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TV Review: House, M.D. – “The Down Low”

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Something done on the “down low” is done in secret, on the “QT.” But it’s also sexual slang for a man secretly sleeping with other men (you know, on the “down low”—get it?). In this week’s House episode, the expression has multiple meanings in this light offering with a very sad ending for the patient. But this week’s episode could just have easily been titled “The Sting” because it seems as though nearly everyone is involved in one — either on the giving or receiving end. Or both. But of course being on the down low (non-euphemistically speaking) is what you have to be to properly “sting” someone. But of course the writers (Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman) make good use of the euphemistic meaning as well.

“The Down Low” is one of those House episodes that can feel at home seen out of order in any season. It’s a real standalone, requiring no prior knowledge of the characters to appreciate it. However, if this was your first House episode, you may come away thinking that the series is more comedy than drama. It’s not especially deep, despite the tragic end for the patient, but a good mid-season diversion with some interesting insights into House (Hugh Laurie, using his comedic gifts to the max), Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard showing off his deft comedic timing), and a surprising turn from Foreman (Omar Epps), showing that he’s quite adept at pranking. And pranking good.

And, wow, it’s good to have House back after more than a month of winter hiatus. The team is treating Mickey (Ethan Embry), a drug dealer who went down while a drug deal was going down. He has “loud-noise induced vertigo” and House wonders if his symptoms are connected with his “business” activities.

But Mickey, it turns out, is on the “down low.” He isn’t actually a drug dealer; he’s a cop, undercover for 16 months to bring down a drug kingpin. He can give House and the team no information about his work, who he is or what he’s been doing, which of course they need to diagnose him. He sacrifices much for the noble cause of cracking a cocaine ring, but as House astutely notes, the guys waiting to take over the drug operation will be happy to see the competition eliminated.

Mickey’s business activities do not have anything to do with his illness, which is an untreatable autoimmune disease causing multiple aneurysms, any one of which will kill him — and does by episode’s end. All the time he’s in the hospital, Mickey is cared for by Eddie (Nick Chinlund), his associate in the drug ring who’s a pretty bad guy (he killed an informant a week earlier). But incongruously, he rarely leaves Mickey’s side, staying with him even as he lays dying — and making Mickey wonder perhaps if this very bad dude is really as bad as he seems.

It’s a compelling “A” story with a great patient, well performed by guest star Embry. Chinlund (who indelibly played the chilling Donnie Pfaster on the X-Files episode “Irresistible” years ago) does a fabulous job imbuing Eddie with enough layers to make you understand why in the end Mickey regrets busting him. And for an evil guy, Chinlund underplays him just enough to make him almost sympathetic.

Wrapped around Mickey's story, we find 13 and Taub (and Chase) trying to take the arrogant Foreman down a peg or two, creating an elaborate prank to make him think they’re being paid more than he is. It seems to work—until, that is, Foreman tells them he’s going to resign over the injustice of it. They feel bad enough to offer a cut of their own salaries to give their colleague a raise. But it turns out that Foreman’s staged a reversal, getting back at them very impressively. Seems he has learned a thing or two from his mentor House after all these years. Epps does a great job in the end revealing Foreman’s satisfied (but not self-righteous) glee at having given as good as he got. It's a completely improbable subplot, done more for comedy than to serve the series or the episode.

But nothing tops the interplay, pranking and one-upsmanship between House and Wilson as they vie for the affections of Nora, their new neighbor in the condo procured out from under Cuddy’s nose in “Wilson.” Of course Nora thinks the two middle-aged men moving into a condo together spells G-A-Y.

Wilson thinks this is a negative; for House, it’s a means to getting into her bed. Wilson saw her first and resents House’s play for Nora’s affection. But instead of whining about it, as he has done in the past, Wilson gets even, pushing Nora’s assumptions past where House might effectively use them by proposing—publicly and in front of Nora in a crowded restaurant (much to House’s dismay). Only Wilson can outmaneuver House in quite that way.

