Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A man stands alone

Brief spoilers for the "House" and "Unit" season premieres coming up just as soon as I make a ransom demand...

I hate to overhype, but you make the call: funniest "House" ever? Between Dr. Buffer and his lupus suggestion, wilson's reaction at discovering that his lunch date with House was just an invitation for B&E, Wilson's various ransom notes/calls (and good to see Wilson successfully get over on House for once), and Cuddy's increased frustration with House and her inability to stop enabling him, there were very few points where I wasn't laughing. Okay, maybe the parts with the living patient actually being the dead patient and vice versa weren't exactly knee-slappers (and I didn't see it coming, even with the seemingly-pointless scene featuring the other boyfriend), but this episode was pure pleasure -- and episode two is even funnier.

(One Cuddy question: I know House mocks her revealing wardrobe all the time, but did anyone else think her outfits in this episode -- particularly the white dress with the coat -- were even more provacative than usual? Maybe it's just been too long since I watched an episode, but I always remembered Cuddy's clothes as less slutty than House always claims.)

Meanwhile, I almost never write about "The Unit," even though I'd guess I watch at least half to two-thirds of the episodes each season. I wouldn't call it a guilty pleasure, because I don't feel guilty watching any show with Dennis Haysbert as the star and David Mamet sometimes supplying the dialogue (though the non-Mamet episodes usually suffer in comparison to the ones he writes), but I usually struggle to find anyone else who watches the show or cares enough to discuss it on a blog.

Like I said in yesterday's column, both this episode and next week's are devoted to undoing the cliffhanger as quickly as possible, and while I recognize the necessity of reassembling the group that's in the title, I liked the idea of Jonas and the guys being rogue for a little longer. I mean, Haysbert shaved his head and regrew his goatee, and with his shirt off looked unchanged from when he first played Pedro Serrano 18 years ago! That is a man you do not mess with, and I hope he sticks with the new/old look for a while. Also impressive, albeit not in the same age-defying way, is Scott Foley, who played sensitive guys on "Felicity" and "Scrubs" so convincingly that I remain surprised at how convincing and interesting he is as this very smart, circumspect Special Forces badass.

I have the two episodes mashing together in my head a bit, so I won't go into any more specifics, but I want to figure out a way to keep juggling this show, "House" and "Reaper" for as long as I can this season, because I enjoy all three in different ways.

What did everybody else think?

17 comments:

jcpbmg said...

did anyone else notice eli attie joined the staff as a co-exec producer this season... so what's the over/under on the number of episodes until we see an al gore-esque character.

and despite the funny lines and house/wilson moments, i have to admit i thought this was one of the most boring episodes ever

filmcricket said...

If not the funniest episode, definitely in the top three or so. I also didn't see the twist coming, and I have to say, I didn't miss Foreman, Cameron or Chase one iota. I got a bit annoyed with Cuddy after a while, just because she's always caving into House and it gets tired sometimes, but otherwise, brilliant episode.

Maybe it's just been too long since I watched an episode, but I always remembered Cuddy's clothes as less slutty than House always claims.

She seems to swing between come-hither and schoolmarm from week to week. Go back to the first season where you can see blouses cut even lower than tonight's, but also pastel wool suits in plenty.

cgeye said...

It's a coin toss on which cast has more lead characters in the service of Satan, cumulatively, REAPER or THE UNIT. And I'm just talking about the unit's wives....

It's why I hope women gain parity in the armed services; this covert gameplaying with smiles and Bundt cakes taxes the brain. Like, if Charlotte Ryan went on REAPER, would she be sucked into the Dust Devil, or would she be recruited into Satanic upper management -- or, considering the crowd at Mount Desert, is she on the team, already?

[biting.lip.about.on.the.job.training as.the.wife.of.Mamet.macro]

R.A. Porter said...

We tried with The Unit, put in a good season and a half for Ryan, Mamet, and the men. But those women...ugh. They finally wore me down to where I couldn't stand watching anymore (I think the wife had been there for quite a bit longer.)

Alan, I've got to disagree about Scott Foley. While I think he's great here, as long as he is we're being denied his comic chops. I'd much rather see him get a solid sitcom of his own.

Anonymous said...

You're definitely not alone watching The Unit - I thought *I* was the only one!

There's not really a weak actor in that bunch, but I agree that Scott Foley has been a pleasant surprise. After his sweet and sensitive Knoll (whom I couldn't stand on Felicity), I was ready to make fun of Foley for even attemping this role. Holy mack, did he prove me wrong.

