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TV Review: House, MD – “Joy”

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My apologies for this review being so late. There was much to digest about this episode, and I do hope that you enjoyed my interview with Lisa Edelstein, which is now being featured on the FOX official House, MD site. Now on to "Joy," episode six of what is turning out to be an excellent season of House, MD.

Dr. Gregory House's patient of the week, Jerry Harmon suffers from a genetic condition called familial Mediterranean fever. A rare symptom of this condition, anhedonia — literally the inability to experience pleasure — afflicts the patient and his daughter. The absence of even the simplest of pleasures is suggested beautifully by Deran Sarafian's stark, high contrast camera work in the teaser and the flat affect of the actors portraying the sick father and his joyless daughter.

But, as usual on House, the parallels, sidebars and deeper meanings as they relate to House and his colleagues are really the heart of the story. And when our (anti) hero House could be the poster child (in some respects) for anhedonia, the resonances for him and everyone in his orbit are enormous.Of course, House's misery isn't directly driven by illness, but circumstance. And although House has little joy in his life, he can, unlike his patient, find comfort in music, beauty in art, and satisfaction in his work.

House lives a life of pain, anger, and disappointment; betrayal and bitterness. And this has been a particularly difficult year for him (although not as bad as season three). House has been through emotional wringer and just when his life seemed to be settling down last episode in "Lucky 13," Cuddy hit him with the news that she is planning to adopt a baby.

House generally surrounds himself with people who, like him (but to a much lesser degree), are pretty miserable. His best friend Wilson has had three failed marriages, so something in his life just doesn’t quite click (not to mention having House as a best friend is pretty dysfunctional anyway). Cuddy, a middle-aged hospital administrator, is in a pretty heady professional space, but her life is empty. She can’t find fulfillment with an adult relationship. (As House said in last season's "Games" she may think she knows what she wants, but has no idea what she needs.) House believes that her baby-seeking efforts are a misguided attempt to fill that gaping void in her life, and perhaps he has a point. House’s fellows have their own (as House might say if he was using Yiddish) mishegas (sorry, no proper English translation for that, except “craziness"). In their company, House isn’t quite as alone; misery loves company, or so they say.

It’s always alarming to House when one of his comrades seeks happiness or fulfillment, trying to move on with their lives. It's something of which he seems incapable, and the thought that others in his sphere can leaves him terrified. House felt abandoned when Amber came into Wilson’s life. In season three, when Cuddy made moves to enhance her social life, first in “Insensitive,” and once again with Wilson, House couldn’t handle it.

Yet, in season two ("Who's Your Daddy") when Cuddy wants to try in vitro fertilization (IVF) with a sperm donor, for all his teasing, pushing and making her think twice about it, House fundamentally supports her decision, keeping her confidence and assisting with her needed injections. His concern is expressed in his pushing her to select “the right” donor, advocating using her heart, not her head. (“Pick someone you trust; pick someone you like.”)

So where is House coming from in "Joy," as Cuddy seeks to adopt the child of a meth-using single mom? On a subconscious level, House is worried that the baby will take Cuddy's focus off of him; perhaps on a deeper level, he’s even concerned that she might quit her high-powered job and be replaced by someone not very tolerant of House’s modus operandi and attitudes. But I think his motives are are also not completely selfish.

I think that House really wants Cuddy to understand what she’s actually getting herself into. As he had in “Who’s Your Daddy,” House pushes her to understand exactly what she’s doing — and what she's in for. House's questioning leads Cuddy to question herself, where she might otherwise go into her endeavor blithely ignorant and blind.

In the same way that Cuddy sometimes functions to remind House that he has real human emotion somewhere underneath his defenses, and Wilson acts as House’s personal Jiminy Cricket, House often serves as Cuddy’s rational inner voice, asking the tough questions she wants to avoid. And he does so relentlessly as Cuddy anticipates the birth of "Joy."

When Cuddy notices what appears to be a simple heat rash on the arm of the mother-to-be, she orders a complete fetal workup for the baby-to-be, insisting that she is only doing what House would do, based on the mother's history of drug use. Yet House tells her that she’s acting irrationally; there’s nothing likely wrong with the baby — or the mother."It's exactly what you would have done," she reminds House. "Yeah," he counters, making the point, sarcastically," and I'd be a great father."

House continues hurling at Cuddy the unvarnished truths about new parenthood (not to mention a cup of baby barf). House is relentless (does he know any other mode?) in making certain that Cuddy understands the impact of the baby on her well-ordered administrator's life. When Cuddy calls him on his intense interest, House flatly replies, "I'm a humanitarian."

When the baby shows signs of pulmonary hyperplasia (underdeveloped lungs), House is not surprised, given that the mom is a drug user. “If you take in strays," he pushes, "don’t be surprised by the worms…” Cuddy is pretty unaffected by House's cynicism, not taking it too personally (at that point, anyway). She knows that he's pushing, testing, and challenging. It's who he is, and Cuddy, very confident in who she is at the moment, and what she wants, ignores House's continual challenges. She knows that she'll pass every test.

But the needling does begin to take its toll, and you can see it in Cuddy's growing weariness (Lisa Edelstein was just fabulous in this episode). House views Cuddy's attempt to adopt as a folly to replace having a meaningful adult relationship in her life. And House berates her for seeking unconditional love, where none exists. Babies don't love unconditionally, but they are unconditionally needy. (Actually, House is right on that, take my word for it!)

It has been long established that House doesn't believe in the possibility of unconditional love. "All love is conditional," he tells Wilson in season three's "Son of Coma Guy." Love has brought House nothing but pain and betrayal: his father (and, yes, his mother) and Stacy.

He tests Wilson's friendship because he is constantly searching for its outer boundary, and in last season's finale episodes "House's Head" and "Wilson's Heart," he came dangerously close to finding it. But without the surety of its boundaries, House can never be completely secure with love — of any sort; it is always conditional.

Failing to deter Cuddy from her motherhood mission, House seeks out Wilson's counsel. Already aware that House has been fretting about the baby, Wilson suggests that House is most "upset because she’s going on to high school and you’re stuck in eighth grade.” House's is acting like a schoolboy who "likes" the smartest and prettiest girl in his class. Long past the days of dipping pigtails into inkwells, this is House's dysfunctional method of courtship. And he resents the intrusion — and fears abandonment.

Becca finally delivers, in a C-section that may end in the death of baby Joy. House learns that Cuddy is observing the delivery. Going to the delivery room, House hangs back at the entry, trying to pull Cuddy away from the procedure to do her job. It seems harsh and an unnecessary intrusion, and part of me believes that House is still testing Cuddy, making her choose between her administrative hospital duties and her maternal desires. However, a larger part of me wonders if House's actions are simply a pretext to get Cuddy out of there, given the risk to the baby. If the baby is a stillbirth, or she dies quickly, House knows that Cuddy will fall apart. And I can actually see House in this (protective) role, though he would deny it all the way.

When House observes Cuddy interacting with her new baby as it finally draws its first breath, he sees Cuddy's delight — her utter joy. And it's not lost on House. Not one bit. And something fundamental to House's equation changes significantly.

At that moment, House resigns himself (as he had when Amber found a place in Wilson's life) to the facts as he sees them. Cuddy should have the baby; she should be happy. He was wrong; and he knows it. This is House's renowned objectivity at work. As sure as he was that he was right about Cuddy, evidence to the contrary causes rethink his position.

But Cuddy's bubble is burst suddenly (but perhaps not surprisingly) when Becca changes her mind, deciding to keep the child for herself. She tells Cuddy that she wants something different for herself: "My life has been about pain and anger and disappointment, I want it to be about love…" (In a beautifully stated avatar for what might be House's own heart, if he allowed it a voice.)

And onto that incredible final scene. Beautifully realized by Hugh Laurie, who can convey 30 pages of dialogue in one world-weary facial expression, and by Lisa Edelstein, equally brilliant, the final scene of "Joy" suggests that House, too, maybe in some way — spurred by Cuddy's tragedy — desires change and wants to alter his reality. (The impact of that final scene probably deserves its own essay, but perhaps that's for another time.)

I'm not saying at all that House went to Cuddy's home to reveal himself suddenly to her. But there was a reason for him going to her house. It wasn't impulsive or random. And it wasn't even entirely out of character. House didn't go to gloat, push or to tease. It was to be supportive in the only way he knows how.

He tries platitudes, telling Cuddy what he believes she wants to hear from him in that moment. House's default position when he doesn't know what to say — what to do — is to mimic what he thinks is appropriate for the moment.

I actually do think that House really was disappointed (after what he had seen in the delivery room) that Cuddy was giving up on adoption, unwilling to put herself through that again (how much like House is that?), at least for now (and I wouldn't be surprised to see her revisit the baby thing sometime later this season or next).

But then the entire thing backfires for House when he concedes that Cuddy would, in fact, be a good mother after all. By this point, after what she has gone through, and having been jerked around by House all through it, she has had enough. She wheels on him, stunning him with the force of her anger. "How dare you," she seems to say. "How dare you do this to me?" It's a verbal slap across the face, and a well-deserved one. And House looks like he's just been slapped. Hard.

But then Cuddy asks House a question that he is unable to answer. "Why do you always need to negate everything?" she asks. Stunned speechless, with Cuddy deep into his personal space, and all he can do is look helplessly into her eyes and tell her that he doesn't know. It's as emotionally naked as we have ever seen House. (And he's been pretty raw since the beginning of the season.)

I wonder what House had been up to in the hours leading up to that moment, since he had learned of Cuddy's loss? I have no doubt that he'd been thinking a lot about it; about his own loss; about Wilson's loss and searching his own feelings about Cuddy, bringing him over her threshold and to this singular moment — a kiss.

