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TV Review: House, M.D. – “Small Sacrifices”

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Belief in God is an oft-revisited theme for House, M.D. and its atheist anti-hero (played with grace and depth by Hugh Laurie). From nuns and disillusioned priests to faith healers and the nature of miracles, the series has skewered religious hypocrisy and ritual, but has also asked some interesting questions about the nature of God and belief along the way.

“Small Sacrifices” features a fairly straightforward medical case to frame the real story of the episode, which explores the nature of relationships: mortal and divine. What’s required to make a relationship work—and what’s not? One of those relationships is with God.

This week’s patient Ramon Silva (Kuno Becker) had long ago made a deal with God. He prayed that if his daughter, afflicted with glioblastoma—a terminal cancer, would be spared, he would each year pay for her life by nailing himself to the cross (literally) in homage. It’s a gruesome price to pay (and would God, if God exists, require such a harsh payment?).

But now Silva is dying and the only thing, seemingly, that will cure his condition is by using embryonic stem cells, something our patient believes would violate God’s laws. “Accepting this treatment will be affront to God,” he insists.

I have always been taught that we as human (and even more so as parents) are God’s partners here on earth. So the patient believes God would want him to leave his child without a father (after she has already suffered so much) rather than undergo a stem cell transplant to save his (and possibly her) life strikes me as an essential misunderstanding of God, so often at the core of religious extremism. And, as his daughter says, who would want to believe in such a cruel God who requires annual punishment and even the life of a father as payment for saving the life of his child?

Compare Silva, for example, to the season four patient Roz in “Don’t Ever Change.” Roz and her husband are deeply religious people steeped in tradition and ritual. Yet, they are not extremists. Life is sacred, and even violating God’s critical command regarding Sabbath (something very important to the patient and her husband) is trumped if it means saving Roz’s life.

But Silva’s annual crucifixion and potential martyrdom portray just the sort of religious extremism that House loves to mock, and he does so freely (and pretty harshly). He eventually tricks Silva into the procedure by “proving” to him that his daughter was never actually freed of the glioblastoma: hence God never cured her. House shatters the man’s faith to the point where he is willing to let House do whatever is necessary.  It saves Silva’s life—and very likely his daughter’s faith.

The daughter begs her father not to die this way(. How can Silva know God is not talking through her: that her pleas aren’t God’s? How does Silva know God hasn’t sent House to him to save his life; or that those who invented embryonic stem cell procedures aren’t weren’t inspired by God?

By allowing himself to die rather than be treated, Silva is essentially committing suicide, and I wonder what God would think about that? He would also be murdering his daughter’s spirit, and likely her faith. She wonders through her tears how anyone could believe in a God so cruel and heartless preferring her father kill himself rather than stay alive to raise her. “If God could do this, I hate God,”

But Silva’s faith reaches a crisis point when House tells him that his daughter’s cancer was never really cured. Silva bails on God, feeling betrayed for his sacrifice. His simple faith is insecure, a quid pro quo needing to be hammered home each year (so to speak), but easily broken.

His refusal to allow the stem cell treatment has nothing to do with his bargain—only with his own belief that embryonic stem cell treatment is abhorrent to God. Yet, when he understands that his daughter still has cancer—that God did not live up to his expectations, Silva quickly gives up on his beliefs. Yet, when House shows him that his daughter’s cancer really is in remission, Silva proclaims that God is merciful in spite of it all, his faith renewed.

As is often the case, the patient reflects on the other story threads in the episode. “Small Sacrifices” examines crises of faith in several other relationships: Taub (Peter Jacobson) and Rachel (Jennifer Crystal), Sam (Cynthia Watros) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), and House and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). I love the contrast of relationships portrayed in David Hoselton’s densely packed script. The three couples, and even House and Masters (Amber Tamblyn) all grapple with the equilibrium between honesty and causing pain; between too little truth—and too much. Faith in your partner, faith in God, faith in knowing you’re doing the right thing are all in play along with the “small sacrifices” we all must make to keep relationships alive and working.

Three episodes ago, House lied to Cuddy to save a patient’s life. House lies all the time; Cuddy knows he lies, and she also knows his lies are usually in the best interests of his patient. She goes along with his lies. She even respects that he does it for the reasons he does. When House lies to her in “Small Sacrifices” she barely blinks an eye, although the lie included forging her signature. Yet, three weeks later she is still angry about a lie told to save the life of a patient. Why?

She is upset because had been dishonest with her about the lie. Convoluted? Perhaps. Yet, it makes some sense. The fact that House assured her that he was being honest when he wasn’t shows her personal disrespect. There is no medical reason for the lie; no life to be saved. The nature of it hurts her in a way that his usual lying never would. House does not understand this completely irrational, yet completely believable truthiness dichotomy Cuddy has staked out. She has insisted that House apologize, and until that, House metaphorically sleeps on the couch. I use that term with good reason.

They have not walked away (or even stepped back) from their relationship. This is an argument—not a breakup. She still insists that he escort her to a wedding (and rehearsal dinner), and he does so willingly. He doesn’t try to manipulate it to meet an ends. It’s very matter of fact. As they get ready for the dinner—and while they’re arguing—House does up her dress without missing a beat; he holds her purse. She expects it and doesn’t even have to ask, like a long married couple having a tiff. (I’m completely reminded of a similar pre-dinner scene in Hugh Laurie’s 1993 movie Peter’s Friends when he zips Imelda Staunton’s dress mid-argument.) It’s a “couple” thing to do.

What I find wonderful and so notable about this is that it’s so normal. As much as House and Cuddy are feeling their way through this particular minefield, there is no sense of impending break up; no stalking off; no unwillingness to work it out. House is trying (in his own inept way) to make it better. It’s completely true to character that he’s not.

The argument is a different matter altogether. House endeavors to play a game of moral relativism with Cuddy, trying to trap her in a lie that would make them “even-Steven;” he fails over and over. There is no moral equivalence to be found. Until. Until he finds just the right way to prove his point and only succeeds in hurting her. He wins, catching her in a lie she’s told him; but it backfires completely. He has unearthed something profoundly personal and secret that it clearly upsets her to have to reveal the truth of it.

In the meantime, Wilson has decided to propose to Sam and re-marry her. This comes in the midst of a clinical review of Sam’s treatment records. While helping Sam by doing a pre-review, Wilson discovers that she’s made dosing errors in radiation treatment of terminal patients. House also observes the errors in her records. But House postulates that her errors aren’t really errors, just intentionally made dose adjustments, going outside the bounds of normal practice to help the patient. It’s something certainly that House would do; so why not Sam?

Whether House believes it or not (I don’t know that he thinks of Sam as that risk-taking in her practice), Wilson sees an out. And (of course) he has to say something to her in a wink-wink, nod-nod sort of way, casting her actions as noble and showing him even more why he loves, admires and respects her.

But Sam has no idea what Wilson is talking about and resents that he doesn’t believe her—have faith in her—when she tells him her dosing is completely correct. Her faith in him is shattered because she believes he doesn’t trust her. They argue and Sam leaves rather than stay and work it out. Is she just in shock that Wilson has proposed? Is she being scared off of repeating the mistakes of the past? And Wilson doesn’t stop her, saying nothing to heal the rift. Their relationship is fractured; the basis for the relationship isn’t firm enough to withstand the crisis. (Of course we don’t yet know whether this is it for Wilson and Sam, but I’m guessing that’s the last we’ll see of her. 

Rachel and Taub, who seem forever confronting the demons of their marriage are once again facing a crisis when “the chickens come home to roost.” Rachel has made an online friend in a support group for people with unfaithful spouses. As Chase calls it: irony. Insisting that Rachel’s friendship and support from a man she has never met (and most likely won’t) is the moral equivalent of having an affair, Taub wants her to stop in the same way she has insisted he not have dalliances. It’s not quite the same, she argues, refusing to end the relationship. But is she right? Should Taub trust her that this is not and emotional love affair? Or should she trust that Taub has ended his straying for good?

“I thought she’d forgive me…all those hurt feelings never went away.” But it’s not about him; it’s about her—and the demands of self-respect: faith in yourself. House of course uses Taub’s declaration to understand his patient through a different lens by making Silva’s dilemma about the daughter and not about Silva. But it could be equally applied to House’s argument with Cuddy. It’s not about his lie; it’s about her: what she needs and wants.

But when you have two people each believing so much in their own position, you end up with an intransigent battle. No one will budge until someone takes a risk that they might be wrong. Faith isn’t a winnable argument, House finally realizes as he is the first to blink.

“I was an idiot,” he confesses to Cuddy. He tells her that at some point he has to try to work through his natural cynicism and his trust issues and “take a leap of faith” that he can be honest with her without destroying what they have. “I’m sorry.” But he follows this up with a considered promise: “I’ll never lie to you again.” Now, we all know it’s absurd to think House will “never” lie to Cuddy again. Even Cuddy must know that. And when House tells Wilson that he lied to Cuddy to end the argument, Wilson is happy that he did.

But what is the lie? House never says. Is he lying when he promises to try overcoming his cynicism and trust issues? Or is he lying only about the final promise (and in my opinion an unnecessary promise)? I think he is being completely sincere all the way up to the moment he promises he’ll never again lie to her. On the other hand, House’s entire worldview is being challenged. “Everybody lies.” “People don’t change.”

House’s trust issues probably go back to his childhood, reinforced by his relationship with Cuddy. If everybody lies, then trust is a fairy tale. House is absolved from honesty and trust if it’s normative behavior. “It’s time for me to take a leap of faith,” House promises. And for him, it’s a leap across a canyon taken with a disabled right thigh. It’s a long shot. But he’s willing to try, even if the first step is taken with a lie.

Completely shallow notes: Hugh Laurie is delicious as House in a tux being James Bond in a perfect impression. (And Robert Sean Leonard is hysterically proving once again how hopeless Wilson is with accents.) I also loved that Cuddy immediately knows what House is up to when he dresses for the rehearsal dinner in Wilson-esque attire. She doesn’t like this faux-House; it’s not him. To me, it’s a signal that, as much as she wants his apology for his “Office Politics” lie, she really doesn’t want House to change.

House, M.D. is on hiatus until mid January. I will continue filing House-related stories during the hiatus, including my exclusive interview with House’s newest cast member Amber Tamblyn. I spoke with her by phone yesterday and I should have the interview up early next week. 

For those of you in the Detroit area, I will be appearing on the Detroit FOX affiliate’s morning show December 13 to talk all things House. And if you’re in the Chicago area, stop by and say “hi” at Something’s Brewing in Grayslake on December 2 during lunch, where I’m doing a book signing. 

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About Barbara Barnett

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

    Personally, this was one of the worst episodes of House I’ve ever watched. There was no chemistry between any of the characters and the medical mystery was not interesting. After last week’s exciting episode, I was really disappointed. I hope they can do better next time.

  • Janine

    After the whole Amazon fiasco, I read a lot of comments about the episode and was suprised to see that so many people loathed this episode. Thus, when I went into the viewing, I had very low expectations, but I really liked this episode a lot. I love when House takes on religion and thought the way things happened between House and Cuddy was perfect in a Housian way. I even liked the Taub story (which I usually don’t) perhaps because it was woven so well into the other stories. I wonder how the dynamic is going to chang now that House is in a relationship and Wilson is not? I just wish we didn’t have to wait until January for the next episode (although there is a sneak peak up on spoilertv.com already!)

  • Zay

    I’m astonished. People didn’t like this episode? I left it whooping, excited that we finally got an episode I could watch three times and not get tired of. But that’s just me.

    Sadly, I have little additional analysis to offer. I enjoyed the interwoven themes – Barbara, you either steal the words out of my mouth or make the ones in my head sound better than they would out of my mouth – and was hooked from beginning to end. Desperately going to miss the show while it’s on hiatus, but this was a good place to pause, reevaluate.

    So…yay House! 🙂

  • Andrea

    Watching the episode, I had to wonder if they were setting up the big break-up scene between House and Cuddy for sometime next spring. House lied to Cuddy that he wouldn’t lie again and in a few more episodes he’ll inevitably lie to her again, probably about something personal, and everything could hit the fan. The general atmosphere of this episode was pretty cynical and acid. The music playing: “Shark in the Water” and “Love Rollercoaster” and Jude’s “I Know” add to that atmosphere. I looked up the lyrics to “I Know,” the song playing at the end of the episode and you could probably read it different ways. The verse playing while House is waiting for Cuddy: “I know there’s nowhere you can hide it/I know the feeling of alone/Trust me and don’t keep that on the inside/Soon you’ll be locked out on your own.” So House will be locked out on his own and it will be of his own doing because he can’t trust? The whole song is a meditation on trust issues with lines like “Your best friend is life, not your mirror” and assurances that the man in the song isn’t alone.

    I think House spent most of the episode trying to make Cuddy see how unpalatable she’d find the unvarnished truth, which wasn’t working for him. The white lie was probably the best way to end it. He’s not sorry for the original lie but he ought to be sorry for having hurt her and I think he was when he saw her reaction to his unearthing her six day marriage. But, as always this season, their problem is communication. If I were writing it, I think it could be made to work, but I wonder if the writers have it in their heads that the relationship must inevitably fail.

    As for Wilson and Sam … I think Sam was Wilson’s rebound relationship after Amber and he fell back into old patterns. Sam is apparently just a really lousy radiologist who didn’t realize she’d made all those dosing errors. Wilson assumed she was smarter than she really was and as willing to bend the rules as he is. Maybe she was getting fired from the hospital for incompetence and decided it would be a good time to end a relationship that wasn’t working too. Wilson is more angry and frustrated than devastated, his usual pattern after one of his wives has left him. I don’t think his feelings ran that deep or vice versa or he’d be a lot more destroyed by it all. I also think it’s time the Taubs headed for divorce court. Their marriage is now more about spying on each other and punishing each other than loving one another.

    The patient of the week was unbalanced and his bodily mortifications excessive, as most Catholic priests would tell him. On the other hand, it’s House’s fault he was treated with stem cells, not the patient’s, since the patient didn’t know or choose the immoral treatment. House took it out of his hands. It’s interesting here that POTW equates House with the devil who tempted him.

  • Janine

    yea a lot of people hatedthe ep and hated that it ended in a bittersweet way insted of with House and Cuddy “in love” and all over each other. A lot of people also harped on the “Cuddy was married” thing but I really didn’t see that as a big deal. The way they were talking about it, you would think that was what the whole episode was about. Agree good place to pause for a break, although I would rather they never pause at all 🙂

  • 54

    In all of the House episodes that dealt with religion/faith, I thought this was the weakest one. Personally, I think “Unfaithful” in Season 5 is an absolutely fantastic episode.

