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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Parents”

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Mistreatment of children has been an ongoing and extremely important theme of House, M.D. since the series start in 2004. Beginning with “Paternity,” in which House briefly believes his teenage patient is a victim of parental sexual abuse to House’s (Hugh Laurie) own infrequent revelations about his childhood in seasons two, four and five (“Daddy’s Boy,” “One Day One Room,” and “Birthmarks,” respectively), the series has explored parental relationships and their effect on both growing and grownup children.

Any time House explores the dynamics between parents and children, whether in humorous clinic scenes or in heartfelt one-on-ones between the doctor and his patient, we have the opportunity to learn more about the series central character. In this week’s excellent episode “Parents,” House’s own parental mishegass (translation from Yiddish: craziness, or perhaps more appropriately here, baggage) is out on full display. The patient of the week is Ben (Harrison Thomas), a teenager; his biological father, Mom Janey (Lisa Lackey) tells House, was a clown (for real), having died years earlier from cancer. But everybody lies, and when it’s revealed that the teen may need a transplant, a monstrous secret about his father becomes suddenly relevant. Dad is not dead; at least not yet.

For years House has advocated in a sort of subversive, strictly House-ian way for children that happen into his care. Whether “reassuring” a mother about her daughter’s “gratification disorder” (“Euphoria 2,” season two) or showing nothing but contempt for a father who has sexually abused his daughter (“Skin Deep,” season two), House has a highly perceptive radar for children who are caught in the crossfire of destructive parenting, particularly when he perceives abuse.

At the end of “Parents,” it dawns on him that the patient’s biological father walks funny. Synthesizing the Ben’s constellation of symptoms and the father’s subtle limp, a symptom signifying late-stage syphilis, House makes his final diagnosis. Ben was sexually abused, he realizes, and has syphilis. The revelation has massive consequences, not just for the boy’s illness, but for his emotional well being and future.

The mother was obviously aware of the abuse, yet did nothing, choosing only to declare the pedophile father deceased. Was it shame? Guilt? Fear? What would cause a parent to push something so significant into the closet with the other skeletons?

Although this story thread doesn’t overtly connect to House’s story, we know that House was the victim of (at least) verbal abuse at the hands of his father while his mother, ever the peacemaker, likely allowed it. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) reminds House (and us) that House is the product of an illicit affair. When Wilson contrasts House’s biological “good guy” father with John House, a brutal, unforgiving man, House reminds him that good guy, though he may have been, he wasn’t good enough to have resisted an affair with his mother while his father was overseas. There is a distinct note of bitterness in House’s voice. House is clearly still affected by those actions and the secrets that followed.

The affair had been a deeply held secret; House had suspected it since he was 12, but never confirms it until his father’s death in season five (“Birthmarks”). But the cost of keeping that secret likely has had a high price tag, having likely played into his mother’s passivity in the face of John’s treatment of his son. This week’s medical case and House’s story both raise the question about the potentially destructive power of parenting, and illustrate House’s contention that all parents damage their children in one way or another—albeit some worse than others. And on a tragically ironic note, this story of sexual abuse and its consequences comes amid the stunning and horrifying revelations about the Penn State football program.

The rest of the episode’s threads also play on the theme of parenting and how parents can make or break us, nurture or destroy us. Obviously, House’s needling of Taub (Peter Jacobson) about his twin girls reflects on it, and the way he presses Adams (Odette Annable) as well. Even parental perfection has its costs! The clinic patient and House’s amusing boxing match plan also suggest parental issues (of a different sort).

House’s “diabetic” clinic patients is essentially a man-child, whose wife seems more mother than partner. Her “care” nearly kills him.

And then there’s the boxing match. I loved this little detour; it’s so very much what makes House the show it can be when it’s firing on all burners. Of course, Wilson and Foreman are House’s parents quite a meaningful way.

Foreman (Omar Epps) clearly defines their parental roles and responsibilities as they endeavor to get House through his parole unscathed. Foreman is the stern father (or mother) figure to put enforceable limits on their wild son; Wilson’s role is to be House’s friend—hold his hand, be supportive—even when that means sacrifice (like giving up ringside seats at a sell-out boxing match).

Foreman would never allow House to “go out” with Wilson all the way to Atlantic City. He knows how easily House can manipulate his best friend, which would only lead to trouble. But Foreman also knows that House has been doing everything right since coming back to work; he deserves a night away from his house imprisonment. But how to accomplish that, along with helping House to recover a bit of the dignity he’s lost in the past year? How, indeed! Connive the boxing match tickets from Wilson, and take House to the match himself. It’s a ploy that House would be proud of—and Wilson? In the end, he’s fine with how it works out. Baby steps.

“Parents” really gets back to all the things I love about this series. There is fun and the obligatory House-antics. But they are subtler and less silly than they’ve been. And they don’t detract from the rest of the story. The episode weaves in and around the episode’s theme in a great script by Eli Attie, which plucks at issues very relevant in the context of recent news.

House returns next Monday night at 9:00 ET on FOX.

And on a side note, if you’re watching ABC’s new series Once Upon a Time (starring House alum Jennifer Morrison), be sure to check out my newest ongoing series feature!

 

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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.
  • filmlover

    Right now I’m not ready to see Foreman as a parental figure to House alongside Wilson. I can’t see him as Wilson’s partner in crime like Cuddy was, at least not yet. Now that being said..I did enjoy the episode.

    I am always fascinated with House’s parental issues.

    House says all parents screw up their children. How does House see his mother as having screwed him up? The end scene with Taub about the heart wanting to tell him but the brain knowing he was better off not knowing- could that also relate to his situation? Is that what his mother went through in regards to telling or not telling him the truth about his parentage?

    I’ve had the same thoughts as you in regards to her passivity being a result of her guilt for the affair. I’m just not sure if that is right. I wish they would explore his issues with his parents more. Go more indepth. Sometimes I worry that I am seeing more there than what they are actually trying to show.

  • RobF

    Yay!! A really good episode!

    I don’t really have anything to add to the nice review; I’m just so happy the season may actually turn out ok.

    Thanks for sticking with House through thick and thin, Barbara!

  • 20V

    I don’t like how the Adams C-plot(or D-plot?) wrapped itself up. It seemed like a huge stretch to convey she was screwed up. Portraying her as a person who actively seeks being damaged just makes me like her a lot less. I understand how the whole “cheated woman scorned” ordeal can seem cliché, but there is a reason for that. It’s believable.

