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House Returns Monday Night With New Episodes

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After another long hiatus, House is back Monday night with new episodes, picking up with episode 15 (if you count “Broken” as two episodes). “Private Lives” finds Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) moving on with his life and trying to drag House (Hugh Laurie) along as he goes speed dating as the team treats a blogger.

But what I wanted to do before Monday's episode is to present a House wish list: what's missing from the season thus far; what I'd like to see, how I hope the season winds down. Of course you mileage, as they say in the Internet world, may vary widely. And with that in mind, feel free to agree or disagree–or or add to my wish list.

I have liked this season a lot, there have been some excellent episodes and some interesting play-with-the-forumla offerings. But that's not to say it's been perfect or completely satisfying. A bit too much of one thing and not enough of others.

As we re-enter the House-verse, Wilson and House are still residing together in Wilson’s new condo, which, if you recall was more or less snatched from Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) when Wilson outbid her. Lucas (Michael Weston) avenged this alleged wrong by physically harming House and raining rain all over the upscale abode. Lucas may think he has the upper hand in his rivalry with House (after all he is sleeping with her), but House’s quietly strong supportiveness (particularly evidenced in the last episode, “5 to 9”) may win out in the end.

But for most of this season, Cuddy has seen House through a prism informed by his worst behavior and melt down at the end of season five. And besides his sweetness during “Known Unknowns” (6×07), and his no-strings-attached offer of circus tickets at the end of “Ignorance is Bliss” (6×09), House has given Cuddy little reason to endear her to him. Of course we know his heart is broken and his aborted effort to talk to her at the end of "Remorse" (6×13) showed us how little confidence he has right now.

Foreman (Omar Epps) and Hadley (Oliva Wilde) are broken up but have begun to repair at at least a working relationship ("Remorse"). Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) have split in what seems to have been an overly and unfairly rushed conclusion to their relationship ("Teamwork," 6×08), but there is some speculation (OK, it's more than speculation) that Cameron will reappear at some point over these final eight episodes.

More House. I don’t mean more episodes (although I’m disappointed that the season only offers 22-ish episodes this year), I mean more Dr. Gregory House. I find most of the show enjoyable and entertaining—and I liked both “Wilson” with its focus on Wilson and “5 to 9” with its focus on Cuddy, but the show is called House, after all.

For much of the season, House has seemed disengaged from most of the cases and his story has been often relegated to a secondary thread. It shouldn’t be. We also haven’t been privy to House really struggling his new situation, as life-altering as it should be. The serious side of House has also been largely absent this year. Whether in dealing with his issues or relationship or the patient, House’s more thoughtful side goes a long way to counterbalance his less admirable traits.

Bring back House’s House. C’mon House producers! House has been living with Wilson all season. Yes, I get that House shouldn’t be living alone quite yet. But his apartment is such a reflection of his character: the books, the fireplace, the stereo, the tchotchkes that line every surface of his apartment. I really miss it all, but especially…

More Music. House moodily playing “Silent Night” on Christmas Eve (“Damned if you Do,” 1×05), or trying to forestall the pain playing Bach (“Skin Deep,” 2×13), or reflectively improvising a serenade for Cuddy as he thinks about his relationship with Cuddy (“Unfaithful,” 5×15). As much as music has always been House’s emotional language, it has also been one our best access points to get into his heart and head. And we’ve had precious little of that this season. Or any music; and I miss it.

Bring Back the Whiteboard. Perhaps it’s a reflection of House’s disengagement this year and weird passing of his mantle (or at least much of it) to Foreman (and when exactly did that happen, anyway?) as suggested in “Remorse,” but that whiteboard was as much a character as the “ball” or House’s cane.

Continue to Repair House and Cuddy’s Relationship. It was wonderful to see House and Cuddy begin to restore some of the intimacy and trust to their relationship in two brief “5 to 9” scenes.

Revisit Chase and Cameron. They never had proper closure. They deserve it at least as much as (and more, given the longevity of their story arc) Foreman and Hadley. I'd also like to see the Dibala assassination come back to haunt them all and continue to raise the ethical issues nibbled at in "The Tyrant" (6×04).

