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TV Review: House, MD – “Big Baby”

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First and foremost, I must offer my congratulations to Hugh Laurie on his Screen Actors Guild Award for “best actor in a television drama series.” Laurie earns that award every episode, creating a deep, complex character who is both infuriating (and sometimes frustrating) and completely sympathetic. It’s a challenging role and Laurie makes it look so easy that it’s easy to overlook just how difficult it is to play. Surely the award from his peers (which I’m guessing Laurie values more highly — especially being his second — than any thus-far eluded Emmy award) recognized his achievements particularly in episodes like last season’s penultimate episode “House’s Head.”

I have to admit I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to “Big Baby.” We all know that House can be a petulant brat. And the occasion of Cameron taking over Cuddy’s day-to-day duties at the hospital (including babysitting House) would be a grand opportunity for this particular Gregory House to emerge. As House tells Cameron, vividly painting the peculiar scenario: “former student becomes the teacher…” and all of the humiliation that may bring. I’m not overly fond of House, the brat: he can be snide, mean, and even cruel with no good reason. With an episode title of “Big Baby,” I foresaw an episode of parallels between a screaming, out of control baby — and an over-the-top sullen and bratty House.

I was pleasantly surprised by this good, solid episode. I liked Cameron at first relishing the idea that she could control House by playing his game, but realizing that she actually could not. She knows how he thinks, and agrees with him and his unconventional take on medicine. How can she then say “no” when she knows he’s probably right (eventually), and that his path to the “right” answer is circuitous and bent at odd angles. Cuddy also knows House but she doesn’t really think like him, so she can distance herself from his more radical ideas, but can say “yes” when needed. As Cameron said towards the episode’s end, “I can’t say ‘no’ to him” after working for him for so long; another doctor would never be able to say “yes.” House would be frustrated — and he would not be able to do his job, which is not just practicing medicine, but also practicing an outside-the-box thinking that would elicit only a knee jerk “no” from anyone else. So, it’s got to be Cuddy. She can indeed say “no,” but also knows when to (even exasperatedly) say “do what you think is right” because she knows him.

But Cuddy this week is wrapped up in trying to be the mother she thinks she should be. Instead of finding herself cooing and gurgling in rapt joy at finally being a mom, she is depressed, lonely. Instead of happiness, she is feeling her jangled nerves ratchet up one more degree of rawness with every idiopathic shriek of baby Rachel. Cuddy believes that she lacks the “mom” gene resident in every mother, causing them to insta-bond with the new baby, thus relieving the constant irritation of baby screams and cries. She longs to play with grownups again and feels she’s made a terrible mistake. All I can say to Cuddy is “been there, sister.” And Lisa Edelstein nailed it right down to the frazzled and raw nerves. Thank you, David Shore, for refusing to make Cuddy “instant” power-mom. It was real, and brought back some of my own less fond memories of early motherhood.

I remember, if you might indulge a personal reflection for a moment (if you won’t, then scroll down), when my first child was about eight months old. My husband worked about an hour from home and usually arrived home around six. My mommy anxiety meter generally ran out right around the time he walked in the door, when I thankfully placed her into his able arms. One particular night, when our daughter had been screaming most of the afternoon, he phoned me about 10 minutes from the time he usually arrived home. He called to tell me he had a late meeting and would just then be leaving the office. As we hung up, I broke into tears, unable to handle the screaming alone for the next hour. And she and I cried together for very different reasons until she finally fell asleep, exhausted. Me too.

All of this is to say that I so related to Cuddy in this episode; it was all very real — compressed, but real. Like Cuddy, when the opportunity arose to return the office and be with other professionals, I grabbed for it, hiring a nanny. I was a better mom for it. As will be Cuddy. That is, if she sticks it out long enough.

In the meantime, her other baby, House, is testing the boundaries of Cameron. Will she run interference if he asks for something he should not? The question is whether House is pushing her because he wants her to push back or because he wants her to consent to whatever craziness he offers.

This week’s patient is a special education teacher, who connect with her students, finding infinite patience to tolerate even the most frustrating of them. House believes it’s a brain issue causing the patient’s symptoms; no one on the team agrees with him. As House predicts each step in the progress of her disease, he asks Cameron (almost gleefully, hoping to yank her chain to an extent) for permission to do risky tests and procedures.

But the first procedure for which he asks permission is one that he doesn’t want to do at all: total body irradiation. He asks her because he believes she’ll deny permission; but she doesn’t. It is Cameron who is trying to play House’s game, and effectively backs him into a corner. Despite Cuddy’s warning to her not to try and one-up House (“Do not engage him; do not play his games. You will lose.”) House is forced to pretend doing the procedure. Eventually allowing House to do a risky open-brain test, which involves removing the top of the patient’s skull, Cameron actually assists during the procedure, involving herself in House’s diagnostic process which makes her ultimately realize that no matter how correct House is eventually, he does sometimes take risks beyond the necessary. And because she is so attuned to the “whys” of House’s process, and understands his rationale for doing the things he does (and is often right because of them), she is unable to stop him.

Interestingly, House never subverts Cameron, never goes around her back, simply not asking permission. He never really begrudges her the opportunity to be the “student turned teacher.” Most other doctors would have found it humiliating and a slap in the face; House finds it slightly amusing, somewhat frustrating and interesting; but he never really is a “big baby,” becoming the petulant, screaming child I thought he would in the situation. House doesn’t harass her, causing her to run screaming from Cuddy’s office.

In the end, I think whether Cameron had quit or not, Cuddy would have run screaming from her own home for the refuge and relative quiet (and adult interaction) of the hospital. Wilson’s supportiveness is sweet, but not enough. (Hey, never mind that the big yenta couldn’t keep Cuddy’s profound doubts and depression a secret from House. Something, by the way, I think House would have kept quiet about.) But once House knows, he uses his knowledge to further inflame Cuddy’s feelings, both bluntly telling her what she’s really feeling (in his opinion), and coldly expressing his opinion on her options, all much to the shock of Cameron. When Cuddy hangs around the hospital for hours, it isn’t to brag about Rachel; it isn’t to hear the cooing of the nurses and smiles of her staff. She dreads going home to face Rachel alone. To the four walls of her house.

Eventually going home, she is called back (by remote) by Kutner to put an end to House’s brain procedure. She tries quieting Rachel while admonishing House and overruling Cameron. When the baby’s incessant crying won’t abate, the patient, who had been calmly engaged in the testing with House, grows increasingly annoyed and irritated — something that should raise her blood pressure but doesn’t. The screaming and irritation sends it into the tank. House believes that this is significant.

As House ponders this new bit of information, Cuddy visits him in his inner sanctum. I love when she enters his personal space, asking him to move over to make room for her on the footrest of his chair. She offers him the baby, and, in a surprisingly tender moment, he takes her and holds her while Cuddy looks at the two of them, eyes glistening. She wants House to accept Rachel in her – and his – life. It’s a neat moment. Not overdone; not sentimental, but a bit of a sweet surrender from House. And something that leads House to his signature epiphany moment about the case.

Monday marks House’s 100th episode. It looks like an excellent outing. But more about that from me later this weekend.

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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.
  • spicyride

    Thanks Barbara.
    I enjoyed this episode very much. I was on the edge of my seat watching it for some reason. Perhaps because I watched, for the first time (in a long time), unspoiled?
    I thought it was very well balanced.
    I really enjoyed the scene with House and Foreman. He lays it all out there to make it an easy decision… and then throws in the love thing.
    But my favorite scene had to be with House, Cuddy and Rachel. I always love those quiet scenes when you know he’s trying to figure something out. I love the way he looks at Cuddy while she explains her bond and then his reaction when she asks if he wants to hold her. It was very well done.

  • norma632

    Thanks a lot for your review, but I suppose that now House-s character is completely drained. I hope that incredibly talented (in fact genius) writer David Shore & Co must go further to create another deeper and more complicated character to continue this genius series without Hugh Laurie before TPBT will crush his soul in the Procrustean bed of the show.

  • Ariel

    This was by far one of the best episodes of the season, I loved House’s scenes with Cameron. It’s good to see there’s still great chemistry between these two actors after barely had any contact this season except in The Itch. I’m also amazed how much Jennifer Morrison has grown as an actress, she nailed that scene in Cuddy’s office with House and Kutner fighting over their diagnosis and House trying to guilt Cameron into letting him do a brain biopsy. Cameron did a great job in Cuddy’s role, I wouldn’t have minded having Cameron as House’s boss for a while. But this is not who Cameron is, she knows how House thinks which was also addressed in The Itch, and she can’t put barriers to House’s methods if it means he’ll be saving a patient.

