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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Family Practice” in Depth

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Lies are at the heart of so many of Dr. Gregory House’s (Hugh Laurie) cases: lies patients tell doctors, tell family members, and tell themselves. In “Family Practice,” this week’s latest House, M.D., episode the lies are compounded because family and medical treatment are wrapped up together along with the emotional relationship between of the patient’s daughter, Lisa Cuddy and her doctor (House, of course).

Arlene Cuddy (Candice Bergen) is out clothes shopping with her two daughters Julia and Lisa. It is apparent even from this moment that Arlene’s relationship with Lisa’s sister Julia (guest star Paula Marshall) is much closer and more cordial. But when Arlene begins to feel “funny” in her heart, Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) puts on her M.D. and gets Mom to Princeton Plainsboro, suspecting it’s more than simple palpitations.

Knowing that Cuddy wants him to treat Arlene, House hides in the morgue with the rest of the team. “You don’t want me to treat her,” he argues. “You don’t want you to treat her.” House recites to her the ethics of why it’s a bad idea to treat someone with whom you have an emotional connection. And he’s right. But he allows himself to be talked onto the case to appease her.

Cuddy wants the best for her mother, and a staff cardiologist just won’t do. House is willing to go along (barely), sending the team to check out Arlene’s house, where they find the possible culprit—along with some very revealing photos of Cuddy’s mom. She’s been having a hot affair for years with a married man—something about which she’s never told Cuddy (but Julia knows all about it).

House’s initial diagnosis is lead poisoning, writing off the rest of Arlene’s symptoms to hypochondria. And sooner rather than later, House manages to piss off Arlene enough to insist he be fired from the case.

This is just fine with House, who doesn’t believe they should be treating her anyway—only doing so as a bit of self-preservation. But when it’s clear that there is something wrong with Arlene, Cuddy insists House continue working on the case behind the scenes and behind the back of the new attending physician, Dr. Kaufman.

Cuddy’s request and House’s willingness to go along with it set off a series of events nearly ending in disaster, and feed the episode’s central question about family conflict and confrontation. Arlene controls Cuddy by blunt truths designed to sting and keep her just this side of parental disapproval.  

“We just don’t have that sort of relationship,” explains Arlene to the hurt Cuddy when she learns of Mom’s affair. That’s why she confides in Julia, leaving her other daughter out in the cold. “Does it really surprise you?” she asks. And later in the episode, Arlene zings Cuddy with one of the most devastating things a parent can say: “I love you both, but I like her better.” Ouch. Bullseye.

Not wanting to further court her mother’s disapproval, she backs away from confrontation. So, instead of insisting to her mother that no matter what she might think of him, House is her best bet for survival, Cuddy backs off. Not only does this force House into a terrible ethical dilemma, it also keeps House and Arlene apart, which delays the final diagnosis.

There is an enormous amount going on in “Family Practice,” Some of which I talked about in last week’s preview. So I won’t retread that territory here.

The simplest part of the episode’s narrative is the question: what would happen if House had to treat someone close to Cuddy? We know what happens when he treats someone near to him: Foreman’s illness put him so far off his objectivity, Cameron had to real him back to his rational self. But this is different because although Arlene is not someone close to House, she is Cuddy’s mother. And the how he approaches the case—and its outcome can have a lasting effect on their relationship.

House has spent a lot of time this season really trying to make things work with Cuddy. And in “Family Practice,” House is put in a position he should not be in. Although he argues with Cuddy that he should not be treating Arlene, he isn’t willing to really confront her about it, and goes along, getting deeper and deeper into an ethical conflict that might end in killing Arlene—and destroying his relationship with Cuddy anyway. It is only when, in the end, House finally confronts Cuddy about her own issues with Arlene, that House can come face to face with his patient—and come up with the amusing and perfectly Housian epiphany. Arlene can’t recognize sarcasm! And that leads House to a diagnosis of Cobalt poisoning from her artificial hip.

I am a non-confrontational person. To be honest, confrontation scares the hell out me—whether at work or home. It’s probably because I grew up in a home where conflict was the normal state. I totally understand where Cuddy is coming from. But confrontation is healthy in the right place and tempered with love and understanding. Without it, relationships grow toxic and perhaps even deadly. And that’s really what this very emotional episode of House is all about. 

Several story threads—House and Cuddy, Cuddy and Arlene, Masters and House—and Taub and his brother in law—feed into this theme. Sometimes avoiding conflict is good; it prevents you from getting your nose busted. Sometimes it’s poison, getting in the way of important truths that can heal. But conflict—confrontation—is too big an emotional risk, and it’s easier to be the coward than take the chance. And both Cuddy and House play the coward: Cuddy is unwilling to be assertive with her mother—and House is unwilling to push Cuddy (and possibly break their relationship).

But in the end, House does confront Cuddy, insisting that she finally face Arlene and take control of her medical situation. House is right—while being protective of both her and his relationship with her. If something goes wrong, he knows that it will ultimately end in disaster for him: he will lose Cuddy. It’s completely selfish, what he’s protecting here—completely House—protecting himself. 

His disclosure that if Arlene dies, that at some point, Cuddy will blame him as the man responsible for her mother’s death, is something he can’t live with. And if Cuddy can’t confront her mother and insist that House be put back on the case, Arlene will die; House will be (at least subconsciously) blamed, and so will end their relationship. It’s one of the best scenes between them in the entire series and beautifully played by both actors.

The other great conflict arising from Arlene’s case is between House and medical student Martha Masters (Amber Tamblyn). Although House attempts to treat Arlene without Masters’ involvement and interference, she realizes eventually what’s going on. Willing to put her job—and her career—on the line for her ethical stance, she rats out House first to Cuddy and then to Arlene knowing that House has threatened to destroy her career if she does so.

Her courage to confront House in the face of his threat (which scares the hell out of her) is rewarded in the end when House realizes her value on the team and to him. At this point, House is all about protecting his relationship with Cuddy. He understands, as he articulates to Masters, that the board won’t long put up with her protecting his practice—and him, now that they’re a couple.

There will be a tipping point, and as long as Cuddy and he are involved, that will always be a risk. Masters serves as another brake on House—one that is unaffected by their unequal power relationship. He understands the value in her and her importance in House’s long-term goal of maintaining his relationship with Cuddy.

In the middle of the episode, when Cuddy realizes that House is right about treating family members, House is momentarily struck by a notion. And I think it is here that House realizes that Cuddy cannot “treat” him: she cannot effectively put the brakes on his tendency to recklessness.

I have a theory about the dynamic between House and Masters in “Family Practice.” I think House knows exactly how Masters will react when he threatens to destroy her career should she choose to rat him out to Cuddy’s mother. When I watched the scene where he threatens her, I wondered how House could seem so out of character to me; his words were stunning enough to Masters that they made her sick with fear. I think It’s entirely possible that the threat intended to test the bounds of her ethical chops. Will she rat him out even knowing the consequences? And in the end, she passes his test—but not without being subjected to House’s incredibly brutal challenge. Am I certain of House’s intentions? No, of course not. 

Unlike House and Cuddy, Masters is unafraid (or completely clueless) of the consequences awaiting her. And somewhere, deep in House’s subconscious, Masters may be part of the calculus needed to keep his relationship with Cuddy strong. “I need you to protect me from doing something Cuddy will regret,” he tells her. And self-protective, self-aware House is right.

And as if to parallel Masters’ bravery, Taub is also set up to illustrate a sort of raw courage of convictions. His actions, misguided as they were, were intended to do good, risking his new job (and he already-shaky relationship with his ex-wife’s brother in law) to do the right thing.

Which brings us back to the beginning of this commentary. Did Masters do the right thing by ratting out House and Cuddy’s lie to Arlene? Was it any of her business and did she, in the end do more harm than good?

“Happy now?” House asks her after she essentially destroys what’s left of Cuddy’s relationship with her mother at that point. Masters’ actions precipitated a moment of truth between House and Cuddy, which led to Cuddy finally confronting her mother—and allowing House to come to his final diagnosis.

But it’s not a medical consequence, but  a personal one. Medically—is it the right thing? Going over Cuddy’s head to Arlene is not only going over the dean’s head—but also the head of the patient’s immediate family. To me, that’s a tough call. I have to think, however, that House would have much valued such a medical student hanging around when Stacy made that decision about his leg all those years ago!

So, what do you think? Is Masters right? And did House set her up to see if she would rat him out? Or was the threat genuine?

And…what was your favorite scene? Let me know in the comments below!

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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.
  • Crazy4House

    I loved the office sceen with House and Cuddy. One of my favorite things is when House says “At some point, maybe next year, you will realize the man sleeping next to you is responsible for killing your mother.” I find it important that House said sleeping next to you and not sleeping with you. IMO it shows that he has finally accepted what we already know; that when he is appeasing Cuddy it is not for the sex like he claims but because he wants the relationship and everything that goes with it. Plus, he said in a year, so maybe he has now become less fearful of the relationship falling apart.

  • Derdriui

    House does do a lot to appease Cuddy.

    And Cuddy trusts him a lot, with her mother, with her hospital, even to act like an administrator (the image of House sitting in her chair, intimidating 3M is very strong, especially as Cuddy lets him).

    He dominates her and she wants it. He tells her to assert herself against her mother but not against him.

    Cuddy’s a terrible depiction of a female in a position of authority. But as a character, she’s a bit of a mob wife, and that’s interesting.

    Her and House together are a disaster, but they are so in love and so obsessed with each other. It’s not pretty but it’s interesting.

    And House needs 3M to tell him what to do. Cuddy did nothing to impress him and he still won’t listen to her. He doesn’t trust her to put her job over him.

    3M was good this episode though. Really brave. And I like what Taub did, even if he was wrong. He trusted his own judgment and took a chance. He risked himself.

    House was a much more admirable character when he risked himself, not when he risks other people. They could have diagnosed cobolt poisoning with a LOT less drama.

    Also, nobody respects Cuddy in general. Kaufman said ‘you’ll go run to your girlfriend’ to House. Taub, Chase and Foreman sat around eating chips in front of her, and Taub was waving at her to move her ass from in front of the television so they could keep watching cartoons. And she had no reaction or defense to how they see her – she has to apologize to them for her behaviour later – and Kaufman has no respect for her by the end either.

    House and Cuddy certainly do love each other. She’s like a mother figure to him, and she’s infatuated.

    But maybe it would be a little less offensive in terms of representing women in positions of power if she could be fired from her job? She could still be his girlfriend, but if all she has to keep her in power is her tits and ass then that’s a dangerous message to send out to young women, especially the pre-teen and teenage Cuddy fans.

  • Derdriui

    Also, like her mother says and House has said, she’s a Dean of Medicine. And she’s not much of a doctor anymore.

    So when she told her mom to trust HER medical judgment, what she meant was to trust House’s.

    She’s a bad administrator AND they don’t show her to be a good doctor. She’s House’s pawn, and all she has going is that she knows he’s right a lot and she loves him, so she’ll trust him.

    So while not being respectable boss or a good doctor, she’s got a good body and good instincts.

    Great?

  • Michele1L

    I think this episode is an interesting foreshadowing of what’s to come. I am both fearful of it and intrigued. I have always felt that in order for House and Cuddy to work that one of them would have to leave the hospital. House will stop at nothing to save his patients, whether it be falsefying reports or otherwise, and Cuddy’s job as his boss is obviously where the conflict lies.

    I too loved that scene between House and Cuddy in her office. I liked that House told Cuddy she was pissing him off. He hasn’t been that overtly upset with her since before they were a couple.

    I felt quite sorry for Taub.

    This was a very intense episode, and the moody lighting and photgraphy set the tone beautifully. Liked this one, but I’m really scurrrrred. I think this is going to leave some serious trails throughout the remaining duration of this season.

    Arbitrary comment – no Wilson in this episode. Perhaps Robert needed a break …

  • http://www.npr.com bigHousefan

    WOW! What a great episode! The writing, performances, lighting – everything!

    I can so relate to the Cuddy/Arlene dynamic and have a black-belt in confrontation avoidance myself. I loved the honest display of human nature.

    Indulge me here…House, with his hair combed, tie, lab coat and shirt half-tucked – aaawwwww!

    I came away from this episode thinking how totally invested House and Cuddy are in each other, to a fault. Loved it!

    I have to watch it again. I have a system. 1. Watch it when it airs because I can’t wait another minute for it to begin. 2. Read Barbara’s analysis along with her great fans insightful comments. 3. Enjoy it without ad interruption and added enlightened perspective!

  • anon

    I was sad that Wilson wasn’t in this episode. It def. wasn’t one of my favorites :/ I heard he’s supposed to be heavily featured in an upcoming episode, do you know what episode number that is?

  • http://www.npr.com bigHousefan

    PS I also loved the parallels:

    Cuddy’s quiet gaze of appreciation toward House for saving her mother knowing how difficult and complicated she made that effort.

    Arlene’s quiet gaze of appreciation toward Cuddy for saving her life perhaps quietly acknowleging that effort was made more difficult by her harsh words and behavior.

  • Celia

    Of course Masters was correct in ‘ratting’ out House as you refer to it. No bias there. Arlene Cuddy was legally competent to make her own decisions and had both the legal and ethical right to know what her treatment involved. What House was instigating makes dramatic TV but lousy reality. And “yes” I think his threat to Masters was real. I am tired of House’s actions always being recast as a ‘test’, The character is an ass…made tolerable by HL, who isn’t an ass. His relationship with Cuddy was threatened by Masters and he protected it as best he could, with a full on threat of ruining a career . Would he have done it once his rational side reasserted itself ? Likely not. He’s , as Wilson said , ” an ass, but a noble one”. But still, an ass.

  • Celia

    PS: totally agree with your observations Derdriui.

  • Andrea

    I was kind of expecting Arlene to die and House and Cuddy to break up in this episode. They’ve stretched out this relationship story longer than I thought they would. Not that I’m not happy about that, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I don’t think the writers can envision House happy in the long term.

    On the other hand, I thought the confrontational scene in Cuddy’s office was healthy. If they’re going to have any chance of staying together they have to be able to be their real selves and tell the truth. They have to know they can fight and still be in love and a viable couple at the end of it. I don’t particularly care about whether Cuddy is or is not professional, etc. The show isn’t remotely realistic. Both House and Cuddy would have been out on their behinds years ago in the real world. Cuddy is intended to be a brilliant young hospital administrator, so that is what I will believe.

    I liked Taub in this episode. The bravest thing I’ve seen him do in quite awhile. House would have been impressed if he weren’t too busy dealing with Arlene. I also thought Martha had enormous guts to rat out House even knowing it would cost her her career. On the other hand, I don’t know that it’s as huge a risk for someone like Martha from a privileged background and several Ph.Ds under her belt. Medicine isn’t the only thing she can do and her father probably has the money for a lawyer to fight House’s trumped up case and sue the hospital for wrongful dismissal. Martha is a young woman with a safety net.

  • Derdriui

    Andrea:

    ‘The show isn’t remotely realistic. Both House and Cuddy would have been out on their behinds years ago in the real world. Cuddy is intended to be a brilliant young hospital administrator, so that is what I will believe.’

    That doesn’t make sense though. At all. Even in a fairy tale, characters are defined by their actions. And the reason House isn’t fired is because of her.

    This would be the ‘logic’ to get to your conclusion:

    ‘I see the character description and I see that character in action. I decide that the character’s actions don’t reflect who the character is; she’s supposed to be a good administrator, according to the character description, so she’s good.’

    Actions matter, not descriptors. If she acts like a bad administrator, she’s a bad administrator. Like Wilson’s bad at compartmentalizing and Taub can’t keep it in the pants. Taub, by description, is a married man and a good doctor. By action, he’s a good doctor and a terrible cheat. His actions matter and they define the good and the bad.