    While I like the subtle, naturalness of House and Cuddy’s interactions and was fine with how the writers handled the whole trust/promise issue between them (thank goodness…can we move on now and let that be an underlying theme instead of bludgeoning us with it?) I was bothered by a “cookie-cutter” sense of the whole episode.
    Okay. The show is about trust in relationships. Let’s examine the relationships of all the coupled pairings in the show.
    Okay. It’s a House world view vs. religious view case. Let’s obviously state emphatically what House believes versus what a religious person believes without approaching the issue in a way that has not been approached on the show before. The whole set-up seemed too boxed-in to me.

    Other than that, though, I thought the writers did a good job with developing the characters’ personalities on the show (Foreman, Taub, Chase, Rachel were great.), and it was definitely teasingly interesting to see how House and Cuddy interact with each other as a couple during a disagreement.

    I love the show so much so I hate to end on a negative note, but the whole Wilson-Sam thing just made no sense! Unexpected turns on the show have always been surprising but so interesting because they somehow made sense, but IMO the suddenness of the Wilson-Sam thing doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  • hwl40

    Jeez, Louise, Barbara, thanks for that review. Prior to reading it, I had no clue about that episode and was, as ignorant folks sometimes are, mightily disappointed. Now I can’t wait to see it again. You are such a gift!

  • 54

    On an additional note, I must say House looked absolutely gorgeous throughout the whole episode, and Cuddy was really stunning in that dress!
    I also noticed that, in the latter half of the episode, House didn’t wear a t-shirt under his dress shirts like he normally does. That was also good 🙂 Could this wardrobe change symbolize anything or am I just overnanalyzing? Maybe they’re just looking for more awesome t-shirts? 😉

  • This episode was hated? Really? I thought it was fabulous! These terrific debates once again added to the study of these wonderful characters in a compelling and entertaining way. It’s a thinking person’s episode as it’s a thinking person’s show.

    Barbara: In a totally ‘Housian’ way, I saw House’s efforts to challenge Cuddy’s argument as a commitment he has to his relationship with her; it’s important to him and he is serious about it. With regard to House’s exchange with Wilson and why he was late, I always enjoy when House reveals the extent to which he studies Wilson and Cuddy. This is not just his extraordinary observational skills at work- it’s a passionate study (at times somewhat creepy) – but a commitment of friendship that is important to him and his compulsive study of them is House’s version of caring and looking out for them. What do you think, Barbara, am I reading too much into this?

  • ruthinor

    I got the feeling that the Wilson-Sam relationship didn’t break up over the medical charts. I think Sam was spooked by the proposal and having married him once and failed, she just wanted to sail along w/o commitment for a while (perhaps forever). And Wilson didn’t seem all that distraught with her leaving. Frankly, neither was I. I preferred the Wilson-Amber duo. He really met his match there and I miss her presence.

    I agree with Barbara that there’s no way Cuddy actually believes that he’ll never lie to her again. She knows he will lie, the question is, about what? Some things are more important than others. If he lies about a patient but then confesses to her later, she’s OK with that. If she catches him in a lie and he won’t fess up, or if it’s about a personal issue, she will have more problems with that.

    I agree with 54 that “Unfaithful” was much better from the religion point of view. I think that was because the priest in that episode was so intelligent that House respected him in spite of his religious views. He was also a better actor than the POW in “Small Sacrifices”, who was portrayed as an idiot extremist, at least IMO.

    One question…If Cuddy was married in 1987, she would have been 19-20 yrs old and still presumably a student at Michigan. Does she still retain her residential status in NJ although she lives in Michigan?

  • CarolynP

    Barbara of all your reviews (I have read) this one is my personal favourite, I think you absolutely nailed it : )

    Short comment as i don’t have time but I personally really enjoyed the episode, loved how the theme played between each of the characters throughout and even though we all know House will lie to Cuddy again, I think he showed real emotional growth of character by swallowing his pride and apologising to her and i think he will think long and hard before he does it again.

    I think Cuddy would have been satisfied with just the apology because she knows lying is a part of who he is and he will lie to her in the future (for the greater good.
    Her sincere thank you after his speech about trust and taking a “leap of faith” was not her buying into his “I will never lie to you again” (she knows him too well to know he won’t) it was her being proud that he had acknowledged that he had hurt her and is at least trying to change for her.

  • One more thought. Barbara, I love your examples of House and Cuddy as a ‘long married couple’. I have argued the same thing with friends who worry their relationship will ruin the show. Nonsense! They’ve been a couple for years! That’s a huge part of what makes this show so much fun to watch…and addictive…how am I going to last until January? Barbara, thank you in advance for the articles to keep us occupied throughout the hiatus! 🙂

  • Excellent article, as always! I should have known better than to tackle the same one, especially publishing the same night. 🙂

    Additionally, I had an idea for an article you might write during the hiatus. You articles are extremely well thought out and detailed, with lots of supporting evidence for the points you make. Keeping it so clinical, your own opinion of what you like or don’t like doesn’t always come through.

    I respect very much the way you write, and am not suggesting you change it. However, since there’s so much time before your next review, would you consider doing an opinion piece outlining the season so far, what you personally loved, didn’t like so much, would have liked to have seen different, and what you think / hope might be next for the characters? I think your fans would love that kind of insight as much as they enjoy your awesome reviews.

  • And when I say “your fans”, I am of course including myself, and suggesting something I am interested in seeing. 🙂

  • Jerome–Have you been reading my mind? Exactly what I plan on doing in the next several weeks. I plan on watching the season again and doing strictly an opinion piece. What I like; what I don’t and what I see for each of the characters in the coming months.

    I totally enjoyed your take as well!

  • New Fan

    I felt there were too many side stories going and none of them were developed very well. I understand that House isn’t religious however do they have to do a religious themed episode every season? The POW wasn’t convincing in that he really believed all that he said and so I was waiting on him to cave and take the treatment.

    I didn’t like the Sam/Wilson relationship however I think the writers ended it badly. In addition, it seems like the end of the House/Cuddy relationship is being introduced with all this trust issues.

  • “I thought she’d forgive me…all those hurt feelings never went away.”

    Maybe Taub’s statement made House realize that an apology to Cuddy was long overdue. Maybe that is what House was apologizing for???

  • RobF

    Well. Men are stupid, I must say. Even the smart ones do some jaw-droppingly stupid things. In this episode, House seems to think that catching Cuddy hiding something profoundly painful would balance out his self-serving lie. And Wilson seemed to think that Sam would be thrilled if he caught her lying about something and then magnanimously forgave her for it — despite the fact that she had left him because of his desire to be the perfect martyr, forgiving her for everything.

    Neither Cuddy nor Sam was willing to settle for anything less than an adult relationship between equals. Cuddy was not going to accept House treating her like mean mommy who must be lied to by a little boy if he wants to get away with something. Sam is not going to tolerate being treated like a wayward child whose many weaknesses and transgressions require a strong and tolerant father.

    As for the religious plotline, I thought it was really well done. We’ve gotten used to seeing House berate the religious, so it was good they got that out of the way as quickly as possible. Coming only a few days after Eid al-Adha (the festival commemorating Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son’s life, as well as his son’s willingness to die, in order to obey God’s word), we see a man who is willing to sacrifice his body and then his own life to follow God. In the end, House tricks him into thinking God has failed him, and he (like Jesus on the cross) has a moment of weakness, believing himself forsaken.

    The really interesting twist was the way House reacted to this man’s faith. We have always seen House’s point-of-view presented as reason in contrast to ignorant superstition. But there’s another way to look at faith, which is where they went with this one. Kierkegaard described reason as being the second step in a person’s development, but then described how a man of reason can find himself at the boundary of reason, unable to go any further without leaving reason behind and embracing something beyond reason. This concept is usually termed “a leap of faith”, which is what House says he is doing by deciding to trust Cuddy. He can’t reason himself into trusting her, but he knows he needs to do so. All that’s left for him is to make a leap of faith.

    He tells Wilson he was lying, but the reality is somewhere in between. House will know that he has greatly raised the stakes by promising not to lie, and the relationship probably depends on him choosing to trust Cuddy even when he thinks he can get away with a lie. He must know that, if he betrays her, Cuddy won’t be any more able to forgive him than Rachel could forgive Taub.

  • rrennie

    Hi, everyone! I am hoping someone can help me wrap my head around something – basically, the relationship arc of the last three episodes. Barbara explains, “[Cuddy] is upset because had been dishonest with her about the lie. Convoluted? Perhaps. Yet, it makes some sense. The fact that House assured her that he was being honest when he wasn’t shows her personal disrespect. There is no medical reason for the lie; no life to be saved. The nature of it hurts her in a way that his usual lying never would. House does not understand this completely irrational, yet completely believable truthiness dichotomy Cuddy has staked out.”

    I have been trying and trying, but I cannot understand some nuance of this. How was House supposed to tell Cudy he was lying as he was getting her approval with the lie? It seems impossible! Was he supposed to tell her later? What is it, exactly, that Cuddy wanted? It feels like such an unclear issue to take such a long stand about.

  • Janine

    Yea its totally possible that even thought Cuddy was at college she could have maintained her NJ residential status. We also don’t know what time of year she was married, so it could have been a vacation or something and she could have been married in NJ. Also, she may have simply filed for divorce in NJ because that is where her (or her parents?) lawyers were.
    Cuddy would have wanted House to admit to the lie after the patient had been cured rather than go along with her when she said he had made improvements.

  • RobF I always enjoy reading your comments and this one was a delight! If Kierkegaard
    described reason as the second step of a person’s development, what is the first step? Could you explain further so I can better understand the comparison you’re drawing. I loved reading your analysis.

  • CarolynP


    In “Office politics” i was team House because i couldn’t believe she would be so naive to think he wouldn’t lie to save his patient when she knows he would do anything to do so and i couldn’t understand her anger/annoyance that he had done that since she knows him so well.

    In “A pox on our House” I’m still thinking he is in the right and only did it to save his patient so what does Cuddy want from him?. It is established in the episode that she wants an apology, not for him lying to save the patient but that he lied to her after he had done so why do it then when the case is already solved. House cannot understand that yet and thinks it is still about her being angry about him lying to save the patient.

    In “Small Sacrifices” in their first scene he cannot understand that she is still pissed and demanding an apology when he believes what he did was right, he was right. As the episode continues however in him trying to prove she lies, he hits a raw nerve with her (her early wedding)and he realises he has gone too far and finally apologises to her. The apology was all she asked for, she didn’t ask for the taking the leap of faith thing and the i will never lie to you again (which i am sure she doesn’t believe anyway) she got what she asked for from him and that was the apology though i think she was impressed with him opening up a little with the other stuff as it proved to her that he is trying.

  • Sera G

    Bravo, Barbara, again!
    You amaze me with your insights, articulate writing and ability to find just the right notes to pull from each episode.
    Others commented so profoundly, I will be purely superficial:
    * I am glad the arguement between House/Cuddy is settled. She does not expect him to never lie in service to a patient, that is him. She expects that he will tell her about it later. I was quite proud of House. That showed so much growth. Even if he lied when saying he wouldn’t lie; House realized that he truly hurt Cuddy and the small sacrifice of his apology was worth it.
    * I loved the dress zipping scene. So right, Barbara; domestic and natural.
    I also loved that he is still capitvated by her physically.
    *Lisa E. is gorgeous and she looked amazing in that red dress.
    *The four disappointed men at the bar was hilarious. None of them had the evening they expected.
    *I must agree with those who felt the Wilson/Sam breakup seemed to come out of no-where. (It reminded me of Chase/Cameron) Are people really willing to walk away from someone they love with no attempts to talk it out, scream about it if necessary and at least show some sorrow that it is ending? Is this so that Wilson will now be the lonely guy who intrudes and looks to the now ‘happy’ House for companionship? That might be amusing, if they do not drag it on forever.
    Wilson is an adapter. I can’t see him alone for along. Amber’s death really devasted him beacause, imo, she is the only woman her really respected and loved.
    *One quibble, if House knew Cuddy her first week at school, wouldn’t he know how old she is? Unless he assumed she was older, as her classes were more advanced, or she lied about her age to him. What do you think? I know that is trivial and they have always played freely with time and her age. (Cuddy tells Stacy she was 32 when appointed Dean, Vogler says House has worked for her for 8 years(S1). That would make her 47 now! I just think it is silly that they fluctuate on that detail.
    *I enjoyed this episode, sorry to hear that there was discontent ‘out there.’
    *Looking forward to Barbara’s columns as I need something besides repeated viewings of Season 7 to get me through. I think this has been a very strong season so far.
    TPTB are doing a fine, fine job with the House/Cuddy relationship IMO.

  • rrennie

    Thank @Janine. I mean I understand that, literally. My questions were more, philosphical I guess. It seems like a ludicrous expectation on Cuddy’s part to me and I feel like most people don’t think so, so I am having trouble understand that POV. But I guess I am out to lunch on this one because it has been pestering me for three weeks, but noone else. I just think Cuddy made a mountain out of a molehill.

  • Heather

    A few thoughts/points:

    1) I didn’t understand the nature of the POTW’s dilemma. So she has an incurable cancer that House “proves” never left the patient’s daughter, but she is having no symptoms from it? Sounds like a miracle to me! Instead, he takes it as proof that God reneged on the deal. She appears completely unaffected by the “cancer” that previously doctors said would kill her in a matter of months…so why does this shake his faith to its foundations? It doesn’t make much sense to me (I was shouting at the TV as House’s lie was being spun.)

    2) House seems WAY too emotionally invested in proving patients who believe in God wrong for me to treat him credibly as an atheist. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference (or so wiser people than me have said.) He doesn’t just seek to get them to put aside their faith to get the medical treatment they need, he gleefully seeks to show them just how illogical/irrational their faith is. If you’re that emotionally invested in proving that God doesn’t exist, that raises the question as to why you might be doing so. Personally, I think he actually hopes that someone will make him an argument that he “buys” (similar to how I think he argues so vociferously with Masters and her code of ethics not because he disagrees with it, but because he hopes she makes an argument he can’t disagree with.) Perhaps I have made that point clumsily, but I think House seems to be an idealist/believer who got burned and thus turned to his jaded, logic driven ennui not out of true belief but out of pain.

    3) Half baked idea alert, but maybe the reason Wilson didn’t press harder for his relationship with Sam’s continuance….confronted by evidence that she was not a selfless maverick who broke the rules to try to save terminal patients, but instead an incompetent doctor, he realized he couldn’t respect her. He thought she was one thing, worthy of his respect, but instead she was another, worthy of his disdain. If she was in fact the latter, was that relationship worth saving? I say no, and I say he realized that.