The kiss is full of meaning: regret, affection, passion, desperation. How long has it been since House has kissed or been kissed that way? Even when Stacy came back into his life, for her it was mostly about the passion, the fun. This kiss even had sweet shyness to it in the end, as House backs away — fighting his own libido and pent-up passion to end it. And then both of them looking shell-shocked and slightly breathless, just gazing at each other for a moment. Phew. (Anyone have a fan? It's suddenly warm in here.)

Be sure to play the embedded video on the first page for an alternative take on the kiss (and commentary by Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein, courtesy of FOX). Enjoy!

And then, there's the next episode, "The Itch." Can't wait. More about that next week. In the meantime, for my US readers: Whoever may be your presidential preference, do make sure to go out and vote on Tuesday if you have not yet done so!

And if you have not yet had the chance to read it, be sure to take a peek at my interview with Lisa right here on Blogcritics!

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • http://Ladybird Sheelagh

    Barbara, I love all the nuanced insights you glean from the show. I enjoy running my own analyzes of the script & performances in my head and then seeing how they dovetail with yours. Usually there are a few ” But of course ! Missed that one “. I think you nailed the episode & the back story for kiss.
    I anticipate attempts by ‘Cuddy’ to rationalize the incident and ‘House’ to avoid dealing with it until they hit another unanticipated moment of personal clarity. I think the ‘dance’ as Hugh Laurier calls it will continue for some while.
    One aside: I don’t think having House for a friend proves pathology on Wilson’s part ! Who wouldn’t want to lay claim to a brilliant, funny, challenging friend who trusted and needed you ? OK, perhaps REALLY, REALLY needed you, but in Wilson’s world ‘neediness’ is suchan attractive quality. Which leads me to a question: question I’ve always wondered about Wilson’s ‘lost brother’ and if Wilson’s youth was a rosie as he presents it. Wilson is pretty needy himself. Seems like such a great storyline for the friendship to build on.
    Thanks again Barbara for your clarity on this terrific drama.

  • JO

    I did love the way the kiss was handled but a part of me wished Cuddy would just have physically shoved him out of her house, or physically smacked him. His antics this episode with Cuddy just grated; even in the House scale of being a total jerk.

    Loved the Gerulitis joke.

  • sf

    Barbara, “Joy” was full of intense emotion and you reproduced a good portion of it here just by writing about it. Well done.

    I wonder what the writer(s) of “Joy” would think if I suggested there were parallels to the classic film, “My Man Godfrey”. The parallels are the kooky insanity, the futile romantic obsession that turns out not to be futile, the man claiming to be someone he is not (House), and perhaps, most importantly, the denouement where an epiphany of love (for House read ‘deep affection’) is revealed when anger is finally expressed.

    I had the impression on subsequent viewings of the kiss that House experienced such an epiphany of Cuddy’s deep affection for him, that her anger and especially her reason for it, meant she had profound feelings for him. Suddenly, he seemed abundantly confident that she would welcome his kiss. He was surrendering himself to her angry affection and returning it passionately, no restraint. But the aftermath of shocked and shaky expressions showed they had no inkling of the depth of their passion. Did they have a sleepless night?

  • Sheelagh

    Sorry, forgot one comment on ‘the kiss’ in my prior remarks. I thought House & Cuddy were expressing all the emotions you mentioned in the kiss , but I also thought House’s comments @ the Caseroom door ” You’re not needed here; I need you. ” where a prelude to the aspect of ‘laying claim’ to Cuddy through the kiss. A follow-up expository ‘deed’ to match the words on how he needed her…as his equal & as a woman. Hugh Laurie chose not to drop the cane during the kiss & I thought that might be to show he knew Cuddy’s character accepted him as damaged (external & internal) as he was.

  • sssh

    I think this is -the- best analysis I’ve read of “Joy” so far, and trust me, I’ve read tons. Well, done..I really don’t have anything to add.

  • Veresna Ussep

    I have rewatched this episode numerous times, but, as always, I am amazed at the nuances and insight you bring to light. Since we have a week ‘off’, are you still planning on doing a separate essay on House and Cuddy’s relationship (not that you haven’t provided ample information in this review)?

    One little nitpick-it’s pulmonary hypoplasia (indicating less than normal cellularity) rather than hyperplasia.

    Veresna

  • Orange450

    Barbara, I’m glad you finally posted. I was getting worried, and hoping everything was alright with you (I can’t help the worrying, although I try to get the better of it – it’s part of the genetic make-up ;-))

    I always enjoy revisiting the episode via your review, and I’m glad you mentioned House’s supportive behavior in “Who’s Your Daddy”, because I had the same question. What changed here?? (I loved the way he was in that episode. I especially loved the way he seemed to know what Cuddy really wanted to ask him when she came to his office – and I wish she *would* have asked him, just to hear his answer!)

    I think his motives here were less about wanting her to understand what she’s getting into, and more about his worry over losing his place with her. I just think it makes more sense – because he’s in a much more fragile place after almost losing Wilson – and he doesn’t want to go there again. I also don’t think his intense chagrin when he heard Cuddy’s news in the baby store was about wondering if she knows what she’s getting into!

    IMO, the methods he chose to “test” her with were pretty silly, if he was trying to guage her readiness. I’m a veteran of almost 25 years of parenthood – and I still remember changing plenty of sweaters :-) (And draping my shoulders in cloth diapers – Cuddy just wasn’t dressed for the job yet!) My husband enjoys the show – but not to the same extent I do. He likes the medical aspect; cares less about the character-driven stuff. But the first thing he said when House started bothering Cuddy was “he’s jealous”. And the second was “parents change their sweaters all the time!”

    For sure, House overcame his resistance to the idea of Cuddy’s motherhood when he saw her holding Joy. And I think that represents a moment of unselfish growth on his part to a much greater degree than if he had suddenly realized that her own motivations for motherhood were pure. And I think it’s that growth that enables him to express the emotions of the last scene.

    Yes, that scene definitely deserves an essay of its own. And Lisa Edelstein deserves Emmy consideration for her beautiful, transcendent performance. Both of them can do so much with just their eyes!

    House’s reaction – his abrupt “good-night” and departure rang very true. My husband and I also ran in opposite directions after our first kiss. It’s what you do when you don’t know how to deal with what you’re feeling at the moment. But we got back together the next day :-) I can’t wait to see what House and Cuddy do! (Yesterday was the 28th anniversary of the day my husband and I met, so I’m feeling kinda romantic ;-))

  • Pam

    Even when Stacy came back into his life, for her it was mostly about the passion, the fun. I cannot disagree more wholeheartedly with this. While the House/Cuddy kiss certainly had plenty of meaning, I think it’s incredibly inaccurate to say that the one that occurred between House and Stacy was motivated merely by “passion and fun”. Even after five years of separation, there were still deep feelings between the two of them, and the kiss that House initiated in “Failure to Communicate” was anything but lighthearted. It was the result of five years of “pining” for her, missing her; it was soft and very tender–as tender as we’ve ever seen House be with someone. Stacy returned it with the same kind of feeling and, later, was willing to leave the life she’d made for herself and stay with House–that huge of a choice isn’t motivated by the desire for “fun”. While, of course, Stacy has flaws (like all of these characters), and she was incredibly torn between the love of two men, her feelings for House ultimately led her to chose a difficult route–rebuilding a relationship with House–even though that never actually came to pass. Stacy cared for House, was “the one” for her, and I think it’s inaccurate to cite the basis of her feelings for him as “fun”. Certainly passion, and undoubtedly enjoying House’s company was a factor in how she felt about him, but with a root of deep feelings that carried through five years of a relationship.

    This, of course, takes nothing away from the kiss shared by House and Cuddy, as it was intense and raw, fueled by pent-up desire for one another, and I must say, I enjoyed it.

  • Orange450

    Pam, thank you for what you wrote about House and Stacy. I agree with every word – you expressed it perfectly!

    I also agree that what happened between them doesn’t take anything away from what happened between House and Cuddy.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Pam–I melted during the kiss in “Failure to Communicate,” and I agree that it was anything but lighthearted, especially on House’s part.

    But I do not think her feelings for House were as deep as his for her. and after they had sex in “Need to Know,” the degree to which her words stung him was really apparent. She did not view their encounter as anything serious. And she said as much to him on the rooftop. she hadn’t even planned on telling Mark about it. The look on House’s face as that became clear was devastating.

    I do believe that Stacy loved House, but I think that love was obstructed by her belief that his skin was so thick, that his feelings and emotions were so non-existent, that he was unhurtable. I think Cuddy understands that House is pretty fragile. Stacy was even doubtful that House missed her when she was gone, going to Cuddy for her opinion (even after Wilson told her the truth). Of course House would never have shown Cuddy his feelings, leaving them pent up or coming out in a very negative way.

    I loved the arc with Stacy–it showed a side to House we’d never seen to that point (or since). i thought that he and Sela were wonderful. OK–so maybe I need to do “revisted” reviews of those episodes…

    Orange–mazal tov! Phil and I celebrated our 27th anniversary in July. I had a crazy week (and of course putting together the Lisa Edelstein interview took some time… but I was being sincere when I said that it just took a really long time to find the hook to the episode…beyond the obvious (kiss). I agree that a significant part of House’s motivation is his fear of losing his place in Cuddy’s life for all the reasons you’ve stated. He’s been through the ringer this season (almost to season three levels) and he’s a mess.

    Veresna–I may still do the essay, although it was sort of my backup plan if the interview hadn’t panned out. And my non “Huddy” readers will kill me if I do three straight House/Cuddy focused articles in a row.