  • andreeC

    Personally, I loved the episode and Candice Bergen was not very kind to her daughters admittedly so in the beginning when she said if they didn’t want to be insulted, they wouldn’t have invited her along. Cuddy and her mother but heads but its because her mom pushed her to be the best she could be at things beyond being a wife and mother. In doing so, she made life tougher on Cuddy and easier on Lucinda/Julia because of the differences in the girls’ abilities. It also put the girls on different levels with their mother – one having an easier time hence its easier to be nicer to her mother who isn’t riding her constantly. Lisa, the other being pushed to go further when she wasn’t always compliant and felt pushed, thus rebelling. Arlene may have meant well but she clearly set up the relationships to be uneven between herself and her two daughters. Thankfully, Cuddy learned to have a thicker skin to survive her mother’s verbal darts which made her more than equal to handle the cantankerous House. I loved the panic in Cuddy’s face when she realized her mother’s illness was real and the fear reflected on the face of her own mother and sister. At that point fear ruled Cuddy’s heart and head and House needed to help her get through this. The situation evolved into a sticky mess but thankfully House was able to push Cuddy to take on her mother and set things right convincing Arlene her daughter was trying to help her despite her mother firing House out of being cantankerous herself. Down the road, I suspect House and Arlene will become closer and even allies to get Cuddy to do what they want through loving manipulation if only to get Cuddy past her own doubts and fears. I liked Taub’s plotline and how it reflected with Cuddy and House. Everyone trying to do the right thing but getting caught for somehow making things worse before they could be resolved. I don’t know why some of the earlier commenters here would talk about Cuddy in such disparaging terms as if she’s an idiot. Clearly she is not. She runs a hospital and in dealing with a mom who’s hell on high heels, Cuddy is balancing things pretty damn well. Especially with her own boyfriend and chief troublemaker who’s worth the trouble to her and to her hospital’s patients.

    I thought Lisa Edelstein and Hugh Laurie did a great job tonight and kept things restrained and tense as called for by a very interesting script. At first I despised 3M for blowing everything and giving Arlene’s doctor leverage over Cuddy and House. I actually liked that House had prepared ahead by setting up 3M for possible repercussions in working with the coma guy. It took me a few minutes to see how House viewed 3M as a valuable asset in protecting himself and Cuddy from losing perspective in highly emotional situations clouding judgement. I don’t find 3M all that compelling nor do I appreciate Chase and Foreman being left with little to say and do in order that 3M gets the lines. Sorry but she’s a dull character and the sooner she’s gone, the better.

    Lastly, I don’t believe the writers on House are set on destroying any relationship between House and Cuddy. I think it’s more interesting to do as David Shore preaches and that’s slowly reveal the layers to House by his emotional attachment and history with Cuddy. By doing so, we see the layers underneath Cuddy’s facade and how these two flawed people are right for each other and that no one else could possible do should these two break up. I like the rollercoaster between House and Cuddy as they test their relationship and work to preserve it. It makes for a much more fascinating show, a deeper level in scripts that doesn’t shoot for the pat ending. If the writers choose to veer away and mess things up just for the sake of drama, the show will lose a degree of credibility that can’t be regained. No reason House has to be miserable. He’s built good relationships with Foreman, Chase, Taub, Wilson and Cuddy. No reason for this to disintegrate with out a damn unusual plot twist. I like watching House still get things his own way while he makes things work with Cuddy, his staff and patients. Being a flippant ass sometimes is what keeps us watching while he evolves a little through reveals. We all know he’s a good guy with a rough exterior. Lets keep watching to see what happens!

  • mychakk

    @Derdriui

    Hm, I think it’s a bit more complicated than you describe it. Cuddy is a good Administrator and a very good asset to Princton-Plainsboro Hospital. It was proven in last season episode: 5 to 9. She’s good at what she does (House said it himself in season two). BUT! She has one BIG weaknes. House. She knows it, she admitted it herself to him in season 4, saying she allows him to run like a monkey in banana factory most of the year. What’s more she knew it would be this way from the beginning (as she set aside a fairly sum of money for lawsuits and all – she admitted it in season one). She knew she’ll give him a lot of freedom, ’cause she knew that he isn’t just treating one patient a week, but he usually SAVES one patient a week (she said it to Vogler). We cannot forget, that we see her while she acts with House. We don’t see how she is behaving with other doctors and hospital staff. ‘Casue the show is House MD not Cuddy MD. That’s why we do not see her being a doctor either. Notice also, that it is usually House who says she’s a bad doctor (when he’s usually teasing her, not quite serious). The other person was her mother, who is so disapproving of Cuddy, I wouldn’t consider it an objective opinion. We’ve seen a few times when Cuddy was doctoring, and she actually proved to be quite good, having both House’s epiphany, or coming up with a treatment worth of the series’ Genius. She’s not a lousy doctor, neither a bad administrator.

    Still, I have to admit that TPTB tends to overshow Cuddy’s great womanly assets more and more instead of showing what a great administrator she is. They turned her into girlfriend material, forgetting about the administrator part… And this might bring across the wrong massage about women in the power positions.

  • Huddy_dio

    Missed Wilson – Robert Sean Leonard in this episode!!! Do you know if Robert will be back for season 8 (so many rumors going around that he quited).

  • mychakk

    @andreeC: Lastly, I don’t believe the writers on House are set on destroying any relationship between House and Cuddy. I think it’s more interesting to do as David Shore preaches and that’s slowly reveal the layers to House by his emotional attachment and history with Cuddy. By doing so, we see the layers underneath Cuddy’s facade and how these two flawed people are right for each other and that no one else could possible do should these two break up. I like the rollercoaster between House and Cuddy as they test their relationship and work to preserve it.

    I couldn’t agree more :) Also, I find it interesting that there is NOT a single relationship in House MD that has worked so far. All Wilson’s marriages, Chase/Cam, Foreteen, Taub/Rachel, House/Stacy… they all have split. I find it unrealistic, that there should be not a single relationship strong enough to not prevail. Thus I think House/Cuddy might be this one ‘missing’ relationship. The one, that despite common sense (how such a two flawed and dysfunctional people could stay together and make it work? it’s simply impossible!), will be strong enough to overcome everything.

    Also I wanted to say that Amber Tamblyn did a marvelous job this episode, showing that it’s pure hell for Martha Masters to be in House’s team/department. She delivered Masters emotions beautifully. I really liked her acting this episode.

  • justannoyed

    I must be the only person here who’s growing increasingly annoyed with the relationship between cuddy and house. It just doesn’t work in the hospital. Also, master’s needs to be removed from the show. She’s an inexperienced, more irrational version of Cameron that the team needs to babysit too much. Lets not reuse an old character with a new face and some slight background tuning. Creativity please?

    Excellent acting job though in this episode.

  • Jane 2

    Favourite scene? The House/Cuddy confrontation hands down. I can’t think of any other show that can deliver scene like that!

    However, I loved the whole thing from start to finish. It was great to find out some more about Cuddy and her family. The mother/daughter/sibling stuff was brutal and certainly resonated with me. I also thought all of the performances were outstanding.

    This line “I need you to protect me from doing something Cuddy will regret,” , well in fact that whole scene, scares me in terms of the long term implications. What if it’s broader than just work?

    Is it possible Kauffman was initially Wilson and they changed it for some reason?

  • Nola

    Derdriui, I agree, I am getting a bit tired of seeing Cuddys cleveage and you are right, not a good role model.

    JustAnnoyed, I agree, this relationship drama is getting old. And while I adore Amber Tamblyn, the way her character MMM is bring written shows little creativity.

    House has now gone from Must See TV, to half watch while multi-tasking to a good cure for my insomnia.

    My only hope is that HL takes a page from the playbook of Mark Harmon and puts the show back on track.

    There has been a 35% drop in viewership for House. You dont see that happening with NCIS even though it too is in its 8th season.
    So while House may have picked up some new viewers it has lost many more than it has gained.

    I have found season 8th to be a major snoozefest and this episode to be right on par with the rest of this boring season.

    Why dont I stop watching you may ask. Because I am holding out hope that this once amazing show will get back on track.
    I am hoping that someone will smack David Shore in the back of his head (Mark Harmon sytle)and put a stop to the present train wreck. And if not, then just put it out of its misery or maybe change the title to Cuddy MD. As it seems the writers are determined to shove Cuddy down our throats.

    Favorite scene – Arlene/Candice telling Cuddy if she is going to dress like an Italian hooker to at least be this years Italian hooker.

  • hwl40

    Where are the comments from Orange, Delia and the rest of my favorites? Have you guys abandoned us?

  • Derdriui

    Nola, These writers seem to have a habit of putting negative things about the show in the mouths of negative characters.

    In the last episode, House was dealing with a fat, thick bloke, and he was saying that House was taking to Rachel. House fiercely rebutted that by calling him stupid, saying that he doesn’t understand nuance, and that he just likes Rachel lying.

    In this episode, the critique of Cuddy’s wardrobe and her capacity as a doctor came from Arlene, the caricature of distant parenting.

    The tricks aren’t working though. People are starting to agree with the criticisms coming from the caricatures. The show is having trouble hiding how bad it is. Making fun of critics is okay, but when the critics are right then the trick doesn’t work.

  • anon

    Barbara, I’m interested to know if you liked this episode. Just a yes or no question as I was quite disappointed with it. Thanks

  • Sheryl

    I’m surprised there has been no discussion of Amber here. When I first heard of the premise of this episode, I thought immediately of what a strange situation it was, given the disaster the last time House treated someone close to a friend. It was Amber’s death, and House’s guilt over that, that led him to Mayfield. Of course House was guilty for a number of reasons there–but he was the attending doctor at Wilson’s request, no?

    So it surprised me when Cuddy even suggested House see her mother, given her knowledge of House’s past too. I suppose she probably thought Arlene’s situation wasn’t that serious, but it is sad nonetheless that his two best friends want/need his help, but at the same time are willing to accept the ethical dilemmas of House treating their loved ones.

    But I did love the episode, and the confrontation scene in particular seemed to raise the Amber topic for me. When House says that in a week or a year Cuddy could start to blame him for Arlene’s death, it seemed to me that those past experiences were on his mind.

    I was happy, too, to see House so strong against Cuddy here. He’s been making a lot of sacrifices for her this season–and she hasn’t had to do the same, really. So it was nice to see him speak his mind, and push her to do better. . . Just my 2 cents!

  • hazel eyes

    Despite the fact that there was no Wilson I actually liked this episode. I just wish that they would show RSL been the brilliant drama actor he is as well as how excellent he is as a comedy actor.

    I hope there are no more Wilsonfree episodes to come because it seems a shame to an actor of his excellence and not use him.

  • http://blogcritics.org/video/article/tv-review-house-md-family-practice1/page-4/ j.i.m.

    Family Practice was simply wonderfully adult TV.

    House and his cronies seem to exist in varying levels of hell but when House yelled at Cuddy, “It pisses me off!”, he and Cuddy were both immediately transported up a few levels. The horizon unfurled and beckoned at that moment!

    Props: The statue which stands on the filing cabinet behind Cuddy’s desk has always sent shivers down my spine. It’s a ‘giant being’ bending down it’s head to attempt communicating with a ‘tiny being’. I’ve always interpreted the giant as representing Cuddy as Dean of Medicine. I think I was wrong in this. After this episode, I now believe the ‘private Cuddy’ sees the ‘giant’ as her eternally disapproving parent and keeps the statue close to remind herself not to abuse her power at the hospital.

    House attempted to blackmail Masters (see ‘Broken’). Destroying a career or breaking up a marriage are just two types of possible collateral damage when House’s intense passions are mixed with fear or anger. His human weaknesses are sometimes brutal but rarely petty.

  • Julie mack

    So is it Julia or Lucinda?

  • Heather

    I think Masters is in a unique position in regards to House. She does not need House’s approval or, for that matter, even her job as a doctor. She’s a genius and already has multiple degrees. If House ratted her out and she could not continue as a doctor…well, she’s got art history or physics or whatever to fall back on.

    I perceived Masters to be sick, not with fear, but with disgust at herself for allowing herself to fall into a trap be put in the position to potentially be manipulated.

    I think she knew all along that she was going to do the right thing, or at least the right thing as she perceived it.

  • Jaim

    I really liked Masters in this episode. She stood up for herself and her principles despite House’s threats. I,too, felt that Cuddy and House were out of control and Master’s confession was needed.

    I am a bit worried about Cuddy’s image in the hospital. It was hinted that she is viewed more as House’s girlfriend/protector by the other doctors. She has worked very hard to get to where she is, and I really would hate to see her reputation be completely demolished because of this personal relationship.

    I wish that there had at least been a mention as to where Wilson was during the episode. He is such an important character to not at least be acknowledged. Especially, considering his closeness to Cuddy and House, there should have been a nod to where their best friend and confidante was.

    Taub did good this episode. I was happy that Rachel came by to comfort him in his sadness. I finally got to see their close friendship, that was always under the surface of their marriage. I also thought it was remarkably kind of Foreman to call Rachel and tell her the whole truth about Taub’s actions.

  • mychakk

    @ Sheryl I’m surprised there has been no discussion of Amber here. When I first heard of the premise of this episode, I thought immediately of what a strange situation it was, given the disaster the last time House treated someone close to a friend. It was Amber’s death, and House’s guilt over that, that led him to Mayfield. Of course House was guilty for a number of reasons there–but he was the attending doctor at Wilson’s request, no?

    A very interesting point you brought up! I’ve not thought about the possible parallels here. But! First of all, Amber’s death did not led House to Mayfield. Not directly. It was one of the reasons, but not the main one. There were a lot of things that led eventually House the Psychiatric Ward. Secondly, Amber situation and Arlene situation are two of completely different kind, IMHO. Firstly, House did not take an active part in Arlene’s health downfall, like it was in the case of Amber. Secondly, Cuddy and Wilson were in a different relationship with House (at the time the treatment took place). Moreover, with Arlene House’s life was not in direct jeopardy like it was during Amber’s treatment. That’s why Cuddy asking House to take a look at her Mother is completely different from when Wilson did (do you remember the risk House overtook to recall what was wrong with Amber? He landed in coma. Wilson had no right to ask House for such a risk.).

    But I can see your point with House’s fear of being blamed for Arlene’s if she had died. There is a definitive link with post-Amber drama.

    I was happy, too, to see House so strong against Cuddy here. He’s been making a lot of sacrifices for her this season–and she hasn’t had to do the same, really. So it was nice to see him speak his mind, and push her to do better. . . Just my 2 cents!

    Totally agree with you. House was appeasing Cuddy a lot, and bending his usual ways for her a lot this season. And unfortunately Cuddy only seems to demand more for him, or be angry (overreacting for him behaving like his usual self, when she clearly stated she DID not want him to change…). I like the confrontation. It showed why House is interested in Cuddy in the first place (she’s this strong woman, who is his equal and always stands up to him), but also that he’s good for her, as he can make her a better person. Like someone (here or maybe in lj) pointed, Cuddy grows as a character thanks to House’s influence. I hope we’ll see how Cuddy’s is helping House to be a better person in later episodes.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Julia–Lucinda was in the press info. Cuddy and Arlene both call her Julia (or Jules)

    And to anonymous: Yeah. I liked the episode.

    hwl40–I just published this late last night–give them time.

  • Stepinmud

    Lisa and Lucinda? They can’t be that cruel.

  • Bob

    I absolutely loved the part where House said to Cuddy, about Masters, “It’s not her office yet.”

    This was absolutely one of the best House episodes this season, and one of my favorites ever.