  • What better episode for Cuddy to force House to tell her the ultimate lie (that he is worthy or her faith) than in a wedding episode (wedding = seven levels of hypocrisy). House defines himself as one whose unshakeable faith is that there’s nothing worthy of it. But House shouldn’t hate his act of hypocrisy, the betrayal of his ‘faith’ for Cuddy. By committing it he proved, as the patient did, that love trumps faith. The patient’s highest priority was always his daughter, not his faith. He feared if he weakened in his faith his daughter would die of cancer. Is House beginning to believe in love? The greatest thing you’ll ever learn…

    House ‘develops’ like a crab moves, sideways. Is this the Houseian approach to love and possible faith in himself and Cuddy? The first sideways shift has begun in his comfort zone with a lie. But it’s still risky territory for a self-hater like House.

  • Jaim

    I didn’t care for the episode. I felt that the interactions were off and the religious storyline lacked depth. Also I am really tired of the Chase is a slut storyline. I feel like Chase, Foreman, and Taub have become somewhat one-dimensional. I wish we could see these characters show more emotional depth and awareness, as they once did.

    I may be alone in this, but I was sad by the Sam/Wilson break up. I really liked them together and thought the writers would allow Wilson this bit of happiness. Why they chose to make him act so stupidly and propose all of a sudden, based on some convoluted reason, just seemed contrived. House/Cuddy was interesting but a bit sad too. House really finds it hard to understand that it wasn’t the inital lie(treating the Senator’s blood) that hurt Cuddy, but the lie(that he did indeed respect her decision) afterwards was what caused Cuddy to feel betrayed? This man is usually much more adept at understanding people, but when it comes to giving a simple apology over what he should feel sorry for, he refuses? And when he does ultimately apologize at the end of the episode he later admits to Wilson it was yet another lie; I sense that he still feels conflicted over apologizing at all. Is he really this dense or is it just that when it comes to Cuddy he never ‘gets it’? After this episode I just felt like Cudddy deserves better than this type of relationship. He will lose Cuddy if he doesn’t get his head out of his
    you-know-what and realize that his romantic relationship is not a mathematic problem to be calculated but a emotional interaction between a man and a woman who feel before they think. On a side note, I hate that Cuddy probably came over at the end(as he told Wilson she was coming over) to probably have make-up sex which also makes me think that part of why he apologized is just so he can have sex with her again, as he made numerous references to ‘joking his chicken’ since the argument began. Maybe I’m interpreting too much into this but sometimes I feel like their relationship is only about sex and work. When will we see them actually enjoy one another’s company outside these two areas? When will we get a glimpse into their interactions with Rachel? I thought there would be more depth to their romance, and I have yet to truly see it.

  • ruthinor

    When House was being fitted for his tux, was I the only one who was reminded of the statue of Christ in Rio harbor?

    I agree with Jaim re House and Cuddy. We need to see that there is more to this relationship. Why can’t he play the piano for her, or can’t we have a scene in which they are just at home reading, or watching an old movie, or talking about things other than work?

    I think the show seems more disjointed when it tries to follow too many story lines, especially since it’s interrupted by so many commercials. I understand what they were trying to do in this episode about trust and faith, but several serious things happened this week to different characters and I believe that some stories were short-changed as a result, particularly the one about Sam and Wilson.

  • Michele1L

    I agree, Ruthinor. Why doesn’t House play the piano for her — or cook for her — remember, he discovered culinary skills once he left Mayfield? Even though it has been made clear over the past seasons that both of them are very sexual people, the only time I felt they were actually in love and not just in it for sexual gratification was the first episode of the season.

  • BeeJ

    Wow, just finished reading the review and all the comments! A lot of mixed opinions on this one. I loved the episode btw, and just thought it was this amazing perfect balance of POTW mixed with personal drama of the individual characters.

    My first gut feeling observation is that this episode really felt like a throw back to me. It just had this very heavy tension throughout and a bittersweet ending that reminded me of a season 1-3 epi. The feeling that even though something was about to be accomplished (Huddy ending their standoff) some other problem would be left in the air that would come back by the season finale.

    While I agree with Barbara that a breakup was never going to happen in this episode, I do however think a seed was planted. Somebody brought up in a previous post that it’s a matter of if the writers already have their mind made up that this relationship would and could never end well. The old “House doesn’t do Happy” writing philosophy. My best bet would be this whole “trust/lie” issue will come to bite Huddy in the end. Something will happen that will force House to stop his pursuit of happiness or belief he could ever attain it.

    IDK, call me a pessimist but the ending really felt bittersweet. Like something was given and something was taken away lol. I think all the vagueness in House’s speech left me with this feeling and Barbara hit on it…what exactly did House lie about? If it was simply that he lied about “never lying to her again” then why does he seem so torn at the end of the episode? If he simply made a “small sacrifice” that allowed him to finally get out of the dog house and back in bed with Cuddy (as he is waiting for her to visit that night)…why does he seem to be pondering something as Wilson walks out? Seems to me that House must have lied about something more in that speech than that ending statement…and it bothered him.

    I cannot wait until January!!! This is just wrong that we don’t get a classic Xmas episode like we used to…kinda sucks actually. January??? Fox??? REALLY???

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Barbara, excellent review for what I viewed as a sensational episode – the best this season, and definitely entering the Grand Hall of “House” Fame – for me.

    You have done a splendid job reviewing it, so there isn’t much more to add.

    I enjoyed it tremendously: the religion theme is always a treat for me, the script was alert, witty and impossibly funny at times, i found the multiple storylines to interwine well and some parts of it really make it to my personal list of favorite “House” moments – like House’s speech to Cuddy and his last conversation with Masters – “I can”.

    On the two most controversial elements of this episode:

    – The Wilson-Sam breakup: i did find it a bit too abrupt, in regard to the approach and portrayal of it; the writers didn’t want to give more information and insight into what they were both feeling and thinking, and maybe they should have.
    Personally, i agree with Rob F (#18): Wilson’s attitude was condescending and superior and that of a “perfect martyr”, in essence. Also, he didn’t seem capable to believe her or simply allow her to be just who she is. He needed to add fictional extra layers of superior morality and outstanding professional skills, building up a fake image of a woman he would love and respect immensely – who was not Sam.

    – The House-Cuddy conflict: after he let go of his rationality and defences and was ready to acknowledge the emotional impact his lie had on her, House managed to address, in his speech, exactly what i thought might be the deep reason behind Cuddy’s attitude.
    He did not refer to her need for professional respect, her authority issues or her need to control him – because those were not the real reasons for what she was feeling. He addressed his life-long disbelief in belief, his deeply ingrained conviction that “trust is fictional”. That is what scared Cuddy deeply and made it impossible for her to let go of the conflict. If that is one of the lines along which they define their relationship, then she can never feel safe and their connection and union can never be complete. Also, she can never really trust that, when major issues like Vicodin or pain come up, House would open up to her and ask for help.

    That kind of uncertainty is something very hard to live with, and i fully understand why she needed confirmation that he will at least try to let her in – really, really let her in.

    As it was clearly drawn out in the House/Masters last encounter, House “can” live like that – he can live with trust-related dichotomies, he can live with his heart in his hand, but with thick walls of self-defence, deception and manipulation around him. Cuddy cannot.

    In regard to House “lying”: I believe that he did lie, in the sense that he wasn’t true to himself in saying what he did. As Barbara said, his cynicism and trust issues are deeply ingrained in his childhood and he has carried them with him his entire life. Personally, i believe that a person like House can never reach the level of healing that would allow him to really, really mean and believe the things he told Cuddy in his speech. Deep down, he will always be afraid and he will always feel that such a level of trust and openess is simply surreal, “fictional”.

    However, even if he wasn’t convinced of what he was saying, i do think he MEANT it. The look on his face during his speech to her was breathtaking, speaking volumes about his fear and love and plead and determination to make this work. It had a slight resemblance to the “i love you” look in “Now What”, same concentrated expression of fear and imploration. His tiny, tentative smile and the warm, loving look in his eyes after she thanked him simply brought tears to my eyes.

    What i mean is that it was clear to me that, even if he doesn’t believe in trust, he does believe in love and in their relationship – so he DID take his “leap of faith”. I don’t think he lied about wanting to try to learn the hard lessons of trust and honesty. I do think it is impossible for him to reach such a level of trust and openess and there will be times when he will break his promise. But he will not do so easily and, if there is any justice left on this planet, Cuddy will forgive him – because he has let her in and opened up to her as much as he possibly can, and despite his issues and limitations, him loving her like he does should be enough.

  • The Other Barnett

    Barb, Barb, Barb, you get me thinking about the episode 36 hours after it was on….bless you. A few observations to your thoughts ….but first a humble opinion and then one screwy suggestion.

    * There were more tight and clever laugh moments in the first half of the show than I’ve seen in one episode in a couple years.

    *House in a tux makes me think of a contract killer……I’m sure there is something profound to be taken from this, but its too early in the morning for it to come right now.

    *House has to be the online friend of Rachel’s. House is so exquisite at punishing Taub; and he is hungry to dip into the dark humor that has to be a habit for him that he had to use some free time to expertly fish for Rachel and start messing around in cyberspace. If there is an episode this season that shows House royally screwing up and engaging in relationship suicide with his whole team, this has to be a facet of it.

    *I have to disagree with the suggestion by you that there is little reason or madness in Silva’s choosing to crucify himself. If he has any devout catholic background then it is entirely possible he is tapping into the heritage of monks, nuns, priests, mystics who chose to crawl (while praying) for miles to hallowed landmarks or churches. There is no pure reason, only a drastic, desperate kind of faith that has been seen before in the annals of the faith.

    *I was surprised that Chase did not tap into his own religious background to attend to Silva. But one has to assume that the threesome, womaizing Chase may have made “holy Chase” a bit too tired. I’m wondering if this kind of behavior is setting up for an individual episode (like Wilson and Cuddy last season) for him.

    *I agree with some of those on this blog….the diagnosis was a bit murky and not handled well by the script. But one has to assume that (with a number of balls in the air) one ballis going to be fumbled a bit at times.

    *I agree that the moment of House zipping up Cuddy was a warm nugget of assurance that their relationship is OK, for now.

    *House should have used the info about the divorce on Cuddy. This is an important point for House, because it is a fact that could be a completely new shadowed door to open in the Cuddy identity that (Obviously) House does not know. Cuddy knows the many different facets of House, why should he not know this about Cuddy? Why did she hide it, no matter the pain. If she loves him, she would have opened up about it. Of course House should have picked a different time to use it on her, like a week or so later when he can say that the “overflow of the heart from the many thoughts created by the information he ferreted out”, etc. etc.

    *House lied across the board to Cuddy at the end. He is not sorry, and he is going to lie again. Cuddy should know better, too. The fact that House is disturbed by this at the end of the show actually is a good sign, though I was initially annoyed by it. Just because this guy is being domesticated does not mean he has to be de-clawed. I can only hope Cuddy can come along as much as House has in this relationship……because so far Greg has been the only one really evolving.

    *Foreman is becoming something of a needless piece of the cast. he was out much during the early part of the diagnosis and his only meaningful part of the story was as an unsuccessful (and discarded) wing-man. I would not be shokced if Epps opts out at the end of the season. He is increasingly nothing more than a bystander.

    *Finally, would it not be a wonderful turn of story if Wilson hooks up with 13, should she return? Its obvious that Wilson made a mistake hooking up again with his ex and it was a sign that he has not evolved much in the way he decided to handle the whole proposal and assessment. 13 would be as strong as Amber in correcting some of Wilson’s flaws, while maybe tapping into what is the most buried reserve (Wilson) of sexual energy on the show.

  • sdemar

    Really nice write-up, Barbara. You hit the nail on every aspect of this episode.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and best of luck with your book signing.

  • Michele1L

    Delia_Beatrice31 – I always love to see House in resignation. All of his posturing and other defense mechanisms leave him and he is simply who he is — a beautiful and insightful man. And I agree that his apology was sincere, in the sense that he arrived at a place where he could recognize that it was not all about the lie he told to save his patient’s life, but that he had actually hurt her feelings for not coming clean about it afterwards.

    BeeJ30- I’m with you. I lOVVVVED the Christmas episodes we were treated to in the past. What gives?!

    The Other Barnet(32) – I think House did mean it when he apologized. The sincerity was all over his face — but I don’t think he was apologizing for the lie he told to save his patient’s life. He had simply arrived at an understanding as to why Cuddy was hurt by it. He did, infact lie about never lying to her again, and I don’t believe for one second that Cuddy buys into that. She knows THAT’s a lie. I think she was just pleased that House had arrived at a point where he could actually say what she needed to hear.

  • Michele1L

    Heather25 – In the episode, “Unfaithful”, the ailing priest suggested the very same thing — that House actually “wants” to believe there is a God. I actually agree that he wants to be convinced of it more than he wants to disbelieve it, just as, in the season premiere he clearly wanted Cuddy to convince him that they could work out, when he was throwing up red flags to the contrary. He clearly wants to be relieved of his cynicism and will always entertain a good argument in his efforts to get there.

  • Orange450

    Be careful what you ask for.

    That’s the first thing that popped into my mind as I watched Cuddy begin to press House about an apology. And that’s the last thing I though of as the episode ended. I really hope Cuddy won’t have reason to rue her insistence that House apologize, rather than talk the whole issue through, and then agree to disagree, if necessary.

    House’s moral code may be wildly idiosyncratic (to say the least), but we all know that it’s as strong as it is uniquely personal to him. Everybody lies – and he more than anyone else – but I believe that in his own sincere view – when it comes to his patients – his lies are the “right” ones to tell. I believe that he sincerely felt that he didn’t have anything to apologize for to Cuddy. I honestly don’t think he was rationalizing when he said he lied to his boss, and not to *her*.

    That being said, and an apology having been somewhat forced out of him, I can’t help but worry that he may feel that he had to forfeit some part of his own integrity to get back on a good footing with Cuddy. The question is, ultimately, what’s worth more to him – their relationship or his integrity as the person that he is. Did he indeed learn about and realize an important aspect of enduring relationships, or was a certain amount of expediency mixed up in his apology? Only time will tell, but I hope this wasn’t a foreshadowing of “The End in the Beginning” to quote Hart Hanson.

