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TV Review: House, M.D. – A Closer Look at “Larger than Life”

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“Larger than Life” is the perfect title for the return of House, M.D. to new episodes. It’s been nearly two months since we last saw Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) and the rest of the team, so any new episode is going to be larger than life to fans who have missed their weekly appointment with the show.

Someone larger than life is imposing, impressive—just a little bigger than everyone else. An ordinary man jumps from a crowded subway platform to save the life of an epileptic woman trapped on the tracks. He’s this week’s patient: a hero—larger than life to a grateful survivor and to the stunned rush hour commuters who didn’t rush to the rescue. But the “patient of the week” is not the only larger than life character diagnosed in this week’s episode.

Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson) is selected to represent medicine’s “best” in an advertising campaign: he’s the guy you trust. The very presence of Arlene Cuddy (Candice Bergen), the imposing mother of Dean of Medicine Lisa, is intimidating to all she encounters. And what about the long-distance male friend of Taub’s wife, who seems to have captured not just her fancy, but also an emotional investment that eludes him? Everything seems imposingly large—exaggerated, even.

“Larger than Life” provides a great venue to explore several of the relationships that populate Dr. Gregory House’s universe. People who seem larger than life, seldom are; they have feet of clay, insecurities, faults and foibles. Sometimes they’re all on the surface; hollow on the inside. Or substanially less intimidating (or heroic) than they appear. 

What motivates the patient to leap from the platform of a crowded subway station in front of his young daughter? He’s not normally self-sacrificing and heroic, not even a good guy by nature according to his wife. He’s an absentee father who spends most of his time chasing the dream of being a rock star.

His actions, though appearing noble, terrify those closest to him, epsecially his young daughter; they are the collateral damage on the flip side of the patient’s larger than life heroism. House, of course, believes the heroism is a symptom, pointing to a neurological problem. But he also thinks that his patient is trying to change himself in the eyes of those whom he loves—to make himself larger, a better man, than the husband and father they know. House thinks it’s a futile exercise. One of his favorite mantras is “people don’t change.” Wanting to change and changing are not the same. I would have liked to see a bit more interaction between House and the patient on this popular House trope. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get it.

Taub is the new advertising symbol of all that is good at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Life size—and larger than life-size—images of him appear on billboards all over Princeton’s environs. But does the man fit the image? Over the course of the episode, the pathologically unfaithful Taub understands that he is far from the image the projected in the ad campaign. He’s finally driven away his wife Rachel, whom he professes to love—and I think at least he believes it. But now that his wife has acquired a male confidante (whom she has never met), Taub believes that she is emotionally attached to this long-distance friend.

Realizing her relationship is his own fault, Taub is disgusted with the image projected by the billboard image. He is a small man inside, and refusing to understand where Rachel is coming from, proposed to end their 11 year marriage. But has Taub overestimated the relationship between Rachel and the confidante? Does the relationship (in his mind) become needlessly intimidating? Or is it just an excuse to finally end a marriage to which he wasn’t all that committed anyway?

And then there’s Cuddy’s mother Arlene; she is also larger than life in several ways. She is certainly not what House expects when they first meet. He expects a little old Jewish lady and not a blond (as he calls her) “shiksa.” I think her presence alone completely intimidates him, especially after she ambushes him in the clinic.

Bergen plays Arlene as my worst nightmare of a Jewish mother: hypercritical, overbearing, and a general “butt-inisky.” She’s more a throwback to Rhoda Morgenstern’s mother in the ‘70s sitcom Rhoda, than she is to anyone I know (and, trust me, I know a lot of Jewish mothers—having one, and being one myself).

Arlene plays out very over-the-top.  It’s a great comic portrayal, but why play the stereotype to such an extreme degree? Candice Bergen explained to TV Guide that Arlene is a “gentile who would prefer to be a Jew.” And often “Jews by Choice” as converts are often called, outdo those born to Judaism in lots of ways. I suggested in my preview article that Arlene might be overcompensating for not being born as an MOT (“member of the tribe”). Perhaps to Arlene, fitting in means spouting off more Yiddishisms per second than anyone else in the Cuddy family. Another part of me wonders if Cuddy’s mom was coming on strong to see if she might intimidate House (and find a reason to annoy her daughter).

The pivotal set piece (and one of the funniest) in the episode takes place at Cuddy’s birthday celebration. Arlene does her best to antagonize Cuddy (not so much House), but when she pushes one particular button, it’s one too far. I love that House had really tried to play nice (sort of), but feels he has to step in when he perceives that Cuddy’s really under attack. But before he gets a chance to get a snark into the conversation, Arlene—and Wilson are knocked out, victims of House’s slipped Mickey.

Although House’s solution to silencing Arlene is underhanded (and oh-so-Housian), it has its own sweetness. It buys House and Cuddy a little domestic downtime together: washing up the dishes and sitting together on the sofa. I really like House’s birthday present to Cuddy—a ribbon-wrapped bottle of more sedative. It’s a funny, lighthearted gift that demonstrates undoubtedly how much House cares for Cuddy. And in the end, Arlene sees that as well. Showing herself as neither as intimidating nor as much of a dragon as she suggests at first, Arlene wisely acknowledges that no matter what she personally thinks of House, she understands that he loves her daughter. I love that Sara Hess (the episode’s writer) stepped back from complete stereotype to make Arlene more reasonable—and real—than she appears at first.

I really enjoyed the interplay between Cuddy and House, and between House and Wilson. We do not need to see House and Cuddy snogging and pawing each other to know they care about each other. They have quibbles with each other, and even snipe a bit. But that’s pretty real. And I really like how the series writers are exploring this latest challenge to House on his quest to “not be miserable.”

Each season House faces new challenges and obstacles on his journey. In season one it was simply interacting with people outside his immediate circle; in season two, it was dealing with the reappearance of someone who he deeply resents—and just as deeply loves. Season three House grappled with the failure of the Ketamine treatment (and getting shot at the end of season two), and in season four, he learned how to adjust to a new set of fellows. Season five saw House dealing with multiple losses—other emotional traumas, while in season six he struggled with learning to live a life free of narcotic painkillers.

This season, House’s challenge is perhaps his greatest. He is taking a huge emotional risk by allowing himself to become so involved with someone about whom he so deeply cares. The task is daunting—perhaps itself “larger than life.” He wants to do the right thing; he wants to protect and nurture the relationship and try not to destroy it. He’s playing against type. He believes that people can’t change, rejecting the very idea. Yet here he is, trying to change—trying to be more “human.”

He’s also trying to be there for the newly single Wilson. And all of this “change” and humanity is taking its toll. Our favorite loner seems desperately to need a little time to be alone. And the two sides of House are in complete conflict. Of course in the end, he arrives at the solution to this dilemma in a perfectly Housian way—by lying to both.

A new House episode airs Monday night: “Carrot and Stick.” If you are in the Chicago area tomorrow, do stop by and say hi tomorrow night at Barbara’s Bookstore for an evening of House discussion with yours truly. 

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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.
  • http://housedailydose.squarespace.com Housecall

    Loved your article- especially your “summations” of the challenges [H} has overcome and still battling with through the 7 Seasons of this remarkable show.

    I would like to speak to the “Caricaturization” (if there is such a word) of Arlene Cuddy as the OTT Jewish Stero-typical mom.

    Like you, I am and have known countless Jewish mothers in my lifetime and yes, I have known MANY Arlene Cuddy’s or close facsimile’s thereof in my lifetime…Arlene’s up there with the best of them.

    Making a caricature of a caricature causes for great comedic moments and while she does seem more similar to Rhoda’s mom, as you referenced, she also brings parallels of “The Odd Couple”, “Plaza Suite” and many other Neil Simon comedies to my mind. it’s this very “over The Top” that becomes so hilarious.

    I even found Hugh Laurie’s and Candice bergen’s hard fought Yiddish pronunciations too hysterical for words. They sounded so “theatrical” to me and that made them all the funnier. I am not nervous or afraid that anyone would take Arlene Cuddy as a serious representation of what a modern day Jewish mother is like still.. what’s so terrible? (said with typical Jewish accent there :)
    \

    She loves her daughter. is fiercely protective, Cares what her grand daughter eats and wanted to check out the new BF. She only wants what is best for her daughter and grand daughter and any means necessary….