I am looking forward to Tuesday’s episode “Private Lives” and the remaining episodes of the season, especially episode 17, which Hugh Laurie directed and guest stars Oscar-nominated David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck).

A special note to those who use Twitter: Jesse Spencer (Chase) will be taking questions from fans at 9:00 p.m. Monday night (ET), following the east coast airing of House. Reference @Jesse_Spencer in your tweets to join the discussion. But first be sure to follow him. As always, you can follow my twitter updates by following me.

A personal note to my readers: It's been nearly a month since I've last written a blog entry on any subject. As many of you know, my mother passed away a month ago, and I so greatly appreciate the many notes, comments emails, twitters and even cards (email and snail mail) you all have forwarded to me. They have helped me get through the last month and I look forward to moving full steam ahead with  my Blogcritics House feature as the series emerges from its hiatus just as I emerge from mine. And do watch this space over the next couple of weeks for a very important and exciting announcement.

House returns Monday night with “Private Lives” at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her debut novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse comes out October 11 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)."
  • dob1234

    I completely agree with the need for 1) more Greg House, 2) more music, 3) more serious, introspective moments for House. I too miss those quiet moments we used to get. Also, what has happened to “House the genius diagnostician?” Possibly it’s just my impression, but House doesn’t seem to get as many brilliant insights as he used to. Without his genius the show loses a major facet of its main character, and quite frankly, a major reason for PPTH and the world at large to put up with the more extreme aspects of his character.

  • Nikki

    Being on a German House message board, I can confirm that almost all of the fans agree with you. Too less House, no House’s house, no whiteboard, not enough Huddy. The opening of season 6 was promising, and I was happy because House seemed more adjusted than he was in season 4 and 5 (which I didn’t enjoy half as much), and more mature and mellowed in a way. I thought it would play out in the upcoming eps but it hasn’t.

    I adore the Chase/House relationship. Sorry to say so but I was glad to see Cameron go (although her exit has been more than awkward and the actress deserved better), and I was truly hoping for some more Chase/House interaction. It started off nicely on Braveheart but has been abandoned ever since in favour of ridiculous Luddy arc, Thirteen Superwoman stuff and pranksting between practically everybody. I don’t think that the Dibala/Tyrant issue needs closure since you can never give a satisfying answer for a dilema like this. I would like to keep it the way it is and I thought it was cleverly done by the writers NOT to bring it up again. I just wanted House to help Chase coping, as he did with Wilson in Teamwork when he let a patient die.

    I would like to have seen more of Chase and House. I guess that sums it up. Apart from the fact that I too love House’s house and he should be back there.

  • EnglishRoseLvr

    I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head Barbara…the things you mentioned I have seen frequently mentioned on other Forums and in various convos I’ve had with other House (and Huddy) fans. I too have really loved this season, though finding the exact words to describe WHY I do are not always easy. I like the “new” House: I find him just as fascinating as always, and I really don’t miss the drug addiction. House is House with or without them. Like you, I see him as being rather distracted from the medical cases, but find myself making the excuse that he’s just hurting because of Cuddy. One thing I miss that you didn’t mention was his motorcycle. That, like the whiteboard, his apartment, the piano and “Bally” are as integral to his persona as his irreverence and snark. Unlike some others, I have come to appreciate the Lucas/Cuddy relationship only in that they have come to show just how LAME he is compared to House. Cuddy should be learning that obviously appearances are deceiving. Who she THINKS of as perfect for her really isn’t.
    Lastly, I agree that the Dibala incident was left hanging, and it would be so unlike TPTB to leave something that serious without a real resolution. I am of the opinion that it WILL come back to haunt everyone at PPTH before the end of the season (Not a spoiler. Just speculation). Well done once again Barb…and btw: Welcome back!

  • Katie

    I love season 6 so far. Personally, what I hope for is more House and Wilson. I simply love these two characters, they are my favorites. I love the fact that they’re living together, and I’ll be sad when House moves back in to his old apartment.