    I personally don’t believe that House was sincere when he apologized. He has a distinct “tell” whenever he seems to be conveying sincere emotion. If he seems almost too earnest, and has a faint quizzical smile as he speaks, then he’s not sincere. We’ve seen him do it many times. He did it to Stacy, he did it to Lucas. Now he did it to Cuddy – for the second time. Because the first time was just a few episodes ago, when he compounded the original lie by telling her “I’ve come a long way”. Same expression, same tone of voice – and not sincere. You can always tell when House *is* sincere, because his words seem to be dragged out of him, leaving gaping wounds in their trail. Not a trace of a quizzical smile in sight. “Sincere” is hard for him, and it shows.

    I don’t think Cuddy was upset because the disclosure of her her brief marriage was something private, I think she was upset that rather than apologize, House took so much trouble to dig up some obscure ammunition he could use on her.

    Thanks for a great review, Barbara!

  • ruthinor

    When House told Cuddy, in this past episode, that he forged her signature to get the daughter’s file, she didn’t blink an eyelash. She doesn’t care if he lies to help a patient. What bothered her in the previous episode was the fact that he never owned up to what he did with the hep c tests. He continued to lie to her while telling her how much he’s grown. Even he, IMO, was embarrassed by that lie. It was this second lie that really upset her. She needs to be able to trust him to eventually tell the truth. If he ALWAYS lies, what kind of relationship is that?

  • Housefan

    When House said to Wilson he lied it meant he lied about being sorry?? There was no other lie, He tells Cuddy hes sorry but hes not THATS THE LIE,And this “relationship is on its way out,Ive never seen House looks as miserable as that last scene ,Wilson too, House and Wilson are the only pairing that makes sense Rewatch this, Its been playing out since season one,

  • RobF

    @lynnd(21) — Kierkegaard thought a person could develop through three stages: the first being an essentially selfish existence, in which the person is motivated by a desire for enjoyment and acclaim (people at this stage are held in check only by social and religious taboos; it is this type of immature faith that House usually assumes is guiding a person who chooses faith over reason); the second stage is that of reason and personal responsibility/ethics (the stage House has been firmly in since we met him); and the third involves an acceptance that there is something beyond reason that we must embrace. Deep down, House knows he needs to trust Cuddy enough to tell her the truth, but his reason rejects this. Will he actually make his “leap of faith”?

    @TheOtherBarnett(32) — the thought that House might be Rachel’s online shoulder to cry on is brilliant and horrible! I can’t imagine the fallout…

    Also, I was glad to see 3M being given a real moral dilemma. She has always stood by her “honesty is the best policy” principle, but we expect that she was mainly risking hurting herself by refusing to lie. Now she has been clearly shown a situation in which her honesty would have resulted in the death of a patient. Will she still choose honesty even when somebody else pays the price? Or will she join House on the dark side? (“Martha, [hrr] *I* am your father. [hrr … hrr]”)

  • Jaim

    Orange450, I agree with you about House’s lack of sincerity. I felt that what he was upset about at the end was that he apologized at all, because he still didn’t understand why he should have to. He apologized to end the fight and to have Cuddy back in his bed, but I don’t know if he did it because he genuinely understood why she felt so betrayed. I had hoped for so much more for these two and I have felt very disappointed by the direction their relationship has taken. It’s all about sex and work and lying to each other to continue to have sex. Is this relationship really this shallow? I have always been a fan of the pairing but now I feel like they would be better off without a romantic relationship. Cuddy’s put up with a lot but no one should have to pull an apology out of the man they love, to this extent. I mean, he even used a past youthful mistake(her marriage) as a way to put her on the spot so he could once again get out of apologizing. That part bugged me the most too, because I could tell that when he asked Cuddy what she would wear at her own wedding she was feeling hopeful that he was starting to think of their potential future. But alas, he was only trying to trap her and she felt once again like a fool for trusting him. Where did all the love go? I haven’t really seen it since the Help Me/Now What episodes.

  • I’ve been reading and reading all your wonderful spirited comments. Crazy busy with the Thanksgiving weekend, but I wanted to step into the foray and wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. I am incredibly thankful for the intelligent and thoughtful readers that have graced this space over the last three years. I am grateful for your readership and support. A happy thanksgiving to all of you!

  • Sera G

    Happy Thanksgiving to Barbara and all of the House fans.
    Interesting comments.
    Just a couple of points; Jaim #27; you said that House/Cuddy’s relationship seems to be all about work and sex. I wonder if that is because the writers are too afraid to show the more comfortable, domestic scenes. I think they feel that since House is such a complex, prickly character that depictions of the two of them reading, watching TV or even have dinner together might be too ‘sweet’ and turn off the viewers who are not fond of the relationship. I personally, hope that as time goes by more of those quiet moments are shown.
    I also think they are trying to set up situations where areas that might cause conflict are addressed. House used to frequent prostitutes, so Cuddy has to remove that temptation. House has resented Rachel, so he has to spend time with her so that the audience assumes he will be comfortable with her if not yet grow to love her. House lies, that would be a hard quality for any relationship to withstand. Personally, I don’t think they have “de-clawed” House, as The Other Barnett #32, said. He is still the same man, but he is chosing love, companionship and a life WITH someone rather than an empty life alone. Don’t we all make sacrifices, apologize (even when we might still believe we are right?) to move past an arguement that has dragged on too long, or because the hurt we have caused someone is worse than proving a point?
    I think all of these ‘baby steps’ show the growth and openness that House wants to experience. After all, he has been alone a long time. If he just wanted to settle for sex, there would be no need to commit to Cuddy. There is far more in this for him. He and she have waited a long time, worked too hard and need each other too much.

  • HouseMDFan

    @Orange – I agree with everything you said about House’s sincerity, I thought the exact same thing. You can tell when he is acting and he definitely was here. But I think he was almost too obvious about it and maybe we can assume that Cuddy saw it, too. That would mean that the mere gesture was enough.

    It’s interesting to compare this to “Unfaithful” (which was also written by Hoselton) regarding the lie/truth and hypocrisy theme. House had a problem with the hypocrisy of the ceremony in “Unfaithful” and couldn’t bring himself to set this aside for personal reasons, for a personal relationship. This time he did and he did lose some of his rational integrity here. I’ve been thinking for some time that it is rather impossible to distinguish between hypocrisy and an honest attempt for change on his part. It depends on your viewpoint and I love the ambiguity.

  • Flo

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Barbara, this was a truly amazing review you did here (and as your reviews are always great, this is saying something) to a very good episode.

    Great comments also. There was a lot to digest.

    First of all, I found the patient to be a complete moron and as a total atheist (and somewhat anticlerical) I was glad to see House mocking the patient like that. Religious nuts like this always makes me laugh but not in a good way.
    Even if I agree that “Unfaithful” was a better episode (better patient) I found this one good. I liked the way House mocked the patient and the “faith/trust” issue was well developed. It was interesting to see all the relationship tested through this theme.

    Jaim, you’re not the only one to be sorry for the Sam/Wilson debacle. I thought there was great potential to do something here and I’m sad to see they just broke up that abruptly.
    I agree with RobF (#18) and Delia_Beatrice (#31) that Wilson’s attitude was condescending. Why, oh why does he feel the need to propose to every of his girlfriends in the first place? This breakup feels rushed and forced. Way too abrupt, it was the weak point of the episode for me. Badly done.
    I agree with RobF’s statement: “Neither Cuddy nor Sam was willing to settle for anything less than an adult relationship between equals”. So true.
    Wilson grew a lot during and after the Amber arc so it was painful to see him go back to his old pattern.
    And Cuddy has the right to ask to be trusted after all. I think House knows this but it is very uncharted waters for him. Stacy said in the second season premiere that House used to trust her, and he managed to be in a relationship with her for seven years so we know it is possible for him to trust Cuddy, especially that he already does in some level. However the whole change their relationship is imposing in their actual interractions scares him. “Change sucks”.
    I agree with Jaim that the relationship seems to revolve around sex and work and bit too much so I was glad to see some domestic scene here. We’ll see how it goes from there now that the argument is over.

    SeraG (#23) you’re not the only one to be bugged by Cuddy’s age. Seriously 42 (43 soon)????? That is absolutely impossible. House and Cuddy can’t have 7/8 years age difference or I don’t think they would have been able to meet at University, we also know that she was supposed to already be in her early forties mid-season 3. This season Cuddy should already be AT LEAST 45. Like you said, it’s not a big deal but it’s too bad the writers don’t pay attention to those details.

    All in all, very well written episode, fun and interesting except for the Sam/Wilson storyline which was badly executed.

  • Okay thank you Barbara, this review was really interesting. I usually enjoy reading the reviews more than your actual review but here I thought this one was really interesting. Great job.

    Anyway, first, about Cuddy’s age. In season 5 she said she was 38 when House “accused” her of being 40. So then, now she should only be 40.
    However, somehow, just like you guys, I think she should be at least 45. And not only because it’s coherent with the university thing. I mean, LE is actually 44 and as much as I hate saying that in here cause all her fans are going to be PISSED at me it IS starting to show. I don’t mean that in a bad way but ever since this season started I think we can now see that well… she HAS aged since season 1. She does look 44 so it’s a bit weird that they’re desperately trying to make Cuddy younger.

    About Wilson and Sam : I loooooved them. From the beginning to the end. I was so happy last week because of the baby and now I am soooo sad they broke up. However, I think their arc was really written wonderfully and I really enjoyed watching Wilson going back to his old pattern. He’s trying to change but it’s always really hard to do so.

    House and Cuddy : The domesticity WAS great and I loved the fact that House lied in the end. It was beautiful and heartbreaking but also felt RIGHT. In my opinion BTW, I think the writers are writing as if they’re expecting the Huddy relationship to fail because House expects it to fail. There still could be a huge turnover in which he would realize that this may have an actual chance to work.

  • Sorry I messed up, I meant “reading the “comments” more than the actual review” lol

  • simona

    Hi everyone! 🙂 great review barbara, as always. I add some thoughts to the comments.
    I really enjoyed Small Sacrifices because I like the light and the shade, the dichotomy, the uncertainty, I like the questions, the doubts, I like when I don’t understand some things and I have to wait until they become clear with time. I like the waiting, the Village’s Saturday (italian poet reference, Giacomo Leopardi). I like House because analyzing an episode in retrospect we realize that it lends itself to multiple interpretations and that these interpretations are all valid and help settle the canvas.
    I recalled the episode “It’s a wonderful lie”, the final speech with Wilson. Do you remember it?
    “House: I saw something amazing. Pure truth. She told her mother that she was dying. Stripped her of all hope.
    Wilson: You tell people the cold hard truth all the time. You get off on it.
    House: Because I don’t care. She cared. She did it anyway. She did it because she cared.”

    So in this speech we can see the essence and the meaning of the argument truth/lie with Cuddy.
    But House is currently contested by two equal and opposite internal forces:
    1 – The honesty in a relationship, “If we are painfully, brutally honest with Each Other, maybe we’ll get lucky again.”
    2 – Why ruin a good story with the truth? (in a Woody Allen style)

    On a side note I want to add that I liked:
    The House and Cuddy clothes at the marriage party (both stunning!)
    The Taub’s marriage situation
    Cuddy who doesn’t like the House’s casual clothes ‘wilson’ choice (which incidentally he has chosen to provoke her)
    The House crucifixion by the tailor, an image that symbolically declares his sacrifice in accepting the partecipation in the marriage and in general the sacrifice that he is doing to come to terms with the normality.

    I didn’t liked at all:
    the Wilson/Sam resolution

    happy Thanksgiving to the american people

  • Flo

    Jacksam4ever (#45) Cuddy was actually joking when she said “38” in season 5. House and Cuddy were talking colloquially, it wasn’t supposed to be taken seriously as Doris Egan later confirmed it.

    You’re right Lisa Edelstein does look 44. She is a stunning 44 year old woman but you can see that she apparently didn’t do anything to hide/stop the aging. Good for her, botoxed women are horrible. So yeah, she looks 44 and in the show there is no way Cuddy is just almost 43.

    “In my opinion BTW, I think the writers are writing as if they’re expecting the Huddy relationship to fail because House expects it to fail. There still could be a huge turnover in which he would realize that this may have an actual chance to work.”
    Well observed! of course you’re right. Even if House wants it to work a part of him will always believe that it won’t.
    It’s wait and see.

  • # Flo 48 : Okay, mea culpa I really didn’t know that. I don’t really remember the scene very well either and I just heard that somewhere so I assumed it was true but yeah whatever.

    Anyway, I’m glad you agree since I thought I may have been over-analyzing this. But I’ve always believed that the show is not only showing House and the world but is also showing the way House sees the world. Therefore if he thinks the relationship is going to fail, the show is going to show the bad aspects of it. But again, that’s a really WILD guess lol

  • Andrea

    If I were placing bets on what the writers think should happen, I’d plan on a House-Cuddy breakup and a downer of a Season 7 ending. That’s their pattern, that’s the way they see this character. It’s so predictable that I hope they surprise me.

    Of all the relationships they turned the spotlight on here, House was the only one who lied in the end to his girlfriend and also the only one who didn’t end up in the doghouse. Wilson didn’t understand Sam well enough to realize she was telling the truth and wouldn’t appreciate his proposal and his not believing her; Taub didn’t understand his wife well enough to realize she hadn’t really forgiven him and was still incredibly hurt. House spent the episode being a jackass trying to catch Cuddy in a lie and he finally realized that he was hurting her and lied to end it. There’s something positive in that if you look at it the right way, I suppose.

  • Housefan

    I cant get anyone I know to watch anymore,I dont know what group they are trying to appeal to but Im over 50 and this House Cuddy thing is turning off most people I know, After so many years watching tv/movies and beoing a fan of classic romance movies House and Wilson are the only real love story I see here, Shame they dont have the courage to go with whats been the real love story for 6 years, Never thought I would say that But its obvious to me, Even that last scene was full of incredible sadness Both of them miserable, Music tells a lot of their story if you pay attention to that stuff I looked up the words to that song All House and Wilson. Too bad this show wasnt on cable

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Michele1L (#34): I know what you mean by that – i felt that the apology scene was a glimpse into the “naked House”, his deepest, mose defenseless self. I read here that other viewers thought he was obviously lying and manipulating Cuddy, but that is not what i saw at all.

    I interpreted his words and his facial expression as acknowledging not only Cuddy’s legitimate wish for a complete and fully honest union, but his own remote hope for the same thing – in my opinion, his eyes and face had some of the fearful/hopeful/pleading expression he had during the “you think i can fix myself?” and “i love you” scenes.

    He knows that such a level of change and healing is not really possible for him, and his defenses, when in full use, make him believe that it is hardly even desirable – and that was the “lie”, in my opinion.