    I don’t think Cuddy had a problem with Wilson telling House her doubts about motherhood, later in the episode she goes to Wilson and tells him that House might be right and she should dump the kid, she confesses she feels terrible and like a failure, I wonder if she wanted Wilson to tell House about this too, she shouldn’t care about what House thinks of her as a mother, it was her decision to have the kid not House’s. But I would have liked to see less of Cuddy dealing with her doubts about motherhood, I felt those scenes were disjointed and had nothing to do with the storyline, less is good.

    I’m not looking forward to next week’s episode, I loved my Cameron fix and I won’t be getting any.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks – as usual – for your great review. I thought it was a great episode; one of my favorites of the season. I loved the way the “love” theme was interwoven through all the subplots – love of teacher for students, love of students for teacher, awakening parental love, the romantic love developing between Foreman and 13. The PoTW was right – so many different kinds of love, plenty to go around, and each of them with a unique set of challenges.

    I like S4 and S5 Cameron much better than I used to. I thought her rising to the occasion was believable – as opposed to other times that I felt that attempts at “growth” for her were jarring, or inconsistent. I thought she (and the writers) handled her conflict between playing House’s game and admitting that she’ll always give in to him quite realistically. JM’s acting was delicate and subtle, and I bought was she was selling. I even enjoyed the rudeness she muttered to Cuddy under her breath in the OR! And I really liked it that Chase liked Cameron feeling her oats.

    I felt for Cuddy, although I couldn’t identify with her. I was fortunate enough to “insta-bond” when my oldest was born, and counted each precious day of a brief maternity leave like a pearl on a string, frazzle and all. I loved (and needed) my job, but there were no part-time options in my day, so it was all or nothing, and it was hard for me to go back. I heartily identified with her in the last scene though – heaving a heavy sigh as she left her baby crying in the arms of a clearly loving and competent nanny. I wanted to put my arms around her and assure her that things *will* get easier!

    I absolutely agree with your take on the scene between House/Cuddy/Rachel. I loved it. It reminded me that House himself would probably make an excellent father, if he ever gave himself half a chance. I thought of the exchange between Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey in “Busman’s Honeymoon”, where Peter asks Harriet what kind of a father she thinks he would make. She answers: “I know quite well. Casual, reluctant, apologetic and adorable”. House to a T.

    The teacher in me was so relieved that the PoTW still loved her students after she was cured! I was afraid of a NMMNG affect – when the PoTW showed signs of disliking what he had liked before.

    I agree with spicyride – I also thought the episode was very well balanced. It was a pleasure to watch. Shabbat Shalom!

  • Ariel

    She offers him the baby, and, in a surprisingly tender moment, he takes her and holds her while Cuddy looks at the two of them, eyes glistening. She wants House to accept Rachel in her – and his – life. It’s a neat moment. Not overdone; not sentimental, but a bit of a sweet surrender from House. And something that leads House to his signature epiphany moment about the case.

    You’re right, this scene wasn’t sentimental, and I’m glad for it, when Cuddy asked House if he wanted to hold her he rolled his eyes and mocked her if she thought they would bond, I didn’t see House surrender to Rachel’s in Cuddy’s life, that scene was there to lead House to his epiphany otherwise made no sense after the way House talked to Cuddy in her office.

  • http://neutrinothoughts.blogspot.com Marianna

    Always a pleasure to read your reviews Barbara :)

    Only some little points:

    -Am i the only one who loves Deran Sarafian’s distinguishable directing style? i can tell that he is the director of an episode right from the first frame. Love it, just love it. The dark, lustress colors, the angles of the camera, everything.

    -Am i the only one who literally yelled at the screen “UH-HUH YES IT IS!”, when House said “is that cute?” about the baby barf and him holding the baby? Cuteness allover -especially because it wasn’t forced and typical “baby cute”.

    -Ok, I don’t want to be one of those people who whines and complains about “where the show is going” (i love the show right now), but, BUT, it IS true that 13’s storyline is getting too big -and, too predictable, if i may add. Come ON, Foreteen love, babies, and now Foreman changing the meds? Too easy! I hope it’s just an arc, and that we will soon go back to the usual, House-centric episodes.

    -Robert Sean Leonard and Lisa Edelestein are pure gold -and their storylines expanding just as needed, never interfering too much with the major storyline (House is the centre! Always and forever).

    Looking forward for the 100th :))

  • le quartier latin

    First I should say my comment will be Cuddy centric as I came to see this character in a different light after this episode. And I should also say that I don’t have kids yet, so take that into consideration.

    In recent interviews Lisa Edelstein discussed how Cuddy is struggling with motherhood. Therefore, I knew it was coming, but I wasn’t sure how it would be carried out or how I’d feel about it. A part of me was a bit skeptical and worried that if not executed properly, I’d like Cuddy a bit less. After years of wanting a baby, trying in-vitro, adoptions, adoption falling through and the heartbreak, I didn’t want to see Cuddy simply say, “oops, this was a mistake.” I felt that a woman like Cuddy would have understood the implications of motherhood and I worried this storyline might end with her saying something cliché like, “I didn’t realize it would be this hard.” I have no doubt that every mother rightly has that realization at some point or another, but it’s usually after hours upon hours of sleepless nights, feedings, changings, etc… This is television and time is limited, so giving that very detailed background isn’t really possible. I think it’s extremely difficult to say such a line without it coming off as something completely stereotypical and forced. Luckily no such line was used and I felt the writers really handled this story well. It was realistic. Whew!

    Just the first scene, where Cuddy is seated in the rocking chair at the end of the long hallway, the lighting and lack of music, or any other noise for that matter, screamed isolation. Beautiful scene I thought. You could see how Cuddy feels so alone. She is handling everything by herself and has no one to share her joy or frustration. Small victories are trivial and her failures amplified in her own head when no one is there to be supportive. Like Barbara mentioned, Wilson’s kind words and reassurance every now and then are not enough. Cuddy is clearly overwhelmed and doesn’t really have someone to reassure her that babies take more than they give- as mentioned; they cry, eat and poop. I think there Cuddy may have been the most unprepared. She expected to instantly bond with the baby because that’s what women are told, but there’s no script and not all mothers bond at the same time or way. There’s no doubt Cuddy has chosen a difficult path, adopting, raising a child on her own, and having such a demanding job. There’s also no doubt she is a reflection of the modern woman, and as the modern woman, she’ll struggle with the rest of us in trying to balance it all and wondering if we can actually have it all.

    How House confronts Cuddy was dead on. I felt he was House being objective as needed in a situation where Cuddy is clearly subjective. He wasn’t as rude as we’ve seen him. I think he curbed his little speech knowing this is something Cuddy is deeply struggling with. Wonder what the conversation where Wilson told House about his visit with Cuddy was like.

    The scene with Cuddy on speaker made me feel very uncomfortable. Other than when she thought she was dying in Airborne, it was the most un-hinged we’d seen Cuddy. She had lost all control. I felt like I should turn away, felt like a voyeur watching a private breakdown that I think Cuddy would find embarrassing for anyone to witness. With the music and the scene building, I was actually nervous Cuddy was going to do something to the baby. It was that intense for me. The yelling and crying resulted in the connection Cuddy was looking for. Perhaps she had just been on autopilot making sure she was doing everything the way she was supposed to be, checking things off a list, but failing to actually emotionally breakdown and invest. I’ve been told being a mom is an emotional rollercoaster- can only imagine.

    Nothing to say about the scene with Cuddy, House and Rachel- Barbara said it perfectly.

    2 other quick comments as this has become much longer than I anticipated.

    – I found it interesting that both Wilson and Cameron referred to Cuddy by her first name when they were concerned. Again, it emphasized the fact that Cuddy was really at her breaking point and clearly depressed.

    – I think Lisa Edelstein did a fantastic job in allowing such a range of emotions surface. I always thought she was a good actress and makes the absolute most of every scene, but after House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart and season 5 I really think she needs some recognition. Hugh Laurie has always had the ability to allow so many emotions wash over his face without the need for words, but lately, I think she’s matched his brilliance in so many of her scenes.

    Okay lastly- Barbara, this was my first post, though I read all of your House articles. I look forward to them and enjoy how thought-provoking they are. Thank you!

  • londonbridge

    “In the end, I think whether Cameron had quit or not, Cuddy would have run screaming from her own home for the refuge and relative quiet (and adult interaction) of the hospital.”
    Do you mean the “adult” interactions she has with House while at work? Because those have been far from mature for most of the show’s run.

