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House, M.D.‘s Lisa Edelstein and Greg Yaitanes Talk About “Bombshells”

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This Monday night’s House, M.D. (“Bombshells”) is a break-the-formula episode, something the series has been very successful at doing for nearly seven seasons. Beginning back in season one with “Three Stories,” House has used flashbacks, non-linear storytelling and dream/hallucination sequences to shake up the story and give it new dimensions and unfamiliar textures while delving into the minds of its characters—but mostlyLisa Edelstein, Hugh Laurie as Butch and Sundance in a dream sequence in Bombshells on House, M.D. House’s (Hugh Laurie) “rat maze” of a mind.

“Bombshells” finds Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) dealing with a potentially serious health crisis, providing the opportunity this time to dive into her subconscious at a critical juncture in her relationship with House. “The story picks up immediately after the end of the last episode (‘Recession Proof’),” according toHugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein Bombshells dream sequence Edelstein. She and and executive producer/director Greg Yaitanes (who directed “Bombshells”) met with entertainment writers Friday afternoon to discuss the forthcoming episode. If you recall, “Recession Proof” ends with a drunk House professing his undying love—but at the same time, he discloses that his love for Cuddy provides such a distraction that it might destroy his genius for medicine. 

At the start of the episode, Cuddy is shaken to discover blood in her urine. As Dean Cuddy becomes Patient Cuddy, going through procedures and treatments, she takes a hard look at her priorities and relationships through a series of surreal dreams. Because dreams can sneak past our usual filtering mechanisms, they can make for an effective (and visually stunning) narrative device to explore our deepest fantasies and our darkest fears. But because dreams can be surreal and fun, they also make great tension-breakers from what will undoubtedly be an incredibly intense episode.

Cuddy’s dreams and hallucinations during the episode provide important glimpses into her life and her relationship with House are, according to director Yaitanes. They are, he said, significant for what they reveal, but also added provocatively, they are as “relevant for what they don’t say.”

The sequences pay homage to several iconic film and television moments in genres from 1950s TV to horror movies and westerns. And of course there is the big, spectacluar movie musical production number, created by Emmy winning choreographer Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance?). The TV sitcom tribute is a sort of a 1950s version of Two and a Half Men, with Wilson and House playing Mr. Mom to an 8-year-old Rachel Cuddy!, said Yaitanes. One dream gets the Hollywood Western treatment as House and Cuddy play Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid in a nod to the 1970s Paul Newman/Robert Redford movie, with Cuddy cast as Sundance and House playing Butch (and with eyes every bit as blue as Paul Newman’s!). But the highlight, according to Edelstein was working with Mia Michaels on the dance routines, which took a lot of rehearsal. 

Neither Yaitanes nor Edelstein would give much away about the episode, but with “Cuddy in the midst of a health crisis, she take a hard look at her life. There’s a lot of inner reflection,” noted the actress. Because the episode takes place right where the last one began, she elaborated, everything she’s been feeling—all her doubts about House—“are brought to bear” at a very “complicated moment.” So Cuddy is “seeing more of the truth of what it’s like to be involved with” the very complicated House.

“Bombshells” airs Monday, March 7 at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX. In the meantime, enjoy a studio-recorded interview with the show’s star!

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • Lurker

    Is this Cuddy, MD or House, MD? The shift from House to Cuddy is boring.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Not sure what you mean. The show has ALWAYS been about House. Still is. Always will be!

  • Cleo

    Thanks Barbara. This is gonna be epic. I´ve been waiting for this episode for ages.

  • MusicandHouse

    Thanks Barbara. I read some of the transposed twitter chat, but your article is a much more well organized format for all the information! I have been waiting so long fir this episode, and I will admit when I first heard about it, I was a little scared (I origionally though the whole 42 minute episode was going to be hallucinations) but now I am quite excited. I’ve seen the ’50s clip and it was great, but I’ve stayed away from all other clips becuase I want to wait until Monday (but its not easy!) I just hope that after all of these dreams Cuddy realizes the good in her relationship with House and not the bad which could result in a break up :(
    I know Ausiello has seen this episode and speaks highly of it, but I was honestly hoping that you would get to see a screener and give your take on it (your much more open and honest because Ausiello is being paid by TPTB to talk it up) but I guess I will have to wait for Monday!
    One little quip: There is a 1950’s style segment and a Two and a Half Men type segment. What you wrote made it sound as though the two ideas are somehow combined.

