Tuesday, September 28, 2010

House “Selfish” Recap & Review

All photos from Fox

Last week’s episode of House, “Now What?” almost had me running away from the television, screaming. This week’s episode was an improvement. But House(Fox) still has a ways to go before it finds its way back into my “favorite shows” list.

The problem? It’s the whole House/Cuddy (or in “shipper speak”, “Huddy”) relationship. Maybe the writers realize the problem themselves by writing this episode where both House and Cuddy go through their day at the hospital, trying to act normal and not have the personal relationship affect their business relationship.

The patient of the week is a young girl, Della, who collapses while pushing her brother, who is wheelchair-bound and has a terminal illness, around an indoor skateboard track. I’ll be perfectly honest here: as House’s staff race to find out what ails her, I find myself hearing their words as nothing but gobbledygook. Usually I can follow all the medical jargon used in medical shows, in this episode, it seemed like the doctors got a case of “let’s rattle off the lines as quickly as possible.” (The medical dialog had the feel of the dialog on the NBC series “West Wing” during the last season or two, you know, after Aaron Sorkin left and the writers/producers tried to recapture the quick, clipped dialog that Sorkin’s team did so well.) As a result of the way they handled this case in "Selfish", not only did I lose interest quickly in her case, but I think I completely missed what was wrong with her to begin with. All I know is that House wanted to use some of her disabled brother’s bone marrow and a part of his lung to save her, which would likely cut his already short life expectancy even shorter.

I was also slightly distracted at the sight of Stephanie Courtney playing the mother of the patient. Since she is better known as “Flo” from the Progressive Insurance commercials, I kept thinking about her insurance commercials rather than take her seriously as the patient’s anguished mother.

The scenes between House and Cuddy felt forced and almost awkward. Now that House (Hugh Laurie) is having a sexual relationship with Cuddy, it is as if he is walking on eggs. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) seems to have no problem still being his boss, until she realizes that even she is being affected by the relationship. Despite the fact that she and House make their relationship known to the Human Resources department and sign a contract to protect the hospital from any fallout from their relationship, they both seem to be second guessing themselves. It gets so bad that Cuddy goes back to HR to see if they can assign someone else to supervise House. No surprise – nobody wants that job.

The only watchable parts of the episode involved House’s trusty sidekick, Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). It’s the only part of the episode that seems genuine, with Leonard using facial expressions to enhance the already amusing dialog.

The episode seems to go through the motions and falls flat. Even though the parents – and the patient’s brother – have a tough decision to make that means life or death for both children, I find no real emotional pull. It’s been a long while since I actually cared for the “patient of the week” on this show as it seems they are simply a backdrop for House’s “problem of the week.” Yes, I know the show is called House so the story would normally revolve around him, but I used to be drawn more to how he solved both his problems and his medical cases. Somehow his relationship with Cuddy doesn’t rise to the level of importance with me than his other problems.

I’m still a devoted watcher of the show, although it is not one of those shows that I anticipate seeing every week like I used to. My diagnosis – the show has reached the doldrums and House needs a new, and more formidable challenge. I can only hope that it will come soon.

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