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TV Review: House, MD – “Joy to the World”

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“Merry Christmas, Cuddy.”

I couldn't imagine words normally intended to be so joyous could be uttered as poignantly as House did in the penultimate scene of Tuesday night’s House, MD episode “Joy to the World.” (Although Hugh Laurie's brilliance at portraying pathos should never come as a surprise — and it's the second time he's made me cry with those very words in a House episode.)

So Cuddy has her baby, and what a difference a month has made in the dynamic between her and House. Back in “Emancipation,” the news that Cuddy was going to adopt a baby landed a sucker punch in the gut. In “Joy,” House badgered her about being a mother — until he saw that it was something she really wanted and kissed her with passion, affection, and regret at having hurt her.Of course that was after Cuddy had lost the baby.

But tonight, rescuing the infant of a teenager who had left her for dead, Cuddy has been given another chance at motherhood. And House has another chance to react to the news and show Cuddy what's really in his heart.

I watched “Joy to the World” having been somewhat spoiled about the episode. I knew more than I would have wanted to know going in, and that led to expectations about the episode that materialized in ways not expected. Or not at all. My foreknowledge affected my enjoyment of the episode the first time through, but not the second, which I enjoyed tremendously, especially since I was able to speed through the commercial breaks, which were too frequent and too long. (By the way, whoever is listening — this six-act format really, really sucks! Badly!) So my advice to all: go spoiler-free.

Although the patient drama of bullied, unpopular teenager knocked up by the school stud, who’s really a nice guy underneath it all and really likes her, is a tried and true (and sometimes tired) device, the episode uses that device to further the series narrative. So I didn't mind. Simon, one of the bully ringleaders, acts one way in public, but when no one’s looking brings her homework to his victim. Hardly a romantic gesture, but one that shows that he cares. Somewhere in there.

Cuddy is drawn to this overweight, unhappy teenage girl; even House can't figure out why. Is there something in Cuddy’s past of which we’re unaware that makes her young patient’s plight resonate so strongly? What bad decisions did she make early on? Was she bullied? An outsider, and not the "circle queen," pursued by every "Tom, Dick, and Herschel?"

It was a terrific holiday gift to the viewers to see the return of the clinic patients to the mix, and watch House grapple with being "nice" and "polite" to them. (And may I say that the white coat, tie, and ironed shirt looked quite… splendid on the normally scruffy House.)

But oh, what trouble that virgin birth stuff will cause for the young couple unexpectedly expecting. Of course the virgin baby schtick was designed to win a gift from the patient and win his argument with Wilson, although there is precedent for House covering up a patient’s judgment error so that he or she does not suffer in the long run. (“Sports Medicine” immediately comes to mind in which House told Cuddy that everyone makes mistakes, but that those mistakes do not necessarily justify ruination. And even more to the point, the ditzy pregnant young woman in "Maternity." House lied for her too.) But the act was a completely House-like thing to do anyway, argument with Wilson or not!

And "inhaler lady" made me immediately think of "jelly girl" from season two’s “Deception” (also a Christmas episode). But she completely amused House, and Hugh Laurie further gifted us with that delighted, bemused smile. (Not to mention while wearing the white coat, ironed shirt, and tie. Okay, I'm done.)

I loved the easy (and sometimes silly) camaraderie between Taub and Kutner. They bring a sort of comic relief to the series that is completely new. And then there was House’s experiment in giving himself (once again) a Christmas gift to observe the fellows’ reaction that came back to him! Brilliant.

Unmercifully teasing House about something so personal as his feelings about Cuddy is something I thought I would never see from one of the fellows. They pranked him back. Great stuff. And he so deserved it.

Of course the not-gift also resulted in that fun exchange between Kutner, Taub, and Wilson. Robert Sean Leonard as Wilson is at his absolute best when he is droll, ironic, and dryly humorous. And we've gotten a lot of that Wilson this season. Dr. Joseph Bell, indeed! And Irene Adler, too!

Perhaps I should explain. For those of you unaware, the character of House is loosely based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Joseph Bell (who wrote the medical book Wilson gave to House) was a Victorian-era surgeon upon whom Holmes is based. Dr. Bell would perform “party tricks” diagnosing peoples’ illnesses without touching or even talking to them. House is the direct literary descendant of Holmes, and by extension, of Bell. No wonder Wilson "thought of" Gregory House when he came upon Bell's book. Irene Adler, the green wrapping paper gift giver to whom Wilson referred, is a female adversary of Holmes’ for whom he had a particular fondness ("A Scandal in Bohemia"). He referred to her as “the woman,” and she clearly got to him, though they never got together.

House should have learned from his little experiment that his team is not nearly as afraid of him as his old team was at the same stage of their relationship. And speaking of the new fellows, I enjoyed the unexpected twist that Kutner’s reaction to Simon was fueled by guilt rather than what we would have expected: that the geeky, orphaned Kutner was a bullying victim. And I was touched that Kutner was affected enough to seek out his old high school victim and make amends.

And then we have “Fourteen,” Foreman and 13. I’m really beginning to find the story coming in far too large doses for me. I’ve never been a big Foreman fan. I find him egotistical and arrogant — and in ways that House would never consider. And without House’s years and years of both medical and life experience. And without his genius.

So Foreman doesn’t want to be like House. Okay, I get it. Well, here’s a shock: he’s not. Never was. House does treat people like numbers in his hyper-objectivity, but when he’s dealing with a sick patient (and yes, I know I’ve said this dozens of times) he’s honest, but not brutal; blunt but compassionate. I don’t think he’d tell his Huntington’s patient to “get over it.” Well, okay, he would, but then follow it up with sage wisdom from a man who has walked down a difficult path or two himself. I’ve never gotten the "Foreman is House, but nicer" argument. Not since season one when it was first set out for us in “Poison.”

I really could have done without the episode ending with Foreman and 13 making out. It’s great. They’ve found each other. They have the possibility of a real, sustained adult relationship, something of which House is clearly incapable at this point. But the episode really should have ended with the House/Cuddy scene. I feel somewhat cheated by that. Because that scene was incredibly powerful — bittersweet and a perfect ending to the first half of the season. They should have flipped the scenes. Bad editing choice (or writing choice).

That final scene provided a beautiful bookend to the narrative arc that began at the end of “Emancipation,” when a stunned and speechless (and petulant) House learns that Cuddy plans to adopt. The kiss that happened at the end of “Joy,” after House pushed and pressured Cuddy about motherhood was spontaneous and opened for both them somewhat of a Pandora's box — something wild between them, and out of their control. The question for them (and House in particular) was whether to go with it or to hold back. House declined to take advantage of the situation in “Joy” and grappled with his feelings about Cuddy in “The Itch.”

In “Let them Eat Cake,” again, House held back. It would have been so easy for him to simply “do what was expected” and kiss her. That would have undoubtedly led to a sexual encounter, which was where things would have been heading. But by House doing something he knew would be off-putting to Cuddy (inflicting a small hurt to prevent something much larger that they both might regret) he put a stop to it. His grand gesture of the desk was both romantic and well-planned. Not impulsive like the kiss, nor like the moment untaken in the empty office. We have no idea what happened with the actress at the end of “Let Them Eat Cake,” but whatever it was, it certainly (in my opinion) was not intended for Cuddy’s eyes. (For my part, she misread the encounter, although I know some of you, my dear readers, completely disagree.)

Which brings us back to that poignant final scene between them in “Joy to the World.” House has come to her, quietly asking about what’s to become of the baby. And, knowing that the baby is essentially an orphan, what she plans to do.

There is no “you know, the baby is probably brain damaged.” There is no “you’re not prepared for this.” It’s a simple “what are you going to do?” House knows that this baby is meant for Cuddy — and that she wants this pretty desperately. House believes that he’s lost, defeated by the bundle of joy now within reach.

I really do believe that this fear is what fueled House’s reticence — his holding back from starting something that is not meant to be, but simply a substitute for what she desires. But I think he’s wrong. And given time and space, House’s patience will be rewarded. Or not. But he understands that Cuddy wants this, and his presence is superfluous as are his thoughts about the practicality of her plans. And he respects her decision.

When House, Cuddy, and Wilson are discussing the best course of treatment for the patient, Cuddy and Wilson want to treat immediately for leukemia with chemotherapy. House does not. He wants to run more tests before subjecting her to anything. Cuddy is puzzled that House isn’t going to barrel into the treatment, but take it slowly. He tells her that it's her choice and, looking disappointed, he walks out of the room.

Wilson explains House’s seemingly out of character response. “Why put a dying girl through painful treatment if it’s not going to save her? He’s being kind.” And he is. In House's unique way that most of his colleagues simply don't "get." Push treatments to diagnose; push tests, browbeat and badger. That's what everyone observes House doing. Ah. But, then when the patient decides (after all information is received) enough is enough, House always respects that. (Nearly always, anyway, because I know that one of you astute readers will prove me wrong, otherwise!) But was Wilson speaking metaphorically about House’s relationship with Cuddy?

So often the episode’s closing song resonates strongly with House’s emotions (it’s not surprising that the emotionally inarticulate House would have to be translated through music playing over the scene). In this case, it’s “Whisper,” by A Fine Frenzy: “Running the race/Like a mouse in a cage/Getting nowhere but I'm trying/Forging ahead/But I'm stuck in the bed/That I made so I'm lying/But if you keep real close/Yeah, you stay real close/I will reach you/I'm down to a whisper/In a daydream on a hill/Shut down to a whisper/Can you hear me still?”

New House episodes resume Monday, January 19 with “Painless.” In the meantime, catch a different side of Hugh Laurie as he hosts this week’s Saturday Night Live. And luck to the entire House gang as the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominees are announced in the forthcoming days.

During the hiatus, I will be finally posting part two of “House in Love” as well as a new Trivia Quiz and one or two other surprises, so stay tuned.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara!
    Another beautifully articulated review.
    I will try not to be as long winded as the last time.
    I know how you feel about URST, but I still cling to hope that there is to be more to the House/Cuddy relationship and they are not done.

    There is no reason that whatever they have can’t still be exciting, dysfunctional, passionate and
    dare I say it, romantic? I believe the writers are very deliberate in all they do. All of the allusions that House doesn’t want to be miserable, lonely, etc. and that beautiful kiss, could not have been put before us and then dropped. That would just be too cruel for this HUDDY fan.
    I, too am enjoying Taub and Kutner more than I expected. Foreman and Remy, already?!? I have waited 4 years, 3 months and 6 episodes before I get my HUDDY kiss and there they are…
    As to spoilers, boy did I learn the hard way. They are misleading or spoil a great moment when actually portrayed on the show. I now avoid them.
    Thanks, again, for wonderful writing, a comfortable place to share views and loving HOUSE and House as much as we do.
    Thanks, Sera G

  • CC

    In the scene at the end with House and Cuddy,I loved the little smile he had on his face when cuddy smiled at the baby.

  • JL

    Good heavens, no comments yet. I seem to be the first one to get here! Thanks again for a great review, Barbara!

    Having whiled away the time waiting for your thoughts by reading many that were somewhat… less articulately expressed, I’m encountering several similar themes in your review. Specifically,
    – that Foreman and Thirteen’s kiss felt like ‘too much, too soon’;
    – that the final scene between House and Cuddy deserved to be the Final scene;
    – and that the spoilers for this episode were what had spoiled it. Others have also commented that they were more able to appreciate the episode on a second viewing – so I may have to download it again to see if I enjoy it more…

    I loved all the individual storylines – but I found the episode a bit top heavy. With four competing storylines, I felt a little as though none was given a chance to brew properly (and I think the six-part format makes things feel even more ‘bitsy’).

    Having expected Cuddy to end up with a baby in this episode, I had actually arrived at the same conclusion prior to seeing it – that House didn’t want to take advantage of Cuddy when she lost Joy, and that he wouldn’t want to take advantage of her need for love by becoming a ‘substitute child’. I was really pleased to see this development in him – I’m glad that the writers didn’t just cover old ground.

    I am glad that House showed enough concern for Cuddy not to start a relationship with her that would have been completely transitional – similar to jumping into a relationship while trying to move on from a break-up. I think it also shows how much he values what could be. It would interesting to relate this back to his actions in Let Them Eat Cake and, in particular, his conversation with Taub about giving up something in the hope of gaining something better.

    It will be interesting to see how finally realising her dream of a baby will impact Cuddy’s desire for relationship with House. And, for that matter how it will change her need to be in control and to have things perfect – relating to a child is a big impetus towards realisation of your inadequacies and of what really matters, I find. I found it significant that we learnt more personal background from Cuddy herself in this episode than in any previous stories.

    Sorry that this is a bit waffly. I look forward with great anticipation to reading others’ ideas about this episode, and, of course, to the second instalment of your ‘House in love’ article (and now some surprises, too! Christmas is surely here!).

  • JL

    (Yep – I figured others would probably nip in while I typed!)

  • Joyce M

    Hey Barbara!
    Great review, as always. I enjoy reading them each week. I think you might have been mistaken about one thing, though. You mentioned once or twice how House learned about Cuddy’s plans for adopting a baby in the end of Emancipation. I think the episode was actually Lucky Thirteen. Emancipation aired after The Itch. Just thought I’d mention it.

