HOUSE: Family Practice - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE: Family Practice

February 8, 2011 by  

Sibling rivalries erupt over a litany of factors beyond our control. Basketball tryouts change brothers into playground rivals. The affection of a mutual crush melts the bonds of sisterhood. Professional successes that should be celebrated become bragging rights in the 3-D version of the game of life.

Lisa Cuddy’s struggle to find common ground with her mother, featured on this week’s HOUSE, is a byproduct of the most challenging type of sibling competition. Who among a generation of offspring is treated as the chosen one, the golden child? It is a game that follows no rules, and the victor’s reward is the scorn of their loved ones.

Cuddy was eviscerated by a single quote from her Mom, and the fallout associated with Candice Bergen’s stern delivery was overpowering:

“I love you both, but I like her more than you.”

There are wounds that can be treated with a bandage, and others that require medical attention. If you are blessed/cursed with siblings, NO ONE could remedy the damage that comes from hearing your parent declare you the runner-up in a family contest for Mr/Miss Congeniality. A wounded Cuddy made a series of mistakes in the aftermath of Arlene’s hurtful assertion, and it took House to point her in the right direction.

I have been critical of Lisa Edelstein’s approach to Cuddy this season, particularly in scenes with Hugh Laurie where she appears either relieved or prematurely panicked. This week, Ms. Edelstein wore the burdens of her mother’s behavior brilliantly, and showed how to love someone who does not understand how to validate you in return. The episode built to a strong crescendo, as Cuddy refused to allow her mother to die in the hands of polite doctors, and insisted that Arlene be saved by Princeton Plainsboro’s finest (if a tad insensitive) team.

Hugh Laurie’s fans have already taken to Twitter in declaring “Family Practice” his finest performance of Season 7. House has become a credible romantic partner for Cuddy, and Laurie’s commitment to maintaining his character’s brittle filter and unyieldingly high expectations are keys to that evolution. Cuddy was failing to be either a doctor or a daughter to Arlene, and House called her out, just as he would Foreman or Taub if they fell down on the job. House is growing more committed to the people in his life, but he remains steadfast in his belief in brains. When his girlfriend stopped using her intellect and succumbed to her frailties, House hit the brakes and refocused her. That is a huge step in the Huddy relationship, but a course of action that is 100% Gregory House.

The “B” plot of this episode, featuring Taub’s attempts to fashion a working relationship with his brother-in-law, showed a different side to the bonds between siblings. With financial pressures mounting and a marriage ending, Chris Taub could have easily turned the other cheek to a questionable mark on a child’s head CT. Instead, he behaved just like his boss would, damning the consequences to his bank account and his nose. It is possible that viewers are seeing the beginning of a new Dr. Taub, a guy who can reach greatness as a physician, even if his predilictions for nurses never subside. Kudos to Jennifer Crystal Foley for her layered performance as Rachel Taub, a woman who understands the foibles of her soon-to-be ex, but cares enough to keep him from hitting rock bottom.

Martha M. Masters is the ultimate golden child, but the young genius has gained significant traction with her colleagues. I have enjoyed every beat of Amber Tamblyn’s performances this season, and “Family Practice” was no exception. Masters is principled, brave, and stubbornly self-righteous when the moment requires. House & Cuddy both recognize her immense potential, as hinted when House said, “It’s not her office yet,” while kicking his girlfriend out of the room to threaten his protege. Olivia Wilde’s absence from HOUSE is noticeable in the lack of worthwhile storylines for Foreman, but I would be happy to trade the come-hither looks of Thirteen for the “What are you doing?” perspective of Masters. If writing about a medical show can give you a God complex, than I demand Amber Tamblyn be made a series regular next season! (Cue the appropriate volume of ominous music, signifying my powers as the great and powerful Oz)

There is more to discuss about Candice Bergen’s return, along with Paula Marshall’s debut as Cuddy’s sister, so let’s get the conversation rolling!

What were your thoughts on Arlene’s patient storyline? Did the mention of her artificial hip spoil her diagnosis for you later? How did the Huddy scenes impact your view of their relationship? Were there enough light moments in the show for fans of House’s one-liners? Are you growing more or less interested in Thirteen’s inevitable return?

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8 Responses to “HOUSE: Family Practice”

  1. John on February 8th, 2011 12:49 pm

    Unfortunately Ms. Tamblyn doesn’t want to come back. She is a good addition, but I still miss Thirteen (and not for any Foreteen drama).

