the time. The depths in the face and eyes of this great actor, showing love and liberation (for now) from his opiate addiction– is amazing. I hope it goes on for as long as it possibly can.

  • Nola

    Onecoolwomen, as I have said, just because I dont care for the direction the show has taken doesnt mean I am not a fan or that I plan on not watching. For me, its just not “must see TV”. I have no problem with those who like the direction, I respect their opinions and am happy for them. It would be nice if you could show the same respect to those of us who are not thrilled with the new direction and not tell us to not watch or go watch Greys. Which by the way I dont watch.

    And no, I have not changed much in the past 7 years. Once you reach a certain age, change becomes less and less. Did I go thru many changes when I was younger, you bet.

    I have no problem with House changing, I just dont care for the direction of those changes. There are many ways a person can change, there are many ways for the writers to explore those changes.

    Again, let me stress, it would nice if we all could respect each others opinions.
    Some like the changes, some dont. That doesnt mean you have to tell those of us who dont, not to watch. Why are you so angry that some people are not thrilled with the new direction ?
    It just an opinion, everyone has one, everyone is entitled to express their opinion.
    There is no reason not to be able to have a civil discussion about a TV show without slamming each other.
    And that goes for both sides, those who like and those who dont.
    Have a great day !!!

  • Devil’s Advocate


    The evolution itself is hardly the sole point. The point is the KIND of evolution they chose and the WAY they are doing it. And even if, as a viewer, I accept that people change (which House has spoken against time and time again in the past!) and that the characters on House have a right to do that (while House has challenged the idea that anybody deserves anything time and time again as well!), I still don’t have to like the way they change, especially if they are losing certain characteristics that made them attractive to me in the first place and that made me a fan of the show for a long time. And if people point that out, it is hardly fair to tell them “shut up and go away”, condescendingly suggesting Grey’s of all things. The show and House’s change aren’t the words of God, there has to be space for a differentiated debate and a diversity of opinions.

  • onecoolwoman

    Nola, must I say it yet again, people (as in “House” or “lisa cuddy”) are entitled to evolve in this lifetime – yet again – are YOU the same person you were seven years ago? I would beg to differ, but I would think that you would say, I think NOT. Give the man a break. If you don’t like the show anymore, yet again, watch “Grey’s Anatomy”.

  • Nola

    Oh Amy, you are so right. As I sit here today watching a House marathon, I just dont understand how anyone can really believe this show is even 1/2 of what it once was in the early seasons.

    And I was looking forward to the episode with Candice Bergen, until I saw the preview. For those who have not seen the previews, I dont want to spoil anything. So just let me say if Cuddy got mad at House for lying and doesnt get mad at him for what he does to her mom/Candice, well I think that pretty much tells us where this show is heading and what the writers priorities are. If my significant other did that to my mom, YIKES, they would be out the door, never to return.

    And while I am very happy for those who are enjoying the direction the show has taken, I find it rather unfair to be told that those of us who dont like the direction should stop watching it, that we are not real fans or that we should not post. If we were not real fans we would not care about this new direction and we have a right to post our opinions.

    I enjoyed the sexual tension and banter between House and Cuddy, I just feel they have obliterated the characters in the process of bringing them together in a relationship. I feel the relationship is being handled poorly. It had potential and rather than fulfill that potential the writers instead choose to turn them into idiots.
    I personally dont want to see them out on dates. I dont want to see an episode of 2 men and a baby. They could have handled this more in the way they handled Chase and Camerons relationship and kept the medical cases in the forefront.

    That is just my opinion, but I am entitled to an opinion.

  • ruthinor

    Sophie, to flip the coin: didn’t it ever occur to you that House’s “pain” was always greatest when the rest of his life was falling apart? It was what he focused on, for example, when Stacy left. Also, once he was off vicodin, his pain in general, while still there, appeared to be much reduced. He still rubs his leg often, but he’s not so focused on the pain. The same thing happened after he got out of rehab and was living with Wilson. He started focusing on the pain until he became interested in a case which he solved on the internet. When he found out about Lucas and Cuddy, his life started going to hell again and he got drunk to dull the pain. He’s happier now and one’s mood effects just about everything. Endorphins anyone??

  • Sophie

    1. I do not think that House/Wilson will ever happen on this show, nor do I think that House is gay.

    2. I kind of liked Cuddy until season 6; after that point, I feel she lost a lot of what made me admire her as a character.

    3. I completely agree with Cardiac Monitor and Ms. M.D.’s comments.

    I just felt the need to point out that not everyone who dislikes where this show is going is a rabid, anti-Cuddy Hilson fan. Some of us simply find all of the Huddy rather nauseating and have stopped watching because it feels like that’s all it ever is anymore.

    I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy for a reason. I chose House because it was Holmes in a Hospital, not because it was a smarter General Hospital. (Exaggeration, yes, but you get the gist.)

    Also, I would like to point out that everyone in the world seems to forget how much it must hurt to be missing a muscle in one’s leg, even if one IS distracted. It’s a BIG muscle. People are irritated by large bruises and scabs and constantly wince when forced to move them; how is it possible that suddenly House can do almost anything when a season ago he was complaining about how much his leg hurt?

    This all said, thanks for the recap. I’m considering tuning in again and it’s good to know where everyone in the show stands.

  • Mike

    Olivia comes back. I read it was temporary due to two films. She is to come back and be at odds with masters since she is bisexual and everything Martha feels uncomfortable about. I heard that thirteen may have went away to stay with dr cameron but this may be a rumor

  • Amanda

    I love this show and how it has evolved without losing its chemistry. Hugh Laurie has pointed out (this will lose in the translation, my apologies) that the success of a movie depends on its main character changing, and the success of a TV show depends on its main character *not* changing. By and large, he’s right, and I have been pleasantly amazed at how the show has managed to keep certain House aspects rock-solid, yet introduce flavors to his character that let him evolve. So yes, it’s a different show now–but it’s still a very very GOOD show.

    And speaking of the 7th season. I just realized I’ve been watching this show since my youngest was FIVE YEARS OLD. OMG. Time only takes on meaning when measured against children.


  • onecoolwoman

    The title of this show is “House” – David Shore himself (this is NOT my opinion) has said it’s a psychological study of House, and his growth as a human being. That’s why this is not season 3, this is not ER, this is not Grey’s Anatomy, General Hospital, whatever – this is HOUSE. I really get sick and tired of people saying “oh….it was so much better in season 3/4….” well, for all you people out there, I have but one question: are you the exact same person you were 3/4 years ago? I bet not….Why are people so averse to House being happy, and evolving psychologically as a human being – ?? this, I do not understand. Doesn’t everyone deserve happiness and psychological/personal evolution?? This show is NOT only about the medical cases – that’s why ALL of them end at the end of every show and are rarely mentioned again – it’s about House and his journey. And if you don’t like the show anymore, well then, don’t watch it – spend your time elsewhere.