    Anyway, thanks for always sharing your opinion on the show, especially in such a well-written manner!
    Have a great holiday season,
    Joyce M

  • barbara barnett

    the ending of this episode really put the “boob grab” into context for me…as well as the gift of the desk. House did not want to be the rebound replacement, and I don’t think it was consciously that in either of their minds, but it was too much to soon,and I think that’s what tripped House’s radar in LTEC last week. And stopped him in his tracks. Just as he couldn’t proceed and take advantage in Joy. I loved that last scene. and the little sad smile that House gave Cuddy. it was a beautiful, sad and wonderful moment for the characters. Too bad Cuddy couldn’t see his reaction; his stepping back. But it’s in keeping with house’s reticence to not have that noticed. For him it’s all the overt stuff, the jerking people around that he wants noticed. Not the nice things, not the gentleness that’s actually there for anyone who looks for it.

  • barbara barnett

    Joyce–right you are! “lucky 13.” See? That’s what happens when the episodes come so fast and furious. I think this is the first season where we’ve had essentially the entire first half of the season with only one, one week break.

    Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I stand corrected.

  • aile

    I have enjoyed reading your reviews, although I will be honest, I don’t generally agree with you, but I never felt the need to comment.

    But I did want to respond to something you wrote here.

    I was also taken with Wilson’s line “he’s being kind”, and I am surprised that it has not been written about until you mentioned it. But I strongly disagree with your interpretation of it, that it has something to do with House and Cuddy.

    To me Wilson was being so sincere and wistful in the way he said it, I think it was only a reflection of House, and his own relationship with House. In the cafeteria scene Wilson was lecturing House that he was not capable being kind, and if one looks back through the whole House/Wilson relationship, there are far too many instances when House was extremely unkind to Wilson. Of course these instances include the whole Twitter arc, Vogler, etc, etc, etc.

    I think that when Wilson and Cuddy were discussing Natalie, he realized of course that House was being kind by not wanting to put her through excess painful treatment, something that House has done or wanted to do in the past (Insensitive, for example.) I think that Wilson suddenly realized that House was trying to really make an effort to change, mainly to show Wilson that he can be kind. Or it could be partly that Wilson realized that he was wrong, that House has been a lot kinder then he realized before, although it was more likely the former, that Wilson realized that House was trying to change, for him.

    We knew that, by House trying to be kind to the clinic patients, but Wilson didn’t know about that. He just figured it out talking to Cuddy, hence the wistful and almost sad “he’s being kind”.

    I also did not like the focus on 13 and Foreman in this episode, especially the very last scene, but the most fustrating thing about this episode was thatI would have really loved to see Wilson admitting to House that yes, he can be kind. But they did not put that scene in, which in previous years they would have, because of the time they wasted on 13/Foreman. I really wish that they did show Wilson and House together, after Wilson made the realization and House gave him the clinic patient’s present. It would have been alot more interesting to see Wilson admit to House that he can be kind, than most of what was actually in this episode, certainly better than Foreteen.

    I didn’t mean to go on so long but again, I strongly disagree that Wilson’s “he’s being kind” had anything to do with Cuddy. It was a reflection of Wilson’s relationship with and feelings for House.

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks aile for chiming in. I don’t overtly think that Wilson was talking about House and Cuddy, but I thought the subtext was there. He was referring (in my opinion) to the idea that yes, House is capable of kindness–and he’s been kind before. I agree with that assessment.

    I think had Wilson told House this, however, House would have deflected and denied from here till New Year’s Eve!

  • Louise

    Barbara, thank you for such a heartfelt review of a very emotional episode. This episode just had so many Housian goodies, all tied up with a Christmas bow, that I suspect it is a gift I will enjoy watching over and over as the series goes forward. (Lines in the Sand is another one of those key episodes for me.)

    I was so glad to see the return of the clinic patients. You focused in on the look on HL’s face with inhaler lady–oh, my, no wonder we are all entranced. I nearly had an asthma attack.

    Wilson spinning the green wrapping/Irene Adler tale was superb. He understands that part of House’s strategy is to reel everyone into the fascinating pastime of trying to understand House.

    The writers continue to explore issues of substance versus style, beauty versus health, reality versus social lies through considerations weight. Quite heretical! This was two weeks in a row. The really are pushing around some assumptions that it is just not permissible to question! I love it!

    The House and Cuddy interchange had about 15 layers and after reading your review, I realize I need to go back and view and review. The expression on House’s face in their last scene was heartbreaking. They aren’t right for each other, ultimately, I know. However, I am glad the writers decided to explore this.

    Finally, the new comedy team of Kutner and Taub was, as you pointed out, a wonderful insertion of a new type of comedy–both are just goofy enough for genuine slapstick. But they also have an authentic intelligence that keeps the surprise element open. Kutner is my all time favorite duckling–there is just so much going on with him that he’s fascinating to watch. Taub is growning on me as he continues to challenge House as an adult. This is a fresh and happy pairing for the writers to exploit.

  • Amy

    I read a lot of spoilers coming into this episode also so I had a very different idea of what was going to happen as far as the Cuddy/House relationship, especially after last week. And I was also pretty disappointed by the lack of really any of development there, the first time through at least. After I re-watched the episode and analyzed it a little bit I saw that it really was a good episode. I think that with the whole House backing off of Cuddy and the possibility might have a little to do with the fact that Cuddy was vulnerable because she was hurt over the baby in “Joy”. I think that her vulnerability and desire resonates around the baby first and foremost, and more than anything that is what she wanted. Despite House and Cuddy’s constant flirtation I think that the kiss came out of left field and he knows that. And I don’t think that the kiss would have happened the way it happened and when it happened had it not been for Cuddy being broken-hearted over the adoption falling through. And I think House knows that. I also think that House does not want to play second fiddle to the baby. I think that he feels that if he is going to try to pursue something with Cuddy, it is going to be because both of them genuinely want it and know they want it and that it isn’t going to be a gap filler just to try to make one of them happy (i.e. Cuddy). I just hope that what we saw from Cuddy in “Let Them Eat Cake” with her being jealous and putting it all out there for House doesn’t just go away because she has the baby now, she better not be suddenly “fulfilled”. It doesn’t work that way. I think that they both have feelings for each other but I think that House thinks that Cuddy is just trying to fill the gap and Cuddy thinks that House is too afraid that dating her will spoil his image.

  • Jane

    Barbara great review as always! and Amy––loved your comments, right up until the last sentence, because I don’t think that House really cares about his image (and Cuddy knows that). More I think Cuddy might not be sure if House is capable of love (remember the end of LTEC where she says to Wilson that House is “incapable of intimacy or romance”). Do you agree?

  • Grace

    Great review as usual, Barbara. I really missed you the week you were away…I think Thanksgiving week.

    All I want to say about this episode is that it was disappointing to me and I think that is because the cast has just gotten too large.

    I want the show to focus on HOUSE as in Dr. Gregory House, and there doesn’t seem to be much time for that anymore.
    TOO MANY DUCKLINGS!! Perhaps Foreman and 13 could run away together and enjoy her last days on some tropical island?
    In closing may I say, I ADORE HUGH LAURIE!!!!

  • val

    Thanks for the review Barbara! I, too, had to watch it again (sans commercial) to make it flow more smoothly and did like it better on the second viewing, but still felt it was kind of ‘blah’ especially after all the great stuff we’ve had so far this season.

    Huddy: I also thought Amy’s comments on House and Cuddy are spot on and I completely agree. I will only add that his earlier conversation with Taub shows that he does take a potential relationship with Cuddy seriously by asking himself what would he gain and lose. The logical way for a logical mind.

    New team: Kutner and Taub’s antics were a riot to watch, both last week and this week. Their similarities to House/Wilson in this respect are uncanny and I would love to see the writers continue to build this friendship. Some great possibilities there.

    Yeah for the return of the clinic! Thank you Peter Blake for the wonderful Christmas gift. Though it felt a bit odd that he was there without Cuddy holding it over him. Actually, I felt as if they had completely switched roles. They have done that before in “Fetal Position”, but from the beginning Cuddy had taken an immediate Housian approach to the POTW (even having her own ‘Eureka’ moment) and I am still baffled…just as House was. Any more thoughts why?

    Foreteen: Cuddy once said to Foreman something in the way of he would be lucky to turn out like House. I think we’d all agree. I thought the whole ‘I don’t want to be House’ attitude was finished after he came back to PPTH and realized he was happy working there and certainly after ‘Emanicipation’. I was disappointed to see that it had returned. As far as 13, I have always enjoyed that she is the exact opposite of Cameron when it comes to House. I like seeing a woman, other than Cuddy, who can be direct with him on his snarky level; something I don’t think Cameron could do while she worked for him. Olivia Wilde’s best performance was in “Last Resort” with both Hugh Laurie and the guest actor (sadly, can’t remember his name); House’s concern for 13 was practically paternal in that episode and both Laurie and Wilde pulled it off beautifully.

    Finally: Barbara, I love your allusion to House as Holmes’ “direct literary descendant”; what a fantastic way to describe it:) I must admit that that was the most enjoyable part of the whole episode for me: the mention of Dr. Joseph Bell and Irene Adler. Oddly, I enjoy the little kudos given to Conan Doyle and Holmes within episodes. If you’ll remember: the POTW in the pilot was also an Adler. Rightly so, as I believe she was one who essentially beat House at his own game (just Irene Adler did with Holmes) and gained his respect and set the whole series in motion. Who can forget Esther Doyle in the wonderful episode “All In”, a baby named Arthur in the maternity, and a copy of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes showing as House grabs his keys and limps away to, in the end, not face Cuddy about his feelings for her in “The Itch”. I only hope that House’s similarities to his literary father will end there; Holmes ended up quite alone, if I recall correctly. Five years has allowed us to see that House can and wants to be happy.

    January is too far away at this point. But, I am eagerly looking forward to your Huddy installment Barbara!

    Happy Holidays

  • Sally

    I’m happy Cuddy finally has her baby (she looked so happy, it was heartwarming), and I’m even more happy to see the end of the Huddy arc (I hope so). It’s like the authors of “House and Philosophy: Everybody lies” pointed out: “Love is the only risk he can’t take”. And to be honest: I’ve never been a fan of the idea of a Huddy romance, so I am rather glad about that.
    Anyway, happy holidays to you and everyone!

  • jim

    Barbara, a strong and clear review of a complicated, contradictory and sometimes confusing show that dares to broadcast without apology! And its main focus, House, is a mirror of that complicated confusion.

    val, good comments, especially that House can and wants to be happy (but can he sustain it?)

    I also liked Barbara’s portrayal of the kiss as “something wild between them, and out of their control.” It was a wonderfully exact description. And as she also emphasized, House declined to take advantage of that kiss. He even graciously accepted Cuddy’s thanks for acting honorably after the kiss. A first in gracious acceptance? House does seem to feel “defeated by the bundle of joy.” And “superfluous.” But he accepts defeat graciously as well and with bittersweet love. However, this is where the contradiction sets in and House loses some of his appeal.

    At bottom, he is a noble, bright spirit with instincts that are sweetly human. But so often he blocks, stifles, and covers these instincts with a highly developed self-protection mechanism, debilitating self-worth issues, lack of self-awareness, and an obsessive need to control his environment and maintain the leadership position to that end. And he is, periodically, selfish to a degree seldom seen, except in the wild. A confusing contradiction.

    Consequently, this means he would be superfluous around a new baby which inherently takes the lead wherever it is by reason of its needs.

    But what of Cuddy’s needs as a single new mother? Can House rise to the occasion and provide some small portion of the practical help Cuddy would so thankfully receive from friends and family? Daily errands to pick up vital supplies, baby formula, diapers, fresh food for the mother, the list is endless and ongoing.

    Only an idiot would continue to feel superfluous at such a time. Or will the writers just draw a veil over the practical aspects of the baby and Cuddy?

    Barbara, I am looking forward to your thoughts on this fascinating and highly individual couple.

  • JL

    I find comments such as, “They (House and Cuddy) aren’t right for each other, ultimately, I know,” very interesting. Seeing as the writers aren’t in agreement about this, I wonder why people feel that they can state this as though it’s fact.

    Katie Jacobs said that one of the reasons she was enjoying the ‘Huddy’ storyline was that she could make a case for it and a case against it. House and Cuddy *could* be right for each other… or not. And we (and they) don’t really know (let alone the debate over whether people are ‘right’ for each other – seems like a very ‘teenage idealistic One True Pair’ view of love to me).

    I also find it interesting when people use comments such as “Love is the only risk he (House) can’t take” as a potential reason that a storyline involving House and love shouldn’t be explored.

    To my mind, that’s the whole reason this is SO interesting. Seeing House grappling with love, where so much is at stake, gives us real insight into the character.

    (I think the record number of comments on Barbara’s review of Let Them Eat Cake last week is witness to this – and that discussion was anything but lots of squeeing fangirls. Everyone had their own take on House’s behaviour.)

    I will be very surprised (and disappointed) if the ‘Huddy’ romance (or whatever it should be called at this point) is dealt with quickly and forgotten. There’s too much going on, and has been for too long. It has been a central story lately, and I would expect that to settle into the background for a while. But I would expect it to continue into the future in some form, as the characters continue to relate to each other. Whether this ultimately develops as a romantic relationship, or not, the ramifications of what has already occurred in House’s life will (and should) affect him into the future.

    Inasmuch as ‘People don’t change’, seeing House grappling with the veeeeeery slow and painful process of doing so is what brings this show alive.