  • 54

    I have to say that “Family Practice” was truly one of the best ‘House’ episodes that I’ve seen in a long time. I read a comment somewhere where someone said that it was the best episode since the Season 4 finale. While I wouldn’t go that far, I think that it was SO incredible in its own way. The intensity and complexity of the episode was immense.
    I have to agree with BB that the confrontation scene with House and Cuddy was one of the best scenes the two have ever had.
    I have a slightly different riff from BB in a certain regard, though. While I agree that BB is protecting himself and is in some way acting selfishly to preserve himself in the House-Cuddy relationship, I was struck more by the theme of protectiveness that seemed to come from House. His threatening of 3M didn’t seem out of character for me, but rather, an escalation of what his usual character is. I thought that he will do whatever it takes to protect someone or something that he feels the need to protect, even if it means being cruel, using blackmail, ignoring certain ethics. I also thought that the whole wonderful confrontation scene with House and Cuddy–I thought that yes, House wants to protect himself–but he wants to protect the relationship itself, which means that he wants to make sure Cuddy is alright, too.
    The look that he gives her when he solves the case, actually, I think it was two looks, wow. And Cuddy’s face in that scene. Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein are brilliant because they can speak so many complex, intertwined emotions without saying anything, just by their eyes and their facial expressions.
    All in all, what an awesome episode, fraught with tension, angst, but also the human element of strength, dejection, and courage that makes the best House episodes worth watching over again.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    So–everyone who is thinking that the House ratings are tanking?
    12.3 million viewers last night in the overnights. A season high.

  • Libby

    Yea for HOUSE RATINGS…Great Episode last night and thanks for a great review

  • Nola

    House season 2 – average rating started out 12 to 15 million by middle of season up 17 to 25 million

    House season 3 – average rating 17 to 24 million

    House season 4 – average rating 16 to 19 million

    House season 5 – average rating 12 to 15 million

    House season 6 – average rating started out at 13 to 17 million by end of season was down 9 to 11 million

    House season 7 – average rating 10 to 12 million

    So are they tanking, no, but they are steadily losing viewers.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    The big dip came when House changed days and lost its AI spot. It’s in its 7th year, and there will be attrition.

    The ratings this year have been better than second half last year–and they are still decent.

    I think the ratings changes have to do with a lot of things. Clearly it’s not back in the novelty seasons and the show is syndicated everywhere. So lots factors in. But I’m just saying to those who preach that House is bleeding freely, that they’re wrong. In my humble opinion and with all due respect.

  • Kim in California

    Underwhelming. From all the hype about us not ‘Knowing House’ I had expected some new revelations. There was no revelation whatsoever that hasn’t been revealed in the past. The episode’s only shining moments were Master’s determination to do the right thing and Taub’s determination to do the right thing. Not all of us are Huddy’s and frankly, their relationship seems to be all work and no play. Cuddy seems to be in constant turmoil over making the relationship work (resulting in her constantly scowling.) She even groans when he takes her to the race karts rather than letting her inner child come out. I’ve never seen her really enjoying being in love with House. No one with any ounce of self-respect would stay in a relationship that required that much work and inner conflict. And House, he seems more invested in making a relationship ‘work’ than enjoying the relationship. I really hope Season 8 finds us Huddyless.

  • HouseMDFan

    Wonderful, brilliant episode. It had a seriousness and intensity that has been lacking a bit lately. In addition, it was absolutely consistent with what we have seen so far.

    As for your question, Barbara: I absolutely think that Masters did the right thing. She is still naive and there could have been circumstances where it wouldn’t have been right to tell the truth, but here? Absolutely. The best thing: By being honest and brave, by standing up for what she thought was right, she pushed House to be honest as well. Since there was no other way out anymore, he finally told Cuddy the truth and overcame his fear that she might dump him if he told her his mind and anger.

    I don’t know if House’s threat was just a test – I bought it at that time. I think that he wouldn’t have done it after all, but I don’t think he consciously had a test in mind when he set her up or told her he would ruin her. It’s a nice ambiguity, though.

  • http://www.npr.com bigHousefan

    j.i.m. — Wow! I’ve often wondered about the statue, but your point makes perfect sense!

    HouseMDFan — I love your point about House being pushed to be honest and angry. I think he appreciated 3M for that, its a giant step forward in his relationship with Cuddy.

    House has always tried to get Wilson to stand up for himself as well (Amber, Sam).

    I think his threat toward 3M demonstrated how fiercley protective of Cuddy he is.

  • huddycat

    I love the scene in Cuddy’s office when House argues with her, pushes her to be herself and to take the good decision for all oh them .that’s a fantastic scene, Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein play it perfect, and the lights are amazing, this black and white intensity and the “close-up” face of Cuddy and House are really great. A very great episode!

  • ruthinor

    I think Wilson’s absence can be explained by the fact that they are working around his schedule. He’s going to be appearing on Broadway in a remake of the play (and movie) “Born Yesterday”. It will start at the end of April but they will be having previews and rehearsals prior to that.

    BTW, loved the episode.

  • HouseMDFan

    @bigHousefan :D. And your point about House’s protectiveness is a good one, too. Cuddy’s position was threatened, on a personal and on a professional level, as well as their relationship.

  • Dmcky

    Barbara great review as always..

    I absolutely loved this episode. The looks that House and Cuddy shared throughout was nothing short of amazing..as someone mentioned they say a million things w/o saying anything at all. HL and LE are awesome!

    I to felt that the Huddy relationship took a giant step this week. The baby steps begun to take shape during “Larger than life”, then “Carrot or Stick” and now “Family Practice”. House and Cuddy have actually formed a little family. First he meets the mom, than we see him and Cuddy washing dishes. First signs of domesticity. Then we see him bonding and forming a relationship with Rachel. And we now we see him fiercely protecting Cuddy, and let’s face it, his in-law. House and Arlene have a typical messy son-in-law /mother-in-law relationship, but to the 10th power. Then when Cuddy tells Arlene she has a family, awesome. House/Cuddy/Rachel (and maybe even Wilson) may not be a common family, but like Cuddy said, who wants common, they are uncommon. I love seeing this unfold. If signifies House’s growth over the years.

    3M was great and her scenes with House were great. Not sure if House intended the threat as a test, but I loved that he was putting his “family” first, above everything else. Yeah, it may not bode well for others, but it is thrilling to witness House when he is protecting something valuable to him.

    Lastly, Taub really impressed me. He to showed a lot of growth, and kudos to Foreman for being a friend. I really enjoyed the family theme throughout the ep. It really showed that strong bonds cannot be easily broken and it is within the human condition to do whtever it takes when it come down to it.
    Ok, i’ll stop now cuz I can go on and on ?

  • DebbieJ

    I think this was one of the best episodes of the series! Barbara, if you write an addendum to your book and add the remaining seasons, I would expect to see an asterisk in front of this title! ;)

    The confrontation scene in her office between H/C was so intense. Loved when he tells her to see her not stand up to her mother pisses him off! I believe this took their relationship to a whole other level. They’ve been treading and taking babysteps. This episode had them taking giant steps to the next plane.

    Every scene with House and 3M is charged with energy; sometimes fun and light energy and others very dark and intense! Loved when he ordered Cuddy out of her office and says, “this is not her office – yet” and threatened her.

    Taub continues to break my heart. Just like Rachel said, he may be a lousy husband, but he is a good man.

    I loved how House’s epiphany was like any other episode and wasn’t “special”. It took an almost throw away line for him to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

    I can’t wait to watch it again and absorb it all in!

    And for those worried about RSL not being in the episode, I just read on Blogcritics that he is going to be on Broadway again and this could be the reason why Wilson’s been MIA a bit. Therefore I believe the TPTB are giving him the time he needs just like they did to OW to film her movies.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Hey DebbieJ. It will have an asterisk (if I do a sequel). I’m not overly worried about RSL. I agree that they’re probably giving him a little time. He doesn’t shoot that many days a week, and I’d guess they can work around his scenes.

    I remember when people hated the character of Taub. He’s really grown on a lot of people (including me). I like his sardonic take on life and I really like how he and Foreman have forged their own little friendship.

  • Joe

    From Peter Blake twitter:
    We wrote actually a couple of W/H scenes but realized we didn’t need them; the story was H/C centered.

    It all explained now :(

  • Amie

    No one mentioned this line House says: “Addicts lie”
    A hint of things to come?…

    Loved the episode. Great dilemnas.
    First episode where I really felt how serious House is about the relationship. Loved the Taub-Foreman bromance.
    Great one-liners and humor.
    Didn’t realise Wilson was missing until someone mentioned it. Even though I love him.
    I like House in a relationship, he’s funny again (unlike season 6 where he was moping a lot).

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    Good review Barbara as always and great comments from everyone.

    I liked the episode. Lots of stuff to talk about.

    Confrontation was obviously the theme of the episode. The whole episode was built around several one on one confrontations and each of them revealed something about the characters.

    No one talked about this one yet but I really liked the House and Foreman confrontation. It seems that not only Foreman really found his right place on the team but that he is less conflicted by it. He never misses a bit. He was also right. House was not acting as usual and was out-of-line because the patient was his girlfriend’s mother. I also liked the discussion Foreman had with Taub afterwards. However, I liked that Taub did take a risk because he was sure it was the right thing to do. Doing the right thing is definitely a very complicated thing.
    I think that was nice to see Taub in this light and I think Rachel acknowledged his effort. Like she said, he is a good person.

    I always found Masters totally one-dimensional but she does have her role in the team. House and the show can really use her but she really needs to be more nuanced as a character. That being said, Masters interferences to the case brought on interesting issues in the ethical dilemma. House was out-of-line but not out-of-character in their confrontation IMO. He is and always been an ass after all as Celia (#8) well put it. Here he was in a very stressful difficult position and he did what he thought he had to do to protect the woman he loves under those circumstances. It’s only human after all. We now see what House is prepared to do to protect his relationship with Cuddy.

    Cuddy was stuck between two powerful driving forces: House and Arlene. It is not an enjoyable position as we can imagine. It is interesting to see that even though House wanted to appease Cuddy, the moment he felt he was losing her over Arlene is when he chose to finally confront her. He wanted to have Cuddy back on his yard for his sake as a doctor and boyfriend. In that regards, I agree with Crazy4House (#1) that the “sleeping NEXT TO you” instead of the “sleeping WITH you” is really important. I think it says a lot on how House sees his relationship with Cuddy in general and at that point. Also it speaks volume that he said it in that particular moment IMO. It is in the time of great crisis that you can really see someone as he/she really is. Crisis are revealing.

    House and Cuddy big issue this year seems to be: How can we make the dysfunctional function? (Assuming that they can which remains to be seen). It is interesting to see that the same questioning can be applied for the House/Arlene relationship.
    In an interview, Lisa Edelstein said that, in this episode, we were gonna understand better how Cuddy could have put with someone like House for so long through her relationship with her mom. She was right.
    I find it quite interesting to see that both Houser and Cuddy had/has a difficult relationship with the parent of the same sex who had/has a strong personality. It’s another similarity that they share.

    All in all, it was a very full episode with a lot to consider. The directing was really good. The lighting was beautiful. And what to say about the acting? It was AMAZING! We will see how it all turns out now.

    Ps: I think it was great to see Cuddy confronting her mom by saying she would be well treated in another hospital but die while she would be treated like crap at PPTH but live. It was always an issue that was brought by this TV show from day one. What can of doctors would you like? I think it was nice.

  • Jacksam4eva

    Amie, thank you Sooooo much ! I reached the end of the discussion and actually wondered whether or not I had imagined the whole “addicts lie” thing. This was to me one of the most powerful quotes of the episode, especially since I’ve been kind of frustrated because of the writers’ complete silence on this issue since that one line they wrote a lifetime ago in the bath scene during Now What?. Cuddy took the pills, showing exactly where her trust in House really ends and yet no one ever said a thing about it again. IMO, House saying that “addicts lie” may be there to show why he told Wilson he lied when he said he would never lie again to cuddy. Yes, he may decide right now not to lie to cuddy agAin but there are still problems in his life that arent solved and addiction is definitely one of them. Addicts lie, and he is an addict, I’m sure that the day, for whatever reason, the drugs will come back in his life, that will be THE moment when his relationship is going to be really jeopardized. Next to that, the issues they had in family practice will seem incredibly harmless. It takes a lot more than a year to move on from years of addiction, especially since the cause of this addiction, the pain in his leg, is still there

  • Lara

    For sure House would’ve liked someone like Masters when Stacy was planning what he didn’t want to his leg, but if that was the case…he probably would’ve died.

  • DebbieJ

    I took his comment, “addicts lie”, to mean that he knows this from first hand experience. I didn’t take it as an ominous sign of things to come. He still acknowledges he is an addict. Just because he is clean, doesn’t make him less of one. An addict will always BE an addict, whether they are ingesting their drug of choice or not.

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    Agree with Debbie (#51). I think it was an important moment too but I think he was just trying to make a point to Cuddy. That she should know – as she knows him – that addicts lie. All in all, I think this is why she still gave the pills to her mother despite her saying she was no drunk. House said Arlene was gonna denied. Addicts lie. He said it pretty matter-of-factly. He was stating a truth they both know. Like Debbie I took it as him making an important point to Cuddy.

  • ruthinor

    One thing I’m wondering about: since we know that Masters is leaving sometime this season, who will serve as a buffer between House and Cuddy? Will one of them be forced to leave his/her job?

    Also, nice to know that Arlene will recognize sarcasm again since she’s such a great proponent of that “art”.

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barabara,
    Hello, all.
    Wow! I thought this was an amazing episode. I will have to watch again, to truly absorb it all.
    I agreed with many; crazy4House#!, andreeC#12 and54 #32,in particular.
    Yes, House was being House in so many ways, but at the heart of it all was his protectiveness of himself and of Cuddy. It must have been hard on him to watch her torn about what to do with her mother. As much as he didn’t want to be part of the case, how could he stay out, especially when they realize it is not simple heart disease? A few comments seem to resent Cuddy for wanting House to treat her mom, should he? Probaby not, but wouldn’t YOU want him on her case?
    I thought the scenes with Arlene and Cuddy were brutal. The actresses were terrific together. Someone made the point, sorry forgot who, that Julia was closer to Arlene and Lisa obvioulsy related better to the father. That struck me, too. Yet, you almost got a sense that they wished it could be otherwise. Arlene, a bright, clever woman would never be the ‘brain’ her daughter is. You could understand a bit of resentment that father and daughter had a bond husband and wife could never share. Seeing Arlene in action, young Lisa had to be a very strong, confident kid to thrive with that pressure. The moment when Cuddy realizes that her mother felt pressure and high expectations were what got her to achieve, she could understand, forgive and even appreciate her mother’s intentions. I kept thinking of that old expression that you love all your kids, but you don’t love them in the same way and you often don’t raise them the same. Julia was obviously the ‘easy’ child; a lot like her mom, wanted a family life and not terribly ambitious. Here comes Lisa, extremely smart, devious (lies successfully to her mom since age 12) and destined for a different future. Glad Arlene wasn’t my mom, but she did what she felt was best for her daughter.
    I, too, loved the lines that House “…is sleeping beside her and that a year from now…” Contrary to what others may think, I found that reassuring. He is envisioning them still together, with a future. Hurray!
    Although House was often caustic and dismissive of Cuddy as a doctor, he is equally respectful of her intelligence and
    proficiency at her job. I think he was upset at the way Arlene treats Cuddy in both “Larger than Life” and in this episode. He is her boyfriend now, they are building bonds and his protectiveness is coming out. I don’t think he was just being selfish. I loved seeing that side of him.

  • Kole

    Masters is obviously an idiot, she is the prime example of how dumb people following ideologies can casue huge damage and pain. She is egoistic beyond measure, who has no problem with practically killing someone if it means she can congratulate herself for doing the “right” thing.
    I really hope that the writers will end her character with a case where she gets to see the results of her selfishness.

  • Derdriui

    Kole, and to most of you, especially the person who said they loved that Cuddy was kicked out of her own office and Masters was intimidated.

    Wow, the way this show is inspiring such sexism and amorarily is very sad. There were other ways of diagnosing this than them undercutting other doctors, switching treatments, bugging rooms. Cuddy was completely submitted to House and she aced completely unprofessionally.

    The idea that just because you are eventually about something means that you can screw everybody in the meantime is madness. And that’s not what House used to be about.

