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HOUSE: A Pox On Our House

November 16, 2010 by  

On the heels of the San Francisco Giants’ victory in the World Series, a new star has stepped up to the plate in Fox’s primetime lineup. Amber Tamblyn is batting 1.000 over her first two appearances on HOUSE. With Cameron & Thirteen absent from Princeton Plainsboro, a strong female voice was desperately needed in the Diagnostics department. Thankfully, Martha M. Masters has recalibrated the workplace dynamic for Dr. House, his team, and a roster of patients who have been habitually lied to for years!

Since the conclusion of the Survivor-style search for new team members in Season 4, House has found little reason to mentor anyone on his staff. Truth be told, the late Dr. Kutner was the only addition to House’s team who was emotionally connected to the boss. Kutner’s suicide, Foreman’s ill-fated attempts to take over in House’s absence, and Cameron’s departure last season deepened the void. Exceptional teachers require exceptional students, and the deepening trust between House & Masters is the best part of the show.

Everyone on House’s team has called him a narcissist and a misogynist on occasion. Kudos to the writing team for making Martha’s turn at bat into a teachable moment. At the most critical moment of this episode, as Masters explained the logic behind her alternative diagnosis, she called upon House’s greatest weaknesses to help him see the light. Catching herself asking House to “trust her,” Masters quickly corrected herself to say, “trust yourself.” After all, no student could come up with a better diagnosis than the center of the medical universe, right? Tamblyn & Laurie’s chemistry helps, but the crux of that scene, the impetus for House to save his life and his young patient’s, originated in a writing room. It was a creative twist on an old standby.

If my feelings about the Huddy relationship were expressed as a Facebook status, my current setting would be, “non-plussed.” This episode represented a step backward for House & Cuddy’s story arc, as the writers struggled to reconcile the heightened emotions of the CDC intervention with Cuddy’s inability to compartmentalize. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but there is a logical fallacy in accepting someone for who they are (the events of the Season 6 finale and this season’s premiere) and rewriting the rules of relationships on a weekly basis.

HOUSE has an exceptional staff of writers, but they have painted themselves into a corner with the character of Cuddy. Viewers understand, based on episodes like, “5 to 9,” that Lisa Cuddy is an exceptional administrator, capable of juggling a variety of crises while maintaining a level of dignity and decorum. Why, then, must one white lie from her heroin-addicted boyfriend cause Cuddy to come undone? Soon, they have to make a choice between keeping these two together or leaving the short-sighted workplace disputes behind. There are other cast members to spar with over medical ethics. Try Nurse Jeffrey…

A few final thoughts before I turn things over to you:

*Despite an admirable job by the CGI department, the cold open reminded me too much of LOST’s iconic “Ab Aeterno” episode. For me, a slave ship sequence will not feel authentic without a smoke monster for some time to come…

*Robert Sean Leonard’s adoring gaze as Cynthia Watros bonded with their young patient was Krasinskian. If you are not a fan of THE OFFICE, I promise that is high praise, indeed. My take on Wilson & Sam’s second chance at love is not fully formed. Something tells me there are more skeletons in their nostalgic closet to be unearthed, though I am impressed with Leonard & Watros’ take on “grown-up” relationships. Their interactions feel grounded in maturity, unlike the roller coaster attraction we know as Huddy.

*House & Wilson are my favorite couple on this show, so I am growing concerned that they will not share a conversation about any topic unrelated to Lisa Cuddy for the remainder of Season 7. Last season’s highlights included the best friends aggressively debating the ramifications of patient-assisted suicide, while also taking time to enjoy a simple, completely platonic cooking class together. Is it too much to ask for a little quiet time among friends?

*Chase has been left out of the critical storylines in Season 7, but I think Jesse Spencer has embraced that void for the better. Instead of phoning it in, Spencer has repurposed Chase as an enthusiastic bachelor, delighted to instigate the verbal combat that surrounds him.

What was your take on Week 2 of the Martha Masters Era? Is Amber Tamblyn fitting in with the cast? How did you respond to the patient storyline, along with the elaborate CGI that set up the smallpox angle? Where is the Huddy relationship headed? How has it impacted your enjoyment of Season 7? I am excited to read your feedback, so let’s get the conversation rolling!

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Filed under #1 featured, House, House Recap


4 Responses to “HOUSE: A Pox On Our House”

  1. Kath Skerry on November 16th, 2010 1:54 pm

    Haven’t seen the ep yet so I can’t read your review but SO glad to have you back, Erik! We missed you!

  2. Lucille on November 16th, 2010 5:13 pm

    Hey eric Pssst…it is House season 7. 😉

    Nice to see you back. I missed your reviews.

    erik i like that you mentioned this:”House & Wilson are my favorite couple on this show, so I am growing concerned that they will not share a conversation about any topic unrelated to Lisa Cuddy for the remainder of Season 8 (7).”

    I absolutely agree but i found it interesting that he talked with Sam about the H/cu issue. It´s fascinating how she analzes the relationship. Finally someone who is able to critisize Cuddy.

  3. Erik Wilkinson on November 16th, 2010 6:24 pm

    Lucille: THANK YOU for pointing out my involuntary brain freezes. My new schedule as a teacher often leaves me at a loss for words, but I never imagined it would impact my short term memory 🙂 I updated the post based on your reaction.

    Cynthia Watros conveys a very “no-nonsense” demeanor on camera, both in her appearances on LOST and as the former (and future?) Mrs. Wilson on HOUSE. She speaks directly, free from the histrionics that often lead TV actors into chewing up scenery instead of telling a story. I shared your enthusiasm for inserting a female point of view into the world of Huddy. With Thirteen MIA and Cameron off of the show, viewers needed to see/hear both sides of the issue.

  4. Kat on November 29th, 2010 8:39 pm

    I personally dont like the new girl, i know she is supposed to show a different side of house, but couldnt they make her more….pretty? honestly, we have a BEATUIFUL cast of people attractive in so many different ways
    wilson, my favorite<3 is gorgeous and sweet and sensitive.
    house, agressive and straight forward
    foreman, dark and handsome
    talb, adorable with his bigg nose, and witty comebacks
    cuddy, and her curves:P
    13, just plain beautiful, and bi…nice twist
    amber, keen, cool, attractive
    chase, australian accent<3, perfect hair, nice bod:P
    ……and then HER, shes frumpy, dull, small, and boring. i hope when hadley is done with her movie, she makes a big come-back scene and "masters" who is only the master of annoying me and hurting my eyes, LEAVES.

    i ADORE the show, just not her.
    i love wilson<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3