  • Eve K

    Hello Barbara!
    This episode didn’t flow well and I had to watch it again to get it.
    I feel for you in the states who has to suffer through the commercials, thats even worse. (Im downloading the episodes)

    Grace – “Perhaps Foreman and 13 could run away together and enjoy her last days on some tropical island?”
    Im loving it! Lets start a campaign.

    Back to this episode. I think the Cuddy speech to the young girl who asked her if she had any kids, says what we all have thought about her love-life.

    That she has screwed up every relationship since high school. And then she said “why would I bring a child into this – but now…”

    And this is before she knows about the new baby. She is ready to have a child again, even if she said she was through with that in “Joy”.
    Considering the last episodes ending, I would guess that she has ruled House out for now, and are back on track with the whole single mother thing.

    Setting House and the baby up against each other seems a little strange to me. A grown man and a baby? But then again having a new baby for many women is like a crush, and many men are left feeling alone, even if they are married to the woman. So to try and start a relationship in that phase of a woman’s life may be difficult. So I guess that House/Cuddy-ship/arc have maybe sailed?

    I cant really understand why the relatively young grandparents and the bully-but-nice-inside father wouldn’t try to raise this kid, the adoption-thing should not be happening. Keep forgetting that its a tv-show.

    The holidays are here. Looking forward to your articles Barbara, sometimes they are better than the House-episodes.

  • Alessandra

    Hi Barbara! Again, a beautiful review. Well, I just wanted to agree with JL when he/she says “To my mind, that’s the whole reason this is SO interesting. Seeing House grappling with love, where so much is at stake, gives us real insight into the character.”.

    I don’t want to see the end of the Huddy arc, yet. It’s unfair for the effort of the characters to make it something complicated while deep, right while not, smart while impulsive. Could Cuddy be so satisfied now that she has a baby, to let her feelings for House fall apart so easily? It’s not a good narrative choice, nor for the character and nor for the entire storyline. It’s not the squeeing girl in me that speaks, but the literature student (;)) and the die hard fan, both.

    I really liked this ep, although I thought to see something else going on. Actually, I had two ideas of what it would have become: sex or a baby. And the baby happened,finally, leaving me heartwarmed for the meaningful way Cuddy finally gets her daughter (she finds her in poverty and cold, she saves her, she takes her even if she doesn’t know how much she could be brain-damaged, and in the meantime it’s Christmas…) . But on the other hand the episode left me disappointed because I expected something Huddy.

    I don’t know where the hell the whole thing will go, because now everything can happen.I’m really, really afraid that this is the end of the huddy thing. I hope so much that I’m wrong. That kiss, House grabbing his keys and riding to her house, then the talk with Taub, the desk…they simply can’t erase it.

    But The gift House makes to all of us is that “itch” of surprise which is THE thing of this beautiful show. So, what now?

  • L.Lilly

    I liked some of this episode – especially the clinic patients – but found some of it too unbelievable. As others have pointed out, I can’t believe that both sets of grandparents gave the baby up, ESPECIALLY the maternal grandparents who will lose their daughter. However, I’m willing to overlook that contrivance for Cuddy to finally get her baby.

    Another part I had a huge problem with (and I’m not willing to overlook)is House’s treatment of Cuddy in front of the team. Having previously – heartlessly – made his point with the degrading boob grab, House still continued to humiliate her in the DDx sessions in this week’s episode. Even worse, he did it in front of the newbies. There is nothing I can think of that would excuse this behavior. We saw from the clinic patient scenes that he is quite capable of being kind when he’s motivated – he knows how he SHOULD behave – so why did he continue to mock Cuddy? I can understand pushing Cuddy away to avoid his own feelings, but she didn’t deserve to be humiliated. I’d be glad to listen to anyone’s theories, though.

    I’ll go with everyone regarding the clinic scenes – those were gold, and I loved seeing House dressed nicely for a change. My favorite ensemble was the tie and tucked-in ironed shirt – no labcoat. If I had a waistline like that…

    I also observed that a pleasant House looked much younger than a snarky, miserable House.

    I’m predicting that Lori Petty – the Huntington’s patient – gets an Emmy for this arc. She is wonderful.

    Like you, Barbara, I would have preferred to have the Cuddy baby scene as the final moment. In fact, I was hoping the final scene would be Cuddy rocking her baby with an expression of maternal bliss on her face, but instead I felt jarred by the Foreman/Thirteen kiss which seemed to drag on forever. That didn’t interest me, and I didn’t want it to be the last new image of the show for the next six weeks. Thirteen AGAIN. (scowl)

  • Eve K

    I forgot to say – A scenario with House playing house with Cuddy? Forgettaboutit!

  • How I Love My “Christmas Carol”.
    Dear Barbara,
    a great review as always. I´m not much of a shipper really and seeing this most random couple ever evolve actually made me giggle. “Foreteen” is just silly but I´m okay with it. I´m also not a great House/Cuddy supporter but it´s endlessly entertaining to see the effects that this character constellation brings out, so I´m all for exploring it. But did not want to comment on the ships but had another thought I wanted to share.
    When Foreman talked to Thirteen about the “Ghost of Future Christmas” and Wilson said “He´s being kind.” some kind of switch clicked in my head and I suddenly felt we´re being told the story of E. Scrooge who in the end has learned how to be kind. In all three plots he´s involved House is nice in his very own unsappy way. The three mothers – the POTW, Cuddy and the clinic patient all somehow united in their struggle with pregnancy/child care stand for a different persprective of dealing with their maternal issues – which ones? Past, present, future.
    Past because after all, the POTW thought the baby was dead and House accepted her wish and was “kind”. Present because Cuddy has her baby now and personificated in the homeless woman faced her own past ghost – the scene mirrored her experience in the episode “Joy”. House, as you have pointed out, was sincere in his way of wishing her “Merry Chrismas”. And future – the clinic patient´s baby. House with Wilson´s bet surely had an agenda to be nice but in the scene in the clinic I found the invented phenomenon of human parthogenesis more likely than House being kind all of a sudden. It was at the same time hilarious and touching. What a good actor he is and I mean House and Hugh Laurie at the same time.

    And everyone of the other characters was facing their own “ghost”. Kutner his past one, Thirteen her future one, Foreman his still present one. And how wrong Thirteen is with her analyasis, I completely agree with you. In being mean he´s nothing like House. It´s just his unhumble way of dealing with emotional pressure. But she´s also wrong in stating that by going to Janice and being nice he´s not like House at all. Because this was this was one of the scenes where he came closest to being like House but his motives were again selfish.
    Thank you for your insights.

  • Christina

    Hello Barbara! I’ve been reading and enjoying your reviews for quite a while now, but I think this is the first time I am daring to comment!

    Your points about the Huddy situation are wonderful. I absolutely melted and cried indeed when I watched the look on House’s face when he was with Cuddy and the baby. Somehow I think that this is some kind of a sign for us… What they will look like if they ever get truly together. It was like they are a family. The couple staring at their daughter… So touching and so heartbreaking at the same time. House was so happy for her and so sad that he felt he is losing her again(and I am saying again because as you said, the existence of a baby is a threat to him, that it will steal her attention from him, we all saw that in “Lucky Thirteen” and in “Joy”). His wish to her for Merry Christmas was a complete twist. No sarcastic tone, no deflections, no nothing. The man became human again at that point. His feelings for Cuddy bring his hidden side to the light again. He kissed her to show that he was hurting with her and to say he was sorry, he gave her the desk as a sign that he can be romantic and that he WANTS to try to begin something with her and now… he acted supportively, he gave us a chance to see that he has more than one friend as he said in “Not Cancer”. That he considers Cuddy his friend (yes, I know that and-a-lot-more line is necessary here:P) too. Aside what he feels about her, he wants her to be happy.

    I think that the existence of the baby is going to give them more and more chances to realize what they truly mean to each other and to come to terms with their feelings. I dare say that I think it’s possible to expect House interacting with the baby himself. I will not be surprised if we actually get to see him holding her and trying to get her to sleep or maybe to just stop crying. Even if Cuddy needs to be away from the hospital for a little while to take care of the baby, I believe that House won’t let her go that easy. He will constantly be there, asking for her permission on crazy procedures, covering that way the fact that he wants to see her.

    I find myself laughing at those who believe that “Joy to the World” brought the end of the House/Cuddy relationship. People keep forgeting that it was the idea of a baby that brought them closer in season 2, with the ivf injections, that it was a possible adoption that made House start to understand how much she means to him and that he doesn’t want to lose her in “Lucky Thirteen” and it was a baby again that lead them to a wonderful kiss in “Joy”. Believe me when I say that it will be a baby again that will help their “unorthodox and most real” (as KJ says) relationship to evolve and reach new levels of exploration in the upcoming episodes (I am simply guessing here, but I really believe it’s true).

    As for the Foreteen situation… MAN they really don’t fit… I don’t understand the point of having them making out in the ending scene of the epi. The House/Cuddy was millions of times better and as you said it deserved to be at the end.

    Now when it comes to Wilson, Taub and Kutner… I couldn’t agree more with everything you said! And I find it hilarious that in a way Wilson was subconciously putting Taub into the matchmaker role he took on since “The Itch” and I love how they both try to make House, even in no obvious ways, to come to terms with his feelings open up!!
    Yayy for the matchmakers!!!:D

    Man, this is a huuuuuge comment… but I couldn’t resist!:P
    So, Joy to the World people! And a Huddy (oops, sorry! I meant Happy) New Year!:D

  • lily

    Barbara my love!

    Wonderful review, as always. You know, I kind of think Cuddy’s House’s Irene Adler. I also noticed that when he came to see her in that last scene, he had the book with him – maybe he was thinking of giving it to her?

    I am so happy you mentioned the six act structure! If I may say so, as much as I love your reviews, this site is a little like that – I have to strain my eyes to separate the text from all the ads on the side, there is so much clutter!

    I agree that the House/Cuddy scene should have been the last scene of the show. It kind of feels like they have made Hadley a main character in her own little show within the “House” show – some of her storylines don’t even have anything to do with House. Like I do, one could easily skip the Thirteen and Foreman scenes and not miss a thing that was relevant to the show as a whole and House the main character.

    I hope they continue to explore House and Cuddy. I actually think they ARE right for each other, in a dysfunctional kind of way, I’m definitely on the Dysfunctionally Ever After train, in the sense that I think they will always be around each other and always kind of dysfunctionally in love, baby or not, relationship or not.

    Looking forward to House in love part 2!

  • barbara barnett

    Just a quick breaking news flash–Congrats to Hugh and to House for being nominated for Golden Globe awards!

  • Wonderful review of this episode Barbra. I read your reviews each week, but haven’t commented until now.

    The episode was spoiled for me as well, and led me to have expectations beyond what was delivered (a lesson well learned I should think), but on a second viewing it really truly was a wonderful end to the exploration of what could someday be between House and Cuddy. Though I do see this episode as a clear sign that they are done exploring that, at least for now.

    Loved the allusions to Sherlock Holmes, though what worries me there, as one of your readers has already pointed out, Holmes ended up alone. Though there have been indications that House is no longer complacent in his misery, I don’t see him doing much to change that. And I think even half-hearted attempts will be met with little success. It would be true to the character that he end up alone, though heartbreaking for the people in his life who want more for him. I do hope that they can find a happy medium.

  • Flo

    Interesting review and episode even if it was not that good.

    I totally agree that the 13/Foreman thing ruined it, expecially the end. Of course it should have been House and Cuddy for the last scene. It is so obvious that I really don’t understand how the writers or editors couldn’t get it.
    The relationship between Foreman and thirteen goes too fast. The kiss scene was weird. I was like: “already here? wow”.

    It was a very Cuddy episode. And I think that’s what made it very interesting. Cuddy always been the most mysterious character of the show. We know practically nothing about her but this season we found out that she has a sister, that her parents are alive and that she keeps in touch with her mom (Adverts Events) and now we have the confirmation that she sucks as having a personnal life.
    It was great to see her explain this to the girl.

    Cuddy somehow took House’s place in this episode. She does the differential, she’s the one who has a heart to heart conversation with the patient and she is the one who ‘s got the famous epiphany and discovers what the patient really has.
    I think that it makes us realize how close Cuddy and House are. The “I was good in School and in my job but lousy at life” comment is something that could be said about House. And that’s what makes the twist with Cuddy having the baby so poignant and the last Cuddy/House scene so powerful.

    It also says that the Huddy thing is not finished. Maybe the fact that cuddy finally got what she wanted is gonna make House think about what he wants and make him realize that sometimes it is possibleto have it and it often happens in a unexpected way.

    One sure thing: it’s gonna be a very looooooong break!!!!!!!!

  • Jackie

    This is my first time posting, although I do read your commentaries with great interest. You never fail to hit the mark with your observations and analysis of what has just transpired. That being said I am in totally agreement with your comment regarding what the last scene of “Joy to the World” was and what it should have been. It should have been House and Cuddy instead of Foreman and 13. What was Peter Blake thinking or for that matter, the editor or director, David Straiton. It made no sense to me and others as seen by their comments.

    I do not think that “JTTW” and House closing the sliding door in the nursery upon exiting (albeit with a thud), closed the continuation of Huddy. As you said I think it opens up other opportunities.

    January 19th cannot come soon enough. Happy holidays til then.

  • barbara barnett

    Once again I’m gratified by all of the insightful comments (and kind words) you all have posted! I will try to find time later this morning to respond.