    Cuddy acted like a ditz this episode and the sheer sexism of think that it’s GOOD that House is completely able to control his girlfriend (who is supposed to be his BOSS and Kaufman’s boss, and to whom 3M went for help because Cuddy is supposed to be ethical) is just sad.

    Seriously, women aren’t just tight clothes and good assets. Women don’t reach her position without having internalized some principles of administration.

    She might have been scared, but House even had to tell her to stand up for herself? After she switched medications on a patient? This is a serious breach of ethics for a doctor, she will of course be reported by Kaufman. The idea of a colleague doing that is bad, but the idea that she did that as his boss? That’s madness.

  • hwl40

    Loved the comments, so glad some of the regulars are back. It does feel like family!

    As usual, I don’t have much to say except that it does seem that, as Cuddy had hoped in “Unwritten”, she and House do make each other better. He pushing her to stand up for her convictions and for the welfare of her mother regardless of what it does to their relationshipins or lack thereof, and she giving him someone worth fighting for, not just for the puzzle but for his own happiness and hers. A little bit of House in Cuddy and Cuddy in House. Sounds like a relationship…

  • Sera G

    Hi, back again, with a few more thoughts:
    Taub-we are really seeing layers and facets to his character. I always dismissed him as arrogant, shallow, ambitious, greedy and of course, a cheat. It was interesting in “Lockdown” that he once saw himself as being “the House of his department.” That line changed with way I looked at him. Now I see a man caught up in the quest of money and prestige, unlike GH who is/was caught up in the quest for the answer. I thought it interesting that he volunteered his services in poor countries. Even Rachel acknowledged that he was a “crappy husband, but a good man.” Amazing how a few insights into a person’s past and a broken nose can change your perception. We have always seen that with House, I am glad that we have enough ‘history’ with Taub that we can now appreciate that distinction.
    I know that I am in the minority here, but I really like Masters. I did not take House’s threats as a test. I think he was truly stunned that she had the courage and ethics to stand up to him. When she was ill in the restroom, I felt her torment and fear. No, she doesn’t ‘need’ the job, but it is important to her. Perhaps this is a challenge unlike any she has faced. Being on House’s team requires more than just intelligence and that is something she has never experienced. She makes him look at things in a different way. He will never agree with her, but I do think he now respects her and values what she brings to the team. I am sad that she will not return next year.

    Off topic; any word, gossip, speculation, rumor about what is going on with season 8?
    Add me to the chorus who thought all the scenes between HL/LE were extraordinary. I worried that the writers would take an easy out and kill off Arlene, thus leaving an inevitable breakup. I am so glad they did not. Not only because I really love them as a couple, but because this show is too complex for that. As Arlene worsened, the audience could feel the fear from House and Cuddy that this could forever change things between them. I should have known that I could trust Peter Blake.
    BTW, the lighting and gritty/grainy film quality was crucial to the intensity of the show. Kudos to them all. Whoever feels this show is not what it was, is not really paying attention. They take risks. I admire them for that.

    Barbara, besides an exceptional review, thanks for the ratings info. They are up from last week, right?
    By the by, hope you are having a wonderful vacation. I am sure you have followed the weather in Chicago. You left just in time!

  • RobF

    @Celia(#8) — I agree completely that House truly meant to scare Masters into being quiet. He is often a selfish brute, even if this was a fairly extreme example. But on later reflection, he is honest enough to judge his own behaviour without justifying it to himself as most people do, and will face the consequences of his self-judgement. He could never bring himself to follow through on such a threat, and had to make things right with Masters as best he could.

    He does actually admire her greatly for standing up to him, even though he is in most every way her superior. House is the most respected diagnostic doctor in the nearby world (of the show); he is her boss; he is a better doctor than she is (she’s not even a doctor); and he is even physically intimidating to her.

    Yet she knows that she is right, just as surely as House knows that he is right. When he could no longer trick her or hide from her to get his way, he resorted to using an odious trick in an attempt to control her through blackmail. Of course he would later repent — could we still cheer for him as a character otherwise?

    As for Taub, it was nice to see he is a decent person. His side story, though thin, was still far more than Chase and Foreman got, as they were yet again little more than furniture. I’ve given up on seeing a real story arc for the team members, but lately none except Masters plays any significant part in the show.

  • ruthinor

    Derdriui: you don’t like Cuddy, you think she’s a horrible example of high achieving womanhood…we get it…anything else? Why do you keep beating this dead horse? Some of us accept her the way she is and assume that, like the rest of the characters on the show, she was influenced by many factors, including her parents. Interestingly, at home she wears casual clothes and is presumably more like her true self, not needing to put on an act. Also, Cuddy usually does NOT act like a ditz…this was an unusual situation having to deal with the life or death of a parent with whom she has been in conflict her entire life.

    And for those who decry the medical ethics in this episode, for Pete’s sake where have you been for the past 7 years? They have broken every medical ethical law on the books during this series. It’s a TV show, not life. You either accept the premise of the show and its characters, or you do not. If you don’t, why do you bother to watch? Jeez, I think Foreman is a bore and Cameron was insufferable, but I don’t feel the need to keep saying that over and over again, nor did that spoil the show for me.

  • RobF

    @SaraG(#58) — at the risk of saying something over and over again, I also really like Martha Masters. Her presence has been welcome this season, as the season story arc has been very flat at times.

    I think a character like hers is long overdue on the show. She’s not one of the ordinary folk who “tut tut” at the rule-breaking of the mad genius, nor does she meekly disapprove of House like Cameron did while she was on the team. Masters is as independent, as smart, and as strong as House, and she challenges his way of doing things like nobody has.

    House can’t simply out-logic her to get his way. She doesn’t arrive at a different answer than House through any flaw in reasoning, but because she starts with a different question. We’ve seen House hide his actions from her, and in this episode we saw him try to squash her objections violently. Now we’re probably going to see him have to adjust his ethics to accommodate hers. It could be interesting.

  • Sera G

    RobF, I agree.
    I enjoyed Cameron during her time, but she did go along with House, more because of her adoration of him and granted, he is right. I like that Masters has none of those qualities. She is very smart, has nothing to prove by ‘out-thinking’ him. She is a refreshing character and as you said, a welcome addition to the show. As you stated, “…we’re probably going to see him have to adjust his ethics to hers.” For most of his life, House has assumed that he is always right and that his is the ONLY right way. As with other ‘truths’, he may have to reconsider. That is what I think this season is about. Looking at your life and finding a way to move on, move forward and be open to others’ ideas and letting people love you.
    I won’t repeat my earlier comments, but I must respectfully disagree with you, on this point, I don’t feel it has been a flat arc. There is a different feel this year. We have been used to a high wire act with House; will he lose control, will he overdose or be too drugged to function? I think that is why some people are not as happy with the season. You get used to living with tension and when things return to normal, the buzz is missing. Personally, I am enjoying seeing a stable House. I want to see him continue the journey. Some may find it boring, but I like a ‘healthy’ House.

  • DebbieJ

    #56 Derdriur said: “The idea that just because you are eventually about something means that you can screw everybody in the meantime is madness. And that’s not what House used to be about.”

    Seriously? Apparently we haven’t been watching the same show the past 7 years.

    You also said: “She might have been scared, but House even had to tell her to stand up for herself? After she switched medications on a patient? This is a serious breach of ethics for a doctor, she will of course be reported by Kaufman. The idea of a colleague doing that is bad, but the idea that she did that as his boss? That’s madness.”

    Again, seriously? This is House, MD we’re blogging about. A TV show that has been pulling these unethical tatics since season 1. Also, this wasn’t just a patient, this was her mother. She wouldn’t be able to be objective and be rational.

  • Derdriui

    DebbieJ

    Do you not have ANY grasp of ethics?

    House was right a lot of the time and when he did rash things it was because he came to an insurmountable roadblock. Oftentimes, that was CUDDY saying no.

    In this one, are you seriously saying that the ONLY option these smart, capable characters could arrive at was ‘oh, let’s hire one doctor and then go behind his back’?

    Being right and doing it the right way is important. House does things the wrong way when he can’t do them the right way. That’s what justified his breach of medical ethics.

    About Cuddy, I can understand her not being objective, but why can’t she be rational? She’s scared but she’s a TRAINED administrator. She knows the powers that she has. She didn’t have to sneak around behind her own employee like some powerless psychotic, she could have hired another doctor, she could have taken House’s findings to Kaufman and presented them reasonably.

    Are you saying that her emotional state justified her following House’s decisions on everything?

    I can’t believe that you have so little understanding or respect for professionalism or for ethics. This show is not about being unethical and enojying the trip. The very idea of valuing the truth is ethical.

    House was NOT a nihilist conception.

  • ruthinor

    In virtually every episode of House several diagnoses are made and the patient is treated as though these diagnoses are correct. Each patient is treated multiple times with multiple meds and frequently with life-threatening results (e.g. Arlene), because House always thinks he’s right. Sorry, Derdriui but this is NOT how medicine is practiced in the real world. This is a TV show and unrelated to reality. Always was, always will be. In the real world House would have been in jail in season 1.

    This comment of yours:

    “House was right a lot of the time and when he did rash things it was because he came to an insurmountable roadblock.” Oftentimes, that was CUDDY saying no”.

    Sorry, but it’s ridiculous. House is actually WRONG a lot of the time and Cuddy has saved his ass numerous times by preventing him from actually killing patients. In each episode he guesses wrong several times until he gets that AHA moment. At least that’s the show I’ve been watching for 7 years.

  • Derdriui

    ruthinor

    … Okay, so Cuddy stopped him from killing patients.

    So how does that make it okay for her to follow everything he said? Because she forgot all of her administrative capabilities in a crisis?

    Also, if she wanted House to be the lead in this case and wanted him to do whatever it takes (and she did) then she could have done that in other ways. Gotten a doctor that WOULD follow House’s advice, for one thing. Gotten one of the team to be her doctor.

    Sorry but if you really think that this was the ONLY WAY for her to help get House access to Arlene, that’s just… incorrect.

  • ruthinor

    Derdriui:

    With regard to the latest episode, I think Cuddy originally believed that whatever was wrong with her mother could be easily solved and was not life-threatening. However, as time went on, she realized that things were actually much more serious and only the creativity of House could save her mother as more and more diagnoses were ruled out. I don’t see what her administrative capabilities have to do with all this. She was an emotional wreck, not thinking clearly and neither she nor House (nor his team) should have been treating her mother. But she was scared that w/o House’s diagnostic ability her mother would die. This was not a typical case and I think you are extrapolating far too much from her behavior under these extreme conditions to her behavior in general. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

  • http://idontcareish.livejournal.com/ Jacksam4eva

    Yes, of course Cuddy screwed up, I don’t even get why there’s a debate here, she obviously let House do whatever he wanted, even he awknowledged it when talking to Masters. But why’s that? Because she suddenly forgot all her administrative skills in a crisis? No, I don’t think so, I just think she was working on her mother’s case!

    Whatever might concern your parents affects you, it ALWAYS does. I know someone already said it, but I’m going to say it again anyways: that’s, I believe, the reason why you can’t treat your parents for example, because it forces you to make INSANE choices and you don’t have the necessary distance you need to have to deal with it. So no, I don’t think Cuddy suddenly changed personalities and went from being an decent administrator to a really bad one, she went from a decent administrator to a human being. Yes, I think it’s okay to freak out when you are so worried about your sick mother because even if you don’t have a great relationship with her she is still your mother.

    I believe the reason cuddy decided to let House do whatever he wanted was partly because of this, she understood, with the “drinking problem”, that she didn’t want to know what was done, didn’t want to interfere and since House (and everyone else in this hospital) needs to run procedures by her, she decide it was just best for them to do whatever they wanted. That’s a crappy choice, obviously, one she shouldn’t have made, but I don’t believe it’s unforgettable. We know Cuddy usually reacts pretty well under stress (5 to 9) and I really believe the fact she was treating her mother can be entirely responsible of her change in behavior.

    As for all the drama that could have been avoided but wasn’t: this is a TV show!! It needs the drama so it doens’t end in 15 minutes. And I can’t remember who, but I remember someone comparing the show to NCIS saying how NCIS is so much better now because Mark Harmon took control and managed to get it back, saying that they don’t need that much drama and unbelievable u-turns anymore to keep the show going for 45 minutes. Actually, even if I’m definitely in the minority out there, I’d like to state how boring NCIS has become to me in the last few years. On the other hand, I remember that as I saw the end Help Me last year I thought “God, I finally found a show which is getting better and better with the years!” I do NOT want to change my mind about this.

    Oh and lastly, I don’t think that it’s incoherent for Cuddy to be a great administrator and yet be completely unable to stand up to her own mother. I actually believe Cuddy can stand up to anyone BECAUSE she never does with her mother. Yet, I loved that House called her on it, I don’t think that’s machistic. Here he wasn’t only her boyfriend, he was her friend, the one who’s been there for twenty years. It’s what friends do, it could have been a female best friend if she had one.

  • Derdriui

    Jacksam4eva

    They were going behind Kaufman’s back.

    Kaufman was treating a patient. She went behind his back and treated that patient.

    It doesn’t matter if the patient is your parent, your child or someone you’ve never met before because ethics and law are NOT relative.

    Can’t you see that? It’s not the fact that she followed House’s advice that’s the problem: the problem is that she did what he told her to do in the stupidest way possible, and in the process was a TERRIBLE boss and a terrible administrator to her subordinate.

    There is a very clear line that she crossed went she went behind Kaufman’s back and even in a soap opera like Grey’s Anatomy she would be subject to a disciplinary hearing.

    House gets away with stuff like this because of her. That’s why they screwed up by putting more emotions into relationship; she’s supposed to be a boss that supports his opinion, not a girlfriend who does his every whim when she gets scared because he’s there to protect her.

    In this episode, she freaked and actively engaged him; and that’s okay, her choice, her family. In terms of screwing up Arlene’s meds, maybe family members can get away with doing that to each other (though that’s highly questionable ethically, she was trying to do the right thing, though it’s still illegal)

    But she can’t expect to get away with treating Kaufman like that because that. Is. Wrong. She didn’t do any damage by being a moron, but the reason why behaviour like that is restrained is because you can do some real damage to patients and to the careers of colleagues if you do it. How is this difficult to digest?

    TV shows are supposed to show engaging storylines, right? This one is engaging, certainly, but Cuddy used to be a decent character. Like I said before, to show this kind of submissiveness and emotional thinking is sexist.

    That said, if they wanted her to be a mob wife type character, that’s okay too: but they should commit and follow through with that, to show that it’s stupid behaviour.

    Amorality and being unable to cope are interesting character choices but they shouldn’t expect her to be seen as a strong character. Cuddy has a lot of pre-teen and teenage fans. They should either stick to the characterisation of the pre-Huddy era of her trying to be strong and not having expectations of House (especially to protect her) or commit to destroying her character.

    The halfway method is just very… iffy and unlikable writing which gives mixed messages, especially to young fans.

  • HouseMDFan

    Derdriui, I have no idea why you can’t argue your point without insulting people every single time. I also have no idea why you keep saying the same thing over and over again whithout considering the good, rational arguments that have been given.

    because ethics and law are NOT relative

    Once again, what show have you been watching? House is all about there NOT being clear cut rules that would apply in every case. Almost every other case has something that goes against the law and almost every time it could do real damage. That’s why the show isn’t the real world.

    not a girlfriend who does his every whim

    She didn’t. If you recall, the whole thing started out with her forcing him to do the job, at the beginning he was following her every whim despite his better judgement.

    this kind of submissiveness and emotional thinking is sexist

    Everybody in this show has been shown to make bad decisions when they are emotional, this has nothing to do with male or female. House himself has been shown making bad decisions when he is emotionally engaged, time and time again. Some of his bad decisions in this very episode were driven by emotions. He screwed up just as much as Cuddy, which Foreman and Masters pointed out. And re: submissiveness – again, I don’t know what you have been watching, but I saw someone finally standing up for herself and her beliefs and not being submissive to her mom’s every whim anymore. House didn’t coerce her, he just helped her seeing who she really is. That by the way is a specialty of his.