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    I must say I’m curious about the episode. It can be really good, really original and deep in a beautiful way or it can turn out as a complete disaster. It’s a risk that the House crew and TPTB are always willing to take and it is one of the things that make this show so good.

    It also makes me think of “The X-Files”. Perhaps it is because I’m just a huge fan of this show (even if the last seasons weren’t good) but it makes me think of a particular quotation.

    Mulder said once that he heard that “dreams were answers to questions we didn’t know how to ask”. I like that idea and it seems that the episode will be a little like that. The idea that dreams are a mirror of our fears and questions in life. Also maybe a place where we confront those in a totally straightforward new manner, possibly getting answers to questions we didn’t even dare to ask ourselves.

    I don’t know if it will be as mind-blowing as Greg Yaitanes and Lisa Edelstein said it is but it sure will be interesting.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    MusicandHouse: that’s my impression–that the ’50s sitcom is Two and a Half Men re-visioned. I wish I’d had a screener too. I’m out Monday night this week and won’t get to see the show till late. When I get a screener I can watch early and pre-write (and put a hold on the article till the West Coast airs). But I can’t do that this time.

    Flo–House, the show is filled with Jungian ideas. So many of the episodes let us into House’s mindscape to dig for answers. I think it was the episode Top Secret in season three that really hit that home for me. You referred to my favorite XF episode ever “Paper Hearts.” You get 10 gold stars. It was the first episode I saw and got me completely hooked on the show and Mulder’s journey!

  • Brandi

    I totally agree with Lurker. House has become The Cuddy Show this year, and it has ruined the series. I was in favor of the House and Cuddy relationship before it happened, but it has been done so badly and taken over the show, which has just become a poor soap now. The upcoming episode looks stupid. Why not have a special with the cast and do comedy and vignettes of whatever rather than wasting show time with it. The writing this year sucks big time. Cuddy is not an interesting character and we had her in 5 to 9 and then Family Practice not to mention as a big part of many other episodes. House has lost his multidimensional dynamic and just become a background or auxiliary character in his own show. Really sad about what is going on.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Brandi. Let’s agree to disagree and move along.

  • Brandi

    It would be nice if the show moved along and got back on track as HOUSE the show and HOUSE the character. The show needs a complete behind the scenes shake up.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Brandi. Again, your opinion. House is as much in character now as he always has been. I have no real issue with the show using dreamscapes to explore the characters and situations–especially since they’re so bottled up to begin with.

    Dreams/Hallucinations have been used in No Reason, Top Secret, House’s Head, Wilson’s Heart, House Divided, Under My Skin, Both Sides Now…

    The dreams are usually surreal and funny, but hung between some of the most intense moments in the series history. House’s head featured Cuddy pole dancing. Everyone thought it was silly before the episode aired, but made complete sense in retrospect–in on of the series absolutely best episodes.

  • Delaney

    I love this show….. I love the writing…… its genius!!!

    In my opinion, I hate reading when people comment in a negative way about the writers because it is an extremely difficult task to brainstorm, storyboard a whole episode, then write words for people to say and keep is cohesive.

    I am not a writer but the genius and creativity behind this show is just mind blowing.

    THUMBS UP for HOUSE and ALL of season 7!!! Can’t WAIT for the next episodes

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    @Barbara, I didn’t know you liked “Paper Hearts” so much (I love it too). “The X-Files” was such a great show. Mulder’s quest but Scully’s story. What a duo.
    It is not the first time that House makes me think of “The X-Files”. The whole ‘Amber ghost thing’ and Kutner reappearing in season 5 finale also made me think of a quotation. Scully saying to Mulder that she heard that “the Dead speak to us from their grave. That it is what conscious is”. Mulder responding that it was interesting, that he never saw it that way.
    It was interesting to me at that time because House hallucinated and saw dead people who made him realize in, a very conscious way, what he really wanted.

    Plus you had all the inversion of man/woman usual charasteristics in a series which we previously had in “The X-Files”.

    Anyway, I don’t know if my reference to this show will apply this time but your take on what Edelstein and Yaitanes said made me think of this quotation.
    If I speak honestly it’s another reason to watch this episode. I’m curious to see if I have a point on this! :-)

  • Andrea

    I love your reviews (or, in this case, previews)! You’re fair and insightful, and your analysis is always very thorough and thought-provoking. Just one note: The 50s black and white dream and the Two and a Half Men sitcom dream are different. [edited]

    Keep up the good work!

