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iPhone Application Review: InHouse – “Baggage”

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“Baggage”, the penultimate episode of House’s sixth season, aired this week and is being widely touted as one of the most compelling hours in the series’ history. Like the classic “Three Stories”, from season one, “Baggage” was told as a series of flashbacks, with House relating the events of his week to his therapist, Dr. Nolan.

This week’s InHouse app offers us interviews with two of the people responsible for making this episode such an exceptional hour of television: a returning (and much loved) guest star and one half of the episode’s writing team.

“Alvie’s Return” is the title of this week’s Media Room feature in which we are reacquainted with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Alvie, House’s pal from Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. He is all smiles when he proclaims in his interview from the Fox lot, “It’s fantastic being back on the House set.” When the producers called him in December asking him to return, he surmised either “House would be going back” (to Mayfield) or Alvie was getting out.

He goes on to talk more about “Broken”, the season opener, and the unique experience of being such vital part of that story. Working with a crew of guest stars and Hugh Laurie in creating the two hour “mini-movie” he says, “was the best summer vacation ever."

“Baggage” was different than “Broken” in that, this time, Miranda got to interact with the series regulars, “people I see on TV all the time.” It was fun, yet nerve wracking being in the mix of a “regular” House episode. His anecdotes about filming are amusing and fascinating. “It was like a Hope and Crosby film,” he says. “Great fun. Every day was a totally different adventure.”

Miranda has great affection for the Alvie character and admits to thinking about Alvie more than he should. He wonders how his character is doing in the real world and how the seeds of Alvie’s friendship with House will continue to be nurtured. This character is an endearing one. Hopefully we’ll see more of him in future episodes.

This week in the Writers Room we meet David Foster who, with Doris Egan, wrote “Baggage”. In this short interview he explains why the episode was written as a series of flashbacks. Foster teases that because of the dreamlike nature of the way the story is presented,they were able to play a little mind game with the audience. In each act there is an item from Nolan’s office placed in a different setting. Some items, he says, are relatively easy to find, while others are next to impossible. Foster wonders if anyone will scope out all six. Now that the gauntlet has been thrown, there are sure to be more than a few House fans eager to take up the challenge.

The chance to bring back Alvie and Nolan from Mayfield is something Foster was eager to do. Alvie, Nolan and Wilson all have friendships with House and this episode explores those friendships.

It is always interesting to get an overview of an episode from one of its writers. However, I was somewhat disappointed we did not get to hear from Doris Egan this time around. Ms. Egan is one of the most respected scribes on the House writing staff and I was hoping the Writers Room feature would offer her input as well as Mr. Foster’s. It would be a real treat if, during the course of Season 7,we get a Doris Egan interview on the app.

This time around, The Darkroom gives us twenty one “behind the scenes” photos from “Baggage”. A few have identifying captions so we can tell who the players are behind the camera. This is an excellent addition to the Darkroom feature. Hopefully we’ll see more improvements along the way (song titles from each episode would be nice).

Again we are given a new teaser for the Nurse Jeffery saga, which debuts on May 24th. My curiosity is piqued about this little sideroad the show is taking and I’ll be offering my thoughts on it once it gets rolling.

The InHouse App is available as a free download for the iPhone, the iPad and iPod Touch from iTunes.

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