Wednesday, October 31, 2007

House: Hey! You! I know you! I know you!

Spoilers for “House” coming up just as soon as I make sure my pills haven’t been tampered with...

Ahh, the therapy episode. A tried and true TV staple, and handy as all get out when you have a bunch of new characters who haven’t had much solo time to establish themselves. This being “House,” of course, they couldn’t do things as simply as to have the candidates deal with an actual therapist, so instead they disguised the concept with the mirror syndrome patient, well-played by Frank Whaley. And, as Grumpy noted, this wasn’t exactly like seeing a shrink because the patient was completely unbiased. As viewers, we needed to buy into the notion that he could completely psychoanalyze someone after hearing them utter a few sentences, but when you’ve got a dozen or so characters and only 42 minutes of screen time, leaps need to be taken.

(Poor Whaley, by the way. His career seemed so promising after “Field of Dreams,” “The Freshman” and his Oliver Stone movies, but then the ironically-titled “Career Opportunities” essentially killed it, and now most people just know him as the guy whose burger Sam Jackson eats in “Pulp Fiction.”)

Sorry. End digression. While I don’t think we learned anything we didn’t already know about Cutthroat Bitch, Grumpy or Unnicknamed Plastic Surgeon, Kutner (who I keep wanting to just call Kumar for simplicity’s sake) was a pretty blank slate before last night, and we even got some minor insight into the mystery that is Thirteen.

While I’d be fine with never seeing Cameron or Chase again, I’m glad Foreman’s back. Omar Epps and Hugh Laurie have developed some strong chemistry over the years -- maybe not Laurie/Robert Sean Leonard strong, but strong enough -- and he serves a valuable role that I don’t think any of the candidates can, as the one guy who always stands up to House and the one doctor House respects unreservedly (much as he acts like he doesn’t).

Nice to see Wilson and Cuddy get more prominence after being mostly AWOL during the candidate search, and the only thing the episode was really lacking were more reminders that Chase had chosen “Nobody” in the pool; by the time we got to the payoff about Chase and House splitting the profits, I had forgotten about the set-up. Plus, I’m pleased to see in the previews that the dreaded Michael Michele’s role won’t be one (presumably) that could threaten to turn into a regular gig.

What did everybody else think?

33 comments:

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also? Courtesy flush jokes? Always funny.

Lane said...

nice title! All I have to say to that is "I'm not a strong swimmer".

Good episode, and I thought the SAME THING about Frank Whaley lasy night.

christy said...

I love the idea of muttering "I hate hot tubs" under your breath all bitter-sounding.

It reminded me of Michael saying "I hate monkeys" a couple weeks ago in the episode of The Office where he takes a second job.

Andrew said...

Eh, Whaley's career hasn't been so bad. He's become a reliable character actor who's turned in a decent credible performances, which is better than can be said for quite a few actors. Pretty good episode overall, although I'm annoyed at how badly they're dragging their feet with this whole firing thing.

TuckPendleton said...

Courtesy flush. Brilliant indeed. Of course I laughed out loud, while my girlfriend sadly shook her head.

I do believe Whaley is also carving out a career for himself as an indie writer/directior. Too distracted to IMBD, but I believe he wrote directed a movie called "Joe the King" starring Val Kilmer a few years back.

jcpbmg said...

Alan, why no love for Michael Michelle?

Granted she did get kinda annoying at times during her stint on ER (and she did take Benton away from Carter), I thought she gave an overall solid performance. She was also pretty good in a recent episode of SVU that Eriq La Salle happened to direct.

Anonymous said...

I like Foreman the least out of the three former doctors, but he was OK in this episode.

It really bothers me that Dr. Cuddy comes across as totally powerless in episode after episode. Not a great role model for women physicians.

Laxatives? This show is getting silly.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, why no love for Michael Michelle?

Because she was the final nail in the "Homicide" coffin. Very beautiful, but absolutely no screen presence to speak of.

Dan Coyle said...

Michael Michelle and Homicide... brrr. Her suckiness began to affect Clark Johnson- no wonder he became a director full time not long after (and a mighty good one at that).

Have you ever seen Whaley's directorial effort Joe the King? It's not perfect but it shows Whaley to be far deeper than he's given credit for (and if it's true that it's semi-autobiographical, what a shitty childhood he had).

David J. Loehr said...

Brilliant post title! I'm going to have that playing in my head most of the day now, but that's not a bad thing.

And Michael Michele. That had scared me. If Jon Seda didn't kill "Homicide"--which is arguable--then surely, she did. (Heck, I'm lukewarm on Reed Diamond, certainly once the Luther Mahoney saga began.)

Adam said...

Michael Michelle actively repels one's attempts to care about whatever character she's playing. It's weird.

Also, Alan, I just want to remind you that Junior Bunk took it downtown.

BigTed said...

While I enjoyed the episode, I just couldn't buy Whaley's Convenient Plot Device disease for a second. A psychological ailment cannot turn you into a psychic. (Well, maybe it could on a USA Network detective show.) Whaley seemed to know every detail of the docs' secret inner selves within seconds of them walking into the room -- that's pushing it, even for "House."

Other things that were pushing it: The idea that they'd hold off on treating a patient who seemed to be on the edge of expiring just so they could get him to prove a point. Oh, and I'd advise against using Vapo Rub on scrapes or for "naughty" things, unless you really like pain.

But despite all that, all the interpersonal stuff was very entertaining. Which is what counts, in the short run, anyway.

LA said...

Actually, if we had to go without Cameron, Chase, and Wilson, I don't think the show would suffer in the least.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, come on, LA! You can't get rid of Wilson! Do you not remember The Great Guitar-Napping of '07? Lauire and Leonard are a great comedy team, even if they only get a scene or two per episode to show it.

cpennylane said...

