Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pardon the Interruption: House 8:9 - Better Half

Overall: 6.2

Yes, I am back on the House beat -- and unfortunately, House's car is still stuck on neutral.

Plot Synopsis: has a basic recap here.

The Skinny:

The main message of this episode is a bit lopsided. I can understand why House would see no worth in a marriage in which one of the partners is mentally infirm. I can also see why Chase, given his background, would strongly favor a swift death over a long and drawn out decline. As far as the characterization is concerned, House and Chase's comments make perfect sense. But it would've been nice if, in addition to Natalie's final decision to stay with her husband, we had also seen Adams (or some other character) defend the alternative viewpoint. Because as soon as a society mainstreams the attitude that we, as human beings, are wholly capable of judging whether a particular life is worth living, rampant inhumanity inevitably follows. Disabled kids are denied kidney transplants. People who don't technically qualify under legalized euthanasia statutes are handed "How to Commit Suicide" instructions. Etc., etc., etc.

In other news, I have to admit that I was somewhat interested in the subplot for personal reasons. You see, since my teens, I've been struggling with the reality that I just don't enjoy kissing men and have no desire to have sex with them. I've been going back and forth between identifying myself as a lesbian and identifying myself as asexual, but I'm starting to lean toward the latter now because I haven't really noticed any strong urge to kiss or fondle women either. I've had crushes (on both men and women, by the way), but when I think about it, said crushes were really emotional/intellectual in nature. I've never actually experienced "sexual sparks" with any one person.

So yeah -- my ears perked up when Wilson's clinic patient told him that she and her husband were asexual. Unlike the rest of the "queer" community, though, I didn't get upset when the woman's asexuality turned out to be a figment and the man's turned out to be caused by a pituitary tumor. I guess that's because I haven't really centered my whole identity on being "queer." I think of myself as a Catholic conservative first, a sci-fi fan second, and a teacher third -- and, oh yeah, by the way, I'm not heterosexual. Am I willing to consider the possibility that my utter lack of a sex drive might have a medical origin? Low testosterone seems to run in my family, so it could be that. Or perhaps, due to my severe rheumatoid arthritis, I have some funky antibodies bouncing around in my brain -- antibodies that are messing with my neurochemistry. Who knows? I'm certainly not going to cry over the suggestion that my "orientation" is potentially curable. Indeed, I'm inclined to respond to this whole "controversy" with a noncommittal shrug.

The above-mentioned brouhaha over the subplot aside, this is really just another average episode of House. There are no earth-shattering revelations -- no huge steps forward for the characters. In other words, this lackluster eighth season continues apace.

Writing: 6.0

Did I mention that this episode is tragically ordinary?

Acting: 7.5

The performances are not bad, though.

Message: 5.0

Fortunately, Natalie didn't abandon her ailing husband. If she had, this particular score would've been much, much lower.

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