    In the end, it seems clear that Arlene has many more wonderful qualities than bad ones- at least to my mind.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The House/Cuddy/Wison/Arlene scenes were all classic “House” as was the ending with House sitting on his couch watching “The Housewives of New Jersey”.

    Huge smile:)

  • Orange450

    How I missed your reviews, Barbara! Now I know that House is really back – because you’re back on the beat. What a relief :)

    I’d forgotten how wonderful the show is – in every respect. Sara Hess delivered a phenomenal script, and everyone was at the very top of their game.

    Add me to the list of those who’ve had and are Jewish mothers. Candice Bergen is simply wonderful – what perfect timing she has, and how well she inhabited her persona! I watched with my mouth wide open in disbelief as she dropped one “Jewish mother” bomb after another. But even my own Jewish mother, (may she rest in peace) who was nothing if not completely outspoken, would save the worst (best?) of her comments for after my boyfriends had left for the evening. Oy, did I get earfulls :) I’m more of the modern kind. Sometimes my kids even ask for my advice ;)

    I can empathize with House over his quest for some space. Everyone needs some, and he needs more than many. No easy task to go from being the consummate loner to being the loving/supportive boyfriend of a woman with a young child. It would be a positive sign if he were able to fulfill his need without subterfuge, but hey – baby steps are good, as long as they go in the right direction.

  • HouseMDFan

    Loved the episode. It was incredibly funny, and the dinner scene was one of the best things ever. (It’s also good to know that HL couldn’t keep a straight face either, according to Sara Hess. XD)

    Beautiful performances all around, HL, LE, CB, RSL, PJ… just great.

    Re Arlene: Wonderful. I think the three scenes we got and CB’s performance made sense in giving her a personality beyond simple cliché, and I was absolutely expecting that she would push extra hard during the dinner scene to test House.

    As for Taub: I don’t think that he ran away from the felt thread of “the other guy”, I rather think that he finally realized what a coward he was being. Trying to keep a marriage going without actually committing to it, hurting his wife in the process. Rather similar to the patient, but unlike him, Taub had the guts to do something about it in the end, and after getting a nice talk from Masters.

    Loved the intimacy of the House/Cuddy couch scene (which by the way wasn’t after the dishwashing, but a whole day later) as well as House’s need for alone-time. I like to see that he is still a loner and does enjoy being on his own sometimes.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Jewish mothers are a particular breed. Mine (may she rest in peace) saved her best words about me for her friends and my colleagues. To me she was hypercritical (tho never quite so over the top). I loved Arlene. I thought she was funny as hell. And was a great push back for House.

    I’m not like that (and, like you guys) of a different generation. Glad you liked the review.

  • ak

    tbh, I was disappointed in how cold House treated Wilson. As funny as it was, it was kind of a dick move for him to drug wilson since he didn’t even do anything. Last season when House drugged him, he caught his head before it hit the table and set it down gently, but this time he just let it slam into the table. It shows how much their relationship has changed this season compared to the previous seasons, and I dont like it

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    They certainly screw with each other. I think House was anticipating Wilson ganging up on him with Arlene–self preservation: House style.

    I don’t think their relationship has changed. House has been trying to be there for Wilson and felt bad when Cuddy’s birthday thing interfered…

  • ak

    Yeah, but he didn’t want to go, he would have rather stayed home than going with Wilson, even though wilson said that he had had the tickets for months.

    and he wasn’t being very nice complaining about Wilson’s “whining”. last season he was ready to kill Sam if she hurt Wilson again, and she did, now he’s complaining about his whining

  • HouseMDFan

    @ak – I don’t think House was that cold, he had obviously been spending a lot of time with Wilson after his break-up. We also know that he has his special kind of caring – just look at season 2, where he made Wilson do the dishes etc. and almost threw him out after his divorce, because Wilson was just as morose and “mopey” then as he seemed to be now, according to House’s words. Also, he apologized, honestly thinking Wilson would be worse during dinner.

    In addition, there might be a small off-screen reason for not catching Wilson’s head: according to Sara Hess, Hugh Laurie had to leave that particular shoot, because they would never have made it through it otherwise. *g*

    Barbara: House didn’t feel bad when Cuddy’s birthday interfered with his Wilson time – he was trying to get out of his “movie date” with Wilson, too.

  • Zay

    Yay! Barbara’s back! A much-needed return to routine; this hiatus drove me half-crazy.

    This episode was equal parts fun and serious and I really liked that; a nice return to form. Plus, as a kid, I watched the Scooby Doo live-action movies, so was supremely thrilled to recognize Matthew Lillard as POTW.

    As everyone stated above, Arlene was hilarious and I enjoyed her scenes with House. Cuddy’s mortification at her mother was really cute; LE did a nice job with all the facial expressions, not overbearing but still hilarious.

    I was intrigued by Taub’s paint-throwing at the end of the episode. A self-loathing, grimly humorous move on his part; I think he’s finally realized his guilt and grown up a little bit. I like that; I’d wondered for ages why Rachel stuck around if she knew she was going to be disappointed. Both Jennifer Crystal Foley and Peter Jacobson portrayed the dissonance really well – the way she had to resort to excessive physical intimacy just to let her steam out and keep her marriage going. I wonder if they will follow through on that divorce – if Taub will ever be even close to life-size.

    Random: That addition to Taub’s ad that House drew, with the Hitler moustache and hair, was absolutely priceless. And even slightly accurate!

    I agree with the people above though – I’m a little disconcerted by the lack of air time RSL gets these days. & I was surprised House hasn’t egged Sam’s car or anything; as someone above said, he had threatened Sam before if she’d hurt Wilson and not only has he not done anything about Sam (which, with his track record, he would do) he has been kinda off with Wilson too. I get the need for space, but I’m missing the development and warmth (however dysfunctional) that relationship used to have, even in Season 6. RSL is brilliant; he should be used more. While Taub’s story was interesting and all, I would’ve traded it in for House/Wilson friendship scenes in a heartbeat. -sigh-

    Anyway – those are my two cents. Lovely epi. Lovely review. Lovely comments as well – I always love reading those.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    HouseMD Fan–you are right of course…but I did *sense* a bit of remorse …

  • ak

    Thank you Zay, that’s what I was trying to say (on house/wilson) I really miss their scenes together :(

    It’s only been one episode since Sam broke up with Wilson so *maybe* House will do something about it, but I highly doubt it, he’s too wrapped up in Cuddy right now

  • BeeJ

    YAY, HOUSE IS BACK…Barbara’s Reviews are BACK!!! Lol…I just wanted to shout that! 2 months was ridic! Fox needs to change it’s schedule for next year…2 months w/o House and Bones makes me shake.

    Having got all that out…I really liked this episode. I loved the feel of it, the aesthetic, camera work was just exquisite. I don’t recall the director (too lazy to look up haha) but loved how he filmed it. The scenes where Taub was driving in his car were beautiful and raw. The dinner scene was shot beautifully as well. Haha, I’m sorry I’m really dwelling on the film-making of this episode, but it was really different…kind of reminded me of “Help Me.” Just a lot of amazing angles and color filters. Just a wonderful and calm energy throughout, nothing seemed forced.

    Great performances all around by everyone. Wilson’s facial expressions throughout the dinner are too funny lol. The House/Cuddy couch scene was so comfortable and after a rocky (rather awkward) start to their relationship, they are a way believable couple to me at this point and super cute. I hope the writers aren’t setting us up for something devastating here *wink* lol.

    Okay, I rambling! Loved the epi, loved Candice Bergen, Loved the directing/editing. My favorite episode since “Help Me” and “Now What?” Can’t wait til next Monday.

  • http://npr.org bigHousefan

    ***I hugely respect those who do not want to read spoilers, (I try hard not to either,I stumbled onto this one) so be aware I’ve made mention below of a recent David Shore comment that could be defined as such :}

    I loved the episode (I can’t think of many I haven’t) and even though in Small Sacrifices House promises Cuddy that he wouldn’t lie to her again, he’s back to predictibly lying and manipulating Cuddy and Wilson. That they anticipate and forgive this is their way of loving him for who he is.