    And one last word: You seem to believe that the purpose of the characters should be to further some kind of agenda (whatever that is). I’d much rather have believable and fallible characters than cardboards with political messages plastered all over them.

  • Derdriui

    HouseMDFan

    Okay, try this:

    House is supposed to be maverick. And he cares about his puzzles and he cares about saving the patient (no matter what he says, one does not risk one’s sodding medical license for a purely academic puzzle that one can solve at an autopsy if one does not care).

    House letting her tell him to treat the patient behind her back was not following Cuddy’s whims. He wasn’t allowed to consult by Kaufman. Cuddy had him behind the scenes, and then later just went along with all the crazy plans to do simple things. There’s drama for entertainment, and then there’s that.

    So I do take your point that he tried to listen to her. But that does not negate… everything else.

    Dude, House told her to stand up for herself. She realized that because of him. And that’s nice, it really is, except he didn’t tell her to stand up to HIM and she couldn’t figure out how to handle the rest of carrying out medical decisions (through other doctors and other legal methods) without following House’s madcap ways.

    As for your other point, like I said before, this show was not nihilist. It’s not supposed to show that everything is pointless.

    Throwing ‘political’ in there is an odd thing to say. Remember the episodes on abortion? On atheism? Heck, remember the episodes with polticians and the ones with their lackeys? The show deals with them. Nobody’s saying there should be a party political manifesto, but just coherence.

    Either Cuddy knows how to be an administrator or she does not. If she cannot figure out how to treat her mother without violating the law, then that’s quite a big issue.

    House guided and coaxed her through the process. And he did it in a mad way because it’s House and when he gets emotional, he does go mad. But she should be better than that.

    It’s one thing to show her slipping up this once, but are you seriously telling me that you can’t see that this is a more serious example of her previous administrative failures?

    The writers aren’t pretending that she’s respected anymore.

    Look, I’ve tried to respond to your ideas. We obviously just see things very differently. I would have preferred her to be a serious character, but a sitcom/mob wife combo is certainly interesting. It just doesn’t inspire any respect, which makes the whole show look like a mess: are they just incoherent or are they doing this deliberately?

    Nobody wants cardboard characters, but is having little believable motivation your definition of interesting?

    It’s one thing to have characters behaving in comprehensible ways, no matter how badly, because that shows perspective. Characters acting stupid without motivation is the realm of a) sitcoms and b) soap operas. Neither of them waste time on believable characters, they just do what they like with them for the funny or for the emotional manipulation.

    And if you really, really think an administrator can afford to behave like this then that’s believing a soap opera reality.

    Ethics may be relative for House because he is pursuing a higher purpose – solving the puzzle over following the rules – but that’s not an excuse for Cuddy.

  • Kole

    Derdriui:

    Let’s not turn this into a debate on sexism, I did not have anything in my comment that would merit that. I accept that Masters devotion is respectable and shows a strength of character, but the problem is that for her, the integrity of her character is obviously comes before people’s life. It’s insane to imply that House was selfish, why he is the one who risked his carrier for someone else’s well being, while Masters did just the opposite. She risked the life of her patient for her own feeling of righteousness.

  • Derdriui

    Kole, the comment about sexism was in relation to the other comments, that was addressed to several people.

    It’s definitely an interesting point that you raise: do you follow medical ethics (or lawyerly ethics or lunchlady ethics or anything else) because you want to feel self-righteous or because they are correct?

    Now, about what 3M did, I would say you’re leaving out some significant factors: they were switching meds on the patient without the consent of the attending. That’s nuts. Secondly, she was watching her boss and her boss’ boss act out of control: she had no way to restrain them.

    I don’t think she was doing it to feel good. It made her throw up. She could have lost everything. House threatened to ruin her career at its fledgling stages, remember?

    So 3M stood up for one principle, House stood up for another: to save Arlene. However, the way House was going about doing his job was nuts.

    (Also, House was not risking his job. He and Cuddy were risking KAUFMAN’S job. If Kaufman went down for screwing up, neither House nor Cuddy nor the team would have owned up.)

    Is it rational that the Dean of Medicine had no other way of getting Arlene treated without going behind her back? It’s simply not rational.

    In this context, 3M stood up for a principle that was drummed into her as a med student and makes sense in ethics and law. It prevented Arlene from having her wishes overidden, but more importantly, it stopped her from being medicated in a dangerous way.

    House and Cuddy may find each other’s competence astounding, but rules exist because that kind of madness isn’t supposed to take place.

    Also, 3M was not risking Arlene’s life by telling her, I would argue. 3M was follow procedure that would help a rational doctor help a patient. Now, Arlene was difficult to treat in general: however, Cuddy should have switched her attending to someone more agreeable or SOMETHING before it got to the point where she was doing the mad stuff she was doing to Kaufman, emotionally following House’s ideas.

    3M also acted like a colleague, something that Kaufman was right in predicting neither House nor Cuddy would do when he said that if he worked with House, House would undermine him and Cuddy would let him.

    Sorry, but House and Cuddy got themselves into a terrible mess. 3M stood up for her principles. If they had screwed up what they were doing to Arlene, neither House nor Cuddy would have their neck on the line in front of the disciplinary hearing for screwing up: that would be on Kaufman.

  • http://idontcareish.livejournal.com/ Jacksam4eva

    #70: I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. I’d also like to add that Grey’s and House are two completely different shows that don’t have the same goal: in GA you learn how to be a good doctor while House tells you that you can’t be a great doctor without breaking the rules (then , you decide or not you agree with him, that’s up to you). Whether or not I think it’s okay for Cuddy not to be sanctionned because of her behavior in this episode is up to me but the lack of sanction is definitely coherent with what the show has always been.

    I think the first issue here is whether or not Cuddy’s change in behavior is understandable. I personnally think it is, but again it’s a very personal point of vue, apparently, Derdrinui, you see things differently, which I completely understand, like I said, I believe it’s really subjective. I agree with you on the fact that going over Kaufman’s head was definitely wrong and I also, just like you, think she should have picked another doctor to begin with. However, IMO, the reason she picked Kaufman is really ambiguous. I believe that somehow, she knew that something was going to go wrong and thought that Kaufman, if he could work with House, could be the boundary keeper she always is (and knew she couldn’t be in this case because it regarded her family). The problem is that Kaufman didn’t want to work with House so no one (except for Masters) was there to keep things in line.

    Secondly, someone said (I can’t remember who, sorry) that the show was unrealistic because Cuddy wasn’t going to face a hearing even after what happenned and therefore could do whatever she wanted, and whatever House wanted without having to face any kind of sanctions. I’d like to say that yes, maybe not in her mother’s case, but in the end of the episode, when House tells Masters she has to be there to keep him in line because the board people are not going to keep putting up with Cuddy always protecting him like this now that they’re together, I think it clearly shows that actually, Cuddy’s change in behavior and new boderline decisions are going to be an issue in the show. I don’t know when but I trust the writers to bring it up.

    Finally, I’ve thought about it and I think if we are to put the blame on Cuddy here, we should also put part of it on House. How long did it take him to confront her again? How long had it taken him when she screwed up in Fetal Position? He knew she was wrong about putting up with her mother’s behavior and he knew she would never have made these decisions in other circonstances (we know he knows what she’s going to okay before she even does since Selfish) and yet her didn’t do anything because he was scared she’d get mad and break up with him. This was definitely a tough episode for everyone, not just Cuddy.

  • Susan

    Back to the ratings and RSL – New York Times today said “Fox builds night on a strong ‘House””, and “Fox delivered its best Monday night ratings of the season” and ‘House’ attracted its highest ratings of the season with 12.3 million viewers”.
    While “House”‘s ratings may have been 25 million years ago, it seems that no other TV shows have ratings like that anymore. CBS’s top show Two and a Half Men only had 15.1 million. Overall, I don’t think people watch as much TV as they used too and viewership has declined for every show.
    As for RSL – New York Times says “the doctor is out temporarily and headed back to Broadway” to a revival of “Born Yesterday” with preview on March 31 opening on April 24. But I assume all of this season’s shows were already taped so this won’t affect his appearing in the next 12 or so episodes. What about next year???
    “Family Practice” gave me more hope for House/Cuddy continuing into the future – with House’s remark about sleeping next to Cuddy next year and his overall concern for her. Also, the way he got so mad at Arlene for denigrating Cuddy at the dinner table two weeks ago, and his blossoming relationship with Rachel, his better disposition, and, may I say, his looks- he is much handsomer than last season. Other good signs- their cuddling on the couch when House gave her the birthday “present” of tranquilizers, and the washing dishes together. But a few more smiles from Cuddy would be nice – she does seem to scowl alot, as someone pointed out, and some gazing into each other’s eyes would be nice.
    Arlene Cuddy is a stinker – I don’t like her character and poor Cuddy to have to grow up with a mother like that. She can sympathize with House and his poor relationship with his father.

    Enough for now.

  • Kole

    The part about House and Cuddy not taking the fall is speculation and should not be referenced as a fact, in all case they took the risk of losing their carreer. Actually the part where 3M throws up shows that she is indeed self-centered. She has no problem with taking an action that will likely result in the death of the patient,she doesn’t see any moral dilemma in that decision,the only thing that evokes emotions from her is the threat of losing her job. Therefore it seems she cares more about her job then people’s life

    What is the problem, is that although things turned out ok it was in no way related to 3M’s actions. She just created a situation where the most likely outcome is the death of the patient and then she just left, leaving House and Cuddy to do the actual work (both in terms of persuading the patient and the actual medical work).

    The reason bot House and Cuddy were prepared to cross every line necessary was told by house. Because this patient is the highest priority. Higher priority means they are willing to work more and risk more to save her life.

    In 3M’s world the highest priority is not the patient, but the principle which she would follow no matter how many people needs to die and suffer.

    This is of course not an uncommon mindset, we have seen people following religious and political principles doing the same thing. Looking the other way when people died, or actively causing harm to them, because the principle is superior to them.

    This kind of thinking angers me, because it’s very dangerous, because it derives from people giving up their moral compass. They delcare that they can not tell right from wrong so they will follow a preset principle to do that work from them. Unfortunately even the best of these principle are not suffcient to offer a moral solution to every dilemma and thus result in amoral decisions when followed blindly.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Hi Kole–what you have articulated is a fundamental truth of House’s universe. For him, the patient is the most important thing. Saving the life, no matter the risk. He’s shown over and over through the years that it’s all that matters to him.

    He’s risked his career before, but the stakes here are even high considering it’s Cuddy’s mother. House is trapped in a virtual no win situation with the ethics of this case. If Arlene dies, he loses Cuddy. He can’t legally intervene in the case because of Cuddy’s fear of confronting her mother. House is unwilling, however, to force Cuddy as he otherwise might a family member because of his feelings for her. He’s gentle with her–until the end when he finally confronts her.

    “Get me my patient back!” It’s the only way he sees out of this.
    When Masters asks him why he’s doing this to her–threatening her–House throws her words back at her: the patient is the highest priority. The patient’s health is all that matters, ethics be damned.

    In the real world, it would never fly, but for fiction like this: great drama!

  • Sheryl

    Derdriui: “Sorry, but House and Cuddy got themselves into a terrible mess.”

    Quite. That’s why it was so fascinating to watch! They just kept digging the hole, deeper and deeper . . .

    What’s interesting is noting their own level of self-awareness. House knew Cuddy’s initial idea was a bad one; she knew House’s idea with the pills was a bad one . . . and so on. To some degree both characters have needed “checks” outside of each other to stop the madness–and here we see Martha play that role, as painful as it was for her to do so!

  • ruthinor

    I love Wilson, but we should all be happy for RSL because he prefers the east coast and this role is perfect for him. Jim Belushi is also in this production, and if you’ve ever seen the movie “Born Yesterday” (it’s pretty old), JB plays a character who is perfect for him as well. RSL is William Holden and JB is Broderick Crawford. The movie was based on a play written by Garson Kanin. It’s terrific!

    Derdriui: I think what Masters did was great. It ended up saving the day because everything else followed from that. On the other hand, she is very rigid in her beliefs and NEVER bending your principles, to my mind, is just as potentially harmful as ALWAYS doing what you deem to be correct regardless of what others around you may think, a la House. I disagree with you on Cuddy. I believe that she is a very moral person and would not hang Kaufman out to dry if push came to shove. House would do it in a minute, except perhaps in this case where Cuddy is so involved. To House, ALL that matters is solving the puzzle. The fact that the patient is helped by this is almost beside the point. And if other doctors are trampled along the way, so be it. House has his own moral code, but it’s not the code accepted by the rest of society. Everyone on this show is flawed in some way. That’s what makes it so interesting. Wilson has slept with patients and done other things that would warrant losing his license, but you seem hell-bent on focusing on Cuddy. How sexist of you!!

  • Derdriui

    Sheryl,

    Yeah, I agree. Cuddy is supposed to be an admin. She doesn’t have the instincts to do her job though, if she loses her mind in a crisis.

    Kole and Barbara

    Try that. And the comments. And anybody who knows anything about medical ethics or even law in general.

    Also, do you really believe that the DEAN OF MEDICINE could not think of ANY OTHER WAY to get House close enough to diagnose cobolt poisoning or anything else except by SWITCHING MEDICATION and potentially getting her employee in a lot of trouble with the disciplinary board?

    If it’s the ONLY WAY I can understand your points, both of you. But it’s only the only way in a soap opera.

    I don’t know how love redeems everything here, but it’s a cute idea? House was freaking out for love, Cuddy did everything because of love, Kaufman should understand that his career matters less than their love and so should all the other haterz ’cause House is right so much he’s MAGIC and rules don’t matter, even the boss thinks so.

    Kole, it angers you when people stop other people from playing around with patients? This was not about House having an answer. This was House switching meds and Cuddy doing it for him because she trusts him. They were both wrong, remember? Several times.

    Also, if a colleague and a boss ever treats their colleague and subordinate like House and Cuddy did to to Kaufman, they would have their medical licenses on the line in a disciplinary hearing and even if they don’t get revoked, Cuddy would lose the respect of her employees further than she has.

    Unless you guys think this is Sci-FI or fantasy, in which case… okay.

  • Derdriui

    Ruthinor

    lol Wilson wasn’t in this episode and he didn’t screw over his subordinates but okay, yes, he slept with a patient. Would anyone cry foul if he was cautioned or whatever by a committee?

    Chase KILLED A GUY. It wasn’t euthanasia, he killed a guy. Whatever you think of the moral puzzle there (there was one, but Chase didn’t give THAT much of a shit), that’s still first degree murder.

    I’m not saying the show doesn’t have ethics violations up the wazoo. But, again, Cuddy. is. the. administrator. All the other doctors are responsible for their actions morally. Cuddy’s JOB is to be responsible for curtailing ethics violations. See the issue? SISTER CAN’T REMEMBER HOW TO DO HER JOB.

    Also, if she’d go behind Kaufman’s back in the first place, and she’s perjured herself for House before (which was cool in context, but new mob wife Cuddy…), why wouldn’t she hang Kaufman out to dry?

    Remember, House is the only character she’s been protecting. And she’s his girlfriend now (I wish they’d at least say partner, girlfriend and boyfriend in their forties an fifties?) and if she came clean, House would be implicated too.

    Her loyalties are more with House than with the hospital, which means that her employees have every right to feel threatened by that relationship. And House knows that, which is why he told 3M to stay.

    Either that or because he wants to keep controlling her so he and Cuddy can make sure she doesn’t testify against them.

    Kole, one last thing about violating the law: the law works in general, not in exceptions. If you believe that something is worth breaking the law for then it better be something worth suffering the consequences for. If House and Cuddy acted like heros to you, then they will still have to take their punishment. Also, Cuddy had the bigger failure, because she is the one who is supposed to be administrator.

