HOUSE: Big Baby - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE: Big Baby

January 27, 2009 by  

Here is a quick word association game. What do you think of first when you hear the term, “crossroads?” Are you reminded of a big decision that you made as a teenager, perhaps choosing a prom date or a college? Do you find yourself thinking literally about a busy intersection that prompts regular symptoms of road rage? Perhaps you are like me, who finds it impossible to shake the image of Britney Spears on the big screen in the 2002 movie of the same name? Speaking of that forgettable film, Grey’s Anatomy fans disappointed by that show’s storylines over the past two seasons should know that Shonda Rhimes penned the witty dialogue Ms. Spears delivered in that road trip flick. If a love story involving a beautiful young doctor and her long-deceased fiancé sounds like a creative misfire, then it is fair to say, “Oops, Shonda did it again.”

This week’s House brought the program’s most pivotal storylines to a series of proverbial crossroads, with uncertain outcomes and a mixed bag of consequences for fans, both new and old.

Though I have defended Lisa Edelstein’s credentials in this space on previous occasions, I am beginning to wonder whether the producers intend for the character of Cuddy to retain any redeeming human qualities by season’s end. During Wilson’s series of visits to assist her with the transition to parenthood, I found Cuddy’s dialogue to be self-loathing and whiny. After spending the first half of Season Five building the Chief of Staff up to being the Chief of Moms, I was astonished to hear the broad twists and turns that we saw in this installment, as Cuddy swung from the brink of giving up on her foster child to embracing her new responsibilities because of a single moment. Was it fair to project symptoms of postpartum depression to a character who did not physically give birth? I believe that the writers are crafting parallels between Cuddy’s reluctance to accept the child and her hesitation to move forward romantically with House. As a mother, Cuddy quiets baby Rachel by raising her voice to a plaintive wail. As a boss, Cuddy asserts her position of power by yelling at House, usually for the purpose of ending an argument with no end in sight. At what point do we root for this person to have a happy ending?

Despite my misgivings about the once and future boss at Princeton Plainsboro, I feel confident in pledging my undying devotion to Jennifer Morrison’s successful return to relevance this week. Following a season of near-sightings and cameo appearances worthy of the “Where’s Waldo” book series, Dr. Cameron’s command performance in Cuddy’s chair had to please loyal viewers and casual fans, alike. Compelling TV is hard to find these days, and the playful exchanges between Cameron and House, accentuated by Morrison’s buoyant delivery of dialogue, made for outrageous fun. Whether the setting was the stoic setting of Cuddy’s office or the graphic display during a brain surgery, the zest with which Dr. Cameron’s presence lifted the energy in each scene was palpable. In an episode replete with references to the ties that bind teachers and students, we watched one graduate from the “School of House” step up to the challenge of acting opposite Hugh Laurie. Since I did not make a New Year’s Resolution, please mark me down as formally requesting a 2009 with more Dr. Cameron, please!

This season’s most controversial storyline reached a critical juncture, as Dr. Foreman decided to alter Thirteen’s clinical treatments in order to receive the experimental medication. After a number of playful scenes with House where he exploited the knowledge of their new coupling, I was surprised to see the producers jump ahead so quickly in defining the Foreteen relationship. With very little screen time devoted to them as a budding couple, I found it difficult to digest either Thirteen’s newfound interest in having children or Foreman’s decision to answer House’s question about whether he was in love in one fell swoop. Call me crazy, but I think it is very hard to galvanize your audience in support of two people living happily ever after when we are denied the subtle, endearing steps that relationships take. The name of the show is House, and I appreciate how little screen time each supporting player can get, but the Foreteen arc may simply be a victim of, “too much, too soon.”

Before I sign off, it is with great joy that I congratulate Hugh Laurie for capturing his second consecutive Screen Actors’ Guild Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic TV Series. Those of us who have come to think of the show as Must-See TV appreciate the rarified air that the House star reaches while carrying out such a demanding role. With the 100th episode coming up next week, it certainly feels like time has flown by!

Was this episode a change for better or worse? Are any other Cuddy fans having trouble with her role in this episode? With Dr. Cameron back in the fold, who is rooting for more Dr. Chase? How lovely was Robert Sean Leonard in his scenes with Lisa Edelstein? Has the dramatic shift in the Foreteen story dampened your enthusiasm? What did you think of this week’s mystery patient? I look forward to reading your comments!

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.


20 Responses to “HOUSE: Big Baby”

  1. 2mchtv.noschthng on January 27th, 2009 11:18 am

    Did we just learn 14’s name???? Foreman called her Remy when talking to house didn’t he?