    “Wilson’s supportiveness is sweet, but not enough. (Hey, never mind that the big yenta couldn’t keep Cuddy’s profound doubts and depression a secret from House. Something, by the way, I think House would have kept quiet about.)”
    Cuddy was fine with Wilson doing that; so fine that she went back to Wilson to talk to him again. Cuddy knows Wilson well, and I bet she knew Wilson was going to tell House. She was playing him.
    I didn’t think this was one of the stronger S5 episodes. You left out the focus on Thirteen and Foreman, Foreman’s wonderful talk with Chase, and House’s great talk with Foreman.
    As for Cuddy’s “glistening” eyes, I think you’re reading far more into that than what was intended.

  • Debbie

    A few comments:

    *Thank for Barbara for an excellent review, as always. I too can relate to Cuddy’s emotional state and am thrilled that the writers made her emotions of newfound motherhood very real. Her feelings didn’t make her a bad person or a bad mother, just a real one.

    *I loved how “the moment” was typical Housian; the bonding moment between Cuddy, Rachel and House. Very touching and tender but not over the top sweet and adorable. I wouldn’t expect anything else from these characters.

    *From what I’ve read on other forums, I may be in the minority, but I do not mind the Foreman/Thirteen storyline. I find myself looking forward to what happens next. In fact I like the new team. I enjoy getting to know them and they each bring something to the show (I love how Kutner takes everything so literal and how that sometimes gets him in trouble!) Of course, I miss the old team. But I am still under the belief that last year’s writers strike was the reason for the lopsided new team/old team air time. I believe it would have been more balanced had we had a full season.

    *I loved Cameron last night. I loved how she was always one step ahead of House each time he requested a crazy test. I loved that she admitted to Cuddy that House was always in her head and that being the reason she couldn’t continue with the position. It showed growth but consistency to the character.

    *Hats off to Hugh for his SAG win. Very well deserved, indeed. And what a treat for us fans to get to hear yet another exceptional acceptance speech. He gives the best! And if I may indulge in a fangirl moment, I thought the cast looked stunning on the red carpet, especially Jennifer Morrison. She looked gorgeous!

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/01/30/131726.php j.i.m.

    Hello Barbara and fellow House lovers,

    I enjoyed House’s return to relative maturity in “Big Baby”. He was actually really sweet to Cameron. From House’s perspective, she is the second best choice, after Cuddy, for a boss.

    Did the ice bath for the patient have any relation to House’s childhood trauma? (“One Day, One Room”) I couldn’t draw any obvious connections other than the fact that House misunderstood his patient as his father misunderstood him. The patient truly loves her unusual children and feels at home with them as Cuddy truly loves House. Cuddy calls House “cold” when she is talking to Wilson. Does she feel that House has frozen her out since “Let Them Eat Cake” and “Joy to the World”? It is amazing how Cuddy keeps coming back for more from the seemingly cold House, as she does in the ‘baby puke’ scene (ignoring his command for her to leave).

    I like how House seems to be signaling to us his inner thoughts of Cuddy by the act of regarding the, now healed, mosquito bite site on the back of his hand. The bite that he worried into a wound in “Itch” is gone but he is still contemplating his recent emotional involvement with Cuddy and his subsequent decision to not get involved. It is a simple and subtle way to remind us of that thread.

    This signaling occurred when he took a beat in the middle of his dialog to regard his healed hand when he was talking to Cuddy in her office about giving back the baby. House said, “He was worried, it was a bad choice”. Nominally he was referring to Wilson, but, as always, several things are going on at once. The “bad choice” dialog coincides with his surveying the back of his hand. Was the kiss a bad choice (“Joy”) or the boob grab a bad choice(“Let Them Eat Cake”)?

    I enjoyed House’s mature advice to Foreman about 13 as well. While House is giving this advice, he again signals his contemplation of and preoccupation with Cuddy and their own possible future together by worrying at the underside of his hand in the same fashion that he had scratched at his mosquito bite in “Itch”.

    I also loved the dialog when Foreman and Chase were talking at each other in the cafeteria. Since we so rarely see Chase, I’m glad the writers are creating clever material for him.

    The next episode promises to be a doozy! Till then.

  • Mrs Jane

    Barbara, your article lacks comment on one very important scene and one refreshing scene.
    The refreshing one being Foreman and Chase in the cafeteria – reminded me of the great chemistry the old team had.
    The important scene you seem to have missed is House’s “If you love her,then you’d do stupid things.” – I was vry much surprised to hear House throw in a line like that after the usual House-ian reasoning about what Foreman should(not) do. It is a clear sign of the new winds in S5 and I think that’s what bothered norma632 (the second comment to your article). After 4+ years of misery, it is time for House to accept some novelty (a certain optimism, that is), although it does seem to me TPTB are moving a bit too fast with it.

  • Mrs Jane

    Ooops, seems j.i.m. covered it all before me. J.i.m. I agree with you to the point!

  • Luisa Borges

    Barbara, your review was on my top want list for this week. Really great insights.

    I really love season 5. To me each of House´s seasons have given me reason´s to like them. Season 1 was love at first sight, with its many insights into House´s M.O. and psyche; Season 2 House and Stacy, further info on how he was like, Cuddy started coming forward; Season 3, House´s pain, his addiction, the issues with the team; Season 4, his relationship with Wilson, his power play with Cuddy, the last two episodes; Season 5, discussion of bonds, love (not just in House´s life but in other characters as well), what it all means, loneliness, pain, trying to connect with people and the fear behind doing so, and, last but not least, House and Cuddy, discussion and play into that relationship was a long time overdue.

    Sure I´m over simplifying things but among several issues I love about each season the ones above kind of stand out to me.

    So, with this lengthy intro I say that I really liked “Big Baby”. Loves seeing a new side to House´s bickering skills, his play with Cameron was great to watch. I was wondering how he would get the best of her and the fact that he didn´t override her was a pleasant surprise. In the end her respect and admiration for him, and the way she goes about this feelings, are what got the best of her. No doubt Cuddy feels those two, but in her more at ease and “equal” relationship with House she feels more at ease expressing discontent and diverting opinions.

    Cuddy deserves a paragraph of her own. What an amazing episode for Lisa Edelstein, she really showed the real and raw emotions that play behind motherhood. The guilt over doing the wrong thing, the guilt over doing the right thing, the mourning for the lost life, the inability to read each and every baby coo (cam on not all Mom´s are horse whisperers). It was real, and real to lots of Mother´s that´s for sure (no, I´m not one yet but have seen my big sis go through just that).

    I liked Wilson´s attempts to comfort her and get her to think, he was sweet, until he spilled her issues that is. I´m kidding. But not much. And I agree that House would never have done that to her. But in the end I liked that House knew.

    House´s tough love approach to her was harsh, but also was what got her thinking. Cuddy never takes anything House says lightly and I like that. It shows her respect for him and her respect for how much she knows he knows her. It´s like they each know that they can push the others buttons and survive it because they know the feelings they share are strong.
    I also loved House´s love talk with Foreman. It showed his rationale, that love justifies it all, even doing something crazy, risky and extreme. It shows again his romantic side and also explains his view on love in the most ample manner, love for what you do, as well as love for someone.

    There could be more to talk about but I know I have already written something way too long, so I´ll leave it at that, this is what sticks out to me anyway. The main reasons I like “Big Baby”.

    And, last but most definitely not least, congratulations to Hugh on his SAG Win. What a great night to watch, to be perfect House should have won Ensemble also (but just the nomination was a grand event). His speech was the highlight of the evening for me. He is such a great guy and a superb actor.

  • Luisa Borges

    Hi, j.i.m., loved your commets.

    And one last thing. I adored the scene with House, Cuddy and Rachel, I´m with you Barbara 100% on your take on that.

    Also the baby puke was some funny unexpected payback for House´s antics in “Joy”. And his reaction was so cool, no big fuss about it.

  • Val

    Another great review Barbara and another pack full of wonderful comments! I really don’t have much to add anything more than what’s been covered regarding (Cam vs House, 14, new team, Wilson, Huddy moment)!

    I don’t have kids yet so I can’t say I know exactly what it feels like to bond or not bond with one’s child, but I know that the instant my 3 1/2 year old niece came running to greet me and hug me like she never had on previous visits was a feeling I’ll never forget. Lisa E was superb. Even though I didn’t know what it felt like, I felt for her. She should be right in there with Hugh for a nom at this years Emmys.

    To get my two bits in…

    –House’s conversation with Foreman really hit me for a couple reason’s: 1). after going to everyone Foreman saves House for last and eventually goes with his opinion. It was oddly similar to “One Day,One Room” (an episode that many don’t seem to like, but I did) when House went around asking everyone what he should do about the rape victim. 2). His last minute response to Foreman. A pre-“House’s Head/Wilson’s Heart”-Greg House would not have conveyed those last thoughts on love to Foreman, at least out loud. The accident and it’s aftermath appears to have had a profound effect (and continues to do so) on House; I think his reveals are coming at a good pace and I throughly enjoy it!