    Pulmonary hypoplasia, not hyper-. Thanks, and I stand corrected.

    Great insights everyone on the kiss, the motivations. Where this is going is anyone’s guess. I suppose we’ll all find out together.

  • Orange450

    “I loved the arc with Stacy–it showed a side to House we’d never seen to that point (or since). i thought that he and Sela were wonderful. OK–so maybe I need to do “revisted” reviews of those episodes…”

    Oh, please, please do! I wasn’t yet watching the show when the Stacy arc originally aired, so I missed all the discussion the first time around. I’ve participated in plenty of House/Stacy discussion since – and I’ve never identified as strongly with any TV/movie character as I identified with Stacy, for many reasons. I’d never seen Sela Ward in anything else, and she just blew me away.

    Maybe the summer hiatus would be a good time, if not before …

  • Eve K

    Barbara, Thank you for a spot on review! It was amazing. The part about House surrounding himself with miserable people is so true, but also that he IS enjoying music, art, sience. I also liked the small parts that describes how House tries to be like (mimic) a human being. But all of the review was great.

    Sf – also interesting about “My man Godfrey” one of my favorite movies. (-:

    Let me say a little bit more about how I interpret House’s personality.

    I think he need others to give him feedback, (the team, wilson, Cuddy, The P.I, himself spying on the behavior of others (Stacy smoking)) so that he can use his excellent deductive skills to try and interpret the world around him as correctly as possible. He is selfish and stubborn but he is also dependent on the people around him. I think in a way, he has no solid inner core. Its all floating, like he has no skeleton. But that is also why he is objective and can focus on solving the puzzle.

    The most dysfunctional part of this liquid core is his personal feelings, that space is a disaster area. But he has build up this wall around him, and hope that no one will se that floating inner stream of lava that he doesn’t understand or can figure out. So he tries to navigate the same way as when he is solving cases, but that will not work so well.

    So Cuddy got to close and had to be stopped. As you put it, she either had to slap him or he had to kiss her.

    I think that the romantic scenes with Stacy in season two should not be interpret as mature love. He is very childish and naive and almost helpless when he lets his guard down. When is guard is up again, he remember Stacys words about feeling all alone when she was with him over time.

    Thats why he cant be with her or anyone else for that matter, because he will not get close to his personal disaster area and his problems to connect again. It is a very scary place.

    The point i’m trying to make is that where most people have some sort of inner social compass, House has not. The difference between him and a psychopath is that he has feelings, he just don’t get to access them. He is dependent on the kindness of strangers, and being in his late forties, he has come to know that not all people are kind, in fact, he can’t trust anybody. Now that is not a nice place to be.

    And again I hope you understand my foreign and sometimes strange form of english. Thanks again for the review. No I have to work to. (But this is more fun) 

    Good luck with your election over there! It will have an effect on all of us.

  • Pam

    But I do not think her feelings for House were as deep as his for her. and after they had sex in “Need to Know,” the degree to which her words stung him was really apparent. She did not view their encounter as anything serious. And she said as much to him on the rooftop. she hadn’t even planned on telling Mark about it.

    House was stung by what Stacy said on the rooftop, but I think it was unreasonable of House to expect Stacy to run to tell Mark about their affair hours after they’d slept together. The fact that Stacy was so torn and confused indicated she knew it was “serious”. If she didn’t view their encounter as serious, she never would have been willing to leave Mark for House–and she was. It’s perfectly natural to be confused and unsure about that sort of encounter. Stacy never told House she wasn’t “serious”; she expressed her confusion over it, and seemed to be attempting to work out her feelings in the aftermath of their affair. That didn’t indicate to me that Stacy’s feelings for House weren’t strong. I also think that the fact that she sought advice from Cuddy showed even more how torn she was over the situation, and she was taking it seriously. Why not go to someone you trust when you’re faced with a potentially life-changing decision?

    I know many people view Stacy negatively, but I feel that her and House’s interactions were, indeed, reflective of their complicated relationship, and the deep feelings they had for one another.

    As to House and Cuddy, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out, and it’ll be great to see each other character’s personal feelings about how love works, and how relationships affect them, in the next episode or two. I have a hard time believing this will end well for them, definitely not in happiness, and probably more akin to the way their relationship has been throughout the series. I hope the same issues within characters that have come into play so far this season, will continue to work in guiding their decisions. While Cuddy may realize that House is “fragile”, especially since his infarction and the end of his relationship with Stacy, she also has serious trouble seeing him “in a different light”. The most recent attempts of House’s to show her another side of himself have failed; Cuddy couldn’t believe it was possible for House to join a cheerleading squad for a girl, and she reacted with anger when he told her, at the end of Joy, she’d have been a great mother, didn’t take his words as the genuine ones they were. I also believe Cuddy will revisit her desire to have a child, and, even though House may be slightly more supportive in light of this episode, I think Cuddy would be aware that this desire would be something that would come between her and House (not to mention the tricky job-risking politics of a relationship with him). I think that, just as there are reasons that House and Stacy couldn’t be together again and make a second attempt at a relationship succeed, there are many roadblocks in the way of one succeeding between House and Cuddy, and Cuddy is smart enough to be aware of them.

    I completely agree that a large part of House’s motivation for kissing Cuddy was because of his fear of losing her in his life. She’s important to him, and he cares about her. I also think it would be a reason–this fear of losing her completely–why he wouldn’t enter into a relationship with her. I think, based on the rationale behind not having another go-round with Stacy (and while Cuddy and Stacy are indeed different women, I think House’s mindset and thought-process here would be similar), he would use his fear of pain and loss (and fear of even more misery) to not take things too far with Cuddy, even though he does care for her. As you said, love has brought House pain, and he has no reason to put aside his philosophy about love when it comes to Cuddy. Also, for House, “knowing is always better than not knowing”, and, if he maintained the same relationship with Cuddy he’s had, he would know exactly how it would continue, whereas a relationship is unpredictable and uncontrollable, with an unknowable outcome–a scary thing for House, especially when his goal here is to keep Cuddy in his life for as long as possible. And while House has recently expressed his desire not to be miserable, I think his fear of pain (emotional and physical) guides his decisions. It will be very interesting to see this play out.

    Thanks for this review! Even the comments have been enjoyable to read. So well thought-out and interesting, even if I don’t agree with everything. Not all things are set in stone about these characters, and nobody’s interpretation will be the same as anyone else’s, even though they’re legitimate ones. It’s always great to exchange thoughts with intelligent, courteous fans.

  • sdemar

    Barbara, I have been waiting for this review since last Tuesday. I, too, was hoping you were OK. You know that I love the House/Cuddy relationship and so it should not come as a surprise that this episode is the highlight for me of House episodes over the past 5 years. When I heard that House and Cuddy were going to kiss and they were going to expand on the development of motherhood issues for Cuddy, I wanted Lisa to hit it out of the park and that she did. She was brilliant in this episode playing all the right emotions and never played it over the top. When she was sitting on the floor in the baby’s room, I cried right along with her.

    I have nothing to add to your review. It’s perfect just like this episode was.

    And I love this comment by Sheelagh, “Hugh Laurie chose not to drop the cane during the kiss & I thought that might be to show he knew Cuddy’s character accepted him as damaged (external & internal) as he was.” EXCELLENT PICK UP.

    This episode proved to me, not that I needed proof, that Cuddy is not just a hospital administrator to House. She is much more and is someone that he needs/wants/desires in his life. She is special to him as he is to her. And the deal was sealed with that passionate and sensual kiss. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Orange–maybe winter hiatus :)

    Eve K–I’ve noticed that when House is at a loss, he resorts to platitudes. Things he thinks you’re “supposed to say.” He did this with Eve in One Day One Room, he did it with Wilson, and has done it with Chase as well. You can always tell when he’s doing it, because the words, for all of their appropriateness sound hollow and meaningless (and it’s a testament to the actor–Hugh Laurie, of course) that it’s a “tell.” When he’s really being kind or compassionate, his words may emerge harsh or blunt, but always very heartfelt.

    Pam–Good point about House’s need to “know” rather to “not know,” and how that might affect his relationship with Cuddy. It’s an established character trait, as you have so nicely pointed out that House is often driven by his fear of pain, fear of more misery. That fear, whether it is about physical pain or emotional pain is a strong motivator him.

    Sdemar–thanks for your good thoughts and worries. All is (more or less) well. Lisa was fabulous in this episode, she hit all the notes perfectly. Cuddy is so much more than House’s boss. You are quite right!

  • HouseCall 123

    Excellent and highly insightful review, Barbara! I agree with you on all points except for the “Stacy/fun” comment, which has already been addressed. I usually analyze the epis myself and then see if my analysis matches up with yours. Since I have established you as the gold standard for House reviews, it’s always fun when we are in agreement! Oh, and “My Man Godfrey” is one of my faves, too!

  • Barbara Barnett

    thanks HouseCall! I’m blushing :)

    OK, so now I have to rent My Man Godfrey. I confess to never having seen it.

  • JL

    I’ve been checking for this review all weekend! SO glad to read it, thanks, Barbara. I wanted to throw in a couple of questions:

    Love Pam’s thoughts about knowing / not knowing and House wanting to stay where he’s sure. I’m not sure how this fits with his recent attempt to get Cuddy to see him in a different light, though. That suggests exploration of something new – albeit ridiculously tentative exploration (gee, that sounds rather sweet). What do you think?

    Barbara, also loved your analysis of House’s treatment of Cuddy during the episode – I know a lot of people felt he was too harsh. But when you say his attitude towards her changed once he’d seen her joy at holding her baby, you seem to skip the scene in Wilson’s office.
    House says something like, “Everybody’s happy, at first – until they unwrap their present and discover it’s a clock in the shape of Africa.”
    That doesn’t quite sound like acceptance of her happiness to me. Any thoughts?