    Here’s a shout out to all the nominations for Lisa E, Hugh, and House tonight for the People’s Choice Award’s!! Fingers crossed for many awards!!

    Barbara- happy new year to you – and I love your book!! Cheers

  • Boeke

    Amy: I agree.

  • Amy

    I wish there was more focus on the patients. Some of the best episodes were when I actually cared if the patient of the week would live or die. I have probably only cared about 3 in the past two seasons.

    I remember the first few seasons, laughing loudly at the clever things House did, the things he would do to ‘be mean’ without being cruel and pointing out what his patients were doing to be idiots. Those days have long passed.

  • dago

    to huddy757 :That ia what I think ,too.House knows about these things but he doesn`t want or allow himself to feel it inside.Learning to do that could be part of his further journey.
    to Oh,snap : It was always about House himself.The very first scene of the pilot,
    having him and Wilson walking the hallway
    should be confirming that.After all , this is entertainment not medical school.So if you don`t like to watch it then leave it.
    A happy New Year to you ,Barbara and all the commenters with all the best wishes.I like this blog a lot and I`m always enjoying reading it.

  • Jane

    I believe the show was meant to be in the format of a medical procedural. However, more essentially, it is also a character study of the man Gregory House . These are two facts that David Shore has said so himself (watch interview with House cast at Paley Center). After all, the show is called House, not General Hospital. I like the medical aspect of the show, which allows us to explore House’s professional conduct and ethics, which, in turn, are underpinned by his worldviews that we are fundamentally interested in. I also like the procedural format, because it allows us to mull over a central theme each week rather than an unending and aimless narrative characteristic of a soap opera.

    Now, more on why House MD is not a soap opera…

    Romance, while often characteristic of soap operas, is not unique to it. Love is a universal theme, and an undeniably philosophical one. If House MD is a character study, how can we not expect Gregory House to yearn for love and try for it?

    Secondly, I feel (like someone else earlier mentioned) that House’s current attempt at a serious relationship with Cuddy is a natural following from his recovery from depression: Now that he’s gained some capacity for hope, why not pursue personal happiness? So you see, House’s romance is an ‘answer’ to the earlier seasons’ discourse on hope and not that the writers are suddenly changing their appetite to romance for romance’s sake.

  • huddy 757

    @oh snap – From almost the beginning it has been about Dr. Gregory House. His cases, his detoxing, his getting arrested, people wanting to fire him, his antics and approach to saving patients, his relationships with colleagues, friends or friend.
    Never was it a documentary on medical procedures. He had a case and roughly three other things going on each show.
    If you don’t like Huddy well that is ok. Some people didn’t like Cameron.
    I have enjoyed each step and the progression of Dr. House. I think “Broken” was amazing. I liked that over a course of time we have saw more sides to Dr. House.
    House is entertaining and they work hard to keep the medical stuff real and put forth a great effort and a lot of time to give a quality show.
    I love it.
    I respect the fact that you have a right to your opinion. the show has equally been about a medical case and about the lives of a group of doctors that work on those cases.
    There has been more exploration of the personal this year but in which ever way they decide to take the huddy arc it will settle down.

  • Oh, Snap

    @Huddy757: No, the show was originally a medical mystery ‘PROCEDURAL”; however, around Season 4 it became a retconned ‘Soap Opera.” If you’re into that sort of thing, then this is the show for you. If not, RIP “House.”

  • huddy757

    Ms. Barbara I love your blog and your book. Tremendous insights and great conversation about a one of a kind show. The chemistry between the entire cast has made for an awesome ride that you just want to stay on forever.
    I loved the first episode of the season and I thought it had some beautiful moments.

    The things I love about the season are the things Ms. Barnett pointed out.
    They are committed to this relationship. It was the little things like he was going to the wedding no matter if they were talking or not. Holding Cuddy’s purse and zipping her up. That is marriage stuff. It’s not been as much fun as I would have liked but I do think they are going somewhere with it.

    Cuddy has been uptight and while I can understand her feelings I think it goes past what we have seen so far.I think the second half will reveal some insights to Cuddy. We see it only through House’s eyes because this is about House.
    The family coming to town should open up some insights into Cuddy.
    Cuddy has been House’s enabler, employer, protector, and lawyer. It was a story that needed to be told, should have been told, and is being told.
    House has always been attracted to Cuddy and in some ways I think Cuddy has always been in love with House. Although he has said “I love you” he has yet to make that personal connection that surpasses the physical. He still deals with only the physical not the emotional. He knows he hurts her but he doesn’t let himself feel it inside. The rest os the season should be exciting and
    The writers will tell the story and it will be worth the wait.
    I love the addition of Masters. She is cool. She adds another dimension to House and they play off each other well.
    The show is not about medical mysteries it is about a doctor named House and his journey and all that entails.
    I wish Hugh Laurie and Lisa, and Robert, and Omar, and Jesse and Peter could do the show for years but I know they put in a lot of time.
    For that I am thankful for everyone’s hard work for giving us an amazing show and such a entertaining character such as House.

  • Thanks, everyone—and once again, happy New Year!
    I have no way to control the comments, but I really do hope we go back the thoughtful way of discussing the show (no matter what you like or dislike about it) without getting nasty.

    Two weeks to go till we get new episodes! Can’t wait.

  • Mosquitoinuk

    Hi Barbara, first time I post. I’ve read all the comments with interest and I must echo Jane’s feelings about the quality of the comments. Let’s get back to basics.

    I absolutely love House M.D. the show and I think the relationship with Cuddy had to be explored. Deep inside I am a big Huddy shipper and I thought the whole “House and Cuddy getting together” was completely in line with the show’s developments. After all, this is House’s journey and we know for a fact that he decided to get better (season 6) and he felt (i.e, House the character) he wanted to be happy. Good for him!

    My only gripe, is with the development of Cuddy’s character. House obviously adores Cuddy for many reasons, but two of them (in my opinion) are her assertiveness and her self-confidence. Somehow I feel that has been lost. I don’t really like passive-agressive Cuddy…perhaps I’m the only one that feels that way. Thoughts, anybody?

    Just to finish, Barbara, I think you do an excellent job with this column. Keep up the good work!

  • Sahara

    I’m totally with the author on this. She put into words perfectly the way I feel about House and Cuddy’s relationship–and how the writers are interweaving it delicately as to not overpower the show, but add a new dimension to it.

    I’m grateful to the writers for staying true to both House and Cuddy’s personalities and dealing head-on with some of the “obvious” reasons why their relationship could be doomed to fail. They don’t run away from their differences or natural instints (like House’s almost innate tendency to lie). They are instead embracing them and fighting to hold onto the relationship and each other within their existence.