    –A thought regarding the beautifully simple scene btwn House/Cuddy/Rachel: I think that scene is essential. We know that Cuddy and House have a great amount of respect for each other professionally and personally; however, the baby/mother issue is quite a personal thing for them…it has been something between them since S2. Wilson didn’t get involved until S5 (even though he was once considered as a sperm donor)and House was obviously hurt by that. On House’s side his actions have shown that he respected her decision (i.e. helping her with the injections, keeping her desire a secret from his staff and BFF Wilson, etc), and on Cuddy’s side we’ve seen that his words do affect her (S3 “Finding Judas” her tearful admission to Wilson and S5 “Joy” the prelude to the beautiful kiss as he basically takes back the FJ comment and says she’d be a great mom. That moment with the three of them brought all those struggles full circle–a sort of ‘thank you’ to House? He was with her in the beginning and she still wants him there now.

    Lastly, I have to admit I literally jumped up and down for joy when they announced Hugh Laurie’s name at the SAG awards. My brother surely thought I was going over the top…Congrats to Mr. Laurie for a well-deserved award!

    Well, it seems I added more than I intended. That’s what House does to me…More season 5!

  • marie

    firstly ..well done to Hugh on his SAG award …I was really thrilled for him …

    thank you Barbara I enjoyed the review as usual, you seem to know House very well ..I loved it all I really loved him with the baby not overdone not too fussy , just right ..but I also loved the scene with Foreman I thought House was wonderful at the end when he said “unless you love her ” ,god !! I had chills down my spine it was like he was remembering stuff he had done himself for the sake of love , which is very unusual insight into House.s character , I maybe the only one who read it as such but it doesnt matter I enjoyed it so much I will continue to believe it …lol .

  • Sheelagh

    I’ve been checking daily for your review Barbara and so glad to see it up. I think it’s safe to say that I’m almost as addicted to your site as to the show under discussion. Nice work.

    I really enjoyed – and was relieved to some extent – by both this last episode ‘Big Baby’as I was by the preceding episode “Painless’. There seems to have been a slight pull back on the level of ‘snarck’ that House has been exhibiting this season. I know the writers want to maintain House’s edginess but they risk loosing viewer sympathy for the character if he consistently crosses the line and becomes unsympathetic. We need those moments of tenderness between House & the supporting characters.
    House was still guarded with Cuddy & Rachel in his office…but he did ‘make room for her’ plus hold the baby. If only this characters could be so clear on what they need emotionally from one another…well…then there would be no show.

    I think viewers sometimes forget that House isn’t a ‘tough love’ expert, or even often ‘right’ about how he perceives emotional issues. He IS honest in calling things as how he sees them, or how they best suite his plans….but he can be very wrong & manipulative about human interactions(‘Autopsy’being an example).
    Was he right to be so brutally honest to Cuddy in her office when she was in such pain ? It was in keeping with his character, but it was cruel to ‘out her pain’ in front of Cameron. House wants the baby competition gone. House just doesn’t get that that he was insensitive…or he doesn’t care that he was. He’s flawed. His anger & need drive him.
    Both Cuddy & House made a botch out of trying to explore their initial connection and now both parties have their deflector shields up 98% of the time . The anger is palpable. Right now House just knows that he wants Cuddy back in his orbit in the hospital and he is overtly jealous of baby Rachel(although he wouldn’t see it that way). Cuddy has gone into hiding after aggressively invading House’s personal & professional turf to pursue their connection and ended up with a huge push back from him. Neither of them knows yet how to be vulnerable to the other. And the desk just sees there like the elephant in the room.
    David Shore has said there will be a ‘hook up’ between these characters and I can only hope he intends the degree of intimacy between the characters to be emotional as well as physical. (Some other fan blogs are getting downright offensive on this topic). I hope House & Cuddy’s intimacy grows out of moment of protectiveness & tenderness towards one another. It’s been a loooong season of snark for me.

  • angulargyrus

    The episode title “Big Baby” is also a subtle reference to the POTW’s patent ductus arteriosis, which is a congenital heart defect that is usually diagnosed in the neonatal period. In terms of her heart, she is, in fact, a Big Baby.

  • Wnkybx

    Thank you, Barbara, for your excellent review.

    I had a more lukewarm reaction to “Big Baby” than the rest of you did, mainly because I felt very distant from House during the episode. I also found his sexual banter with Cameron surprisingly off-putting (and I say surprisingly because he always seems to make lewd comments); it’s almost as if the writers were trying too hard to appease the House/Cameron shippers to make up for the House/Cuddy dynamic this season. I think all of the actors did a great job, but overall something about the writing just seemed a bit off this episode.

    Barbara, I agree with your assessment of Cuddy’s situation. David Shore really would have done a great disservice if Cuddy, who struggles to maintain any sort of relationship in her life, suddenly became a super-mom whose loneliness was miraculously alleviated by a baby. I really feel for her character. Without revealing too much, I am also in the medical field and have no idea when (or if!) I will be able to settle down while continuing to make progress in my career. I found Cuddy’s situation very compelling and believable, and Lisa Edelstein did such a wonderful job with it.

    I loved how at the end of the episode, the patient, despite having food and drink spilled on her, still hugged her student with genuine joy and affection. Both she and Cuddy proved House wrong … it is possible to form connections with people (or in this case children) that simply cannot be explained by physiology or logic. I also loved how a vase of yellow tulips was prominently on display outside the patient’s room; the tulips could mean happiness or, if you prefer the archaic meaning, hopeless love.

    As for the other characters: I have not been anti-13 as most House fans seem to be, although I do miss the original cast. Kutner is definitely a positive new addition to the team, and I love how he was the check on House this episode, despite being the one “thinking outside of the box” in previous episodes. I think his character is due to evolve, and I look forward to watching him more. I was really happy to see Wilson return to the mix and hope he will be around more in future episodes.

    Looking forward to Monday …

  • Laura

    it’s almost as if the writers were trying too hard to appease the House/Cameron shippers to make up for the House/Cuddy dynamic this season. I think all of the actors did a great job, but overall something about the writing just seemed a bit off this episode

    It’s clear to me that you’re not a House/Cameron fan otherwise you would know what we consider to be a shipper moment between House and Cameron.

  • Sue

    Barbara,

    A very nice review, but it seemed more narrow in its scope than usual. No mention of the Foreteen storyline.

    One small scene that I don’t think anyone mentioned was when House watched the patient hug the student at the end. House had just come from holding Rachel in a touching scene with Cuddy where neither one of them seemed to have their protective walls up. It seemed to be an expression of regret on House’s face that Cuddy was moving on with her life and he was stuck where he is. Cuddy will have a child to hug, and he won’t. I don’t know if the patient had already had her heart surgery or not, because it would be hard to hug a child with an incision on your chest. If she had had the surgery, and she still wanted to hug the child, it would have meant that the heart problem didn’t cause her to love the children. She just loved children regardless. House’s expression showed a lot of frustration with his path in life.

    I don’t think House was being mean to Cuddy when he outed her in her office in front of Cameron. I think he was making it easier for her to give the baby back if she really wanted to. He took away the stigma of relinquishing a baby by making it cut and dry. Not a big deal. No harm, no foul. She tried it and it didn’t work out for her, so what is the big deal? By doing it in front of Cameron, he took away Cuddy’s reproach back to him. If they had been alone, all Cuddy would have gained from the conversation would have been to tell House he was being an ass. By saying what he did in front of Cameron, he sounded like the ass but the topic was out in the open and Cuddy didn’t have to explain it to anyone herself. Also, by putting it out there, it caused Cuddy to find the connection with Rachel so she could prove House wrong.

    I hope the payoff next week is worth all of the 13 and Foreteen scenes we had to sit through. Neither of the characters has the personality to make me care so far. I did like House telling Foreman to do “silly things” if he was in love.

    I laughed out loud when the baby spit up on House. I loved how Cuddy reacted to House holding her. I liked that House did not get angry at that.

    I liked that Cameron held her ground with House, but I found her to be expressionless. There was not much difference in her demeanor in the scenes with House in Cuddy’s office. Cameron used to be very dimensional, and now she is almost robotic. She is too sterile, like 13 is. Unfortunately, House and the old ducklings are flatter in personality than they were in the first three seasons. The only characters who have retained their full scopes are Wilson and Cuddy.