    (Oh dear, and I really don’t want to ask you about your comment that you think a relationship between them would be ‘doomed’… but I might just have to. Or are you intending to discuss that in another article?)

  • sassydew

    Wonderful review, as always, Barbara! I appreciate your recap and insights. There is, however, one thing I need to take issue with, though, and that’s – you might have guessed – your comments in the review and responses that even when Stacy came back into House’s life it was mostly about the passion and the fun rather than something deep and meaningful, and your assertion that her feelings for House weren’t as deep as his for her.

    Personally, I don’t know how TPTB could have done a better job of showing that Stacy’s feelings were just as deep. In “Honeymoon”, she told House, full of emotion, “You were the one; you always will be,” and then kissed his cheek. (That moment actually made me teary – and, believe me, I am *not* a romantic person, I rarely cry in movies, and I don’t get all emotional about on screen couples – or, at least, I didn’t until House and Stacy came along! (-: ) That indicated to me that Stacy loves him more than Mark and always would. Throughout the Stacy arc we saw how conflicted she was between following her heart (House) and “doing the right thing” (sticking with Mark) – and that didn’t look fun or passionate. She certainly wasn’t in it for fun/passion during the attic scenes in “Hunting” where they began to reconnect emotionally as their feelings for one another were rising to the surface and they struggled to come to terms with the infarction and the aftermath. I was again deeply moved by their sincere apologies to one another. The emotional turmoil that Stacy was experiencing during “The Mistake” didn’t look like fun, either, particularly near the end, when she was sitting with House outside the conference room where Chase was defending his actions regarding Kayla. Stacy admitted to House that he was right that she liked where things were going, and her eyes teared up when he asked her how they were going to work together. To me, that, too, showed that Stacy’s feelings for House were as deep as his for her. And her realization/acknowledgment of those feelings is what made her try to remain distant from House during “Failure to Communicate”. In any case, the scene where Stacy brought the phone charger down to House and the way she stayed there with him sleeping on uncomfortable airport chairs also did not lead me to believe she was there for the passion or the fun, particularly since House allowed their earlier passion to be interrupted with the case. In “Need to Know”, she was as vulnerable as House. I understood her hesitancy to commit to House on the rooftop as indicative *not* of an inability to decide whom she loved more, but, rather, how she could follow her heart without hurting Mark. Yes, her words stung House, who wanted her to immediately say she’d be with him, but Stacy was still trying to work out how she could manage that with a minimum amount of hurt to Mark. When she said she didn’t want to tell Mark, I took that to mean that she didn’t want to tell Mark that she cheated on him – not that she would never leave Mark because she still had feelings for House – and I *never* got the impression that she didn’t “consider their encounter as anything serious”. Finally, the fact that in the end she was going to tell Mark – even though she struggled with the decision because she didn’t want to hurt him – and stay with House indicates that she was very serious about her feelings for House. I apologize for going on about this at length, but it’s hard for me to see Stacy dismissed and/or misunderstood, as she (in my opinion) often is.

    I really like Cuddy (and have liked Lisa E. since her MTV days and then on “The West Wing”), I enjoy the exploration of House and Cuddy’s relationship that we’re now seeing, and there is no question that the kiss was hot – but I maintain that the House/Stacy kiss was about real, deep and abiding love, whereas this one was not. I don’t deny that House and Cuddy care deeply for one another, but I can’t see House ever allowing himself to love anyone other than Stacy.

  • sassydew

    Okay, I should have read through all the posts because I see that Pam addressed the Stacy issue much better than I did! And, once again, I loved your review even if I found one small thing to pick apart – but hopefully you already know that by now. :-)

  • http://www.huddy-online.com/forums Renee

    Hmmmmm…… this is a total first for me. I don’t really agree completely with your review here – and that’s a FIRST. I usully ADORE your stuff as it usually echoes my own thoughts so much. But IMO, you kind of skirt the issue here with regards to House’s feelings for Cuddy – IE his underlying motivations b/c I don’t think that House just not want his friends to be happy and leave him behind and alerting her to the mistake she might be making and a possibility of her quitting is enough to cause this mad behavior of his. Let alone the look he had on his face in the Baby Store.

    I agree that HOuse didn’t come to her house to do the “big reveal” as you say. But I think once he got there, the reveal just happened of it’s own volition.

    Guess it seems that you focus more on House and his pursuit or non-pursuit of happiness and less on the reason he was so thrown off by this devlopment —- his fear of losing Cuddy and his feelings for her.

    here is what I wrote – it’s VERY long and a bit stream-of-consciousness in parts – but if you’d read it, I would be very grateful for your thoughts and insight b/c reading your review I’m starting to think tht kiss has made me completely and utterly INSANE. I’ve also got my own little “kiss essay” at the end- LOL. Thanks in advance!!

    This review has taken me DAYS to be able to get out on paper. And it’s not even that good b/c the reality is that this episode has left me reeling in so many wonderful ways. I was literally unable to TALK for about ten minutes after the kiss and unable to make any kind of coherent sentence until 28 minutes had passed. For someone like me who is just rooted in my verbal skills when it comes to the way I communicate, that was freaking crazy. It was as if I, myself, had been kissed with such a torrent of passion. More’s the pity.

    First I want to start out by talking about one of the ways I see the entire show. I’m talking the whole series from beginning to end. It seems to me — so much of it is based on House’s fave philosopher, Mick Jagger — we’ve all heard it “You can’t always get what you want; but if you try sometimes you might just get what you need.” Combine that with IMO the overriding theme that most of us are miserable, the world is crappy and unfair. You don’t always get what you deserve etc. So why don’t we all just kill ourselves? B/c there are moments of JOY we can snatch out of the air for ourselves. Sometimes the series of events in our lives all coalesce and you find yourself in that one furtive moment of pure rapture, happiness, contentment and JOY. And even thought it may all fall apart the next minute, it’s that moment of JOY that keeps us from all killing ourselves.

    Here we have a moment of joy in House’s life. He doesn’t get them very often. So now…. how does it all begin?

    First I notice a lot of WEIRD film stock being used in this episode. Like stark and over-exposed ugly film. Ugh. I can’t stand it b/c I’m all about rich color and truly would film everything in 1930s technicolor if I could. But if you’re going through your life
    sleepwalking, not experiencing pleasure… then to quote the Amos Lee song on an episode of House in Season 2, “Colors seem to fade.”

    So we meet the PoTW and his daughter. She says, “I’ll call a friend when you call a friend.” Sounds like House.

    Dude has pretty eyes – just random observation of the POtW. LOL.

    Now randomly there is coffee all through this episode. The POTW makes a leaving smelling it. House throws it on Cuddy. Everyone seems to be drinking it. Becca doesn’t drink it b/c she’s preggers. Significance? Not sure yet. We’ll get back to it.

    We first see Cuddy and she’s wearing pants. Interesting wardrobe choices for her in this episode. We hardly ever see her in pants. She keeps her soft feminine style here but combines it with the tougher choice of wearing the pants so to speak.

    Cuddy comes to House with a case, he notices her smile and realizes it has to be b/c she got approved and what does he do? He immediately goes for the jugular. Which he’ll continue to do. This is stab #1. She calls him DOCTOR HOUSE keeping it formal. Does this also get under his skin? Is this all he is to her? Her employee? And now she’ll be a mother and he’ll disappear onto the backburner of her world? You can see him PHYSCIALLY wanting to follow her through the doorway (I’ll be talking about doorways a lot). But she stops him and threatens him not to follow. So here we go with her ALREADY cutting him out of the loop and she doesn’t even have the baby yet. His response, THIS IS A MISTAKE. YEs, House, it may be… but why? He doesn’t know why – or rather isn’t admitting why.

    He calls her a control seeking narcissist. And yet he accepts this about her, maybe even LIKES it about her. Sounds like, oh yeah, Unconditional love. But everything has conditions, right? When she finally admits she’s not changing her mind, he once again looks defeated. Perhaps he’ll have to up his game.

    So we move onto the “Cuddy-pool” He has a case and like when he was dealing with Wilson, he can’t really focus on the case. All he can do is obsessed about Cuddy.

    Question, how does Foreman know that she wants a kid for three years? Was it the slip-up House made in one of the episodes in season 3?

    Anyway….we get the line “House knows us better than any of us.” That’s true and yet he continues to try and tear her down. His code name in the betting pool is “Jones” — he’s jonesing for Cuddy

    In the PotW home we are again confronted by the starkness of it. There is nothing. NO pleasure to be found, not even the view OUTSIDE. But we do have a tiny baby doll on the stark bed just waiting there alone. Taub says, “Single people should have kids”

    Taub has issues. I’m again floored by the use of the WEIRD film stock and/or light exposure settings they used to film these scenes. When 13 examines the girl with get weird close-up Camera angles. Perhaps to show us that the girl is unable to really FEEL.

    Back in the differential room, House looks like he’s about to crawl the walls, weirdly examining his little kitchenette for no reason at all, other than his mind is elsewhere.

    Nice line: “SEE WHERE HIS DREAMS TAKE HIM”

    The POTW is basically SLEEPWALKING THROUGH LIFE. Is that what House
    is doing? Is that what Cuddy is doing so she thinks a baby would wake her up?

    Okay, the actress playing Becca is probably the weakest actress I’ve ever seen on an episode of House. Who did she sleep with? Seriously. She is TERRIBLE. Here we have the decaf mention again in the coffee shop. Cuddy seems a little freaked in the scene but still maintaining her control. Her insecurity peaks through for a moment when the mom didn’t seem so thrilled with the name of Joy. And yet the mom builds up Cuddy’s self-worth by telling her that she isn’t a loser. Cuddy seems to be unable to completely believe it.