The episode obliquely approaches assumptions and presumptions we have about each other as individuals. Nora pigeonholes Wilson and House as a closeted gay couple, but she’s wrong. The fellows pigeonhole Foreman as a stuffy, self-righteous, and arrogant jerk (and they’re right). But what they got wrong is that Foreman is not too stuffy to fight back using stealth with precision.

The team’s presumptions about Mickey are wrong. He’s no drug dealer; he’s an undercover cop. And as soon at that’s revealed, Mickey goes from being barely deserving of treatment to a hero. Mickey’s presumptions about Eddie are wrong. He’s right in that he’s a bad guy: someone who killed an informant for snitching. But he also turns out to be a devoted friend, having worked closely with undercover cop Mickey for 16 months. And when Mickey is on his deathbed spewing blood, Eddie is right there dabbing his face with water and offering to forgo a big deal (and at some risk) to stay at his bedside.

“The Down Low” features two of the funniest scenes in the series history. Wilson’s marriage proposal to House is brilliantly played by Leonard and Laurie, who makes House look like he wants to crawl beneath a rock (but is at the same time highly appreciative of Wilson’s move). The episode’s final scene with House and Wilson relaxing on House’s new and incredibly orange recliner sofa is a delight as well.

I really liked “The Down Low,” but I’m wondering at the same time where House’s (and House's) gravitas went. Are the antidepressants making him all fun and games, acerbic wit and jackass behavior? I like House’s rarified jerk to be counterbalanced with some of his more serious, introspective aspects. And those seem to have disappeared for the moment.

Breaking News! Oscar-nominated actor David Strathairn (Good Night, Good Luck), who has starred in numerous films as hero and villain (he makes an equally good villain as hero) has been cast by Hugh Laurie to star in episode 17, according to Katie Jacobs. I am looking forward to the intense Strathairn sharing scenes with the equally intense Laurie. It should make for an amazing episode this spring.

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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)."
  • Nickel

    I would have thought that Wilson would have let House play this field as a way to get over Cuddy….the fact that House showed any interest at all in another woman would seem to be a GOOD thing for House…but what do I know

  • andree

    Barbara, thanks for responding. Lucky you. Have fun interviewing LE. Please consider asking her an open ended question and ask her what CAN she tell us about the C/L relationship’s conclusion. Maybe she’ll volunteer something! Personally, I’d like to know more about the spoiler tease we heard about the upcoming 5-to-9 Cuddy episode that she supposedly ends up in bed with two diff. people in the episode. Obviously we know one is going to be Lucas (we’ve heard about the shower scene with him) but who’s the other person? Speculation has been this is another DS/KJ jerk of our collective chain and it’ll end up being Rachel. So maybe Lisa will divulge something better? Good luck on the interview and will look forward to reading your article. Thanks for getting us the good info! If you can ask, would love to know more about the actress too not just the character she plays. Wish to know if any movie projects are in the works (liked her recent movie where she played a courier – she was great!) or articles. Dare say she may need a better publicist. : )

  • barbara barnett

    don’t know anything much about #17 yet, but it looks to be sensational. Don’t know much about C/L story either. Doing a Conference Call with LE Tuesday afternoon–so I’ll try to find out more!

  • andree

    Barbara, love reading your stuff! David Strathairn? Yoweeeee! Do you know what is the storyline for episode #17 yet?

    More importantly do you know how friggin long we’re going to have to put up with the Luddy/lucas storyline? I can’t wait for Cuddy and Lucas’s relationship to end and to see how House finds out about that. Please start digging on that topic.
    Thanks for all you write.