  • Sheelagh

    Forgot to mention how much I liked Wilson’s scenes as he stayed true to his character by being so drawn to Cuddy ‘s neediness; manipulating the story of the ‘aging baby photo’ but for all the right reasons and then ‘outing’ Cuddy’s distress to his friend House because he needs to share his worries too. It was all very sweet and frustrating and bang on character, and reminded me why I treasure the kindly but manipulative Dr. Wislon.

  • AUSSIE

    first i would like to say that i check everyday, sometimes several times a day, waiting for your updates, and they never disappoint.

    i dnt know if im reading too much into it, but in season 2 cameron was all hung up because cuddy put foreman in charge instead of her, and i think it might have been chase who told her it was because she was so attached and emotionally involved with house that she couldnt be objective. Now cuddy has put her in charge, does this mean that cameron is finally and completly over house? and now is ready to commit to chase? wedding?

    i agree that cuddy was using wilson to let her problems with rachel known to house, but her not telling house herself shows that she is sooo far off being able to be with him. i mean, how can they hope to have anything if she cant talk to him about things that matter to her. she couldnt tell him that she was pregnant in season 3 to his face, well not in so many words, and she still cant say how she honestly feels because she is too afraid of him and what he might say/do.

    one last thing, they dont show new episodes in australia at the same time as america, the last one on tv was “last resort.” any ideas on how i can watch them without having to search the net every week?

    and congrats to hugh on his well deserved win.!!

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara.
    Great comments from all. I enjoyed “Big Baby” more than I thought that I would. I, too, feared that a petulant, bratty House would be on display. Very glad that was not the case.
    A few things I liked/loved:

    * Cameron handled Cuddy’s job much better than I had anticipated. She also got to see that it isn’t easy being Cuddy. Liked that she could admit she couldn’t be objective about House.

    * Liked Foreman’s chat with Chase. I am growing more fond of the new team, but that scene made me miss the bonding that has taken place with the old team.

    * Was it just me? Chase with a scruffy face and Cameron in a dress? Made me think kids playing dress up. I don’t mean that in a condecending way, just that they were like a younger H/C.

    * Was amazed when House said, “…unless you love her. Love makes you do stupid things.” That was worth 5 seasons to hear!

    * LOVED the scene with House/Cuddy/Rachel. It could have been bad; either him too gruff and reluctant or her pushing too much for House’s acceptance. They handled it perfectly.
    Rarely do I feel the writers get their interactions wrong. (LTEC is my only objection.)

    IMHO, season 5 is turning out to one of the most complex and best of them all.

  • Wnkybx

    “It’s clear to me that you’re not a House/Cameron fan otherwise you would know what we consider to be a shipper moment between House and Cameron.”

    Hi Laura, I certainly did not mean to offend any House/Cameron fans. You are absolutely correct in that I do not know what all House/Cameron fans consider to be true shipper moments; I don’t follow shipper communities. To explain: my comment comes from cynicism after watching Fox dramas jerk around fans who rally around possible romances. It’s as if Fox thrives on unresolved sexual tension, and this episode has some strong flirtation between House and Cameron … so I concluded that a few execs decided to revive that tension. From season 4 onwards, it just seems that the show is being tailored more towards ratings (hence the increased 13 screen time and recent ad space to hook Fox’s target demographic which seemed to backfire), and my cynical take on the episode is that the House execs don’t want to alienate Cameron fans completely this season, although I suspect they’re going to lose viewers anyway who are frustrated with the lack of screen time Cameron and Chase are receiving.

    Overall, season 5 is shaping up to be my favorite season (I was starting to get bored of the same old formula), and please know that I am not out to jab at or attack any community!

  • Buds

    Awesome review, BB. Took a little time, but it was well worth the wait.

    First of all, congratulations Hugh Laurie for once again winning a much deserved award. I just wish that RSL had received a best supporting actor’s award as well.

    I was surprised as well that you didn’t mention the House-Foreman conversation. House actually advocating that love makes people do stupid things was a huge shock. Where did that come from?

    Things I liked in this episode –
    *House-Cameron: very very nice to see them getting some screen time together again (not that I am a Hameron/Huddy/Hilson or any other fan) it was just fun to see them sparring with each other again like in the old days.
    *House-Cuddy: At the time when House lets loose his tirade on giving the baby away, I feel Cuddy was just trying to run away from her current situation. She needed to hear that from him in order to face reality. The scene in House’s office with Rachel was also very beautifully done.
    *Chase-Foreman: It was cool to see how the old ducklings have bonded so well. Even the short scene when Foreman asks Cameron for advice was awesome.
    *Cuddy was just amazing in this episode.

    Things I didn’t like –
    *No House-Wilson scene at all in this episode (or the previous one for that matter). I miss their casual, fun banter :(
    *The 13-14 thing is starting to get really annoying and totally unbelievable now. Its amazing how they actually managed to put the two most irritating characters in the series together and ended up giving them more screen time. I just hope this arc ends soon.
    *We had been promised more clinic patients!!! Where are they? They are some of the most hilarious scenes in the earlier seasons. Bring them back, please.

  • byzantine

    Dear Barbara,

    Thank you for your wonderfully thoughtful review and for the opportunity you give us here to express our opinions about the complicated and multifaceted character of House.

    While watching “Big Bay” I thought that one of the episode’s themes was about matters of the heart v/s matters of the mind. House has always tried to scientifically explain people’s feelings, especially when they are positive—there is a chemical reaction, a genetic predisposition, a paraneoplastic syndrome, there is something rational, and very often life-threatening, behind all that goodness…Remember “No More Nice Guy.” I am not certain, but perhaps it was not coincidental that he thought that the patient of the week, Sarah, had a problem with her brain, the seat of our rational thoughts (in the most generic way of thinking, of course), and it turned out that she had a heart defect. When Cuddy brought Rachel in his office and attempted to describe to him her bonding with the baby, he immediately defined it as a chemical reaction, and a genetic predisposition. And yet at the end of the episode he was given food for thought that may be not all good things that people feel for each other, whether love, affection, or compassion, can be identified with chemical formulas and genetic combinations. His patient, now diagnosed and perhaps already being treated, still liked, or perhaps even loved, the young autistic boy even though he spilled juice all over her. She did not have a fit, she hugged him instead. At that moment House looked into her room, face thoughtful and even startled. Is he wrong about the scientific formulas which he tries to apply to everything? Could he scientifically define his own, slightly amused reaction to the fountain of Rachel’s puke? I doubt it.

  • Lisa G

    Hello everyone
    Barbara – Thanks for once again giving us a good article on House and a place to read everyones thoughtful and interesting oppinions. On the my first viewing I enjoyed Big Baby as the “balanced Episode” it was. On my second viewing I found so much more in it and really fell in love with it. I agree with your take on the show – which many of your readers echoed. Some in a very interesting way – so I will not get into everything I loved about this epi. But I do want to discuss the title as applied to House. It is true that House ( thankfull) did not act like a big baby with Camaron. This was done very well. But I think where Cuddy was concerned House was a big baby. During most of the episode he continued his jealosy toward Rachel and resented how much of Cuddy’s time he lost becaues of her. I think that is where the cold comment to Cuddy about giving her baby back stemed from. I have to agree with Sheelagh’s take here. But on the other hand I do not think that it was done to intentionally hurt Cuddy. To me it seemed like House was giving a narrow, but logical assesment, of the situation keeping in mind his own benifits. You can get rid of the baby and things can go back to normal. I do not think he would have givin the same advice if Cuddy had gone to him for help or if he had witnessed her true emotional distress himself. I think in that case he would have overcome his selfishness and given her a fuller assesment of the situation. So I don’t think he was being mean – just acting like an extreemly intellingent, genius baby.
    Which brings me to why I adored the scene between House, Cuddy and the baby. It was written just perfectly. House’s initial babyish “you can leave now” comment. Cuddy ignoring the comment and asking House to move his legs so she can sit. And then House actually holding the baby. Making an attmempt to not be a baby himself. The way he not only didn’t get upset about the puke but instead turned it into a minilecture on evolution was perfect. Also the way he quitely inserted a compliment to Cuddy about her hips was quite nice. You know he must have been noticing the way she looked in pants these last two episodes. And then to top it off the fact that that moment lead to his solving the potw ‘s medical mystery was great.
    I love how House is evolving this season and yet he is still so House-like. What a great season it is turning out to be.
    Cuddos to Hugh, the writers and especially L.E. – what a magnificant performance this week. She deserves her own award.

