Tuesday, April 27, 2010

House “Open and Shut” Recap & Review: Everybody Lies, Everybody Cheats

Photo from Fox

According to House (Fox) (Hugh Laurie) everybody lies. You can also add “everybody cheats on their spouse” as well. House and his team deal with an ill woman, Julia (Sarah Wayne Callies) who claims to have an open marriage. Callies’ lifeless acting brings nothing to the role, making the patient portion of the episode seen more dull and boring than usual. The patient is just a backdrop for relationship problems between Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and his ex, Sam Carr (Cynthia Watros), and marital problems between Dr. Taub (Peter Jacobson) and his wife Rachel (Jennifer Crystal Foley). Of course, House has to mess and meddle in everyone’s lives, but Thirteen/Dr. Handley is also sticking her nose in where it does not belong – again.

It seems that Julia’s open marriage isn’t as open as she thought, as her husband starts to exhibit a little jealousy with the “other man” during her treatment. A secret also comes out in the process that Julia’s husband has also lost all their savings, and this gets Julia quite annoyed with him. The doctors go through the usual wrong diagnoses, check out the patient’s home (a process that I find sillier every week), Thirteen gives her “sage” advice” (sarcasm intended), and House saves the day with his epiphany which brings the diagnoses. It’s all from a bee sting, because everybody knows that if House can’t get it right off the bat it must be something odd, yet simple. It also means that House and his crack team really are not good diagnosticians after all, they are just a bunch of educated guessers who get lucky every now and then.

While all this is going on, Wilson and Sam are enjoying their relationship when House, who can’t leave well enough alone, brings to Wilson’s attention that Sam didn’t put the milk back into the refrigerator in the right place. This begins a while cascade of annoyances that the somewhat obsessive-compulsive Wilson can’t tolerate. It starts a fight between Wilson and Sam, and it’s the fight they should have had before their divorce. Since they didn’t seem to know how to talk to each other at that time, it seems they never knew what was annoying each other. They eventually mend their differences, House takes credit for all of it, and I find that I don’t care either way.

Taub, meanwhile, is doing his usual flirty thing with Maya (Danna Brady), a nurse with whom he regularly has coffee. The news of a patient with an open marriage gives him the desire for the same in his own (dull) marriage, and, like the idiot he is, he brings up the matter over dinner in a restaurant with Rachel. After dropping that bomb, he leaves dinner to take care of the patient, leaving Rachel in the restaurant alone. (Yes, he is an ass.) But later, Rachel has a change of heart and says he can have Thursday nights for his cheating ways but she never wants to hear about “her.” She changes her mind yet again and tells Taub she can’t go through with it. After he professes his one and true love for her, he later has an accidental meeting with Maya in the parking garage, which turns into a rendezvous. It seems Taub validates “everybody lies" AND “everybody cheats” in one episode.

It’s becoming clear that every character in the House universe has one or more major flaws. While I know no one is perfect, it is getting a little tiresome that every week House is compelled to bring out one or more of those flaws in the people he interacts with. Is it his way of drawing attention away from his own failings so they don’t focus on how screwed up he is, or, is House just mean and doesn’t want anyone to be happy if he isn’t? He was calculating and mean while he was on drugs, and he’s still calculating and mean while he is seemingly off the drugs, he’s just slightly more subtle about it. Regardless, we watch someone crash and burn every week at the expense of House, and it’s a theme that is getting a little too repetitive to be enjoyable. It does make me wonder – would I want to put my life in the hands of a doctor who spends most of his time playing head games with his colleagues and friends, and who has staff who doesn’t seem very good with coming up with the correct diagnosis? The answer has to be NO.

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1 comment:

Jessica said...

I agree; this episode was especially lackluster. I normally try and suspend disbelief when they're going through their various diagnoses, but this week was harder than most--almost every suggestion had to do with the fact that the patient had an open marriage (which apparently means she was a big slut) and not with the actual symptoms she had.

It makes me wonder about House's reputation as the best diagnostician in the state (if not the WORLD!!) since most of his patients almost die before he gets it right, and usually getting the correct diagnosis doesn't have a whole lot to do with the facts as laid out in the case but with some random conversation.