    I loved the fabulously funny scenes of House/Cuddy/Arlene. I sense from David Shore’s recent comments that we (the audience) should not bet on this relationship lasting, unfortunately. I just wonder how the writers will manage to sell us on the idea that House lived with Stacy for 5 years until her decision to (save his life?) remove the dead muscle tissue crippled him and consequently caused House to resent Stacy. But he is unable to remain a couple with Cuddy who it seems he’s shared a much deeper, and trust-based long devoted friendship. Cameron asked Stacy what House was like before his surgery and Stacy answered ‘pretty much the same’. Granted, there was no child involved. I would love to see House and Cuddy remain a couple, even if marriage isn’t something House can do.

  • DebbieJ.

    Way to go, Barbara, for putting a positive spin on this well written, well peformed episode ;)

    Regarding House revenging against Sam for hurting Wilson. We should remember that a lot of time has passed in canon since we last saw the good folks of PPTH. And we’ve only seen one episode so far. Something could have been said/done by House that we haven’t been privy to yet. Or, it still could happen in a future episode.

    It is such a joy to watch this show with 2 of my adult children, who like it almost as much as I do. We laughed hysterically at the dinner scene. And I am so thrilled to read above that Hugh Laurie himself was having a hard time keeping a straight face during the shooting of it. :)

    I agree with Zay’s (#9) assessment of Taub. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost! I’m interested to see what happens between him and Rachel. BTW, didn’t Taub say they were married for 22 years, not 11? I could be mistaken but that’s what I thought I heard.

    It was fun to learn what the Yiddish words meant that House and Arlene used. (My daughter googled them as we were watching!)

    And so glad that House got his time alone at the end just as he had imagined it, with The Real Housewives of NJ and all!

  • Sera G

    I second, third and fourth the Hurrah for Barbara!
    Glad to have you back, Barbara and VERY glad for a new episode. BeeJ #12, you are so right Fox should rethink its scheduling.
    I posted on the preview column, but can’t resist chiming in.
    I really, really loved this episode. I like how comfortable House and Cuddy can be with each other. As we discussed years ago, they have always had the give and take of a long time couple, now it is just official and you know that it is enjoyed by both. The dishwashing scene was beautifully done. The pleasure of being together, even doing a mundane task, was evident. Her smile was perfect.
    The couch scene was delicious, too. I love how their bodies connect. Her comment of calling him a “sweet, sweet man” was too adorable; as she knows that he is not and yet the protectiveness and concern of his gift was sweet.
    My take on the Wilson situation is that weeks (or at least a few) have passed since Wilson and Sam broke up. House has probably listened to more sad stories and “Why did she leave me?” than he would have tolerated in the past. Even sober and trying to change, he can only bear so much. House’s response to pain and disappointment (as we know) has never been to talk about it. He stuffed it down and anesthetized it away.

    I think the stereotypical Arlene was a bit of a facade. I think she wanted to see how far she could push House and even Cuddy. We don’t know how much Cuddy told her mother about Greg House from Michigan over 20 years ago or how much she told her about what he put(s) her through at the hospital, etc. All Arlene knows is that her daughter broke up an engagement to be with this man. Any mother would set out with all her ammunition ready to do war.
    I thought that it was terrific that she talked to House privately, acknowledged that he loves and cares for Lisa, but also let him know she would kill him if her hurt Cuddy. House had to respect her.
    Now…spoilers and controversy;
    Barbara and anyone who might know, TV Guide wrote that all of the cast has signed contracts for next year, but that no decision has been made by the networks. Any insight? Rumors? Thoughts? I guess I was caught off guard, since the show and HL/LE all won the People’s Choice and that, as I mentioned, it is #3 with Facebook followers. It can’t be a ploy to negotiate money, as the contracts are signed. I am not ready to say goodbye!

    #13, bigHousefan, I don’t read spoilers, and you did warn me, but I read yours. How in the world are they going to write an ending to this love? We have spent 6 years and 9 episodes watching it grow, stumble and settle, now we are to anticipate the end? If LE were leaving the show, (the hospital) maybe they could make it work, but what other rationale could they present. I hope DS is just trying to stir up talk. (Fingers crossed!) I think the fan response, as well as the critical response has been very positive to the relationship. It will be a hugh cheat if they ‘take it back’.

  • Janine

    @Sera G
    I wouldn’t worry about the show being renewed. The contract with the network is up and they are negotiating money, the same is happening with Bones. I don’t think however, that the cast has signed for next season yet though with the exception of HL who was already signed through season 8.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    ***I hugely respect those who do not want to read spoilers, (I try hard not to either,I stumbled onto this one) so be aware that I’m answering a post that made mention of a recent David Shore comment that could be defined as such :}

    ****Sera G*****

    I agree with you 1000%!! It will break my heart if TPTB choose to go down that road. I can’t understand the critics who are against a House/Cuddy romantic relationship. As you rightfully stated, the 6 years and 9 episodes invested would not otherwise make sense! Perhaps they will write more stumbling, that would be like House, but ultimately these are two characters who have been a couple for years IMO and seem undeniably devoted to one another given their incredible history. I’m happy to hear that the response to their relationship among fans and critics is mostly positive.

    re: If LE were leaving the show, (the hospital) maybe they could make it work, but what other rationale could they present.

    Little else would make any sense to me!

    Fingers crossed here, too!

  • Sera G

    Hi, Janine, #16, I, too, thought the contracts were up in the air. LE said at the People’s Choice that she wants to come back if invited, but nothing is being said yet. The latest TV Guide, with SuperBowl cover states that all actors, including HL, have signed on. (Of course, his contract already extended to year 8.) I guess we shall see. I know it is always a money game. I have seen it with Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order and some of the cast from CSI. I always worry about House being renewed until I read it for sure. :)

    bigHousefan, #17, thanks and thanks back to you. It would break my heart, too. I have loved their dynamic since season 1, episode 1. Rarely do you see such well matched personalities, talents and natural chemistry. I think the people who are against the relationship, either didn’t like the idea from the beginning, for whatever reason, or they like him as the miserable loner (which I completely do not understand) Don’t get me wrong, that character was compelling, but I am ready for my ‘friend’ to be well. Another speculation on my part is that we are so conditioned to characters in the movies and on TV as not having long standing, commited relationships. The writers either contrive to break them up, over and over or they write out a love interest, fearing the audience won’t respond without the sexual tension. I think we might be seeing something unique with House/Cuddy. At least, I hope so. I am enjoying this stage of House’s journey. He is truly commited to making this work and last.

    One last question, a few posters have stated some things that Sara Hess said. Where are you reading the comments? Thanks.
    Looking forward to Monday! (Then another rerun!)

  • ak

    @ Sera G – Regarding the thing about the cast all signed on for next year, what exactly did it say? I just tried looking around online for anything about them signing on but I couldn’t find anything

  • Sera G

    Hi,ak #19,
    I am quoting from TV Guide, Jan.24-Feb.6 issue. (Super Bowl cover).
    Written in the caption next to Hugh Laurie’s photo (pg. 8):
    “House’s cast, including Hugh Laurie, has already signed on for next season.”
    The article then goes on to discuss that Fox has yet to make a deal to air House next year and that there is speculation that NBC will air the show (even though it is very expensive, $5 million per episode)
    I don’t know what it all means to House. All I know is that I hope there is some loyalty to a show that garnered a lot of respect for Fox as well as served as a big ratings grabber for several years, not to mention world wide fans and acclaim. But then, this is business and as we all know, there is not a lot of loyalty there.
    That was my cynical rant for the evening.

  • ak

    Thank you! I was worried that Robert Sean Leonard wouldn’t sign on for another season if there was going to be one, so that makes me happy that if there is a season 8, it won’t be without Wilson :)

    Oh and about the things Sara Hess said, I’m assuming it is from this video here.

  • Sera G

    ak #21, you are welcome and thank you for the link. I enjoyed the interview with Sara Hess.
    *******Spoiler*********
    It sounds like they are going to put more stumbling blocks in the way. Fine, reasonable, understandable, but please writers, don’t feel you have to make things difficult every few episodes. They give us peaceful and ‘happy’ (Unwritten) and then make us suffer for 3 stories after that. House is complicated, difficult, unsure and basically selfish and immature; HOWEVER, it’s time they let the man have moments of growth and to recognize that if you want to “not be miserable” you have to make sacrifices and think of others once in awhile. I think they showed that with Small Sacrifices and again with Larger Than Life.
    I know that he is House and will always do things the Housian way, but then there is writing complications just for the sake of creating conflict and I feel that is manipulative. One thing this show can’t be accused of is manipultive writing. I hope they don’t go that route.

