HOUSE: Painless - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE: Painless

January 20, 2009 by  

Today, we celebrate the dawning of a new era. After years of being sold a false choice about our responsibilities to ourselves and to our neighbors, it is time to unite behind an administration that will fight the tough fights while caring for those who cannot care for themselves. Mindful of the challenges ahead, we must not feel bound to repeat the mistakes of the past. Our community must turn this corner by embracing a new leader, and resisting the urge to spend our days looking in the rear view mirror. From this day forward, let us all work together to allow the creative forces of freedom inspire us in ways that were once unimaginable.

Yes, this is the time for new leadership. It is my great honor and privilege to introduce the engine that will drive us forward to new heights. Without further adieu, ladies and gentleman of GMMR, I present the interim Chief of Staff at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Dr. Allison Cameron!

Though that introduction may have been a blatant attempt to capitalize on the real news of the day, this week’s House provided a template of newsworthy story arcs that should keep all of us engaged until the season finale.

Based on the feedback I get each week, Dr. Cuddy appears to be the most polarizing figure among hardcore fans of the show. In a similar manner to how Hillary Clinton can be both beloved and disdained by large blocks of the electorate, Cuddy has been called out for her wardrobe selections, management style, and lifestyle choices. Truth be told, I am a bit of a Cuddy moderate. In the workplace, I find her interactions with House, Wilson, and the rest of the team to be both thoughtful and entertaining. On the other hand, the method by which Cuddy’s character approaches personal relationships and, now, parenting is grating to my nerves.

The bold step of removing Cuddy, albeit for an undetermined length of time, from the day-to-day affairs of the hospital, provides fertile ground for Lisa Edelstein and the writing team to soften the edges of her character. Though her initial concerns over successfully passing the foster visit were justifiable, I hope we see the glow of motherhood on Cuddy’s face more frequently. Otherwise, there will be very few people rooting for House and Cuddy to be romantically intertwined. If that is the direction we are headed, it serves no purpose for the audience to be wondering, “What does he see in her?” Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a few scenes of Cuddy and Rachel learning to live with each other, with a few cuts to Wilson’s stuffed animal for good measure.

Though Dr. House’s chronic pain has been a staple of his character since the series’ inception, this week’s mystery patient provided a window into the good doctor’s struggles for the first time in Season Five. Though the formulaic method by which the suicidal father’s illness was cured was par for the course, the parallel plot involving House’s home improvement struggles was ripe with sniping comedy and isolated sadness. As House adjusts to playing second fiddle to Cuddy’s new baby, I thought the timing was perfect to reintroduce House’s difficulty in admitting his own limitations. By episode’s end, as House realized he had, in fact, created the problem with his pipes, we watched a layer of invincibility fade away. Moving forward, I am very curious to see if this brings House to the point of sharing his fears about his own mortality with Wilson, Cuddy, or anyone else in his life. Solid writing here by Thomas L. Moran and Eli Attie, with stellar work by Hugh Laurie in bringing those emotions to the screen.

Last, but not least, is the growing complications that face a potential Foreteen pairing. I would have been satisfied with both Foreman and Thirteen navigating through the awkwardness of a new relationship. This stage of a budding romance, combined with Thirteen’s diagnosis, would be ample cause for an extended period of false starts. However, Foreman’s inadvertent discovery that Thirteen is receiving the placebo in the clinical trials has forced me to reserve judgment until further notice. There are a host of possibilities for how this could play out, and I avoid spoilers like the plague. For now, I am simply crossing my fingers that we do not suffer through weeks of unnecessary melodrama. Omar Epps and Olivia Wilde have done solid work in building this storyline, and I hope that pattern continues.

Though I would not call this episode a smashing success, I think there were enough seeds planted to keep viewers coming back each Monday. Now if we could just get everyone another DVR before February, so that we can all watch Chuck, The Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl, and House at the same time…

Was this episode the right way to start 2009? What do you think of Cuddy’s decision to put Cameron in charge? Are you looking forward to seeing Jennifer Morrison have more than four lines next week? What did you think of Foreman’s reaction to the news about Thirteen’s treatment? Was it just me, or did Dr. Taub have a few great lines in this episode? How do you feel about House’s relationship to the mystery patient? I cannot wait to read your comments!

— posted by Erik

How does Erik combat writer’s block? He indulges in podcasts of the Adam Carolla Radio Show and reads Bill Simmons’ columns on The GMMR House & Survivor scribe is an active participant in the economic recession, and is working on a pamphlet outlining the etiquette of handling Facebook requests from old boyfriends/girlfriends.


6 Responses to “HOUSE: Painless”

  1. geebs on January 20th, 2009 11:25 pm

    I blame my feeling of this episode being stale on my travel weariness. But, I believe I should watch the episode again to get a grip on the events.
    I didn’t understand House’s struggles with the pipes and then everything seemed a bit hazy, until I read the review here (Thanks for that!)

