Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pardon the Interruption: House 6:2 - Epic Fail

Overall Rating: 7.6

Cut for spoilers

Plot Synopsis:

Fresh off of his rehab and therapeutic convalescence, House marches into Cuddy's office and announces that he is quitting. He explains that he believes diagnostic medicine fed into the negative aspects of his personality and led him to the point of insanity. He spends the episode searching for a hobby that will keep him interested and take his mind off his aching leg. He tries Wilson's cooking classes and proves he's not just a medical genius by mastering the art instantly. He quickly tires of this, however, and while he's searching for another idea, his leg pain nearly drives him back to the Vicodin, before he stumbles on a website where people post their medical mysteries. To his astonishment, the pain immediately subsides and he solves his former team's case - a last minute Fabry Disease diagnosis based on a theory regarding iodine mumps being the explanation for a few of the patient's symptoms.

While all of this is going on, the aforementioned case involves a video game designer who is, to put it mildly, a control freak. He tries to dictate the course of his treatment several times and goes to great lengths to get multiple opinions before making any decisions. The strain of dealing with this rather uncooperative (and very intelligent) patient nearly destroys the relationship between Foreman and Thirteen as Foreman uncomfortably settles into the role of department head. The transition proves too much for Taub, who quits because, no matter how skilled Foreman is, he's not House. It also results in Foreman reaching a decision to fire Thirteen to save their relationship.

Writing: 6.5

They can't all be "WOW!" episodes, now can they. The writers appear fatigued after the marathon they just ran scripting "Broken"...this episode is kind of a snoozer. The cases have been increasingly less important to the show with time, so it's no surprise that this case was not particularly the center of attention for the writers, but that's no excuse to let the interpersonal stuff relax quite THIS far. On the plus side, House and Cuddy's interactions were variously loaded with sexual tension and a lingering sense of despair on House's part for all of the harm he's done to her over the years, and the scenes between Wilson and House were amusing and sort of heart-warming (it's nice to see them together in a friendship that is pretty darn FUNCTIONAL instead of filled with dysfunction). Also a positive, the medical mystery itself appears to be well researched as the patient's symptoms do in fact match up well with Fabry disease, although one might expect a genetic mutation to manifest earlier in his life.

Acting: 8.5

I actually was favorably impressed with the acting of the patient, which is kind of rare on this show. Sorry to say, they rarely get all that much out of the patients, but this one did a pretty good job reminding us of Foreman (in terms of his attitude toward life) and battling it out with Forman in an attempt to win control of his treatment. Cuddy, House and Wilson were their usual crackling selves (minus the deeper wow factor from Broken, but still)...especially Cuddy.

Message: 7.8

Small bonus points were awarded for a non-regular character saying Cuddy dressed like a hooker. That, all by itself was worth +0.3. :) Someone needs to explain to Cuddy that dressing the way she does is not getting her the kind of attention she wants. Although she did get a giddy little thrill out of being chosen over the young hottie Thirteen by their patient with frontal lobe disinhibition. The other important message conveyed in this episode was that you shouldn't try to recover from mental illness, addiction, or any other serious psychological stress fundamentally changing who you are. It won't work. We cannot suddenly change how we define our existence...we can only evolve our self-awareness and grow over time. Add a dash of "beware of office romances" for flavoring and you've got a solid episode from a conservative perspective.


CAMERON: (seeing Foreman playing with House's thinking ball) "You know how House feels about people touching his ball."
FOREMAN: "No, Chase refused to tell me about it."
CAMERON: "Ha ha, my husband's gay, very clever." - I thought it was. :)

WILSON: "How hard are you trying not to make a ball joke right now?"
HOUSE: "They're smoking." (Wilson looks confused) "Your balls."
WILSON: "Oh no! They're browning way too fast."
HOUSE: "Blue's the color you have to watch out for."
WILSON: "Alright, enough. Oh, but they're still raw on the inside! By the time they cook through, they'll be burned on the outside."
HOUSE: "I think there's a medicated powder for that..." (launches into convoluted explanation as to why vinegar will slow the cooking process)
WILSON: "That actually makes sense! I think you may have...saved my balls!"
HOUSE: "THAT'S the spirit!" - it's so cute!

CUDDY: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to intrude, I was just..."
HOUSE: "She's just in my cooking class. She doesn't speak any English."
LADY: "Who's the broad" (subtitles)
HOUSE: "Missionary" (subtitles)
CUDDY: "Are you doing alright, House?"
HOUSE: "I'm fine...I take it you've come by to beg em to take back my job."
LADY: "If she's a missionary, why does she dress like a hooker?" (subtitles)
HOUSE: "I meant the position." (subtitles)
CUDDY: "No, I understand...as long as I'm not the reason - I know that sounds like the most narcissistic thing I could say..."
HOUSE: "YEAH!" (beat) "But it's not. We flirted, we kissed...I fondled...I hallucinated a night together with you and then shouted it from a hospital balcony." (another beat) "You're not a narcissist."
CUDDY: "Then what am I?"
HOUSE: "You're not the reason I'm leaving."
CUDDY: (deep breath - this is hard for her to admit, perhaps) "I'll miss you, House."
LADY: "Lady, either kiss him or get out, we've got work to do!" (perfect spoken English)
HOUSE: "You couldn't keep your big yap shut for one minute?"
LADY: "Make your gnocchi." - Very sweet scene all around.

HOUSE: "OK, let's get you some evidence!" (splashes his coffee into Wilson's house plant and unzips his fly) "Ladies should avert their eyes."
CUDDY: "House..."
HOUSE: "You too." (LOL)
WILSON: (wactching House give another urine sample) "My godson...made me that mug." (ROTFL)
HOUSE: "If the lab says this sample came from a golden retriever, please let me know right away. It would explain my overwhelming desire to wipe my butt on your carpet." (that one cracked me up big time)
CUDDY: (to WIlson) "Thank you for getting me involved in this." - hee

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