  • Jane 2

    Sorry folks spoilers ahoy**************************************

    *******************************************************
    Here is a link to a twitpic of the Tv Guide article. Personally I don’t trust it. They don’t specify who or what they mean by “House Cast” and they may be confused by the fact that HL already has a contract for season 8 in place.

    I will be biting my my finger nails until I hear that LE and RSL are locked in.

  • http://blogcritics.org/video/article/tv-review-house-md-a-closer/ j.i.m.

    Thanks Barbara for the summary of House’s struggles through seasons 1-7. And your parting paragraph was brilliant with insight. I especially like your increasingly editorial style.

    House is back! :-) Emotionally, his poor face appears more pinched than ever as he continues to compromise for love. The important mini-moment when House characteristically acknowledged to Cuddy the truth of the enemy’s (Arlene’s) perspective, that Cuddy doesn’t communicate, was ‘telling’ even though it was glossed over or intentionally ‘unheard’ by Cuddy.

    A simplified theory full of holes…

    The show has reversed its focus as it seems to be making its return trip, covering the same ground but perched in the opposite direction on its journey home. BM (Before Mayfield), the back stories (patients) reflected House’s own demons which the patients proceeded to attempt overcoming while House remained grief-stricken in his inability to move. It left me begging for House to simply ‘Do Something!’ many times. AM (After Mayfield), the back stories pursue a replication of House’s vigorous attempts at a struggle. But where House achieves a tenuous and precarious ability to overcome, the patients fail. Or will House eventually fall short too (like Taub)?

    In this last episode, a train is heading straight at House and Cuddy. He’s able to save both their lives in the short term but he fails at a consistent family life. Is Cuddy expecting House to eventually integrate meaningfully into her family life? She does expect him to “average out her misery”! :-) I love it.

  • hazel eyes

    I love reading your take on the episode Barbara, so thanks for that. I am concerned about how TPTB will not even give a hint if Wilson will be around for the end of this season never mind next season, so I am starting to think, and I’m not on my own in this thought process, because other Wilson fans are feeling the same, that Wilson is about to crash and burn in a big way and RSL is going to be absent from a lot of episodes from Episode 15, because that is when GY said House the show is going to change and will never be the same again.

    Just to also back up my claim is that the director that is directing the episode been filmed now, was answering questions and commenting about the cast members but would not comment or answer questions about RSL.

  • mosquitoinuk

    I think the fact that House needs his “space” is very well described by Henry Miller (taken from “Tropic of Cancer”)

    Human beings make strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear negligible; up close they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded by sufficient space–space even more than time.

  • HouseMDFan

    Could we PLEASE stop the damn spoiler talk and the wild speculations? Or at least (as some people did, thanks very much) WARN for them? I don’t want to know anything before I actually see it, and I sure as hell don’t want to know stuff that’s probably not true anyway. I’d hate to have to skip the comments entirely.

  • ak

    ***SPECULATION***

    @ Hazel Eyes- That makes me worry :( Wilson is my favorite character and if he wasn’t on House anymore, I wouldn’t watch.
    Did you see the tweet where someone told GY that if RSL left the show it would be dead, and he said “Uh oh, I wish you’d told me that sooner”?
    I’m hoping he was just being sarcastic because he just seems like a sarcastic guy to me.

    I just don’t see how the show could go on w/out Wilson because House needs him

  • Derdriui

    *** SPECULATION ****

    Would be all right if RSL left. He’s very talented and he’s obviously very underused in this show.

    Abandon the show to the sitcom loving Huddies. RSL this season has been giving relationship advice and playing out two men and a baby. He deserves better than that, he’s a great actor.

  • ak

    ***SPECULATION***

    I agree that he has been underused this season, I’m hoping now that he’s newly single, he’ll get some kind of storyline like maybe being jealous that House is in a relationship and not spending as much time with him as he used to.

  • Derdriui

    **** SPECULATION ****

    If we can guess it already, what’s the point?

    All this Huddy stuff has been complete cheese, with 1990s sitcom hilarity like two men and a baby, meeting the caricature parents etc. And their interaction is just soapy and boring. House is a caricature of himself. And Cuddy… I don’t think she’s made sense as a character since at least season 5.

    The medical stuff is just on repeat. It’s a glorified sitcom which isn’t as funny as most sitcoms.

    A totally predictable Wilson storyline doesn’t really make anything better.

  • ak

    ***SPECULATION***

    I agree, I don’t like Huddy. But if he got a storyline, even if it was predictable, at least he’d get screen time that didn’t involve being a huddy cheerleader

  • Derdriui

    **** SPECULATION ****

    True.

    I just don’t think these writers have the gumption to give anything really creative anymore. This week’s episode is one of the most obvious examples of that. It’s just a bad sitcom with diluted repeats of the ethics debates they’ve already been in.

    I kind of wish they’d just ended the show though instead of turn it into this pathetic middle-aged romantic comedy.

  • Aaron Poscovsky

    I miss watching House. It is the only show over the past few years that cheers me up. I have all the DVD’s and watch them when I feeling depress.
    I work two jobs, so I do not get to watch the new shows. I have to purchase the DVD’s to see them.
    Love them.

  • Amie

    Great episode, hilarious!
    I don’t mind the caricatures! It wouldn’t be as funny. And, my mom is not jewish, but she is totally capable of saying the same things to me in front of people!

    Just two things bothered me :
    I find it weird that House doesn’t have time for himself.
    I imagine Cuddy, having a child and a job that is demanding, can’t be with House every night! And if she knows him well, she knows he needs his space.
    Unless House is with Wilson the evenings he ‘s not with Cuddy, cheering him up after his break-up!

    Another thing, Cuddy didn’t mind his lying. Actually, it didn’t bother me in this episode, but I really didn’t buy the november arc “you-can’t-lie-to-me”.
    I know this blog’s theory is that it was the lie about the lie but it is really never even hinted at. And when House says he had to lie to save the patient, Cuddy never corrects him and tells him it was the lie about the lie. This 3 episode arc was really bad writing and OOC Cuddy…
    Enough about the last episodes ’cause this one was fun.

    We had a great clinic patient ;-)
    and we had House talk with the patient, even if I would have liked more of it…
    But I do hope the cases get more exciting because it’s been the same routine for a while (symptoms – suggestions- not it -symptoms-suggestions-not it -symptoms – eureka-it)… Where’s the autopsying a living person, the taking half a brain out of someone, the connecting with an autistic kid!
    Bring it on!
    Cause I like my Huddy but if it doesn’t last, I have to have something else to watch for (good cases, clinic, anyone?). I do understand the point of view of the people who don’t like the relationship and are getting bored with the show.

    I don’t post often but I always come here for great insights from Barbara and great comments from the usual suspects!

  • anon

    *speculation*

    On the whole directors not saying anything about RSL, One of them tweeted that they were filming ep 16, and then they also tweeted “night shoot with Hugh and Robert”

    I was also surprised (because he didn’t win his award) to see that he was going to be in the PCA thank you video along with HL, LE, DS, and KJ

  • hazel eyes

    He may of not won the Best Doctor but his fans did get him nominated and he is part of the cast that won Best Drama, so he has every right to be there, the same as the other cast members,OE,PJ and JS have every right to be there too.

  • sdemar

    I loved the episode and am glad the show is back. Count me as one that loves the House/Cuddy relationship.

  • Peachie

    I loved this episode. I especially liked when he drugged both Arlene and Wilson… Hilarious! I kept watching and rewatching those parts.

    As far as change goes, people don’t change. Our surroundings change and it brings out what was already in us. House is not changing, we are just seeing what he has in him that he never showed others. Cuddy knows he’s not changing because she knows the “real House” and she knows what he is capable of being.

  • DebbieJ.

    Peachie, your comments (#39) are just, well, Peachy! LOL

    I agree. His circumstances has changed but House has not.