  • Buds

    Welcome back, BB!!! I’ve been missing both House and your wonderful blog over the past month. And BTW, great topic to reopen with. Cheers!

    I have to say that I completely agree with all the points you have mentioned. The only thing I have to add is that I am not in any hurry to see Huddy going anywhere. I would much rather see Luddy end, so that things between House and Cuddy can go back to the way they were before with all the tension back in their relationship/friendship.

    I hope they don’t start on the Foreteen arc all over again. I think Chase isn’t the kind of character who needs help in order to recover from his break up and it would be weird for him to actually reach out to someone. House knowing this would also not make unnecessary attempts.

    One final thing I am hoping for is for either House or Wilson (preferably House) to get even with Lucas. The pranks (if you can call them that, I felt he went too far) were just mean and totally uncalled for. They/he need/s to put Lucas in his place and show him who’s the boss around here!!!

  • simona/italy

    hello Barbara! I agree with your point of view. I really missed House in its apartment, with its music, its loneliness and its introspection. I have appreciated the great House and Wilson’s performances in this season but my Huddy heart is broken, perhaps the title of the season premiere were warning? The luddy/arc has gone too much for the long ones, ok that we Huddy people are masochists but all has a limit! And involved House less in the cases removes depth to the personage.
    Therefore give me back the apartment, the white board, music, the motorcycle, the sexual tension with Cuddy and the banters, Hugh Laurie with longer hair and an happy ending for a season that has made me to suffer. In short, just for the sake of to change, I would want some relax and a little fairytale in PPTH. Perhaps I wonder too much….:-))

    have a nice day

  • Flo

    Welcome back Barbara!!

    Good article, I basically agree with everything. I particularly miss the heart to heart talks between House and the patients.

    Oh and yes, bring House back in his appartment and to his piano!!!!

  • Sandra

    It’s obvious that this place is more for Huddy fans, because all the fans I know agree with me on NO MORE HUDDY PLEASE!
    I wish for the show to be like seasons 1-3 again. I miss the old formula, and I don’t understand how anyone who watched the show from the beginning can like what’s going on now. The show is like a soap opera now, most important question: “who’s doing who”. Seriously, WTF!?!
    I’d want to see Cameron back on the team, no more Taub and Thirteen. I wish for more focus on the great medical cases instead of this relationship stuff and most of all I want them to stop focusing on Huddy and pretending Cuddy is the perfect woman for House. There is no such thing as the perfect woman for House, and least of all that person is Cuddy! And there are at least twice as many fans that DO NOT ship Huddy so why give the Huddy fans everything and all the other fans nothing?! It’s insane!!!
    @Nikki: Your German fan board is only full of Huddy fans because your admin did everything to get rid of any other fans. Sorry to say that, but I was a member there myself and stopped visiting because of that. Don’t pretend that there are only Huddy fans in Germany, because the truth is: you’re the minority. Just sayin’.
    Thanks for listening to a non-Huddy fan, if my opinion is not welcome because of that please feel free to delete my comment. TPTB pretends that we don’t exist as well, we’re used to it.

  • cj_housegirl

    I’ve largely enjoyed S6 but also think it is the weakest season yet with the exception of Broken.

    Individually, the episodes are good with a lot of humour and some drama but the season as a whole feels very disjointed to me. There seems to be no real direction or “feel” to me.

    Every season since S1 has had a larger theme that has directed each of the episodes even though the episodes themselves are standalones. This season it doesn’t seem to be there or else I’m just not seeing it.

    I think I agree with every one of your major points. Serious House is really lacking this year. I’m not sure why House and Cuddy were or are in conflict. That story line has made little sense to me. House has always had an avoidant personality. He doesn’t *fight* for anyone he retreats. He’s been a lot more aggressive this year but most especially with Cuddy.

    I agree there have been a lot of external changes made to his character that used to set him apart and gave House definition: his apartment, the music, the whiteboard, his motorcycle, the motorcycle jacket which he looked so f’n hot in, now of course the drugs and alcohol which I actually don’t miss I’m okay with a dry House, his crazy hair – I’m sorry clean cut House?? There was also his intensity and studiousness and quietness and aloneness, his intelligence and the moral and ethical principals on which he operated. We’ve seen none or precious little of these moments this year.