    Cuddy has her House moment when she observes the rash on the woman’s wrist. DOCTOR Cuddy takes over and all trace of insecurity vanishes. This is especially exemplified in the scene with Cameron. Cuddy just up and pulls rank – go do your job that I pay you for! Becca admires that everyone in the hospital works for Cuddy.

    I love the next scene with House and Cuddy just walking together. She immediately feels the need to tell him what’s going on. She was confident around Cameron and convinced something was wrong. But her admiration for House’s medical mind immediately sends her to find him and get his advice. She tells him he would have done the same thing — being curious about the rash.

    What does he pop out with????? “Not that I’d be an excellent father”

    She laughs it off. So he tells her she can’t take care of a kid and she laughs off the notion of him as a dad. FORSHADOWING for the FUTURE I WILL GUARANTEE IT NOW.

    And bring it on. B/c House would be the best kind of father IMO. Honest, protective and no BS.

    But whether it’s her laughing off the notion or just him trying another gambit to get to rethink this decision, he acts like a 12 year old and throws his cappacino at her. SHe doesn’t let it phase her.

    She comes out with: Why do you even care????????? Yes, House WHY DO YOU CARE???? He brushes it off making a joke about being a Humanitarian — and yet the look that he gives her………

    Next we have this WEIRD kind of LA Cop show moment. Bizarre film stock again and bizarre camera angles. Maybe it’s to show the starkness of life on the street – the misery (READ: NOT JOY) of being a drifter, being in the gritty culture of drugs that makes you shut down emotionally for good.

    Okay, another mention of Jones that supports the theory he is jonesing for Cuddy.

    So House brings out a credit card to pretend to make some lines of coke. Uh, is that really a PLATINUM credit card? House has that much money? Or is that some sort of VIP stripper card? Whatever the case, the bottom line is he looks very distracted, very listless.

    That smile of cuddy’s at Becca’s bedside is the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen on the show. That’s JOY. Up! Something is wrong with the baby, after all. Burn you, Cam!

    Taub trying to buy cocaine was funny to me. I know many didn’t like 13’s knowlege of drugs but at least it gives her a layer instead of sweet innocent no I never do drugs. Just my opinion.

    House with the cute stuffed animal, is adorable though obviously oxymoronic.

    Here we have Cuddy again shoving him away: “Not a good time” which later in the last scene she says, “Not a good time for gloating.”

    She just ASSUMES he’s going to bring her headaches and misery not joy.

    Again she tells him to GO AWAY.

    House goes on about the pursuit of unconditional love vs. unconditional need and as he’s said before in other episodes everything is conditional. This seems to really get him in a tizzy. This sorting through love and need skirts too close to the truth of the situation — his love and need for her. And so he spazzes out with the breaking of the lamp. She still doesn’t bite.

    Special mention for the doing it on the desk comment. YES would you two please just do it on the desk.

    He brings up the idea of SELF WORTH one more time. More in the next scene.

    Anyway, when he FINALLY manages to stab her, she tells him to get out and he actually looks sheepish. Every time he lashes out at her, he follows it up with a look of shame and doubt. Which were hints all through this episode, that deep down he knew his motivations weren’t pure. More on that in the last scene.

    Becca tells Cuddy, “You’ve got this, like, perfect life.” Cuddy’s response — “Not yet.” Cuddy’s self worth again comes to the fore.
    Will a baby really make her life perfect? She WANTS a baby — is it what she NEEDS?

    It’s House’s POV when he walks into the office and sees Cuddy sitting there bent over in distress over the case file. He has a choice to comfort her; he doesn’t.

    Here in this scene we et a mention of “Self-worth” AGAIN — DO you NEED this baby, Cuddy???

    I love the shot of them both standing together. It echoes the shot of all shots in the last scene. The camera closes in on them and once again, House can only stab her once her again. He is so helpless in his inability to be honest with himself (though his GIFT is being honest with EVERYONE) that it hamstrings him and he can only lash out.
    AND AGAIN, you see him shame-faced.

    The Wilson scene is my 2nd favorite scene. Wilson is like the Greek Chorus. He lets the audience know exactly what’s happening and he is able to reveal House’s action for what they are.

    Wilson: It’s not cancer – LOL

    Wilson knows House wants to talk about Cuddy; he saw the look on House’s face in the baby store. He’s witnessed the antics through the years. HE KNOWS.

    It’s interesting to me that House points out that Cuddy can’t handle a relationship with an adult. Um, kettle – pot….I think he’s GLAD she can’t handle a relationship with another adult, or he would have lost her a long time ago. But it does go back to her self-worth and what he told her a long time ago about running away from what she wants (him) and not knowing what she needs (she thinks a baby will make her life perfect).

    Anyway, obviously she must have brough the file to Wilson after House was such a douche.

    Wilson really nails the situation with the school reference – House the 10 year old can’t keep pulling Cuddy’s pigtails forever. And ironically, Wilson is like the teacher with the shiny apple.

    The next differential gives us some EXTREME and the weird closeups of House post convo with Wilson. He’s distracted, he’s in pain, he’s sed, he is totally somewhere else and he is miserable (NOT feeling joy).

    Meanwhile, Becca makes the selfish decision to deliver the baby instead of just dealing with it for one more week. But I guess she feels she owes the baby and Cuddy nothing. She’s miserable, herself.

    One of my favorite parts of this episode, is House’s FACE when Taub tells him Cuddy is busy and he realizes the baby is being born. That face pretty much says it all and it’s almost making me want to cry just writing this and reliving that. This is it for him – there’s no turning back.

    Now, note that House told THEM to go get Cuddy’s approval, but when he knows the delivery is happening, he of course takes it upon himself to do it b/c he WANTS to be there. He probably doesn’t even know WHY he wants to be there or what he would wind up doing.

    So the MOMENT the babies head crows, House comes to the door.

    DOORWAYS. I mentinoed this earlier. DOORWAYS in film and TV are VERY symbolic. Are you going to CROSS the threshold and COME IN? Or are you going to STAY OUT? Or are you going to linger somewhere in between.

    The first scene we had House not daring to cross the doorway to follow Cuddy into the clinic. This scene finds him in between. Can he come in? Can he BREAK his emotional CHAINS and COME IN?

    No. But he lingers….. Cuddy again shoves him away: Get out

    I’m not blaming her for this — I”m just saying throughout this whole episode we have House’s worst fears materializing – Cuddy constantly telling him to go away and get out. Of course, if he wasn’t acting like such a pratt, she may not tell him to get and go away.

    But it’s a viscious circle emotionally for him and he doesn’t know how to get out of it. B/c again he can’t be honest with himself about WHY he is going to these lengths to stop this baby from becoming reality.

    2nd favorite line of the whole episode: “This doesn’t need you – I do.”

    TRUER WORDS HAVE NEVER BEEN SPOKEN. THAT”S IT. THAT EXPLAINS ALL HIS MOTIVES THROUGHOUT THIS WHOLE BABY ORDEAL. And neither SHE nor HE can see it. At least at this point.

    This scene kills me b/c he just can’t keep his eyes off of her!!!!!! He looks all at once freaked out, worried, concerned, pissed, annoyed, adamant, sad…. but it’s ALL focused on Cuddy.

    Boom! The baby cries and House looks… well, disappointed – crest-fallen. The mom says she’s all yours now.

    Okay, now here’s a perfect example of how House can NOT process emotion like a normal person. We see him watching Cuddy holding the baby. He looks HEARTBROKEN and she’s smiling hopeful for some sort of kind word – a congrats, a “YOU’LL MAKE A GREAT MOM” but what do we get instead? A dead-pan mazel tov and him telling her to get back to work.

    In the final scene with Becca she says to Cuddy, “When you I you hold her and the look on your face it was the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen.”

    Yes, it was. And it maybe that House felt this way as well. But he can’t process something positive that will affect him so negatively. So the very beauty of Cuddy in his eyes makes him even MORE angry, more bitter, more cruel than usual. THis is House at his worst. It’s moments like these that CREATED House. He wants HER. And she has chosen the baby at the end of the day and he can only lash out. It’s an AWFUL AWFUL moment. And soooooooooo House.

    The next scene it really looks like Cuddy can’t stand being in room with him. I can’t really blame her seeing as though she has no idea where his true motivations are coming from. What struck me in this scene however, is that it’s kinda like they are the parents to this girl.

    The way they’re both handling her and then ultimately, Cuddy up and tells him to shut up; he obeys. Interesting parental dynamic there.

    So it comes out that the PoTW’s daughter has the same illness that causes her to basically be devoid of pleasure (joy) and sleepwalk through life.

    Next time we see House, he’s again barely able to focus on the case. But what’s more telling and thanks to DC for pointing this out, is the full bottle of vicodin. He can’t even numb his pain. Either he’s in too much emotional pain to care about the physical pain. Or maybe he thinks he deserves the physical pain for being such a bastard to Cuddy.

    Somehow talking to WIlson he gets his epiphany happiness/pleasure/joy — inability to feel it. And he solves the case. Would that it was that easy to help people go from being emotionless and “bummed” to being able to experience joy and happiness again. We could all use some colchicene (spelling) especially House and Cuddy.

    When Becca tells Cuddy the bad news, Cuddy looks impeccable. In her admin finest. The notion that she is NOT a loser is brought up again. Becca says that her life has always been about pain and anger and disappointment – never about love. Nice tie in with the sick PotW – who will now experience love having been cured BY HOUSE. And a tie in to House himself. CAN HE LOVE? And Cuddy basically wanting to GET LOVE anyway she can by having a baby – like House says unconditional
    need.