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara,
    Hello, House Community,
    I am not trying to start a big deal, but sometimes when I read comments I feel like we are watching different shows.
    For example, some people have written that they are tired of seeing Wilson as the realtionship counselor to House regarding Cuddy. In my memory, he has always done that. In season 1 with Cameron, when Stacy returned in season 2, in season 3 and 4 when House was interested in the doctor from the CIA and in Piper Perabo’s character, Honey. He has always been there to give House encourgement to try and reach out, or to rag him when he was too afraid to try. That has always been Wilson’s role. As RSL said in the Paley Center interview; he is “…the Fool to House’s Lear”; there to give advice and scolding when needed.
    As far as Huddy, I am an unabashed fan. I have wanted that since the show began. I really don’t get the negativity. The show is a journey through this man’s life. Why would you want him to fail? Why would you want him to return to loneliness, isolation and despair? He and Cuddy have a decades long realtionship, built on respect, trust, attraction, support (on her part, mostly) and love. Of course it wouldn’t be easy for him to jump into the role of partner and ‘father’ but the man wants to try. He wants it for her and for himself.
    Who knows what TPTB have in store. I think they are smart enough to know what treasures they have in HL/LE/RSL. I think it would be disaster to do something ‘terminal’ to one of them. At least, I hope so. GY seems to enjoy stirring the waters and getting speculation started.
    I don’t know about you, but the comment about it being a “pathetic middle-aged romantice comedy” was rather mean spirited.
    I am sure many of you out there are over 40. Love, attraction and the desire for someone to love you in return is not just for the young. I am thrilled that House is not with some ‘girl’ 20 years younger than he. Cuddy is a woman of experience, maturity and strength. She more than his equal. I am sick of shows where the lead meets his ‘love’ and she dies/changes her mind/finds they can’t be together for whatever cliched reason they devise, then it happens all over again with a new ‘love’ next season.
    Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is mine. Thanks for letting me vent.

  • anon

    @ Sera G, it’s not the fact that Wilson is being a “relationship counselor” that bugs me. It’s the fact that since the beginning of the 7th season, that is pretty much all he has done

  • Sera G

    Hi, anon #42. I understand your point. I love RSL and Wilson, don’t get me wrong. HL/RSL are two of the greatest comedy duos in TV history, imo. I think the show would suffer a tremendous blow if for some insane reason RSL left the series. I guess in my mind, Wilson’s purpose, besides being House’s friend, accomplice and conscience is as the ‘voice’ of the audience. He often says what we think or wish we could say to House. Do you know what I mean?
    When I think of Wilson, his character comes along at just the right moment (or wrong moment, sometimes) to offer some insight, advice or inspiration to House. If you added up his screen time in each episode, it probably wouldn’t add up to more than 5-6 minutes. I remember him saying in an interview several years ago, that he loved his job because he came to the set two days a week, had great dialog with HL and got to go home. Now in crucial espisodes,”House’s Head”/”Wilson’s Heart” of course his screentime was much more. I don’t think they are diminishing his character, I just think his purpose right now is different. Also, their moments together are always so perfect; either hilarious or maddening. They are truly memorable and to me that might be why they seem to take up a greater part of the show.
    In the early seasons, Wilson was the only person who saw more sides of House. Now we are seeing the lover side, through Cuddy’s eyes.
    Just as in season 6, Cuddy was often absent and rarely interacted with House, for the purpose of setting up the distance she felt she must have between them in order to make her ‘relationship’ with Lucas succeed. I missed her a lot, so I get what you mean.
    If I were to predict what his role would be right now, (and I am never right!) is that he will force House to “be there” for him as Wilson has always been available to House and perhaps to offer some comic moments as he intrudes more and more in House/Cuddy’s privacy.
    I think Barbara was so right when she either wrote in her column or said in her radio interview, while we are in the middle of the season, it is hard to see what TPTB are weaving. It is only when each season is complete that we get the whole picture and understand where we were being led.
    Barbara, that was nowhere near your eloquence, but did I get the gist of it?
    anon, if I were in charge of the show, I would be content to have 21 minutes spent with Wilson/House and 21 minutes spent with Cuddy/House. Of course, if I were in charge, there wouldn’t be 6 acts and 18 minutes of commercials!!!!!!!!!

  • Derdriui

    Hey, Sera G, just to clarify:

    Obviously middle-aged people find love. However, TPTB are turning this into a middle-aged romantic comedy. All the trappings of the crappy rom coms without the depth and experience reflected of two intelligent, mature and complex characters.

    Portraying a man getting used to being around a baby, meeting difficult caricature parents, dealing with his girlfriend being jealous about ‘trappings’ from his former bachelor life (hooker masseuse) and otherwise sorting out issues to do with his romantic relationship? With his best guy friend telling him about how to deal with unreasonableness and women? This has been done, done, done. Usually with twenty somethings in crappy movies (hey, I watch ‘em. They’re comforting crap, I know, but crap).

    House and Cuddy are supposed to be older, wiser and more complicated.

    Also, Cuddy forgiving House like this is ridiculous. And she has expectations of him. And House is trying his damndest, but it’s just so… unromantic. Watching her, watching him, it’s like saying ‘okay, you want a warm body next to you at night? CONFORM. CONFORM. CONFORM. Love is about compromise.’

    Which may be true, but who needs House to tell us that? Whatever happened to the heroes, you know?

    Also, if House was a real person trying hard to be a boring husband, I’d say bravo. But he’s a character, which means that if he’s not making a point then he’s not worth much at all.

    And he’s not making points anymore. Unless you’re completely new to the series, you must have noticed that this week’s medical plot was completely on repeat. And House didn’t say anything new or interesting about the patient.

    The quality of the writing is in serious decline. If you like romantic comedies with previously interesting characters, then go for it.

    House was never a show good at romance or even particularly funny. It was a show that made you think. That book Barbara wrote, Chasing Zebras, even the title is about creative thinking.

    What’s been creative or even vaguely original about this season?

    House is growing and changing, which is great, but they should try to keep him INTERESTING.

    Or, if they want to make him into a goopy mess, they might as well have killed him while solving a mystery and left note of his love in a letter. Like a crappier version of the Sherlock Holmes ending.

    Also, the blatant sexism of this show… Cuddy can’t work except as a sitcom character anymore.

  • HouseMDFan

    @Derdiui – Instead of uselessly debating House/Cuddy with you, I’m going to make my point with regard to the patient, since you have been complaining about this as well. The observed pattern: someone makes a decision at the brink of death and revokes it afterwards. Been there done that? Here’s the thing:

    1. Foreman after “Euphoria”. Here, the pattern is about MEANING. He wants the crap he went through to mean something, so he decides to change his outlook on life, which doesn’t stick. The theme ties in beautifully with Cuddy looking for meaning in getting a kid and with House looking for meaning in “No Reason” and beyond.

    2. Tucker in “Wilson”. Here, the pattern is about EGOISM, about the people you want to have in your life and why, and it is contrasted with the exploration of Wilson’s character as well as House’s.

    3. The patient in “Dying Changes Everything”. Here, the pattern is about MAKING YOUR LIFE MATTER, which was a foil for Thirteen’s story arc.

    4. This time, the pattern is about HEROISM and COWARDICE, which is reflected in House’s and Taub’s stories. Is it brave to do something on impulse? Or does it require a lot more courage to deal with people you actually care for, to stay, instead of running away and maybe using “heroism” as a means of not facing your demons. That by the way is a point House makes during this episode, and it is definitely something to think about.

    So, yes, the abstract pattern seems like a repeat, but it means something different and new every time. This overall argument – looking for superficial patterns instead of the actual substance of a story – applies to most of your House/Cuddy complaints just as well by the way.

  • Derdriui

    HouseMDFan

    You can’t be patronizing and superficial at the same time! Come on. House was a complicated show. And, unless you think it’s some kind of children’s education after-school programming, the themes you isolated are far too simplistic. What kind of uplifting moral tale have you been watching? Also, a lot of themes are being recycled now. I was not saying Euphoria, Wilson etc. were the same episode, but they were different takes on the same idea: Almost dying changes nothing. And now, in this episode, this was one of the themes they recycled, without adding anything.

    I wasn’t saying that the formula of problem, medical error, medical error, brink of death, EUREKA and save was the problem. I’m saying that they aren’t saying anything NEW through it. And, unless you haven’t been watching the series long or you have the brain of a goldfish, you should be able to spot where the plot points have been done before.

    Now, read carefully.

