HOUSE Season Premiere: Now What? - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE Season Premiere: Now What?

September 21, 2010 by  

David Letterman was supposed to follow Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show. Despite a penchant for tweeking NBC executives, Letterman had built a loyal, young audience for his 12:30 Late Night program. As an experienced broadcaster with legitimate comedy chops, the Indiana native never imagined losing out on TV’s most prestigious franchise to Jay Leno. As the battle for Johnny’s chair intensified, Letterman made a final pitch to NBC, addressing their concerns that he did not understand the ramifications of moving to 11:30pm. Changes would have to be made for a larger audience, Letterman agreed. He understood that his persona would have to mature, lest the viewers reject him immediately. With over a decade of experience on their airwaves, Letterman could not fathom why the powers that be could not trust him to make that change in a professional manner.

HOUSE may be an 8pm scripted drama, but the schism between the pro-Huddy and anti-Huddy factions is reminiscent of the late night battles of the early 1990’s. The Season 7 Premiere pulled the trigger on Hugh Laurie & Lisa Edelstein’s onscreen romance, with no immediate end in sight. Director Greg Yaitanes and writer Doris Egan crafted a story to introduce House & Cuddy as a mature, communicative couple. There were demonstrations of passion, affection, and old-fashioned chivalry. Unfortunately, the premiere will do little to retain long-term viewers who have spoken out loudly against the Huddy storyline.

From my perspective, I believe that House’s producers and writers thought carefully about how to present House & Cuddy’s romance to a wider audience. Just as David Letterman and his team put together a plan for the demands of 11:30, I saw compromises being made to appease both pro and anti-Huddy fans. By retaining House’s acerbic wit and Cuddy’s type-A tendencies, mixing in a broken champagne bottle and an uncomfortably warm bath, they drew a line in the sand. This is the show WE want to make. These are characters that YOU love. Please TRUST us.

Were there tough moments to watch? Absolutely! As an outspoken critic of the immature and inconsistent paces of their romance in the past, I was not moved by the provocative decision to show House’s scar in the cold open. In fact, Lisa Edelstein’s delivery of the line, “It’s ok. I love you,” as House grew uncomfortable with the intimacy of the moment, was a low point of the three seasons I have written about the show.

On balance, both Hugh Laurie & Lisa Edelstein delivered performances that should reassure fans that this show will continue to be a medical drama first, not a soap opera. Their scenes together were wrought with adult conversations and authentic second-guessing. House & Cuddy may be fooling themselves with the long-term potential of their romance, and that point will be debated all season. However, I enjoyed their scenes together more than others in recent memory.

I will be back later with thoughts on Thirteen’s disappearance, Chase’s indecent proposal, and Wilson’s skills as a cat burglar. Until then, feel free to get the conversation started!

What did you think of the premiere? Were you pro-Huddy or anti-Huddy entering the season? Did the episode change your mind about how to present this romance? What about Thirteen? How will her absence impact the dynamic on House’s team? Please comment early and often!


9 Responses to “HOUSE Season Premiere: Now What?”

  1. Melanie on September 21st, 2010 10:31 am

    Some lines were definitely out of place… the scar moment. House’s I love you was said in a very strange un-House voice. Cuddy didn’t remember her kid till the end of the episode. Even if Cuddy is tiny, wouldn’t it be difficult for House to lift her considering his leg?

    But other parts were wonderful, funny, and adult: Cuddy washing his wound; “I lobe you”, and House telling her that he won’t change. I’m a HUGE Huddy fan, but even I felt some parts were too mushy and out-of-character. Still, I’m glad they went there, and I am looking forward to more mature and adult conversations and situations. Adult romances are hard to write, and I commend the writers for risking to go there.

  2. Melanie on September 21st, 2010 10:35 am

    Also, I liked that we got to see the moments right after s6 finale. Many shows gloss over the “mushy” scenes because they are too afraid or incapable of writing it, so it is refreshing to see these writers tackling it, even it wasn’t a complete bulls eye. Props for that.

  3. Melanie on September 21st, 2010 12:21 pm

    I have REWATCHED the episode and have concluded that although there are a few lines that FELT awkward, there were far more which were totally IN character. I don’t believe that anybody but Dr. Crankypants would talk about his anus while bathing with the hot Lisa Cuddy.

    Edelstein and Laurie were brilliant!

  4. Brian on September 21st, 2010 1:58 pm

    Ugh, what kept this episode from being perfect was Cuddy’s “Why didn’t you tell me you love me?” or whatever embarrassing out of character thing she said that made me cringe.

    Other than that, the episode was absolutely spot on and entertaining (including and specially the scar kissing bit, which I thought was moving). The comedy moments were pure gold, whether with Hugh and Lisa or Hugh and RSL. I like House and Cuddy much better now that they are together than when they were drooling all over each other in that never ending chase. Also, Hugh and Lisa were FANTASTIC in that last scene of theirs.