    Because of that IMO House is wavering on becoming a caricature instead of a character. The only reason he hasn’t is because of Hugh Laurie. He’s not getting a lot help from the writers right now.

    I feel like most of these problems are problems because House has become an ensemble show. They needed to make room for more plots and story lines, and unfortunately, House’s story has been cut which sucks. Real hard.

    I like House/Cuddy as a ship but I also like House/Wilson, House/Chase, and, well, House with everybody. Why? Because I like House. I don’t care if he is with Lydia, Cuddy, Wilson, Stacy, Foreman, 13 or whoever. I just like House.

    I sometimes wonder if these people realize that the highest rated episode in more than two years, almost three actually, was Broken, which had only House in it and none of the other recurring characters except for Wilson who had all of 30 seconds of screen time.

    We’ll see what TPTB have in store for us in the last 7 episodes.

  • Right on target, Barbara! Serious, brooding, introspective angry House has been missing this season. He seems to have mellowed, and I’m not happy about it. I watched the show for the angst, and I’ve always enjoyed his Vicodin addiction. I think I’ve written here about the complete unreality of his recovery, so I’ll refrain from beating that dead horse.

    Several unanswered questions: House was an abused child, and must have a whopping case of PTSD. Will that get mentioned? He has always been a loner, that is his basic nature, and now he is surrounded by people, day and night. Wouldn’t that ultimately be grating and exhausting? Couldn’t he grow his hair an inch longer?

    And yes, I miss his apartment, and the piano. It seems so bizarre that they did not move the piano into the condo, just a few of his guitars. Which we never see him playing.

    This isn’t “Foreman, MD” or “Wilson, MD”, it’s “House, MD” and if there is a reason behind his not being the A-story I would certainly appreciate it.

  • cj_housegirl, he is still drinking. Beer, margarita jello shots, etc. Some would say a drug is a drug is a drug is a drug. That’s part of what annoys me.

  • Nikki

    @Sandra, I’m sorry you left the board but I can see your point. I’m definately not a Huddy (never ever been), and I do not want the PPTH staff getting hooked up over and over. I think it’s the weakest plot device on House. Writers just don’t seem to be capable of writing romance (or decent females, for that matter) so they’d better please stop doing that. I’m not a shipper and I wish romance wouldn’t take so much room on the show because it just isn’t entertaining on a medical drama show. Chase and Cameron was a total blow, as was Thirteen and Foreman.

    I missed House dealing in a new way with his fellow people when he left Mayfield, as the producers were announcing. He did it to some extent with Wilson but I could have seen him doing this in season 1-5, also. There was a huge possibility to explore House’s relationship with Chase. Never happened. Not so far, at least. Still hoping, though. (;

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks for the article. It’s good to see you back on the beat! Your list is good and comprehensive, and I agree that I’d be happy to see your whole wish list granted. But I can’t explain what it is about the show that just plain satisfies me, almost no matter what an episode may offer.

    Yes, there’ve been a few this season that I didn’t like as well as others, for one reason or another. (I’ve been loving the season as a whole. One of the series’ best, IMHO.) But TPTB must be putting something in the water, because I don’t find anything lacking until you point it out. Then I say “oh yeah, that’d be nice…” I don’t know what it is, but I figure that I must be one of the least discerning of the fans. I just seem to like it all.

  • cj_housegirl

    LOL. So on the day I complain that they’ve gotten rid of “thinking,” “introspective” House what happens? They bring him back!

    Got a whole montage tonight. How long has it been since that happened! Also, the background about his biological father, just fantastic. Loved that he’s a unitarian minister.

    Leave it to Doris Egan to do it too.