  • barbara barnett

    KC and all–have not yet seen the Sherlock Holmes film. I’ve been completely overwhelmed with work and a very large and involved project, so not too many movies for me. I do promise to see it and compare. From what I understand, Holmes has been reinvented for this decade/century and is quite different than in the Conan Doyle stories (art imitating art, I guess 😉 Looking forward to seeing it. RKJ is always entertaining and an excellent actor.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    KC, for me this was the most important reason to enjoy the film, which otherwise is not exactly what one could call a masterpiece:). But RDJ and JL really make it worth watching, because their Hilson-style relationship and Holmes’s Housian ways are a blast:)

  • KC

    @Delia Beatrice: Even though I asked Barbara I want to hear everyones thoughts on this. I feel the same way as you, it felt like they borrowed a lot from the Hilson relationship and that is one of the reasons I enjoyed the film. The plot of the film itself was ok but RDJ and JL chemistry carry the film.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    @KC: i know you wanted to hear Barbara, but i’ll interfere just a sec: the Holmes-Watson relationship and Holmes and Watson individually have borrowed A LOT from House/Wilson. I have actually heard someone say that Downey Jr. declared that he watched “House” on purpose during the preparation for Holmes, but i don’t know if that is true, i didn’t read it myself.

  • KC

    I loved this episode so much it was the first really funny episode of the season. I told all friends that are fans of the show that missed it on Monday to watch immediately.

    @JesuitMan: I agree with this, being a college student is interfering with my job as a commenter on this blog.

    @Jaim: I also want them to bring Dr. Cate Milton back. From that episode we learned that she worked in the psych department at the hospital. It would make sense to bring her back. Mira Sorvino and Hugh Laurie had amazing on screen chemistry and you could tell she is a fan of the show. Bringing Lydia back is also a good option.

    @Sherlock Jr.: I agree Nora seemed more attracted to House than Wilson.

    I don’t think Mickey and Eddie were on “The Down Low” their relationship reminded me of the Johnny Depp and Al Pacino in the movie Donnie Brasco. The thing I like about House is that the show explores strong male friendships.

    The Jack Bauer scene and Wilson’s proposal, well the words instant classic come to mind.

    Right now the Cuddy/House friendship seemed really strained. Hopefully the writers can come up with a way for these characters to realistically move past it.

    @Barbara Barnett: If saw it what did you think of the new Sherlock Homes movie?

  • Jaim

    Does anyone else wish the interest in Nora on House’s part had been deeper? I really liked their interactions. I would love to see House in a relationship for an arc. I don’t count Stacy because he really only got with her in one episode and then sent her away. I wonder if next season will be House’s turn to be with someone? First, Wilson had Amber now Cuddy has Lucas, so I wonder if Dr. Cate Milton could come back from Antarctica and date House? I would love that. I’m even open to House and Thirteen because she seems to get him more this season than even Cuddy. I really liked how she picked up on his fear of rejection in Teamwork. They both are improving their lives and are for the moment trying to move on from prior romances. Maybe they could start something soon. I know most people hate Thirteen but I think she’s interesting and gives as good as she takes when it comes to House.

  • danielhugo

    Hi Rob: Thanks for your help! Now when I read the word Mendoza, I was really surprised. It is truly quite a coincidence. Now I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that my mother tongue is Spanish (this is the reason why I find some words and phrases I don’t understand). The saying “it’s a small world” comes to mind. Best regards,

  • RobF

    Ah, I see. I believe she said they are “mendacious dirt bags”. I’m not sure there is an exact translation for “dirt bag”, which is an unspecific insult that essentially means a person of low moral character.

    (It is quite a coincidence that you are Argentine — I am living in Mendoza.)

  • danielhugo

    Hu ROBF: I am sorry to say that my question was related to the word that follows “mendacious”. and that I could only represent as “???”. To me (I’m Argentine) it sounds like turn-xxx but I can’t figure out what the complete word really is. Can you help me? Thanks in advance.

  • RobF

    Somebody who is “mendacious” is an habitual liar, or at least habitually misleading/untruthful. I’d have to agree with her that House and Wilson fit that description.