    You have a problem with 3M for being too ethical and not doing things in a dangerous way. Remember, Cuddy is the Dean of Medicine. There are other doctors who could have helped her, she didn’t need to go behind anyone’s back.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Derdriui–since when was House a “medical” show? People have complained about the medicine, the ethics, the fact that the House universe operates by its own set of rules for years.

    I’ve always found the medicine of the show far less interesting than the questions it raises about everything else. Season one’s Detox, for example has House practicing medicine in the throes of cold-turkey withdrawal–because of a bet engineered by Wilson!

    Control (one of the most interesting episodes of season one) has House lying to a transplant committee to get a heart for a bulimic patient (potentially to the detriment of a fully qualified recipient).

    House has gotten into fist fights with patient families and done so many things that would have in real life resulted in the loss of him medical license, that the character simply would not exist in real life.

    So, yes, this is not exactly CSI or NCIS here. It is fantasy of a sort. So…

  • ruthinor

    Polite Dissent is a great site. It points out week after week that the medicine on the show is deeply flawed. It’s unusual when they get it right, and they NEVER get it completely right, according to the MD who runs the site. Again, people over there discuss medical ethics. over and over again. And again I say WHAT SHOW ARE YOU WATCHING??? Derdriui I have no idea why you keep harping on this. None of the main characters on House are “ethical” as that word is understood in the medical community. That’s been true since day 1. “House” is about a diagnostic genius who flies above it all to solve the puzzle and cure the patient. He DEFIES the ethical rules, tramples on anyone who dares get in his way, including other doctors. This show isn’t about presenting life lessons to young people about how medical professionals should behave. It’s about a fictional, flawed superhero and those in his orbit.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    ruthinor: “Jinx” :)

  • mychakk

    Hello :)

    What a great debate is still going on here. Most of the point has been already spoken, but I’ll add a few cents of my own.

    First of all, Derdriui, unfortunately, I’ve to agree with HouseMDFan #70 point of view about your arguing. It does seem as if you were insulting people every single time. And you do repeat yourself over and over again without considering the arguments that have been given.

    Secondly, The idea that just because you are[right] eventually about something means that you can screw everybody in the meantime is madness. And that’s not what House used to be about. (Derdriui #56) That is Machiavelli. And his controversial rule: “the end justifies the means”. And the show actually was about it since the beginning. THIS was the real dilemma behind EVERY ethical problem in House MD. This is the core of House MD drama (and the reason behind its success). And it still is about this. Later Barbara Barnett said in post #77: Fundamental truth of House’s universe: the patient is the most important thing. Saving the life, no matter the risk. This is a modified Machiavelli’s rule. That’s why I can’t imagine what’s the deal with everything? Why are you so upset?

    Next, House was NOT a nihilist conception. (Derdriui #64) As for your other point, like I said before, this show was not nihilist. It’s not supposed to show that everything is pointless. (Derdriui #71)
    Where did you get the idea that House MD is about nihilism? It has never been. And it is not now. The show does not negate everything! It does not show that everything is pointless. How come the philosophy behind it is supposed to be nihilism? Show me examples, maybe I’m wrong.

    Moreover: Cuddy acted like a ditz this episode and the sheer sexism of think that it’s GOOD that House is completely able to control his girlfriend (who is supposed to be his BOSS and Kaufman’s boss, and to whom 3M went for help because Cuddy is supposed to be ethical) is just sad. (Derdriui #56) About Cuddy, I can understand her not being objective, but why can’t she be rational? She’s scared but she’s a TRAINED administrator. She knows the powers that she has. She didn’t have to sneak around behind her own employee like some powerless psychotic, she could have hired another doctor, she could have taken House’s findings to Kaufman and presented them reasonably. (Derdriui #64) Either Cuddy knows how to be an administrator or she does not. If she cannot figure out how to treat her mother without violating the law, then that’s quite a big issue. House guided and coaxed her through the process. And he did it in a mad way because it’s House and when he gets emotional, he does go mad. But she should be better than that. (Derdriui #71)

    Why are you so harsh on Cuddy? Are you challenging Arlene, or something? You are way too hard on her and judgmental. It’s like ruthinor said: She was an emotional wreck, not thinking clearly and neither she nor House (nor his team) should have been treating her mother. But she was scared that w/o House’s diagnostic ability her mother would die. This was not a typical case and I think you are extrapolating far too much from her behavior under these extreme conditions to her behavior in general. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it! (ruthinor #67) I got your point. With great power comes greater responsibility. True. But! There are always other factors to take when you are judging something.

    Next: There is a very clear line that she crossed went she went behind Kaufman’s back and even in a soap opera like Grey’s Anatomy she would be subject to a disciplinary hearing.[…] But she can’t expect to get away with treating Kaufman like that because that. Is. Wrong […] That said, if they wanted her to be a mob wife type character, that’s okay too: but they should commit and follow through with that, to show that it’s stupid behaviour. ( Derdriui #69)
    Why do you assume there won’t be any consequences? The episode was too short to show it, but TPTB might return to later. You said that the writers weren’t even pretending that Cuddy’s respected that she’s like a mob wife. I don’t agree with the later, but the first thing is undeniable. Maybe there is a reason behind it and they are doing deliberately.

    House told her to stand up for herself. She realized that because of him. And that’s nice, it really is, except he didn’t tell her to stand up to HIM (Derdriui #71)
    House did not need to tell her to stand up to him. She does it on daily basis. That the reason he got interested in her in the first place. And that’s the reason he’s got pissed of at her for not standing up to her Mother.

    end of part one ;)

  • mychakk

    Part two:

    In this one, are you seriously saying that the ONLY option these smart, capable characters could arrive at was ‘oh, let’s hire one doctor and then go behind his back’? (Derdriui #64)
    I think you have forgotten one important fact. THIS. IS. A. TV. SHOW. That is supposed to be REALISTIC. And if you think for a while, then you will realize that REAL people do act irrationally, stupidly and without a rational motive, ESPECIALLY if they are under a lot of stress and emotional turmoil. If House MD wants to be a show that is about real people – not caricature of those – than it have to show its’ characters make mistakes and acts like real people do. So it’s bound to happen that there are some actions that seem plainly stupid and irrational, that some decisions and actions they make are stupid as well. But that’s the way people acts sometimes. And that’s why Cuddy (qnd other characters) has been shown as a human being. Can’t you see that? It doesn’t justify her behavior, but it does explain it. Now we have to see what the consequences of her action will be.

    Seriously, women aren’t just tight clothes and good assets. Women don’t reach her position without having internalized some principles of administration. ( Derdriui #56) It’s one thing to show her slipping up this once, but are you seriously telling me that you can’t see that this is a more serious example of her previous administrative failures? (Derdriui #71)
    Seriously. I want you to point out all of ‘other’ administrative failures.

    And finally, I wanted to point out that you contradict yourself in the post 64:
    Being right and doing it the right way is important. House does things the wrong way when he can’t do them the right way. That’s what justified his breach of medical ethics. (Derdriui #64)
    I can’t believe that you have so little understanding or respect for professionalism or for ethics. This show is not about being unethical and enojying the trip. The very idea of valuing the truth is ethical. (Derdriui #64)
    Either you are a fighter for the ethics and want them to apply to everyone (INCLUDING House) or you are a hypocrite, being harsh on characters you don’t like (Cuddy) and justify others (main character). More example: Ethics may be relative for House because he is pursuing a higher purpose – solving the puzzle over following the rules – but that’s not an excuse for Cuddy. (Derdriui #71)

    RobF #59 -@Celia(#8) — I agree completely that House truly meant to scare Masters into being quiet. He is often a selfish brute, even if this was a fairly extreme example. But on later reflection, he is honest enough to judge his own behaviour without justifying it to himself as most people do, and will face the consequences of his self-judgement. He could never bring himself to follow through on such a threat, and had to make things right with Masters as best he could.
    Could say it better. :D

    Ruthinor #83:
    Polite Dissent is a great site. It points out week after week that the medicine on the show is deeply flawed. It’s unusual when they get it right, and they NEVER get it completely right, according to the MD who runs the site. Again, people over there discuss medical ethics. over and over again. And again I say WHAT SHOW ARE YOU WATCHING??? Derdriui I have no idea why you keep harping on this. None of the main characters on House are “ethical” as that word is understood in the medical community. That’s been true since day 1. “House” is about a diagnostic genius who flies above it all to solve the puzzle and cure the patient. He DEFIES the ethical rules, tramples on anyone who dares get in his way, including other doctors. This show isn’t about presenting life lessons to young people about how medical professionals should behave. It’s about a fictional, flawed superhero and those in his orbit.
    I agree with you. :) and if someone finds House MD a bit too fictional and unrealistic, there is always Discovery Channel ;)

  • ruthinor

    Barbara, someone must have cast a spell! (great minds think alike??) I really enjoy this site along with all the arguments!

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Glad to see a return to the debate :)

    This was a good episode with a lot of meat. I finally got to watch the episode as it finally aired (I’m out of the country for a few days, so I’d only seen the press screener).

    Part of House’s thinking in FP is also that the “patient” is his relationship with Cuddy. He wants to protect that and it’s not easy given their relative jobs in the grand scheme of their universe.

    I do think HOuse got a notion when Cuddy agreed that they shouldn’t be treating family. House is family to Cuddy, and she shouldn’t be making judgements about him unguarded. This is why I think part of him wanted to really test the bounds of Masters’ thinking…how far out on a limb is she willing to go to defy him and Cuddy.

    I’m not sure he did it consciously, but I think the implication is there (subtly).

    I also like Polite Dissent, and actually they don’t get it right all the time either :)

  • Amie

    jacksam4eva #68 – Amen

    From the moment the writers made Cuddy hire House (or not fire him), she was bound to not be “a real administrator”.
    Why try to compare House will real life?
    There would be no drama. It wouldn’t be as interesting. I think someone on this board once said (maybe flo?) that when you learn how to write screenplays, you learn to not make the people talk as in the real world. I suppose that’s true for their actions too.
    Cuddy’s character, all of the characters, serve the writer’s agenda.

    I’m rather a feminist myself, but I do not feel offended by Cuddy. Nor do I think she is a bad role model.
    You seem, Derdriui, to really take Cuddy’s character personaly…I don’t understand…

  • ruthinor

    Anyone know where Delia_Beatrice is? Even though I used to spar with her, I found her to be very insightful and I miss her “psychologizing”. D_B come back!!

  • Kole

    Derdriui: Of course this is a TV show and as such it has it’s limitation. In reality Masters would have been sent off from work right at the beginning (and probably fired earlier anyway), Cuddy would have either not intervene in the whole treatment or would have found someone who would do evereything exactly the way she wannts and of course diagnostics would be less complicated in general, but we must accept these limitations and argue while accepting the rules set up in this “world”

    Accepting that, I still believe that Masters had only concern for one person and that was her. That she threatened the life of the patient fo no apparent reason other then her need for feeling that she always do THE RIGHT thing and that she betrayed both her superiors.

    Yes there are certian situations when I would cross ethical or even legal boundaries. Saving the life of a close relative would certainly be one of those sitations even if it meant that I have to face the consequences, because I didn’t trade my counscience for the latest edition of “Code of ethics” .
    Naturally in such cases my carreer would be even further down the list so I wouldn’t mind being labeled as a bad “administrator” or “dean of medicince” (If I happened to be one, which I don’t), if it meant someone really close to me can live.

    Yes, it angers me when people value rules more then lives, because rules sometimes fail, sometimes they are even made to be unjust. Ask anyone coming from a country that was opressed by vile idealogies how it all happened. How is it possible that people didn’t bother while their neighbours were killed, why didn’t the murderers feel guilt? You will find, that it was so, because they gave up following their own morality, because they followed orders, because those were the rules and ethics at that time and they chose to accept them.

  • http://wellwellwelles.livejournal.com/ Flo

    WOW!!! Great debate that seems to not have anything to do with the show here.

    First of all, as a former cinema student and a scriptwriter I want to say : never, NEVER judge a show or a character depending on what people will or should do in REAL LIFE. That has nothing to do with Fiction. (Who are “people” anyway? And how can we know for sure that our understanding of what they should do is “the right one”?)
    I know that Godard said: “what is important in the documentary is the fiction and what is important in fiction is the documentary” and he was right. However, his saying had nothing to do with what is discussed here (or more even the other way around).
    Second of all, for whatever real aspects a fiction have, it is not written as reality nor it is written for the sake of presenting something real in all the technical (read realistic) aspects.

    A fiction will often distort reality in order to create a very dramatic context (that may not be realistic coz unnecessary in real life) in order to make a point. The writer therefore created a context in which different stuff are talked about: family relationship and secrets, the will of doing the right thing, the ethical dilemma that treating family brings etc.
    To highlight those subjects in a dramatic way the writer orchestrated several confrontations between different characters. The purpose is to bring questions (and not necessary answers, the show is not about that) and to learn more about those fictional flawed characters.

    So I fully agree with Barbara, Ruthinor, Mycchak, Amie and jacksam4eva and all on this. Lets not do get carried away by our perceptions here (which is what Derdriui seems to do).

    A character may not act like we should he/she should act. That happens. But on what exactly is found our opinion of the way each character should act? On real life? In real life yes, Cuddy wouldn’t be an administrator but in real life House and Wilson wouldn’t be doctors either. So?

    It is true that “House” is a show brings issues that are way present in real life. It also begs questions that every person can ask him/herself. However, it doesn’t mean that the show have to do it in a totally realistic way in all the depictions.

    “House” is a show about ideas and as long that the ideas are there and that the characters are true to themselves, I really don’t see what the problem is.

    The show is not about sexism or feminism. It’s beyond that IMO. So I don’t really see why this discussion occurs here.

    Amie (#89) yes I’m the one who said that when you learn to write a screenplay (a fiction that is) you learn not to be overly realistic and not to make the characters talk or act EXACTLY as in real life. Otherwise you’re writing an overly realistic and you’re in an over-representation of a situation and person.

    I saw a lot of short films and everytime a writer-director wanted to “do real thing” in a fiction the movies were terrible. EVERY TIME!

    Of course, I am well aware there isn’t one truth as there isn’t one way to write a script but I believe there are some basic rules (otherwise this art would be impossible to teach). So you can disagree all you want, this is just my two cents. I don’t pretend to have “The Truth” as I don’t believe such thing exists in art.

    I will just say that I disagree with Derdriui and I’m glad Mycchak pointed out the contradictions in her numerous posts.
    I think it is one thing to see the show as a feminist and to form an opinion as such (why the hell not?) but I’m afraid it is not the good blog to be well comprehend and received as it is not the way Barbara sees the show nor the way she logically writes about it. The debates we have here are usually on other subjects that are IMO more about what the show really is (in our view).

  • Kissmyasthma 49

    Really enjoyed reading the debate which has been going on here :)

    Two small things i would like to add one about the show and one about Masters.

    1. We know House does crazy things and gets away it but isn’t a lot of that to do with the fact that his department is a last chance saloon and they practice a lot with experimental medicine, hence Cameron being jealous when Foreman stole and printed her report of a particular patient in an experimental medicine journal?

    2. House initially tested Masters with the bugging of Arlene’s room and when she failed that test he sent her to go and find another patient albeit a fake one whilst he and his team treated Master’s behind her back. The DDX in the fake patients room was brilliantly comical and what an actor House is (i don’t mean HL in this instance) with the facial expressions and playing the game when really he was setting her up to get some dirt on her. This is my only qualm about the episode though. Why was Master’s allowed to take blood from the fake patient when she is only a student and supposedly not authorised to do any treatments tests herself without supervision? The dirt House got on her wasn’t about the treatment/test itself but about her not notifying the family beforehand? House’s lackey’s were with him so who supervised her, maybe Wilson behind the scenes?

  • Kissmyasthma 49

    Excuse the spelling mistakes i meant whilst his team treated Arlene

  • Derdriui

    If characters do not have believable motivations, do you just tell yourself ‘oh, it’s fiction?’