    Cameron as Chief?? Would be interesting to see her and Chase’s role too. Foreteen became the official word too, isn’t it. And the chemistry between Taub and Kutner is turning out to be a bit too awkward…

  2. Karen on January 21st, 2009 6:00 am

    Yes, I will be glad to see a bit more of Cameron, but I don’t think it’s going to last very long. Wilson advised Cuddy to get some help with the baby, and I think that’s what she’ll do. BTW, I am one of those who really like Cuddy BUT, the House office scene where she told House to kiss her and he grabs her breast, was just tooooooo much. Is House five? Come on writers!!! Cuddy needs to remain strong. I like this week when she told House that Mama was busy and the kids needed to go outside and play. That was the Cuddy I love!
    I also agree about her clothing. Too small and not professional, but then ‘they’ already know that so I guess they’re staying….sigh.
    Don’t wish to talk about 13, Foreman or Foreteen….can’t stand them. They are taking WAY too much air time away from House, Wilson, Cam and Chase.
    Don’t really pay that much attention to Kutner and Taub….BORING!!!!
    I wish they would have kept Cutthroat B. and the older man who wasn’t really a doctor. He would have been a hoot with House.
    After saying all that, let me say this. HOUSE is the only show that I NEVER miss….not ever. I was mesmerized by Hugh Laurie from the very first episode and I ADORE him and Dr. House.
    We are so priviledged to have such a fine actor to watch week after week.
    May it continue for a long, long, time.

  3. fish4txs on January 23rd, 2009 4:09 am

    I was so excited about the “Painless” show that was coming on, for weeks me and my fellow “Chronic Pain Group” buddies wondered how they would go about letting House figure out that he had RSD/CRPS, we just knew that was going to be what they have been building up to all year. Would they go into his home too to check for toxicities? Would they wonder if House had been seeing another doctor without telling them? All so secretive. Or would House just be playing with a tennis ball and it come to him after a burst emitted into his arm, on the opposite side of his poor leg? Would that be when he realized that the pain was mirroring itself? Moving in a pattern that is opposite of itself? Is that what Erik was going through? I don’t know if Thomas Moran and Eli Attie are the ones who write all the good work for House, but if the PRINCETON PLAINSBORO TEACHING HOSPITAL were my treating hospital, I would certainly want to know that there were doctors there that knew what RSD/CRPS was, and how to treat it, especially if it were a new injury, because the only cure is in the first 18 months, otherwise you are terminal,
    just meaning that there is no cure rate after that time.
    For those of you who don’t know what RSD/CRPS is, it is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or the new name is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It is a nerve disorder that usually occurs after a traumatic injury, surgery, sprain, fracture or even a period of not using it. The principal symptom is PAIN disproportionate to the injury. That is what HOUSE has…….No one has diagnosed him except those of us that have this horrid disease. Isn’t that funny…….We are healthy looking, people don’t think we hurt because we look so good, but the pain can go so unbearable that the suicide rate is ungodly!!
    The excruciating pain that I have is a burning nerve pain, the central nervous system tells the brain that there is pain ALL THE TIME. The McGill Pain Index rates the pain of people with CRPS higher than that of people with cancer. My skin sweats, swells, changes color, changes temperature, and hurts tot he slightest touch. You can’t wear clothes, you can’t stand a breeze blowing on you. THERE IS NO CURE FOR CRPS. There is so much more to find out at
    Maybe House will find a patient with this one day, since it wasn’t Erik, thank God ALL he had was Epilepsy.I would take that any day. Most people with RSDS would take cancer any day over RSD. At least they get to get better or die. We get to hurt and not die.
    If your child complains about unrelenting pain and they have fallen lately, please listen, they could have RSD. Go to RSDS.ORD/FORCHILDREN. I am not trying to overtake this site, I really thought that House was going to be diagnosed with RSD Monday night, but not so. Too bad, with there being more people out there with RSD than with MS, Cystic Fibrosis, RA, Lupis and many others COMBINED and I can say if ten people read this, eight probably have NOT heard of it. IS THAT HORRIBLE OR WHAT? Please Please ask around.
    Let House have RSD or CRPS, it would help us so much.
    Thank you, Vickie THoma

    (Reflex Sympathic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)

  4. thematrix777 on January 23rd, 2009 12:48 pm

    I have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or sometimes referred to as CRPS.
    What a beautiful comment you wrote. I am with you 1000% !!!!!

    You go Girl! We have got to keep fighting for recognition if we are ever going to get the research to find us a cure!!!!!!!

    And you are also right about the suicides. The number #1 cause of deaths among RSD/CRPS patients is suicide. Due to pain and hopelessness. It is pretty bleak to be told you have a disease/disorder that is chronic, progressive and yet it won’t kill you. You are going to be left to suffer the rest of your miserable life in INCREDIBLE, BURNING HOT PAIN. That’s the sentence.

    And what was the crime????


  5. Lily Bygate on January 30th, 2009 1:26 pm

    Our entire family is horrified that the best actress on this show is being “softened” this season. Her toughness is the reason her character represents the best acting on the show. Who is in charge of these changes? We hate them all from Cameron’s slutty blond hair to Cuddy’s simpering. It is beneath all of us. Cut it out.

  6. Erik on February 1st, 2009 3:29 pm

    Lily Bygate: Your insight regarding the role of women on House is very intriguing. From a big picture perspective, the writing team has not maintained a reasonable balance between the male and female power centers of the show. The best example that comes to mind for me is Foreman’s enhanced role as House’s #2 and head of a clinical trial. On the other hand, Cameron’s one week stint as Cuddy’s replacement began with a series of fun yarns between teacher and student, but ended in a whimper as the young doctor yielded ground to her male counterpart. Interesting stuff…