    Unlike House, Becca was able to embrace the beauty of the moment with Cuddy and the baby. So it spurs her to do what she feels to be the right thing and keep her baby.

    Cuddsy says, “It’s a decison that changes everything: the rest of your life.” Which is what Cuddy wanted. B/c she is not satisfied with her life. B/c she doesn’t know what she needs!!!!

    We have our juxtaposition montage next — happiness for baby and PotW; devastation for Cuddy – which leads to the UTTER DESOLATION in the nursey.

    Cuddy is barefoot. In an ILL-FITTING over-sized drab grey TURTLENEC sweater. Pretty much the OPPOSITE of anything we have EVER seen her wear. Pretty much the opposite of what most think House admires in her the most.

    There’s a knock at the DOOR. Cuddy opens it. Again tells him this isn’t a good time. This time, he doesn’t stay on the other side of the door. This time he doesn’t linger IN the door. This time, he COMES INSIDE and CROSSES the THRESHOLD and shuts the door behind him. He cant’ go back now.

    Of all people, it’s House who comes to Cuddy in the night to give her what comfort he can. Instinctually. He may not even know why he’s doing it; but he can’t help but do it. This is HOUSE PEOPLE. He hates pity. He doesn’t Care and he takes PAIN – both emotional and phsycial as just part of everyday life. And yet here he is.

    The threat of the baby is gone, but his motivation is sitll there – unbeknownst to him.

    When he asks/tells her if she’s quitting, there’s an undertone there that suggests he doesn’t want her to. That he admires her strength and it would be a mistake to quit. Then she quits the conversation. He actually wants to TALK and she doesn’t. But somehow and this to me – was a House I’VE NEVER SEEN — he manages to make her smile with that little soft spoken joke. It was almost a Fox Mulder moment for you Philes out there. It was soft with a sarcasm that is based more in making someone smile than making someone feel stupid. Amazing.

    Then the truth comes out: You would make a great mom.

    THis is something that has been needing to come out since Season 3. When his drug-addled/withdrawing brain lashed out at her just to hurt her. Here we hear the truth. She would be a good mom. That’s why the thought of her having a baby scares him so much. No room for him.

    And for poor Cuddy…. this is probably EXACLTY what she wanted to hear from EXACTLY the person she wanted to hear it FROM. And it happens NOW? NOW? Where was he when she needed him to say it? But the fact that he BELIEVES it also shakes her to her very core IMO. It’s what she always needed from him and there it was. No wonder she loses her WHOLE MIND. She goes from being UTTERLY SPENT to swimming in this sea of Shock, anger, and yes, happiness. I believe she will always be happy to know that he, of all people feels that way about her as a mom. It IS what she NEEDS.

    And so she lashes out WHY DO YOU NEED TO NEGATE EVERYTHING???????????

    He says he doesn’t know. THe man who has an answer for EVERYTHING doesn’t know. But we know. And he comes to know. He negates everythign that doesn’t serve his purpose or desires. When he’s looking for truth, he listens and doesn’t negate anything. But when it comes to his blind desires….. he was doing all he could to prevent this baby from happening b/c he wants her for himself and he needs her. SO he tried to tear her down every step of the way. And NOW that the threat of the baby is exposed, again, b/c he wants her for himself and needs her, he negates the negativity to make her FEEL BETTER and be more open toward him.

    In that moment he realizes he wants HER. And she sees it at the last second and it stuns her. As LE says, that moment was “Absolute clarity”. And what was clear was their need and love for one another in that moment.

    And the kiss….

    here’s what I wrote about it: This was a GROWN UP kiss. A REAL kiss. As some said it almost felt like we were invading their privacy to watch it. TPTB didn’t resort to cheap tricks — IE schmaltzy music, canted and or fancy schmancy camera angles, soft-focus lenses, silent and/or cheesy build-up to create an on-screen kiss. There aren’t many kisses like this in the annals of television.

    On the way home from work, I was thinking about the director and the camera angles — like all the closeups. But to me this is
    amazing. We had a bunch of weird close ups and then we had the canted angles and the whole edgy LA Cop thing going when the drug deal went down etc….. then the stark hideous film stock I didn’t like — this was ALL to contrast the very last moment — the kiss.

    Kiss filming was basically filmschool 101. Her close up; his close up; establishing shot. THAT’S it. WHY? Well… I tie it in a sec.

    Second, in the putrid Ham kiss we had cheesy music in the background. Pretty much ANY kiss you see on TV – especially between “famous couples” there is some sort of music overlaying the scene. They try to build emotion and cheese it up – thus creating a kind of non-reality of the kiss — music, soft angles etc… With Huddy kiss there is no music per se — only the sounds of their desie and desperation and need for one another.

    So between the SIMPLE camera angles and the LACK of ANY music… what do we get? PURE REALITY.

    And WHAT a freaking reality. Oh MY GOD. A TORRENT, A TORNADO, A TWISTER, A SMASHING OF ANGRY WAVES AGAINST THE CLIFFS IN DARK CORNWALL, A FLOOD OF LOVE AND RAW EMOTION — WHICH EQUALS PASSION.

    Did I say RAW?? This was a first kiss that was steeped in the tides of memories and interactions between two people that have known one another half their lives and trust one another implicetly. Yeah, maybe it was a little awkward —- that’s REAL LIFE when you have a first kiss. That’s REAL LIFE when you can’t even grip the person correctly b/c you have a freaking cane in your hand that you don’t even bother to drop to the floor b/c you are so caught up in the reality of the woman in your arms and how you fel about it; drawn deeper and deeper into her and your feelings for her. Awkward when you are basically a 12 year old caught in the body of a 49 year old man and the only way you can express yourself is this one chance that
    you have; this one kiss; this one moment.

    Awkward b/c maybe the only people you have kissed in the past 9 years are your ex-girilfriend and a gaggle of hookers (most of which who don’t ALLOW kissing).

    So Yeah, yeah, I would say there was an element of beautiful, raw, elemental, intrinsic, and passionate awkwardness.

    BUt at the end of the day what it really was, was a moment of pure, unadulterated JOY. That was their moment. It didn’t last forever, it couldn’t — though the last part of the kiss with both of them hanging on each other’s lips, taking each others breaths, eyes closed and just the sensory overload of one another… yeah,I’d say they wanted it to last forever. I’d define that as a moment of pure and utter joy.

    Cuddy seems to be the one to subtlely break it off, though she kisses him softly before the break. At this point, House is still just so LOST in her and in the moment. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    But this is joy. And this is love.

    And now super DENIAL mode awaits us. But this could be fun.

  • sf

    sassydew – I really enjoyed reading your impassioned, persuasive, and accurate defense of Stacy. I find myself agreeing with every major point. The only thing that occurs to me, as I back up to look at these three people (House, Stacy, and Mark) and their long history together, is a pattern repeated by Stacy. You probably know where I am going with this.

    When she left Mark for House she was repeating what she had done previously TO House. Both men were seriously ill. They recovered but were significantly lesser men. When this happened with House, she left him. When this happened with Mark, she left him for a relatively vital and passionately attentive House. Since he declined she went back to Mark. I wonder if they are still together? Has his vitality returned? I guess the moral of the story is, if you want to be with Stacy, stay healthy.

  • sassydew

    Thanks, sf! I have, of course, heard that argument before, but I personally don’t subscribe to the notion that House’s or Mark’s health had anything to do with what transpired. The writing clearly established (at least for me) that Stacy left because House pushed her away. Wilson said back in “Kids”, prefacing Stacy’s first appearance in “Three Stories”, that House pushed away anyone he ever cared about, and in “Three Stories” Wilson told House that Stacy loves him but just can’t stand to be around him. Those two comments set the scene for me, and they were built upon throughout the Stacy arc (and were echoed in “Son of Coma Guy” when Wilson told House he pushes relationships until they break), particularly in “Hunting” when the dialogue established that House played a large role in Stacy’s leaving. We learned that House drove Stacy to take up smoking again, barely communicated with her, and knew that she was miserable, and House admitted that he resented her because she could walk. I thought it was well-established that it *was not* a case of Stacy simply walking out because House wasn’t fit or vital enough for her! Regarding Mark’s illness, it makes perfect sense that after a bad ending and unresolved feelings, nothing would bring Stacy back into House’s orbit other than a dire medical situation (and this is also one of the only ways the writers could have her be around House but still not have them together) so she sought him out when her husband became inexplicably ill. I don’t think Stacy was looking to dump Mark, either consciously or unconsciously, because he was sick and had limited mobility; it’s just that her love for House was still there and rekindled. Also, it was established that Mark would make a full recovery and walk again. If vitality were really what Stacy was after, the better choice would have been Mark, but she chose House in the end. This is just my interpretation, of course, and I hope it makes sense! :-)

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/11/02/093033.php sf

    sassydew – I am persuaded and feel enlightened. Thanks:-)

    Renee – Your writing style has a wonderful infectious energy and your interpretations show profound insight. You go where the story takes you. I especially like how you focus on the words and symbolism for vital clues. Very, very nice!

  • http://www.noondarkly.com Krisztina

    Enjoyed this bit a lot, your writing proves you BREATHE House, haha… anyone who takes the time to dig so deep into House’s unnerving/annoying character is high in my books!
    And thanks for the video, watching the episode, seeing what was happening I must have had a momentary mental blackout as my brain was only registering, “OMG House is kissing Cuddy” and there was no space for the details, which proved to be sensual and breathtaking upon second watching. LOL. So, thanks. :)
    Krisztina

  • JL

    (I’ve been storing this up, unsure which review to post this to, but as everyone seems to be discussing this anyway…)

    I wanted to comment on the set-up to this episode – House’s shocked reaction at discovering Cuddy’s adoption plans at the end of ‘Lucky 13′.