And, yes, I'll admit, though I have my issues with Mamet, the shows he writes are definitely better.

Anyway, I'm DVRing both The Unit and Reaper, and House still has not made it on my dance card.

Reaper will have to prove itself, though. I worry that the pilot is a Kevin Smith one-hit wonder.

Taleena said...

A testament to a great House episode that I stayed up to watch it. It's been a crazy couple of weeks at the casa and I was beat.

Question: Was that the first time we saw the MRI machine used without a huge drop in patient health? Usually the MRI sends folks into bleeding or convulsions?

Colleen said...

Loved! snarky, sneaky Wilson. It seems that last season ended up allowing all of the people in House's universe to step back and really examine what the nature of their relationship is with the man. And it's led to Wilson giving him some of his own medicine (with great panache), Cuddy at least owning up to her co-dependence, and of course, the kids all leaving home (for the time being).

End result for House is some delicious self-questioning, or at least a puzzled look at how weird everyone else is suddenly acting.

I'm so psyched for the rest of the season.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Is anyone else dreading the inevitable return of House's gaggle? Last night's episode drove home just how one-note and tedious they are 97% of the time. I'd much rather see a new crop of young doctors at this point, starting with the ER doctor who talked to House against Cuddy's orders...

BigTed said...

I enjoyed this episode, but it had more situations than ever for which in real life the hospital would have been sued up the wazoo. Start with the misidentification of the patient -- I don't believe that when someone's face is that unrecognizable, the hospital wouldn't have some responsibility to make sure they know who she is. (Also, the chances that someone would have been prescribed MAO inhibitors for depression, as opposed to the newer SSRIs, which have fewer side effects, are very low.) Add to that the janitor practicing medicine, and one doctor doing the work of an entire decimated department. Oh, and House "kidnapping" Wilson's patient. Lucky nobody cared about that guy!

It's a good thing this isn't real life, or the hospital would be handing out multimillion-dollar malpractice settlements left and right.

Matt said...

Could we just have had Wilson respond to House's inquiry with "I'm not Wilson, but I hear that guy's awesome?" And Dr. Jan I. Tor was brilliant.

Jon Delfin said...

Tuesday at 9 p.m. is the only problem hour for me on the new schedule. Thank goodness for the overnight airing of "Eureka" and the DVR in the bedroom (I plan to rotate "House," "The Unit" and "Reaper" so each takes turns being banished to the non-HDTV).

Dani in NC said...

Strangely, this is the first episode of House where I predicted the twist from the start. Usually there is so much medical jargon that I don't even try to guess -- I just go along for the ride. The mistaken identity thing just seemed so obvious, though.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this 30-person audition period plays out. I'd like to see some people who aren't awed by House.

Nicole said...

I totally agree--Cuddy's white dress was completely slutty, even once they pushed her breasts down so they weren't being bisected by the neckline. But then in a later scene they had her dressed in a sweater vest she must have stolen from Cameron's closet.

And I also thought it was one of the funniest episodes--Wilson and House pranking each other is always a highlight (I think one of the funniest House moments was when Wilson sawed House's cane so it would collapse on him). But I was disappointed that we didn't see how House got his guitar back.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But I was disappointed that we didn't see how House got his guitar back.

I assume Wilson gave it back to him once House took actual steps to bring in replacement candidates. Those were the ransom terms, after all.

And I had forgotten about Wilson's trick with the cane. I like Wilson a lot better when he occasionally gets the better of House instead of always being his punching bag.

Jeff said...

I love Mamet -- I've directed a few of his shows... I really like Ryan's work on The Shield.... but I just couldn't get behind this show. I tried a few episodes, but it just didn't grab me. (And not being a professional TV watcher means I need to budget my TV hours lest I get no sleep at all, and The Unit just hasn't made the cut...)

Anthony Foglia said...

bigted wrote: "I enjoyed this episode, but it had more situations than ever for which in real life the hospital would have been sued up the wazoo. Start with the misidentification of the patient -- I don't believe that when someone's face is that unrecognizable, the hospital wouldn't have some responsibility to make sure they know who she is."

The Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital might get sued, but it's not competely implausible. Check the Polite Dissent Medical Review of House to hear of two similar mistaken-identity cases. (One reference is in the post, one buried in the comments.)

BigTed said...

Anthony, thanks for the link to that website -- I didn't know it existed.

In the real-life case they referred to, there was apparently an ID-card mix-up that added to the confusion. And, of course, the mistaken identity didn't interfere with the surviving woman's medical care.