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InHouse: “Carrot or Stick”

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Here in the northeast corner of the U.S. we are pretty much snowed in. Between shoveling, grousing about the weather and writing our Lisa Edelstein article, this week’s installment of App’s Eye View has been unavoidably delayed. Never fear. We finally found a few moments to sit by the fire and review what the “Carrot or Stick” edition of the InHouse app has to offer. This time around we get some mighty tasty tidbits to warm and inspire, just like a good cup of Earl Gray tea. Eh, wot, mate?

Camp Challenge Training Camp is the main focus of the Dark Room content this week, with 13 out of the 23 photos devoted to that portion of the shoot. The actors sprint over tires, clamber up walls and hang off wooden beams. Oh, did we mention the rain…and the mud? How fun could this shoot have been? There’s episode writer Liz Friedman looking wet and weary. At least she’s smiling.

But wait, there’s more! We’re in the diagnostic room with Amber Tamblyn, Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson and a couple of crew members. Jacobson’s laughing, seemingly caught in the middle of making a joke nobody else seems to think is as funny as he does. The remainder of the photos are of the hospital room shoot, the inside of Waldenwood Preschool and a crew member spraying down trees with fake snow.

In the Media Room, like last week, we get a double dose of goodness. First up, Amber Tamblyn and Omar Epps answer questions from fans. Here’s the transcript:

What did you think when the House project was initially sent to you?

Epps: The first time I read the script I thought it was phenomenal, naturally. I was psyched about it all coming together, me being a part of it. The rest is history.

Amber, how did you feel when you got this role?

Tamblyn: I felt very humble because David Shore, who created the show, actually came to me and said I want to write a role for you. (Omar Epps mimes playing a fake violin). He was like, “You’re so incredible. You’re like better than Omar…” (At this point both actors laugh).

It seems like House has been able to break every team member except for Foreman. Do you think he will ever succeed?

Epps: I’m not going to answer you because then David Shore will see this and be like, “Oh really?” (more laughter). No, honestly, I feel like House has had the same effect on every character. Everyone has just internalized it.

Is it as difficult to work with Dr. House as it looks?

Tamblyn: If you’re asking about Hugh Laurie, then…no. He has got the most beautiful baby blue eyes you have ever seen. Sometimes I get lost in them.

Do you ever analyze Foreman as a real person? Do you ever get angry at him for his arrogance?

Epps: When you’re building a character, you have to justify, ideally, every moment and breath of life that they take. Naturally there are things in Foreman that are totally against my natural personality, so I do get angry with him. Not so much for his arrogance but for the decisions he makes sometimes. I don’t know if Foreman is really arrogant verses just super confident and competitive.

Do you think that the show has jumped the shark with the House and Cuddy relationship?

Tamblyn: No! And from friends of mine who are fans of the show, when they (House and Cuddy) got together was one of the most exciting seasons for them because they felt like something had come to fruition. You could have done something in the third season that involved, like, Foreman gets into gardening, and like oop! jumped the shark. It’s impossible to say what that is or isn’t.

Epps: The House and Cuddy relationship has evolved, I think. For all intents and purposes it’s a fictional circumstance but has evolved in an organic way. For me, it makes sense now.

In the second part of the Media Room is an exclusive sneak peek at the next episode, “Family Practice”. InHouse gives us a wonderful scene with Cuddy’s mom, Arlene, laid up in a hospital bed and chatting not so amiably with House. House is looking more rumpled than usual, dressed in an ill fitting doctor’s coat, a dress shirt that looks like he’s slept in it, and a tie that might have been dragged along the hospital grounds before he decided to begrudgingly put it on. Arlene is giving him a difficult time, quoting from Internet medical sites as to why House’s diagnosis of her is wrong. In the end, House wins this game but I won’t reveal how. You really need to see this clip for yourself.