    @RobF (#39): the Kierkegaard theory you wrote about reminds me of the writings of a Romanian philosopher and historian of religions, Mircea Eliade. He wrote about the inherent and very profond longing of all human beings to reach and experience a form of transcendence, that allows them to escape their limited, selfish individuality.

    Eliade identifies art, mystics and relationships as possible means for people to accomplish this out-of-self, transcendent state. Of course, his theory is implicitly based on the concept of belief and acceptance, in the sense that Kierkegaard uses it.

    So, in my opinion, House has already taken his “leap of faith”. By sacrificing his “rational integrity” (credit HouseMDFan, #43) in order to keep his union with Cuddy going further, he proves that he believes in their relationship and in love – “believes” in the Eliade and Kierkegaard sense, in a way we have never seen him before, in regard to anyone or anything.

  • HouseMDFan

    @Delia – You know (and I know) you are entitled to your opinion, but you are contradicting yourself. You admit that House doesn’t believe that the change he expressed in his apology is possible for him, but at the same time you want to see his words as coming from his deepest self? Sorry, but that makes no sense. I’m still with Orange – House speaking from his deepest self is like tearing the words from himself, not this smooth “Maybe I just have to suspend my cynicism and believe, maybe it’s time to take a leap of faith”. That was a bunch of layers too thick, talking in absolutes again, after he had just dismissed that approach when talking to Masters. I agree (and you quoted that part) that he did make a concession by just saying it even if he didn’t believe it (and I really hope that Cuddy realized this in its entirety), but his speech was a purely rational one.

  • Andrea

    I don’t have any interest in watching a “romance” between House and Wilson. I think the series might indeed end with the two of them enjoying each other’s company, still together as best friends. That friendship is at the heart of the show and it would be nice to see it end on that note. They never have been, never will be, anything other than best friends.

  • Mauwee

    Seriously? This episode is old-school Housian. You can never get the same medical mystery in every week, House has an incredible dynamics and writers do not stick to one only. House MD tackles many issues, medicine, philosophy, religion, human emotions.. So why was it the worst episode ever? It was great IMHO. And I love Barbara’s review’s every week :3

  • Oo

    When House was apologizing if you see the play of the camera that it didn’t really capture the intense eye contact that we always witness in most of House and Cuddys moments but it kinda rolled through suggesting that he is not that sincere. I hope that Cuddy sees this as am not really enjoying their romance at the moment. it is more about sex and work like how others are saying. I expected alot more as they have said the I love you words/

  • HouseMDFan

    @Andrea (and @Housefan in extension) – I’d say that “classic romance” is a wrong concept for House in any case, not just for House/Wilson but for House/Cuddy as well. It’s House.

    But speaking of House and Wilson and the problem of romantic relationship vs. friendship. It’s interesting that the analysis here focussed purely on the romantic relationships in this episode. I guess that’s the normal reaction and the normal thinking and it’s not like the show itself is immune to it. But I guess that’s also why so many people feel that “friendship” isn’t enough to describe House and Wilson, because it always seems to take a backseat as soon as a “romantic relationship” comes along.

    I loved this episode for a lot of reasons, but the scenes between House and Wilson were very much at the top of the list. There was familiarity and convoluted trust in their every interaction. House knows exactly when Wilson’s appointments are, how old his tires are and Wilson doesn’t even comment on that because it’s so normal. He very much counts on House poking holes in all his excuses because he wants him to find out the truth and has never been able to just come out and say it. In return, House has been incredibly honest with Wilson about his every problem with Cuddy so far, he even told him that he lied. I really love that. They are both struggling, but they are doing it together and with each other’s twisted help. And the last scene was really sad – Wilson doesn’t have anybody else to anchor him, but in accord with his own priorities he is still happy for House. That and the break-up scene were one fine piece of acting by RSL.

    By the way, I have seen people saying that Sam’s supposed lie was the reason for Wilson’s proposal. That’s obviously not true, he bought the ring before that and he only felt good about the supposed lie after House talked him into it. Which is ironic. *g*

  • smk 46

    did it seem significant to anyone else that in the scene at the wedding when house traps cuddy in the lie about her previous marriage that she was speaking in the future tense when she said “i’ll go with white” (perhpas not exact wording)? i think the reason house apologized later, with a lie, is because he realized he had hurt her by offering a hope of their own marriage as bait which she took. by his own admission to wilson, house took w.’s advice and lied. he wasn’t sorry to have lied, he wasn’t sorry to have lied about being sorry about the medical lie…but he was sorry to have hurt cuddy to the extent that she would harbor those feelings (like rachel has)that could possibly lead to cuddy turning to someone else for understanding (like rachel has).

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @HouseMDFan: we can obviously agree to disagree on this:) On me contradicting myself, i saw that as HIM contradicting himself. I interpreted that as an expression of his inner conflict and angst, because i think that he understands the type of complete union that Cuddy needs and wants, and i think that deep down, he wishes that were possible for him. On a deep emotional, thus unrealistic level, he knows that is the ideal and he would want it to be possible for him, even though, rationally speaking, he understands it’s impossible. In relation to the theory that RobF was talking about, that i myself believe in, i think that he has that longing for the type of union that transcends rationality and individuality, but it is on a instinctive and profond level and it’s nearly impossible for a person such as him to ever accomplish that for real.

    On the House-Wilson frienship taking a backseat as soon as romantic relationships come along: i think that is only natural and it happens to many of us. It’s almost a streotype, the way people center their lives around their friends when they are single and they shift their priorities when in a relationship, especially in the early phases. A romantic relationship involves the individual in a complex process that takes commitment, effort and time, and i think it’s natural that an unconditional, stable friendship takes the back seat and keeps going in the background, not requiring the same type of investment that the romantic relationship does.
    Personally, it took me years into my relationship with my husband, before my friendships went back to having a similarly important place in my life. And still, my commitment to my friends cannot be compared to my commitment to my spouse, and somehow, the friendships still occupy the back seat of my life, compared to the central place my couple holds.

    @smk46: i do believe that guilt and fear of those dangerous building up feelings of resentment and disappointment have played a grand role in House’s decision to apologize.

    Also, i loved House’s approach to the whole marriage idea and Cuddy’s reaction to it. It reminded me of “Unfaithful”, when House kept mocking and disapproving of Cuddy’s “religious hypocrisy”, while secretly wishing he could be a part of the ceremony. He used the same term describing his vision of weddings, “seven levels of hypocrisy”, and he later trapped Cuddy, leading her to admit that she is not opposed to the idea of marriage and secretly fantasizes about the symbols of it (“i am a sucker for the white gown”) and thinks of marriage as a part of her future (“i’ll be first time”).

    He obviously regretted the pain his trap had inflicted on her, and maybe he also regretted that his attitude was like smashing her dreams and personal vision on the whole marriage issue. “Cuddy’s Serenade” was an exquisite way to show his regret and secret longing that he would be part of that “hypocritical” part of her life, i wonder if we’ll get a similar glimpse into the way his love for her makes him reconsider his whole marriage approach.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Flo (#44): i agree on Wilson’s regression. He fell back onto his usual pattern, and i had hoped that the whole Amber experience would have changed that. In his relationship with Sam, apart from the honest moment they had in “Open and Shut”, thanks to House (and not acknowledging his help, which made me very sad), i felt that Wilson was very much his famous “persona”. That impression was confirmed to me by “Small Sacrifices”, in which he was condescending, misunderstanding her (like he often does House) and building a whole generous and noble act of very fake grounds.

    On the House-Cuddy lack of domestic and intimate scenes: i think that the writers clearly went for the very subtle, implicit and minimalist approach of the relationship. They refrained from showing us classical couple interactions, thus focusing on their work relationship and on discussions that are carried out in a non-personal environment.

    I think that makes sense to some extent. The intimacy between them in obvious in the fluidity of their interactions, their eye contact and body language. It would have been unlike “House” to show intimate, domestic scenes too often, so i think they were right to refrain from that as much as possible.

    However, this only makes sense if they save displays of intimacy for times when they are very significant and meaningful, and the fact that they are pretty scarce of the show will enhance their emotional impact. I feel that the time for the insertion of small domestic, intimate and close moments has come, because this whole minimal approach is getting weird. We need to see them touching, being together in a non-work environment and sharing domestic moments, because that area of their relationship has been pretty much left out, to the benefit of other issues they addressed.

  • smk 46

    i’m afraid that the writers have put themselves in an almost untenable position by trying to humanize an archetype. house began as a trickster. now, he has become human, he has had to lose some of those aspects which characterized that archetype. he has been reduced to a hero, a more human and familiar figure, but one that is common and less compelling since they are all over television. he can’t be a mere man and remain house. he can’t maintain a man’s relationship and still be an archetype. what are they going to do with him? it’s a problem.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk46: Hm… I personally believe that House’s humanity was impressive and very visible ever since the very beginning. The Pilot episode of “House”, for instance, is a display of overwhelming, complex humanity, expressed in a very original and sublimated manner, and that has remained a constant through out all 7 years. If anything, i would not describe House as an archetype – quite the opposite.

    I don’t feel they have stepped onto impossible territory. We have explored his pain, loneliness and various issues and we are now exploring the possibility of such a character to learn a bit of the brighter side of life – and his limits in doing so. It’s true that House’s humanity is more visible because he is being more open about it, but if we look at almost any “House” episode of the 140 we’ve had till now, we can see it clearly, underneath his layers of defenses and fears.

    They are not doing this in a common way, IMO. They have been avoiding stereotypes and clichees and they have maintained the complexity, veridicity and originality of the show. This is still very much a highly compelling journey for me to watch – an exploration of, still, the most fascinating character i have ever encountered.

  • smk46

    delia_b i am not disagreeing with you, but just as superman is the archetypal identity of clark kent, so is house the physician the archetypal identity of house the man. a majority of the fascination of greg house is the dramatic tension between his two selves. as the trickster he is above social norms and is unaffected by notions of propriety. he is blessed with suprahuman gifts of diagnosis and healing. he transcends our judgment. it is as a man that his hidden identity lies. he is vulnerable, sensitive, lonely, in short, like all of us, only a bit more damaged. as the show has progressed, it has revealed more and more of the secret identity of the trickster until he is almost an ordinary man in the decisions he must make. and they are decisions, like lying, that compromise his archetypal role. so the writers must take him in the direction that best suits the needs of the show. but if they make him an ordinary hero, even an antihero, there are stages of development that end in him being either incorporated into society or dead. as an archetypal figure, there is no death.

  • andreeC

    Barbara, lovely recap and great analysis as usual. Just a pointed question on a topic you grazed over. What do you think will happen concerning the topic of Cuddy’s prior marriage? Do you believe it will resurface as part of upcoming episodes or is it another one of those things the writers toss out there for possible use some time later in the forthcoming seasons? I’d like to know what the heck happened that Cuddy was married and divorced so briefly as I’m sure it has a lot to do with why the character Cuddy is the way she is and perhaps her attitude toward parenthood and House. Please reply. Thanks.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk46: thank you for the further clarification. That is an excellent point you are making, very, very interesting topic.
    Personally, i think that, story-telling wise, “the secret identity of the trickster” needed to be revealed more and more. Otherwise, he would have been stuck in the very compelling, but inevitably limited, archetypal identity and the story could neither deepen, nor evolve.

    Perhaps the stages of development don’t need to end in either commonality (incorporation in society, “normality”) or death. Those are the two extreme finalities, but there are many stages in between that can be explored and ultimately used as an ending to the story (maybe an open ending).

    I think it is possible that his exploration of humanity, in the sense that you describe, leads him back to where we started, which is in his archetypal identity as a healer, all else being blocked out.
    But i would be very sad if that happened, because ultimately, what made me become deeply emotionally invested in his story was his very humanity and his struggles to make peace between the two spheres of himself. The ultimate question is whether this tormented, wounded genius can manage to express and live his beautiful humanity, to some extent.

    In all forms of art, we are used to the genius archetype being portrayed as doomed to loneliness and misery. I think that the exploration of other posible outcomes is a very interesting thing, especially in a show that will never settle for wrapping things up in a neat, unrealistic, stereotypical and superficial little bow.

  • smk 46

    d_b: i, too, am hoping for a deeper delving into the human identity of greg house while keeping his trickster persona’s full range of power available to him. can the writers do it? we’ll see. meanwhile, had you noticed that hugh laurie’s two most completely realized roles are as archetypes? bertie wooster was the fool (ie, as seen in the tarot) and house is the trickster. any other part i’ve seen him play has been much less satisfying to watch,they being ordinary mortals or caricatures. seems that larger-than-life characters suit his style of acting.

  • pawpaw

    Why did House change back into sneakers at the wedding:( He looked so debonair in the tux and dress shoe (in Wilson’s office)!

  • pawpaw

    BTW, I do miss that cute little girl that Wilson & Sam tried to scam with a fake Lamby. She should play Rachel, IMO. I can see & hear she and House go at it!

  • pirateat30

    Does anyone know the name of the song that is played at the wedding when House finally catches her in a lie? Its like a swing dance song. Thanks!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk46: that is IT, isn’t it?… The ideal outcome would be that he can manage to really BE both of his identities: an accomplished human being (well, to some extent…) AND the archetypal healer whose powers are untouched.

    The interesting thing is, at this point, i can see that happening. They chose to deepen the exploration of his humanity through the love between him and his ultimate enabler, the woman who has always made it possible for him to use his suprahuman powers.
    The little early earthquakes of their relationship are just the adjusting phase, IMO, and i don’t interpret them as Cuddy making the mistake to limit his “trickster persona” and his creativity.

    On Hugh Laurie and his roles: well, i believe it’s also a matter of writing – the archetypal characters he played were much better written than his other roles, in my opinion.
    In regard to the archetype of the fool, the connection has been made between Hugh’s childhood issues, his relationship with his mother, especially, and his famous “modesty”, a very poor self esteem that he had admitted pushed him into searching the roles of fools and dim-wits, because of the escape from expectations they provided him with and also the relative lack of challenge.

    In regard to “House”, my feeling has always been that Hugh and House are a match made in heaven – i know this is all a very relative issue, because one cannot know how things would have turned out, if different, but i think about it in absolute terms: no other role could make him grow more as an actor or use the incredible full range of his talent, and no other actor could have made House this addictive to watch. Personally, i believe that at least 50% of House’s magic is, really, Hugh’s magic.

