Wednesday, October 29, 2008

House: No ”Joy” Here

I have a hard time describing last night’s episode of House, “Joy.” I found it interesting at first, with the patient of the week having some sort of mental problem where he seemed to be loosing big chunks of time. But, as t unfolded, the patient’s story seemed a little predictable to me, and I actually figured out the guy was sleepwalking long before House did. I also don’t know why it took so long for them to see that his daughter also had a problem. Maybe because House is too worried about his own life and messing around with the lives of his colleagues that he forgets that his job is to be a doctor.

The other case involved a woman who was carrying the child that Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) was to adopt. No surprise – the woman develops a simple medical problem, which turns into a complicated medical problem. Of course, the patient decides to put her own life above the life of the baby she is carrying, much to Cuddy’s dismay. Everything seems to turn out fine when Dr. Chase (Jesse Spencer) helps to surgically delivery the baby and the baby cries, indicating her lungs seem to be working. But Cuddy’s joy with baby “Joy” disappears quickly when the birth mother decided to keep the baby. No surprise here, either.

During this whole episode, House (Hugh Laurie) acts like a spoiled brat, trying to convince Cuddy she’d be a terrible mother. He thinks Cuddy will put her job first. He thinks she’ll have wardrobe fits from getting a little baby barf on her clothes. He thinks Cuddy won’t like her nice things broken. Now really, did House have to knock her desk lamp onto the floor to break it to make his point? Who is really the baby here? It sounds like someone needs a time out in the corner.

When House interrupts surgery with the baby’s mother in order to get Cuddy to sign some papers, she is angered by his presence. He doesn’t seem to care. This is the guy that seemed worried that Cuddy would find a child an intrusion to her work life, yet when she seems to want to put the baby first, he behaves like a child who feels ignored my his parents.

Things come to a head when, as Cuddy is at home, upset about not getting the baby, House arrives and tells her there are more babies out there. It was heartless in a way; like telling someone that just lost their own child that they can just have another. While Cuddy never carried the baby, she had planned for it as if she had. She tells him she’s not going to go through it again, and he flippantly tells her "It's too bad, you would've been a good mother." Cuddy explodes at him, saying that when she was planning for the baby he told her she would suck as a mother, but now that she doesn’t have the baby he says she would be a good one. She asks, “Why do you have to negate everything?” to which House responds, “I don't know’. Then, in what I think was a somewhat awkward scene, he leans down and they share a kiss. But, there was something about that kiss that made me groan. I was hoping the show would never go to any type of House/Cuddy romance, or even hint at it. Still, the kiss seemed hardy romantic in a way; in fact, it seemed like House was just taking advantage of her. Of course, he immediately leaves, quickly detaching himself from the situation.

Another thing about this show that annoys me is the unconventional ways that they get information to use to diagnose a patient’s illness. The silliest one was when House sent Taub (Peter Jacobson) and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) out to buy cocaine. Yeah, right, like any real, reputable doctor would commit a felony and risk their careers for a patient. I swear some writers are just sitting in a room, thinking “what stupid things can we make House get those doctors to do?” It seems that there is no foundation in reality for House’s medical and diagnostic techniques. Breaking into homes, buying drugs, private investigators... what's next, posing as a prostitute?

By the way, the original patient – remember him? – and his daughter seemed to be
anhidonic, or incapable of feeling pleasure. But Foreman (Omar Epps) doesn’t think their profile matches. House deduces that they were lying about their backgrounds and the man admits his name was Jamal Hamoud and he changed it year ago when the U.S. invaded Iraq the first time. House explained they had Familial Mediterranean Fever, a disease contracted by people of Mediterranean decent. And you know, I didn’t really care what was wrong with them. You see, the patient of the week has long ago ceased to be interesting. It seems all we get is a rattling off of symptoms and more guesses on the diagnosis. They are only a backdrop to the juvenile antics of House, which themselves have seemed to become too staged. In fact, House is becoming more like an immature child every week. I almost wish he was back to being a drug addict.

The preview of next week disturbed me a bit. If, in fact, that House was referring to Cuddy when he said he “hit that last night and now she's all over my jock", it seems like "the kiss" really was meaningless for him and he was only using her. Hopefully Cuddy will not be more of a target for his growing meanness. It truly is sad that after all this time, House hasn’t grown or developed into anything more than a doctor who is unhappy with himself so he seemingly wants everyone else to be miserable. He certainly has no joy in his life, so he envies and is skeptical of any of his colleagues that seem to want joy in theirs.

But as far as this episode “Joy” – it was devoid of any of it.

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