  • Lisa G

    byzantine – i love your take on House looking into the patients window at the end of the episode. You are right House does try to explain people’s feelings in scientific terms and she doesn’t fit. You have given me one more thing to think about concerning House. Maybe he is starting to realize that not all feelings can be explained away as a defect or survival trait. Could House have possibly bonded with Rachel in some very small way? probably not.

  • barbara barnett

    Hi all. Real Life intervenes and has kept me away from the column since I it was published yesterday afternoon. My daughter has just become engaged and things are fairly insane for the moment. Good insane, but insane.

    Thank you for all of your comments. I did write a narrower review this time (sometimes I do that) as Cuddy’s motherhood issues really rang a bell with me. I was remiss in not talking about the scene between House and Foreman, so I will talk about it here.

    It was a fabulous and telling scene. It’s interesting that Foreman finally (and lastly) went to House. He’d already gone to Chase and Cameron and felt that he’d get validation of doing something to help 13 from House, who is the master at breaking, bending and ignoring ethical rules.

    He asks Foreman to make a calculation and to look into the future, weighing the costs vs. benefits of his actions (long term). Is helping 13 get another year or two out of her life without actually curing her worth his career? If not…then no. It’s not worth it.

    And Foreman accepts House’s advice (although I suspect he wasn’t going to listen to it, as it didn’t play into Foreman’s view of the world). But then House stops. “Unless you love her…then you do the stupid things.” This is something that House has said or otherwise articulated several times before. And it points to House’s (rather quirky) romanticism and romantic soul. If you love someone, you do things that are stupid because it’s all you can do.

    I loved that small but significant scene a lot.

  • http://mycha-kk.livejournal.com/friends mychakk

    Hello :)

    I’m usually a lurker here (I read all of your great essays, and even written a few looong ones on my own in the past, but now I lack the time…) anyway I just wanted to say THANK YOU to you for sharing your personal experience at being mom with us. I’m not a Mother (hopefully one day I’ll be :) ) but I love children, and being a somewhat idealistic person, I tend to believe I’ll be this super mom that conects with her child instantly. I couldn’t relate to Cuddy in this episode. I was so disappointed in her and I didn’t exactly understood the climax of the cring scene. I think I need to re-watch it once more… anyway your retelling of your experiences has brought a new light to this episode and I want to say thank you for this :) I’ll re-watch this episode with it in my mind :)

    I have a question. Do you think that Cuddy’ll keep the baby or not? Somehow the last shot of Cuddy makes me lean onto the other option… What’s your opinion? (I’m still two pages short of finishing your essay, so ignore it if you’ve given an answer to this problem…)

    Once more thank you :)

  • barbara barnett

    mychakk–(and all of you new commenters)–welcome!

    do I think Cuddy will keep Rachel? I honestly don’t know. If she does, RAchel will be kept in the background and become part of the series fabric like Foreman’s parents. There, but not there. We seldom see Cuddy at home, so if she has a nanny to take care of her, she could keep her and have her fade away from the story narrative except in subtle ways.

  • Lisa G

    Congratulations on your daughter’s engagment Barbara. Lots of luck to her and your whole family :)

  • nate

    First, let me just say that this is by far the best site for House. Barbara, I love your theories on house, and feel that this site is a place for people to have real, adult discussions. I, like many am not a shipper. It would be interesting with House and Cuddy, just for an arc. I’d be fine with House and Cameron as well. But, I don’t watch the show waiting for these hook ups. I watch because of House. Also, I like many people miss the old team.
    But, Barbara I have a theory. No one else seems to agree or reply on other sites, so I thought i’d do it on here.
    My theory is Chase will euthanize thirteen by the season’s end. I’m one for observation, like you, and think that thirteen’s increasingly large amounts of screen time is so everyone gets drenched in her story, so her death will have an impact.
    I really don’t want to say this, but a big part of me wants thirteen to die. I don’t mind the character, but I would rather have Chase and Cameron back in her amounts of screen time, instead of her. It’s nothing against the actress, I actually really liked her on the Black Donnelly’s, but I find her story to be overshadowing house. What do you think? Do you think that the writers are feeding us thirteen, so in the end her death will be unforgettable? Or do you think that thirteen will be on the show for more seasons to come?

  • Alessandra

    One of the best episodes of this (beautiful, anyway) season: it is touching and catchy and surprising without being House’s Head or No Reason.
    A little piece of (very) good writing and (very) good acting wrapped up in the normal episode’s paper: that’s why I appreciated it so much.
    Not to talk about the scene with House and Rachel: I expected something more…sentimental…or at least I expected House to say something, I don’t know what. Something rude to Cuddy, something thoughtful, something. And fortunately this came to be a true, touching scene without any need to talk. Just sights: House to the baby, Cuddy to House, House to Cuddy, Cuddy to the baby. All of them connected by their eyes and no words. I found this a brilliant gateaway from a scene that could have been kind of dull…
    As always, bye Barbara! I’m looking forward to the 100th episode! …and your review.

  • Sue

    Barbara,

    Mazal Tov!

    When women have babies, their bodies secrete hormones, I think one is prolactin, that cause the woman to bond to her baby. Adoptive mothers do not have this hormone running through them, so bonding is harder.

    To comment #23 Aussie-go to http://www.watchhouseonline.com to see any episode of House up to the current one on American tv.

  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    House holding that infant must have been nice for HL having three kids, although I suspect it’s been a bit beyond puking by now.
    Barbara, could you suggest sometime USA rerun episodes SAME NIGHT as when they appear on FOX? The week plus delay is ridiculous.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, mazal tov on your daughter’s engagement! Much bracha v’hatzlacha to all! I know what you mean about good insane – my son became engaged 2 weeks ago, and even tho’ it wasn’t a surprise, we kicked into high gear, and went from 0 to 60 pretty fast. I hope you enjoy every minute of the ensuing time – that’s what I plan to do :-)

    “Unless you love her…then you do the stupid things.” This is something that House has said or otherwise articulated several times before. And it points to House’s (rather quirky) romanticism and romantic soul. If you love someone, you do things that are stupid because it’s all you can do.”

    I think that this also highlights one of House’s significant challenges as a highly cerebral individual, in that love can make a person act in ways that are directly in conflict with what that person knows “intellectually” to be the right or appropriate thing to do – exactly as we see Foreman do.

    This must be especially difficult for House, as a – I want to say “prisoner”, but that’s not really the right word – as someone so controlled by his intellect that it becomes almost a physical hardship for him to let emotion have its sway.

  • barbara barnett

    Nate–and everyone. Thank you so much for your very kind words about this space. Addressing your specific comments about Chase euthanising 13. Hmmm. Interesting idea, since we know that Chase doesn’t have an issue with euthanasia. Foreman is opposed to it (but he could still do it, since he’s “in love” and might do those “stupid things” that House says people in love do.)

    My guess is that 13 is headed for a crash and burn. But I speak not from knowledge but gut feeling.

    Sue–thanks for the mazal tov.

    NancyGail–because USA is owned by NBC/Uni and Fox licenses the series from NBC, there must be a contractual thing about how soon after first airing USA can do it.

  • Danielle

    A crush and burn as 13’s going to be written off the show?

  • barbara barnett

    Orange–todah rabah! NancyGail–I could see it happening, but I have nothing at all in the way of knowledge to support it. In other words it’s one plausible scenario. But anything else is just as likely (including that she stay)

  • Sue

    You can watch episodes on the Fox website 8 days after the show airs. You can see any episode online at http://www.watchhouseonline.com. I am not sure how soon after it airs you can find it there.