    My reaction was that this was an Anvil-Sized Hint.

    For those unfamiliar with the term, J.K.Rowling stated, after publishing her 6th Harry Potter novel, that she had given her readers ‘anvil-sized’ hints as to where the characters’ various relationships were headed. Moments that could not be rationalised as ‘not really meaningful’ or ‘ambiguous’ by over-eager fans of different relationships.

    TPTB behind House made it clear awhile ago that House and Cuddy’s relationship would be explored, so no-one required hints that this would be happening. But everyone I read still assumed that this would be brought to a head via their usual flirtatious bickering in Cuddy’s ofice.

    House’s reaction to Cuddy’s adoption plans stunned everyone because he so rarely shows his feelings so nakedly. To me, it seemed like a shout-out from the writers saying,

    “Please note that House is emotionally involved. We are not allowing you the option of believing that there is no depth of feeling here.”

    The other recent moment that rang similarly for me was that of Cuddy holding House’s hand at the end of Wilson’s Heart. Nothing else occurred in the scene – that moment was a deliberate statement (and Cuddy’s emotion at seeing House wake up could probably be included as part of that ‘moment’).

    I’ve been intrigued by the way the writers have… staggered everyone by deliberately choosing a path that people really weren’t expecting.

    Rather than sticking with what House knows and is comfortable with, they’ve thrown him in the deep end (just to link this to the comments about staying with what we know being safe and comfortable).

    And we’re in the same position as House: while we expected this to unfold in Cuddy’s office, everyone felt fairly comfortable with what to expect (regardless of the direction anyone hoped it would take). But the emotional path chosen leaves us all gasping a bit and really at a loss to understand where things will go.

    As we saw with the shake-up in Season 4, the writers really do try not to keep this show ‘comfortable’. It doesn’t always keep the viewers happy (whether it’s missing the ducklings, shipping Hameron, worrying that House won’t be House anymore, or having concern that the show has jumped the shark), but I think it’s gutsy and admirable. Good for them.

  • Barbara Barnett

    It’s terrific that the series is so complex that we can all interpret it differently (hey like doing a differential diagnosis on the characters’ motivations, sort of ;))

    Thanks everyone for some insightful and deep comments about the episode. It’s what makes this column the success it is. My reviews are my opinion, and it’s always a joy (so to speak)to read how others have interpreted the series.

    I do want to address the Stacy thing. I think I was misunderstood (or wasn’t exactly as clear as I intended). Sassydew, your comments are well-noted, and I think, as you do, that scene in the airport told much about House and Stacy.

    I took the “fun” part from what Stacy told Cuddy when trying to remember why she was with him..being so conflicted after Baltimore. “He used to be fun…” I get the impression (from what little we really know about their relationship) that it was “fun.” Stacy told House that he was “curry.” That curry is something you take in small doses because in bigger quantities it tends to burn the roof of your mouth. She missed “the curry.” House can be passionate (as he is about medicine, music…and certainly was about Stacy). But he can also love deeply (although he avoids it like the plague). I absolutely believe that Stacy loved (and still loves) House. It’s what drove her decision to do the procedure on him; and what motivated that scene in Honeymoon.

    But she also in my (humble) opinion (until that moment in Need to Know when he came to tell her to go back to Mark)didn’t understand the depth of House’s feelings for her—and the devastating effect her leaving the first time had on him.

    In that episode she responds to House’s question about telling Mark. “I suppose telling doesn’t matter if you dont’ care about hurting anyone.” (Ouch). Now, granted, House was living in a fantasy world, thinking that Stacy was on the verge of coming back to him simply because they slept together. But that was Wilson’s point in talking with her earlier in the episode about toying with him. I really do believe that Stacy was conflicted between her love for House, her love for Mark, her passion and place in Mark’s life. What I don’t think she understood during most of it was that House wasn’t about the passion and the sex at that point. But about being together again forever. They were not on the same page at all.

    Finally she understood when House told her that he couldn’t “go there” again–be willing to be hurt in such a fundamental way by someone he loves. He will always be who he is, whether he tries to change or not. He knows that Stacy will leave him again, and he can’t handle that. House’s decision and his demeanor afterwards tell us how he feels, and Stacy’s tears and bewilderment tell us that finally she understands where House had been coming from. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t love him, or doesn’t love him…just that they had been coming from different directions.

    Their kiss in “Failure…” was incredible. Sweet, tentative, full of feeling, love, memory and promise. I loved even more how Stacy went and sat with him in the airport hallway while did the differential in the middle of the night–just being there for him. To me that spoke more of her feelings than any words that had passed between them.

    So. I do believe there was much love between them. But in NTK, they were not (in my opinion) on the same emotional page–until the end, when, of course, House decided not to “go there.”

    In my opinion, House will never love anyone like he has loved Stacy. (Heck, my first fanfiction attempts were about House and Stacy)–which, by the way, if you really want to read some amazing fan fiction about House and Stacy, read Magdala’s work. She wrote two long and gorgeous explorations of House and Stacy (pre-infarction). Brilliantly written.

    Renee–thanks for sharing your recap. I love putting down my thoughts stream of consciousness, and you’ve done a nice job recapping all of the emotional notes.

    The final scene of “Luck 13″ is absolutely essential to understanding House’s motivations in “Joy.”

    House was stunned–just as he had gotten things back to “normal” with Wilson. And it was certainly a clue of things to come, JL.

    I do love the way that the show’s writers seldom leave us comfortable, seldom do what we expect them to do (with the characters). I have always trusted the shows writers, and they’ve seldom let me down.

  • BG

    (cross post)

    I think you depicted House’s state of mind -with all its complexity, perfetly. I’d like to read your take on Cuddy, though. In my opinion she has become one of the saddest character on the show.

    Let me explain; House needed Wilson back in his life and as you’ve said, he doesn’t believe in unconditional love so, he always test his ‘best’ friendship in order to not fear his friend would ever leave him, alone. In “Lucky 13″, he had Wilson back in his life, he still had to test him with his pranks but they were affectionate. He also wanted to know everything new about his best friend but he was actually happy the whole time. I know this is weird to say about House but it’s as simple as that, he had his friend back in his life and he was happy and this is exactly what the line “If you’re happy, I’m…” stands for.

    Meanwhile, he had to mind Thirteen’s business. In his pseudo-happy place, he could see misery and I think he felt the need -the only way he knows how, to look out for Thirteen. Not help her, because he thinks he knows he’s incompetent with his straight-forward, most of the time thought processed but sometimes instinctive hurtful nature. But he’s wrong because even though she didn’t really act on it, Thirteen realized he was lookin out for her and admitted to herself consciously the ‘error of her ways’, but decided that at this place in time, it’s what she needs, even though it’s never the right choice. Besides, self-destruction is something anyone can achieve willingly and there doesn’t always seem to be destructive consequences. House is the perfect example because so far, he’s still around.

    As much as House finds happiness with Wilson (he’s been there for him with the infarction, with the Stacy crisis -twice), there is one thing he’s been craving for all the time: absolution while he’s still stuck on earth. His purpose in life is to solve THE unsolvable puzzle which will allow him to solve the puzzle he is, a man people despise.

    I think this unsolvable puzzle is Cuddy, which is why I think she can bring him absolution. This absolution I’m talking about is the only key to House’s utter happiness. Cuddy’s a mess, she’s supposed to have everything in life, except she’s emptiness personified. ‘She knows what she wants but doesn’t know what she needs'(s4). She doesn’t even have an incurable disease to fall back on. Her life has no meaning to her, this is why she desperately wanted unconditional love with a kid. Maybe she felt it would have given her a purpose. Bottom line is, I think House subconsciously wants to make her happy but he wants to be the reason why she’s happy.

    Now, the fact that he didn’t see the adoption coming made him fear the worse. Either bc he wouldn’t have been the reason that would have made her happy or because he wouldn’t have been part of it (maybe the baby dady issue would have a signification in here, otherwise I don’t think House has ever seen it that way -but what happened in ‘Birthmarks’ could prove me wrong and I think it resonates with the adoption thing in ‘Lucky 13′).

    We haven’t seen House kiss Stacy the way he kissed Cuddy when the former came back into his life(neither in flashbacks). Cuddy is empty. House can make her feel whole and solve his twisted and complex mind in the process. I guess that in this specific case, a conflictual relationship is the way to go for House & Cuddy. As they say in fandom, banter is foreplay. I say House is wrong and that there is one thin line between love and hate when it comes to his feelings about Cuddy (season 1, episode 3).

    I know this analysis is quite subjective very centered on my favourite pairing -and I know Cuddy isn’t the only key to House’s absolution and salvation (if there’s any chance he’ll reach this before he dies), but in season five so far, it appears she is/will be of a certain importance.
    In conclusion, that kiss was the hottest thing I’ve ever witnessed on tv. It is realistic because it shows intimacy -thx to the camera angles, at its best and encapsulates graphic awkwardness that shows through fierce and raw emotions. What an exchange of saliva! All props go to Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein for their acting skills are actually extant.

    I agree with you about Stacy in general though and many of the things people have said in here. It’s amazing to read so many interpretations.

  • Tigerfeet

    Barbara!
    Thank you so very much for yet another fantastic episode review! That was definately well worth waiting for. (Don’t ever feel you have to rush anything, take the time you need to give us such insightful material.) It was pure Joy to read, as were all the very intelligent comments.

    I was especially impressed with Renee’s very thorough recap highlighting so much sybolism that I missed watching the episode several times… She also described exactly my thoughts on the kiss.