  • ann uk

    I still think it was a great mistake to define House’s pain as psychosomatic and to have it “cured ” so conveniently. It makes his long struggle with pain and addiction look self inflicted and irrelevant and it weakens his character.
    Like you I want the serious , suffering House back and also back in his own den with his piano and, preferably, some classical music. I often find the pop songs intrusive and inappropriate.
    As we are only up to ” The Down Low “, I dont know how the story has developed, but here are some wishes of my own.
    There is one character that remains enigmatic and unexplored, his mother.When House gets the proof that John House was not his father, he exclaims ” My mom hated him too”. This casts a chilling light on his family life – no wonder he is so cynical about families ,so distrustful of relationships and so sure that everybody lies ! And it seems that his mother has gone on lying to him even after her husband’s death.I think their relationship should be explored

    The writers surely can’t just abandon the House/Cuddy relationship. For both of them it has been the longest and in some ways the most significant of their lives ( always excepting Stacy , of course ) and whether it turns out for good or ill, it is a major thread in the drama.

    It appears that one of my wishes – that House should meet his real father is going to happen, especially as he looks like Sean Connery- cue for star guest appearence ?!

    But, when they let Hugh’s comic talents off the leash as in ” The Down Low ” I have to forgive him and the show for any failings. It still enthralls me every time and anyway, I could watch it just to marvel at Hugh’s subtle, profound performance.

  • ann uk

    PS,Condolences on the death of your Mother and thank you for not abandoning us fellow House addicts.

  • janine

    I think that all the stuff that is missing about House is intentional. The writers are trying to show us that House is changing, is is possibly trying to get rid of things from his past and move foward. I LOVE this season so far, and i think last night brought back a little bit of sad House. We saw that he had leg pain and he was reading the book because he was trying to figure out who is really is and why he is the way he is. This season is great

  • andree

    Enjoyed your recent blog post. Please tell us more about this Very Important Announcement exciting news. At least is it about you? the show House? Cuddy, Huddy, Luddy? Lucas’ exit? Give us a hint, B! Personally, I’d like to see House grow his hair a little longer (Maybe Cuddy’s not attracted to the shorter ‘do?), more screen time for Cuddy AND Huddy. Please give us a clue. And when you get a chance, please ask Lisa Edelstein if she has a publicist or not? This woman rarely is in American mags or ad campaigns. She should be! Like to know more about her outside of her character Cuddy. Thanks.

  • Visitkarte

    Wellcome back, dear!

    A lot of the things you write is what I think, too.

    Most of all, I miss House in his flat on the piano. It showed us insights in his soul and made his obsessive personality and what makes him as a brilliant diagnostician believable.

    Saying so, I equally miss the whiteboard. It was a symbol of House and his problem solving method. It even inspired a very popular teaching lesson at the medical School in Marburg, Germany. I was a bit of the mental ‘whiteboard’ in the latest episode, House listing the symptoms, but it only showed us how much we missed it before.

    I agree with some of the comments here: Why on Earth should they keep House if he is contributing so little to solving the problems? I miss his brilliance, witch is fairly wasted in plotting pranks and screwing with people outside his hospital.

    Last, but not least, I miss his struggling with his problems. Yea, I miss him struggling with his pain, I don’t buy it. Ibuprofen and SSRI, seriously? I wish I could miraculously heal my pain patients like that. If eh was a mere addict, and the ain was mostly opioid-iduced, than he should struggle worse with his addictions, but he doesn’t.

    House living with Wilson doesn’t make him happy. It makes him distracted. He seems to be bored out of his mind, having to cut back his music, restrict himself to less hot bathtub soakings, less peace and quiet to mull over his problems and his cases. House living with Wilson is on hiatus, compromising more than living.

    When you read this you might think I’m not happy with the season. Well, that’s not the case. I adore ‘Broken’, and I loved ‘The Tyrant’, ‘Known Unknowns’, ‘Wilson’, ‘The Down Low’, ‘Remorse’ and, last but not least, the light-funny ‘Private Lives’. But, except ‘Broken’ and ‘Remorse’, House wasn’t much of a main character of the show, and I miss that.

    More House, please!