  2. Emily on January 27th, 2009 11:37 am

    I believe 13 is Remy. Sounds weird with the last name (Remy Hadley?).

    Anyways, I so can’t see Foreteen, it just seems so incredible weird, and for Foreman to risk his entire professional career for a woman he has only known a year (and been dating a week or whatever), I hate it. That storyline annoys me. I don’t even get their relationship in the first place, and for them to be putting so much emphasis on it… shesh.

    I don’t like this new Cuddy. I’m missing the Cuddy of the earlier seasons who stood up to House, who wasn’t just some sort of sexual tension machine. I’ve never understood her desire to have children (it didn’t fit with the character I knew and loved), and then her reaction to the baby, fine I can get she wasn’t connecting, that actually made sense. But trust me, I work with kids. The baby’s reaction to her screaming was totally unrealistic. I’m sure all new mother’s wish their babies responded to “what do you want!!!” with complete and utter silence. Because of course babies just shut up at the drop of a hat, at the most perfect moment.

  3. maura on January 27th, 2009 11:38 am

    we heard her name once prior to this – in an episode where she had to introduce herself at a patient’s family’s doorstep i think. but i thought it was pretty hilarious when house had no idea who foreman was talking about. “what did you call her?” haha.

  4. bertas on January 27th, 2009 11:57 am

    Oh great recap Erik… and not just because you sort of read my mind 🙂

    I found Foreman and 13 beyond creepy… the scene when she says she wants kids, honestly… tell that to any guy you have been dating for a few weeks with the face she made at that particular moment – well he would be out of there faster then the speed of light 🙂 No matter how pretty the girl 🙂 And her attempt “flirting” (at least I think thats what it was) was just… beyond me.
    This is the same woman who was sooooo mysterious she didn’t want anyone to know her real name? Even with her diagnosis and everything that followed it is a bit too much too soon.

    Loved loved loved Jennifer Morrison. That girl is robbed by not getting more air time. The Cameron House exchange really lifted the energy as you noted yourself. At one point I went all House-like – hmmm interesting 🙂 It was fun.

    Oh dear god Cuddy… what a mess. She really does not have any authority left does she? I found it a bit pointless for her to assure Cameron she did a good job, because lets be frank when was the last time Cuddy managed to reel in House?

    And just to get it out of my system and I know I’m shallow, horribly shallow but her bangs are driving me to distraction. However thought that was a good idea… honestly.

  5. dhoryuu on January 27th, 2009 2:21 pm

    I was into the Cuddy/baby stuff up until this episode unfortunately. Having lost an adoption through red tape, I was glad to see a similar situation portrayed on television when it’s so hard socially to find the right place to fit in when going through such a thing. But, I think at this point the writers have just let her get whiny. Though it is true adoptive parents have the same blues and problems bonding that birth mothers do (in different ways I think), her character is just getting annoying. Loved Wilson but there was’t enough of a lead up to his scenes (he just starts dropping in because….?) and I agree Foreteen is jumping a little too fast. I like Foreman- I wish we would see more of why he ticks and actually, less Cameron. The whole storyline with that seemed to be who’s playing who but she came off more as the yes man so I hope now that Cuddy’s coming back she’ll be getting back to her rapid-fire self I so love.

  6. Jen on January 27th, 2009 2:24 pm

    HA, HA! Bertas you are exactly right about the bangs! I can’t decide which is more annoying, Cuddy’s mommy-turnaround or those awful bangs. The emotions of post-partum were correct, it was just hard to take it from Cuddy, and the resolution (screaming at the baby who suddenly quiets and then they fall in love…) was ridiculous. I was very happy to see Cameron in a power role and frustrated to hear her quit at the end. Why can’t we have someone challenge Cuddy for position? And Foreteen is too much, too fast. Unbelievable.

  7. kara on January 27th, 2009 7:07 pm

    I was unimpressed with all the writing this week, but rather impressed with the acting. Cuddy’s bits were very moving, if poorly crafted. Cameron was absolutely stunning in her power roles. Wilson’s supportive bits were beautiful as usual. The little scene between Foreman and Chase was classic. I can say, however, that the foursome following House around started to look a bit crowded. Bad staging. I’m not quite sure, but I don’t remember House taking any vicodin this week. Also, while I’m growing to like Thirteen, she wants a baby?! Enough already! She’s dying, she’s dating a co-worker, and she’s bisexual. Isn’t that enough for a supporting character? DEAR WRITERS: We love this show because it’s a dramedy! This episode was very dry. I miss House being snarky and hilarious. There were a couple of jokes, but that’s what makes this show wonderful, not babies and relationships and tears. Give Hugh Laurie more freedom to work his magic next time.