    Now I’m of two minds to what I would like to see. On one hand I’d love to see House happily in love with Cuddy and vice versa. On the other hand – will he then be the House WE have come to love??

  • Sue

    What happened between House and Cuddy throughout this episode and what happened with Stacy can be interpreted by a running theme of the show, “people don’t change.”

    When House let his frontal cortex overtake his emotional attachment to Stacy, he realized that getting back with her would only lead to disappointment and a big emotional let-down. A renewed relationship would entail dealing with emotional baggage from how the last one ended. Stacy’s decision to leave Mark would have been a recurring issue as her expectations for what was to come would mean House would have to change more. House had not been in a relationship for five years, and he was not used to having to worry about someone else’s happiness. Margo had done something life-altering to keep her marriage together, and House used that as a barometer to compare how much he would be willing to change to make Stacy happy. In the end, he realized that he could not or would not change enough to make it work.

    House is living within a fortress where he has walled off his emotions to keep himself from being hurt. Change means a crack in the wall he has to walk through. Like someone said, the soft lava core would spill out, and there is no framework outside the wall to guide him how to do the right thing. If he does change, will he fall apart? Change meant that his fellows would see him in a different way. Could he be as brutal to them and get them to respond to him the same way?

    House has expressed interest in Cuddy to her and to Wilson, but in the process he never showed any indication that he would change in any way if a relationship of any kind actually happened. He was just as snarky and sarcastic and misanthropic as ever. If you want me the way I am, come and get me. He was willing to have it not happen at all. He can still live in the bubble he has created if nothing happened between them. Maybe over time, she would come around. When he lost Wilson, he made a small attempt to show Cuddy a different side of himself (becoming a cheerleader for a girl). This only happened because he needed someone to replace Wilson in his life. House cannot handle an adult relationship, something he projected onto Cuddy. But he needed to fill the void Wilson left, so he revealed something that happened in his past as a way for her to see him differently. He didn’t change anything about himself in the present.

    In the baby shop, House got smacked in the face with the news that Cuddy was going to adopt a baby. He couldn’t deal with it, so he walked out without congratulating her. He then tried to convince Cuddy that she couldn’t and shouldn’t change. He tried every angle he could to talk her out of it. He was totally aware of what he was doing. Every time she rebuffed him, his desperation was revealed. He didn’t hide it from her. Every time his expression changed, it was in total view of her. He wanted her to know how much the adoption would devastate him.

    Cuddy has chosen Wilson over House several times. When she wanted a friend, she told House Wilson was the safer choice. When she wanted a sperm donor, it was Wilson she asked. House gave her an opening to ask him, but she never did. In Finding Judas, he told her she would be a terrible mother. In Top Secret, she told him to stop thinking about having a relationship with her. Now, when she needed a character witness, she chose Wilson. Every time House confronted her about her decision to adopt, she excluded him from the process. She only turned to him for medical advice, both in the second season and now.

    So, the woman he wanted to have a relationship with was excluding him in every important decision she made. His behavior was pushing her away, and it was leading her to replace him in her life with a baby. She never let herself be emotionally vulnerable with him either. The only exception was at the end of Wilson’s Heart when she stayed with him in the hospital. How could he pierce the armor she had built up against him?

    Now that Cuddy was making a major change in her life, House would have to change so much to be included, her panicked and pushed her away even more. The realization that Cuddy was going to be fulfilled and happy with the baby made him aware that his actions were not going to change anything.

    When House made the diagnosis, it caused him to evaluate his own purposeful attempt to exclude emotion from his life. It made him confront head on how his behavior had denied him something he craved so much.

    In order for House to tell Cuddy she would be a great mother, House had to tear down the protective wall and lay bare his feelings for her. Telling her that was akin to telling her he loved her. Cuddy was emotionally devastated, and he could tell her state of mind was unprotected. When she asked him why he had to negate everything, at that moment he could not justify his actions even to himself. He did not care if his kiss was rejected by her. His frontal cortex took a back seat to his emotional mind. This was House’s most vulnerable and naked moment in the show so far. He wasn’t thinking about how much he had to change. When Cuddy kissed him back, his frontal cortex kicked in again and he had to leave to prevent things from going too far. He knew that if he slept with her, there would be regrets afterward. Did Cuddy return his affection because she really cared about him or because she was emotionally devastated by the loss of the baby?

    I agree with a lot of what has been written hereabout the relationship between House and Stacy and House and Cuddy. If the “people don’t change” theme is not used as a filter to evaluate what has occurred, you might miss some of the motivations of the characters and how that has guided their behavior.

  • Orange450

    “I do want to address the Stacy thing.”

    Me too. This is a subject I feel very strongly about. Probably more than any other situation presented to us in the entire series. And Pam and Sassydew have done such a wonderful job of articulating the significant and subtle details that there isn’t much left to say. (I agree with both of them!) But there are just a few additional points I want to make on Stacy’s behalf. I’m going to wait until tomorrow, though. After I vote.

    Or Barbara, would you rather I left my comments until a more in-depth discussion of the Stacy arc?

  • Barbara Barnett

    You guys have convinced me to do a piece on House and love. Lots of great points here, both about House’s relationship with Stacy and his relationship with Cuddy. I will try to work on it tomorrow while I’m going crazy over election returns and publish it in lieu of an episode review this week. So look for it Wednesday or more likely Thursday.

    So, Orange450–feel free to post your thought here, or wait until the new article.

  • Orange450

    Thanks for responding, Barbara. I’m in awe that you can contemplate putting together an article like that in so few days – and one of them Election Day. It takes me ages to think through my reactions to just a single episode, and then still more time to articulate them.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Orange450–I have a weirdly photographic memory–very vivid, but not universal (I can’t remember how to do calculus, but I can remember details, voices, faces (but not names). It’s useful for writing articles about insanely complex television shows….however…

  • Orange450

    Who on earth needs calculus, anyway ;-) But it’s not just remembering the details, it’s the way you weave the ideas, insights and complexities together – making an elegant tapestry out of a knotty tangle of yarn.

    Very much looking forward to your article, and feel free to drop the 450. Remember to breathe tomorrow!

  • Barbara Barnett

    Orange– Good advice for everyone. Everyone take a deep breath and vote!

  • http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/11/02/093033.php sf

    As we all wait on tinterhooks for our nation’s choice for president to be revealed…

    I live in Switzerland, as my husband is Swiss, but I’ve been sweating it out here since the weekend. I voted more than 3 weeks ago per post office.

    This blog and the comments, with the back and forth of conflicting interpretations has been a welcome and interesting distraction.

    What does motivate House’s actions? Is the character worthy of our attention? For me, the answer is yes and no. It’s our job as viewers to decide. Our interpretations are as revealing of ourselves as they are of the series.

    Does the often inhumane character of House deserve our loyalty? Yes, but only because he always lets his humanity come forth when the stakes are high. Tolerance, yes. Absolution, no.

    In “Joy”, the writer’s took us on a wild ride through the desert of ‘House’s Selfishness’ on to ‘Bad Behavior’ until arriving at ‘Acts of Insanity’. (self-confessed)

    Then they returned us and House back to humanity with the safe arrival of a baby.(new president?)

    Finally, at Cuddy’s home, House unexpectedly and gratefully found a garden where he could let his humanity bloom. His decision to exit her home without picking any flowers was the height of human friendship, honor, and perhaps love.

    We travel from the depths to the heights in “Joy” and so does House.

  • Sera G

    Hello, Barbara!
    I am a first time blogger. I just discovered your insightful and beautifully written House reviews. I spent the weekend savoring your prior articles.
    My friends and family enjoy the show, but no one really analyses it to the (obsessive, pathological) extent that I do. Forgive me if I ramble a bit…
    I am so intellectually and emotionally drawn to the show. Perhaps it is b/c the viewer can never really predict where events are headed. (Like life.)
    The Joy episode was an emotional roller coaster involving my two favorite characters. Everyone has already said so much of what I was thinking and feeling. Loved the ‘doorways’ symbolism and agree with what has been said about House’s motives concerning the adoption. Wilson’s lines were priceless. Lisa E. was magnificent. She, too, says so much with her eyes. I felt her joy, grief and passion in House’s arms.
    I’ve probably watched “the kiss” 20 times. Some critiques have called it awkward, not romantic, etc. I think that is what clutches my heart. This man, who revels in his life of the mind, was moved/drawn/compelled to reach out to this woman. He took the risk, made contact with her. House’s feelings for Cuddy are so complex; she is his friend, his ‘mother’, confidant. She understands, repects and admires him as no one else does. Cuddy “knew him when”; the glory days of college as well as his devastating losses; infarction/Stacy. She provides the authority against which he rebels, fitting for any ‘adolescent’. He unabashedly ogles her and like any 12 year old, is more comfortable teasing and being rude. And yet…
    As they kiss, touch, gaze deeply into each other’s eyes, they are both so raw, so needy and there is such longing.
    No one knows where the writers are taking this event, but I am so delighted that they opened the door. (Here we go with doors again.) Personally, I hope TPTB give it a fair chance. Rationally, I know the relationship won’t last,but my heart wants to relish every moment of the “dance.” Thanks for the chance to share.

  • Fernanda Allendes

    Hi, Barbara. I’ve read your review some time ago, & I like them a lot, & also readers’ comments.
    Well, I just wanna mention, today I realized that House didn’t take any vicodin in the whole episode.
    Actually, we can see clearly the full bottle of vicodin twice.

    (Sorry, if I have grammar problems or you can’t understand me, I’m not native speaker. It’s my best try)

    Best wishes from South America.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    Mark,

    Thank you so much for dropping by to say hi!

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