    Other than that, and literally just that; the scene in the lab with Chase was well done; I enjoyed the episode a lot. House believably plays devil’s advocate throughout the entire episode, blaming his jerkdom at lunch with Wilson on “bad parenting.” Taub can still miraculously pull sympathy out of me, which is probably all Peter Jacobson. It seems rather spiteful of Rachel and Ruby that both his daughters have identical names. Those girls are sisters and are going to be in each others lives; it’s not just Taub they’re messing with. I don’t see why one of them couldn’t have picked a different name.

  • bigHousefan

    Thanks for the great review Barbara!

    Wow! I loved this episode! You’re exactly right about Foreman helping House recover some dignity – while reminding Wilson about the importance of his role as House’s best friend.

    I like how Foreman has grown to respect and care about House; and lookout for him in a behind the scenes way that started last season. It makes me care about Foreman in a way I never did before. His friendship with Taub has also helped.

    I love how House can count on Chase to be a willing participant in House’s games. I was reminded of Season Four’s ‘Mirror Mirror’ and the fixed bet.

    Foreman and Chase accept and appreciate House for who he is. Along with Wilson, House has real friends he can count on and that’s a great improvement in his life. With the loss of Cuddy those relationships are even more important to him.

    I’m stunned that in just a few episodes I feel so comfortable with the new team. I do hope they continue to delve into House’s childhood. I would love to see an episode (or more) that brings back Diane Baker as House’s mother.

  • tipitinatoo

    Not much I can add, Barbara, except my own kudos to you for always managing to perfectly capture the subtexts of each episode. “Parents” hit the mark in every way, as much in the mold of the old “House” as I’ve seen this year, and it was such fun to watch. Maybe DS was saving this for Sweeps Month, but no matter–it was such a tremendous “upper” for every loyal “House” fan I know. I think we all breathed a collective sigh of relief that our favorite diagnostician is back in fine form and that Foreman finally decided it was time for him to fully accept the mantle of Department Head. The team also seemed cohesive, with Charlyne Yi and Odette Anable hitting their stride as fully contributing, valued members. Let’s hope the snap, crackle and pop of this episode has set the tone for the rest of Season 8.

  • Duskybatfishgirl

    Oh how I feel uplifted when not only Barbara but also other commentators are mutually positive of a House episode! I believe that House M.D.’s golden age is not yet over; & eagerly await “Parents” when it screens here in Australia this Friday.

  • Josie123

    Excellent review, Barbara! I really enjoyed this episode, too.

    In “One Day, One Room”, House said that to Eve, his clinic patient who had been raped, his father disciplined him with ice baths and making him sleep outdoors at night. Since he knew that he would most likely not see Eve again, I don’t think he had any reason to lie about his past. Ice baths is physical abuse. I don’t think the viewer is supposed to think that House is exaggerating the abuse in order to bond with Eve so that she would open up to him.

  • Jane E

    I also enjoyed last night episode. I thought the script was great and I very much agree with all your analogies regarding the parenting theme. I do belive this was a good House script with the medical mystery primary, House’s antics secondary. I also liked the way Forman handeled the situation. It made for a great ending and I have to tell you I was laughing so hard my kids heard me in the other room.

  • tohper_stinkbutt

    House is running sore, running from himself and society. And yet one day his scab wil heal us all.

  • Eve K

    It is usually said that untreated victims of child molestation is likely to molest childern themselves as adults. And working as a clown with acces to a lot of children? Seriously. He has got to be told and treated. The series could do damage with that attitude. If new research shows differntly, I take it back.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    I don’t think House exaggerated at all with Eve. I would call what John did abuse, but others might call it militaristic/harsh, not considering the decade, not call it technically abuse.

    Eve, I agree (and I’m writing a novel right now with that idea firmly in the mind of my protagonist). I don’t think the series was advocating that the boy become a clown. And I agree that he needs treatment. He has suppressed the memory. His desire to become a clown may be an effect of PTSD, something I’ve always believed House suffers from.

  • Eve K

    Thank you for your answer Barbara, but I do tend to differ between physical abuse and child molestation. I think everybody (as they said in the serie) has some damage from their parents. But child molestation is by far so much worse (on so many levels) than any other form of abuse. Of course everybody could gain from treatment for their wrong upbringing, but this is a different matter. I do not fear House for to hit his (unborn)children, or any other children. But I do fear for this kid, he is a time bomb. IF the current research is right.

    I also believe in genetic inheritage. How do they know that Houses biological father is “all good”? Just because he is a priest? He was a friend of the family, but that doesnt mean that House knew his private sides. He could be a jerk also.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    Eve–That was precisely House’s point in his rejoinder to Wilson. I agree. This kid is a ticking time bomb.

  • blacktop

    Thank you, Barbara, for another excellent review. I was much more engaged in your commentary than I was in the episode itself. This is because, unlike the episode, you devoted the overwhelming majority of your essay to discussing House’s troubled history and his complicated parental issues. This is exactly where I want to go as a long-time fan. Unfortunately, the episode was glaringly unwilling to do this. Most of the episode — measured in time, dialogue, and emotional energy — was precisely NOT focused on House and his issues. The parallels the script sought to draw were between Taub’s dilemma and the conflict within the POTW family. The episode was purposefully not about House.

    Imagine how differently the show would have felt had it ended with a silent scene of House at home musing over a family photo or a treasured exotic object. Without such a character-delving moment, we are not at all sure that the horrific revelations of the medical case had any impact on House at all.

    It has to mean something important that our take-away view of House this episode is of him gaily enjoying the prize-fight after a road trip to Atlantic City with Foreman. That we saw him on a TV screen underlined how distant the audience is from the character at this point in the season. We are separated by screen upon screen, quite literally.

    Your thoughtful piece brought a wealth of understanding of House’s backstory to the analysis. Unfortunately, none of this was on screen or in the script we were given Monday night. Mysteriously, the episode itself skirted these questions with only a glancing reference. The actual episode was almost entirely about the POTW and his secret-laden family, Taub and the Taubettes, the uncovering of Adams’ family dysfunction, and the caper of the boxing match. House played only a subordinate role in the episode, although his shadow looms large in the imaginations and memories of devoted fans. Not so much on screen.

    This was a huge missed opportunity to further explore House’s character. One has to wonder why TPTB skipped out on what could have been truly compelling TV?

  • BrokenLeg

    14 @Blacktop

    Agreed!!Altough a quite good episode,as all written by Elie Attie, was a missed opportunity to explore House’s character deeper.