    I did want to call “great catch” to whoever mentioned that House was holding the Joseph Bell book when he went into Cuddy. Was he planning on giving it to her? I would guess that House may already have a copy of that book anyway 🙂

    But then he didn’t, because he thought the gift (and what it would have meant) would have been lost as “just a gift” with the baby taking her attention. So he gave up doing that and left with the book. And that sad, sad expression.

  • blacktop

    That all the comments here are packed with insight and uncommonly good judgment is a reflection of the superior quality of the source review. Thank you, Barbara, for another fine review of an excellent episode.

    Like many others here I do not feel that “Joy to the World” marks the end of the House/Cuddy relationship at all. It does, however, signal the end of a chapter in their saga. As was noted, it is Cuddy’s baby quest (in which she had to struggle against monsterous obstacles like a fairytale knight) that brought the two closer together. House’s continuing examination of his long-standing fears about commitment and meaning have been echoed in Cuddy’s own deliberations on this score. These two are intertwined like a double helix and the bonds of history, affection, respect, and sexual attraction have only been reinforced by their latest trials. I think that House’s engagement with Cuddy’s baby and with Cuddy’s divided devotion will form a fascinating new element in their relationship.

    I happily stand in the minority which approves of the addition of the Foreteen romance as a significant foil to the House/Cuddy relationship. My chief aim and pleasure in watching this show is to learn more about the character of House. So I welcome the multi-season arc of the hugely insecure and isolated Foreman’s trajectory from extreme commitment-phobia toward willing involvement in a doomed love affair as a fascinating commentary on the stunted emotional development of the central character. Perhaps we are being shown that Foreman is on a journey that House simply is not now and never will be able to undertake.

    Similarly, the headlong no-strings physical passions which ruled the first part of the Chase/Cameron romance were an instructive contrast with the monumental reticence that informs the love dance of House and Cuddy. The maturation of Cameron and Chase and their ability to deepen their relationship through open communication offers an implicit challenge to our understanding of House. I believe that these pieces are carefully constructed by Shore and Co. to fit together to form a more complete vision of Gregory House. The popular dismissal of Foreman, Thirteen, and other secondary characters truly hobbles our ability to get the puzzle pieces of House assembled and analyzed.

  • Amy

    Yes Jane, I do see your conflict with my last sentence… I think I was thinking more of like his reputation because of the hooker lady from “Let Them Eat Cake”, but not his actual reputation because I know that he could care less about that, and I know Cuddy knows that… I’m not sure if that makes any sense. I do completely agree with val in her saying that House is weighing his options. He is looking for the good and bad a possible relationship with Cuddy would have.

  • Sally

    Thank you Barbara for putting into words what I’ve been thinking all along. I did need a second watch as well. However I completely missed the book thing at the end. Another grand gesture from House that will never see the light of day but yes, he just couldn’t compete with a baby. I also believe that even though Cuddy acted like she was too preocupied by the baby, she heard his words and couldn’t just ‘give in’ somehow.

    Anyway, what a wonderful review! Merry Christmas to you!

  • aile

    I just had to respond sonething else that I saw in the comments.

    Yes, House definitely had Wilson’s book in his hand at the end when he went to see Cuddy and the baby.

    But “was he going to give the book to her?”

    No, there was absolutely no way in the world that House was going to give Cuddy the very thoughtful present that he recieved from Wilson. Absolutely no way.

    House had it in his hand, because he was bringing in home with him, to read and cherish and enjoy.

    Yes, I realize that I am totally in the minority among commenters here in that my affections are for Wilson and House, not Huddy. And yes, everyone sees the show through their own feelings and viewpoints.

    But the idea that House would take a wonderful gift from Wilson and give it to Cuddy, well I better not say what I really think of that idea.

    House realized that he made a huge mistake in not opening the gift for such a long time, for whatever reason (although I believe he was scared to) and he had it with him as he was leaving to bring it home to cherish and enjoy.

    That’s all.

  • Sheelagh

    Thank the Lord for the Clinic, the Wilson/House and the final House/Cuddy scenes; otherwise my 40 min. would have been wasted.
    I totally agree with the commment that the vulgarity House unleashed on Cuddy in front of the team was just plain offensive and seemed written by 12 years old boys.I know House has a lot of child in him, but we’ve see way too much of that this Season. The dialogue use to be smart, witty, fast. I’m finding it hard to believe House is ‘ brillant’ anymore. When did being just crude/vulgar replace the really solid writing ? I felt Hugh Laurie did all he could to mitigate the shallow dialogue by his wonderful ‘behind the eyes’ acting style gazing furtively and longingly at Cuddy, but I think it’s getting tough for him to spin gold out of hay.
    I think making Cuddy a Foster Mum to the baby girl with two viable sets or Grandparents & a teenage Dad, means the baby will be a short term plot device & will be ultimately reclaimed by her birth family. The story will then come a full circle and a wiser House/Cuddy will deal with their relationship. I just hope they let the characters deal with their relationship as inteligent adults…damaged certainly…..but NOT idiots.
    I reviewed the dialogue in the ‘House and Stacey’ arc and what a difference! Much more Tracy & Hepburn with sharp use of the elbows but intense attraction & affection. You believed it , wanted them to suceed even as you understood House’s obessive nature. The juvenile snarkiness in House this Season is just depressing. Who left the Writers’ Room ? Get’em back.

    My Christmas wishes for the second half of Season 5 : drop the six-split and make the segments longer/deeper; focus more on House, House/Wilson and House/Cuddy relationships but pare down the team for the- love- -of -God ! – it’s like watching a traffic jam on your TV these days and really spoils the depth of the stories; more ‘reflective/thinking’ House scenes and a lot less snark and vulgarity. It just doesn’t shock when you’re constantly hammered with it and it isn’t clever.
    I also want some story consistency. I for one couldn’t believe that Wilson was spending his first Christmas since Amber’s death with no recognition of his loss. That should have been addressed instead of the wasted scene on the preening Foreman and vacuous 13. I don’t tune in to watch them. That story line is the much talked about spin-off but it’s occurred within the show and is sapping its energy and focus.

    I continue to watch the show in the hope of seeing it revived to former glory. They’ve got so much to work with & they knew how to do it before. I hope they spend some time over the holiday season reflecting on how to fix House MD before it’s brain dead. Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard and Lisa Elderstein deserve more to work with and more time to do it. And I can’t believe I care this much about a TV show. I thought my teenage years were behind me.
    Merry Christmas Barbara and thanks for a ‘smart’ forum for our obession !

  • marie

    Hi Barbara , thank you for another great review , I agree with all your thoughts on this episode , I too felt gutted that the ‘fouteen ‘ scene came last rather than the House/Cuddy scene which was so beautiful done by both of them , House did look as though he had lost a good friend to another at the end there, when he left the room and lingered at the door to watch Cuddy she was oblivious to his presence at that time and he knew it, the baby was the only person on Cuddys mind just then, I do hope that the House /Cuddy arc does’nt die a sudden death now , it could quite easily continue and be more exciting and funnier than ever with an infant in the triangle ,cant understand the hype with the Fourteen arc ..Niether of these characters do the slightest thing for me , Kutner and Taub are much more interesting ,looking foreward to part two of “House in Love” thank you again for all your reviews this year they have been awesome …..Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful 2009 to you and Yours xxxx

  • KS

    I totally agree about two of the points you made. First, the whole Foreman isn’t House. That continues to bother me. Foreman does a lot of things House wouldn’t do. Plus, he’s always had an arrogance equal to (or exceeding) House’s, without the experience or knowledge to go with it. (I know that sounds kind of harsh, but that just bugs me. Plus, I’ll never forget what he did in Euphoria to Cameron. How self-centered was that?)

    Second, I also didn’t like them ending with the Foreman/Thirteen scene. It just didn’t feel right.

    Thanks again for the article!

  • byzantine

    I have never been invested in the faith of a television character, or characters, but now I am. Your thoughtful and insightful reviews made House that much more interesting and thanks to them I have been looking for connections, metaphors and symbols. And for Sherlock Holmes, of course. What a delight this is, thank you.

    After watching the Christmas episode I got fascinated by the ways in which the writers interacted with their viewers in developing the House/Cuddy arc. I have to admit that this story line surprised me at first (I had not watched the show before this Fall), but gradually, and after I watched the first three seasons in two months, I became entirely absorbed by the presentation of the House-Cuddy interactions. I was even worried that after the kiss at the end of “Joy” they will have to sacrifice Lisa Edelstein’s character at some point so that House could remain House. And yet, I was hoping that this anomalous relationship will somehow develop, for as House himself frequently points out anomalous is good. Despite being a neophyte in matters House-ian I grew to sympathize with House and up to “Let Them Eat Cake” I always did. My point of view changed after the scene in the empty office, and my heart ached for Cuddy and I disliked House, a lot. The Christmas episode turned things around for me—House again became a sympathetic character; he was defeated, wounded, but he was kind and perhaps wise, or both. He is again the House that so many women are swooning over. And this made me realize how cleverly the writers took us (or may be I should say me) on a wild roller coaster ride which, in my opinion, abruptly ended in episode ten. If both the episode and the expression “Let Them Eat Cake” was about delusion, weren’t we, the audience, supposed to eat cake as well? What you see is not there, the writers suggest, or at least not yet. Were Cuddy’s strangely worded expressions “everybody knows this is going somewhere” and “we are supposed to kiss now” more of a way of addressing the expectations of an audience which has been pushing so tirelessly for furthering the relationship between the two characters? Is it possible that with his unseemly gesture House responded as much to Cuddy as he did to the viewers, “no, we are not supposed to kiss now.” I wonder if the writers will pick up this story line, and, who knows, they probably wonder themselves. But they have invested too much in it to drop it now, and one can only hope…I felt that they provided a powerful closure at the end of “Joy to the World” with House leaving and wishing Cuddy a merry Christmas, and Cuddy with her back turned to him absorbed by her new responsibility and not returning the wish. Things changed already at the end of “Let them Eat Cake.” I thought that Cuddy’s reaction to House’s interaction with the coconut woman was analogous, not exactly the same though, to his own in the “Itch.” He went to her door without making himself known, she did the same. Circle is closed, game is over. Or at least this part of the game.

  • Gerry

    “House believes that he’s lost, defeated by the bundle of joy now within reach.”

    Hi Barbara! I have somewhat of a different read on this, as you probably know. I think House knew he had lost something precious with Cuddy from the moment she refuses to play with him in their opening scene. As I believe Blacktop put it, you can see him scaling himself back with her every time they interact, because Cuddy is not taking what he’s dishing. And I was very grateful she was not, as I don’t believe House was being kind when he did the boob grab; he was backpedaling from committing himself to something clearly romantic while still acknowledging that he’s drawn to her. What came out of that mess of emotions was not something nice. And I think that we saw him framing the question for himself during his chat with Taub, and what he asked himself was: “What’s in it for me?” Not “is Cuddy only in it to make up for the loss of Joy?”

    So to me, what he learned in this episode is what was in it for him and that every action has a consequence, not just entering a romance. He knows he’s changed his relationship with Cuddy right from the beginning of the episode and by the end, he’s accepted that Cuddy has stepped back from that vulnerable open moment with him and for good reason. The “Merry Christmas Cuddy” to me was him accepting that he is not front and centre with her and though he knows why, it’s not as alright with him as he thought it would be. He steps back into his role as friend, which is the one Cuddy thought he would be in at the end of Emancipation. He didn’t then because of how he felt. Now he has to, because of how he made her feel.

    This particular arc is over, but hopefully if this comes around again, House has learned that there are more ways to be hurt than to take a risk on love. Remorse over hurting someone and lost opportunities don’t feel great, either. And Cuddy has hopefully learned that she can say no to House and hold out for something that means something to her, rather than just take what he dishes out because he’s House.

  • Melissa

    Sheelagh, I agree with everything you said. I really didn’t like this episode for a number of reasons – too many plot contrivances, too many storylines, etc. I was VERY disappointed at the way Cuddy got the baby, even though the last scene between them was incredibly well – acted.

    I really hope that you’re right and that the House/Cuddy storyline isn’t over. Things seem to be cyclical on this show, so I hope it comes around again, in the not – so – distant future. I think they feel too intensely about each other for it not to, and I would have a hard time believing that things could go back to exactly how they were before… I don’t like the way they closed the chapter on it this time…It didn’t ring true to me.

  • Eve K

    I agree with Gerry that House senses that something is different with Cuddy right from the beginning of the episode, and he might think that it is because of him feeling her up.

    But we know that it might as well be the coconut-girl because of Cuddys trust-issues. (You dont fail every relationships you have without trust-issues) I also choose to see his behaviour towards Cuddy as a sign that he didn’t go home with the thespian. If he had he might have acted differently with Cuddy.

    And what about the desk-thing? Why have’nt Cuddy responded to that to House? I think House being a terrific poker player, is trying to feel her out, without giving any of his cards away, so he cant ask her straight out. But he is baffled and confused, he senses something is there that he cant figure out. (The coconut-girl)

    Oh, these misunderstandings…So finally after trying some more, he gives up and goes back to the friend/boss zone. But he is happy for Cuddy and the baby, I really think he is.

  • jim

    I can’t get enough of these great comments!

    I loved the fairy tale analogy of Cuddy’s baby quest with herself as her own ‘knight in shining armor’. And House being her ‘squire’ on the quest.