  • danielhugo

    Hi everybody: In the final scene, Wilson quotes Nora as saying that she no longer considers them gay but mendacious “???” Thanks in advance,

  • RobF

    As madfashionista says, Eddie was clearly gay and in love with Mickey. That was evident from the moment the gun went off in the opening sequence. The House/Wilson ambiguously gay couple stuff was a neat way of examining the topic without really examining it. I assume they chose to use two criminals because that is one of the few remaining sectors of the population in which a gay man absolutely has to remain closeted. I suppose the same applies to Republican senators, but drug dealers are far more sympathetic characters. 😉

    The other thing I thought funny is that House was deliberately using Wilson’s girl-getting tactic, just in an obvious way (to the point of being farce). Wilson has always used the “girlfriend” angle to get close to women — the writers let anyone unaware of this in on the joke by showing us that Wilson is aware of culottes and “window treatments”. He likes to be seen by women as like a gay friend they can have a sexual relationship with (which, btw, is also the main attraction of vampire movies). Unfortunately for him, the fact that he now has another man living with him ruins his schtick by making him seem actually gay.

    On the medical side, it was nice to see Chase being actually insightful and useful, instead of just being the straight man. And the “you’re not going to put a pillow over his face?” line was hilarious.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    That was not detachment on Cuddy’s part. She knew from the very beginning of her conversation with Foreman that he was acting on the false assumption of having a smaller paycheck than his so called “subordinates” – she could not discuss salaries with him, but she knows the salaries damn well. So she knew that it must have been a prank of some sort (and she suspected House of “doing smth stupid and insensitive”), that’s why she didn’t take it seriously, playing with her PDA etc. Also, she, too, used the opportunity to teach Foreman a little lesson, because she, too, is aware of his inclination towards arrogance:)
    So don’t worry, she’s not disengaging from the lunacy of House and his team, she actually played along quite nicely:))))))

    But i do like your fears – in the sense that i share your dislike with this lack of the usual House-Cuddy interactions and her perceived isolation in search for “normality”, as you well said. However, i am sure it’s temporary. To me, out of everything that makes “House” “House”, the House-Wilson and the House-Cuddy relationships are pivotal. I hated Wilson’s absence in the beginning of season 5 as much as i hate the current status quo on the Huddy front, but i ADORE the fact that the writers have decided to take their hats off in front of these two essential characters and give us the Wilson-centric and the Cuddy-centric episodes. I also acknowledge the creativity in making the parallel even more obvious by using the character of Lucas as the substitute (even though it made everybody hate him tremendously).

    The conclusion i draw from these strategic decisions is that the “House” writers and directors etc are fully aware of the importance of Wilson and Cuddy to the show and they will not keep these dramatic changes going for too long. After Wilson returned, his relationship with House grew deeper and it became more meaningful and more open, culminating with the superb mutual declaration of love and loyalty, in “Wilson”. If the same strategy will apply to Cuddy, it’s much more complicated, because it cannot be just the fun, superficial level of their relationship that will be reintegrated into the show (the banter and the teasing and the bickering), it has to also be the deep level of their relationship (the deep understanding of eachother, the loyalty and the love) – which ultimately means bringing them together, and this little move the “House” creative team will probably postpone for as long as possible.

  • Flo

    First of all: DONNIE PFASTER!!!!!!!!! Sorry, I just needed to get that out of my chest.

    Very funny episode indeed. The proposal scene is gonna stay as a classic.

    The Patient and his “partner” were interesting. I like that part of the story too. It is great to see a bad guy not being portrayed with all the bad guy clichés.

    I also liked the duckling prank. Foreman was really cool in this episode. I feel like he is changing a bit.
    Already in previous episodes, I liked his talk to Cameron when he tells her that she should trust her husband and his interaction with Chase who is annoyed by House intrusiveness in his mariage: “It is his way to tell you you should talk to her”.
    Barbara, you may be right, seems like Foreman is finally learning good things from his boss.

    As for House, having less gravitas and being less dramatic, I’d say it is part of his journey. He really is trying to get better but he hasn’t find the good balance between fun ans seriousness yet.

  • JesuitMan

    Sorry I’m late to the discussion, but the life of a lowly college student with a part-time job doesn’t exactly leave much room for a dynamic social existence.