  • Jaim

    I miss not only the apartment but his motorcycle and his weird ways of wasting time(i.e. the jump shark moment, cd case domino effect). I also miss the friendship that House and Cuddy use to have. I like that him and the ducklings have become a kind of dysfunctional family of sorts. However, I wish that there was a less serious yet smart fellow on the team to balance out all the angst. I guess that was Kutner. I would actually like them to add another female fellow that could end up being a good friend to 13. I’d like to see her have a good female friend. I hate how all the guys have their bromances on the show but the girls always seem annoyed with each other. Also I’d love to see House start actually dating someone new. I mean Wilson and Cuddy have been given this chance, House should have one too. I’d like to see how he is when in a relationship for at least half a season. My ideal person for him would be Dr. Cate Milton from the past episode Frozen. But I bet that will never happen. If Lauren Graham wasn’t on the Parenthood I’d make a petition to get her on House as the new love interest. Anyway, I wish we could have seen more of House’s struggles with avoiding Vicodin this year. I mean that was a huge change for him to stay clean and we didn’t really get any scenes showing his struggles with that except for in Epic Fail. I actually feel like this season really dropped the ball on House’s emotional development and insight.

  • action_kate

    I’m one of the few who doesn’t particularly want House to move back into his own place. If you miss the music, get the piano into the condo — they certainly seem to have enough room! — because House and Wilson should never ever live apart again. They are just too perfect together. They don’t have to be in a romantic relationship (clearly the writers won’t go there; they’ve spent too much time making both men happily straight), but their friendship and banter and chemistry is simply too excellent to abandon.

    No, House hasn’t been moody and thoughtful and in pain as much this season. And Wilson doesn’t hate him. Is this not exactly what House was hoping for in “Wilson’s Heart,” when he was talking to Amber on the bus in his vision? House is happiER, he’s in LESS pain, and that’s really the best he can realistically hope for. I’m okay with all that.

    I would love to see Cameron back. Thirteen is less annoying this year but frankly boring. She’s never served any dramatic purpose and Olivia Wilde is not a great actress. Taub can stay, since he does act as a different kind of foil for House.

    As far as House’s relationship with Cuddy, he has a long way to go yet before being worthy of being a real partner to her (and father to her child, which we can’t ever forget), but I would like to see more of the “quietly strong support” he showed in “5 to 9.” I don’t actually want to see them get together, to be honest; I think the push-and-pull is more interesting, and more believable.

    And after six years, I actually enjoy the change of pace in episodes like “5 to 9” and “Wilson,” showing us House’s world from another angle. The show is built on a formula (you can practially set your watch by it) and to keep the formula from getting too stale, the storytelling to be shaken up a bit on occasion.

  • Peachie

    I think they should allow Lydia to come back or someone that House can be interested in besides Cuddy. Maybe House can find another woman friend that he can talk to like he used to talk to Cuddy.

    I also like the Chase/House scenes. I’m kinda happy Cameron is gone. I really didn’t like her character that much. In the beginning it was fine, but then it started getting on my nerves.

    House/Wilson, they are ok. Let’s just not take it toooo to far.

    Oh yeah, I want LUCAS GONE!

  • Cleide

    First of all I want Cameron back and fast!
    I dont like the NEW HOUSE, it is now just a boring teenager.
    huddy I hate more than anything, weak plot, shallow and boring.
    In short, ending up with huddy because it is killing the show.
    Bring Cameron and the OLD House, sarcastic, smart and funny.

  • Debbie J

    The material things I miss:

    I miss the white board. The differentials just aren’t the same without it and I don’t see the reason for it’s absence.

    I miss House’s motorcycle. I miss his piano.

    And although I love that he and Wilson are living together, I so miss his apartment. It was such an extension of himself, that I feel we’re being cheated!

    Although I love the emotional growth that House has made recently, I do sometimes miss some of the angst. I loved how funny Private Lives was, but I do miss when House, MD is at its dramatic best. It is a drama after all, not a comedy. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see him tortured with his addiction to Vicodin. But I would like to see him deal with his recovery. How is he dealing with the pain? I’m sure it’s still there! We’ve seen hints here and there the past few episodes, so hopefully that means it will come to the forefront sometime soon.