    This is an extremely adult–not to mention fresh–approach to dealing with the choice to unite the two main characters of a series—a move that often causes a show like this to “jump the shark”–and this approach coupled with Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein’s amazing chemistry–is what is making the show BETTER than in years past

    The writers took a gamble–but a carfully calcuted–and delicately written one–and it paid off wonderfully in my oppinion.

  • Sera G.

    …Oops! I pressed Post Comment, instead of Preview.
    I try not to go to many other entertainment sites as they are too ‘snarky’ for my tastes, but the few that I have read; TV Guide, EW and a few others have been very positive about this season. They like the direction of House/Cuddy and the addtion of Masters. We all have our opinions, but I think that when the journals that keep up on all that is new and flashy still respond to and respect a show like House, TPTB are doing something right.

    Anyway, I think we all care about this show. As someone said earlier, it is pretty amazing that a program in its seventh year still generates this much interest and enthusiasm.
    Barbara, thank you for continuing to write so beautifully about House and for providing this opportunity for us to contribute our thoughts.

  • Sera G.

    Amen, Amen Jane#54!
    I left this site Friday evening feeling depressed and saddened. Let’s do get back to the civil and show-centric discussions.
    This season, in my opinion has been very, very good. I am enjoying seeing another side of House. I have always loved Cuddy and think the writers are doing a great job of giving us a mature couple adjusting to finally being together, with all that entails. I am curious to see what will happen to Wilson, now that he doesn’t have House constantly needing attention and that House is the one who is (gasp!) happy. I, too, want to see House and his mother have a frank discussion about his childhood and her choices. I don’t necessarily want to ‘meet’ his biological father. That character is best left to what has already been discovered. (Again, imo).
    Just a comment about Chase’s behavior this season. Someone, sorry, I can’t find the name, mentioned what a playboy he is being and found that out of character. Actually, that was his charater the first few episodes. He spent a lot of time flirting with the nurses, he x-rayed or scanned the wrong foot of a patient because he was distracted. Chase was trying to make a ‘date’ during All In before House pulled him away.
    That is why I think it is funny when people comment that this program about medical mysteries is becoming too much about characters’ lives and about sex. It has always been about characters’ lives; PPTH personnel and patients and there has always been the concern with relationships; Wilson’s many marriages, Cameron’s feelings for House, House’s unresolved feelings for Stacy, Foreman’s inability to keep relationships. As a matter of fact, House even said, “It’s always about sex.”

  • DebbieJ.

    As much as I am looking forward to Candace Bergan’s appearance as Cuddy’s mother, I, too, wish the writers will further explore House’s relationship with his own mother. We’ve only seen the woman twice, briefly. Now that he is sober and in a better frame of mind, I would love to see some dialogue between them. Would love to hear her confirm his suspicions of his parentage. They have A LOT to talk about! I really hope we get to witness this before the series’ end.

  • RJW


  • Jane

    Instead of finding that House MD has ‘devolved’–as some claims, I was very disappointed that it was the quality of comments on this forum that has dropped tremendously. Rather than analysing the show’s plot (which was so engaging and fun in previous reviews), fans are busy attacking and defending their own factions. Worse still, unfounded gossips of actors’ personal lives are being spread here–an irrelevant subject for people interested in the artistic appreciation of the show rather than the paparazzi. Where has the old civility and “show-centricity” that characterized this forum gone to?

  • Grace

    Well! I think I will just say that I hope Season 7 Act II will be much better than Act I and leave it at that. 🙂

  • Thank you to all of your for your friendship, your readership and your insightful comments. Happy New Year!

  • oo

    i don’t care much who 13 will end up with…getting tired of characters having to hook up with another character…i like it better when they are concentrating on the medical cases and not who they are screwing..i am sure they can show us other parts of their personal lives like how they are spending time after work doing other hobbies.
    anyways always enjoyed reading your reviews Barbara as we don’t get the show here in the South Pacific but am a big fan of House! and i like Huddy too!

  • Susan

    @Ms. M.D. – I didn’t say I wanted them to have a personal relationship, what I meant was that I read constant comments ( and see fan videos) from people who either want them to or believe they are. I feel bad for Mrs. Laurie too – sorry if I’m causing anyone who read my comment anguish.

  • pawpaw

    Happy New Year, Barbara! Thank you again for a marvelous recap. I finally GOT IT, i.e., why Cuddy was so mad at House for lying to her. Your explanation here clarified it for me…FINALLY. I get it now that Cuddy was angry not at the original lie but the follow-up lie that perpetuated the original lie. Thanks for clearing this up for me 🙂

    Like you, I still love the show, perhaps, even more now, because I know House et al. so much more now than I did in the beginning. With knowledge comes greater love or hate, as the case may be, I suppose.

  • Jaim

    I really wonder how 13 comes back into the show and where she has been. I hope that she and Masters become friends because we need more female friendships on this show. I also kind of like the idea of her with Wilson since House seems out of the question now. I like the look of her with Chase but I think they would actually be very wrong for one another. Wilson would be an interesting partner for her because he is good at helping people but he couldn’t get away with his usual crap because 13 sees through him much like House does. 13 would be good for Wilson because she is nothing like any of the women he was with before. She is okay with being wrong(unlike Amber) she is willing to admit her mistakes such as in season four with the paraplegic with the dog(unlike Sam in regards to the radiation fiasco) and she doesn’t need anyone, but deep down would like to have someone to connect to. There is also the added bonus that House would not know how to handle his duckling dating his best friend.

  • Ms. M.D.

    I don’t understand why people want to see two actors from a TV show develop a personal relationship outside their work. That is unbelievably childish and insensitive. I’ve seen a few sites where an affair between Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein has been promoted and I can’t help but wonder how much these things hurt Mr. Laurie’s wife of 20+ years. My God, people (Susan in particular): don’t you understand the ramifications of such an act? Mrs. Laurie has loved and cared for the man for all of these years, supported his career, allowing him to fly all over the world in pursuit of it, has lived apart from him for the past 6 or 7 years, and pretty much single-handedly raised his children, and he’s supposed to leave her for this other woman? Whether or not Ms. Edelstein is banging a married man is her own business (although I certainly hope those rumors are not true), but for Hugh Laurie to leave a good woman for her is shameful. Even the thought of it is unconscionable. In future, please consider what you post in very public forums; you can and will cause people real anguish.

  • n

    There’s another way to explain House telling Wilson that he lied to Cuddy when he apologized to her. The way the scene is written, he could be lying to Wilson about lying to Cuddy.

  • Susan

    I have never seen two actors with more chemistry than Laurie and Edelstein. (And I know, my Dad was a biochemist!)
    If they didn’t have all that sizzle between them, people would not be hoping that they have a personal relationship off screen.