I honestly think that Foreman is so boring. Last night he wasn't too bad, but usually I just can't stand him. I don't think I would miss him, or Cameron if they just disappeared off the show forever.

I would like some closure on the new people. I don't want to get attached to them and have them leave. Let's hope they wrap this up soon, there doesn't seem to be too much more they can really do with the reality spoofs. (Or maybe I've not seen enough Reality TV?). I like Cutthroat B*tch, Thirteen, and the old guy. Well, no more old guy, so.. I don't really care which one is the third. They all sort of seem the same to me, except for plastic surgeon guy whom I can't stand.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And Fienberg pointed out to me that this was the second time in about a dozen episodes that a patient has been afflicted with Mirror Syndrome -- though only the first time seemed to pay attention to the actual syndrome.

Taleena said...

I haven't got a chance to see House yet but I must defend Reed Diamond against all HLOTS killing charges. In fact, I must praise him as the big brother in Journeyman.
Michael Michelle was the final nail in the Homicide coffin which began to expire with the increasing weirdness of Kyle Secor's character and the absence of Andre Braugher

LA said...

I guess I missed Great Guitar-Napping of '07, but I admit it sounds interesting.

But honestly, I wouldn't miss Wilson if he were gone. Sorry.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I guess I missed Great Guitar-Napping of '07, but I admit it sounds interesting.

'Twas in the season premiere.

David J. Loehr said...

I haven't got a chance to see House yet but I must defend Reed Diamond against all HLOTS killing charges. In fact, I must praise him as the big brother in Journeyman.

Oh, I'm not saying he killed "Homicide" at all. I thought he was fine, but the whole Luther storyline and Kellerman's eventual unravelling was a bit much. His mopey suicidal freak-out episode was the first episode that I did not like at all.

Although, just to play devil's advocate for a second, Kellerman was the first of the newer "attractive" detectives. He had some dimension, yes, and he was good most of the time, I just didn't care for him by the time he left.

Me, I always missed Jon Polito. The great thing about the first few seasons is that the cast plausibly looked and acted like detectives.

But gosh, the casting on "Journeyman" is almost as uncanny as on "Frasier."

dcdame said...

Crosetti - what a great character!

Crosetti: You got toilet paper over there?
Lewis: No.
Crosetti: You got five ones for a five?

M.A.Peel said...

Wow. The mirror Homicide thread here is stunning . . .

Andrew said...

Wow. The mirror Homicide thread here is stunning . . .

Well Alan started it. The Ned Beatty years were positively perfect. Seasons 4-5 were almost great. Season 6 was kind of good. Season 7 was thoroughly mediocre in many ways due to Michelle, although I've always maintained that the show refound its footing for the second half of the season.

Huh? This is about House?

David J. Loehr said...

I'm pretty sure in Mirror Homicide, Pembleton had a goatee, Brodie liked playing with a dagger, and Falsone got sent to the agony booth.

Anonymous said...

LOVED every minute of 'Mirror, Mirror'. Laughed out loud a lot which I like to do.
I don't care for Foreman but I very much like Wilson. I would NOT want to see Wilson EVER leave.
To me #13 is just another 'Cameron'....boring.
I LOVED the 'older guy who wasn't really a doctor'. I wish they would bring him back and get rid of ANYONE else. BORING!
Does HUGH have to carry the ENTIRE show???
Very much enjoying the season so far.
PLEASE NO TRITTER TYPE ARC this season.

Kristin said...

The whole show could survive just with House, Wilson, and Cuddy. You could rotate young docs around every week, and I wouldn't care. Those three are great together.

The one thing I did like about Foreman's return was that he started to sort of get along with House in a different way. He seemed to appreciate House's prickliness and understand why this worked for him.

I'd much rather have Foreman be mildly amused by House's antics this season than pissed off and irritated like the seasons before.

Taleena said...

I think the whole House/Foreman dynamic has changed and will work the way that the Chase or Cameron dynamic has. They are no longer under House's thumb and can deal with him the way Wilson does. capitulating mostly but can push his buttons right back.

filmcricket said...

Chiming in late again: I hadn't thought of this as the therapy episode because every episode of "House" is the therapy episode. Either Wilson or Cuddy or Cameron is sure to spend some time telling House about himself, and he plumb loves doing it right back at them (and at his new charges, too). To me this felt more like "Order of the Phoenix" when Rowling decided to stop giving us Harry's backstory and allowed the other characters to do it instead. Same ground covered in a new way.

That said, great episode, although I kind of miss fake doc. I also wonder how long Jesse Spencer's going to be on the show considering he gets no screen time and he and Jennifer Morrison are no longer engaged.

Niffer said...

Ew.... Michael Michelle in next week's episode? Blech. But that does explain why she looked familiar.

Anonymous said...

As much as I like Epps, I don't see why they kept the 3 around. yeah, i miss not-a-doctor guy, too.

pamelajaye said...

I love Wilson. Not only is he nice and georgeous and a knight in temporarily shining armor, but he's so funny - he just gets the best lines.

TV Guide has an interview with him this week. Not much but okay.

Disclaimer - i didn't buy TV Guide - I got a full year subscription, with no srtings to renew, for free when I bought a 4GB Kingston Thumb for $30 drive from buy.com about a month ago.

PamelaJaye said...

I'm going back thru the season, rewatching the eps and reading the posts and all the comments after - and I really had to stop and think what it was I meant my temporarily shining armor.
(He saves the wounded women, till they don't need him anymore and then one of them gets tired of it and they divorce. Well at least that was true until his latest relationship.)

PamelaJaye said...

one thing i noticed about the rewatch - the eps make more sense when you're actually awake.