    I can understand that in, say, Candide. Making a point and it’s not about characters.

    But you can’t have it both ways. Either, as Barabra and HouseMDFan and the first half of mychakk’s argument views this, this is a show that explores characters.

    Or this is a show where you explore concepts and ideas (power, control, guilt, fidelity) with these characters changing to fit the needs of the story. That’s Flo, mychakk’s second half an Barbara’s second post.

    Now, of course it’s possible to have good characters and through them tell a good story; but you can’t manipulate the characters for story needs and then say that characters are consistent.

    But, in this as, as so many of you have said THIS. IS. A. TV SHOW (to quote mychakk) and TV shows aren’t about realism and that this focus can destroy scripts (Flo), so does that mean that character inconsistansies are standard because, in order to show ideas and have drama, characters can act without reasonable motivation?

    mychakk said as much in the first bit of the second part of their answer.

    I suppose I can understand that take, it would certainly explain this season better. However, I quite liked the character aspects of this show and the attempts of House to interact with reality.

    mychakk, you said I shouldn’t assume there won’t be repurcussions. Do you agree that they should show the process of such a repercussion or not?

    Now, you (and Flo) say that I contradicted myself. In terms of ethics, it was a simple argument, but I can tell where I’ve written it in a confusing way.

    I will try to explain it in terms of law. Now, if you come to the point when you can violate the law to save a life, how does the the ethical balance show? You have ‘saving a human life’ and that obviously supercedes ‘follow helpful regulations’.

    But the reason we have regulations is because sometimes the way in which people choose to do things that THEY believe are right can be dangerous if it was accessible to all.

    So, when you choose to break the rule, you have to decide whether doing the right thing is worth suffering the consequences.

    Now, so far, Cuddy has been protecting him from consequences (and no, Clinic Duty doesn’t count). However, she still nominally held the role of administrator.

    This week, she undercut her own employee and engaged in House’s methods. Now, that is ALL her responsibility as a boss, ALL her responsibility as a doctor against the idea of undercutting Kaufman and switching meds on a patient. This is why it’s important for it to be her only option.

    If it was not her only option, then how can she ever justify such an ethics violation?

    Then why did she do it? House told her to do it, she was sad and insecure but she instinctually followed him, and dug them all into a mess.

    Now, perhaps this is good drama. It certainly is engaging. But it’s engaging like a soap opera (most other reviews, including AV Club and PoliteDissent etc. reference it as that) and Cuddy was acting like a mob wife, which is okay for pointless drama.

    But you have to choose: defend characterisation or defend telling a story and concept (or pointless drama) without caring about the character. If you want both, you have a lot of justifying to do.

    Flo, you accuse me of getting carried away with my perceptions and contradictions. Which, I assume, means that you’ve read what I wrote. To be honest, you’ve still missed the point. Whether you are using characters to have more drama and make real points through it or whatever, you are supposed to show MOTIVATION. Why are they behaving the way they are behaving?

    You cannot really sustain the argument that this show is not about its characters, not in the 7th season.

    If you don’t have motivation, you have a lot of drama and no POINT. Without the point, where is your story?

    If you cannot understand characters and their context, then you have a mess. Of course, if you choose to have them in a not-real-world situation where the characters don’t matter and they go through the motions for a higher plot, then that’s okay too.

    I think your viewpoint is a lot of empty justification though because this show is in its 7th season, we have learned about these characters. Coming in at this point and saying that this show is not set in this reality, saying that as long as characters embody ideas then they are that same character (… we’re not in their heads. Actions!). That’s just nonsense.

    But hey, you’re welcome to write scripts your way.

    But you’re the person who said this:

    A character may not act like we should he/she should act. That happens. But on what exactly is found our opinion of the way each character should act? On real life? In real life yes, Cuddy wouldn’t be an administrator but in real life House and Wilson wouldn’t be doctors either. So?

    Pray tell, where is this alternate reality then? Where is this land in which none of them should be accountable for their actions and the writers can pick and choose to just create drama? Oh yes, it’s the land of crap TV.

    Shame. Used to be a good show.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Derdriui–

    You say: “Now, of course it’s possible to have good characters and through them tell a good story; but you can’t manipulate the characters for story needs and then say that characters are consistent.”

    And then you say what a shame it is, because it used to be a good show. (In your opinion, anyway)

    The show’s writers have been doing that since the series began. Manipulating characters by revealing them in given situations. The characters can still be consistent, even if they may seem to act in ways that are not (on the surface). House is a jerk. But then he does something noble, which validates the idea that House is not a jerk. House is fundamentally miserable. But even at his most miserable he had moments of happiness.

    The characters are for the most part consistently written. House, especially, is very consistently written.

    In my opinion, the show is still good. Why is my opinion less valid than yours? Answer: it’s not. We simply have to agree to disagree.

  • Derdriui

    Barbara,

    I think we really do have to disagree.

    I don’t know anybody else who thinks that the writers have been writing this out of sync with reality since the start. They were building up the character and the ‘verse, but they never went all the way over the top until they had Chase murder a guy (and it wasn’t euthanasia).

    And this episode just took the attempted administrative figure (Cuddy) and turned her into someone who couldn’t be trusted to do her job.

    Even mychakk acknowledges that other many other doctors no longer respect Cuddy. This episode doesn’t help.

    Look, if you set a drama in reality and then break the rules of the reality, then there are consequences: especially in this case because Kaufman knows what they did. She is Kaufman’s boss. He will OBVIOUSLY report her unless House has him killed or something. If he doesn’t, then the ‘verse doesn’t make sense. So now it’s not only House breaking rules; now it’s Cuddy, it’s Kaufman etc.

    It’s just nonsense.

    Nobody’s saying your opinion’s less valid. Just stating a different one.

  • Jaim

    Derdriui,

    I actually agree with many of your points. I also feel that some consequences should be shown in the next few episodes. Cuddy is one of my favorite characters but even I felt a bit underwhelmed by her actions in this episode. I also can understand why Kaufman is so upset by his boss’ actions. If my boss basically set me up to be a fall guy so that she and her boyfriend were able to remain unscathed, I would be pretty pissed. Other doctors are going to feel less confident that Cuddy will really have their interests as employees in mind when she has such a strong, unyielding loyalty to House.
    As for Masters, I agree that she did the right thing. I disagree with Kole’s point of view regarding Master’s motivation. I don’t think Masters was thinking of herself she was thinking of the patient. Yes she can be rigid but if not for her duty to uphold medical ethics and informed consent, then House and Cuddy would have once again given Arlene medicine that was not good for her system. Also without her interference another doctor would be to blame for the fallout, and House would never have confronted Cuddy, or achieved his epiphany in time. This show advocates ends justifying the means but it alsoadvocates the counter argument that every action has a consequence. Masters did not believe that this was the only way to treat this patient and because of that she was able to stop three doctors from potentially ruining their careers and killing a patient.

  • Jaim

    I just wanted to add that one can feel empathy for these characters on a human level but still acknowledge their misconduct and unethical behavior as doctors. I felt for Cuddy the person but Dr. Cuddy was very unprofessional as was Dr. House.

  • mychakk

    Either, as Barabra and HouseMDFan and the first half of mychakk’s argument views this, this is a show that explores characters. Or this is a show where you explore concepts and ideas (power, control, guilt, fidelity) with these characters changing to fit the needs of the story..( Derdriui #95)
    I find it interesting you set those two things in the opposite. I think the show is about both of these (that’s why my post was half about one and half about the other). But I disagree with your point of view that mixing those two angles means having good characters and through them tell a good story. House MD doesn’t tell a story through its characters. But tell us about the characters through a story. It has always been this way. Mostly about House himself. But about others too.

    That’s why I didn’t exactly meant this: But, in this as, as so many of you have said THIS. IS. A. TV SHOW (to quote mychakk) and TV shows aren’t about realism and that this focus can destroy scripts (Flo), so does that mean that character inconsistansies are standard because, in order to show ideas and have drama, characters can act without reasonable motivation? (Derdriui #95) The show tells a story, but the purpose of story is to show the audience the characters. Because the show is about characters. In latest episodes we learned that Cuddy isn’t acting good under a pressure that comes from the stressful situation concerning her loved ones. She’s very good under a pressure (the whole insurances stuff from 5 to 9 ep), but she crumbles when a family member is concerned. This episode show she has a weakness. That she’s a human being. And acts irrationally. I don’t say it was good, and I don’t approve this. But we can’t deny that what’s we learned about her character in this episode. Some of us see this and can sympathize with her, but others will just disapprove.

    I think that Jaim #99 hit the core of the argument: I just wanted to add that one can feel empathy for these characters on a human level but still acknowledge their misconduct and unethical behavior as doctors. I felt for Cuddy the person but Dr. Cuddy was very unprofessional as was Dr. House. Some of us defend her (I know I am) as a person. And I can see your point (even if I think you are far too judgmental occasionally) of disapproving Cuddy as a doctor and administrator.

    mychakk, you said I shouldn’t assume there won’t be repurcussions. Do you agree that they should show the process of such a repercussion or not? (Derdriui #95)
    Yes. I think – I HOPE – they will show the repercussions. Because not only it will be, well, unrealistic and unbelievable, but it will mean lack of continuity. And that’s simply a bad writing. I’m not sure if we’ll see something in the next episode though. From what I’ve read at lj, this episode was supposed to be the thirteenth, not the eleventh. Which means the repercussions, if TPTB will decide to go this way, should be shown after episode 14.

  • Derdriui

    My main argument was really in relation to her professional conduct, and I think being professional is important. If she can’t do that, she can’t do her job.

    Now, mychakk, you really raise an interesting issue here: if she crumbles in relation to family members, and House is a family member, then is it not logical that their relationship is a liability?

    As long as they were not involved, at least they could say that when Cuddy risked her neck and the hospital’s liability for him, she was doing so out of professional interest and integrity. She knew House can do a lot of things, solve difficult puzzles, and this is an asset to a teaching hospital so even if she had to manipulate the system to help him get away with it, she was doing so out of a deeper desire to ally with a character who is ultimately a force for good.

    However, now that he is part of her family, and we have seen that she will put House about her other employees and that she bows to House when things get difficult, why would the hospital allow her to a) continue to be House’s supervisor (remember, she’s the only one who will do it. If isn’t allowed, he won’t be able to keep his job) or (b) keep her in a position that allows her administrative power when she treated her employees (Kaufman, and 3M when she allowed House to intimidate her sitting in Cuddy’s chair, behind Cuddy’s desk, in Cuddy’s Dean of Medicine office).

    You can call me judgmental, but this is supposed to be set in a hospital. They have other responsibilities than to Cuddy. She is a person who has a job. If she crumbles when it comes to family, why would she be able to work as House’s supervisor?

    You’re right, she can handle difficult situations outside of House. So it all depends (logically) on whether she is good enough at everything else to allow her keep her position. And she should keep her job, obviously, but what about House? Why would she be his supervisor when she can’t handle that responsibility?

    Which all leads into House being employed at all.

    Again, all this could be really interesting, but only if they actually test these characters against reality. If they keep being allowed to be bizarre and they don’t have repurcussions for their actions, what’s the point in expecting people to follow the story?

    Also, about Jaim’s post, I think the second half of her first post is very, very incisive. I won’t attempt to paraphrase it, but thank you for that analysis (in general and in particular to 3M)!

  • dago

    Another two cents from me:
    As writers you have to pack a complex story into a 40-43 min time slot.
    And as for realism : you wouldn`t have a med student in her third year in a highly specialised department either.

  • smk46

    what happened to the understanding of “the willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith”? as audience we allow ourselves to be taken by the writers and actors of a piece into action that reveals some truth about certain characters and their world. that’s the point of letting oneself experience drama, poetry, literature, art.

  • simona

    barbara thanks for the review. And….105 comments? OMG, sorry but I have no time just now to read everything.
    I only add my two cents and the premise is that my feelings about the episode are deeply influenced by my personal history.
    This episode was without a doubt my favorite, the most poignant. I identified myself in the Cuddy’s position (previously I suggested that her relationship with the mother figure was like that and during this episode it was confirmed).
    We know that both House and Cuddy had a conflictual relationship with the parent of the same sex.
    They are both rationally aware but rationality is always lost when we see that we are unable to accept an event that involves the health of our loved ones, the possible loss of a parent. Someone said that we stop being children only when we lose our parents, the guardians of our childhood. When you lose your parents you become suddenly aware that you can not be no more children. It is a chapter that is closed forever and this happens regardless of whether you had a good or bad relationship with your parents.
    So I think the deepest fear of Cuddy in this episode is evident: the regret, in the event of losing her mother (even though she thought she did everything right and necessary as a doctor), of not having embraced, kissed, touched, talked, listened and loved enough.
    Cuddy was emotionally impotent.
    So I appreciated her ability to trust the man she loves, because to show our weak and bare souls to someone is the greatest demonstration of love. And I loved that House, going against the first rule of a physician (not treat people that you’re related), assumed the risk of undermined his relationship with Cuddy only and only for her sake, not to leave her alone, to stand beside her even at the risk of being rejected in the future in case of failure of the treatment. For the first time he was not interested in the puzzle, he was interested in the relationship with his woman. He declined to protect himself.
    We have witnessed the miracle of two souls that are intertwined and connected than ever before.
    Paradoxically, House and Cuddy in this episode were shown to us more naked that in Now What and I found this nudity as an unparalleled sensuality. We have been privileged to witness the naked and “scandalous” (in the biblical sense) truth of love.

    The rain that fell incessantly throughout the episode and the night atmosphere have helped to create a very intimate feelings, giving to everything a taste of interiority.
    I immensely loved the whole team as well, including Foreman “voice of reason”.

    I believe that both, the meaning of life and especially the inexplicable death are the essence of [H]ouse and the journey. House (Hugh Laurie) is a magician: he has the ability to solicit and raise emotions sometimes buried deep in the soul.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    I think one of the points of the episode was that neither House nor Cuddy were acting professionally in this episode. House says it in the beginning that neither one of them should be involved in Arlene’s case because of the emotional investment. Cuddy is worried and acting irrationally. Normally House might be counted on to stop her and tell her she’s not being objective (Fetal Position, Joy, Joy to the World, etc). That he does not do that here, speaks to his fear that by doing so might upset her and his relationship with her (something he’s fought long and hard for).

    He recognizes this himself, and finally he blows up at Cuddy with the argument that she needs to get Arlene back as his patient with no more games. He’s willing to go along with her up to that point, not out of a medical rationality, but out of an emotional place (which is a terrible place from which to practice medicine). He knows it and he ignores his own inner voice (likely).

    In the end, he rehires Masters to “prevent him from doing something Cuddy will regret.” Cuddy is no longer protecting her ace-in-the-hole doctor (which is defensible). She is protecting her lover, which is a weaker (and likely indefensible ) argument.

    House is protecting Cuddy by doing this, but also puts on his practice a much needed filter so Cuddy doesn’t have to be that filter. It’s smart and needed–and rational.

  • RobF

    For those who don’t think House was critical of how unprofessional Cuddy (and he) were acting, and how this affects the hospital, the seemingly throwaway line in Cuddy’s office shows otherwise.

    House said, “This isn’t her (Masters’) office… yet.”

    He knows that, if Masters won’t be bullied by her superiors while still a student, she would certainly not be bullied or tricked by her staff if (when) she is in a position of authority.

    House then proceeds to do his best (worst) to trick and bully Masters. So he’s not exactly Mr. Miyagi, but it made for good television.

  • Leodie

    I don’t think we’ll hear about Kaufman and potential disciplinary measures about this particular case. Cuddy’s inability to effectively supervise House since they got together has surfaced many times since the beginning of this season and it would be very interesting if it became the main course for one or several episodes. It might reapear later though, counting on M3 to do the job alone seems risky at best.