  • House MD Supporting Actors fans

    Yes, we also agree that Hugh and Lisa just don’t have real chemistry together at all – you can see that a mile away!!!

    Also, Hugh is not the actor that he used to be – he is only nominated now because the supporting actors Lisa and Robert are outstanding and awesome – and that is the truth!

    Hope the show can last season 8.

  • Thank you Ruthinor. To Barney, Leslie and Anna: spreading malicious gossip and rumors does no one any good–and creates hurt for everyone involved.

  • ruthinor

    Wow!! I heard a rumor that Barney, Leslie and Anna were involved in a sordid triangle and ruining the lives of not only their families, but of websites around the world!!

  • Anna

    I agree with barney, lisa edelstein just ruined the show for me with her homewrecking, and she did always give that vibe. I have no respect for her anymore. the only award she will probably recieve in her long career is a pca which I voted for no reason. I hope never to see her face after the show ends.

  • Vicpei

    I marvel at the discussions an old show like House still gives birth to. I don’t think any other TV show generates such passionate reactions. To me it is a good thing ; if the show was boring, nobody would argue about it. I have been watching since season one aired in my country. I never could quit. It has pleased me, annoyed me, sometimes upset me (Tritter, or the end of season 5, or Lucas arc), but I necer stopped watching because I want to know what comes after. If House had ended in a relationship with Wilson, back in season 2, I would have found it right. Now, it does not seem a believable path anymore, and Huddy is now believable for me. So I guess the writers did it right ; they may not write what I would like to see, but I am still interested by their stories. Of course, the medicine is less brilliant, of course, the novelty has worn away, but I barely watch anything else. More than anything else, I love to watch House’s journey. I love how he evolved over the years. And yes, I have a crush on HL, like a lot of us.
    An added bonus is watching what revolves around the show : the official episodes do not resolve everything, so we are left to imagine what could have happened before, the missing scenes, the alternate possibilities. House leaves us thinking, and using our brains, like the main character would want us to.
    So yes, I am enjoying this season, and House in better mood/shape, and I do hope it lasts, towards the end of the show. My only fear is that a deceiving end will not make me regret watching the whole story ; I don’t want him to die!

  • Hazel Eyes: Just peeked at your link to the Play site. Nowhere in the description does it suggest that I’m anything other than what I say I am. You can read any one of dozens of “unofficial” (which is in the title) guides to series (and I am a fan of the genre, finding guides like that very enjoyable) and they all have a point of view. If you want simple recaps, they’re all over the place.

    What I try to do is something different. And I believe it is pretty objective. I’m critical of the show when it’s warranted and delighted when it delights me. I treat each character thoroughly and pay hommage to the Wilson/House friendship in every single episode write up, noting the episode’s best “house-wilson” moment. I don’t do that for any other relationship in the series.

    If there comes a time when the series no longer interests me, I will undoubtably stop watching it (and writing about it). I’m guessing the series has a couple of years left to it (and this is pure speculation). And I hope when it does finally end, it does so on its own terms and not because it’s been pushed out–a feeble shadow of itself. It’s not there–not by a long shot.

  • marian

    I was concerned for Cuddy because it seemed as though House never took her out on a real date, they were always just hooking up. Thoughts?

  • chuck

    Unfortunately, and I speak as an original pro huddy fan, the show has gone so down hill it is almost beyond recognition. I don’t enjoy it anymore ad I blame the fanfiction style writing for this. They got House and Cuddy together finally but it just doesn’t ring true, its like there is no natural chemistry any more. I think it may be time to end the show now…

  • barney

    so Edelstein is now a homwrecker, not suprised since she wrecked the show.
    about the show, the two previous episodes made quit watching. how long has cuddy known house as liar? ridiclous. this arc is just awful

  • hazel eyes

    I’m sorry if my comment upset you, but my question to your fans came after reading this advert which gave me the impression that you either worked on House or had worked on House and that you had an insiders view.

    I was trying to decide if I should buy your book or not, so I would not have seen your disclaimer.

    I am a big fan of House and I think if the writers mix a large chunk of Huddy with a large chunk of Hilson with loads of medicine thrown in then the show is totally brilliant.

    So again I am sorry if I offended you and your fans.

  • Jane 2

    Hi Barbara, 98% lurker and occasional poster . I love reading your reviews and your take on the show. You always pick up so much that I miss as do the people who comment! I also appreciate your positive,thoughtful take on things; with any long running series negativity and hate become the easy options so it’s great to see you bucking the trend. I have wandered away from the show and come back a few times now myself. Honestly I think that’s because, like a couple of other people have noted here, I am so much more demanding of it than of anything else I watch.

    I am loving Season 7 and particularly House/Cuddy and the way it is being explored. Cuddy is my favourite character so I am hoping to get some insight into her thoughts on the relationship as we move through Act II.

    I’m not quite sure where they are going with Chase but I’m hoping they develop it further. I suspect he is in a very dark place following the events of season 6. Foreman has been very quiet also but I’m assuming we’ll see more of him as the return of Thirteen gets closer? The thing i’d most like to learn about him is why he’s still there. He’s always seemed to me to be one of the most driven and ambitious members of House’s team so I’d love some insight into why he hangs around.

    I agree Martha is a great addition so far and I’m curious to see what I’ll think of her by seasons end.

    Overall I’m nervous/excited about the big changes being promised by the promos and Greg Yaitanes.

    Lastly I’d like to chime in with some LisaE love! (Privacy is a right not just a setting on a Facebook account.)

  • Nicole C

    Not into Huddy. It seems cute in passing, but I just can’t see it really working. Hugh and Lisa just don’t have real chemistry to me. Now House and Stacy- they were burning up the screen! I realize she’s a manipulative bitch and House can’t take another rejection, but seeing them together onscreen is the first time I’ve ever watched a show and felt emotionally moved. That first “Hi, Stacy”. Good god!

    Oh, and I can’t stand Martha Masters. Please go away Amber Tamblyn!!

  • El Bicho

    you Househeads are funny to watch as you turn on each other. Heaven forbid anyone has a different opinion about the series than the positive position the some in the group dictate. Having a contrary position sounds kinda like House, yet when he does it, it’s part of the character’s charm. Good luck at the Golden Globes.

  • Janine

    I agree Lucinda is a horrible name especially since last season in “Ignorance is Bliss” her name was Julia!
    I too have heard about many people getting pregnant after adopting! Although, as twisted and morbid as it sounds, I would kind of rather see how their relationship would go if she got pregnant and lost the baby. We could see them each react to becoming a parent and then coping with the loss. Its kind of melodramatic, but if handeled right could work, and we’ve already seen House interact with Rachel so it would be more interesting than just bringing in another baby.