    Said that, I was also moved or engaged more by BB’s review than by the episode itself. (BTW,thanks Barbara)

    And colleague, your “Taub and the Taubettes” and the mention of the “Adam’s,-or Adams?-, family” is great!

  • Eloise

    Loved this episode! Its a shame that ratings have dipped because imo its really back on track!
    I also noticed House’s bitter voice when talking to Wilson. Really good review from you not much to add.
    I enjoyed the ending in particular with Wilson’s little smile of good grace!
    Really looking forward to the next episode too.

  • where-is-house

    I want dramas, ep7 looks better than this one.
    I don’t care about the team, Taub and his two childs with same name (this is stupid).
    Did they speak about House’s father?
    I hope they’ll come back to basics by exploring House’s character and not Taub’s childs.

  • where-is-house

    blacktop, you’re right “about further explore House’s character”, for the last season, I think they should go this way.

  • Paulac45

    great review of an absolutely fantastic episode. I hope that the rest of the season is written as well, and acted as brilliantly, as this one.

  • Celia

    #14 Blacktop: I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I won’t.

    6.7 Million viewers & 2.2 M in the 18-49 category (?!) said it as well. ‘House’ has left the building.

  • KMC

    Good episode,great review Barbara! I liked Chase joining in House’s antics. I liked the fact that Foreman decided that House needed a break..he’s been good. I also liked the fact that Wilson was so upfront about the tickets…didn’t try to hide the fact that he got them and wants to go…would take House with him if he could…but still wants to go. And I understand. Being a caretaker myself, I know the need for some “me” time…Wilson needed a break from “Housesitting” The fact that he got it…if not in the form he was planning on…may have been part of Foreman’s plan all along.

    I would also like to see them address House’s feelings about his mother. He said he loved her in “Daddy’s Boy”, must he can’t not have issues with her. He was verbally and physically abused by John House and presumably she didn’t do much to stop it. Admittedly that could have been from the guilt that she felt about the affair (which back in the late 50’s could have had major repercussions…I believe adultery was a court-marshal offence and John H.could count on his fingers as well as anyone..unless he didn’t want to) So…there’s a lot they could address if they get House and his mother in the same room again, which I hope they do.

  • Visitkarte

    @ 10 – Eve K

    Nope, the memory of the molestation increases the risk, not the fact that it happened. Taub and the boy’s mother were right. And he is a sucky clown, and a virgin. He won’t last in the job, and he wouldn’t molest a kid. No harm done.

    I loved the episode. Need to see it the fourth thime ;-)

  • AreKay

    “Obviously, House’s needling of Taub (Peter Jacobson) about his twin girls reflects on it,…” I’m confused; can “twins” have two different mothers?

  • Joan

    I think you are right Barbara that it may be the best episode this season and yet that is damning with faint praise. There continues to be heart and soul missing from this season in all the characters that keeps me feeling a hollowness in the episode(s)and in House. There were some great meaty issues here about parenting and, as blacktop has noted, as regards House it got one (well done) line and then on to everyone else; a little more exploration could surely have been fitted in. More than that, everything is being played for quick laughs — I don’t even get what is so funny about Taub’s two ladies naming the children almost the same thing, but then the writers thought marrying a mail order bride would be a laugh riot. House’s teasing of Taub was bordering on cruel and there was no higher purpose as when he seemed to be trying to help his marriage in past seasons, here it was just to needle him that he was going to screw up his babies one way or the other so no big deal to let one go??

    There is no indication of House or anyone’s inner life or even history. Foreman and 13 didn’t even speak in her big farewell episode — this was the woman he loved enough to risk his career for one ep…but that was so past season, no need to revisit! Chase and Taub return and have not one comment to make to House about the whole blowing up of his affair with Cuddy, his prison sentence, Cuddy leaving…not one word? Wilson too has nothing to say, just enjoying the pranks and good times.

    Prison was apparently very good for House because this season House is not particularly in pain, not apparently abusing (or even using from what we see) drugs or alchohol, he isn’t miserable, he isn’t lonely or regretful of anything, he does not think about what he did or about Cuddy — really the whole prison thing and that ‘incident’ with his boss are just fodder for his street cred and a cool punchline to pull out now and then, no big. I can understand House appreciating being back in his life at the hospital but the writers refuse to show House having any moment of contemplation or emotion, even the end of ep piano playing sort — he’s just a jerk whose all about the games and solving his medical puzzles and playing with everyone and they all are ready to play along! There is no push-pull with Wilson being his conscience or at least second guessing him, no Cuddy to spar with personally or professionally, Wilson and Chase are completely ready to join in his Housian games, against Taub or the newbies. Even Foreman this ep seemed less like the designated grown-up to me as another of House’s co-horts in gamesmanship. So its all light as a feather….and dull. House is not even an edgy bad boy anymore, everyone is just accepting his antics with a shake of the head, oh that House! Everyone has capitulated. Wilson and Foreman agree he’s been doing everything he should?? — wasn’t he trying to cut his prison ankle bracelet off just to mention one this ep, but no one calls him on it, instead he is rewarded.

    The two new girls have no real spark. Sure, Charlene had a line or two early on but they both are already mostly going along. That Adams held off sharing until the end of the ep was deeply anticlimactic. More typical of her was the return of the old team ep when House did his pointed truthtelling about everyone looking at her breasts and thinking of sex and she knows it and pretends not to, etc. Odette just sat and stared at him like a deer in headlights and then got up to do what she was told. Cuddy would have hit it out of the park with a snappy rejoinder that hit House below the belt just as hard; 13 could have given him back an equally harsh truth or a pointed so what stare, even Cameron would have responded to protest against his cynical view, etc.. Adams is no match for any of that. So, yes, a better plot this week, even laughed over the clinic patient and the apple juice, great joke, but where are the deeper relationships and feelings that we got in previous years and made us care so much about House and the others? Given the season so far, I don’t expect real exploration of anything, but I suppose during sweeps they might do one episode in which they will suggest the boiling cauldron of emotion inside but no, thats not til later in the year. For now, bring on the clowns!

  • housemaniac

    Joan #24: Couldn’t have said it better! Alas.