  • nate

    I’m not pulling the euthanasia out of the air. In an interview Chase (Jesse Spencer) said the writers were giving him something concerning euthanasia. From then on, I began to wonder, and right away I came to the conclusion that thirteen was going to die by the end of the season.
    I’m not sure if anyone has seen Six Feet Under, but if you have, take Lisa in place of Brenda. It seemed weird and like she was getting all the time, but then suddenly disappeared, and soon was found chewed up on the shoreline.
    I think another reason that the opening isn’t different, is because not all the cast is set yet. I think, come season six, Kal Penn, and Peter Jacobson will be in the credits, but Olivia Wilde will not. I may be wrong, but it seems that she is part of a long, extended arc. Kind of like Tritter, Vogler, or Stacy, but instead of six or seven episodes, she gets a couple of seasons. I guess I would love to see it, not only because Chase and Cameron would return, but because it would be an amazing thing to see. Just imagine it:
    A distraught, and broken thirteen lies in the bed, her eyes glistening, while Foreman sits out in the lobby, knowing of her decision, and respecting it. Some amazing music comes in the background, and Chase inserts a needle filled with morphine, or something fatal into her blood stream. As the song continues, you flash to House standing outside of the glass door, resting his weight on his cane, wide eyed, and speechless. As the season ends, her eyes close, maybe flashing a few scenes from her past, and then the credits roll.
    As you can tell, I have thought about how poignant it would be, and how the show would return to House without a background character being front and center. Katie Jacobs, and David Shore have said they may get rid of one character by the end of the season, but aren’t going into detail. I doubt they’d cut Foreman, and they already promised that Chase and Cameron return next season, finally with something to do. So, it would have to be either Kutner (I hope not), thirteen (it’d be nice), or Taub (he has grown on me.) Whatever way you look at it, it has to be one of the new three. Getting rid of anyone else (like Wilson, or Cuddy) would cause many people to abandon the show, I wouldn’t, but many people would.
    Finally, to get to the episode Big Baby. I thought it was great. It felt very even, and I loved seeing Cameron take Cuddy’s job. I noticed someone else said what I was thinking about her wondering why Cuddy didn’t put her in charge of house instead of Foreman. I thought it was interesting, and exactly what I expected from it. The banter was playful, yet tense, and awkward. Lisa Edelstein did a great job in this episode, it all seemed very real.
    To be honest, I usually don’t review episodes, I rather speculate on what’s to come. And as usual, something amazing is on the way. I feel it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/01/30/131726.php j.i.m.

    Orange, I very much enjoyed your summary of House’s inner struggle. You wrote,

    “I think that this also highlights one of House’s significant challenges as a highly cerebral individual, in that love can make a person act in ways that are directly in conflict with what that person knows “intellectually” to be the right or appropriate thing to do – exactly as we see Foreman do.”

    I’ve been rereading “Persuasion” this weekend and your comments, Orange, about House’s struggle to eliminate emotion and sensibility from his life and rely exclusively on reason reminds me of Anne Elliott at the age of 19. But 7 years later the narrator of “Persuasion” could observe of Anne, “She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequence of an unnatural beginning”.(Ch.4)

    But it’s anyone’s guess if House will ever follow in Anne’s footsteps and act on his natural romance which he continually forces into unnatural prudence. Three years ago, with Stacy, House relied on reason to determine his life choices. Recently, with Cuddy, he has made a similar decision based on rational thought. But his romantic sensibilities torture him, physically and mentally. Good! It is the natural result.

    Judging by the baby puke scene, Cuddy is not going to react like Captain Wentworth and resent House and his rejection of her for 7 weeks, much less 7 years. Her resilient bond of more than 20 years with the cold intellectual doesn’t make any sense, but it is real and it is still there, to which I believe House feels profoundly grateful.

  • Wnkybx

    Nate, that is some interesting speculation. The problem with euthanizing 13 is that it’s illegal outside of the Pacific Northwest and certain European countries. I don’t see Chase throwing away his career and risking jail time for 13’s sake. I could see the euthanasia storyline revealing more about House’s continued struggle with pain as well as 13’s thoughts of moving away for that option. Regardless of whether 13 actually gets written off the show, I bet she won’t be around as much next season because the cliche of having a hot bisexual girl high on drugs and sass really backfired. Just out of curiosity, when did Chase express his neutral views on euthanasia?

    Sheelagh – I liked your comment about Wilson. Although Wilson broke a pattern in falling in love with Amber, I wonder if he’s going to return to his days of trying to woo needy women.

  • L.Lilly

    Nate, as much as I would be glad to see Thirteen disappear forever, I can’t imagine the euthanasia scenario so soon. Unless the new drugs cause her health to quickly deteriorate, we’ve been told (or WARNED, depending on whether you like her or not) that Hadley has at least 10 years before things start to get very bad. Perhaps I misunderstand something; I refuse to watch these Thirteen-centric episodes again, so I may have missed something. I can’t imagine Chase or anyone else being able to euthanize her if she still has a number of good years left, especially when she still looks young and attractive.

  • barbara barnett

    Chase expressed his opinion about euthanasia in “Informed Consent” in Season three. Foreman refused to even consider it due to the potential to tank his career; Cameron waffled and ultimately it was she who ended Ezra’s life.

    The only way I can see it coming to that state with 13 is if something goes really awry with her clinical trial and she suffers irreparable effects from it and circles the drain early rather than 10 years from now.

  • nate

    That’s what I was talking about. I think thirteen will have some effect from the drugs that makes her incapacitated, and unable to practice medicine. I think she’ll go down the drain until deciding that she just wants it to end. Again, it’s only one possibility I think could get her off the show. Then again, maybe she’ll quit house’s team. I’d like to hear what other people’s predictions are. It’d be interesting to hear.

  • Eve K

    One of the reasons that I like this blog is that it has been spoiler free. It has also been prediction-free to some extent. I think its more interesting to comment on episodes already made. It enough material and different layers to discuss in the episodes already made isn’t it?

    Or else we may find ourselves way over in fan-fiction land?

  • Orange450

    j.i.m., how pleasant once again to discuss House and Co., in the context of classic literature!

    In an interesting contrast to Anne Eliot – I think that House may actually have been more likely to act on his emotions earlier in his life. We know that far from being solely a cold intellectual – he hides so much feeling under his surface. The circumstances of his life have probably proved to him time and again that he’s safer going with pure reason. And Anne was very much influenced by Lady Russell when she was younger – it was only after she learned to trust her own decision-making abilities rather than those of her chief persuader that she was able to come to her happy conclusion.

    Maybe House needs to take some input from Elinor and Marianne Dashwood of “Sense and Sensibility” :-) Before they could achieve happiness, each had to learn to temper their primary characteristic with a portion of the opposing one. The notes in my edition of the novel include the phrase: “the novel is about a kind of moral perception that includes both feeling and judgement”. It’s House’s challenge to learn to combine the two. Right now, I think Cuddy is doing better at it than he is.

  • Kyrpio

    Eve K – thanks for that last comment, I agree with you about commenting on previous episodes being more interesting, and I like to find out things as the writer’s intend – ie House and Cuddy’s kiss caught me by surprise!

    J.I.M. – you made a really interesting (for me) comment on House’s inspection with his hand – I failed to make the link between that and ‘the itch’ – thanks for pointing it out, I’m gonna have a re-watch now!

    A lot of people have commented on Foreman and Chase’s conversation, my personal favourite line was Chase’s (disapproving) ‘she’s started dressing like Cuddy’. I miss Chase, and I’d like to see Kutner and him share some screentime, I’ve said before, but I think Kutner is under-used, and while I don’t dislike 13 as others do, think his is a more interesting character, rather than a character driven primarily by the situations written for her. Does that make sense? 13 is quite bland day to day, a few sarcastic comments here and there, and all the character development takes place within the larger situation – hostages, drug trials, girlfriend collapsing. Without anything dramatic happening, Kutner has a strong, consistent character. I don’t think I’m expressing this particularly well, but if they’d given 13 a persona other than ‘the mysterious one’ during the survivor-arc, I might find her more engaging. This week, she suddenly expresses a wish to have children, which felt like a plot contrivance, whereas Kutner stands up to House for what he believes is right, something that rings true based on his past (treating a patient outside the hospital to allow her some fresh air, giving an electric shock to a patient who wasn’t dry enough because they were running out of time). Anyway, I’m sidetracking. I guess I feel 13 is like Tritter or Vogler – written in to perform a task in the series, and the big reveals about her past feel like trying to hard to fill gaps in her characterisation.

    I also miss Wilson and House having screen time together, though Wilson and Cuddy are getting some really nice moments together – I loved his ‘this is how she’ll look’ speech, which was nicely revealed to be him lying to try and help her – it would have been way too corny otherwise!

    Thanks for the great review, barbara, looking forward to the 100th episode!

  • Kim

    Hi everybody!

    One more time I’m here Barbara to thank you for your great review. I enjoyed it as much I enjoyed the episode “Big Baby”. The writers are doing such a good job and I hope they will continue in this line so we’ll have material to come here and share together.

    Few comments about the last episode. I think I am the only one who thinks that the teacher and student were more than that. They were House and Cuddy in the way we should see them. I mean, the teacher is a grownup like Cuddy and House a special kid. And if we take a second look to the conversation the Teacher/Student have in the first scene you will understand what I see.

    Student: Why do people get married?
    Teacher: Because they love each other.
    S: Why aren’t you married?
    T: I haven’t found the person I love yet, because I spend all of my time loving you.
    S: Does that mean we can get married?
    T: Well, love comes in many types, and there’s lots of it to go around.

    It is like a House/Cuddy real situation, isn’t it? She’s not married and she spends all her time babysitting House because she loves him. But they cannot be a “thing” because they are in different levels just like the teacher and the student.