    This is the second episode in a row in which House and Cuddy appear onscreen yet do not share any scenes together. Moreover, compared to previous seasons, I sensed a vague air of detachment (for lack of a better term) on Cuddy’s part during her very limited interactions with the Duckings 3.0, especially in that scene where Foreman was voicing his latest grievances while she was busy with her PDA. (Of course, no one would blame her for trying to divert her attention elsewhere while Mr. Genius 2.0 drones on and on about the inequalities of life.) Given her inability – due to her position as Dean of Medicine – to make a clean break from her surroundings like Wilson tried to do in the beginning of Season 5, I’m left wondering whether or not Cuddy’s conscious decision to live a “normal” life by disengaging from the residing lunatic of PPTH has also, by extension, made her somewhat disinterested in the respective antics of House’s team. It’s possible that I’m making much ado over nothing, but I hope that TPTB don’t turn Cuddy’s perceived isolation from the rest of the characters into a season-long trend since even just an episode without Lisa Edelstein’s infectious banter feels like a day without sunshine.

    As for the news that David Strathairn is going to be the POTW in Episode 17, all I can say is that it almost (ALMOST) makes up for the general disappointment I experienced with the way in which James Earl Jones – one of the greatest actors of the past half-century as well as the owner of one of the most instantly recognizable voices in entertainment history – was severely underutilized in “The Tyrant.” Although I was pleased with how Jesse Spencer handled himself acting wise in the presence of such a venerable thespian, I found it utterly grievous that Hugh Laurie’s Gregory House was not allowed to interact at all with Jones’ Antipas Dibala. The philosophical/ethical/moral insights resulting from their potential conversations would’ve ended up being the stuff of legend. In my opinion, that was arguably the greatest missed opportunity to ever occur on this show. I just pray things are handled differently this time around with Strathairn’s character.

  • Eve K

    Delia – About the lack of hookers this season – I guess its not that easy to have prostitutes in Wilsons appartement, no matter how much of a doormat House thinks he is.

    I would have hoped that the therapy made him drop the hookers, but I asume not.

    I will also hereby confess that I am NOT a House-Cuddy fan. I am hovever a Cuddy fan, and I think she can stand very well on her own two feet as an interesting female character in TV-land (not to many of them , Im sorry to say). I really hope the Cuddy-episode isnt just a romantic soap.

  • Delia_Beatrice

    Agree, agree, agree. I mean, i agree that every scene you guys remembered is a comical masterpiece. I enjoyed this episode immensely, it was very refreshing after all the drama we’ve had this fall.

    On the “House so in love with Cuddy, but still trying to sleep with Nora” topic: well, House has never been the type of man who tried to be sexually faithful to a woman he is not actually in a relationship with (in “Distractions”, he was in love with Stacy, but still called the hooker, and in “Broken”, he was in love with Cuddy, but still had sex with Lydia – yes, i know, Lydia was therapeutic to him, but still…). I actually noticed the lack of prostitutes this season -but i never took it as a sign that House would not be interested in “simple sex” with anyone while longing for his Lisa.
    Another explanation would be that he clearly treated the whole thing more as a game with Wilson than the pursuit of a woman.
    And the third thing on this topic is that we know that he is deeply in love with Cuddy and we also know that he probably knows it himself by now (as opposed to previous seasons), but i don’t think he has decided upon what to do about it. All he does at this point is avoid Cuddy, probably because he cannot pretend to be just her friend or just her employee anylonger and any interaction is too painful and awkward for him. I don’t think he has decided to act upon his feelings in a serious manner or really let her know – those little games in “Ignorance Is Bliss” are NOT a serious attempt at the woman he has loved for years, i stick to my idea that he wasn’t really trying because he probably had not decided yet to make himself that vulnerable and really commit to giving this thing a real chance.

    Barbara, could you please-please-please share with us what you know about the following air dates? Except for episode 12, on January 25th, the rest of the episodes have a lot of contradictory air dates, on various sites. I most certainly pray that there are no more breaks longer than two weeks, but i have a feeling we’re not that blessed.