  • andreeC

    Barbara, as a fan of your blog, Huddy and of the direction of House in S. 7, let me say, you go, girrrrl!

    I love your recaps and only have one little teeny tiny bone to pick with you concerning the lie/apology issue between Cuddy and House. I do believe Cuddy understands House’s MO about lying. I think they both understand without having to clarify which lie House was apologizing for. Cuddy wasn’t upset he lied to her initially but for perpetuating it when she thanked him for being honest with her. That was the “hurtful” lie and the reason why she needed his apology. Hope that makes sense. I know you touched on it but I viewed the scenes as House addressing the second lie in his apology to Cuddy.

    Okay, on to what we want to see on the show. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Candace Bergen plays Cuddy’s mom. Let the fireworks, tornados and hurricanes begin! I hope the Cuddy/Mom dynamics reveals much more about Cuddy to us and most of all to House. I’d like to see him siding with Cuddy and sticking up for her against Momma Cuddy who will introduce the touchy topics of marriage and where-is-this-relationship-really-going-hmmm?.

    Ditto the dynamics to come of Cuddy and her sister Lucinda (why did they pick that cruddy name?). Hoping to see House appreciate Cuddy after we get to see some sibling rivalry at Lisa Cuddy’s expense (didn’t some spoiler article reveal Candace Bergen mentioning how “Lucinda is the good daughter?”)

    Sure the weekly patients’ storyline are interesting, but its how House deals with them and what it reveals about him that is the reason for watching the show.

    Lastly, I hope Cuddy’s age (43, not 45) opens the plot-line to a possible Huddy pregnancy. I want to see House faced with his own parenthood given his mysterious childhood abuse issues. I want to see Cuddy conflicted over her own pregnancy (happy to have House’s child and torn over the pressure it puts on their relationship and her professional life). I suspect Cuddy’s infertility means she no longer uses contraception? Let us hope!

    FWIW…I have a family member who’s wife tried for years to conceive and she finally gave up, they got pregnant after adopting two children!

    Barbara, keep on writing this great blog and stick with your views. You, me, the House producers and most fans love the Huddy direction. It’s not the focus of the show but its a key element in House’s evolution out of bitterness.
    Off subject but to address some comments posted here: I totally don’t understand a thing from Dr. D’s comment. Wha? That said, I can’t believe someone would post about Lisa Edelstein’s private life on this cool site. This is about a TV SHOW and its cool cast of CHARACTERs.

    As a fan of Lisa Edelstein, I’m thrilled she’s got someone in her life that makes her happy. It’s nobody’s bizness but her own. ‘Nuff said. Leave the lady alone and watch the damn show on tv!

  • Hi Sera. Thank you so much for your kind words! Yup. Sarcastic about anonymous and unsubstantiated gossip, innuendo and rumor. Thank you Dr. Dreadful 🙂

  • Sera G

    Happy New Year, Barbara!
    Holiday greetings to the rest of the House community.
    I have been waiting for further reviews from this site…thank you!
    I agree, this long hiatus is a killer. I am still passionate about the show. As a matter of fact, I watched a lot of TV this last week, as I was off work. Now I am more convinced than ever that House is remarkable. I watched; The Mentalist, Hawaii 5-0, Detroit 187, both NCIS and Castle. Passable entertainment, attractive characters, mildly amusing and nothing imaginative, creative or unique about any of them. There was not one show that intruigued me, held my interest past the closing credits or made me curious about next week. Of course, that is just my opinion, but that has never been true about House. It was compelling and addictive from day one. I find it to be so even now, seven seasons later.
    I am in total agreement that those who do not care for a show and yet come to a site just to complain or criticise are missing the point. If you do not like House anymore, or never did; don’t watch! I would never go to a site that writes about the afore mentioned shows and tell them what I don’t like and why they should change…they are not suited to me so I don’t watch. This is a site for those who appreciate House the show, the actors and creators. I find the reveiws beautifully written and thought provoking. I find the people who respond are bright, intelligent and look for common ground and a place to share their thoughts and opinions. I have said before that if feels like a bookclub for a television show.
    Now, back to Barbara’s review;
    I loved what you had to say. I agree that the writers are handling things between House/Cuddy very well. I am so glad that their relationship doesn’t crumble at every obstacle and that House/Cuddy are so committed to making it work. I find that realistic. It is TV cliche to have a couple break up, mope around, find someone else for a while and then discover…”oh I really loved Charlie after all.” Gag!!!!!
    I watched “Merry Little Christmas” last week. There is House, desperate for viocdin, stealing from a dying man, drunk and passed out in vomit…even Wilson walked away in disgust. I don’t want to see him back to that state. The writers were so brave to give House the determination to realize that he wants more in his life, to go through rehab and take a chance on love with Cuddy. They could have taken the easy, safe path and continued with the drug additcted misanthrope, but they have made this journey with House complex, human and even more engaging. I applaud them for not playing it safe and for trusting the audience’s intelligence and commitment.
    I have no idea what the writers will do next. I want to see House/Cuddy succeed. I want to see him share more of himself with his world. I would like to see him interact with his mother now that he is healthier emotionally. There are many directions and stories to tell.
    One more comment. I have read (and reread) Barbara’s book. It is very well done. It is excellent for new viewers to the show and offers great insight for the long time fan. If you love “House” you will be glad that you bought “Chasing Zebras”.
    One last, last thing: What do you mean by “New Hampshire Whateverwithyoungkids”? I take it that you are being sarcastic about anonymous gossip. Am I correct?

  • Dr. D…

    However did you know?

  • …Ms. Edelstein is involved with a married man named Robert whatever with young kids.

    Is he related to the New Hampshire Whateverwithyoungkidses?

  • Leslie

    It is rumored everywhere I go especially on twitter that Ms. Edelstein is involved with a married man named Robert whatever with young kids. If this is true, I have lost my great respect for her. If you are with him, let it be private by not posting photos of you two locking lips. Also about the show, I have lost interest, I had great expectations for the relationship, but now this huddy arc and cases suck. I will be looking for a new show to enjoy. And Barbara, you’re a great a critic. I enjoyed your reviews. Best of luck and goodbye.

  • Chelsey

    Barbara: I love your reviews, and I agree with the above comments that reviews are supposed to be subjective. Your detailed articles (and I can imagine Chasing Zebras as well) is an in-depth look in to House’s character and his development. For all who feel that this show has gone down hill over the past few seasons, I would have to disagree. I feel that the writers have done a superb job of creating a balance between the House and Cuddy relationship story line and the medicine. House’s relationship is a different direction, a new situation to explore and a chance to see House’s personal evolution. If House (and all of the other characters) did not change and evolve I would not stop watching necessarily, but I think I would grow bored. Just like people in real life, the characters are going through changes.

