Tuesday, January 20, 2009

House “Painless”: Painful to Watch

This won't hurt...OK, I lied.
After watching this episode of House (Fox),“Painless”, I found myself asking why they didn’t call this episode ‘The Further Dumbing Down of Dr. Cuddy”, because that’s how it seemed.

Oh sure, we had the patient of the week, who was feeling so much pain in his body that he attempted to kill himself. After trying various diagnoses, House finally figures it out when he sees a plumber scratching his crotch. Yes, you read that right.

We got the newbie doctors revealing more about themselves as they work the case (snore). We get Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) trying to work through their relationship issues (more snoring). We got very little of Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). We had House (Hugh Laurie) being his normal crotchety old self, the only scene making me wonder what was going to happen next when the camera first showed him breathing heavily in the bathtub. Because it’s the 8:00 PM prime time hour, we find he is only stroking his...troubled leg. And suddenly House has gone back to popping pain pills as if they were candy.

But the big annoyance for me was the continued focus on Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and her new baby. Don’t the writers know that adding a baby to the show is a certain show killer? Cuddy is worried that she won’t pass muster with the DYFS inspector, who is set to arrive any time now. Of course, this woman who can run a hospital and wanted a baby so badly seems to be mentally ill equipped to handle the job. Worse yet, she seems oblivious to the fact that she can’t do it all and rather than get help, she asks Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) to help take over part of her job. Now really, how silly is that? Wouldn’t it have been smarter for her to hire a nanny or a good babysitter? Doesn’t Cuddy watch any TV these days, where most executive women get help from nannies in raising their kids? I’ve known a few executive women and non-executive women in my time who have had children (of their own, mind you, not adopted) and even the woman in the lowest job on the totem poll seemed to know that if they wanted to keep their job, they needed to enlist help from family members all the way up to nannies. Yet we are supposed to believe that Dr. Cuddy is so insecure that she doesn’t know that she needs to get help from someone, not abdicate her job. And suddenly when she passes the inspector’s scrutiny, she’s annoyed that it’s only by the inspector's “meager” standards, not hers. Wilson states what everyone else is thinking - she's creating ridiculous standards and she should get help. Also, in the one scene where we saw the baby, it sure looked fake, almost rubber-like. Cuddy was even holding it like it was a toy. They should have just left the "cabbage patch" kid out of the scene.

Let's not forget a big flaw in the episode, when Foreman noted to the nurse working the drug trial that the IV bag for Thirteen was leaking. The nurse tipped him off to how he could tell that Thirteen was getting a placebo, not the new drug. Wasn’t this supposed to be a double-blind study and even if the nurse DID know which meds they got, should she have told Foreman?

I continue to be very disappointed in what the writers have done to Cuddy this season and last. It is almost as if they have some stereotypical idea in their minds that once a woman in a high position has a baby, they lose all of their brains. It is simply insulting to me.

Of course, the big reveal of the show seems to be that the loose pipe which caused House’s plumbing problem was caused by the fact that he is using the pipes to support himself as he gets in an out of the tub. More snoring.

This show is becoming as trite and repetitive as they get. Has it run its course? If you asked me that one season ago, I would have never expected to see this series run out of gas so soon. But clearly the writers are suffering from some sort of writer’s block or lazy writer syndrome. Maybe they need to be treated – by Dr. House – who hopefully won’t kill them in the process of diagnosing them.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Or how about this? A suicidal patient who isn't put on suicide watch?!?

The dumbing down of this show and bloated cast now causes me to rely on reviews before going elsewhere....

Season 1 House, where ARE you??