I last interviewed Lisa Edelstein mid-season five, just as her House, M.D. character Lisa Cuddy was preparing to adopt a child ("Joy"). That episode began a story arc that led straight (well, maybe not so straight) to where we now sit at the start of season seven.
House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) are poised to move more deeply into a relationship that provides challenges for both heavily-guarded characters, but one for which both seem willing to compromise and build together. Episode four, “Massage Therapy,” which aired tonight on Fox, forges into some of that rockier terrain as both House and Cuddy seem reluctant to move past nice and easy and into the realm of a serious relationship.
The always-gracious Edelstein took a few minutes from her busy schedule to talk by phone with me about the season, the House-Cuddy (or, if you prefer, Huddy) relationship—and an upcoming series guest star.
Although some fans wonder why the show has seemingly once again made a big directional change, Edelstein doesn’t so much feel that it has. It’s less a new direction, she believes, than inevitable development. It's not so much new as a logical next step. “That’s the funny thing,” she told me. “I really feel that we’re exploring the relationship because it needed to happen at some point.”
The first couple of episodes (especially the first) certainly had a different feel, but by last week, said Edelstein, the series seems like it's “back to the normative House that everyone knows. Yes, it’s a newly existing relationship [in the series], but [House and Cuddy] still have their wonderful dynamic. It’s there; we deal with it, and move the story along, getting back to House as we know it.”
I wondered whether she had some insight on whether the new relationship will sustain or (as with so most relationships on the series) crash and burn. Edelstein noted that (of course) “It is House, so nothing really works” with relationships. But it’s also clear after “Massage Therapy” that both are really, really trying. Of course, most of us expect Cuddy to be the serious one, but even House is taking the relationship very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he wonders why he hasn’t yet interacted with Rachel.
That will apparently change by next week’s episode. “There is a little bit coming up exploring family life for Dr. House,” noted Edelstein. Of course, balancing motherhood and House—both as a boyfriend and a subordinate can be tricky. “I think in terms of being able to handle House as a boyfriend, and being a mother,” said Edelstein, “I think Cuddy has that all under control. She really is happy to be in the relationship, so it does enhance her life.” Cuddy has always had to deal with House’s crap, Edelstein pointed out, and she’s used to it; that much hasn’t changed.