    If we move to the scene where the ice bath tests was going on. We see how the teacher explains Kutner what she has done for Jonathan to come out and how he lets her to enter into his world. Later, we have the confirmation from Johnny’s mother that he talks to Sarah and makes eye contact so he looks like a regular kid. But when Sarah isn’t there he goes back away from them.

    All this remind me that Cuddy is the only one House allows entering into his own space and how she knows what is going on just looking into his eyes. They have this special relation where they don’t need to say a word to understand one another. Also, since Cuddy spends more time with baby Rachel, House is going back away and we notice that because of the lack of conversations between House/Wilson in the last episodes ‘Painless’ and ‘Big Baby’.

    In the House/Cuddy/Cameron conversation, I don’t think that House is being mean to Cuddy. In some way he wants to express that he feels hurt because lately she is more confident with Wilson than with him and he wants her to trust him again. And this leads us to the House/Cuddy/Rachel scene where Cuddy goes first to tell House (instead of Wilson) that she is keeping the baby. I agree with all of you that this scene was beautiful. I also love it the way Cuddy presented Rachel to House. Like a mom does when a new baby comes along and a lot of the attention is diverted to that baby, the older child feels left out and jealous. So she encourages him to hold the baby making him feel included and part of the same group as well. It was just perfect.

    Nobody has commented about the ending song of the episode from Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons – On My Side. The song was perfectly integrated and meaningful with the things going on with House/Cuddy, Cuddy/Rachel, Foreman/13 and the Teacher/Student.

    I’ll see u in the next review.
    Kim

  • Val

    Kim–What a thought-provoking connection of themes and characters…I am going to have to watch it again. Thanks!

  • nate

    –Eve K–
    As I think about it more, and read your entry I agree. I’m not one to tell of future episodes, or predictions often. It’s just one thing that has been on my mind, and I wanted to talk about with others. But, now that I’ve said it, I’ll keep to either the past and present episodes, and wait to discuss future ones.

  • Alessandra

    Kim: that’s brilliant! And it actually fits.

  • Sheelagh

    Kim: I really like your points on the student/teacher relationship and dialogue in ‘ Big Baby’. I got so fixated on the teacher’s condition that I managed to miss looking at the mirroring of that relationship with that of House’s & Cuddy’s.
    I do respectfully disagree that however, that House only lets Cuddy into his personal space. I think we saw this year how bereft House was when his “best friend” Wilson withdrew from him.Wilson hasn’t gotten a lot of screen time lately, but conversations between him and House are alluded to.
    The writers often use children in the story lines this season to mirror House’s close relationships, In the episode ‘Emancipation’ with the two little brothers particularly in the older brother’s fear that his sibling ” will hate me !” mirrored House’s fear with Wilson, while Foreman’s reassurance that even when you make a mistake, your brother will forgive you under-scored Wilson’s forgiveness of House. The female emancipated minor was also used in the same episode to mirror House’s ongoing guilt over the accident that claimed Amber , in the look of deep empathy House exchanged with the teenager as she spoke of believing her parents saw her “kill their son /her brother again each time they looked at (her)”.
    Can’t believe I missed the mirroring this time !It’s why I love House: all things matter and you have to be paying attention. Thanks for your blog.

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/01/30/131726.php j.i.m.

    Hello Orange,

    Yes. I see! Of Austen’s characters, the “Sense & Sensibility” dynamic presented between Elinor and Marianne does resemble more of House’s character, reason battling emotion, especially that he is so often divided and cut off from himself inasmuch as two people can be confused and out of sync with each other. I do think the pain that unnatural behavior causes, even though rational, as portrayed in “Persuasion”, is a solid fit for some of House’s misery. The difference is that House has persuaded himself.

    Choosing from the whole gallery of Austen’s characters, Cuddy is most like Anne Elliot in being capable, dutiful, and constant. House is Elinor/Marianne, and Stacy is the delightful Mary Crawford from “Mansfield Park”. Wilson is trying to be Jane Bennet but he is closer to Elizabeth and sometimes Emma (clueless).

    I am still engaged and charmed by David Shore’s characters but some pity is starting to hold sway. I don’t think that is a good sign…

  • Jonesy

    “I am still engaged and charmed by David Shore’s characters but some pity is starting to hold sway. I don’t think that is a good sign…”

    It’s not. It’s been in the air since the beginning of the season. Let’s hope they get it back to the track.

  • Orange450

    Hmmmm, j.i.m., this is an interesting exercise.

    I think Cuddy has more sparkle and vivacity that Anne does. I’d be more inclined to compare her to Elizabeth. I think Mary Crawford’s perspective was somewhat different from Stacy’s. Stacy struggled in her dilemma, while Mary took her brother’s pecadillos in her stride, and seemed to expect that everyone else (i.e., Edmund and Fanny) would do so as well.

    Chase is turning into a fine Henry Tilney, though :-), and I think that Cameron has some of Fanny’s characteristics – i.e., she started out insecure, timid and immature, and is steadily growing into herself, and becoming a valuable resource.

    I absolutely love the idea of Wilson as Jane Bennet :-) That’s a brilliant observation on your part!

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2009/01/30/131726.php j.i.m.

    Orange,

    Henry Tilney! Thank you for reminding me of Him.

    Cuddy’s sparkle and spunk does call to mind Lizzie but Cuddy’s life of duty and service springs from a different place. I mixture of Anne and Lizzie might be the best blend.

    I bow to you in everything Stacy. I still remember your tour de force summation of her part in House’s life.

    Wilson as Jane with a chaser of Emma could be his correct concoction. He’s such a player when he’s not in pain.

    Chase as Tilney and Cameron as Fanny are perfection. But could Henry Tilney and Fanny Price hook up? ;-)

  • Anna

    “Big Baby” was exactly what I expected it to be, but in a somewhat surprising way. I expected the writers to use the Cameron-taking-over-Cuddy’s-job storyline to illustrate how wonderful and unique Cuddy is. That’s exactly what happened, but I was surprised how respectful and attentive they were to Cameron. She wasn’t written to be a foil, like I thought she would be, and we even saw some character growth. As someone who believes they’ve been thoroughly oversimplifying (as well as neglecting) the Cam/Chase/Foreman characters for the past two seasons, I was pleasantly surprised.

    I was also expecting the writers to use House’s interaction with Cameron as his boss as a metaphor for what would happen in a potential romantic relationship between them, to reinforce the idea that House and Cuddy make more sense romantically. Instead, they seemed (at least to me) to be offering an explanation to the House/Cameron fanbase of why they didn’t choose to go down the House/Cameron path. She understands how he thinks and why he does what he does, is perfectly able and willing to play his games (and beat him at them). He enjoys playing with her, respects her (as much as he shows respect), is challenged by her. But, she was his student and a good part of who she is has been (and always will be) influenced by him.

    I believe that a great deal of the plot points of seasons 4 and 5 were originally brought about to “excite the fans” or “make the fans happy.” I expected this episode to be no exception. I expected the writers to put in lots of House/Cameron interaction to appease the House/Cameron fanbase and then end it with asserting Cuddy’s superiority, appeasing the House/Cuddy fanbase. I was pleasantly surprised that there was some actual character development in between points A and B.

  • Orange450

    j.i.m., I could see Henry with Fanny better than I could see him with Catherine! And since neither Fanny nor Catherine have a sense of humor, the parallel still works :-)

  • Kata

    I love the episode, but I’m so tired that all in this show is about Cuddy and House.
    And House as show and as character has been sacrifice.

  • bakerstreet blues

    I also liked this episode. I too saw that House was actually proud of Cameron in her ability to fill this roll, he had to have felt that his teachings gave her the confidence and ability to do this job. I also liked House’s assessment of what Cuddy was feeling about being locked up at home with the new baby. Lets face it House would definitely know what having a parent that “doesn’t give a crap” feels like and would not want any other child to grow in that environment. I did not find his words to Cuddy to be cruel or mean, I think he told her in all honesty what he believed to be true for her and best for the child. I did NOT like Wilson’s belief that House is NEVER right about anything HUMAN OR PERSONAL. Lets see House was right about Wilson just a few months ago and of all the people at PPTH House is the most observant of people, so who would know human behavior better than House. I can say that it is a good thing for Kutner that House does not hold grudges nor truly punish insubordination because he definitely crossed a line that I would not have put up with. Kutner would definitely be looking for another job. I did find that Cameron’s admission to Cuddy had absolutely nothing to do with any action House did, but rather who trained her. Not to mention Cuddy could not let go of her HOUSE CONTROL BUTTON no matter what. Hire Cameron, then question and belittle her, nice move.