    Euphoria was not just about MEANING, like Sesame Street for slow adults. And none of those other stories were about one theme either.

    Euphoria, Wilson etc. had the theme that almost dying changes nothing. Got it?

    Now, apply this to this week’s episode. The patient, dying, wants to change and be with his kid.

    And then, at the end, he doesn’t. Almost dying changes nothing.

    Okay, moving onto a second point:

    The medicine. The diagnosis of this is very much from previous episodes of House.

    1) Somebody doing something selfless makes House think there’s something medically wrong with them. If you can’t think of at least three episodes in which you’ve seen this, then… watch the show?

    2) Cells wandering into the wrong place at the foetal stage, leading to problems later on in life. This was last year’s Christmas episode. The other parts of the medicine were equally copied. Just… watch.

    3) The epiphanies used to be interesting. Metaphorical. This week’s was ‘kids make me sick’ by CB followed by ‘… the kid made him sick!’ by House.

    Issue the third:

    Your summaries, particularly that last one, don’t actually sum up the point of the episodes. Except for the last one. Which is what isolates it from the others from previous seasons, precisely because they weren’t simple enough for you to summarize.

    House does address heroism, yes. And it’s about as stimulating as your summary of it. ‘You’re not really a hero.’ ‘Neither are you.’ That was their conversation.

    Staying and facing their families was not about heroism, unless you just assume that you’re supposed to follow along with the show until you can shove their title into a logical place in the episode.

    Facing their families was about compromise. Taub didn’t want to try hard to change, Shaggy didn’t really understand why he should change, but House was determined to try. It’s not heroic. The writers may have ham-fistedly tried to make it heroic, but it’s just about learning how to settle down. With women being the things to settle down for. Again, great display of sexism.

    That is far below what this show used to produce.

    And so many other things. CB was a caricature. House was a caricature of himself. Taub’s conversation with his wife would be been innovative in 1990s American sitcoms. ‘I want a divorce.’ ‘I love you.’ ‘Are you happy?’ ‘No.’ An unfunny version of Monica breaking up with Fun Bobby.

    And Cuddy’s a caricature of an administrator.

    You haven’t actually addressed any substantive points about House or Cuddy… eh.

    Seriously, if this is your idea of thought-provoking telly, avoid cable shows in general and non-network sitcoms in particular (the depth in those are, comparatively, mind-blowing).

  • HouseMDFan

    LOL. Wow. That’s a truly lost case. You didn’t get my point. Like, at all. But just because I can, I’ll at least correct one obvious fact:

    Cells wandering into the wrong place at the foetal stage, leading to problems later on in life. This was last year’s Christmas episode.

    This was Season FOUR’s christmas episode, more than three years ago, and it was crucial to the diagnosis then. This time, it was just one of the many tiny steps towards a totally different diagnosis, just like kidney damage occurs in every other episode.

  • Derdriui

    All right, it’s an older Christmas episode. Well done on the semantics front. And no, like, I don’t like get your point at all, no. Or maybe I’ve been overwhelmed by its herculean attempts to justify crap. I take a different approach, perhaps equally bad, but going by the ‘sometimes one must be cruel to be kind’ idea.

    See, other than the points on repetition of form that we disagree on, there’s a deeper difference. The way both of us interpreted this episode, you as ‘heroism’ and me as ‘compromise’, leads the characters to come to home life, or labels them as as failures. That is very suburban. That is not what this show used to be about.

    Also, it was one of the Interesting Medical Points this time. But that is getting into semantics too, so nevermind.

    We obviously find each other dim and therefore hilarious. Let us part then. Ultimately, this is just a different in taste. In my opinion, you don’t have any. And in yours, I’m a twat. Fair enough.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    * * Sera G, Derdriui and HouseMDFan * *

    Wow! You guys are good! Which is why I love stopping by to enjoy everyone’s take on the substance of the show. (Thanks, Barbara)

    Maybe that’s the genius of the show. Two arguments presented, equally plausible, defendable. The Tritter (David Morse) story arc was a good example of that. Both he and House had valid positions and amunition to find fault in the other. The show has a history of showing both sides (or more) of a position and letting the characters duke it out, in an entertaining and provocative manner.

    Regarding House and Cuddy, this storyline is a natural progression and a welcomed one. It had to be explored. Without it, their story makes no sense to me.

    And I have always enjoyed the way House nurtures his relationships with Wilson and Cuddy. His obsessive study of each is his unique way of expressing his affection for them and displaying how very important they are to him.

    And regarding these two characters as individuals, haven’t they both been looking for a soft place to land for quite some time now? It is human nature, and rarely a fixed spot. I think we’re being set up for something to upset the apple cart. And I don’t think its going to be House or Cuddy. Life throws stuff at you and can take away our brief moments of happiness. It has been a staple of House’s story, like the song the show onced used ‘Walter Reed’ (everything good has been taken from me).

    Again, thanks to all for the brilliant read! I’ll look for all after next week’s show. Derdriui – don’t give up – we need you here!

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    Sera G

    PS I’m with you, I’m pulling for House and Cuddy regardless of what life throws at them! :)

  • ruthinor

    This is the video of the House cast thanking everyone for the People’s Choice Award. It’s pretty funny. It’s a silly award because it depends on folks voting over and over again for their “favorites”. When LE was the only one from the show to attend the PCAs, internet rumors were everywhere about why this was true. This video plays into that beautifully.

    Not to get involved with the current arguments, since it’s all a matter of taste and one can’t really argue against or for that, I’ll just say that I don’t buy into the show’s decline. I’ve always felt that each year had it’s really good shows and it’s lesser ones. Again, it’s a matter of taste. Personally, I thought the Tritter arc was incredibly boring and lasted way too long. I loved the shows that involved House winnowing down the “new docs” after his original 3 were gone. Others hated that. I couldn’t stand Cameron and was happy to see her go. Others still pine for her today. What’s the point of arguing about that? I thought Euphoria was a bore, mainly because I think Foreman is a bore. I’m sure others loved it. One of my favorite shows of all time was “Unfaithful” about the priest who was accused of sexual misconduct. This was fairly recent, and in my mind, one of the best of the series. And on and on, so argue on if you must, I’ll just sit by and take it all in!!

  • Sera G

    Thanks, bigHousefan, #50!
    I guess because I really love the show and characters, especially House/Cuddy, I feel I must defend it. I know that sounds dumb.
    I have watched a lot of TV over the years, (not so much lately, as I don’t care for reality and the dramas are just okay, imo.) so I think I know a lot about how stories are put together. If you think about it, Shakespeare probably wrote about every plot you can think of, all we have done is recycle it over time.
    What I love about House, and as HouseMDFan pointed out so beautifully, it is how those themes, ideas, plots are carried out that makes House the show unique. How many ways are there to tell a love story? At least this show is attempting to be more realistic, how do two middle aged people compromise? How does a man who has isolated himself from human feelings finally open himself up to someone and learn to live less alone?
    I don’t see Cuddy as “watcing him…” I see an intelligent woman who knows that she loves “…most incredible man (I) have ever met.” who is also a “screwed up person.” She knows him WELL, and she would be an idiot to not keep aware of what he is up to. She loves him because and in spite of what he is. That is complicated. She is a mother, her child is vulnerable, she has to protect that little girl. That is realistic, and responsible. You don’t see that on every show. It’s always about sex, or starry eyed, “everything is perfect.” I think they are very shrewd and smart about this love story.

  • Derdriui

    Sorry, just a small thing:

    Sera G
    ‘…That is complicated. She is a mother, her child is vulnerable, she has to protect that little girl. That is realistic, and responsible. You don’t see that on every show. It’s always about sex, or starry eyed, “everything is perfect.” I think they are very shrewd and smart about this love story.’

    But your summary of how other shows deal with romance is only true for sitcoms! All the other dramas, for over 10 years, have been exploring the complications of romance. Ally Mcbeal went deeper than this.

    And an intelligent woman knowing that the man she loves is a) the most amazing person she’s ever met and b) screwed up? That’s been done so many times. One clear example is CSI. On CSI, the relationship between Grissom and Sarah developed on those terms. But they handled it a lot better… you could see a real mutual respect, and a lot of… quiet character development. And when it happened, it wasn’t intrusive into the show. It just happened, they were ready, great.

