Tuesday, January 27, 2009

House: “Big Baby” Left Me Crying For The Show

This week’s episode of House(Fox), “Big Baby” completed the “dumbification” of Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). At least this week we got a real baby playing the role of Cuddy’s baby, not the rubber-looking cabbage patch doll we had last week in the episode “Painless.”

In this episode, the patient of the week was a woman who seemed to be bleeding from an unknown source, and is admitted to Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital so Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) and his staff could figure out her problem. But that’s not important right now. What was important in this show is that after months of wanting a baby, preparing for a baby, and finally experiencing great joy by getting a baby, Cuddy falls into some sort of deep funk because she can’t “bond” with the baby. She’s even abdicated some of her job duties to Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) whose only experience seems to be is that she was a doctor who used to work for House. Now really, in the real world, wouldn’t one think that someone would need just a little more experience to take over even temporarily for the dean of medicine? I found myself questioning Cuddy’s sanity, seeing that she seemed to want to give up a job that mattered so much to her, and at the same time, she gets the baby she wanted and it seems to have made her fall into depression at the speed of light. I would understand more if she actually had given birth to the baby and she was experiencing postpartum depression, but is it really normal for someone to go off the deep end so completely by adopting a baby?

Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) tries to help Cuddy cope. Of course, he loses his mind when he spills the secret to House that Cuddy can’t handle being a new mom. House tells Cuddy it’s because Wilson was worried about her, but still, why would Wilson tell such a secret to someone who would do nothing but manipulate Cuddy with it?

Meanwhile, Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) is conflicted because he knows that Dr.Thirteen, AKA Remy (Olivia Wilde), is getting a placebo as part of the drug trials, and he wants to change the test and give her the real drug. He asks his colleagues for advice, and gets to the point where he asks House because he values House’s opinion. Of course, House tell him not to risk his career…unless Foreman loves her, of course. We see at the end of the show, and in the preview for next week, that Foreman makes his choice, and seemingly creates big problems for himself. I suppose that now since Cuddy has been dumbed down, the show feels that it must move on to Foreman, who up until now has been one of the few rational heads on the show. I guess that’s what love can do to a person.

Cameron is also feeling some power and control over House, but it’s just a chess game. While he is trying to figure out her next move and tries to maneuver his requests to ultimately get what he wants, Cameron is trying to stay one step ahead of him and giving him – or not giving him – what he wants in order to play with his head. Yeah, she’s real qualified to sit in the big chair. I’m being sarcastic here.

Of course, House gets his epiphany with the patient of the week (remember her?) while cutting off the top of her head to do some brain tests. Cuddy has gotten wind of the test and calls the operating room to halt the procedure, with a screaming baby also yelling into the phone. The patient, who seems normally tolerant of kids, becomes highly agitated at the sound of a crying baby. Who wouldn’t? And magically, Cuddy also manages at the same time to bond with the baby by screaming and yelling at it. She called it “talking”, I called it screaming and yelling. Frankly, when my mom screamed at me I never felt like bonding. And if Cuddy continues to yell at the baby in order to get the baby to listen, I feel very sorry for that kid as she grows up. By the way, hasn’t Cuddy ever heard of cuddling the baby, or using a soothing voice to calm the baby, or the whole host of other baby calming techniques that even people who don’t have kids know how to use? I am convinced now that Cuddy is inept not just as a mother, but as a woman. Later, when Cuddy brings the baby to the hospital to talk to House and tell him that she “bonded” with the baby, she has him hold the baby, who proceeds to spit up on House. Very predictable.

Ultimately, House discovers that the patient's heart didn't form correctly, which caused blood to flow away from the left side of her brain when she got stressed. Since the left side of the brain registers annoyance, and during the brain test when her blood pressure was low, she became annoyed with Cuddy's baby's crying. I am a little confused as to how he made the connection to her geart, or maybe I just didn’t care how he came to that conclusion. Let’s be honest, the patient of the week is become less important to the show.

Cameron later tells Cuddy that she quits her job as Cuddy’s alternate because she didn’t get the proper procedures or get proper proof before she approved House’s request to cut open the patient’s skull. Cuddy thinks she did fine, but Cameron feels she will always say yes to House. Of course, that’s because women on this show have no backbone when it comes to House, much to my dismay. If he worked for me, I would have fired him a long time ago. Sure, I get it. Without House there would be no show. Still, I’d like to see someone – anyone – on this show step forward to act like a real boss in the real world, someone who could actually test House and add some real drama to the show.

I suppose this episode was appropriately called “Big Baby” because House and Cuddy continue to act like one, and it left me crying over what has happened to a once edgy and dramatic show. It’s as if the writers and producers just spit up on the viewers.

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