    And yes, you are right, the rest of the season sounds amazing – the Cuddy episode, the one directed by Hugh Laurie, with David Strathairn and possibly even a brief return from Franka Potente (this one’s just a rumor), and the certain return of Jennifer Morrison (apparently just for one ep) will all make for a very interesting “House” spring:)

  • barbara barnett

    Hughes-Stovin Syndrome

  • danielhugo

    Anybody can tell me what Mickey’s autoimmune disease name is? Thanks in advance,

  • cj_housegirl

    It’s been a long time since I laughed this hard at anything. I’m sure House will get back into deeper stuff later on in the season but considering the end of last season and how this season started (with Broken) it’s nice to bring back some levity into the show.

    Two things I’ve always loved about House: where Wilson sees a negative or a dead end, House sees opportunity. Wilson was upset that Nora thought of him as gay and looked at it as a deadend for him, while House viewed it as an opportunity to use her presumptions to get her into bed. Hilarious. Very Houseian too. He’s done that in so many ways, including medically over the length of the show.

    Second: Once the game is up, House comes clean. And, there is no rationalization of his behavior or false emo apologies. He doesn’t try to rescue the situation. He just straight up tells her his motivations even though he gains nothing from telling her the truth except to look to her what he is: an ass who’s just trying to sleep with her.

    Except, wouldn’t a true ass go to great lengths to uphold the deception for as long as he could? And, even then not admit to anything? House is such a paradox in his behaviour. One minute he’s playing games and leading someone on, then he stops and he’s bluntly honest about himself and why things happened the way they happened.

    I really liked the POTW this week. The ending was sad but then the House/Wilson final scene was hilarious.

    A good episode to come off the long break with.

  • Eve K

    Madfashionista – I dont think Eddie feels that Mickey is dying at that moment, I think he gets that hes been played. That Mickey had a secret.

  • The ending was pure gold…RSL singing and doing the “boom-ba-da-booms” with his hands, and it slipping into the soundtrack. House’s “I’ll punch you in the face,” so matter of fact.

    I had no problem with House going after Nora. It was a game and would remain a game. He simply wanted to sleep with her, and beat Wilson to, pardon the pun, the punch. And she was very attractive and well-played by Sasha Alexander. Assuming he’s been having sex with hookers all of the time, Nora is one more woman, not a potential love object. That’s the level I thought it was on.

    And the proposal scene…I saw it coming, but not at that angle!

    As to the POTW; I thought the title was intentional. Eddie and Mickey, on second viewing, are clearly in love with each other; at least, Eddie is in love with Mickey. Notice the awkward way he says “Casanova,” how yearning he is, and how he seems to know when Mickey dies. And somehow Mickey doesn’t seem to connect with his wife when he’s dying in the way he connected with Eddie.

    I think I’ve written this before, but I wish to God House would go back on Vicodin. I simply don’t believe he’s controlling his pain with work, anti-depressants and non-narcotics. So many episodes from early on showed that the pain was agonizing, and I think dismissing it as a side-effect of Vicodin is facile.

  • Celia

    Oh there’s been so much angst on House since the later half a season 5 , I was quite relieved to have a bit of levity.
    As we learned in Mirror Mirror, Wilson actually dominates their relationship and I think it was time for the alpha male to assert himself. The taunt of ” You know you’ll loose” from House must have pushed Wilson right over the edge. I seldom laugh out loud at TV shows, but the exchanges of glances between Wilson & House during the proposal had me in stitches. Nice work by the team of Laurie & Leonard.
    House has learned some new social skills from his hospitalization…..but it’s the same old House. He’s using them for the wrong reasons. Playing a sympathtic gay in order to get laid by the lady is very much in keeping with the ‘goal’ oriented Gregory House. At least this time, he had a slight misgiving at the end when he saw Nora was upset and tried to talk up Wilson …but it didn’t last long.
    The orange sofa is definately history. Glad as a Canadian to see the boys were watching Hockey between Toronto & Detroit. And the lines quoted above from A Chorus Line “One Singular Sensation” did seal the House/Wilson once & for all.