    But here, where’s the respect for Cuddy? He needs her, she saves him from being fired (if she didn’t save him, he wouldn’t have anything) etc., but where has he shown her any respect?

    And she takes it. She protects some bare minimum of her administration powers, and forgives him. And now, last episode, she’s emotionally dependent on him and really expects him to have changed. Maybe she doesn’t need to feel respected by House, but then… like some other reviewer said here, keep them together but they should get another administrator.

    And shielding one’s daughter from one’s boyfriend is pretty… high up on the depths they’ve managed to reach. Especially the shows that ‘do’ romance, especially cable…

    The plotlines they’re doing have been done. Better. In rom coms. You’re right, a lot of stories are recycling various aspects of Shakespeare. What stands out, then, is quality. And… even the people who really love the pairing, can they really say that what we’ve had this season is quality?

    (to clarify, quality either in the sense of ‘a degree of excellence’ or even ‘a distinguishing attribute’ from all the other shows that have done romance.)

  • Sera G

    I’ll take a break from the debate, as obviously we all see it differently.
    ruthinor, #51, could you give the address to the PCA video? I was unable to reach it through your link. Thanks.

  • DebbieJ

    @Derdriui #53 – It seems to me, by every one of your posts, that you no longer enjoy the show. So I must ask, why do you still watch?

    From time to time an episode or story arc has disappointed me but overall, I love this show and its characters, so I will continue to watch until the very end, even if sometimes a disease of the week/POTW has been rehashed or a point has been made over and over. (Geez, has House changed or hasn’t he? Seems like he’s damned if he does and damned if he don’t.)

    So, if you find that CSI, Ally McBeal, any cable drama or any rom-coms does/did it better, I wonder why you continue to watch House, if only to tell everyone here how awful you think it is.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    * * Sera G * * #52

    Exactly right. And I’m so glad you made reference to Cuddy’s remark, ‘I know you are always going to be screwed up.’ This is after House reminds her that he’s done horrible things to her, and will do horrible things again, to her. She adds, ‘You are always going to be the most incredible man I have ever known.’ This prompts House to finally say, ‘I love you’ out loud.

    How beautifully complicated and uncommon, but most important, HONEST. I loved it!

    Getting back to Larger Than Life, I love how Mr. Needy was needed this week by the two most important people in his life. It was ‘a strain’ but for someone who in the past was filled with so much self-loathing, it had to feel pretty good!

  • ruthinor

    Sera G: try this link and scroll down.

  • Derdriui

    DebbieJ

    ‘Cause sometimes it’s better to point out flaws and hope it gets better than just walk away. I’ve been watching the show for 5 years. Maybe it IS just a crappy storyline, but it’s been 9 episodes of bad quality.

    But hey, if you love it then love it loud and proud. We just see things differently. Or just have vastly different concepts of what indicates quality.

  • Sera G

    Hey, ruthinor, I went to YouTube, where apparently you can find ANYTHING, and watched the video. I thought it was pretty clever and funny.
    Thanks for the tip.

    Alright, I can’t keep my ‘mouth’ shut.
    Derdriui, I respect the points that you are making, as I think you, too, care about the show.
    However, I don’t think you can compare the relationship between Grissom and Sarah on CSI to House and Cuddy. House was a mess, brilliant but drug addicted, reclusive, almost abusive to his fellows, colleagues and patients. Grissom was a private man, always civil and respectful. You can’t even put the two of them into the same category. Grissom was not a troubled genius, unable to reach out to others.
    If I remember, the critics carped that his affair with Sarah came from nowhere. The audience saw her respect/admiration for him but him hesitant and wary of approaching her. Then, all of a sudden, they are together in a hotel(?) room.
    With House, amidst all the banter, flirting, and yes abuse, House clearly and often stated that Cuddy was very smart, good at her job, and that he “owed her.” House spends little time with those for whom he has no respect. That he listens to, follows her orders(most of the time) and respects the boundries she places on him, says a great deal about the regard he has for her. I also think that this season clearly shows that, to answer your point. If he didn’t love AND respect her, House wouldn’t try so hard to make the relationship work. He knows what is important to her.
    What is wrong with Cuddy expressing that she wants/needs him beside her when her mother visits. That is what you do for the people you love. No, he didn’t want to be at that dinner, but he was there, civil and polite. What is wrong with Cuddy wanting him to know and care for her daughter. What would you think of her if she didn’t want to protect the child? They are not showing a ‘helpless MAN’ who doesn’t know which end to diaper. They are showing a man who wants to make a connection, even though it goes against how he has lived his life for 40 some years.
    I have a friend who never wanted kids, didn’t marry until he was 47 and his 30 year old wife wanted babies. Guess who is the most doting of dads. Did he want that? NO. Did it fit into his vision of his life? Again, no. He fell in love and did what was needed to make the person he loves, more than himself, happy.
    Again, that House makes an effort is the right thing to do. The baby naming episode in season 5 showed the side of House that wanted to be part of Cuddy/Rachel’s lives and the sadness when he was uninvited.
    The show has always mixed humor, even ridiculous humor with the seriousness of the cases and the ongoing character development. Wilson staying with House when his third marriage breaks up. House steals his food, tricks him into doing the dishes and makes him wet the bed. We all laughed, thought it was immature and great fun. The show has specialized in that mixture of silliness and drama.
    We are never going to change each others’ minds. Let’s keep the discussions polite and respect that we all care about this show.

  • Sera G

    bigHousefan, #56, thank you.
    Good observation that Mr. Needy was able to be there for the two most important people in his life. I kept focusing on Cuddy needing him and forgot for a while about poor Wilson.
    Also, with regards to you post, #49. What is your prediciton? It sounds ominous.

  • Aunt Sally

    All the episodes have “themes” and all those themes revert back to and involve House in some way, that IS the show?

    House’s team are all the sides to House’s personality

    FOREMAN – Is the brain (that’s why he is one dimensional and boring?)

    CHASE – Is the happy go lucky, not caring side (having fun at this time, as House is but is that about to bite him in the ass?)

    13 – Is the damaged and self destructive side (hence why she has been removed from the picture at this present time in the story, though what do we await on her return?)

    TAUB – Is the cheat (hence him being pivotal to “Larger than life” in contrast to what House was doing in trying to be “the man”. The same kind of thing happened in “Baggage” when House was trying to cheat Nolan into believing his BS story so brought Taub into the picture?)

    MASTERS – Is the student (the one that needs to learn and is trying to do all things right, as House is with his relationship with Cuddy?)

  • NegaTIVE

    @Derdriui

    All you seem to be doing is trying to over power other people’s opinions of the show to try and belittle them for your own amusement.
    You are a troll, you’re arguments and understanding of the show hold no true meaning but you have scared people away for said amusement.

  • Derdriui

    NegaTIVE
    Calm yourself. And go… drink some tea. If you can’t follow what I’m saying then that’s really okay. You’re not even trying to make a point, just going from ‘I disagree with you’ to ‘we disagree with you’ to ‘you’re a troll’.

    If you can’t follow the substantive points of an argument, you pick on the person you don’t like. That’s standard. Way to be boring.

    Sera G

    :) That’s a very sweet about your friend!

    And, honestly, if this was Real Life then I’d applaud House. I’ve said that before. But it’s not real life and these characters are supposed to be interesting representations who make interesting points.

    We all know middle-aged people who have found love and changed their ways. It doesn’t make this interesting TV.

    As for Sarah/Grissom, they foreshadowed that for ages. Didn’t they? They had a lot of scenes… including one where Grissom clearly thought he wasn’t good enough for her. Could’ve sworn.

    Yeah, he’s different to House. But if his relationship was quiet and not schoompy, then why is House/Cuddy being done so over-the-top normal? Settling so fast into suburban life? If less complicated characters have been treated better, then why are they doing this on this show? It’s just… so boring. So ordinary. So… suburban.

  • ruthinor

    House is settling so fast into suburban life (by the way he DOES live in the burbs!) that he decided to go home, drink beer, get in his jammies and watch the Housewives of NJ all by his lonesome?? Not so fast I say. As much as he likes and needs his alone time, remember how he was when Stacy left? When Wilson left? As much as he is a loner, he needs the “loves of his life” as well. When he lived with Stacy for 5 years, how different do you think that was from what’s going on now? Schoompy? Was ist das??