  • Earth Orbiter

    I do not understand people who complain that there is no character development, no moving forward, but constantly drag the past into the equation. What Cuddy or Cameron or 13 would’ve said or done is irrelevant. Joan, do you focus on some really shitty thing you did or said to someone a year or more ago to the exclusion of what is going on in your life today? Do you want those around you to constantly remind you of those times where you were vulnerable and in pain, and you lashed out in a not-so-constructive manner? We’ve all “crashed into someone’s house” in our day (that’s a metaphor, so stay with me), and what’s important is that we learn from our mistakes and move forward. If House constantly had Foreman, or Taub, or Chase, or the old lady who cleans the 3rd floor nagging the shit out of him about what he did MORE THAN A YEAR AGO – and to someone else, for that matter – and for which he paid for his actions, I think he’d be justified in awarding bitch slaps all around. Give the guy a break. More importantly, give YOURSELF a break and just sit back, relax and enjoy what is probably going to be the show’s last year. After all, the writers stopped hitting them out of the park years ago; anything that happens now is just filler and the best any of us can hope for is a satisfying end.

  • where-is-house

    “but where are the deeper relationships and feelings that we got in previous years and made us care so much about House and the others?”

    :-((( yes where is House?
    I don’t want clowns.
    House was not a sitcom 2 years ago.

  • HouseMDFan

    Barbara, I agree with you, the different parts of the story worked well together and made for a really great episode. I loved the theme and the different perspectives and substories playing into it. I admit that I was a bit wary how the Taub storyline would play out this season, but so far they’ve done a really great job with it.

    Loved to hear about House’s view on parenthood – of course “all parents screw up all children”, but there is a scale (only “screwed-up” or “screwed-up squared”) and the sooner you realize your own shortcomings the sooner you might be able to mitigate that and to do right by your kids. For all his enjoyment of needling Taub, I think there was an important and Housian lesson in there: ignoring your shortcomings and shelfishness is just going to cause more damage in the long run. His “heart” vs. “brain” comment at the end was really interesting in that regard.

    Also loved the end of the Adams story here, very nice twist. And for all the people who think that House isn’t “deep” and “tortured” enough at the moment, I’ll quote the man himself:

    “It’s normal to be screwed-up, it’s really screwed-up to romanticize it.”

  • where-is-house

    I want my House back :-((

  • Joan

    Earth Orbiter, I agree w/you to the extent that I don’t expect people to bring up the past or beat House up with it every day for the rest of his life, nor should House spend the season moping, but my point was that its just gotten passed over so quickly or in a way that is as if it didn’t happen. House has always been a brooder, he does go over his mistakes more than his successess,remember therapy,and he doesn’t like change, so it seems out of character for House not to think about the recent past and his biggest screw-up (now and then)as more than just a joke when he is walking through the hospital and her office daily. Its not like he started over in Pittsburgh. I wanted Chase and Taub to give some indication of their view on the whole situation; that none of them were interested in visiting him in jail for a year+ indicates some level of disapprobation or lack of sympathy but then they return and its all old home week like nothing happened? Thats ignoring the elephant in the room. Wilson wasn’t his bestie for almost a day before a punch released his outrage and he’s all done with lecturing, he’s now just House’ partner in gameplaying. Cuddy was the head of that hospital for years, they were all her friends and colleagues and they all know she left due to House’s crazy behavior while he is back in his old office and life as the resident brilliant asshole — that should cause House some issues and comment from others given he only recently returned. I don’t want or expect him to be ‘tortured’ but given that being miserable and in pain was his MO for years (and Shore and other viewers liked him that way and wanted him to just stay a miserable jerk)I find oddly carefree House disconcerting.

    I am trying to chill and enjoy what I can this season; I adore Hugh and can watch him sit and read a phonebook so I can’t quit him but now and then need to vent a bit.

  • http://barbarabarnett.com Barbara Barnett

    That is one thing, I think that has been lacking this season is House brooding. We have not seen that at all. I wonder if he’s just so happy to be out of prison and back doing what he’s good at that he’s momentarily satisfied with that.

    I think House will revert back to his broody, Byronic self soon enough as the season goes on.

  • Eve K

    visitcarte – please document your statements with research, this is new to me. Supressed memories are fine? As long as you don’t remember, everything is ok? No one gets hurt? I really like to know if there is new research on this.

  • Earth Orbiter

    Joan (and Barbara): He had a whole year in jail to brood: about his failed relationship with a ball-crushing, controlling woman from whom he is lucky to be free, his relationship with his best friend whom he almost mowed down, pretty much everything. And he’s still being punished: the ankle bracelet restricting where he goes, his “Daddy” Foreman who tells him what he can and cannot do, and his “Mommy” Wilson helps keep in out of trouble. Maybe he’s just trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. He’s still the deep thinker you expect him to be; however, a year or so in jail WILL change you, in spite of “House Canon.” As I said, give the guy a break and just enjoy.

  • blacktop

    Joan #24 and #30, you said it all beautifully. It is indeed hard to “chill out and enjoy” when the show is so diminished in intellectual, emotional, and ethical content from what it was in the seasons preceding this one.

    It used to be that House was the iconic sad-faced clown, jolly on the outside, miserable on the inside. So far this season, we are getting only the jokes and pranks, none of the suffering or the insight.

    And even those pranks fall flat now because there is no force opposing them. Wilson throws up his eyebrows, Foreman sighs, the team complies. In the structure of the show, House is deprived of his existential status as a rebel because he is no longer in opposition to anything or anyone.

    I want House to drop the convivial martinis and get back to the brooding bourbon.

    I want to know what he thinks about Cuddy leaving “her baby,” the hospital.

    I want to know if he thinks that destroying the home of a little child who adored him is a form of abuse.

    I want to know what he feels about his mother who never visited him in prison.

    An episode entitled “Parents” might have been a good place to start exploring such issues.

  • where-is-house

    Joan : “I wanted Chase and Taub to give some indication of their view on the whole situation; that none of them were interested in visiting him in jail for a year+ indicates some level of disapprobation or lack of sympathy but then they return and its all old home week like nothing happened? Thats ignoring the elephant in the room.”

    Good point, I don’t understand the beginning of this season at all.

  • where-is-house

    34 – blacktop
    Amen to your post!

  • Oversimplified

    @26 Earth Orbiter

    The thing is your past shapes who you are and where you’re going to a degree. I’m sorry but ignoring the past is just irritating, and is one of the things that bothered me about what this ep was trying to say with the molestation case, and generally. (What the hell happens if the son does remember at some point? Or if the father does molest someone else?) Other shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire might appear to drop a thread, but 9/10 they’ll pick it up even in a later season, and that’s part of the reason why I feel they get more recognition during award season. I can’t decide if this ignoring House’s past and recent actions is just laziness, or Shore’s homage to Mao smashing the historic temples in China. Is this what the whole ‘This is not a democracy’ thing is all about?