    Unlike what I have read, I think we could have gotten the hint that yes the situation was dire without the apocalyptic storm, end of the word lighting. OK Flo, this is not real life and dramatic effects are part of the game, but I like the visual nods to the audience and atmosphere to be a little bit more subtle. Like for instance when we get that House, bursting at the seams in the first scene when he consults with Arlene, assisted and held back by Cuddy, dressed and behaving like the perfect doctor/son in law, has popped when we see him on his next consult, his coat open, pulling at his tie and part of his shirt out of his pants.

    I loved both confrontations between House and Cuddy and House and M3. H and M3 being both so very similar about their gut wrenching need to do what they believe to be the right thing (literally for M3 here and for instance back in season one when H had to deliver a speech he didn’t believe in for Vogler ) and so opposite in their perception of the means to get to this goal.
    However, I don’t get how the very smart M3 would believe House really had her here. If not verbally, he very clearly expressed his permission for her to do the procedure on the patient in front of three witnesses, and since she’s not allowed to do anything unsupervised, how could she be held responsible for whatever she did? Unless he meant to show her how she wasn’t as pristine as she pretended since, albeit involuntarily, she had done something illegal too. A ploy he has used with Cuddy before when he wanted to show her it was ok to lie for him since she had lied too (small sacrifices). I am not convinced though and I think it is an inconsistency.

    I seem like a grouch now but I think this was one of the best episodes of this season. It had rhythm, the patient and case held their ground and the drama was top quality. House managed his “between a rock and a hard place” situation as well as could be expected. The threat to M3 was despicable but I get how he thought he didn’t have a choice if he wanted his relationship and his patient to survive even if he might have ended up being wrong. The writing was in character. Me like.

  • The Other Barnett

    Barb, Bless your heart for a couple things you shared in your review:

    1. House sees in Masters a tool that he needs to keep in from going off half-cocked, because Cuddy cannot be the one to do it. I agree that he probably wishes someone like Martha was there to stop Cuddy and Stacy all those years ago. This episode made me even more sad that Masters/Tamblyn is not coming back. There needs to be balance to House and this character is well-formed to do this. Also kinda curious if he sees in her what could have been in Cameron if she had not been so wounded from her past before PPH.

    2. I licked up every micro-second of that confrontation between House and Cuddy after her mother asked to be moved to a different hospital. House showed clearly to Cuddy that he truly loves her and values this relationship, while (at the same time) letting go of his fear of losing her to assert that he is what he is (the biggest, baddest mama-jama in the diagnostic community). “Don’t let her leave my hospital” just sent chills down my spine! He asserted that alpha-dog status while saying to Cuddy, “Woman, I am your man, but I am also your savior if you just get the hell out of my way and do what I tell you to do.” May sound cave-man-ish, but this had to happen. It may be the most important juncture for their relationship.

    One last thought….before I come back later to read previous postings. I said this before, but I am increasingly seeing Foreman’s character as a useless appendage. Chase and Taub at least have some kind of color (and potential growth) to their characters…I see nothing with Foreman. If there is going to be a cast shake-up, I hate to say it, but Epps has to be the one to go.

  • Boeke

    I thought the whole episode attacked the notion that a doctor shouldn’t treat anyone they’re related to or involved with. Many doctors would have simply let Arlene die. Well, TV doctors, anyhow. Like “Frank” from MASH.

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    Boeke–Many doctors would let most of House’s patient’s die. It’s House’s willingness to ignore ethical and legal constraints that saves his patients (that and his hyper-objectivity).

    Of course had House been her doctor (again) earlier, he would have noticed the order of the symptoms (and the lack of ability to rec. sarcasm).

  • HouseMDFan

    “Woman, I am your man, but I am also your savior if you just get the hell out of my way and do what I tell you to do.”

    Ugh. I completely disagree.

    Did anybody notice that we actually had a very similar situation once before in the series? (Minus the relationship threat.) With Wilson? House is very angry with him and calls him a coward, because Wilson in House’s eyes fails to talk a family into agreeing to what House thinks is the right treatment. S3 “Family” (!)

  • HouseMDFan

    Re-reading my comment, I realize that I left out the most important part: Wilson agrees with House about the right treatment in that situation, just like Cuddy agrees that her mother should stay in House’s care but isn’t ready to stand up to her and tell her that. That’s why this isn’t a “get out of my way and let me save you” situation, but a “you fail to stand up for what you think is right” situation.

  • HouseMDFan

    Sorry, I should really think BEFORE using the post button. In the same “Family” episode, Wilson also tells Foreman : “He called you timid. To him, there’s nothing worse.” Because apart from the personal threat to his relationship in this episode, with House, everything is still about doing the right thing, sticking your head out and act on what you think is right, instead of standing back and giving up. (“DNR”!) I just LOVE that.

    Okay, I’ll stop posting now. :)

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Ruthinor, thank you very much for that, it was mighty nice of you!

    I have been watching, i have been reading Barbara’s reviews and your comments, but i am wonderfully and impossibly busy and time to post and jump into the debate is harder to find than ever before.

    However, i will say this: “Family Practice” confirmed my personal hope, that once the fears and hesitations of the beginning subside and House and Cuddy feel free to be themselves fully inside the relationship, their extraordinary connection will give me the greatest joy any fiction could ever give me. And it did. The past two episodes were very sweet too, but “Family Practice” revealed the archetypal, supreme couple that House and Cuddy can be. The authenticity, the intensity, the genuine, profond connection, the brutal honesty that inforces personal evolution, the fluidity of their mutual devotion and wordless understanding – simply superb.

    House asking to have Cuddy and the relationship protected from himself and from his insane genius was a scene that made me cry, i am not ashamed to say it. Masters is a major set back for the way House NEEDS to practice medicine, in order for him to be true to himself, and apart from any other motivation he might have in regard to her personally, the motivation he gave is one of the deepest, most impressive declarations of love i could possibly imagine.

  • ruthinor

    D_B: Welcome back!

    Since we know that Masters will be leaving the show sometime this season I think that leaves the House-Cuddy relationship in a very vulnerable position. I don’t see how she can continue to supervise him, but who else can do the job?

  • Derdriui

    The Other Barnett

    He asserted that alpha-dog status while saying to Cuddy, “Woman, I am your man, but I am also your savior if you just get the hell out of my way and do what I tell you to do.” May sound cave-man-ish, but this had to happen. It may be the most important juncture for their relationship.

    Yes, the juncture at which we all stop and realize that Cuddy is administrative barbie and can’t handle herself. Great. Now he can bring her to his bed and she can populate the world with his children, hey? That whole job thing of hers, it obviously matters less to her than her man. Her other employees obviously matter far less.

    Still, it’s not a like all this is SO inconsistent with the character. He got away with all kinds of sexual harassment before she went along and declared her love for him.

    Ya’ll got to be kidding.

    Also, HouseMDFan, telling Wilson not to be coward and thinking timidity is weak is different from what he did to Cuddy this week. He basically controlled her, she had no clue what she was doing. She went from shopping to being an emotional wreck to forgetting how to do her job. He was an emotional idiot, but at least he got the job done. I hope her submissiveness is deliberate by the writers because otherwise the stupidity goes beyond the capacity of words.

    On the other hand, great display of sexism for any budding script writers out there!

  • http://www.npr.org bigHousefan

    RobF – – Wow! Great point!

  • Dmckoy

    Ok, without gettin to involved in all this back and forth, to those that feel that show has become unwatchable, and that are so disappointed with the direction of a particular character, the answer is simple,TURN THE CHANNEL! Honestly, I come hear to read Barbara’s review, discuss and read comments about the recent eps and the show as a whole. don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but if clearly don’t appreciate the series anymore y watch? And even better, y actually read and post on this type of blog? Y not find one that is specifically about y House now sux? Might enjoy that discussion better. Might not feel the need to state ur argument in post after post cuz most will agree with u on that site. Again, not judging, just being logical

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Ruthinor: thank you. It’s good to drop by:)

    In regard to your question, here’s my two cents: House acknowledging that he needs to use Masters to draw the border between his maverick ways and the methods he simply cannot use without blowing up Cuddy’s job (and his own, obviously) is, in itself, a grand step. House has never allowed any sort of personal motivation to get in the way of him dealing with medicine “like a monkey running around in a banana factory” LOL.

    So when Masters is gone, i hope for a functional union between House and Cuddy – in other words, Cuddy telling House what she can and what she cannot defend without putting both their jobs in peril, and House fighting for a way around it to save his patient.

    Given the current state of their relationship, i think that can be achieved. They have the complete trust in each other, the brutal honesty, the implicit and complete mutual understanding, Cuddy’s famous X-ray vision, always understanding his schemes and lies, and House’s determination to protect her at all cost. Should be enough, at least for the regular cases, which are less emotionally chalenging than Arlene’s case.

  • Sera G.

    Hi, Barbara.
    My two cents:
    Simona, #104. Beautifully stated: “…fear of regretting, not having embraced, kissed…loved enough”. That is what we all fear; did he/she know how much I love them? Especially vital when the relationship is contentious.

    Two powerful moments, when Arlene tells Cuddy that she loves both her daughters, but likes Julia more. You could just feel that punch to Cuddy’s gut. Whew!
    I am going from memory here, as I haven’t had a chance to rewatch: did anyone else feel there was more to be revealed when Cuddy tells House that since her dad died, they all agreed there would be no more lies between them? I wondered if that was why House’s lie upset her so much. Perhaps she saw lies between her parents (or between the daughters and each favored parent) lead to so much emotional distance. She has always been able to read him and perhaps wonders if now that they are together her judgement is clouded. I wondered if perhaps there was infidelity that young Cuddy knew or suspected of which Arlene was unaware. Just a thought.

    Dmckoy, #118 (thank you!)

    Delia!!!! Where have you been? I know, busy, busy, busy; but it just doesn’t feel right without the ‘gang’ in this discussion together. Welcome back. I always enjoy your perspective. (Since I agree with you about 99% of the time, glad to have one more on our team.)

  • RJW

    Barbara,120 comments and counting. Very impressive! One of the things I love about House is that it’s a very thought-provoking series.It’s still a great show (and I love reading your well thought-out reviews).

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    RJW–I think it’s the longest comment thread of the year so far. There was a lot to chew on and I suspect the same will be true of several episodes going forward.

  • pawpaw

    Must be me but I don’t get it : why do people who claim to not like the show anymore still watch it and come here to tell us how much they don’t like it? That’s quite a bit of time to spend on something that is no longer enjoyed, fun, etc.

    Me…I still love the show (I discovered it during the writers’ strike)and wait eagerly each week to see it and to read Barbara’s reviews and other fans comments/insights that help me appreciate the nuances and writing (and whatever else I may have missed on my own) so much more.

    There were so many wonderful scenes in this episode but I especially loved the two “couple” scenes: House and Cuddy where House tells her to get him back his patient (because she will ultimately blame him if her mother dies)and where Rachel tells Taub that while he was crappy husband, he IS a good person. Very poignant, just beautifully done by all.

  • DebbieJ

    @pawpaw #123 – I couldn’t agree more! There’s got to be more enjoyment out of life than bashing something you obviously dislike! If you dislike something, move on to something that you DO like! And I promise if I dislike it, I won’t go raining on your parade. ;)

    I loved those two scenes as well. Taub was nothing but a lousy husband to his wife, but she knows he is a good person. When his brother-in-law came into the restroom and slammed his face into the piping of the urinal, I cringed! It looked so real!

    Likewise, I feel the confrontation in her office, where he tells her that it pisses him off the way she behaves toward her mother, just put them on a whole other level in their relationship! He was angry at her (pissed off!) but it wasn’t frightening.

    BTW, has anyone seen the latest issue of TV Guide? It’s dated February 14-27 and it has a few folks from Survivor on the cover. There’s a very cheeky article about House written by a romance novelist by the name of Eloisa James. The little blurb before the article says “to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and the doc’s attempts at being a boyfriend to Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), we asked best-selling romance writer and House fan Eloisa James how House stacks up against the heroes in her books.” I hope you get to read it. It’s very funny! If you can’t find it or can’t find it online (I know I haven’t been able to find it online), if it’s allowed, Barbara, I’ll just transpose the 3/4 page article here in a comment. It is accompanied by a recycled photo from the “Last Tango in Princeton” article from the beginning of the Season 7.

  • simona

    @seraG “did anyone else feel there was more to be revealed when Cuddy tells House that since her dad died, they all agreed there would be no more lies between them?”
    yes, me. And I’m anxious to get an answer. Probably the answer (if any) will also explain why they outstretched the problem of House lying to Cuddy

    @debbieJ “if it’s allowed, Barbara, I’ll just transpose the 3/4 page article here in a comment.”
    I’d love it :-)

    @deliaB – I missed your comment here (and I miss it…there ;-) )

  • Susan

    Debbie J #124 – I found the article you referred to and here it is.
    (Sorry if you wanted to post it first but I give you all the credit)

    Guest Column: House’s Doctor of Desires
    Feb 10, 2011 03:31 PM ET
    by TV Guide Magazine News10 Comments

    House
    To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we asked best-selling romance writer and House fan Eloisa James how House stacks up against the heroes in her books.

    At first glance, Dr. House is nothing like a conventional romantic hero. Can you imagine him bare-chested on a book cover, a bodacious blonde (or perhaps a ravishing radiologist) drooping in his arms? Not so much. House is the “Hunchback of Princeton,” as Hugh Laurie himself once said. He’s a disagreeable, physically (and emotionally) crippled genius. He’d hold up that blonde just long enough to point out her roots. The Cranky Cripple and the Bodacious Bride would never make it to the shelves — just ask my editor.

    As the TV series has gone on, though, it’s become evident that House does have a heroic side. He notices the weird eyelash lesions everyone else missed, just as the patient flatlines. And he displays extra-ordinary courage every time he orders hundreds of tests without consulting an insurance adjuster. Clearly, if one has the misfortune to contract a mysterious disease, Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital is the place to cure it.

    But maybe we don’t need a cover-worthy hero if the heroine fits the bill? Dr. Lisa Cuddy is not only wildly intelligent, but she wears pencil skirts and stiletto heels all day. That’s heroic. Plus, she’s the queen of the snappy retort, not to mention those emotional zingers that shake House down to his toes.

    So, as a romance writer, would I bet on their relationship? Will the House scriptwriters allow the disagreeable doctor and the audacious administrator to stay together long term… or to the end of the season? My guess: Yes! We like male dysfunction in America — and we particularly like to see those dysfunctional males on their knees.

    I let myself be inspired by House this year, and the hero of my latest romance, When Beauty Tamed the Beast, is an irascible and damaged doctor. My story went in a very different direction than the show, but to be honest, House is precisely my idea of a romantic hero. A man in love is vulnerable. Watching an intense, fascinating egotist like House become vulnerable to Cuddy…? Pure pleasure. — Eloisa James

  • Susan

    In reply to the article in TV Guide – “Yes. I can imagine Dr. House bare chested on a book cover”. Bring it on.

  • DebbieJ

    @simona #125 – I wonder the same thing. There’s got to more to her holding a grudge (for 3 episodes!) for his lying to her.

    @Susan #126 – Oh, no problem! I’m glad you posted it. I thought it was very cheeky. Never heard of this author before but you know I just have to read this book now! Very clever way to advertise – compare it to the most loved anti-hero doc on TV!

    @Susan #27 – I said the same thing when I read that line. Can you imagine? Ahem…. yes I could ;)

  • http://BarbaraBarnett.com barbara barnett

    I’m mid writing a novel with a House-like character exactly the sort of romantic/tragic hero (no bare chest, not a bodice ripper) I’d love to see :)

  • hwl40

    Way to go, Barbara!

  • DebbieJ

    Way to Go, Barbara! Looking forward to it. :)

  • Amanda

    The lighting, okay? The lighting. I am thinking specifically of House’s lowered-eye gaze at Cuddy in their “confrontation” scene, but that was only the best moment. House’s truths are made even more inexorable by that whole LOOK they manage. Wow.

    ~Amanda