  • maddy

    Like everyone else, I found the Hilson scenes absolutely hilarious!! But two things really bothered me about this episode.

    First, the Foreman storyline felt completely forced. It took time away from a fascinating POTW, who almost became an afterthought in the episode. I like the two major storyline format, which seemed to be standard in the past – one about the patient and the other focused on House OR another character. I always thought one of the beauties of House is that it was simple, and I hope it doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to be too overly-dramatic.

    Second, did anyone notice the camera angles during the differential scenes? They were really awkward and shaky, which I found kind of annoying. It kind of ran over into the scenes with Cuddy and in House’s office as well… Different cinematography in season 5 was used to emphasize the atmosphere during emotionally turbulent episodes, like after Kutner’s suicide, but in this episode it just felt weird and out of place.

    Sherlockjr: I noticed the pink shirt too!!! The collar was even ironed during the proposal scene : )

    Grace: I felt it was weird House would go after another girl too. I thought it was trying to distract himself from the Cuddy situation? Because the attraction was just physical – and had the double allure of a game against Wilson (which House loved in Season 2)…

  • sherlockjr

    I feel as if I’m hogging all the commenting space… but oh well. Here goes.

    Grace: Thirteen’s supposed middle name was Beauregard.

    Eve: I think you hit on why House’s dating skills seemed so improved — he was playing a part. As long as he played the part of the gay man and followed his script to try to get Nora to sleep with him, he was fine. But as soon as he had to be himself, he screwed it all up — he couldn’t be honest with her about the deception without having the compulsion to mention how much he wanted to touch her boobs.

    This isn’t the first time he’s had this kind of problem. Remember the CIA doctor he inadvertently hired. As himself, he’s a train wreck with women. Maybe Nolan should tell him to start playing the role of himself.

    One last thing — Did anyone else notice that as soon as he started being “gay all of a sudden” (to quote a line Cary Grant speaks in Bringing Up Baby), he started wearing a pink shirt? I haven’t gone back to double check, but my memory (which we know is so reliable) has him wearing a white shirt till his scene with Nora and the Chorus Line poster in the mailroom, and it is pink from then on.

  • Eve K

    Forgot the vegetarian girl date in season three. Baby steps.

  • Eve K

    I loved the episode. Laurie and Leonard were great and their theme almost became the main theme of this episode. On that note – House dating skills has developed from his awkward performance on his date with Cameron. Maybe because his “date” with Nora was all an act? But “the old House” would not feel comfortable at all on any date I think…

  • Grace

    Well, I wondered why if House was so in love with Cuddy, would he go after the neighbor lady especially knowing that Wilson was interested. Was it just to get sex? This is what I am thinking I guess.
    Or was it a game to see who would win? Or
    House afraid of losing Wilson? Any thoughts on that anyone?
    LOVED House as a gay man. So spot on. Hugh is SO AMAZING! I’m betting that orange sofa goes back to the store, aren’t you? LOL!
    Wilson’s singing at the end….GOLDEN!
    POTW was better than average. Didn’t really care much about the Taub/13/Chase/Foreman thing. I really like Jesse’s new haircut. It could be a bit longer, as could House’s, but that’s just my preference.
    What was 13’s middle name again? Not for real though, right?
    I agree with all who said that House has become a little bit too ‘normal’ lately. I’d like to get my hands on the drugs that he is taking since I suffer from depression myself.
    Here’s hoping for more mature Huddy in future episodes.
    Thanks again for a great recap, Barbara!

  • sherlockjr

    Leetle mistake: It’s Wilson who sings “One” from A Chorus Line, which makes it even funnier, and provides more subtext, than the way my deluded mind misremembered the scene.

  • PH

    WOW, I loved this episode.
    Can’t get enough of the banter between the buds. I think Wilson is finally growing a pair, and actually OWNED House.

    The acting abilities of HL and RSL never cease to amaze me. I was ROFL during the Kung-Pao bit and the Hilson Proposal scene. I think this epi showcased HL’s artistic range (and should be one of the finalists for his annual Emmy Snub).