    I don’t know. So far this season I feel like I’ve been waiting for something to happen, but it feels like they’re just churning out eps purely to stay on the air because they have nothing left to say with the character that they haven’t already expressed. They’re basically living on past reputation. This pains me when as a result new writers/showrunners/actors consequently aren’t getting the money ploughed into new projects, and the same chances that Shore and Hugh got when they started out.

    It’s all well and good saying that we should sit back and relax, but this show is meant to be a drama, and not a sit-com. I want to be moved by well-realised, three-dimensional characters that have pasts like everybody does and who grow because of them. My prevailing emotion towards House at the mo is boredom because everything rings hollow. It’s basically fluff.

  • HouseMDFan

    Okay, can we talk “sitcom” and “fluff”?

    Twenty Vicodin: Do I even have to say anything? Very tense, with a lot of direct insights into House’s soul.

    Transplant: the case was really well done, not comedy, House was out of his comfort zone, wandering the halls and trying to find a way to work, shown thinking more then once. There were also some really great and honest House-Wilson scenes. Yes it also had a bit of comedy, but there’s always a point to the comedy and an underlying theme or honesty.

    Charity Case: there were ethical arguments, House even got angry about it, he also got into a dilemma between his differing goals (money vs. truth) and had interesting conversations with the patient. His whole relationship with Thirteen was explored beautifully, a dilemma in itself, and with a very touching and for House enormously selfless ending.

    Risky Business: Again, big ethical dilemma there, so much so that a lot of people were furious at the end (I wasn’t one of them). It was actually a very tense situation, because House went all in and was under a lot of pressure, betting on himself to solve the case. This one also had a lot of typical “House the puppet master”, and while it was half to help himself, he also did both Adams and Park a favour.

    The Confession: While everybody else seemed to have liked this one, it’s my least favourite of the season, precisely because it was quite “light” (which might be because the patient story didn’t do a thing for me). House was a bit in the background in this one because the focus seemed to be on his environment: the dean, the friend, the team and the office. They were together for the first time, and we got a lot of scenes in various constellations, exploring these new relations. We got to see the role he plays in those people’s life at the moment, while he himself was busy working on the case and his office. And why shouldn’t he be in a good mood, five weeks ago he was a nobody in prison without friends or his world, with no freedom and no room to play, looking at eight more months.

    Parents: a gripping patient story with a really affecting ending and a very interesting and serious theme. And House square in the middle, searching for truth and making other people see it: truth about the patient, truth about Adams, truth about Taub and his motives and decisions. And like many other times (“Risky Business” for example), we get the “end of the day” conversations that give us a glimpse into a quieter House once the quest for truth is done for the day, this time it’s with Taub and Adams. I thought that his brain vs. heart comment was especially interesting, since this is very often what separates him from other people, in a positive and in a negative way.

  • Logic Rules

    Sorry, all. I was a huge fan of the series and still think the first season is the best season of any TV show I’ve ever seen. Sadly, in season 8, the show is completely out of sync. It’s just flat and lacking in dramatic tension. I’m watching now because I’ve been watching since the pilot and want to see the series to its conclusion, but the show went off the rails early last season and, in my opinion, has never recovered.

  • HUSKY

    EVRY TIM I SPEAK MA MIND IM SACRILIGEOUSLY INSANE,CAUS MA MIND IS LIKE A MICROCHIP

  • Ladybelle Fiske

    No question to me that John House was an abusive schmuck. I want to see Blythe return and she and House discuss it. In some ways it seems as though she is one person he really does love. He pretended (partly for her) to care about John in “Birthmarks”; he called her lovingly that Xmas with Tritter on his trail… I want to see more of this, and a resolution on House’s paternity. Maybe the otjher guy isn’t his dad either.
    I like Adams She’s pretty and spunky ( but I miss 13, Cameron and Cuddy).
    I hope it isn’t the last year,but I am afraid it is.

  • BrokenLeg

    39 @ Logic Rules

    You’ve stolen my words and my feelings! And yes,as you, I’ve been weatching [H] from the first episodes and want to watch until its last episode. But to me the show went off the rails in the s7 last episode after more than 16 episodes of bad journey, and has never recovered.And never will.

    As 37 @ Oversimplified has said, ” they’re basically living on past reputation”.

    And as I’ve said many times before, something is missing. Viewing this last season seems to me like those last days on a relationship that declines, when you’re there knowing all will finish soon and that you are insanely there more for the past together than for the present or the future.Altough sometimes there still are little bits of some pasionless fresh air

  • where-is-house

    I want my House back, I want dramas and some intensity. We’re almost in the middle of the season and no character development. Where is vicodin? where is his pain, his doubts, his piano, his mother? back to basics means all of this.

  • The Other Barnett

    Barbara, first of all good review. I did not immediately tie the Foreman/Wilson thing into parenting, but insighftul of you to notice:)

    I am not sure if I agree with your view of House eventually going back to the brood nature. I wonder if this is a new House. Maybe he is not going back to his dark brooding nature. Cuddy is not there to enable him or to befuddle, bewitch and bewilder him. Wilson is choosing to be a friend, not a go-between or House-whisperer. 13’s dysfunctional but is not around to make such behavior look sexy. Maybe House is going to be mischevious and somewhat maverick in nature – but not burning in his own fires.

    I could hope, can’t I?

  • spitza

    44 @The Other Barnett

    Do you really think that House’s dark and brooding nature was all Cuddy’s fault?

    During this season somehow I constantly have a feeling that Shore does think that or rather wants us to think that.

    Well, I guess then I miss Cuddy even more because House’s dark and brooding nature was one of the main reasons I fell in love with the show.

  • Action Kate

    Am I the only one who noticed that the brand name of Wilson’s beer at the end was “Ambush Light”? Somebody in the prop department was having fun…

    Re Taub and the girls: Do Rachel and Ruby know about one another? I find it difficult to believe that two women in this situation would given their children the same name, or anything even remotely similar. (Also, Sophia/Sophie is Greek, which makes it a bit odd for a child of two Jewish parents. But then, “Christopher” is an odd name for a Jewish man, so it may be that the writers simply don’t care about heritage in that respect.)

    I give Taub full marks for trying to do the right thing by his daughters. Particularly since the expected outcome of the episode would be that Taub would see the biological father was a pedophile, and then draw the conclusion that biology doesn’t necessarily qualify one for parenting. Instead, he takes the opposite tack and clings even more tightly to his children — which, as a parent, I find realistic, and commendable.