    There were also several allusions to the next steps in the dance between House and Cuddy, necessarily including House becoming accustomed to Cuddy’s divided attention. There was some foreshadowing of that in “Joy to the World”. When he came into the differential discussion, he was full of his clinic patient story about the ‘virgin birth’ and was eager to share it with Cuddy, but she had no time for him, Natalie’s condition had worsened. And then again, at the close in the nursery, perhaps he wished to show Cuddy his gift from Wilson but he saw she was far too preoccupied.

    These are the same hard lessons that the first born child must learn, but House is as inflexible as children are flexible. Why did House react so beautifully both times to Cuddy’s inattention? As an astute poster already commented, Cuddy can bring out House’s gorgeous human side better and faster than anyone (unfortunately, we’ve seen her bring out the opposite side as well – nothing simple here!)

    One subjective observation: at the end as House saw Cuddy through the glass wall into the nursery, he bowed his head in a wonderful, almost old world gesture just before he entered the door, as if in honor, wonder, and pride at what she had braved in order to save the baby. I think at that moment, he had never felt more for her down deep in his soul. And less worthy.

  • shaz

    I totally agree with your regarding Foreman. He has been my least favourite character and, unlike Cameron and Chase, his character has not grown. As House said in one of the earlier episodes, Foreman is still not ready.

    I loved Cuddy in this episode – we saw her as a dedicated doctor and not just a pen pusher; and she was a pretty good diagnostician as well – the one who worked out what was wrong with the POTW. I may be in the minority but I am glad she has a baby and I hope she is able to keep her.

  • val

    My gosh the wonderful additions just keep coming… Woohoo!

    jim– I liked your further observation about House reacting like the first born child to a sibling. How many times have we noted that aspects of their relationship is very mother/child like and from what we have seen of the relations he has with his real mother (though he respects her and loves her) it seems like she may not always have seen/wanted to see the pain her son went through when it came to John House. From the pilot onward Cuddy has always supported and trusted him going as far as even to lie for him in season three.

    But then again, he was gracious and accepting of his “rival” for Cuddy’s attention. He saw she was happy and truly meant it when he said “Merry Christmas, Cuddy”. Oh, what a complex web he weaves.

    I finally noted the book he held on the third viewing of the scene–kudos to whoever caught it! But I have to agree with an earlier post that if it was indeed a gift from Wilson, House may have shared it with Cuddy, but ultimately taken it home to enjoy himself(as via “The Itch” and “It’s a Wonderful Lie” we know he reads Conan Doyle). A treasured gift from Wilson after their difficult few months.

    Speaking of Conan…I enjoyed seeing Hugh Laurie on Conan O’Brian on Tues. It’s clear that O’Brian is a big fan and I liked the direction he took with the typical questions that Laurie gets asked about living in LA as opposed to London on other shows. It seemed like Conan was almost going to get him to mention his early work in comedy (Blackadder, Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster), but if not this time, maybe the next.

  • Barbara Barnett

    #2–It was such a wistful smile. I think House was both happy for her, and saddened in his belief (which I think is wrong) that there is no place for him in her life.

    #10–Louise, I’m right there with yah. Hand me my inhaler. That smile was devastating!

    One of the things I’m finding interesting is that people are beginning to get used to the new team (or at least Kutner and Taub) and as a couple of you have pointed out, they make a good comedy-relief team.

    #11–Amy, I don’t think that will happen. I do think that the kiss, the ramifications of it and their relationship will all continue to play out. I loved the way they worked closely together, shoulder to shoulder in this episode. I loved their closeness and shared sadness when they realized that a second life would be potentially sacrificed. To me, moments like those are my proof-texts that House isn’t strictly about the riddle, that he does care about the person, not as a specific person with a name, perhaps, but as another human being who’s in pain. He may not remember his or her name, but he does care and wants them not only fixed, but cured.

    #18–EveK–I’ve taken to downloading from amazon.com $1.89/episode and well worth it to see it commercial free. It downloads to my tivo at about 3 a.m., so it’s there when I wake up…or I can watch on my laptop, streamed or downloaded. I really, really, really hate the new commercial break format. It kills the show for me first time through.

    I think the thing that I especially like about this exploration of House and Cuddy is how real it is for two middle aged, set in their ways characters to be explored. They are reticent and yearning, unhappy and occupied with other things in their lives. Cuddy’s biological clock is ticking like a demon; House is at the brink of risking his heart. But for them it’s so difficult. And so true.

    The characters have a lot of depth and with that comes a lot of complexity. they are almost like victorian characters.
    I’m so loving this ride.

    More later—and—-I do promise the part 2 of House in Love this weekend. I’ve been looking for just the right hook, but it’s almost finished!

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks as always for a wonderful review. I enjoyed the episode, but your article always improves matters even more. And all the comments are just amazing!

    I also felt like the episode was a nicely wrapped holiday gift. As other viewers have posted elsewhere, I thought initially that the book came from Stacy, although it didn’t take me too long to realize my mistake. I did notice that when Wilson was talking to Kutner and Taub, he mentioned her name as if he assumed that they knew who she was – so there’s clearly been some gossiping about House’s history off camera.

    “Unmercifully teasing House about something so personal as his feelings about Cuddy is something I thought I would never see from one of the fellows.”

    Peter Jacobson was the best he’s ever been on House in that scene! He’s a really talented comic character actor, and I loved his recurring role as a manic crusading defense attorney on L&O a few seasons ago. IMO, his material has been mostly pretty dull on House, and hasn’t showcased what he can do at all. This time, his material did justice to his abilities, and I loved it.

    “House believes that he’s lost, defeated by the bundle of joy now within reach.”

    You know, I’m not so sure about this at all. Time will tell, obviously, but the song lyrics bear out the idea that he may still consider himself to be in the game. “But if you keep real close/Yeah, you stay real close/I will reach you/I’m down to a whisper/In a daydream on a hill/Shut down to a whisper/Can you hear me still?”

    As you say, “so often, the episode’s closing song resonates strongly with House’s emotions”. This song sounds like someone who’s down, but not out. Someone who’s still in there, trying. Maybe I have to watch him in that scene again, but I didn’t see defeat – I saw acceptance that Cuddy has something that is the right thing for her to have. And acceptance doesn’t have to be the end of a road – it can also be the beginning.

    Certainly, the dynamic between House and Cuddy will change, but IMO, this is just the intermission between acts. These two have not yet had their denouement. Cuddy’s line about being a foster parent wasn’t a throwaway. That will be a period of time before irrevocable commitment on her part, and any number of things could happen. She could even find out that motherhood – or single motherhood – isn’t what she thought it would be, and decide that she doesn’t want to go through with it. That would make an emotionally fascinating storyline.

    I want to give a shout-out to the woman who played “inhaler lady” – was it Marissa Ingrasci? Hugh Laurie was his usual “beyond wonderful” in that scene – and his smile was everything you said it was, Barbara. But “inhaler lady” herself was terrific! She had incredible timing, and made every second of that scene count.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Orange–you misunderstand. I do think House looked defeated, but not down and out. I think he accepted the defeat graciously. But I don’t think he will be able to completely put away those feelings that Cuddy has brought out in him. Unlike Stacy, she isn’t leaving his orbit. She’s still there, and House’s attraction to her isn’t going to lessen. Not at all. And as I said, the way this chapter has closed in their saga, it leaves open the possibility for new avenues opening and being explored in entirely new contexts. Can’t hardly wait 🙂

  • Flo

    Its’ weird I never thought the gift came from Stacy. Stacy is kind of old story for the writers. Don’t get me wrong, I mean she’ll always be important because of her history with House but for the season and the upcoming stories she’s kind of history.

    I totally agree with Orange and others, this is not the end of Huddy, far from it. Of course the baby will change things but I think it will be very interesting to see house interact with Cuddy-the-mom instead of Cuddy-the-woman-and-boss.

    “Unlike Stacy, she isn’t leaving his orbit.”
    Exactly! She is tougher than Stacy that way. Plus, she knows him for so long…
    But I really think that the way she “replaced” House in that episode is vrey revealing of what House and Cuddy share, of their similarities: goood at job, suck at life (see my previous post). This definitly means there is more to this relationship than wee saw in that season.

    And Barbara, that’s why I was a little surprised to not see any comment on the fact that Cuddy was the lead in this episode (she even got the heart to heart talk with patient and the epiphany) instead of House in the review. For me this is the most import thing of the episode. (Again see my previous post).
    We see a lot of things by Cuddy’s point of view lately (especially since the previous episode). Maybe you’re gonna talk about that in your last part of “House in Love”. I hope so.

    ps: Can someone tell me what “IMO” stands for? Sorry I’m french! Thanks

  • Barbara Barnett

    Bonjour Flo,

    “IMO” means “in my opinion” (sometimes people say IMHO–“in my humble” opinion).

    Cuddy did take the lead in this, but she’s done that before when she’s had a particular interest in a case: her handyman; emma in Fetal Position, others as well.

    But I do think it’s important that not only did she bring the case to House, but stayed with him (much to his bewilderment) in diagnosing the case. At first he thought she was trying to stay near him, but realized that wasn’t the answer. But i love the way they worked together in this one.

  • Liz

    I think House was happy that Cuddy had a baby because he was happy that she got what she wanted and that but mostly he was happy that he to step up and attempt to have a relationship with her. He decided last episode that it wasn’t worth it to him. Now she’s happy and off his case and he can go back to making sexual remarks about her without having to do anything about it.

    I can’t believe that House wouldn’t open a present from Wilson, not even a year after he got it. Nor does Wilson ever call him “Greg”.

    I disagree that the old team was afraid of House after a year of working with him. No one was afraid of him during the Vogler arc but they did respect him, something this team doesn’t. Well, maybe Foreman didn’t respect him but both Chase and Cameron did. Can you imagine what the comments would have been if it had been Cameron asking him about his relationship with Cuddy and telling him Cuddy loves him?

    I hope this is the end of Thirteen’s story. What a waste of time this has been.

  • Luisa Borges

    Hi to all, loved reading everyones thoughts.

    Barbara, a very, very, very, insightful review indeed. It really got me thinking about some angles that I had not tackled at first. I really loved the fun and the emotionally charged “Joy to the World”.

    I new the coconut lady wasn´t going to come back and that is one of the things I like about House. It´s not a linear show, where Mondays come after Sundays and so forth. Time shifts about and I always have the feeling there´s something I didn´t see, and I like that “un-big-brotherian” feeling. I enjoy catching up with the action and filling in the blanks.

    So, no coconut lady, but I´m with Barbara on this, that last scene between her and House was not meant for Cuddy to see.

    In light of House´s actions toward Cuddy in the episode I have to agree with Barbara that it does shed some new light into the “boob grab” and “desk gift” as well as the kiss. By the way, Barbara loved your take on the kiss.

    I agree that House doesn´t want to be the replacement to Cuddy´s feeling of empitiness for not getting the baby she so desperately wants. He really loves her and he wants her to reciprocate his feelings, not embrace him like a new cause set to divert her mind from its frustrations.

    He was extremely mindful of her throughout this whole episode. OK some bickering in the beginning, but as soon as he saw that she was really passionate about something, he embraced her concerns.

    I think that Cuddy acted like House in this episode. Obsessing about diagnostic options, pushing treatment, leading the team. Not in his exact m.o. but in a version of it that was more passionate and more careless about procedure in a sense. So, she was him. And he was her, for her. He enabled her, tossed ideas, and questioned treatment paths. I liked seeing that, very much. I loved when Wilson said he was being kind, and I also think that it referred to House and Cuddy.

    I cried a river in his last scene with Cuddy. The look in his face, so much longing for her, so much tenderness. I think he was happy for her, he does want to see her “get what she wants” but I think he also wants to be what she wants. He was taken by the fact that she looked so “complete” with her baby, and I do agree feeling left out. And I think Cuddy sort of runs away from relationships with men, and in this case with House, by using the “baby makes me whole” route. House himself pointed that out to her. It´s not that she doesn´t want to be a mother, or is unfit for the job (I do think she is fit) but I also think that she is diverting from her failures and deeply connecting with a man and allowing herself to be loved. In that, she and House are two of a kind. The dance between them will most definitely continue and I looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

    Loved so much Lisa Edelstein and Hugh Laurie´s acting in this episode. It really made me glad to be able to watch such great repartee.

    And, on a more frugal note, passionately loved House all cleaned up and in a tie in clinic duty. More niceness duty as it turned out. Hugh really is a splendid looking man, and very much my cup of tea, so to speak. With a five o´clock shadow or without. By the way, wasn´t Cuddy a fan of his “blue shirt”, she thought he looked nice in it. Wonder if him wearing it over and over has something to do with that.

    Now on the fun bits, House, Taub, Kutner, Thirteen and even Cuddy were really fun in the beginning of the episode. Loved Wilson´s talk with Taub and Kutner, what a gem, his face, the whole story about Irene Adler (love Holmes´ bits), that was pure joy, Robert Sean Leonard was great.

    Then the bet between House and Wilson, that was major fun. When House walked in to talk to the “Cheating Mary” in full “Wilson” mode, I rolled on the floor with laughter. And how he transformed mid diagnosis, what a Hugh Laurie show. The “Inhaler Lady” was also tons of fun, and just watching Hugh´s face made me drop down on the floor with laughter.

    Parthenogenesis was a gem, and the way Hugh delivered that scene, I just loved it. Hurray for clinic duty reborn.