  8. Bonnie on January 27th, 2009 8:05 pm

    Cameron, Wilson, and House were terrific in last night’s episode.

    Cuddy’s bangs and complete loss of self-identity are confusing. Why are they going there? She’s not the tough, smart, calmly witty person from before. Why would House want to be with her now? Is this so we no longer care about them possibly trying a relationship?

    And the Fourteen pairing is strange. I want to care, but none of it makes sense. Foreman always puts himself first. Risk his career? I haven’t seen enough build up of this relationship for that to make sense. It was interesting that House gave him sound advice when he asked, though.

    I liked the playfulness of some of the earlier episodes. When I could have watched House, Wilson, and Cuddy read from the phone book. Now – I don’t see where they’re going.

  9. Erik on January 27th, 2009 9:47 pm

    Emily: Your apprehension regarding Foreman’s drastic behavior is on point, especially after Thirteen’s behavior earlier this season in “Lucky Thirteen” and “Last Resort.” How do we make the leap to believe that the ambitious young doctor wants to settle down with the same woman who has vascilated between outlandish sexual escapades and suicidal staredowns with a crazed gunman? Ironically, those adventures would have been humorous inserts in a future scene as Foreteen has “The Talk” about what they are looking for from one another!

    Bertas: I rolled my eyes at Thirteen’s stab at flirting with Foreman, and share your concern that we are being asked to accept a character’s 180 degree metamorphosis without sufficient explanation. In addition, both you and Emily offered criticisms of Cuddy that speak to the very purpose of having her on the program. In political terms, each candidate for public office has to offer a rationale for his/her candidacy. On House, most of the staff is present to serve a specific purpose, primarily with relation to dealing with House himself. Cuddy’s behavior over the past six or seven episodes has brought her down a peg within the hospital. I think House’s exchange with Cameron following the failed brain surgery was a high point of this season, showing how a female character can be written to measure up to House’s standards. Cuddy ought to share those moments with House, but we have to settle for over the top outbursts and inappropriate groping.

  10. onegooded on January 28th, 2009 1:31 am

    Wow, I can’t believe how differently you saw this episode than I did, but maybe that’s b/c I don’t enjoy Cameron and never have. I did, though, think that Cuddy came off for more realistically than I thought she would. I like that she’s not supermom. It gave her character dimension. And she’s still hot, which is really good. But I am with you on the bangs.

  11. gbbg on January 28th, 2009 2:25 am

    Have to disagree with the view here on 13. She got plenty of coverage over the last few episodes, all the while, showing her move away from the “kamikaze-ness” towards hope and love. While trying not to sound cheesy, I think she honestly belives the meds are working and from that everything seems to be going great for her. That’s why she said not before, but after everything that’s been happening to her, she wants to have kids too. How many of us wouldn’t have experienced some kind of euphoria when things are (or feel) they are going our way??
    Foreman’s decision to risk his career seemed a bit rash but, I guess the last advice House gave him, indirectly meant he would be submitting to House’s judgment that he wasn’t really in love with,uh.. remy, if he didn’t change the treatment.
    I am guessing the day 13 comes to know about the placebo, her life might just vaporize in front of her and that will most probably to take her off the show. But given how CTB was taken off, I won’t be surprised if she was subjected to the same fate.
    Pardon my view, it must be either the time (1am) or my extremely bad ergonomic position while typing this.

    Most annoying moment: Kutner not ending the call even when the baby’s cry was so darn annoying to everybody.
    Most “endearing” moment: Wilson coaxing Cuddy with the future picture story

    Remember the episode where a nice guy is diagnosed with some disease and then is cured but becomes no-more-nice-guy? I kinda expected the same from here, but … did she go through the surgery? If yes, will she change her attitude???

  12. gbbg on January 28th, 2009 2:27 am

    Oh did I mention, the funniest moment was the exchange between Foreman and Chase.

  13. alex on January 28th, 2009 3:39 am

    Cuddy has been nothing but a doormat and wet rag for the last two seasons. I’m disappointed at how the writer’s have dumbed down this character and made her weka and insignificant. By the time they explore this infatuation with her and House and they wind up in bed together, no one will care. It makes no sense at all that she wanted a baby so bad and then she acts all cold and uncaring when she finally gets one. And she has no control over House at all.