    And no, the girls are not twins. They are half-sisters. Twins are born of the same mother from the same pregnancy. You can have half-twins, or semi-identical twins, if the egg splits before fertilization by sperm of two different fathers (or more easily, twins who are half-siblings, if the two men’s sperm fertilize two eggs), but it’s rare.

  • ann uk

    I can understand that House might be euphoric at getting out of gaol and getting his department back, but, as this episode hinted, House’s pain has much deeper roots than the breakup with Cuddy.His view of the world has always been dark and what he experienced as a child and what he sees around him every day confirms him in the conviction that he inhabits an amoral, random universe where ” people don’t get what they deserve, they get what they get “.

    I would like to explore his relationship with a mother who lied to him all his childhood and is still lying now.
    And how does he feel about the time in gaol , which subjected him to the same powerlessness and abuse he experienced as a child.
    And can he really totally forgive Wilson’s failure to visit him ?

    I think there is still a lot of darkness in House and I hope this episode is beginning to take us back to it.

  • BrokenLeg

    45 @ spitza

    Your words: “Well, I guess then I miss Cuddy even more because House’s dark and brooding nature was one of the main reasons I fell in love with the show.”

    THAT!! And I agree about this season’s DS stratagem

  • Earth Orbiter

    In what episode was it revealed that House was abused as a child? His father didn’t speak to him for one whole summer (3 months) because House accused him of not being his biological father. Big deal. At least his father didn’t beat the crap out of him. How many children have shouted in anger: “I wish you weren’t my father/mother”? Christ, MY dad didn’t speak to me for a freaking YEAR when I got married the first time. It doesn’t mean I was absued; it just means that, for a year, my dad was an asshole.

    Can we please drop the hyperbole for a change, ladies?

  • Beth

    @Earth Orbiter

    It’s not hyperbole at all. You seemed to have missed a few important bits of information that we were provided over the years about House’s relationship with his father. In addition to not talking to him over that summer, his father made him sleep outside when he was late for dinner and gave him ice baths when he misbehaved. Based on those things, and the fact that he was a hard ass Marine who insisted on his rules being followed, it is totally plausible that he also beat the crap out of him. The fact that House has a pattern of punishing himself by ticking off random men in bars so that they can beat him up seems to support the theory that he was physically abused by his father.

  • Earth Orbiter

    The “sleeping outside” and “ice baths” of which he spoke in the episode “One Day, One Room” were mentioned in the abstract. It was never clear whether it was his grandmother who did it to his father (which is most likely), or his father who did it to him. It was even intimated that the story might have been made up, since he was trying to get the girl to open up to him and was looking for a “trigger” of sorts (“everybody lies”). In addition, there is a code of honor and behavior in the Marine Corps (especially) and I just cannot see a high-ranking officer engaging in that type of activity. Somebody would have noticed and there would have been serious repercussions for the old man, hard-ass or not. Nor can I see House’s mother – who did not strike me as a particularly weak woman – allowing that kind of behavior.

    Finally, House gets the crap beat out of him in bars because he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else, but is actually just drunk enough and certainly stupid enough to try to prove that to the wrong “random men.”

    In short, as an adult, every time he’s had the shit kicked out of him, he’s deserved it. Please stop trying to excuse his behavior because of “abuse.” House is not one of the “good guys.” He is not righteous or virtuous, or someone to admire or respect. That is the point of David Shore’s “creation” and one which most of you have missed all of these years.

  • HouseMDFan

    @EarthOrbiter

    You don’t have your facts straight. House in “One Day One Room”: “Wasn’t my grandmother, but it was true. […] It was my dad.” Which comes right after Eve’s “It’s like you’re hurt, too.” I agree with you that I can’t see John House “beating the crap” out of his son, but I think the other things were made very clear in canon, the writers even talked about them. See also Birthmarks: “Because, if the test of a man is how he treats those he has power over, it was a test my father failed. This man you’re eager to pay homage to, he was incapable of admitting any point of view but his own. He punished failure, and he did not accept anything less than –”

    And no, House doesn’t get beaten in bars because he thinks he’s smarter, he does it to punish himself. FOR FAILURE.
    (Nolan: “You say that when you’ve been hit in the past, it’s because you provoked it with something that you said, which means you’re well aware of the risks. So on some level, you were in that bar looking for someone to hurt you. Logically, people punish themselves for something they did or something they didn’t do. So what… did you screw up?”)

    I agree that what his father did to him doesn’t exculpate him and that he does have a responsibility for his own actions, but to just dismiss it isn’t the right way to go either.

  • Earth Orbiter

    Sorry, but I don’t watch episodes over and over and over and over and over, ad nauseum. Just one viewing is usually (more than) enough for me. And from my point of view, you are looking for reasons to excuse his behavior.

    People are not born with a full set of manners neatly installed in their psyche; they are skills that are learned over time and we either accept or reject them. House has rejected all of those “niceties” and social skills that the rest of us rely on to NOT get our asses kicked. He’ll whip out a “please” or a “thank you” as a manipulative tool from time to time: an unpleasant means to a desired end. And, I’m very sorry; however, I don’t believe his behavioral choices have anything to do with whether or not his daddy was mean to him. That’s too trite and its definitely a cop out.

    Greg House is exactly the kind of man he wants to be. His intelligence, and the ego that is a result of that intelligence, simply will not allow him to behave in a way that other people expect. Until he is physically stopped from doing so, he is going to keep on tormenting everyone around him, because even though “society says” that his behavior is unacceptable, he simply does not hear the word “no.” His enormous (and enormously fragile) ego will not allow it. Its pure hirsutism, nothing more. And at this point in his life, its habitual.

    And your wrong: The only way to deal with a bully – and House is a bully if ever I’ve seen one – is to “dismiss” him. In the end, it really IS just that simple.

  • HouseMDFan

    Hirsutism? LOL
    I’ve always rather liked his stubble…

    Otherwise I’m done though. You should have said up front that you just wanted to place another rant against this despicable human being called Gregory House, I wouldn’t have bothered.

  • Maria-Eleni

    54-HouseMDFan

    Well said.You also saved me the trouble of commenting.

    53-Earth Orbiter

    One thing though. We do not try to excuse House’s behaviour. We try to explain it as we do not see him as a one-dimensional being as you do.

  • Earth Orbiter

    Sorry about that: HUBRIS! I was watching an old Star Trek film and, for some reason, I just realized my mistake. I’m an idiot. I also have two rambunctious Rottweilers who are shedding like crazy, so “hairy” is on my mind (and all over my house).