    And speaking of rebirth, the whole POTW story was great, and it brought out something for everyone. First Cuddy, admitting her problems with personal relationships and getting so up close and personal with a patient, also made me wonder more about her past. Second Kutner, who would have known he was a former bully. And how fitting that an addict found the baby girl, sort of a reversal on the original Joy plot when Cuddy went to get her back.

    Can´t wait to see how all of this unfolds, and how Cuddy and House work out their wants and needs for each other. This time around Cuddy did seem on the road to getting what she wants, but then again, things have to play up between her and House, I´m just curious to see how it will go and I have to say I´m loving every minute of it (every tortuous minute of it). Season 5 is great, and I say superb job to everyone involved.

  • Pat

    “Cuddy did take the lead in this, but she’s done that before when she’s had a particular interest in a case: her handyman; emma in Fetal Position, others as well.”

    And every time she does, she makes medical decisions out of her own emotions instead of sound medical facts. For that reason, it’s as House has often said, she’s a second rate doctor. It’s also ridiculous that Taub and Kutner went to her to get her medical opinion about poisoning (what would an endocrinologist know about poisons?) rather than Chase or Cameron who know far more medicine than Cuddy does, and who actually work as doctors unlike Cuddy. The writers are shameless about putting Cuddy in the middle of an episode when she has no logical reason to be there in order to make the patient story all about her personal angst.

  • Luisa Borges

    Another thing, I would like to join in congratulating Hugh Laurie and everyone involved in creatingm, acting and producing House for the Golden Globe nominations. Hurray, such grand news.

    I´m placing the champagne in the fridge right now.

    Also I watch the US episodes when they come out, with a few hours of delay, by purchasing then online, so I don´t get to see the commercial break structure.

    In Brazil (I live in Rio), we´re currently watching season 5 but we´re some 5 episodes behind. House plays here on the Universal Channel (Universal is one of the show´s producers) not on Fox, and also in another local brazilian channel. So we have, the local channel on season 3 shown once a week, Universal showing season 5 once a week and also showing season 4 every weekday at 8pm. A full House-fest for me.

    And if Hugh Laurie thinks he was harrassed in Spain he better never come down here again. I was at a newsstand the other day buying a magazine with Hugh on the cover (actually the same article from EW in the start of season 5), and a guy in front of me saw what I was holding and said “where did you get this magazine, I have to get this for my daughter she is absolutely crazy about him”.

    So there you go, House is so good that even people from different cultures love it to bits.

  • Sue

    I knew the tongue swallowing between 13 and Foreman was going to happen, so I blocked my eyes and didn’t watch it. I haven’t watched it in reruns either. I don’t ever want that image in my head.

    I noticed that in all the reviews, hardly anyone mentioned 13 and Foreman, and if anyone did, it was to express dissatisfaction in mostly all cases. It is so far removed from the rest of the show, it is like watching two tv shows woven together. I have no interest in those characters or what happens to them. I don’t think most people care, and they would rather this was not part of the show. Even if there were parallels with House in the 13 or Foreman characters, and we found out myriads of information about House from 13 and Foreman, I would still want them both off the show.

    It is also interesting that 13 was lighter in mood and smiling in this episode, and yet hardly anyone commented on her character. Happy, sad or sarcastic, 13 just doesn’t matter on this show.

    The “Foreman is House” thing is yesterday. Been there, done that. This is just a recycled idea, trying to make an irrelevant theme relevant. Foreman has been hanging around like a piece of wallpaper half-attached. I just want to pull it (him) out of the scene already.

    I disagree about the “Laurel and Hardy” pairing of Taub and Kutner. House and Wilson put them to shame. I could watch an hour of House and Wilson, but I would fast-forward through any Taub and Kutner scene. I have yet to hear a line delivered by Peter Jacobson that does not come out exactly like every other line he says. He is boring. If Chase had been the one to confront House about his feelings for Cuddy, the scene would have been much more compelling. Kutner is the same every week. There is no variation in his character. I am tired of this new team.

    The episode came alive in the clinic scenes. We did not get the harsh, constantly irritated House we have seen with the new team this season. Back was the multi-dimensional character with humor that we grew to love. The boring DDX scenes have dominated the screen time of Hugh this season.

    House does well in the 18- demographic. The tragic case of this teenager who delivered a baby and never got medical care might discourage girls from repeating this mistake.

    House said “Merry Christmas” to Cuddy at the end, knowing that she does not celebrate that holiday. I think he was referencing the miracle that the baby survived. Or, was he wishing that to himself, as he was going home alone on the holiday? Did House finally realize the value of giving and getting a gift?

    Although “people don’t change,” this episode represented a real change in House. He started to act nice to clinic patients because of his conversation with Wilson. I think he actually liked being nice to them. For House to be happy for Cuddy, without injecting his opinion, medical or otherwise, he had to change. His tiny smile and the look he gave Cuddy in the end showed that he liked how he had changed.

    Cuddy’s baby will not be around more than a few weeks. They killed off Amber because they could not allow Wilson to be happy with someone for too long. Cuddy cannot be tied up with a baby and still be relevant to the show. We will learn something more about House and Cuddy throughout this adventure.

    Although House was hostile toward Cuddy throughout the episode, we could see at the end how much he loves her. Who else but Hugh Laurie could give us both extremes so convincingly?

    Wilson is becoming a favorite character for me this season. He is no longer just House’s conscience. He had me going for a while with the Irene Adler story. (I don’t know anything about Holmes, so I had no idea who she was.) We are getting a fully-dimensional Wilson this season.

  • Sue


    I forgot to say that I enjoyed your review.

    Happy Hannukah! Cuddy got her Hannukah miracle.

  • Sera G

    Hello, all!
    I have had a wonderful time reading over all of the comments, and marveling at how we view things exactly the same or 180o opposite.
    I have been encouraged that there are so many others who feel as I do, that House and Cuddy are not (and should not) be over. It has been my opinion from the first season, that there is so much between them. House is too brilliant, shrewd and sneaky not to find ways around a boss he truly wanted to avoid. House seeks out Cuddy and finds reasons to be near her. (He then insults, embarasses and toments her…ah well, he is 12.)
    I don’t believe that Cuddy wanted a replacement for her loss of Joy. Her well thought out response to Wilson concerning the “what ifs” of a relationship convince me that House has been a part of her thoughts/heart for a very long time. I wrote before that I believe she has loved him since college, but the timing was never right (he was ahead of her in school, Stacy, the infarction).
    Whatever her human frailties, she is a strong, ambitious woman. You don’t get to be where she is by wishing. All of her focus has been on achieving her goals. It’s no wonder her personal relationships have suffered. It takes an equally strong, brilliant man to be her equal. (Now, who could that be?) That amazing (“Pandora’s Box” of a kiss to quote Barbara) is not going to be forgotten by Cuddy, no matter how distracted she is by a baby. If the kiss were only about comfort she would not have been so upset when she saw House and Coconuts, nor would she have been so bold in playing House’s game in his office.
    The writers have allowed House’s love to be acknowleded (to himself, I have known it all along, ha, ha!) It would be ridiculous that those deep and powerful feelings would be abandoned.
    The fear is that if the characters are together it will somehow become trite or boring. Shore and Co. have created an incredibly complex, difficult, sometimes unpleasant character that we all ADORE. I think they are creative and smart enough to make a relationship between two clever people unique, interesting and realistic. I think the audience is smart enough to understand/enjoy it.
    Writers, if you read these posts, I have faith that you will do right by House and Cuddy! They belong together.

  • Sandra

    Oh I lover your review. I disagree on countless things but i enjoy it all the same.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Diversity of opinion helps us all grow and flourish. I’m glad you enjoy the column, Sandra…I started this column to foster intelligent discussion of this wonderfully complex television series and its brilliant leading actor. There is no discussion without at least some disagreement or divergence of thought.

    As long as you keep on reading!

  • jim

    At the beginning of this arc, House was disturbed and ‘petulant’, as Barbara put it, at the news of an adoption by Cuddy. During “Joy” he acted like a spoiled 2 year old brat who doesn’t want to share his Mommy or his toys with a sibling. Until the kiss, that is.

    In that episode, during the birthing scene, House says, “I need you, this doesn’t.” At the same time that the baby was coming out of the mother, House’s head was sticking out between two sliding doors as if he were also a newborn coming out of the womb. This show will stop at nothing to send a message, Cuddy’s two babies?. Television worth watching? Yes, and the producers seem to disregard boundaries just as their protagonist/antagonist, House does. Further, in that scene, House’s eyes were like laser beams watching Cuddy watch the birth and processing every movement, expression, sound and breath from Cuddy. Talk about obsession!

    At the end of the arc, House has been transformed from a spoiled brat to a lovely, supportive but still damaged, bittersweet companion. If he wasn’t damaged he would be able to rejoice and participate in the miracle of Cuddy’s baby. As it is, he walks away, unnoticed because he is a man incapable of providing anything meaningful to a family. (At this point)

    But he has come a long way from spoiled brat sibling to supportive, eventhough superfluous companion and in only one short arc.

  • Luisa Borges

    Jim, Wow, great thoughts. How insightful that part about House being a baby being born (head between the two doors).

    I do think he´s grown in his attitude and that is mostly because of the way he feels about Cuddy.

    Something else I forgot to say, great call people on noticing that he still held his Joseph Bell book when he went in to talk to Cuddy when she was with the baby.

  • barbara barnett

    jim–fascinating interpretation, you never know with this show what they might be thinking with regard to symbolism and metaphors.

  • jim

    Sorry to stick my oar in again so soon, but I should make a, most likely, superfluous correction of my No. 41 comment. I wrote of a subjective observation where House gave a slight bow of the head toward Cuddy. The correction is that the bow was after he went through the door into the nursery to join Cuddy, and not before.

  • Last Resort GS is Zeljko Ivanek, cast member of Damages with Glenn Close and Ted Danson.
    Never had problem reading spoilers, since context is missing. As a Blogcritic, they help me keep things in mind for down the road.
    Will have to watch this ep again. Got interrupted when it ran.

  • Barbara Barnett

    And of course Zelijko Ivanek also Guested on X-Files, my last obsession.

    My problem with spoilers in this episode were less the spoilers themselves and the “teasing” done by some supposedly in the know main stream journalists. Must learn not to listen to them, since some of their “spoilers” weren’t so much spoilers as speculations dressed as spoilers. A wheat vs. chaff problem 🙂

  • Manu

    Even Katie Jacobs “satisfyng surprise for House and Cuddy in a personal sort of way” turned out to be… unpleasantly disappointing. One thing I learned is that you have to watch ‘House’ with NO expectations.

  • I don’t what happened, I was so surprised by my reaction! So I was reading your review and I was down to the last part – I was also playing the song “Whisper” and I cried! I cried like a baby! I don’t know why. I keep picturing the look on House’s face when he said “Merry Christmas Cuddy” and it was as if he was begging her to hear him, look at him at that moment. Like the scene in Joy, he was shouting at Cuddy, “this doesn’t need you, I do!” only this time, he was conceding, perhaps accepting the fact that Cuddy has other needs – needs which come first before him. I think House has to accept that fact before he can truly decide whether to pursue Cuddy or not.

    Although I am a firm Huddy shipper, and I did get disappointed after watching this episode at first, I think I wouldn’t have this storyline written any other way. I just realized how great the writers are for creating such a complicated relationship.

    I love your review Barbara! And I love all these intelligent comments as well!

  • kc

    Hi Barbara! I love your reviews! I wait as eagerly for your posts as I do the show [lol]. This is my first time posting a comment because I totally agree with you on the Foreman/13 ending (as well as the Foreman character not at all like House)! My least favorite characters are Foreman & 13 (especially 13!). I guess I didn’t mind Foreman so much when Chase & Cameron were around much more to put him in his place [sigh! I really miss Cameron & Chase]. We know so much 13 yet I don’t care about her a bit nor am I curious as to what future holds for 13’s character or storyline.

    Thanks again writing these great reviews & sharing your thoughts with us. Happy Holidays!

  • Luisa Borges

    On the Thirteen Foreman romance.

    Foreteen is so not for me. I like Thirteen, she´s constantly growing on me, I like her lines, I think she´s sassy. But her future love life is far bellow in my list of must see things. I´m just not that curious about her in that way.

    And the thing with Foreman, well he is not on my top priority list either. When he was sort of an Amber with pants (and that was way before Amber), he interested me more. I don´t think he is like House at al, and in a bad way. My faith is his capabilities is also diminished, I don´t think he has what it takes to achieve greatness (and House has tons of that).

    Someone said in a comment I read somewhere else that the only good thing about these two having their scenes combined is that it makes it easier to fast forward them. And they have zero chemistry so far, that kiss was so far fetched.

    And speaking of kiss just curious about something: kisses in TV are somewhat choreographed right? Or are they not?

  • Luisa Borges

    Me again, just remembered something.

    I´m getting set up for vacation time and so I´m buying some House episodes from Itunes to take away with me.

    I wanted to do a sort of must see list of all the relevant episodes regarding House and Cuddy, the ones that really add to understanding their relationship.

    I made a list, and found some inputs online from other user and I now have the following episodes on download.

    Season 1 – Three Stories
    Season 2 – Humpty Dumpty, Who´s your Dadddy
    Season 3 – Top Secret, Airborne, Insensitive, Finding Judas, Fetal Position, Act you age, Half-Wit
    Season 4 – Alone, Ugly, Mirror Mirror, Games, House´s Head, Wilson´s Heart
    Season 5 – Lucky Thirteen, Joy, The itch, Let them eat cake, Joy to the world

    If you guys would like to contribute to my list, tell me something I might have over looked and so on I would be forever greatful.