  • smk 46

    delia_b, with the proper writing, i think that house can realize his fully human, fully archetypal potentials, but…and here’s the catch…at that point the show will be over. house will be fulfilled. of course, that’s bound to happen anyhow what with it being a tv show we’re talking about. i just hope the writers can carry it off in a believable and satisfying manner without making cuddy a harpy or house less than he is meant to be if fully realized.

    re hugh and his roles: you are absolutely right about the quality of the writing making all the difference. p.g. wodehouse was himself a gifted archetypal fool and his characters are spot-on. bertie and jeeves are the perfect fool and psychopomp pairing.
    as for house, yes, hugh has developed him into a great character that will have as much immortality as show biz allows. h.l. is himself gifted in many areas. but you are right that his poor self esteem and depression limited what kind of work he sought. i hope he has been opened up to the possibility of stretching himeself into other roles. i, for one, am eagerly awaiting the oranges release. i hope, hope, hope he isn’t going to revert back to the paul slipperys of yesteryear.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk: first of all, let me just say thank you for a very, very pleasant conversation:)

    I agree on the theoretical possibility of House realizing both his human and archetypal potentials (i surely wish that would be the case, given how much i love him…). But i think that, maybe, the catch might be that he cannot realize both of them FULLY. In the “reality” of the show and the character, i have always thought that his archetypal identity would be very little compromised (thus realized almost fully), while his humanity would develop, but not fully – he would still be burdened by his limits and issues, but he would accomplish a sort of evolution, so that he would not be convicted to eternal misery and loneliness.

    I do have faith in the writers on carrying his journey on in a believable manner. So far, they have never let me down, in regard to staying true to the characters’ psychological identity and structure, and also their roles in the grand economy of the story.
    On Cuddy being turned into a harpy in order to justify House’s archetypal indentity being limited – i doubt they would do that, given how such a major part of Cuddy’s essence as a character has been nurturing and enabling and protecting “House, the suprahuman healer”. I have always thought that Cuddy has the role of an archetypal mother to House, just like Wilson is his archetypal father, and as House’s archetypal identity is “given”, written and unquestionable, i view Cuddy’s and Wilson’s roles as given too – subject to evolution and even tribulation, but essentially immutable.

    On Wodehouse and his gift for archetypes: it’s notorious how much Hugh loves his writings and i wish i knew more about Stephen Fry, so that i could understand whether him and Hugh have hit it on so well because they fit the “psychopomp” and perfect fool” typology.

    On the immortality that showbiz allows: despite The Great Emmy Injustice, i believe that Hugh and “House” have written history in the culture of our times. We probably cannot realize it fully, as we are watching, but the new standards of cinematographic art that they have raised will have had a great impact on what is to come in the future.
    I also believe in a personal impact on viewers: our taste develops as we watch and our minds and emotions are shaped by the thinking patterns, life philosophy and complex emotional life of this character we all adore. So i think that the two of them (Hugh and House) will always be “present” in the lives and minds of the many, many addicted “House” fans.

    I am waiting for “Oranges” too, and i am not really worried about Hugh stepping back onto old patterns of work – i am worried about the type of roles that might be available for him after “House” is over, but in regard to him, lately, his attitude seems to have gained much confidence and capacity for joy and self-expression. His interviews from the past 6 months show a changed man: much more open and free, much more accepting of himself, more daring and more comfortable. Witnessing this change in him brings me immense joy, because you are right, he is an incredibly talented artist, in many areas, and a very special person.

  • CarolynP

    @pirateat30 – Here’s a great site that lists the music from each episode of House

    @smk 46 and Delia_Beatrice – Am enjoying reading the discussion you are having, some great points and comments

  • smk 46

    delia_b: have to disagree about cuddy and wilson as archetypal parents to house. they are surrogate parents at times, but they aren’t archetypal figures, at least as i understand the term (jungian). (it has been said that no couple is ever secure until the partners refer to each other as mom and dad or some variation of those terms.) but i think a case can be made for cuddy as an archetype of the love goddess…in house’s perception, anyway. perhaps that’s one way to look at their clashing, as a struggle for supremacy at a level below consciousness between two great powers.

    anyhow, i hope you are right about hugh having grown into a more courageous artist through the enacting of gregory house for the past 6+ years. even more than the oranges, i am eager for the release of hugh laurie blues album. for both hugh and house, music is a door that opens onto the inner self. and it does take daring to go there. i will be very interested to see what choices hugh has made.

  • pirateat30

    Saw the site Carolyn P but its not listed. Here is a same of the song.

  • Barbara, that was excellent. I love reading your articles. I’d much rather read your writing than all the rumor mills out there attempting to speculate about upcoming episode plots. There’s some really crazy stuff floating around there right now.

    I see House and Cuddy as a long-term deal. These two have a history, they care about each other, they love each other and they are as much alike as they are different. Both have difficulty in personal relationships, both are very driven and passionate about their jobs. They are also loners, neither with any close friends. Wilson is probably the closest friend they have. Some people are calling the relationship problems a result of bad writing. I say no way, what is happening between them is all part of the evolution of the characters. They are working through going from one stage in their relationship to another, a huge step. Funny about two stubborn people like them, neither wants to change but they find that they are changing in subtle ways. Like any relationship they are going to have their issues to work through. When you love someone that’s what you do, you work it out, tough as it is. While Cuddy told House she doesn’t want him to change, I think secretly she’s hoping he will want to change. That said, she would rather have him as he is than not at all. And I do not see House giving up on Cuddy. As Barbara pointed out, he’s TRYING. And remember, he told Cuddy her loved her in “Now What?” which is something nobody expected. Both characters have let their guard down now and in the past only to each other and at their most vulnerable moments. Neither of them can be that way with anyone else. They will have bumps in the road, they will survive.

    As to Wilson, he’ll have some obstacles to overcome which will hopefully help how he handles relationships. I wonder if Wilson will be going into therapy?

    What we’re seeing is the natural evolution of these characters in complicated relationships. They will drive us crazy at times but they’re going to be great! I think this season has been great so far. Those who criticize it because House has changed don’t seem to understand that the evolution is part of the process, it’s necessary for the story to move forward. The character can’t remain the same forever. In fact, have we not seen him change since the very first episode of Season 1? Yes. He has been through a lot and will continue to go through more changes, as will Cuddy and the rest.

    BTW I just had to add this in…there’s a lot of speculation on the internet (and mind you it’s just fans talking) about “what’s next?” for instance there are folks predicting Cuddy will have surgery in ep. 15 (based on Omar posting a twitter pic of her in a patient gown) and that House will either misdiagnose her simple ailment as something major and nearly kill the woman he loves and then he goes over the edge and runs away (hence the filming of the Trenton bridge). LOL as you can see a lot of folks are desperate for the hiatus to be over. 😉 (Frankly I think GY and Co. are just trying to keep fans on their toes….)

    All I can say is while I am sure there will be a lot of twists and turns in this and future seasons, we will NOT be disappointed. I for one am going to just sit back and not speculate and just enjoy it.

  • pawpaw

    @Jessica (#76): You’re right about House having changed and of course, as he should, IMO, otherwise this would be only boring hour-long show each week. So I’m glad that Shore & Co. are (or appear to be) humoring (or torturing) us by saying that people, esp. characters on TV don’t change. It would be awful for me as a fan and I think for the show and these characters who we’ve come to know and love (or hate, depending on your perspective) if they, and House in particular, went back to his old self. I watched the Pox episode and Small Sacrifices over weekend. House was kind and compassionate with the dying father in Pox, telling him to not worry, that interferon may take longer to work. I don’t think the House from earlier seasons would have said that. It mattered to the story. It matters to me as a fan to see how his relationship with Cuddy is changing him. Maybe at times, without House even that aware of it.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk46: I understand that the concept of archetypal parents can be understood differently in the jungian tradition. What i meant can perhaps be better put in terms of Ideal Parental Figures. I do think that these roles they play go beyond mere surrogate parenting, though.

    House did not experience with his actual mother the real-life expression of The Good Mother figure, as the person who provides unconditional acceptance, understanding and support, functioning like an interface between the child and the world, filtering the negative emotions and frustrations inflicted by the world and protecting the child from them and all other sources of harm. Cuddy has functioned as House’s Ideal Mother figure nearly at all times: she understands his motivations and trusts his choices, also providing the boundaries that are meant to protect him from himself and his personal demons – very significantly, she protects and supports him even in regard to choices that she does not approve of. She has always protected him and been loyal to him beyond any imagination, and as opposed to his real mother, she has always been most honest with him, even blunt at times.

    In regard to Wilson’s fatherly role in House’s life, i see him as a Good Father figure: the one who sets limits for the child, trying to help him adapt better to the requirements of the real world. He does so in an accepting and tolerant manner, always forgiving the child’s mistakes, but keen on making him learn valuable lessons from them. It has often been noticed that Wilson’s understanding of House is not always perfect – sometimes, Wilson misunderstands House, generally for the worse, and hurries to offer advice or scold him. That fits his profile as Good Father, because the father’s role in the child’s life is primarily to offer advice and guidance, as opposed to the mother’s, who is the source of unconditional acceptance.

    The show has clearly played upon these two roles – just think of how many times we’ve seen Wilson and Cuddy embracing the parental roles in House’s life, joining forces to stir him onto the right path or dead worried about him.

    In regard to House jokingly calling Cuddy “mom”, I view that as an acknowledgement of the profound role she plays in his life, which can be explained not only by the Good Mother figure, but also by many other theories, including Freudian theories, as well as transactional analyses theories.

    As symbolic mother and father in House’s life, the joined Cuddy and Wilson “interventions” have shared a pretty constant and clear pattern. Cuddy is the one who understands him, accepts him even at his worst and respects his opinions and choices, trying to protect him at all cost, while Wilson is the one who tries to change him, teach him lessons and stir him onto better paths. It’s simply classical, textbook mother/father roles, in my opinion.

    On Hugh and his new courage in regard to self-expression: i couldn’t agree more, i do believe that this album is a very meaningful new approach for him. It was very clear from the way he talked about it in the Tavis Smiley interview, saying that his default response would have been to refuse or postpone the recording of the album undeterminedly, but he just went for it, in what he himself viewed as an uncharacteristic manner for him. That spells out “change”, and it is a very good thing, in my opinion.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @CarolynP: thank you:) I was hoping we are not boring people, but i wasn’t willing to stop – i enjoyed “talking” to smk tremendously.

    @smk46: Thank you again for the opportunity:)

    @Jessica: just wanted to say i agree fully to your comment.
    On the whole speculation issue: i am aware of it, but i am not giving it much credit. It’s a very long stretch to start assuming stuff about what happens 7 episodes from now, based on a tweeted photo that we have no additional info about.
    I, too, am sitting back and enjoying:)

    @pawpaw: i agree with you too. Personally, i believe that the most significant change in House is not how he feels, the kind of human being he is and his inner life, but how he expresses his humanity. There have always been glimpses into House’s “good heart”, into his conscience and compassion and desire to help people. We have witnessed many “hidden” acts of kindness through the years, in which House has secretly tried to help his coworkers, his patients, Cuddy or Wilson. As Wilson once put it: “your boss is secretly a very nice man”.
    He has become increasingly confident and allows himself to express the good side of him more freely and openly – and that, in my opinion, is the major change we are witnessing. A matter of self-expression, rather than a matter of essence.

  • Flo

    @Delia (#78), I understand your point about the Mother and Father figure but I can’t really apply it to the show. I mean not as far as you seem to do it. I never saw House as having a sort of Oedipian complex (but with his Mom).

    “As symbolic mother and father in House’s life, the joined Cuddy and Wilson “interventions” have shared a pretty constant and clear pattern. Cuddy is the one who understands him, accepts him even at his worst and respects his opinions and choices, trying to protect him at all cost, while Wilson is the one who tries to change him, teach him lessons and stir him onto better paths. It’s simply classical, textbook mother/father roles, in my opinion.”
    I understand that you’re talking metaphorically but I am surprized that you are so in favor of the House/Cuddy thing then. Basically, your theory says that House is sleeping with his mother (metaphorically). I don’t think that the House and Cuddy thing can be reduced as a Mother issue on his part even if I understand your point and even partly agreeing to it. I believe that if Cuddy was fully a Mother figure for him the show and the relationship would be weirder and developed in another way. It would be totally different IMO. And totally not healthy in the sense that it wouldn’t be good for any of the character.

    I think you kind of contradict yourself in saying that, in some level, House is having sex with his mother (again metaphorically) while saying that it is good and it could/should be permanent (possibly for the rest of his life).
    As long as needing and confronting parental figures is useful for some people in some circumstances, it is quite clear that the person who needs that also needs to overcome this situation in order to live a healthier life.
    It is actually made clear by your example of the “classical Mother/Father role” which is somewhat cliché and has to be defeated to be totally free of such rigid representation and be independant.

    Either his relationship with Cuddy is a prerequisite for him to grow and go on (which means it’s meant to be temporary) or she is what is best for him and he needs to stick with her in order to have a chance at happiness. I don’t see how (in the way you put it) it can be both.

    However, those are extremely interesting questions and issues that actually could deeply challenge their relationship.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Flo: Well, let me begin by saying that my point of view is NOT based on a psychoanalytical approach. That is why i corrected the “archetype” term as soon as smk46 pointed out the confusion. I don’t think of this in terms of freudian or jungian approach.

    So, i don’t see his relationship with Cuddy as oedipian either. That’s why i said that the connection can be explained from many other points of view than the freudian one (even though this is, undeniably, a small part of it too). The Parent concept is very much used in transactional analysis, for instance.
    Any therapist’s notes are full of endless cases of adults who compensate their childhood scars by subconsciously surrounding themselves with significant people in their lives who carry out parental roles to some extent. It’s a very, very common healing mechanism, that perpetuates itself because the need of the symbolic Child keeps feeding the availability of the symbolic Parent.

    So, mainly, what i understand by these roles of Good Mother and Good Father figures is a retrospective symbolic repair of his childhood traumas. Their roles are symbolic, as well as functional, providing the troubled adult with some of the inner resources that he should have got from his parents, but didn’t.

    I did speak metaphorically, but i think i didn’t make myself clear, sorry about that. The whole thing started from the archetype of the suprahuman healer, that is part of House’s identity, and from there we moved onto the patterns and structure of the show – i view Wilson and Cuddy’s roles as surrogate parents or parental figures for House as being a part of the immutable structure of the show – and of House’s life, as we witnessed it. That’s all.

  • Sera G

    A quick thank you to Jessica, #76. You stated so well what I think, feel and hope for and about House/Cuddy. Their bond is too strong, too long in coming and too wanted by them both to end. I think they will both fight and compromise to make sure that they last as a couple. That is what it means to be part of any relationship.