  • Barbara barnett

    Thanks OCW. Decided I’ve spent all the time I have to spend banging my head against a wall for today 😉

    I appreciate the support. Thanks to all.

  • onecoolwoman

    I agree with your comments Barbara, and you’re entitled to your opinion, “this is America.” I don’t care if you’re an MD or what, I have 2 Ivy League degrees – so what – who cares. If you do not like the show, hate Hugh Laurie, like CSI or Law and Order Better, then DO NOT WATCH THE SHOW AND SIT AROUND AND COMPLAIN, PERIOD – America is all about choice. This is simply one respected woman’s (Barbara’a) subjective opinion, and why are you wasting your time, people – do something productive with your life -don’t watch “House” if you don’t like it – why waste your time??. Why would Hugh Laurie be nominated for an Emmy, a PCA, a SGA, and a Golden Globe if the show was so bad? This is Barbara’s website and have some respect for her. I love your book and use it for re-runs all the time BTW, Barbara – just standing up for you b/c I really respect you and I do not appreciate other peoples’ nonsense/disrespect of you….

  • Barbara barnett

    Sorry about that. The show’s creators are fans of Huddy! That’s where they’re taking the story line, and I’m sorry if you’re not on board with that, but i’m wiling to go along for the ride. People have been griping about the show’s direction since season 4. It is now season 7.

    My column has never been about recalling just the fact, ma’am. The book’s entire episode guide, in my opinion is pretty well balanced within what I see on screen. YMMV.

  • Barbara barnett

    Hazel eyes,
    Nowhere do I say my book or my Opinions about the show are either endorsed by the show writErs or are “fact.”

    I actually state in the book’s intro that the opinions expressed are “one fan’s subjective opinion.” It is commentary. I can’t be any plainer than that.

    For heavens sake, the show’s producers are into “huddy

  • Nikki

    Thank you for pointing out the lack of Chase. I do miss him and I don’t like what the writers are doing with him in S7. It doesn’t feel right to the character that we got to know over the past seasons, and RJW is most probably right that he is sleeping around due to unsolved issues. I actually do worry about his story because he deserves better than being taken on a back seat and becoming a juvenile womanizer. He’s never shown any signs of awareness of how ‘easy’ he is with girls and it bothers me that he is frolicing around. It doesn’t fit the character and I don’t buy it unless there is a reason behind it which has yet to be revealed. The Dibala thing must have had a huge impact on him and I hope it won’t be about his ill-fated marriage. Having said that, I’m not looking forward to another dilemma if he did the right thing or not. The best thing they could do was to leave the decision up to the viewers, IMO.

    I do hope he’ll be back on the team with some fresh and unexpected story lines. He’s got quite an interesting dynamic with House and I always wished they’d explore that. The influence and the teaching that House did on his fellows has always been the most intriguing part of the show, to me. I hope they won’t dismiss Chase and Foreman in favour of the new fellow, Masters. I love to see everyone’s interactions with House because those have always been the most rewarding moments on the show. It truly is a character’s journey which is so much better than any office romance stuff.

    Still watching, still not giving up hope that we’ll get some Chase/House in the near future. And, still enjoying the most complex show on TV.

  • hazel eyes

    When your reviews and book came out I asked the question if this book was based on fact or on a fans view of the show and I was quite rudely told by your fans that it was based on fact and it endorsed by the writers of the show. So I am glad that you have admitted that you are a Huddy fan and the reviews and your book is just how you see the show. Don’t get me wrong because I do enjoy reading your views even though I tend to not agree with some of them.

  • RJW

    Count me among those who feel that House has actually improved over the years.There’s more character depth and there’s not nearly as many “he gets better or he dies” lines.I have this feeling that the Chase storyline will be coming to the forefront,as I suspect that all his sleeping around is due to his lack of getting help over Dibala/Cameron.Not that I worry about Chase’s story that much,as the show is about House and the people he interacts with.Chase is an interesting supporting character.I admit that I’ve never been a Foreman fan,but we get people like that in real life…people who we don’t care for.My personal opinion is that the House cast is a great ensemble,with Laurie the best actor around today.I’m looking forward to the rest of Season 7.

  • Janine

    @Ruthinor and Brenda

    THANK YOU! I am so sick of dilusional fans who want House/Wilson or House/Cameron which is clearly not going to happen. Cameron is gone and House and Wilson are both clearly straight. Why do people waste their time commenting on shows they don’t like and insutling the fans who do still enjoy this show? The show as well as Barbara’a reviews are both wonderful, and if people can’t appreciate them, I agree that they should stop watching or go elsewhere to complain.

  • brenda

    to those saying the show has gotten worse, i wonder what show you guys were watching. the show is doing fine, if you want house and wilson to be a couple then you are clearly delusional. if you dislike the show’s direction, quit watching it, no one has put a bullet to your head. it’s sad the show its now based on shipping. i watch for house and his joruney, you should do the same, if you can’t then stop watching it, you’re torturing yourselves. by the way i love this review ms.barnett. you are a true fan

  • ruthinor

    One thing all the gripers have in common…they are all House-Wilson shippers and hate Cuddy. If you no longer like the show, don’t watch! And go to websites that appreciate your point of view instead of coming here to bitch and moan about the unfairness of it all.

    Keep it coming Barbara. Lots of us agree with YOU.

  • Kim in California

    I actually find that the Huddy relationship is not a mature one, especially from Cuddy’s side. She specifically said that she did not want him to change and yet, right off the bat, she’s expecting big changes at work and House’s usual manipulations (which is precisely why you shouldn’t date someone at work.) She also gets upset about the work lie (lies which she has tolerated and encouraged over the years) to a point where she becomes the epitome of a teenage girl–pouting, withholding affection and contact and holding firm to a ridiculous objective–to keep House from lying to her. What planet has she been living on for the past umpteen years of knowing him? She’s partly responsible for the manipulative bastard that he has become (what administrator pulls a stained carpet out of a dumpster because the employee throw a tantrum over a new rug?)

    What really made me shake my head and pray that Huddy implodes quickly was when the smallpox episode where Cuddy realized she could lose him and yet she still wouldn’t let go of her petty gripe. Believe me, if you ever face the possible death of a loved one, petty arguments (such as, “you, the habitual manipulator, LIED to me.”–duh) go out the window. You realize that you need to choose your battles, and House lying about work issues is one you’re never going to win (if she doesn’t realize this, then she really doesn’t deserve a relationship with this man–she’s got blinders on.)