    Completely disagree with those who think Cameron was a better boss. She is even worse. She is still suffering from hero worship of House and she is not any better at reeling hi in than Cuddy is. Cuddy use to be strong and could reel House in. But now she’s insecure, confused,doubtful of her duties and lacks any purpose. It’s too bad this could be a strong female character on television but who would aspire to be anything like her>

  14. Kassie on January 28th, 2009 4:20 pm

    “Was it fair to project symptoms of postpartum depression to a character who did not physically give birth?”

    It’s called an attachment disorder. It’s very common for adoptive parents to experience just what Cuddy experienced (up to the point where they jumped the shark and all was well just as soon as she screamed at the baby).

  15. Dawn on January 28th, 2009 5:18 pm

    When I see the word “crossroads,” I think “Bone Thugs n’ Harmony.”

  16. Erik on January 28th, 2009 5:53 pm

    dhoryuu and Kassie: Thanks for sharing the anecdote and documentation about attachment disorder. I made the mistake of offering an uninformed opinion, and I stand completely corrected on how Cuddy could have taken such a drastic emotional turn. In the future, I will certainly trust the folks who actually WRITE the medical drama to get the facts right!

    Jen: I certainly agree with your concerns about wrapping up the “Cameron in charge” storyline in just one episode. Despite the valid explanations offered here about Cameron’s inability to hold that job permanently, I would have welcomed two or three more weeks of watching Jennifer Morrison exchange playful barbs with Hugh Laurie. Her absence this season, in particular, has been an unfortunate consequence of Olivia Wilde’s rise to prominence. On an unrelated note, I hope you are adding more recipes for your blog!

    Kara and Bonnie: You are not alone in your fears that the mission of the show has been steered in a new direction. The Executive Producers can certainly be praised for taking chances this season. There are plenty of shows that start coasting as syndication dollars draw near. With so much disagreement about the Huddy saga, Thirteen’s screen time, and the disappearance of Chase & Cameron, they are certainly not playing it safe! We’ll have to see how the big 100th episode turns out next week.

  17. Erik on January 28th, 2009 6:11 pm

    onegooded: Your dislike of Cameron certainly justifies your view about the episode. If Jennifer Morrison doesn’t do it for you, I would understand if you preferred watching Lisa Edelstein’s scenes with Robert Sean Leonard or Hugh Laurie. Though I have had trouble with a few creative decisions made about Cuddy’s direction this season, I think that ship can be righted very quickly. Thanks for contributing your thoughts in the midst of a discussion that has been slightly less forgiving to the Chief of Staff. The cool thing about GMMR is that all of us can talk about our shows without arguing like teenagers!

    gbbg: Your observations about Thirteen’s evolution since beginning treatment is a reasonable explanation for this week’s talk about a future with Foreman and motherhood. Those pieces have been laid out over the past several episodes. My hesitation to accept those wholesale changes are more of a gut reaction, almost a feeling that these are two doctors who try to manage patient expectations every day. Watching them deal with the human side of things is a bit of an adjustment. I appreciate both Olivia Wilde and Omar Epps as talented actors, and I hope they are able to win over people like me who are skeptical about the newest twists and turns in their relationship.

  18. Give Me My Remote on January 28th, 2009 6:25 pm

    I’m a big fan of the interesting discussions that take place after HOUSE here on the site. Thanks to you all for your insights into these characters.

    I’ve been anti-Cuddy for some time now, but I did find some truth in her storyline about the disconnect with the baby. The idea of something is often more appealing than the thing itself. You want something so badly for so long that when you get it you can sometimes forget why you wanted it in the first place. I’m glad these emotions were explored. I’d rather have her infantile rants be aimed at a baby rather than House. (Sorry had to get in a little zinger there)

  19. gbbg on January 29th, 2009 1:36 am

    Doctors are after all humans too.. and especially a doctor like 13 who was, as we have seen in the past episodes, on the verge of self-destruction.
    But, yes I can sense that gut reaction, my first instantaneous reaction was “oh god no!”.

    I agree with the last poster (Give me my remote??) that this is my favorite hangout place after watching House! I read about the various views and plots (that I so keenly seem to miss) and become more impressed with the show!

  20. Erik on February 1st, 2009 1:15 pm

    gbbg: When this season started, I occasionally peeked at some of the commercial TV sites (E!, TV Guide, etc) to gauge viewer reaction to each House episode. More often than not, I found hundreds of innocuous comments such as, “I don’t like House” or “LOL what’s with Cuddy.” It literally took pages and pages of skimming to find even one post that reflected the insight and wit that GMMR readers provide. Thanks for contributing so often, and I look forward to reading your take on tomorrow’s 100th episode.