I always love it when FOX's House departs from its standard formula and does a different format episode. This week's "Two Stories" was the latest example of this, and it did not disappoint in the enjoyment factor. Framed by House (Hugh Laurie) talking to two fifth grade students, events are told disjointed and out of order, and often times, House is just downright lying. Add to that, parts of the episode involve House telling the young couple about him telling a fifth grade class a story. Mix in several bits he tries to pass off as reality, but were actually ripped from popular movies, and you have one entertaining hour!
Despite the chaotic nature of the narrative, the plot is pretty easy to follow. I assume that's because the story House is telling is kept simple. There are only two elements, and both are relatively short. First, House's team treats a patient that literally coughs up a lung (gross, but funny). Second, Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) grows tired of House's inconsiderate nature and the duo have a fight. At first, House doesn't even understand why exactly she's angry, or that this is a culmination of a behavioral pattern, but instead seeks a singular event. Then House tries to figure out what he can do to make it right, but after his conversation with the students, he realizes his manipulative games are what got him into the mess in the first place. Simple, honest sincerity was what it takes to win the day.
The fact that House can embrace such a concept shows just how far he has come, as well as how deep his feelings for Cuddy go. As House told the principal, he doesn't just love Cuddy, he needs her. Sadly, he has a hard time actually caring about her, as she is quick to point out. Which is what makes them such a great couple. She calls him on his faults, and he really does attempt to be a better man, one worthy of her. It's a process, of course, but I think they both realize that, and House's progress has been satisfactory, overall.
The reason that letting the two leads pursue a relationship is usually avoided on television is because many shows quickly grow stale when that happens, though there are a number of notable exceptions, Chuck being the most recent. The tension of 'will they or won't they?', even when the audience knows that the answer is almost always 'they will, at the very end of the series', provides dramatic tension and allows fan interest to build momentum. The problem is, after many years of this, it begins to grow stale and feel unrealistic. At that point, it becomes a double-edged sword. If the pair get together, they could become a boring couple. Problems are either unrealistically forced upon them to try to build tension, which doesn't usually work too well, or viewers just can't see how two people can dance around each other for so long and not eventually make a move. There has to be some natural growth after the couples gets together in order for the concept to work, and that groundwork must have been laid long before the relationship begins.