    It used to be that the show only had the occasional ‘off’ episode. Now they only have the occasional interesting episode. The writers are hamstrung with having to give some drama to Huddy to keep it interesting to the audience. As a result of their expoloration of this implausible relationship, I know that they’ve lost several male viewers (my husband included.) I’m much more drawn to the relationship between Masters and House. It’s the only interesting male/female relationship on the show right now.

    Give us more ‘patient of the week’ and team eccentric episodes. Stop shoveling the Huddy drivel and bring back more of the House/Wilson relationship. After all, Sherlock Holmes was popular to the end of the series and he never had the faintest hint of a male/female relationship with anyone (not even Irene Adler, who was respected, not loved, by Holmes.) If Sir Arthur Conan Doyle can do it, so can the House writers.

  • Norma

    I agree with rslfans, I want robert sean leonard out of this now awful show, I only hope that he is going to continue to work in some other show where he is really appreciated.

  • simona

    Barbara, your summary of the first half of the season has come to me and welcome as water in the desert. This hiatus is evil and detrimental to the series.
    I think like you that the relationship between House and Cuddy should not have a significant role but should be used to explore deeper and deeper House. And that is what is happening. Of course the episodes lasting 40 minutes and we can not expect that the writers explore all the meat immediately put to fire over the 7 seasons. But I think they are absolutely brilliant and they will find a way to make ends meet and to surprise us once again, as they always have. An episode just above average (which is already very good) to give more emphasis to this wonderful series.
    I think the risk is to see the glass half empty just because the series is so well made and ambitious and the fans, whose comments I always read with pleasure, are intelligent and deep. I don’t know if there is another series as discussed in detail as House MD. And this is undoubtedly a big quality.
    Above all I missed the Christmas episode and I believe that the hiatus has strongly affected the content of the series because Christmas has always been a very important moment in the story: an excuse to reflect on ethical issues that House has always faced. It’s a pity.
    I’m absolutely curious to see how it will evolve the Wilson situation, the “Wilson’s need to be needed” (using your words because you fix the problem perfectly).
    I miss the boys too and I hope that it will be offered to Chase the chance to show more depth.

    On a side note: I bought Chasing Zebras and I can’t wait to start reading it 🙂

  • Barbara barnett

    I think Cardiac Monitor was attempting to point out that your reviews appear to be one-sided. My understanding is that a “reviewer” should present both sides of a show (or film, play or piece of music), and yours clearly do not. You’ve even written a book about this television show (and who does that?), which begs the question if you have some other sort of interest in keeping it on the air? I think Cardiac Monitor surmised that your interest was that of a tender nature for Hugh Laurie, which is completely understandable, but can cloud your judgment.

    Ms M.D. Reviews are opinions. Someone’s bad is someone else’s good.

    I still think House is good television. Period. When I no longer like a show, I simply stop watching. I adored the x files. But by season seven, it was done for me. I stopped caring, stopped writing about it and left for others. The remote control is a powerful thing.

    I have friends who stopped watching in season three, yet something brought them back this year. Others I know only began watching in the last year or two who much prefer these last couple of years to the first seasons. Yet others disagree.

    To suggest that I have some sort of agenda in wanting to keep the show on the air is incredibly unfair. I would love the series to come to graceful end when it’s time to do that.

    Cuddy has been wearing tighter outfits since season 2. House has been an adolescent since the start. What the affair has done is to challenge him in some new ways. it’s an altered journey in some respects. And I’m wondering where it will take him.

  • Buddha’s Delight

    Several observations/questions:

    (1) You mentioned in your article that House and Cuddy “haven’t been together more than a few weeks.” However, since “Now What” took place immediately after last season’s finale and “Office Politics” revolved around the November mid-term elections, doesn’t that mean that they’ve actually been a romantic couple for several months now? Are the writers resorting to a sliding timescale in order to bypass this discrepancy in the passage of time on the show?

    (2) It would be interesting (to say the least) if Wilson were to progressively gravitate towards Chase as his newest BFF during the second half of this season. In the wake of the Dibala debacle and the subsequent dissolution of his marriage to Cameron, our favorite wombat has resorted to less-than-healthy means to deal with his rut, including serial philandering, a possible dependence on alcohol, and an ostensibly blase attitude regarding the personal issues of his teammates. He’s the perfect font of tapped neediness that Wilson could obsess over now that Sam is no longer in the picture and House is preoccupied with new love life. This could potentially kill two birds with one stone by increasing Chase’s presence on the show and giving Wilson something else beyond playing Sancho Panza to House’s Don Quixote.

    (3) Given that House and Mama Cuddy don’t actually meet – in the flesh – until after the mid-season hiatus, how is it possible that she lives relatively close enough to Cuddy to babysit little Rachel and yet be apparently unable to visit her daughter for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve? I hope the writers clarify this point.

    (4) This might seem off topic than the previous question, but the upcoming presence of the extended Cuddy clan have left me wondering what exactly happened to Blythe House amidst all of these familial dramas. Her only child (as far as we know) is in a committed romantic relationship with another woman (a mother, to boot!) after nearly a decade of self-imposed emotional exile, and yet, the audience hasn’t seen hide nor hair of Mama House since the funeral scene from Season 5’s “Birthmarks.” I hope her character hasn’t come down with Chuck Cunningham syndrome since her possible return would allow the writers to not only further explore House’s fractured family history but to also provide an outside perspective on the recent changes in her son’s life.

  • sally

    I enjoyed your take on the season so far. I have enjoyed this season, it was time to see this side of House in a relationship and it’s good to see more of Cuddy and her family as the relationship continues. I’m hoping their relationship remains for the duration of the series – i can’t imagine it ever being boring

  • RSL fans

    We hope Robert Sean leonard leaves the show for better prospects – his talent is wasted and he is a far better actor than Hugh Laurie!!!

  • TVTherapy


    I’m with you. I love what Martha has brought to the table this season and obviously am loving House and Cuddy. Additionally, I don’t think the show has gotten worse.

    You make a really good point about the boys on the show. Jesse Spencer and Omar Epps are totally underutilized and have been (with very few exceptions) for some time now.

    @Ms. M.D. and @Cardiac Monitor

    As a fellow critic/reviewer, I have to say the whole point of a review is to give an opinion and support your own arguments. Barbara does just that. And you did so as well. Agree to disagree?

    Seems beyond pointless to say that Barbara is biased because she has a crush. Yes, Hugh Laurie is talented, but if the writing of the show was severely suffering, even he couldn’t save it and we all know that.

    And if having a crush on HL is a sin, guess I’ll be paving the road to hell with my reviews. Reviews are biased. Reviews are subjective. Writing about television isn’t scientific and one million people can look at the same hour of television and have one million different opinions. What makes one more valid than another?

    There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing, but to assert one’s own opinion as fact is absurd. And to insult another person’s opinions for being “wrong” well, do I even need to say it?

    Just putting it out there…

  • Ms. M.D.

