Tuesday, November 9, 2010

House “Office Politics” Recap & Review

All Photos © 2010 - FOX
House “Office Politics” was one of those episodes that left me wondering just what exactly I watched. It certainly wasn’t the show that I came to love years ago during its first few seasons. The patient of the week was uninteresting, House’s (Hugh Laurie) behavior has become a cliché, Cuddy has become a study in cleavage, and we get yet another new character for House to mess with her head. There’s really nothing compelling to see here.

The case involves a senator’s campaign manager Joe Dugan (Jack Coleman) who suddenly develops a weird rash and then his liver and kidneys begin to fail. At the time House gets the case, Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) has decided that she’s going to hire a replacement doctor for House’s team – Martha M. Masters (Amber Tamblyn), who is a young genius third year medical student. Cuddy thinks that Masters will develop into a superstar doctor like House, and House just looks at Masters as another doctor he can annoy and antagonize. Besides the fact that Amber Tamblyn will probably still look 16 years old when she’s forty, her attire is laughable and is more reflective of a chubby 25 year old trying to fit into and wear the clothes of a skinny 12 year old. If Masters is supposed to have such extensive education at her young age, certainly she had been exposed to adults who dress in a manner that is not like an 8th grader. Masters should have picked up some wardrobe tips by now.

House is skeptical and cautious about Masters and does his usual routine where he badgers her. He repeatedly fires and re-hires Masters, which after the first time, just became silly. Of course, no matter how many time he fires her she still seems to be sticking around the hospital, clearly feeling that Cuddy is protecting her. She also has strict ethics which seem to shock – SHOCK! – House. Those ethics are what makes House think that she will compromise his treatment of the patient. Masters shows her naiveté when she seems clueless on why House doesn’t always want to tell the patient the truth, and this should have been something she should clearly have understood after going to med school for 3 years.

While Foreman (Omar Epps), Chase (Jesse Spencer), and Taub (Peter Jacobson) do their usual routine of breaking into a house to get information about what could be causing the patient’s illness, Martha refuses to even enter the house. She knows it’s wrong to do so. Later, when the doctors have to go back to the house for more information, Martha does not go. Mysteriously, it’s the first time ever that the three doctors get arrested for breaking in. Was this simply a coincidence? I wonder if Martha called the police and tipped them off, but that’s just me. Did House possibly call someone and tip them off, hoping the doctors would think it was Masters who ratted them out? Maybe I missed something, but I think that the whole arrest thing was orchestrated by someone. I’m surprised that Foreman, Chase, or Taub never seemed to have any suspicions about why they were arrested this time, right after Masters had expresses concerns about the process.
The patient – remember the patient? – is getting worse while House plays office politics with his team and with Cuddy. The team suspects Dugan has contracted Hep C from the Senator and that Dugan and the (male) Senator have had an intimate relationship. But, it seems they find an excuse that the Hep C was transmitted via using the same straw to snort coke. House finds a way to fake some test results so he can try a risky treatment – he uses an excuse to draw the Senator’s blood and passes it off as Dugan’s. House also manages to get Martha to convince Dugan to undergo the risky treatment, and Martha can do so by not compromising her ethics. She likely played right into House’s hands. He officially hires her, of course.

But trouble looms for House when Cuddy realizes that House has faked Dugan’s test results in order to justify the risky test. She’s coming to the conclusion that her cleavage alone won’t make House change his ways.

Despite the fact that House has hired Martha, I am sure we can expect that his constant testing of her will not stop. He’ll likely treat her as he does the rest of the team. And this is where the series is getting a little old and tired. Is this all there is to House – is he just a control freak who has to belittle everyone that works for them, testing them at every step under the guise of making them better doctors or curing his patient? House is still an addict in a way – an addict to verbally abusing people and messing with their heads. With a very brief appearance of Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) toward the end of the episode, even Wilson looks like he’s tired of the whole routine. The show needs a transfusion – not from new characters but of a new storyline and a new direction for House. We need less of Cuddy’s cleavage, less of House’s sex life with Cuddy, and less of House’s need to demean. I could live with keeping the latter, but in my diagnosis is the Cuddy storyline is killing this show.

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1 comment:

Mad Fashionista said...

Thank you so much for this review. I was so emotionally invested in this show, and since Season 6 it has been going straight downhill. Last night I could not believe I was watching House. Cliche piled upon cliche, and I cannot believe the actors can actually say this dialogue with any conviction.