  2. Jaesen on February 8th, 2011 1:13 pm

    Lisa Edelstein was the best part of this episode. The woman does an amazing job when she is given good material. One of the best episodes of the last two seasons.

  3. housefan on February 8th, 2011 1:14 pm

    This was the best episode of the season. Lisa Edelstein was amazing!

  4. Liz on February 8th, 2011 4:59 pm

    Obviously I watched a different epsiode. It was AWFUL, nothing left to add. I’m so sick of Cuddy, why can’t she go?!

  5. Shane on February 9th, 2011 12:12 am

    I thought Cuddy was really good this episode. I know so many kids who fight for attention from their parents and never get it. I like that Cuddy went back and stated her peace in a respectful way , not forceful or rude and didn’t give up on her. This was the best episode of the season and I liked that it wasn’t just another Huddy-centric episode that seemed all lovey-dovey. If aonly all the pes were like this one.

  6. Ellen on February 9th, 2011 10:29 pm

    Erik, I feel as if you are watching some other television show, not House. I can’t understand how House can be a “credible romantic partner for Cuddy.” Has her feelings for House made Cuddy a better person? I don’t think so. A better administrator? Definitely not! Instead, I think the writers have torn down Cuddy’s character and brought her down to House’s level of selfishness and immaturity. Would you say her behavior was admirable in the last episode? Has his behavior toward her daughter indicated genuine feelings for the child, or has it indicated that he will do anything to keep his all-access pass to Cuddy’s va-jay-jay? Has it enhanced Cuddy’s character to have her withholding sex to control House’s behavior time and time again?

    I also can’t understand how House is “growing more commited to the people in his life.” Wilson is practically invisible, and when he needed House after his break up with Sam, was House there for him? No. Has he been a better boss? Could he possibly have treated his team worse in that last episode? I remember back in Season 1 where House asked his old team to do something unethical with his patient, the trumpet player with the DNR. When Cameron and Chase expressed reservations about doing something that could end their medical careers, House was the one who went to the patient’s room instead. There was a time when House wasn’t such a jerk.

  7. Kate on March 9th, 2011 8:47 pm

    I had pretty much stopped watching House last season as I found that with the departure of Cameron, the only character I still cared about was Wilson and all he was doing is acting as a prop for Huddy. A friend of mine asked me to watch this episode because she found it disturbing but didn’t know why.

    After my break from the show, what I chiefly noticed is that everyone runs around squaking like the sky is falling. She’s dying! She’s dying! It’s supposed to up the drama but after a while it just gets silly that everything is such an immediate cataclysm. Cuddy’s mother has atrial fibrillation. Why would she insist House treat her instead of a cardiologist who actually has a practice of treating atrial fibs? Cuddy let her feelings about House blind her to getting her mother the best care. Also, it’s hard to buy that Cuddy loves her mother so much that she’s willing to slash the tires of every ambulance when just a short while ago she was accusing her mother of being a hypochondriac and then an alcoholic and refusing to listen to her mother’s denials, not to mention saying that she (Cuddy) is the only smart one in the family. Letting House put a different drug in the IV is just plain stupid because what if the treating doctor prescribes another med that they give Arlene and there is a bad reaction with the drug they don’t know she’s getting? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Not to mention complete lack of informed consent and patient rights just for the sake of drama.

    But the thing that got me most about the episode was the scene in which House tells Cuddy to get out of her office so that he can abuse Martha and without a word Cuddy goes. She knows what he is capable of, a couple of seasons ago she was crying on Wilson’s shoulder because House had been so hurtful to her, but she still walked away knowing what he was going to do to the powerless and young Martha. The vibe I got out of it was daddy is taking the belt out of his pants and wrapping it around his fist; mommy knows what he’s going to do and she leaves so she doesn’t have to be a witness to it. And what House did was horrific. It’s a scene which I wish I could get out of my brain because both House and Cuddy were so loathsome. As Dean of Medicine, it’s Cuddy’s responsibility to take care of the med students and residents, and even more, she was the one who insisted that Martha not quit when she wanted to but now she’s fine with Martha being abused as long as she gets what she wants. That I think Martha was right in what she wanted to do which makes it even worse.
    The next scene is Martha throwing up in the washroom because she is so upset. But in spite of that, she does what is right, a far better person than House or Cuddy.
    House may have developed into a fitting mate for Cuddy but it’s like Macbeth finally agreeing to murder Duncan as Lady Macbeth’s has egged him to do. It does neither character any favors and is a good example of how much the Huddy writing has hurt the show this past seasons.

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