    @ Barbara Barnett: I have just finished reading your review, or rather “recap” of House. I also read Cardiac Monitor’s comment.

    I have to agree with you both, but with Cardiac Monitor to a larger extent. As a practicing physician myself, I don’t ordinarily watch television medical dramas. What begins with interesting, albeit somewhat “out there” story lines, usually quickly deteriorates into soap opera. As Cardiac Monitor stated, the first few years of this show were quite well done (ignoring the gross errors in the medicine) and the character development was “ambitious,” yet satisfying. I began watching the show because many of my patients recommended it (early in its first season) and was initially delighted and intrigued, despite the fact that a doctor such as House, with his addictive habits and overwhelming personality disorder, would never be granted a license to practice medicine in any state in this country. It was fun and fanciful, and my husband, an attorney, amused himself weekly counting lawsuits. I’ll stick with it until the end, but my interest is acutely waning at this point.

    I think Cardiac Monitor was attempting to point out that your reviews appear to be one-sided. My understanding is that a “reviewer” should present both sides of a show (or film, play or piece of music), and yours clearly do not. You’ve even written a book about this television show (and who does that?), which begs the question if you have some other sort of interest in keeping it on the air? I think Cardiac Monitor surmised that your interest was that of a tender nature for Hugh Laurie, which is completely understandable, but can cloud your judgment.

    Some other serious television critics, such as yourself, have agreed that House is definitely winding down, that something fundamental has changed, and that the chemistry between House and Cuddy has fizzled since they began their relationship. I think the producers and writers are resorting to comedic schtick and shock to garner ratings. Cuddy’s outfits have gotten tighter with lower necklines and higher heels as time has passed; I know of no women doctors who dress so unprofessionally. She looks lovely, of course, but does not inspire confidence or respect as a woman or a physician. It is still a man’s world, after all, and patients hold their doctors to certain standards. Additionally, I have to agree that her character has “de-evolved” to a great extent. I truly hate how women are depicted on film.

    I apologize if I sound as if I have come to “bury Caesar” or you, for that matter. I simply felt compelled to attempt to qualify and quantify Cardiac Monitor’s comments.

  • Janine

    Great! totally agree with your assessment of the House/Cuddy fight in all respects. Most other shows would have had the characters break up, whine about how much they miss each other, and then get back together in that episode span. Insted, House and Cuddy stuck it out like normal adults would. It was a silly fight, she had a right to get mad, but both of them knew that it was nothing to leave each other over.
    As for Wilson, I too am curious as to what will happen to him. There was actually a whole conversation in the ppth conference room about what might happen between the House/Wilson dynamic and what Wilson himself will do in response to him being alone while House is in a relationship for the first time in their friendship
    As for 13, I know OW had definately confirmed that she will be returning at some point this season, but I honestly don’t think she will be sticking around much longer. Olivia Wilde has already signed on for another movie to begin shooting in March, so, unless House is done filming by then, I can’t see how she will stick around. As for where she went, I have a feeling House does know, because its totally out of character for him to just disregard the fact that she is missing (his reaction to her absence in Selfish could only be described as less than non schlant) even if he is distracted by his new relationship. I’m liking Masters too, and I hope she does stick around.
    For the boys, I agree that they are being a bit underused. I don’t so much mind not seeing so much of Foreman, as hes not my favorite and has had a lot of big storylines over the course of the show. But I would like to see more of Chase’s reaction to his divorce. It has been mentinoed and seen that he is serial dating, but not much more. Hopefully we will see more of Chase in January!

  • Cardiac Monitor: Why do I have to look at the show with a jaundiced eye, pray tell. I still like the show. I’ve been watching it since season one and although it’s evolved and certainly changed, I don’t think it’s changed for the worse.

    It’s no longer as novel as it once was, because we, by now know so much more about the characters.

    I like the Wilson-House dynamic, but I’ve never felt that it IS the show. The show is about House. Full Stop. Everything feeds into House’s journey.

    Like mine, yours is a completely subjective take. You’re entitled to your opinion, please allow me mine.

  • Cardiac Monitor

    Ms. Barnett: I think you need to get over your huge crush on Hugh Laurie and start looking at this show with a more jaundiced eye. Your complete bias is evident in every review; perhaps you only look for the good in everyone and everything. However, “House MD” has lost so much of its mojo over the past two or three seasons. The “Huddy” relationship is resorting to cliche and puerile story lines: girls gets mad at boy and demands an apology; boy, being a boy, refuses to apologize, but despairs that girl is withholding sex (abject sexism, in my book); boy finally gives in and offers apology (which he doesn’t mean) in order to get sex from girl; cue happy ending until next “crisis,” in this case “mean mother-in-law.” Cuddy used to be smarter than that. As a woman, I object to how her character has become caricature of a smart, evolved, free-thinking woman. As a woman and a journalist, I am saddened that you missed that very important de-evolution of her by the writers. Trip wires? Cruel practical jokes? House is a 13-year-old boy trapped in a 50-year-old body with all of the empathy and sensitivity of Osama Bin Laden, and after all the years of being called “fat-a**” and “incompetent,” Cuddy suddenly realizes that she can’t live without him? I don’t get it; I’ve obviously missed the point.

    The real chemistry, of course, has always been between House and Wilson. However, Wilson has been reduced to a walk-on, a sage deliverer of advice for the lovelorn. Friendship is much more complex than a love affair, and takes just as much work to maintain. Now his is the only character that resembles an adult, clearly the most well-adjusted of the group, and it appears as if he is being phased out of the show and out of House’s life. I wonder if, when things go south with “Huddy,” Wilson will offer his friend absolution or angst?

    The first three or so seasons of “House” showed character development based on the character’s reactions and interactions with the patient(s) of the week. I thought this was incredibly ambitious; however, the writers did manage to sustain that level of sharp, intelligent story lines during that period of time. Then it became the “most watched show on the planet,” and the writers suddenly changed the focus and the formula, and we were left with this… In short, they fixed it until it broke.

  • Orange450

    Thanks for a fun recap/revisit of S7. I really do appreciate it. I have to admit that as the hiatus goes on, the details of the past episodes become hazier in my mind, and the series begins to take on an etherial, unreal quality, as if the show was something I dreamed about a long time ago, rather than an active component of my consciousness! I guess January 17 better hurry up and get here, if I’m going to keep on watching 😉

    You mentioned that the writers have a habit of teasing old threads back to the surface (very well put!) I know this is true, but there are also times that the writers simply let the threads unravel. I had a fleeting thought that now that Cuddy’s mom is all set to arrive on the scene, with some family-related dramedy in her wake, the recent “lie” plot point might be laid down to make way for some new dilemmas. Either way, I’m looking forward to what comes next.