  • Allyson

    Has anyone considered the fact that some focus has shifted to Cuddy because she is such a big part of House’s character now? It would be utterly stupid for House to be in a relationship and have us have no information about her or the way she feels about him. maybe all of this attention being paid to Cuddy will give us more insight to House as a character, and lead to a bigger plot development for him. Yes the show is House, but each character is written into the show for a reason, and somehow is linked back to something about House. Cuddy is no different.
    It is easy to criticize a writer’s/director’s choice in the moment because it doesn’t quite make sense, but when you look back on the storyline as a whole, things always seem to fall into place.
    Just my two cents. I’m going to skip off into the sunset to write my abnormal psychology paper on House now. ^_^
    (no, for real, I really am. haha)

  • MusicandHouse

    Oh I misunderstood what you said re” 50’s sitcom and Two and a Half Men skits, because there are two different ones with those themes. Too bad you won’t get to watch the episode live, that must be killing you. It would kill me with a “normal” episode let alone this episode that has been buzzed about like crazy. I agree with FLO that this could be the greatest episode ever or the greatest catastrophe ever, but I am still looking foward to it immensly. I think the episode is leaning more towards the “Great” side for me now that I know that a.) There are “normal” elements such as a POTW and b.) The dreams are not consuming the episode like I thought it would, they are all about 2-5 minutes each so they are only a portion of the episode, although based on what I have seen they will be insightful and important.

  • Sdemar

    Thank you for your review of “bombshells”. Weird that Ausiello got the exclusive on this. I am very excited to see how this plays out and just as excited to see Hugh and Lisa dance and sing. With GY playing the director, I am sure it is going to be well done.

    For the record, I love the way they are playing out the House and Cuddy storyline. They have stayed true to the characters and they give us just enough to show us where they are at in their relationship. I am rooting for them.

  • Tia

    Great review as always, Barbara. Really looking forward to this episode since we have not only a break from the typical format, but an episode that reveals deeper levels of the characters. I’ve always loved both of those sorts of episodes on this show. Any chance of getting an interview with Sara Hess and Liz Friedman on this episode?

  • Lisa

    You are still pleased with this HouddyMD soap because you are huddy yourself.

  • Jane 2

    Thanks for the great article! Following the tweets of the conference call and trying to piece it together for myself made me appreciate just how hard it is to combine the whole package into a coherent whole. I am so excited for this episode yet scared at the same time. The global promo’s have me bracing for a sucker punch. Staying offline while I wait for the episode to air will be torture.

  • Oo

    I agree with Allyson, and House alone cannot make the show as interesting as it is without all the other characters…

  • hazel eyes

    I understand why the writers have dedicated season7 to Huddy and Cuddy because yes Cuddy is a big part of Houses life but when are they going to dedicate a whole season to Hilson/Wilson because he is a large part of Houses life too.
    It seems as though the writers are hitting us over the head with How much House and Cuddy are in love and how they feel about each other in practicably every episode, but we don’t really know how Wilson feels about House and visa versa.

  • Veronica84

    Pfffff, don’t wanna watch Cuddy MD anymore. Where’s Angst, where’s sobriety, where’s HOUSE???!???!???
    I’m Hameron but I used to love Cuddy during first seasons.
    I’m from Italy… First seasons: from 5.000.000 to 7.000.000 viewers… Now we are onnly 1.500.000/2.000.000(sometimes) and that’s x CuddyMD!!!!!!

  • sunnysea

    Thank you Barbara for another great write up for this phone interview. I really like how the writers are showing us so much more about House through his relationship with Cuddy. This episode will be such a unique way to move the story forward. I’m really looking forward to watching!

  • http://www.NPR.org BigHousefan

    Episodes like these are among my favorites because they usually give us more significant in sight into House’s psyche. It is important that we learn more about Cuddy as everything reflects on House ultimately. That’s what I love about this show. The deeper they dig, the more compelling the story of House. I find the ‘relevant for what they don’t say’ comment by GY very telling.

  • Maddie

    Quit saying you don’t want to watch the show and just… Don’t. Seriously. No one has you locked in a chair with a gun to your head, MAKING you watch so you can whine and piss off all the people that actually might want to.

    It isn’t directed at anyone in particular, but rather to all the so-called ‘fans’ that lurk in every spoiler article, spreading their hatred and negativity. I’m sick of it.

  • susan

    How many episodes are there this season?

  • Veronica84

    @Maddie: We’re sick of this soap opera. We want back our House MD. With your attitude House is gettin’off screen!!!!!! Here in Italy we want it that way. I can be so critical because there’s a reason. I luv House md and not Cuddy md. House is House first of all!!!!