In the Writers Room this time around we hear from Liz Friedman (who really looks like she could be Sara Gilbert’s older sister). “In the episode ‘Carrot or Stick'”, she says, “I was interested in the idea of disciplinary boot camps and looking at them as places where, on the one hand, are they places that are overly rigid, abuse factories that create more problems for kids who are already having plenty of problems or are they really an appropriate sort of last ditch situation for kids are in real trouble?”

Friedman says the teaser, which looked as though it could have been a challenge, both physically and logistically, was fantastic. “We were lucky because we did have a rain machine present. We were generating our own rain but we were lucky enough to have Mother Nature out there dumping loads of real rain on us. So it really gave it a ‘thickness’ you don’t ordinarily get with a rain machine. It was a fantastic experience, even though they had to stand out in the rain all huddled together for twelve hours with more rain coming down when the cameras were running. But you know what?” she says, “It looked great. So I’d rather have it that way”.

Friedman talks about the House/Cuddy relationship: “What I think was important about doing this House/Cuddy relationship story and where I think, I hope we’ve been successful is that he’s not a different person in this relationship. He may be doing things that look a lot like what a normal, caring, loving person in a relationship would do but he hasn’t become a different person. He’s still House. He’s still looking out for himself”.

House is trying, though. “I like the idea of House doing something to help Cuddy get what she wants, and that really seems to be (and maybe even is) to help Rachel get into a very good school but is really about gaming the system. You know, it’s about how do I cheat this kid into a preschool? The fact is, he doesn’t really like Rachel. It’s nothing that’s personal about Rachel. He’s just not a fan of kids and he doesn’t think she’s the smartest kid in the world. So he’s perfectly willing to train her like a dog if that’s what is necessary to get her into this pre-school”.

Friedman goes on to talk about Chase, the lothario. “Chase’s story is about sleeping with so many women and running around having so much fun that he actually misses a moment of substance that he could have had”.

And what about Chase’s naked Facebook picture? “Initially it was going to be a picture of his butt. At this point I have to give credit to (staff writer/producer) Tommy Moran who said, ‘I don’t know. I don’t think it would be that big of a deal’. So I sort of went away and thought about it and went…well, what if it was the front and what if it was someone who made him look like (she raises a pinky) a diminutive gentleman, shall we say? So I went back to Tommy and said, ‘Would that be embarrassing?’ Needless to say, I got the go ahead”.

Friedman liked the idea of social networking turning against you. “It’s something we all live in fear of”.

Many relationships on the show have not ended well. “We’ve had a little bit of a run. So let’s see, Chase and Cameron, they broke up. Then 13 and Foreman, that didn’t really work out. Wilson was happy…for like a minute. Actually, he was probably happy for a little bit longer this time. Just so we could get him used to it (At this point, Friedman gives the camera smug look over her glasses. Could she be enjoying this?). Then that didn’t really work out. This is not a land of happy people. The irony is that right now House is actually making it work, for the moment. We have a show that’s populated with very strong, very smart and very stubborn people and they’re not really that willing to change who they are”.

Friedman then takes a moment to give a bit of personal advice. “Having been in a relationship for eighteen years now, compromise, compromise, compromise. Agree on the important stuff and fold on everything else. That is the advice I give to you in real life. It is advice that our characters, God bless them, are incapable of taking”.

Thanks, Ms. Friedman. This was certainly one the most thought provoking installments of the Writers Room.

Seven writers’ picks are posted in the Houseisms section. Our favorite this week is: “She’s got the fine motor skills of The Hulk in oven mitts”.

Of the four songs listed in the Music Room, only two were actually used in “Carrot and Stick”. They are “Falling Dove” by Crowded House, and “No Love Lost” by LCD Soundsystem. The songs considered for the episode but not used are “Broken Man” by Von Bondies and “Conscience Killer” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

App’s Eye View will return next week for a look at the “Family Practice” episode.

The InHouse app is available free from iTunes for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. You can also access content online here

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