    Also: I happen to LIKE despicable. I hated House when he was just a big pussy as Cuddy’s boyfriend. Now he’s getting back to being the obnoxious, sociopathic, insufferable prick that we all find so fascinating.

    Your argument is not so weak that you should withdraw so early in the debate. You made some very good points, and just because I disagree does not mean you should give up now. Several months ago, Visitkarte and I had a long, lovely debate over an issue from which we both benefitted personally and philosophically; now we are staunch supporters of each other. Have the courage of your convictions, especially in the face of an “in-your-face” adversary such as myself, who will force you to defend those convictions.

  • HouseMDFan

    I’m not backing out because you disagree, I’m giving up because you are ignoring canon as well as what I actually said, are contradicting yourself and have a one-dimensional view of the character.

  • Beth

    @HouseMDFan
    “I agree that what his father did to him doesn’t exculpate him and that he does have a responsibility for his own actions, but to just dismiss it isn’t the right way to go either.”

    Exactly. By acknowledging that he was abused (even if he didn’t smack him around, making a child take ice baths is pretty cruel) doesn’t mean that his behavior is excusable. It simply provides insight into the character.

    @EarthObriter
    Just because you think that the code of conduct in the Marines would preclude a Marine from abusing his child doesn’t make it true. After all, I’m pretty sure there is a code of conduct in the Catholic Church that prohibits child sexual abuse and that didn’t stop countless priests from committing such abuse and destroying the lives of so many people. Nor did it stop those at the top of the Church hierarchy from covering it up. As for your father not talking to you for a year when you got married, you were an adult. Had he done that to you when you were a child, I suspect the effect would have been much greater and I don’t think you need to have a PhD in Child Psychology to understand that.

    “He is not righteous or virtuous, or someone to admire or respect.That is the point of David Shore’s “creation” and one which most of you have missed all of these years.”

    First, it seems that you, not “most of” us are the one who missed some important things over the years (e.g. that it was his father who did those things to him and that he punishes himself for failure and thinks he deserves that punishment in the form of a boot imprint on his arm). Second, whether DS intended it or not, a lot of viewers did see him as righteous and virtuous and someone to admire and respect despite the fact that he was a screwed up, misanthropic ass. That’s b/c he was a brilliant healer and teacher who exhibited many deep and real human traits that people across the world connected with. The precipitous drop in ratings this season is an indication that viewers saw (thanks to HL’s performance) much more than the one-dimensional character that they now see on their television screens–one who lacks righteousness, virtuosity, and who no longer commands admiration or respect. Perhaps all the loyal fans (including ‘most of’ us who comment here) who now see a hollow man who is a mere shadow of his former self were fools to have seen more and you are the only smart one among us. In that case, hats off to you. When the series ends, you, DS, and the handful of remaining viewers can clink you’re glasses in self-congratulation for being the only ones who ‘got it.’ But that won’t change the fact that the show is on it’s way to ending with a whimper not a bang and that the complex and fascinating character who used to ooze gravitas is now seen by so many as a buffoon in a horribly written and poorly planned parody.

    Finally, you say you don’t watch episodes more than once. How then can you write as if you know the show and the character better than others? We all miss things, that’s understandable. In the old days it was due to the rapid fire dialogue and odd references that were lost on viewers. If you’ve missed things however, don’t act like you know it all or diss the people who do know. This reminds me of something someone wrote in an earlier thread (think it was Ep. 2 of this season) about how wonderful House was to Cuddy because of all the gifts he gave her. They said that he gave her the desk, perfume, and beads from Thailand and that illustrated how amazing he was and what an ungrateful bitch she was for not appreciating those things. While he got her the desk and the perfume, he didn’t get her beads from Thailand and if he did, they were not the kind she would wear around her neck. That’s because ‘thai beads’ was a crude reference to anal sex (anal beads)–just one of the many subtle and not so subtle creative writing gems we were treated to last season like ‘tossed salad,’ ‘sunday brunch’ (check the urban dictionary for those if you are unfamiliar with them), and ‘hehe, my head is in your vagina.” So for those of us who got the joke (if you want to call it that), it was just another example of piss poor frat boy writing but for those who didn’t get it, it was a kind act of generous gift giving on House’s part. Point being, if you missed it or didn’t get it, don’t fault those of us who form opinions of the character and writers because we didn’t miss it and we did get it.

  • Earth Orbiter

    Beth, you are looking for redemption for an individual who neither wants it or thinks he needs it. You absolutely cannot assign characteristics to an individual who does not have them. All of your babble about anal beads and tossed salads aside (and just exactly WHERE the hell is YOUR head these days, and what does any of that have to do with the issue at hand?), the writers generally keep the motivation behind House’s actions deliberately vague, which leaves much open to interpretation. I am sorry that you do not see any depth or substance to the character this season. I do. In fact, I see an individual who is somewhat humbled and subdued by his past actions, and who is attempting to regain control of his environment in the same manner which he always had control, at least until Cuddy crushed his cookies. At no point did I contradict myself in that regard. House is still an ass, humbled or not and in spite of the consequences for his past actions. He can and will only behave in one way, because that is what he chooses to do, not because Daddy made him cry one summer. And even though I will concede that parents do shape their children, as adults, we chose our own behavior. House is too intelligent and too egomaniacal to allow such an emotional entanglement; it is counterintuitive to his pragmatic “solving the puzzle” dogma. That is my interpretation. And at no time did I “diss” anyone who disagreed with me; I’m an adult and believe in my position, and I do not feel as if I have to hurt another in order to make my point – something you clearly need to learn.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all, if you’ll forgive the irony.

  • Beth

    To condescend to and belittle is to ‘diss’ and that is what you did in your post directed at those who use the knowledge we have about House’s relationship with his father to try and understand why he is the way he is. You choose to ignore canon and tell others that choose not to that they are wrong. Again, how is that not dismissive? You also tend to begin and end your posts with variations of ‘I don’t understand why nobody but me gets this character’ which also is a bit condescending. I agree with you that the writers choose to leave the characters motivations unclear so that they are up for interpretation, but that’s different from saying that something that happened didn’t happen.