  • susan

    I’m not good at dream analysis but I am waiting for this episode and first Barbara’s, and then everybody else’s interpretation of the dream sequences. Calling all psychologists…..
    By the way, Hugh Laurie looks great in Western gear. In the future he can do Clint Eastwood type movies. What a Renaissance man – intelligent, suave, comedian, ironic, writer, musician, director…

  • MusicandHouse

    @Susan
    There are going to be 23 episodes in total this season, and this mondays will be episode 15.

    As for whoever it was who said “when are they going to devote a season to Hilson” did you miss last season entirely? Not that there was anything wrong with focus on House/Wilson, but to say the writers are ignoring it to show us House/Cuddy is obsurd. Last season had a ton of focus on the relationship between House and Wilson. Thats all I am going to say on this matter. If people don’t want to watch the show or want to watch and complain thats their choice, but House/Wilson and House/Cuddy are equally important to the narrative of the show and IMO each has gotten an equal and appropriate amount of attention.

  • yahnis

    It’s will such sad thing if they will deside to break this couple. But I am feeling this in air in they conference and earlier in answering to fans questions LE said about continuing work together that it will not depends whether they will a couple or not. I see clear hint in this words and it just bothers me. Why to destroy this relationships instead make them stronger and more interesting for viewers?I don’t think it’s good idea because thousands people really like Huddy, and not just teens, I am personally 39 years old,and I love every moment of this show from very beginning.And IMHO Huddy thing doesn’t spoils show at all,just makes it more attractive!!!

  • Flatpickluvr

    I personally am very much looking forward to Monday’s episode. If it’s anywhere near as good as the MASH episode (can’t remember the ep title, but it won them an emmy) which featured dreamscapes involving all the series regulars, it will be am amazing episode and may just win Hugh that elusive Best Actor Emmy. I’ve seen episodes of House MD that I loved and some I didn’t particularly like; everyone has their likes and dislikes. I personally would like to see more House/Wilson because I don’t think that relationship has been fully investigated yet, but that’s another topic. I am really looking forward to Bombshells!

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara,
    Thanks for the interview highlights with LE and GY. I have stayed away from this site because I am trying to stay spoiler-free, but it is killing me!
    I really hope they don’t use this as an opportunity to break up House/Cuddy. The writers have spent six months showing House trying to have a ‘normal’ life; tolerating and then finding affection with Rachel, meeting Mrs. Cuddy and the two of them finding common ground with the both of them wanting the best for Lisa. Now House has made peace with the idea that it is possible for him to be happy. What justification would they have for a break up?
    If Cuddy is the one to call off the relationship, it will make her look weak, hypocritical and mean. The man tells her he will always choose her and it still isn’t enough? That is not the Cuddy I know and love. The idea that posters have speculated, perhaps her insecurities will come forth is a good/solid idea. Still, what more would House have to do for her to show that he is committed, truly in love and wants them to be together.
    When I read the posters who want them to break up (or worse, have Cuddy die) I search for a rationale. To me there is none. If this show has been a journey for the man House, it is only normal that the journey includes the dark moments and then the good ones. No life is composed of completely one experience. It is unrealistic, sad and unfair to want House to remain lonely and isolated. I think that would be boring. I like seeing him ‘come back to life’ and still be the cynical, sarcastic, jerk that he always has been, although now he has someone to love who loves him in return. I want to see him move forward and not back. I want to see him reconcile the two sides of his personality; medical genius and human being. We have had 6 years of the medical genius, I am enjoying watching the man.

  • Switman

    Just watched the show and it was terrible. All hype and costumes but no real story.

  • Michele1L

    Hazeleyes21 – Hilson was last season. They lived together for the better part of it and most of the scenes they shared together.

  • em

    As Lisa Edelstein stated about ep 15 “The story picks up immediately after the end of the last episode (‘Recession Proof’),” so unless cuddy changed her pjs and house managed to hide under a bed after waking up with a steaming hangover I think theres a problem.
    I have on good knowledge that the last episode was not in fact based around Cuddy’s dream’s instead they are based around House’s drunken dreams from ep 14.
    Episode 15 was in fact House dreaming of what could go wrong. This episode is an extension if that i.e how he’s be forced to go back to Wilson and re take up his drug habit.
    Clever Tv especially with Mr Ausiello publishing Mr Shore’s wrong turn article.