  • Luisa, I am by no means an authority on the House and Cuddy subject and your list is extensive. So I can only give you my sketchy impressions. But I’ll print out your list for my use. Thanks!

    There are some scenes in season 3 “Words and Deeds” between House and Cuddy that still stand out in my mind as significant. Remember when Cuddy is on the witness stand in court and saves House from jail by lying? That was a life altering moment for House because he was not only saved but given the gift of knowledge that he was of profound value to Cuddy, so much so that she would risk herself to save him.

    From that moment on there was no looking back by the writers in portraying the couple of House and Cuddy, in my mind. And I think House began to harbor some serious hope as well somewhere in the back of his complicated mind.

  • Danielle

    Dear Barbara and everybody else!
    I’ve been reading your reviews and all the insightful comments for a long time now but this is my first time posting – mainly to say thank you! 🙂 I’m always looking forward to it because even (or especially) if I don’t agree with everything, all the beautiful thoughts make me think a lot and see additional facets of House. Which is just great!
    I don’t have anything really substantial to add, just a thought that occured to me and that I haven’t read so far: I have to agree with you and everybody about the last scene of the recent epi – I was really disappointed that they didn’t end it with House himself (either the Cuddy/Baby-Scene or an additional scene to round his story-line with Wilson). I don’t mind Foreteen too much but it was just too long and prominent and I won’t change my mind on that. Enough already!
    But: during the whole epi things seemed to somewhat pass House without him knowing or controlling what was going on most of the time – he couldn’t figure out Cuddy’s behaviour, he wasn’t in the centre of the case and didn’t even solve it, his prank with the gift went into a different direction and for a minute his team was ahead, he wanted to tell them about the clinic patient but was interrupted by more serious things, he had nothing to do with the baby and couldn’t do anything but just accept it… So the last scene somehow mirrored this “wrong place at the wrong time” and “not beeing in the centre of things” theme a bit. For the audience the whole scene appeared as: wrong place, wrong time – but it at the same time contrasted and mirrored House and his being “out of time” in this epi. Okay, sorry if that sounds confused – I’m not a native speaker and hope I put my thoughts in understandable sentences 🙂
    So again, thanks to everybody, have a wonderful holiday season, best wishes from Germany!

  • Eve K

    This is maybe beside the point, but I am in fact a little annoyed that 13 chooses a straight relationship when she wants to be serious. This just underlines the myth that a lesbian relationship is not as mature as a guy-girl thing. (Maybe im reading to much into this) I also agree that the chemistry between the two is missing and the build-up to this relationship is not good enough.

    It would have been nice if she had a serious gay relationship, not just the sexual unrealistic flings that she had. But whos got the time to make that happen?

    (I think you can make the audience invest a lot more in a relationship that just show a hand touch or eyes meet than the full blown sex scenes that tends to be boring sports excersises.)

    And I absolutely agree with the comments above, we can now fast forward through both our least favorite characters.

  • Danielle

    PS: Forgot to say: I LOVED that House was carrying Wilson’s book at the end (and I don’t think he had any plan to give or even show it to Cuddy). The two things that keep him “in time” – his dedication to medicine and Wilson. 🙂

  • Eve K

    I will make an exception for HL, Ill watch a hot scene with him any day, and in any way!

  • CC

    you should watch One day One room also

  • Eve K

    Danielle – your last comment – very true.

  • Danielle, wonderful interpretation of why House was carrying the book in the end nursery scene! Medicine and Wilson give his life meaning. But does he want more?

  • Barbara Barnett

    Luisa–Some additional episodes to consider: Pilot (which establishes the entire thing); Babies and Bathwater, Paternity (that great bet about the DNA),

    season two: Forever (for the last scene)
    All In (just because)
    Thirds Season: One Day One Room, Merry Little Christmas, Cane and Able (wonderful scenes, including a great scene in House’s office)
    Human error (also has a great confrontation scene in House’s office)

  • Luisa Borges

    Thank you so much J.I.M., CC and Barbara:

    Great additions, I´m already downloading all of them (between the Iphone´s 16gigs and the Itouch´s 16gigs I´ll fit it all quite nicely). Where would I be without you, really missed some important ones.

    Can´t say how much I appreciate all the recomendations, and comments, I´ll print them to take with me and read along with watching the episodes. I also added “Last Resort” from Season 5, so now my House / Cuddy fest is all set up.

    Will watch them all from first to last, see how they play out in sequence.

  • Flo

    “Bonjour Flo,

    “IMO” means “in my opinion” (sometimes people say IMHO–“in my humble” opinion).”

    Thank you so much Barbara!

    Yep, Luisa, the foreteen thing is not very believable. The kiss was just too soon. I like thirteen though I really don’t understand why so many people loath her.

    Great thoughts everyone! Big brainstorming and theories awaits us all until January 19th!!

  • JL

    Something that just occurred to me regarding the kiss between Foreman and Thirteen:

    Thirteen has a history of one night stands (in this season, at any rate). Jumping straight into a kiss with Foreman, chemistry or no chemistry, is at least consistent with her character.

    I think ‘chemistry’ is such a personal thing. Often, ‘shipping’ arguments seem to consist of arguments over whether two given characters have chemistry or not. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to define this other than one’s own personal response to those characters.

    I don’t see ANY chemistry between Foreman and Thirteen. But I’m sure others out there do. And the chemistry between House and Cuddy seems blindingly obvious to me, but others clearly don’t see it.

    I wonder if there’s any way one could objectively define whether two given characters have chemistry or not. The only thing I can think of is asking the actors what they think…

  • Seel

    Luisa — Don’t forget Season 4 “No More Mr Nice Guy” with the performance review…

    Fun fact : while rewatching the episodes, you’ll see that Cuddy has two houses 😉
    One (with yellow interior, and a window in the front door, rounded-angled passage ways) can be seen in Humpty Dumpty and Joy, another one is used in Insensitive and Half wit (light brown interior, peep-hole in front door, square-angled passage ways)

  • Orange450

    JL wrote:

    “Thirteen has a history of one night stands (in this season, at any rate). Jumping straight into a kiss with Foreman, chemistry or no chemistry, is at least consistent with her character.

    I think ‘chemistry’ is such a personal thing. Often, ‘shipping’ arguments seem to consist of arguments over whether two given characters have chemistry or not. And there doesn’t seem to be any way to define this other than one’s own personal response to those characters.

    I don’t see ANY chemistry between Foreman and Thirteen. But I’m sure others out there do. And the chemistry between House and Cuddy seems blindingly obvious to me, but others clearly don’t see it.

    I wonder if there’s any way one could objectively define whether two given characters have chemistry or not. The only thing I can think of is asking the actors what they think…”

    JL, I think you’re absolutely spot on with your observation about chemisty. Well put! While I don’t particularly care about Foreman or 13 (although she’s been growing on me – especially since she helped Janice on with her sweater in LTEC. Tho’ that was a tiny gesture – OW used it well to show us – rather than tell us – what was going on in 13’s mind.)

    But I’d been conscious of a growing affection and warmth between Foreman and 13 for the past few episodes, and it seemed to me that their kiss came about quite naturally. Sometimes we expect “chemistry” to be hot and explosive – and of course that’s nice. I like it too! But sometimes love grows slowly and quietly – and takes the participants almost unawares. That seems to me to be the path that Foreman and 13 have been taking – and while I don’t want to see their romance take center stage, I didn’t mind their scene at all, and it seemed to me to have come about quite organically.

  • Luisa Borges


    Really can´t thank you enough for this very important reminder.

    “No more Mr. Nice Guy” is right now making its way from my Itunes, that performance review is priceless “I love you, one grunted silable at a time”. Thanks so, so, much for this!!!!

    And Cuddy´s two houses, I was kinda wondering about that myself, specially in “Joy”. I remembered the house from “Humpty Dumpty” and it seemed so different.

    Great that you pointed that out, and explained. I´m printing you thoughts and they´ll be by my side as I go through my House-Fest marathon!!!

    Once more, thanks so,so, soooo much!!! All the best!!

  • Melissa

    Luisa, you’ve inspired me to do a House – Cuddy marathon as well. I’ve done House – a – thons before, but I like your idea of focusing on the ones that best highlight the House – Cuddy relationship and how it develops over the seasons.

    I love the crazy relationship between these two so much – I can’t think of any other pairing on tv that has been anywhere near as interesting, thought – provoking, revealing, heartbreaking, frustrating and open to so many insightful interpretations. A testament not only to the writers and the natural chemistry between HL and LE, but two the many different layers they bring to both their character and their interactions.

    I always find it puzzling when people state that they “won’t work” together or “don’t belong” together. I can’t think of anyone else that House could possibly ever be with besides Cuddy, and vice versa. Neither of them will ever have a typical, functional, “healthy” relationship by mainstream standards. But their crazy tango works for them, and I think it brings out the best (and occasionally the worst, in the process) in both of them. They are so similar emotionally, and understand one another so intimately because of that.

    I said this in another comment after LTEC, but I really believe they have the same issues and just use different coping mechanisms. Rules and order and perfectionism versus rebellion and rejection of social mores. Cuddy isolates herself through aspiring to impossible standards and desire for everything to be ideal. House isolates himself by breaking all the rules and being the ultimate cynic and misanthrope (even though we know hes not). And through their relationship they find some way to meet in between. It’ not without a gargantuan struggle on both of their parts, but I really think that each knows that they are better for it. House wants to be reined in as much as Cuddy wants to be forced out of her comfort zone.

    I always think back to the scene in the finale of season 4, with Cuddy sitting there holding House’s hand. No words are needed, she just insintctually knows that he needs her. And she needs him just as much. And that knowledge makes both of them really uncomfortable, because they’ve spent their respective lives practicing the art of not needing anyone.

    The best way I can describe their relationship as I see it is via the lyrics of the Joni Mitchell song ‘Case of You’ – “you’re in my blood like holy wine You taste so bitter and so sweet I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet”.

  • barbara barnett

    You all inspired me to finish my House in Love Part 2 article tonight. It should be up in the morning as it is awaiting its turn in the queue. It focuses on the House/Cuddy dynamic through the seasons. Hope you like it and add to it.

  • Sera G

    Hi, Melissa,
    I like the way that you think. I have been having House/Cuddy-thons the past few weekends.
    I agree with all that you say about their relationship. House reacts to Cuddy entirely differently than to anyone else and vice versa. It makes me think of what her ‘date’ said in “Insensitive”, (paraphasing: when she is talking to him, no one else exists.)
    IMHO, the writers have provided plenty of evidence that the feeling between them are instense, deep, and not easily dismissed.
    I can sort of understand that the writers might want to back away from turning the relationship sexual too fast, (we save that for Foreman and 13, HA!) However, there is no way to turn away from the powerful chemistry and the floodgate of emotions that have been revealed. House rushing off to Cuddy’s house with “I’m in love with a girl…” playing in the background can not be forgotten. That genie can not go back in the bottle. I for one will be very surprised, not to mention heartbroken, if nothing further is done with their feeling.
    Enjoy your “Love-a-thon.”

  • Melissa, I enjoyed your observations and interpretations last time when you posted them in detail and again here as a handy summary. Here you wrote, “…a gargantuan struggle on both of their parts, but I really think that each knows that they are better for it. House wants to be reined in as much as Cuddy wants to be forced out of her comfort zone.”

    Lisa Edelstein has alluded to Cuddy’s duty of policing House as a hindrance to romance.

    Orange wrote, after “Last Resort” “…was this another step on the long, slow road of emancipation he seems to be walking in S5 (ever since he got off the bus)? Did the realization of what almost happened to 13 because of his obsession free him… And will he recognize it and balk at it if he ever comes across it again?”

    If Orange is right, and House is moving toward policing himself, then Cuddy would have some of the burden of duty lifted from her shoulders and a relationship with House would become viable. In JTTW House did balk at unnecessary, painful treatment for Natalie.

    If getting ‘off the bus’ is a ‘walk toward freedom’ in Season 5, I think there is, in tandem, a theme of family. House finding a configuration of family and partnership would be his final, home destination now that he has gotten off the bus.

    He already counts Wilson as his family, but his actions in LTEC pointedly excluded Cuddy and her baby. Now we’ll see if that can be transformed or not. Will House continue to be such a burden for Cuddy?

  • JL

    Wow, j.i.m. and Melissa, you’ve really got me thinking…

    Melissa’s comments about Cuddy coping through rules and perfectionism and House coping through refusing to obey rules remind me of ‘Birthmarks’. When House declares that he rejected his father’s obsession with punctuality, Wilson notes that, by deliberately refusing to be on time, House is still slave to his father’s rules. House and Cuddy seem to be two sides of the same coin.

    It would be interesting to know how Cuddy’s parents influenced her perfectionism. Cuddy’s reference to her med school desk being stored by her mother (‘Let Them Eat Cake’) suggests her parents may be divorced. I hope the little we learned about her background in ‘Joy To The World’ will be just the start…

    I’m intrigued by j.i.m.’s discussion of an ongoing ‘Emancipation’ theme, especially when linked with the ‘House-as-Cuddy’s-child’ theme (also brilliantly analysed by j.i.m. further back in this discussion).

    Along with House’s efforts to grow up, I think that his understanding of Cuddy’s feelings is relevant.

    I don’t think Cuddy has a clue what she wants/needs as far as House is concerned (see his analysis of her in No More Mr Nice Guy).