    My example of people not getting the crude, ridiculous, and offensive lines in Two Stories was meant to illustrate that things you miss or misinterpret or choose to ignore shape how you watch the show and understand the characters. I got all those crude references and it made me think a lot less of the writers and the general direction of the show. However, for another viewer who posts here, those references were lost and in fact one of them was used as evidence that House was a generous gift giver and Cuddy was evil incarnate. In this thread, you disregarded what House said his father did to him, completely missed his conversation with Nolan about punishing himself for screwing up, and then insist that your one-dimensional view of the character is the correct one and anybody who tries to analyze those early childhood events (e.g. ice baths, not talking to him) and adult actions (getting his ass kicked in bars, bullying–and btw, most bullies have been bullied themselves, often by a father or older sibling) are silly for doing so. One has to ask then, why were those tidbits provided to us at all? Just to mess with our heads? Given the copious pages of comments they provoked on House fan forums worldwide, I suppose it worked. It’s expected that die-hard viewers (especially those who ship–not saying you do b/c I have no idea) will choose the parts of canon they want to hold dear and parts they want to pretend don’t exist, but it’s a whole other story when the show’s creator and writers do it. No audience wants to be condescended too and that is exactly what they are doing right now. It saddens me to say it, but IMO TPTB have lost touch with canon, their characters’ histories, and a giant chunk of their fans. I’ve watched a lot of tv and never before did a show or character resonate with me the way House did. It’s utterly depressing to see where the show is right now (ratings, enthusiasm–only 58 comments here, a week after the episode aired and crickets chirping on so many other House fansites) and to see them continue to ignore opportunities to explore the character further. And while we may disagree about the quality of the show right now, it appears I’m not alone in thinking that things have gone terribly awry.

    And an ironic Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  • smk46

    beth: i wholly concur with you about your assessment of the show, house’s character, and the current state of the writing.

    earth orbiter: people would be more inclined to discuss things with you if you were politer.

  • BrokenLeg

    60 @ Beth

    “…but IMO TPTB have lost touch with canon, their characters’ histories, and a giant chunk of their fans. I’ve watched a lot of tv and never before did a show or character resonate with me the way House did. It’s utterly depressing to see where the show is right now (ratings, enthusiasm–only 58 comments here, a week after the episode aired and crickets chirping on so many other House fansites) and to see them continue to ignore opportunities to explore the character further. And while we may disagree about the quality of the show right now, it appears I’m not alone in thinking that things have gone terribly awry.”

    THAT! And you’re not alone.

  • Oversimplified

    @ 38 HouseMDFan

    The reason I used the word ‘fluff’ is because although you’ve detailed the foray into the various ethical issues this season, there’s a disparity between how that looks on paper and how it’s actually been realised. A good example was in ‘Risky Business’ when on an incredibly superficial level it seemed a good thing that House was engaging in insider trading to get his department up and running at full tilt again, and that he’d recouped extra money in general for the hospital. On the surface lives could be saved, right? In actual fact if you looked at the thing logically, the thousands of people who’d lost their jobs and the financial impact this would have on their families would mean that many would be unable to afford healthcare, thus putting a further strain on the clinic. Not only was what he did ethically and morally dubious, but what some people argued was a benevolent angle to his behaviour was also illogical. Once upon a time they would have picked this up possibly through Cuddy or Wilson, but often they’re leaving the once thorough thought process unfinished and tying too neat a bow round the resolution to each case. It’s not enough to say we’re tackling the ethical issues surrounding social taboos such as corporate greed or molestation if you do it half-heartedly. In fact you might as well not bother at all, as you can do more harm than good. This is my problem with the way they’re romanticising violent acts at the moment. By all means don’t exclude it from the mix altogether, sadly it’s part of human interaction, but at the same time don’t show it to be something glamorous or worse still comedic. As anybody who’s either experienced it first or even second-hand in real life knows, it’s ugly and has lasting physical and/or psychological effects on the victim and even perhaps the abuser. This is another reason why when they ignore this they leave themselves open to accusations that they’re writing fluff, or taking a sit-com approach to characterisation instead of a dramatic one. It’s not a question of content, but execution.

    @ 60 Beth
    Everything you said is spot on, and I’m glad you laboured the point about how in the past the writers have laid out quite plainly how his upbringing has shaped who he is, whereas now they appear to be dismissing any analysis as ‘romanticisation’. We learnt that his biological father is obviously a highly intelligent man, and almost certainly the genetic source of his IQ, but at the same time they couldn’t have a more different outlook on life. More much important is the influence that the man who brought him up has had on the man he’s become. I think it’s in ‘Son of a Coma Guy’ where Wilson asks him what’s the one thing he wishes his Dad would say to him and he replies, “You were right”. That is the crux of who he is, and why he veers towards the pursuit of empirical knowledge which has definitive answers: he’s seeking validation. It also helps explain why he’s so uncomfortable and ill-equipped to deal with the emotional which is unquantifiable. That’s not to say he has no choice in how he acts towards those surrounding him however. He does and the more he finds out about himself through general life experience, introspection and input from other people and fails to act on that information and make changes, the bigger the hypocrite he becomes. Let’s not forget the number of times he’s lectured either a patient, Cuddy/Wilson or one of the ducklings about their passivity to a situation, and yet in his fatalistic approach to his own private life “People don’t get what they deserve. They get what they get”, thus relieving him of any responsibility. House manages to simultaneously be a genius and an utter idiot. I used to think this was a result of the writers constructing an interestingly conflicted character, but their failure to let him evolve and learn from his mistakes is actually resulting in them effectively strangling their own baby.

  • RobRow

    I didn’t really like this episode that much. The eureka moment at the end was far too rushed, and I felt that after a man, who had molested his child, had plucked up the courage to see him and possibly save him, he deserved some kind of contact. The mother’s anger was completely understandable, but there was nobody to question it. I agree it’s an impossible situation, but it was raising the issue of child molestation without really dealing with it. Also, it was typical of Taub to dress up self-centred behaviour as some kind of ‘deeper bond’ of fatherhood. If he really gave a damn about his daughter the best thing he could do would be to let her go off to Oregon. But I suppose that’s being in character, and the writers know more than I do. I find his behaviour so annoying though; and – unlike House – he never makes me question my own prejudices.

  • SwedishHouseFan

    I agree on all points with Joan.
    The series lack both emotion and soul, and the producers/writers have decided to rely on jokes, forgetting the potential the central character has.
    It should have ended two seasons ago – when still on top, I think – and Hugh Laurie could have tried his hands on other roles, which would be more exciting.

    House has become a parody of himself.
    A perfect House episode, according to me, is one that neatly weave together the case and the central character’s story arc, a couple of jokes (but not for the sake of joking) and a interesting/poignant theme that runs through the episode.

  • steve smith

    in the end, foreman and house were at the game
    how did foreman get the ticket?