    The Hilson Proposal scene was magnificent.. from House’s trimmed & polished exterior, to the splayed collar, to his death glare. LOL

    Bravo [H]ouse Crew !

  • Barbara Barnett

    Yay for the return of the whiteboard!

  • Sarah

    Sherlockjr — I could not agree more with your second point. I so appreciated that H/W’s “gayness”, while used manipulatively by both, was depicted as so natural and so accepted by Nora, the others in the restaurant scene, etc.

    I’m also with Barbara and some of the others; the comedy and increased use of Wilson (along with an incredibly long holiday break) has helped put some distance from the dicey stretch of episodes 7-9. However, I’m more than ready for House to dive back into some muddy philosophical, psychological, medical and/or ethical waters. I saw bits of “Broken” over the weekend, and it reminded me again of not only Hugh’s awesome presence and talent, but how little the average House episode has given him to do since Epic Fail (ok, besides the cane and accent, which I now take for granted). I cannot wait to see the David Strathairn episode — I hope the script is worthy of them.

    One other noteworthy bit from the DL — the subtle return of the whiteboard! Yes! Now, as soon as they can get the piano to the new set, we’re back in business.

  • sherlockjr

    Oops. One more thing. I also adored the ending, with House and Wilson sitting on that hideous orange couch (even though it does look comfortable), listening to the soundtrack to A Chorus Line. As the episode faded out, here’s what we heard:

    One smile and suddenly nobody else will do;
    You know you’ll never be lonely with you know who…

    Loved it. Made feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • sherlockjr

    I definitely agree with your take on this episode, although I realize in retrospect that you didn’t mention two of my favorite things about it:

    1. When Wilson first introduces himself to Nora, in hopes of getting a date, she is clearly much more interested in his roommate, the one with the cane. I suspect that part of Wilson’s determination to win this crazy duel with House has to do with the fact that he’s been rejected on two levels: a) Nora assumes he’s gay, and b) she prefers House to him. It’s probably not very often that “Dr. Pantypeeler” finds a woman who would choose House over him.

    2. During the proposal scene, after Wilson has made his very public declaration, House, stunned, pauses a minute without responding. Into the silence a woman at a nearby table yells, “Say yes!” I loved this moment, because it reflects the fact that (no matter what the courts ultimately say) our society may finally have grown up enough not only to recognize the possibility of gay marriage, but to actually encourage and embrace it. Yeah to writers Liz Friedman and Sara Hess for this subtle political statement and anti-Prop 8 moment. When they wrote the episode weeks (months?) ago, they couldn’t possibly have anticipated how unusually timely it would be when aired.

  • barbara barnett

    Thanks guys. Veresna, I’m working on setting up more interviews as we speak for later in the season. Can’t say who yet.

  • Epiphany

    Now that I’ve read your review Barbara, my House viewing experience is almost complete (just Sara at TWOP to go).

    You said: “However, if this was your first House episode, you may come away thinking that the series is more comedy than drama.”

    If it comes down to a straight fight between The Down Low and episodes featuring the wearisome, tedious Luddy arc, I know what my preference for the first-time viewer would be: I’d wish them to come away with an impression that House is more comedy than drama rather than that House is more primetime soap than drama.

    Off the back of Wilson, The Down Low was another step in the right direction. It deftly balanced humour and poignancy, superbly showcasing the comedic talents of Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard especially.

    There’s plenty of time for gravitas and introspection from House and [H]ouse. After all the melodramatic angst recently, lightheartedness and *fun* is most welcome.

  • Veresna

    I really enjoyed this show, but like you I am hoping that they move on to some more serious topics in the next episodes. This was like a light and fluffy appetizer-it was quite enjoyable, but whetted rather than satisfied my Housian appetite. At least it did not have the out-of-character writing that was starting to really annoy me a few episodes back. On a side note: with the rumored Cuddy-centric and the Hugh Laurie-directed episodes to come yet this season, any chance you will be doing any more cast and/or writer interviews this year?