    Hate to admit it, but I’m going to miss 13. She really grew on me.

  5. Tess on September 21st, 2010 7:34 pm

    Sigh. I admit, I am not one of the pro-Huddy fans, although I am a huge fan of the show itself. Something about the relationship just rings false, and I think this first episode where Huddy was a reality made this very clear, with a lot of awkward lines, with people looking uncomfortable and out of place.
    While I love to cheer House on when he is trying hard to behave or is being devilishly naughty, I can’t find it in me to root for this relationship. While I am not a huge fan of Lisa E., as I find her acting one-note and unrealistic (especially when she tries to be a doctor or hospital administrator) I find it even more difficult to suspend disbelief that a supposedly smart woman such as herself would let someone like House into her daughter’s life. I hope they pursue this angle in future episodes, with House having difficultgy being part of a family dynamic where his needs aren’t being met first, and Cuddy realizing that a former drug-addict, high maintenance curmudgeon might not be the best new ‘daddy’ for baby.

  6. Mary Grace on September 21st, 2010 8:03 pm

    I too have mixed feelings about the Huddy storyline. At least they are upfront about the fact that it is probably a bad idea and will not end well.

    House did seem really awkward and out of character in this episode, but maybe that’s the point. He needed to change to survive, and now he has a reason. But it is not going to come naturally (at least at first).

    I’m just afraid this will be the “jump the shark” moment for this iconic show. We’ll see…

  7. sarah on September 22nd, 2010 12:09 pm

    I’m so surprised at how positive the comments are here, because I even LIKE House and Cuddy, but so much of this really bothered me. Mostly I think what bothered me was that I could not get away from the whole turning off her phone thing. I can see her being out of touch with the hospital, but I just could not accept at all that someone would be completely out of touch from whomever is watching her child. Presumably no one knows where she is, AND she can’t be reached by phone?? I just can’t imagine any even halfway decent parent being okay with that – who doesn’t think of how a child’s sitter will reach them in case of emergency??
    And the only alternative to that is that Rachel is with Lucas, who does know where Cuddy is because he’s at her place and she left him there with Rachel after breaking off their engagement because of being in love with House, and really, I don’t see that being feasible either.
    So that Rachel wasn’t even mentioned until the hour was almost over, and that her mom was completely unable to be reached by whomever might be watching her, really took me out of just about everything else going on. I found that really annoying. I get more and more the idea that cuddy see her child more like a burden than a pleasure.
    I also didn’t like how again, House was all pathetic while Cuddy apparently has no screwed-up-ness of her own. I also would have preferred if she had said something about the horrible things she’d done to him, instead of its being so one-sided.
    Cuddy’s “Why didn’t you tell me you love me?” was cringeworthy and house is right actions counts and not these three words`. I was really disapointed that he said it at the end.
    One point bugged me most was the fact that house can`t walk mostly without a cane due to his pain. Than happened scar kissing and house got magical power and lifted cuddy and lay her into his bed. I sat in front of screen and said WTF, this is ridiculus.
    I really do hope they can manage good stories with this relationship while still keeping House the show it started off being, and without ignoring the fact that Cuddy does in fact have this small child.

  8. Leyre on September 25th, 2010 1:34 pm

    The episode felt awkward because House is always awkward when he is in love. I remember the Stacy arc. A lot of people said that House was acting OOC. After watching him around the woman from Broken and now Cuddy, i think that he wasn´t OOC. It´s just the way he acts around women he cares about.

    This is the first time he see him in a relationship. House has been interested in several women along the series. First was Stacy. We could see the romantic side of this character in this arc. (I´m not gonna say it was a good arc but it had some great moments). Then we have Katie from Frozen. House liked that woman and cared about her but it wasn´t a strong feeling. In Broken we have the german lady. House found her when he was at his lowest point and the conection was important for him. We could see again that romantic side. And finally we have Cuddy. His biggest on and off love interest. The woman that probably scares and fascinates him the most.

    I didn´t find House OOC at all in Now What. He was acting like a man in love. A man who, just a few hours before, was sure that he had lost the woman of his dreams. And now, having her in his arms he is just House being House. A man being a man. Because no matter what, House is as human being as the rest of us.

  9. gbbg on September 28th, 2010 3:54 pm

    Not a huge fan of Huddy pairing but, if not Cuddy, then who? It might be abrupt and sudden but it had to happen. Feel sorry for Lucas though.

    I thought the episode showcased House’s selfishness to have Cuddy around and the possessiveness he shows for her. It felt manipulative but probably was needed for the beginning. The on-off scenes of them deciding to go public and then backing off was very playfully done.

    The scene when Cuddy was about to leave and House says he doesn’t think it’s gonna work was something I expected. But the way they dealt with it showed some promise.