    I do think House interpreted Cuddy’s advances towards him in LTEC as ultimately being about wanting a baby, rather than wanting a real relationship with him. And, while in ‘Joy’ he seemed content with their ‘parent-child’ relationship (until that kiss), his later actions suggest a change in attitude.

    House seems to have realised in ‘Itch’ that he wanted something more. But what? He has thought deeply about this, and, while I don’t know that he’s reached any conclusions, his rejection of Cuddy’s advances (LTEC) and his acceptance of her new baby (JTTW) suggest he’s decided what he DOESN’T want.

    It must have hurt to say no, but he was right to reject a romance based on a parent-child relationship – he wants something more, for himself and for her.

    I wonder whether realising her baby dream will give Cuddy some clarity on the rest of her life (and House).
    And I wonder whether j.i.m. and Orange are on the right track, and House is attempting to ‘grow up’ (veeery sloooowly).
    And I wonder where on earth the two of them end up as a result of all this change!

    Although I was keen to see the ‘Huddy’ relationship explored in Season 5, I knew there was no way these characters were currently ready, willing or able to have a relationship that could work – and that disappointed me.

    I’m excited that, rather than a fling that keeps fans happy but doesn’t go anywhere or change anything, this relationship is being used to get to the heart of what makes these characters tick and as a potential impetus for great change.

    It means I can’t see into the future AT ALL. But, as I’ve said above, that’s why I’m enjoying this so much – it’s unpredictable and scary and exciting (for House and for me).

    (Which is why I don’t think HOUSE, M.D., should, ultimately, conclude with House miserable and alone – predictable, safe, boring. If any character screams the need for finishing up having to deal with the daunting task of Being Happy (yikes!) and Having Companionship (yikes!), it’s House.)

  • JL

    (My word, I just realised what an enormous long post that was. Everyone’s ideas are just too exciting. And ‘House in love – Part 2’ is still on the way!)

  • Melissa

    Sera, j.i.m. and JL – thanks for giving me even more to think about with your observations! I love this site. It always shifts my perspective a little and enables me to look at the episodes differently…

  • Melissa

    Oh and Sera, thank you for reminding me of that scene in Birthmarks!

  • byzantine

    Dear Barbara (if I may),

    I could not help but write this after having read all these wonderfully insightful comments. As you have pointed out the songs chosen for the backdrop of House episode endings frequently resonate with the theme of the episode in general, and with House’s feelings in particular. I have been wondering what the creators of the show intended by playing on the background the coconut song while Cuddy was walking toward House’s office smiling hopefully at the end of “Let Them Eat Cake.” I wonder if the circular nature of the lyrics that go back and forth between the lime-coconut concoction as a reason for becoming ill and as a medicine does not reflect the unusual House-Cuddy relationship. Is their mixing and matching both their malady and their cure?

  • Barbara Barnett

    Byzantine–Of course you may 🙂

    Hmmm. Lime and the Coconut song and its place in the greater scheme of things. Well, the lyrics reflect that no one can cure the patient (which is how patients come to House, who’s the doc of last resort). Also, you can relate it to House-Cuddy in that they are both love sick and really fighting it? All I got for now. But I shall reflect upon the matter.

  • JL, Thank you for taking my observations one very satisfying step further.

    You wrote, “…he’s decided what he DOESN’T want. …he was right to reject a romance based on a parent-child relationship – he wants something more, for himself and for her.”

    I love it, and your emphasis of Wilson calling House on his rebellion toward his father’s rules as just another form of slavery to them. That points toward ramifications I’m going to enjoy pondering…

  • Sera G

    Hello, all.
    Is it too late to chime in on this again?
    I must be dense, but I never saw Cuddy’s pull toward House as a mother/child dynamic. She protects, humors, disciplines him (ok…maybe there is a bit of it) but I always saw her as playing whatever game got him to do what he/she needed to get done. See clinic patients: $10.00 for everyone you can diagnose without touching,
    hire a new team, ok. play Survivor with them, etc.
    I think that the baby was a search for love when she saw no man ever being enough for her or the one she REALLy wants is incapable of it. For many women over 40 the prospect of another disappointing date, making small talk with some boring jerk who you know will never call again, is deadly. She has a fulfilling career and chooses to have a baby to share the love she has.
    House doesn’t satisfy any maternal needs. She is attracted to him, fascinated by him and he infuriates her. I don’t think he looks at her as a mother in anyway. He would limp screaming from that kind of relationship. She is a challenge, his emotional opposite and gorgeous to boot.
    There is nothing maternal in the way Cuddy responds to House, looks at him or treats him.
    After the KISS, I think she gained hope that maybe she wasn’t alone in the attraction or feelings.

  • wordweaver356

    Hi Sera,

    I for one believe it’s never too late! With that said, thank you for pointing out that House does not satisfy maternal needs for Cuddy. I agree with you. I hope Cuddy realizes in future episodes that although she may have what she wants now, she is still a ways away from having what she needs.

    I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. They are very insightful! I love watching House, Cuddy and Wilson on screen. Their friendship is the heart of the show for me.

    I do think that Wilson may be the one to be close enough to House to finally get him to admit how he feels about Cuddy. Wilson’s character is perfect in that he’s far enough away from the situation to watch his two friends and realize that they really could make a relationship work. I think one of the most wonderful things about Wilson is that House can’t fool him. There are no pretenses when Wilson and House are on screen together. As House says in “Insensitive,” “Wilson is SO annoying!” And sooner or later, Wilson is bound to get some sort of admission from House. I’m sure we’ll all love watching the rest of this story unfold!

  • Louise

    Luisa Borges–be sure to check out #304 “Lines in the Sand.” It is one of my favorite episodes. Wilson is protecting and trying to explain House. Cuddy is trying to control him. It includes one of those great Housian connections with a child. This one is with am autistic boy who he can never quite figure out whether he’s reached–until a surprising conclusion. Then in another “childish” Housian connection–a flirtation with a beautiful 17 year old girl (jail bail) that pleases House immensely and annoys Cuddy excessively. Finally, there is the delight of Hugh Laurie as House doing 1) an allusion to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate” and 2) Humphrey Bogart in “Casa Blanca.” “Is there a Victor in your class?” What a great episode!

  • Grace

    Barbara and all…THANK YOU! I used to read several HOUSE forums, but now I only come here.
    The reviews and comments are far superior to any other site.
    Sheelagh:Enjoyed your post. I couldn’t have said it better.
    Welcome to Jackie and Danille…don’t be strangers!
    QUESTION: I can’t get this one. WHY was Cuddy so interested in this case that she took it right over???
    She put the lime in the coconut and drank it all up……OK, try to get the song out of your head now. I’ve been singing it all week!!

  • Reine

    Hi Barbara,

    I love your reviews 😀
    But you keep saying House knew about the adoption in “Emancipation” and it was at the end of “Lucky 13”.

    Bye *kisses*

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks all of you for keeping the discussion going! And for making this the place for “House-talk.”

  • Tina

    Barbara – your insightful reviews and everyone else’s great comments have inspired me to analyse the show on a deeper level also.

    I find it interesting that House has often taken an interest in paternity issues,(once betting on the results of an un-authorised DNA test) and twice lied to people regarding the results of DNA testing to be “kind” (his old friend in “Who’s Your Daddy” and the clinic patient in JTTW) Does this mean he is ok with the fact that his parents lied to him about John House being his real father? (the origin of House’s mantra – “Everybody Lies” perhaps).

    Also – don’t the writers/producers read any of the comments that people write? I’ve hardly read any positive thoughts about 13 since she started on the show, yet they persist with increasing her screen time to the detriment of the entire show.
    That Foreteen kiss should never have happened. I don’t like the show or the House character so much as a few years ago, but watch it for the few brief moments when Hugh Laurie shows House’s human side with a look or gesture.

    Sorry for the late comment and Happy Holidays from Australia!

  • Flo, who wrote this so beautifully in English eventhough that is not her first language, makes some excellent points and at the end, hit on something I’ve been thinking about too concerning the one guiding theme of Season 5 which we have seen in this first half.

    She wrote, “This ship presents us the characters in an other light than we’re used to see them.
    It is actually interesting that people fear an Huddy relationships for the same reasons than the characters: it is new (we only saw them alone so far) and it might somehow work. The only way we didn’t see House is in the realization of feelings of love for another person and act on it (He was already in love with Stacy in S2).

    Trying to do something about it.

    I think it’s cool to see that. I hope the writers will continue to explore this because it could say a lot more about our beloved character!”

    Flo wrote, “Trying to do something about it” (meaning his newly discovered love for Cuddy).

    I was thinking about the overall theme of Season 5, the guiding star, so to speak, that helps organize the various writers and I think Cuddy was given the lines in “Dying Changes Everything” to elucidate it for us. When talking with House about what he should do about Wilson leaving, she says, (paraphrasing)

    ‘Let him know he’s not alone’…

    ‘Find some meaning and do something!’

    These are the guiding themes of Season 3 – Meaning
    and Season 4 – Alone (not)
    and Season 5 – Do Something! (because “Dying Changes Everything”)

    It’s interesting to consider how these two seasons, 3 and 4, started and ended but that’s a tangent…

    Season 5 for Cuddy, according to Lisa Edelstein, is about trying something new in her life, with House and with adoption. She said Cuddy had to explore the possibilities with House and she was finally allowed to try.

    House also tried with Cuddy in his own dysfunctional way. And Season 5 is not over yet.

    All of the characters are busy trying new things and exploring the possibilities in their lives, doing something! House’s ‘trying and doing’ seems to be mostly an internal struggle but no less powerful for that as we see him wrestle with new challenges in his life, especially with Wilson, his father, and Cuddy.

    I always love the symmetry of the writing by Shore and Co. It is almost like a painting. At the end of Season 4 in HH/WH House knows he must ‘do something’ or someone will die. His problem is he just doesn’t know what it is he must do and for whom. That sets up Season 5’s theme of ‘Do Something’ perfectly. And symmetrically, this final episode poetically ends Season 4 (with the Alone theme) by having Cuddy hold House’s hand while she sleeps and then continue to sleep beside him, protecting him and letting him know he is not alone. And to balance it, Wilson is all too much alone.

    I should be posting after Flo’s entry in “House in Love, Part II” but Orange’s comment was so perfect and fitting for this holiday season, I couldn’t bring myself to post after it. Thanks, Orange, for the good wishes. And I wish all the House, Cuddy, and Wilson lovers peace and contentment as we slide into the new year, ready to face the challenges of 2009.

  • Orange450

    j.i.m., I always enjoy reading your comments, and as far as I’m concerned, I would have been happy to see your post following mine in “H.I.L. Part II” 🙂 I’ve also been enjoying the themes of growth, possibility and change in S5, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to identify references to and similarities with major literary characters throughout 2009 and beyond!

  • Am I the only person out there who really likes Foreman? (And I could really do without Kutner and Taub.) He’s smart, thoughtful and an interesting personality — sometimes assertive to the point of aggression, sometimes dependent on House’s approval. Foreman is really my second-favorite character on the show. That said, the kiss with 13 made no sense!

  • Sera G

    Hello, Jane and everyone!
    I wanted to respond to your comment about Foreman. He is not and really never was my favorite of the original fellows, but he has grown on me over the years. I think he has learned a lot from House but still has much growth ahead. I think Omar Epps does a fine job with the portrayal as written. Foreman has a chip on his shoulder as well as a lot of anger towards House (deserved or not) for the disrespectful way he is treated. Of course, House is disrespectful of everyone.

    Rewatched “Autopsy” on DVD-when the young cancer victim has a brain tumor. Foreman sees a clot(?) where no one else does. House says, “Good enough for me.” He trusts his judgement and expertise.
    Also, Foreman is happy back with House. He acknowledges that in “Mirror, Mirror.”
    As for the kiss with Thirteen…I agree. That seemed to come from no where to me also. There were never any conversations, meaningful looks, etc. that set me up to believe there was an attraction between them.
    I wrote in another post that I still miss the old team. The new ones are growing on me, but I have no real interest in them. I think I miss Chase the most. He was such a traitor/kiss-a## in Season 1, but I have grown to like his new confidence, the sense that he and House have conspired together, etc. I like his detachment from the emotions of having to prove himself to House, but being involved when necessary.
    House is still the best thing on TV.
    Happy New Year!

  • barbara barnett

    Jane–I am sure you are not the only foreman fan out there 😉

    I actually like the idea that for all of his arrogance, he was the one who had the most difficulty trying escape from beneath House’s wings. And that finally he was able assert himself by telling rather than asking or waiting for approval. It’s an important lesson he learned from House,although it took him a looooong time. I hope his character finally gets a chance to stop blaming House, learn from him and grow.

  • Bel

    I have never seen someone write so passionately and professionally about a TV series. It is absolutely amazing.
    I too am a fan of House, Hugh Laurie and the gang, but I don’t think I would ever have the guts to publish all I think about House, or my personal psychological analysis on the characters, which so happens to be enormous.
    Well, I guess I’d like to say, just like I read in one of your articles before, that, for me, the ultimate evidence on the “Huddy” couple consists of the last scene of “House’s Head”, when she’s seating right beside him, asleep with her shoes next to her chair, holding his hand. That scene touched me deeply.
    I think it’s brilliant you’re doing this! Excellent writing! Keep up the good word, and let’s all hope for good news on the upcoming episodes!