  • lol because ~obviously~ if someone doesn’t like huddy it makes them:
    a troll
    a hilson
    a hameron

    But the reason I can’t stand them is because: It’s horribly written. And boring. I had to laugh when David Shore said that the great thing about Huddy was that he kept House, House; and Cuddy, Cuddy

  • Derdriui

    @ruthinor

    His comment to Wilson was ‘still not boring’. They have a weird and quirky dynamic. Or had one, at some point.

    … Him going back to watch a shit show in his jammies after spending ages with Cuddy and Wilson is not indicative of anything but more ham-fisted writing. Compare this to when he spent the episode talking about cool holidays then went home, unhooked the phone and blissed out on vicodin.

    There was a lot more shown and a lot less told. And it was better quality.

    As for your other point. Yes, he does care about people. But it’s possible for him to do that without being boring. Without babysitting and dressing up and meeting parents and trying to be a great boyfriend. The stuff Cuddy expects from him is just madness too. They’re both just more boring caricatures of themselves.

    House going hyper with drugging people, then declaring loudly exactly what hilarious thing he’s going to do in his underwear while doing it, while at the same time getting domesticated.

    And Cuddy, forgetting everything he’s done to her, cuddling in the office and expecting him to be a good boyfriend.

    Not only is it ridiculous, it’s also boring. And suburban. Living in the suburbs doesn’t mean being boring… he might have lived there, but now he’s starting to belong there.

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    * * Sera G * *

    It’s not so much a prediction,(and no, I don’t read spoilers)as a feeling I’m being set up for a heartbreak. My favorite part of the show is the character study. Every season we learn a little bit more about why House is what he is.

    A recurrent theme is that House is afraid to be happy because his past has taught him that for him, happiness doesn’t last. He mentions it at the end of Now What. Cuddy remarks on it in Softer Side. Its a point touched on in many episodes. He wore his roguish facade like battle-armor to keep people from getting too close.

    I remember Wilson’s line in Son of A Coma Guy, ‘ that’ll just prove your theory that relationships are conditional and you don’t need human connection or deserve it or whatever is going on in that rat maze of your brain!’

    He has tested both Wilson and Cuddy over and over again. About why House and Wilson are friends, House told Nolan ‘I can say whatever I want to him and he’ll never leave.’ The same can be said, I think, about Cuddy. He feels as secure as House can feel with these two people.

    Allow me to wander a sec. Think of all the times House fell down e.g. when Wilson sabotages his cane, Cuddy sets a trip wire, someone near him always offered him a hand up and he never took it. You know what I really enjoyed about Now What? When he was on the floor of his bathroom and couldn’t get up, he reached up his hand for Cuddy to pull him up. I know that’s a metaphor for lifting him up emotionally, but I thought it was a beautiful way to make the point as we’ve never seen him allow anyone else to help him up. Ok, I’m done rambling.

    Now House is at a point where he’s given up drugs and invested himself fully and emotionally in a relationship with Cuddy. For a person so emotionally scarred as House, it is a brave and tenuous place to be. David Shore has always said about House’s growth, one step forward and two steps back…

    Regardless of what may happen in the future, I hope House remains with Cuddy and always has the comfort of his two friends.

  • ruthinor

    Derdriui…sounds like you mostly miss the drugged out days of unhappiness. It IS much easier to SHOW that w/o words. Why can’t you just accept the fact that what you find boring others do not? I like seeing him struggle to try and reach some sort of balance in his life. And the scenes between House and Cuddy are, to my mind, generally understated (not as understated as Grissom-Sarah, but what is?) relative to what you see on most shows between romantic couples. Why do you keep harping on why Cuddy decided to go for the relationship despite House’s ill-treatment of her in the past and yet you seem to accept the House-Wilson relationship in spite of the fact that House has treated him terribly over the years as well? They both obviously see something in him that they consider to be worth the price of admission. You appear to equate “good writing” with House never doing anything “normal” during the day. To me it just appears that you dislike the House-Cuddy relationship and so find it a bore. I can understand that. As I said earlier, there were arcs in the show that I found boring as well. It’s a matter of taste and I don’t think arguing about it is fruitful.

  • Derdriui

    Wilson isn’t House’s superior. Wilson’s some weird guy who for his own weird reasons still has House in his life.

    But the Wilson scenes have been pretty crap this season. The go-karting was cringeworthy. And the rest of it was Huddy-related. Which includes this week’s comedy extravaganza.

    House/Stacy wasn’t schoompy. It got to the point about the characters. There were no… dinner scenes, pointless ‘fun’ dates, domesticity etc. and the patient storylines in the episodes were good.

  • ruthinor

    No…instead, there were scenes of House and Stacy catching a rat together, washing dishes, waiting out a snowstorm while House continually asks her about her cross. Frankly, I don’t see much of a difference here. How many fun dates can you have with someone who is married to someone else and whose husband you are treating medically?

  • Sera G

    Hi, bigHousefan, #67.
    I, too loved the hand up scene in “Help Me”. As you said, that was the first time House accepted help or that he reached out to someone.
    Back, to the Stacy relationship. The reason that you didn’t see day to day stuff is that their relationship was in the past. We didn’t see quiet dinners, or reading the Sunday paper together or squabbles that all couples have. We saw a man coming to terms with a love that he let go. Whatever House did or should have done, it was too late. He is left with regrets and bittersweet memories. That also leaves him open to move forward with his life.
    We are going to just have to agree to disagree. I have never found this show boring. I don’t think it is now.
    We know these people better than we did seven years ago. When we first met Chase we were given slight clues into what made him the man he is. Now that we know and care about him, more revelations and events in his life are more meaningful to us. That is why we care about the day to day struggles that House experiences. We find the humanity in him and to me that is really interesting.

  • stillafan

    Arlene did allude to the fact at the end of the episode that her full on nagathon at cuddy was really as much a test to see if House really cared for cuddy – I loved his response..go House.

    I am also glad he made a bid for his own personal time and in the classic House way too – hope the writers don’t lose his inimitable Houseness – its his lack of people skills with his own way of dealing with that that makes him so watchable.

  • The Other Barnett

    The last thing I want to see is some kind of blowback for taking a night alone for House….we all need a night to rest.

    The beautiful moment of the show was not the drugging of Momma Cuddy, or even the shocked amazement of the soon to be passed-out Wilson. It was the brief scene of House helping Cuddy with the dishes, saying, “Isn’t this nice?” to Cuddy in such a pleasant and harmless way – it was wonderful!

    The promo of House using a clicker with Cuddy’s daughter…lovely! Best laugh I have had in months!

  • The Other Barnett

    Derdiui, you comment about Wilson as weird….I am not sure if that is true. I am wondering if the writers are doing more harm to James Wilson than he deserves to go through. He has lost a girlfriend, been used by a friend/patient of his for an organ, and has lost what he thought was the love of his life for a second time. House is trying to be more normal and the “Cabins” (13, Martha, Taub and Foreman – not so much Chase)are trying to be more responsible (less fawning or intimidated) and Cuddy can’t be too irritating any more without making every House fan and critic think “what the hell is he doing with her” – so that leaves Wilson to play some whack-job moments. I miss the Wilson before Amber….she broke him :)

  • The Other Barnett

    Sorry, one more comment, Barb. Don’t you think that Taub divorcing his wife is one of the best story turns in a while for someone other than House? I think it allows Taub to be less uptight and more himself….maybe something we really have not seen since the death of Kutner.

  • Michele1L

    Some of us seem to want the “House” of Season 1 thru 3. I believe if the character was ‘still there’ in that place he was when we first met him, this show would not be in its seventh season. Part of the reason that it has remained on the air so long and has such devoted viewers is because it is, as many of us have said, ‘a journey’. House’s dealing with Cuddy as his girlfriend and her daughter Rachel, despite its predictability, is a natural progression of his journey. Some may find this boring, but his story would make no sense without it.

    Someone said the “Unfaithful” episode was one of the best episodes of the series, and I am in complete agreement with that. Loved the POW, thought he did a great job, and I also loved the baby storyline with Cuddy and House. Fantastic.

    Am I the only one who misses House the musician?

  • Grace

    Boy, what a headache I have after reading the comments! I think I’ll do everyone a favor and not post mine.
    Good-night!