  • Andrea

    I guess I have a hard time viewing Wilson and Cuddy as Dad and Mom for House. It’s all a bit too Freudian. Wilson is his best friend, Cuddy is his lover. At some points he probably reacts as he does with them based on his troubled relationships with his actual parents. Wilson may respond to him in part because he felt he failed in his relationship with his mentally ill brother. Cuddy probably has her own familial relationships that impact her relationship with House. In the end, though, they’re all adults in very different relationships than parent-child and they are acting based on their own lengthy histories and relationships with each other, no one else. I think we can get carried away wit the psychoanalysis.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Andrea: i understand what you mean, but i am not talking psychoanalysis here. I am talking about tht Child, Adult and Parent internal models of self, that are essential concepts in transactional analysis and every single human interaction is based on us playing one of those roles.
    When one type of interaction repeats often enough (for instance, House playing the role of Child and Wilson playing the role of Father), then a pattern is formed, that i referred to by the Father Figure term.

    PS: On Cuddy and her personal history: i hope that the mother story arc will give us a bit more on that. It’s all very interesting, the insecure overachiever, control seeking lonely person, who slept with her father’s best friend…

  • ann uk

    I think you are being too kind to Cuddy, Barbara,and that she is the one who is being dishonest. Remember that she assuaged House,s doubts about his ability to sustain their relationship by telling him that she didn’t want him to change.Remember that he spent all night on the floor in his office struggling to choose between his duty to his patient and his concern for Cuddy.When he says ” I didn’t lie to you, I lied to my boss. I lied to save my patient “,he is stating the only way their relationship can work. Mixing up their private lives with their professional one will destroy both.As boss and doctor they have to maintain an objective view.By yielding to Cuddy and promising not to lie in future, House is laying up trouble for the future and I really don’t want him to fail again.

  • ruthinor

    House’s idea of “not lying to Cuddy in the future” means telling her, after the fact, that he forged her signature to get the daughter’s health documents in the last episode. He will continue to do what is best for his patients. Cuddy knows and understands this. She did not react at all when he told her about the forged signature. She just does not want him to continue to lie about his actions AFTER the incident is over. Had he told her the truth about the Hep C test results in the end, I don’t think she would have been nearly as pissed off as she was. Instead he lied and used false flattery which hurt even more once she knew the truth.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Just for the heck of it, i fully agree with Ruthinor.
    Her reaction in “Small Sacrifices”, to the forged signature thing, was such old-school Huddy, i loved it! We’ve seen her being a bit annoyed, a bit amused, a bit bothered and a bit amased by his “ingenious” patient care techniques – we’ve seen it a million times before, and ultimately she shrugs in exasperation AND admiration and ends up protecting his back at all cost.

    I have no reason to believe that would change now – if and only if House didn’t extend his lies and manipulation into their personal interactions and conversations. He DID lie to his girlfriend too – not just to his boss.

  • smk46

    delia_b: i enjoyed our exchange as well. my email: sherrykearns@yahoo.com
    if you want to keep talking…which i hope you do. that way we won’t be monopolizing barbara’s board.
    btw, yes to your further explaining cuddy and wilson in the good mother, good father roles. i do disagree with you about a person never recovering from parental abuse/rejection, but that requires a different venue. hope to hear from you.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Aaaaa… That sounds weird. The “Just for the heck of it” part. I don’t mean that i agree “just for…”. I meant that i am adding this comment “just for the heck of it”, because these things have been discussed over and over again already.

  • Michele1L

    Delia_Beatrice(62) – I completely agree. House has shown his humantiy from the inception of the show. But not for that, I could not have watched for seven years running. It is the fact that the prickly posturing and other unsavory mannerisms are protective measures that make the character so intriguing, therefore, sympathetic. For me, without this, House would be unbearable to watch.

  • ruthinor

    “Just for the heck of it, i fully agree with Ruthinor.”

    My God, D_B, what is the world coming to??!!

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @Michele1L: i agree to you agreeing, thank you for joining in:))))))

    Without his humanity and complexity, House would be nothing but a caricature, IMO. I know that a part of the fandom enjoy his “jerkiness” and abrasive behavior and are in fact unsatisfied with the exploration of the depth beneath them – perhaps they feel that the all-powerful archetype he represents is diminished by revealing his humanity, or maybe they simply take too much pleasure in identifying with him and thus soothing their own frustrations.

    That’s fine, we all watch for so many different reasons. Personally, i am fascinated by what is beneath the surface, for two reasons: one, the character of House is a fascinating construction that simply mesmerizes anybody who ever had any interest in psychology, literature or philosophy, for instance, and two, his complex and profond humanity made me fall in love with him in the most “literal” sense of the word – as a good friend of mine puts it, no reason why fictional infatuation cannot develop into a life long passionate relationship – of which i am clearly proof of:)

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk46: thank you very much. I had been hoping to make this personal, too:)

    Yes, i definitely feel that i want to carry the conversation further, and it’s wise not to monopolize Barbara’s blog:)

    I wrote down your email and i plan to use it, but i feel that it’s somewhat easier to catch up on facebook. So if you have an account, i am Delia Vasile (Romanian woman living in Bucharest, photo with my little boy).

    The invitation is open for Michele1L too, and Ruthinor, if she can forgive me for the completely mindless use of the word “heck”:)

  • smk46

    delia_b: i don’t use facebook, looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Andrea

    I’m not a psychiatrist and haven’t studied much psychology since Psych 101. I suppose I approach the show more using literary analysis, since I was an English major and am a writer by trade. I think we probably agree on substance, though, just use different terminology. I find your thoughts interesting.

  • ruthinor

    D_B: Nothing to forgive! I took it as written ( it needed no fancy explanation) and, given our past disagreements, I thought it was lovely and funny.

  • Grace

    Barbara, my comments have vanished. Don’t know if you can find them or not. 🙁

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @smk46: OK, i got it:) I am looking forward to it too, and will get to it as soon as i can:)

    @Andrea: thank you, i always enjoy your comments too:)
    Well, i studied them both:) I went to two universities at the same time, in one of them i studied Universal Literature and Public Relations, in the other one, Psychology and Sociology. I use literary analysis too, maybe that’s why i relate to your comments all the time:)
    I would say it’s ok to agree and disagree, and use all kinds of terminologies too. It’s what makes this place not only fun and interesting, but also “educational” somehow.

    @Ruthinor: Thank you, you are sweet. Well, i was kidding with the apology, i knew you were joking:)

  • Derdriui

    Hey, sorry, just asking for a clarification:

    “It’s time for me to take a leap of faith,” House promises. And for him, it’s a leap across a canyon taken with a disabled right thigh. It’s a long shot. But he’s willing to try, even if the first step is taken with a lie. Page 5

    Wasn’t this part of the lie?

    And if it was just padding for the lie, then it… still doesn’t show anything at all.

    This isn’t a Huddy question, it’s just a logic question. How can he be taking a leap of faith by lying to her?

    Also, I get that the disability is used by you as a metaphor there, but it’s still… he’s screwed up but no longer delusional. He lied to her, to her face, because she wasn’t agreeing with his logic. And this is something important to her. The idea that this signals him growing up is very odd to me.

    It seems like he’s turning into more of an ass, actually. With Stacy, when he knew he couldn’t be enough for her, he told her to leave. With Cuddy, he’s just… lying to her and manipulating her because he wants her… but he wanted Stacy too. What’s different now?

    I don’t think it can be argued in any way that he loves Cuddy more than Stacy – she’ll always be the love of his life, at least that’s how that was painted – but the difference is that here he seems far more afraid of being alone than he was before.

    Still, I thought bullheadedly choosing ethics (his internal ethical code) over ease was the way this character worked. But who knows anymore, the writing is so sloppy.

  • smk46

    imo, the lie about lying was a leap of faith. house knew he had hurt cuddy terribly by trapping her with talk of what color she’d want her wedding dress to be…she answered in the present tense…and then hitting her with the knowledge of her 6 day marriage. she was crushed that it was all a ruse to prove she’d lied to him about never having been married before. when he heard the team talking about rachel taub saying the hurt and feelings of betrayal never went away for her, he applied that to cuddy. so he lied to her about being sorry about the first set of lies, a kind of minor quarrel as was proven by cuddy’s willingness to forget it when she thought he was dying. but what he was really sorry about was hurting her for real by trapping her into showing her open self to him in regards to a future marriage. at least that’s my take on it. you’re right, the writing isn’t very clear. there is too great a reliance on implication and inference. but this lie was a salve applied to cuddy’s psyche. it mattered to him that she not feel hurt. before they were lovers, he would never have lied to comfort her. he has committed himself to protecting her regardless of personal cost to him. of course, it’s himself he’s protecting her from.

  • HouseMDFan

    @smk46 – I mostly agree with you. In a way, it’s the same kind of lie as his “Yeah” at the end of “Now What?”, when Cuddy said “It’s going to be great.” Of course he doesn’t believe it, but he is saying it to reassure her.
    And @Derdriui – lying to comfort somebody else is indeed a change for him. We had the whole theme in S5 with “The Social Contract” and with “Unfaithful”, and both times he couldn’t and didn’t do it – and we did see the good side of it in “The Social Contract”. Now, he is doing it to make his relationship work, precisely because his relationship with Stacy didn’t work – he is trying to change his approach, because his inability to change was exactly the reason for sending Stacy away. He is indeed chosing his relationship over his own integrity. I’m not sure if this is a way of “ease” as you called it – he is having a hard time with it and we’ll have to see how far this can go. As I said above (#43), there is an ambiguity and the decision between hypocrisy and honest change depends on your viewpoint.

  • HouseMDFan

    @Derdriui – I forgot to add: this way of “ease” really isn’t one. It would be for everybody else, but for House, only following his own standards and keeping everyone else out is his “comfort zone”. And THAT is something Wilson already suspected when House sent Stacy away in “Need to Know”. Remember Wilson’s speech on the roof, about House being afraid of change? I always thought he was rather wrong and House was just being honest in a way Wilson couldn’t understand (mainly because I agreed with the “people don’t change” dictum), but it’s his side we are seeing now – House changing his approach. Even if he doesn’t believe in it. Most of the people here are interpreting the fact that he changed something at all as evidence for a leap of faith – while other’s may see it as hypocritical (or at least as House becoming “ordinary”) because he doesn’t believe in what he says and does. (And as always, I’m in the middle. 🙂 )

  • smk46

    housemdfan: i think house sent stacy away because he was afraid to be hurt. as he told lydia, that’s what he does when he’s afraid, he pushes people away. remember in broken when dr. nolan asked house to trust people? i think this lie to cuddy…the most current one…is a form of trust, trusting that he can make this relationship work. and that is a leap of faith. he didn’t trust stacy that far, but he trusts cuddy enough to try…in his own way. he simply cannot honestly articulate his own vulnerability and neediness which go down to the very deepest level. as delia_beatrice pointed out many posts ago, the child in house was badly damaged because the people he trusted to protect him didn’t.

  • HouseMDFan

    @smk46 – I don’t disagree with the notion that House was/is afraid to be hurt, but that’s pretty much a given and quite trivial (who isn’t?). But why did he think he would get hurt, why did he think it wouldn’t work with Stacy? And that’s where the whole “change” problem comes into play. I don’t think it has all that much to do with how much he trusts Stacy or Cuddy, it’s about how much he trusts himself.
    But here we arrive at a problem that I have had with Delia’s posts time and time again (since you mentioned her) – to view House mainly as the poor damaged child. His relationship with his parents is an aspect, but there is so much more to him and I just can’t go along with this simplistic and IMO patronizing view.

  • smk46

    housemdfan: house didn’t trust stacy because she had left him once before. not to mention that she had, before the breakup, violated his trust by enacting her right as his health care proxy and okaying the surgery that he didn’t want which has subsequently left him in chronic pain. no wonder he didn’t trust her.
    and of course house is not just the poor damaged child,(genius, trickster, sex god, wit, etc.) but is as every person is…we all carry our childhood around inside us. i think it’s one’s history that to a certain extent influences one’s future. it takes an active effort, a leap of faith, to try to change. house is trying, to his everlasting credit.

  • HouseMDFan

    house didn’t trust stacy because she had left him once before.

    One of the reasons for her leaving him – apart from the leg issue – was that she felt alone with him (her words), that he would be insensitive and ignore her, that he couldn’t give her what she needed in a relationship (his words). Character traits of his and problems in their relationship that don’t necessarily have anything to do with his childhood (or his leg), but are very much a problem between these two people. A problem that House saw and acted upon by letting her go.

    As for the other thing – I saw your conversation with Delia about archetypes and I really don’t want to get into this since my view is a very different one.

  • smk46

    housemdfan: i didn’t mean that stacy wasn’t justified in leaving house, only that house’s response of distrust was founded on real events.

  • CarolynP


    “Still, I thought bullheadedly choosing ethics (his internal ethical code) over ease was the way this character worked. But who knows anymore, the writing is so sloppy”.

    I am in the middle too though disagree the writing is sloppy, we are only up to episode 8 and they have balanced it out just right up to now IMO and have again cleverly left it open for interpretation to be discussed over the hiatus. This is a major story they are covering so they will take it slow and just give us bits and pieces here and there to chew on.
    Regarding this episode:
    Will he lie to her again? Of course he will IMO
    Did she believe that he wouldn’t lie to her again? How long has she known him? 🙂
    It’s great to speculate but none of us really know what they are going to come up with until the fat lady sings and that particular fat lady is of course the cynical David Shore.

    “I don’t think it can be argued in any way that he loves Cuddy more than Stacy – she’ll always be the love of his life, at least that’s how that was painted – but the difference is that here he seems far more afraid of being alone than he was before”.

    The way i saw House and Stacey’s relationship before the infarction was that though they had a great love for each other and trusted each other their love was intense and they had become competitive over each other(they probably had great sex though).
    After the infarction he could not get over her distrust and the fact that he would now be in constant physical pain because she didn’t trust the choice that he wanted (even though we now know he regrets that choice) and he forced her out of his life.

    When she came back in season two:
    At first he thought he would be able to deal with it because time had moved on but realised there were feelings still there.
    He almost went through the five stages of death with her, first with his DENIAL that it bothered him that she was there then his ANGER that she was there and trying to punish her then him BARGAINING/compromising when he accepts she is there and he puts the charms on her ten fold and she eventually falls for it. He then skips the DEPRESSION though it has been interwoven throughout IMO and goes straight for the ACCEPTANCE and that he has forgiven her for the choice she made about his leg but he cannot be whom she wants him to be because he thinks he cannot change and will just bring more misery into her life so let’s her go for her own benefit. Wilson does not understand him as we do and thinks House is throwing an opportunity (to be happy) away but we are shown throughHouse what Wilson isn’t and remember this was season 2.

    With Cuddy: In seasons one two and into season three it was all about banter and power plays but their game really stepped up after “words and Deeds” in season 3 when she perjured herself for him and the show then really started to reveal a more sexual presence and depth to their relationship. House has always found her attractive as stated throughout the show but after “Words and Deeds” and the several following Cuddy becomes especially touchy towards him (his arm several times, his chest etc) and he seems uncomfortable but he allows it, he is slowly letting her in IMO. I haven’t watched season 4 in a while and it was sadly cut short but season 5 they stepped up the notch to him realising he really does want to be with Cuddy and trying to sort himself out before his sad emotional breakdown then into season 6 etc etc.

    I admire how careful the show has been in how they have slowly built him up emotionally to at least try and be in a relationship with Cuddy.

  • Derdriui


    … But how is that character development? He’s decided that he’s comfortable with lying now because he’s given up on having an honest relationship? Again, how is following Wilson on this helpful?

    Actually, it’s worse than what Wilson was talking about, which is lying to keep things smooth. This is him lying about the fact that he WILL lie to her again, because of COURSE the puzzle comes before Cuddy. His principles came before Wilson so many times.

    And if they don’t? Then there’s absolutely nothing left of this show anymore.

    So, then. He’s setting her up! If she thinks that he’s ‘taking a leap of faith’ (seriously, I don’t know how dimwitted we’re supposed to believe Cuddy is, but how could she be expected to accept this?). Then, when he inevitably does lie to her and discredit her role as his supervisor again, he’s ripping away the foundations of their relationship.

    So… Cuddy’s taking huge risks for him. I don’t understand why he would lie to her about something this obvious. And why she would possibly think he’s telling the truth when he says it.

    But hey, maybe we’re all just trying to justify some very sloppy writing.

  • ruthinor

    I think Cuddy knows that House will lie cheat and steal if he believes strongly that it will help a patient. He lied by omission when he obtained the daughter’s medical test results in Small Sacrifices, but he told her about it later. She was NOT upset about that, she expected it. But in the politics episode, he explicitly went behind her back and “cheated” by substituting the hep C tests to get her approval for a very dangerous procedure. He then compounded that lie by not telling her about it later. Even worse, he used this switched test result to get into her good graces ( “see, I’m doing what you asked me to do, I’m such a good guy”). When she finds out later that it was all a lie, it was much more devastating to her. He should have apologized for lying (not for switching the tests) or told her about it after the fact. Some lies are much worse than others. At least that’s the way I read it.

  • HouseMDFan


    1. He is NOT “comfortable with lying now”, that was the whole point and the reason he told Wilson about it in that manner. He is doing it because he doesn’t see an alternative. Which leads me to How is that character development? I guess a guy can only run his head against a wall so many times before he gives up completely or uses a different path. And House has been beaten down again and again, ending up in Mayfield. It’s not like he had any choice in the matter, he couldn’t go on the way he was. He chose to follow the different path, for better or for worse.

    2. I guess this point is most important in answer to your doubts: As Barbara said in her review, it is very debatable what exactly is the lie House told and what Cuddy was thanking him for. Cuddy may be right in thinking that he is taking a leap of faith – not because of his words (which were a lie), but because of the fact that he said them (because this shows his willingness to place the relationship above his principles and thus take it personal, which is kind of a leap of faith in itself because he is leaving his comfort zone). It’s a very convoluted way of thinking, but it does make sense in a way and I think it is Housian. “Truth begins in lies.” (Pilot!)
    In addition, truth/lie aren’t exactly binary things, as counterintuitive as that may seem. That’s what I have been trying to say. Is somebody “dishonest” just because he isn’t true to his “old self”?

    3. House’s principles. In my opinion, House never ever was someone to blindly follow principles. That’s what he scolded Masters for. That’s what he didn’t like in his father. When it comes down to it, he is one of the least judgemental characters on the show. His ethics are as warped as they are because most of the time he works on an individual case basis. Every case is unique and every case has its own “right thing” to do. That can be the truth or a lie, there is no way to tell beforehand.

    4. And a detail at the end: discredit her role as his supervisor again. That wasn’t the point. He did the same thing with the forged signature, but this time he came out and told her point-blank and she hardly reacted. Also, I agree with what @ruthinor said, there are different kinds of lies.

  • Derdriui



    Also, he’s faked tests to dupe her before. As well as all those other lies. The difference is, now he’s her boyfriend. So, if he says that he won’t lie to her again and that he’s taking a leap of faith, he’s lying about not telling her EXACTLY the same kind of lies he’s told her before. There’s no… alternate set of lies here.


    1. He’s sad and old and desperate. I get that. He wants somebody warm at night. But I’m certain that that’s not what we’re supposed to see Cuddy as! She’s supposed to have some value and character, and if he lies to her then that should matter. Even if he’s just doing it because he’s old and sad and desperate.

    2. He told a soppy lie, which she was supposed to know was a lie (despite spending the whole episode angry at him because he didn’t make such a declaration), and therefore she inferred that while he was saying something completely unlike himself (which she rejected earlier in the episode, when he tried to dress up as Wilson), she accepted that this was him… trying. By lying to her.

    Two reasons why this… is even less plausible than it sounds already. One, she expected him to tell her that he loved her. She expects him to be open about his feelings for her. And therefore, her hearing ‘leap of faith’ from House’s mouth and accepting it as truth? Not necessarily shocking. Bad writing, sure, but that’s what this character has been subjected to.

    Secondly, if she could tell he was lying, she would have called him out on it. Like she did throughout the episode.

    3. House never ever was someone to blindly follow principles.

    I… what? I think you’re confusing ‘principles’ for ‘what society thinks people should do’.

    Also, one does not ‘blindly follow’ principles – if you have any at all, in means that they are important to you and you stick to them because that’s what gives your existence some meaning.

    The idea that he’ll… ‘put the relationship above his principles’ just sounds very convoluted. So he loves her and therefore is willingly to lie to her, which is a way for him to take a leap of faith, even though he said that he lied to Cuddy and therefore there’s no reason to believe that any of that speech was true?

    Also, I thought him putting his principles above people was important. And the very fact that he was lying about giving up curing his patients in order to follow the rules shows that he’s NOT putting Cuddy above his principles.

    4. All that said, discrediting her role as a supervisor does matter. Her CAREER matters. Cuddy at the start was a character who knew how to deal with House, had a sense of humour and had some professional integrity. Over the last few seasons she’s perjured herself, been repeatedly embarassed in front of her employees and superiors etc. and all for somebody who won’t stop doing what he wants to do, no matter the cost.

    And she was a character that could deal with all of that. But to show that she did all that for a completely unprofessional reason (because she was in love with him), and then show that House is manipulating her so she’ll stay… eh.

    You can talk about the relativity weights of different kinds of lies, but this just looks like a bunch of renegade, hormonal writers took over a previously somewhat decent show.

  • HouseMDFan


    Argh. Cuddy’s “deterioration” is becoming an urban myth. The Vogler arc already showed that she didn’t always know how to deal with him. His personal comments in front of her, in front of co-workers, in her absence? Since season 1. House breaking into her house and checking out her underwear without consequences? Humpty Dumpty (2×3). Perjuring herself? Mid season 3 – if you are going so far back, there isn’t much left for her. Character development, showing more personal stuff, more familiarity, weaknesses? It’s your right to not like it – but it isn’t the show’s fault and you don’t have to prove that it’s written badly just because you don’t like it.

    It’s also a myth that Cuddy was only tolerating him because she was in love with him. How many times did we hear how important he is for the hospital? How many times did she mention the people he saves? Just because she is in love with him now and on top of that, her professional reasons aren’t nonexistent.

    Also, he was in no way promising that he’ll follow the rules in the future. As he already did in this episode, he’ll ignore the rules as ever, but he won’t lie to her about ignoring them. (Or so he said.) Which has been said repeatedly, but you seem determined to ignore it.

    House is being convoluted and ambivalent and not easy to sort out? Oh no! How did that happen? Seriously, I don’t know what show you have been watching.
    On the other hand, you are right, it could come up again and destroy their relationship. It would be possible to write it that way. It is just as possible to drop it, as they have done with a lot of things since season 1.

    As for 1. – way to twist my words and insinuate your own judgements. Also, if House just wanted “somebody warm at night”, he really wouldn’t have to go through so much trouble. His obsession with Cuddy in particular goes back to season 2.

    And out of curiosity: if you are convinced that the writing is so bad and has been for so long (or always? “somewhat decent”?) – why are you still watching? To be annoyed?

  • ruthinor

    The truth is that House is incapable of being supervised. Cuddy is stuck with the job because no one else at PPTH could handle it any better than she can. House denigrates everyone both publicly and privately, and this includes Cuddy. Still, when his team members think he’s gone too far, they go to Cuddy to try and stop him, and she frequently does. House’s only interest is in saving his patients’ lives. That comes before everything, and I think it should. Cuddy’s interest is primarily in protecting the hospital’s reputation and preventing costly lawsuits. This will inevitably lead to clashes. Remember the woman administrator who fired Foreman when he left PPTH and found another job? Foreman’s actions saved the patient’s life, but that didn’t matter to her because he didn’t follow her instructions to do what was generally called for under the circumstances. Her conclusion was that Foreman would end up costing more lives than saving them with his approach. She was doing what she thought was best for the hospital overall. Cuddy is in a really vulnerable position. She has to try and control House in such a way that she does not stifle him, but still prevents him from carrying out his most outlandish and dangerous ideas. This is further complicated by their personal relationship. IMO, Cuddy wasn’t angry at House for
    “lying” in general (although she was so ticked off, that’s the way it came out). Instead of just owning up to what he did and explaining his actions, House manipulated her and used their relationship to further that lie. She thought he was respecting her wishes when all along he was only respecting his own. Still, House has changed enough that he actually thought about it before plowing ahead. Baby steps!

  • Derdriui

    Ruthinor: It’s true that Cuddy is working on a delicate balance. I guess the personal relationship just made the ‘she’s vulnerable but she’s doing it for the right reasons’ into ‘oh, how much of what she did was because she was in love with him?’ It just brings that whole dynamic into more… awkward water. I kind of liked her as someone who was trying to strike that balance, be a good person and a good administrator at the same time etc.

    As for the second point about the lying, she said that he doesn’t get to lie to her now. That’s. About lying. I don’t know, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one!


    All the examples you gave just show that Cuddy has allowed herself to be pushed over repeatedly from near the start. The comparison to season 1 Cuddy is that she was less of a pushover – or had not come across all these opportunities to be a pushover – and therefore was more of a respectable figure. But if you’re saying she’s been a pushover for House from the start, how is that good admin?! It’s one thing to take professional risks or personal risks for professional reasons, but by adding the relationship to that already awkward dynamic (with Cuddy bearing most of the weight), it just makes you question why she did any of it.

    Secondly, while her professional reasons could still plausibly exist, it would’ve nice if they showed that that were the principal reason. Instead, she declared her undying love for a man who has been undermining her for years.

    Thirdly, how are you not getting that she’s an administrator? If he doesn’t lie to her, that means he has his paperwork in order. That she must be satisfied with the medical evidence behind his decision-making. Unless you think it’s possible to ‘ignore the rules’ and Cuddy will just accept that because he’s being honest?!

    Fourthly, I am criticizing the show as it is now because it used to be good sometimes. I just saw 5×22 the other day, which was actually really engaging and interesting, and some older episodes are always good for a rewatch. The show used to be inconsistent with occasional loveliness and mostly watchable but season 7 has just been… high questionable. If you’re one of those people that can’t take criticism of something they like, the don’t read what I write!

    And hey, you have every right to enjoy the show! I’m just being critical of a TV show, there’s no need to get huffy.

  • ruthinor

    Copy and paste doesn’t work for me on this site, but for those who are interested, Lisa Edelstein answered a number of questions about the show and her character. No real spoilers!

    Derdriui (sp?) could you PLEASE change your name to something I can remember how to spell?!! Also, is “huffy” an eighth dwarf?

    I think Cuddy has always been run over by House when he really wanted to do something, starting with season 1. IMO, early on in the series Cuddy was not written as a well-rounded character a la House and Wilson. She wasn’t in that many scenes and when she was, it was generally to say no to him. I think that leads to the impression that she was more no-nonsense than she appeared to be later on when further facets of her character were revealed. She has always given him more leeway than your typical administrator would give a typical MD. But this is TV, not real life where these two individuals would never exist. If you like and accept the show House, than you have to accept that House breaks the law, frequently does both unnecessary as well as dangerous tests on patients and tries end-runs around Cuddy. Sometimes she is able to stop him from almost killing patients, but she gives him LOTS of leeway. Again, IMO, I don’t think that Cuddy expects this to change. He’s House after all. He will always lie to her by omission. But when he lies to her face by commission, and uses their relationship to help perpetrate that lie, I think she finds that unacceptable.

  • Derdriui

    Ruthinor: I saw that interview! She’s so charismatic and lovely. I really wish they’d inject some of that into Cuddy. The show would still be hopelessly lost but Huddy would be FANTASTIC to watch if Lisa Edelstein and Hugh Laurie were allowed to make it funny instead of this drama about conventional ideas of relationships and settling down into suburbia before it’s too late.

    In fact, all the main cast are or would make great comic actors. They could turn so bad it’s almost tragic into so bad (in terms of shifting from the 5 seasons of decent writing into melodrama) it’s good!

    As for the second bit about Cuddy, I like that she was a real administrator before they developed her character into… this wire-tripping, risking career for love, not understanding ‘I don’t want you to change’ means ‘You’ve treated me like crap for the past six seasons, please continue’ and then going back on it (because common sense kicked in or something).

    I agree with you on the leeway. And it’s certainly really good that they understand each other as professionals.

    As for using their relationship to perpetuate that lie, I think House forged the test in the ‘standard’ way he always has; she was the one who smiled, said it was good for their relationship and gave him a pat on the bum.

    Sorry about the difficult to remember name! And Huffy would be a fantastic eight dwarf… Grumpy’s slightly more measured, flower-arranging second cousin.

  • Andrea

    Here’s an interesting spoiler from an interview Hugh Laurie gave.

    I kind of doubt they’d actually go through with it, but it would sure be an interesting new direction for House as a character at this point in his life.

  • ruthinor

    Thought you guys might enjoy this. Hopefully someone will come along and make copy and paste work!