Tuesday, November 06, 2007

House: Worst. Cast addition. Ever.

No, no, no, noooooo!!!! Spoilers for "House" coming up just as soon as I do my best "Khaaaaaaan!!!!" scream at the heavens...

Why, "House," why? Here we had virtually the only quality returning network show to not begin the season in a slump -- if anything, it's been better this year than last -- and there really hadn't been a dud of an episode yet, and then they have to go and make charisma vacuum Michael Michele's guest stint into some kind of ongoing role as yet another one of House's fellows. (And based on their dialogue, my guess is she has a guaranteed job and won't be competing with the likes of Cutthroat Bitch and Big Love.) This is an actress whose arrival was the killing blow for "Homicide," who may have been the most forgettable castmember in "ER" history, whose physical attractiveness seems to be in inverse proportion to her screen presence. "House" is already badly-overpopulated, even with the candidates down to five with the inevitable dismissal of Grumpy; the show doesn't need any new actors, much less this one. I haven't been this dismayed by a development on a show I love since the Landry grabbed a lead pipe in the "Friday Night Lights" premiere. (Admittedly, that wasn't very long ago, and Michael Michele doesn't have the destructive capability of the Landry storyline, but I felt a very familiar hollowness in the pit of my stomach when I realized she'd be sticking around.)

The rest of the episode wasn't that up to snuff either, unfortunately. Long before it became clear that Grumpy had suffered a psychotic break, it was obvious he was the next to go, because he was basically the only candidate getting any significant screen time. (See also the exit of Scooter the Fake Doctor a few weeks back -- and is there any way we can trade Michele for him? Scooter was awesome.) The split between the two cases -- not to mention all the interpersonal mishegoss with Foreman and Cameron -- meant that nothing got the screen time it deserved. (Or maybe I'm just grouchy that Thomas Wilson, as Speed Racer's dad, got such short shrift. I think I'll go watch Biff's Question Song to make myself feel better.) After Cuddy and Wilson finally re-emerged last week, they both got banished again, not even appearing until the second half. And Grumpy faking the polio just felt silly.

What did everybody else think?

41 comments:

Stef said...

I agree, this show is rapidly becoming bloated cast-wise. I have really been enjoying the reality show process with those fresh faces, but since Cameron, Chase, and Foreman are still sticking around it means they're barely on screen for a few minutes each. And that leaves hardly any time at all for faves Cuddy and Wilson. Do we really need to keep adding new characters? Especially an actress that I honestly did forget was on ER?

Chris Littmann said...

I'm not freaking out as much, because I have no idea who this woman is.

That being said, I didn't think this week was all that great, and I didn't feel the need to add another cast member.

Bix said...

She can't be a regular, can she? Especially given what's already been reported...

Andrew said...

Glad I'm not the only that was dismayed with the notion of Michelle sticking around. I've taken to calling her "the human void" personally. I can't wait until next week when it's revealed that she used to be a beauty queen and all the male doctors are going to compete to ask her out. That'll keep the show fresh.

J said...

I don't think the cast on this show could ever become too bloated because, in an ideal episode, there'd be a line of 250 people and House would spend 47 minutes insulting them one at a time.

I was surprised we spent most of the time on the Foreman vs. Team story, but really like the nature of the team. Self-knowing and nasty.

Michele's a bad idea because House is fond of her. Hopefully -- and this should make Alan happy -- he'll insult her as freely as he would anybody else. But even with the episode-long sexual harrassment and the deflected "idiot" at the end, there seems to be a pedestal written into the character.

Adam said...

No! Kill off the Cleo-Bot now!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I wouldn't care if it was Meryl Streep...ENOUGH WITH THE NEW CHARACTERS ALREADY. It was finally starting to feel like they were down to a manageable number, so why do they need to add yet another new face? Plus, I can only imagine how annoyed Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison are by their lack of screen time. At this point the coma patients are getting more lines.

anon said...

You know, as someone who bears no ill will (and, indeed, some good will) towards Paula Marshall and Jason Gedrick, I am not a fan of the showkiller moniker in its pejorative sense.

I simply think, based on my sampling of her work, that Michael Michele is a terrible actress.

I also have to say that, while I like several of the remaining cottages-in-training, I don't think any of the contestants have had as much chemistry with Laurie as did Carmen Argenziano (Henry the Fake MD). And part of me is surprised that a show that enjoys throwing out the occasional Holmes reference would have so quickly dismissed their Mycroft stand in.

Maybe I just have a soft spot for veteran character actors.

Anon

LA said...

Well, I'm on the West coast, and you guys totally convinced me not to watch this week.

Anthony Foglia said...

I agree 110%, Alan. If next week's House is bad--and judging by the previews, it might be--I hereby move that we replace the term "jump the shark" with "hire Michael Michele."

Do you know how long her guest role is supposed to last?

Anyway, did the final reveal explain the patient's eye twitches just before Foreman was going to release her? Off to the medical review...

BigTed said...

This is a good show, so I don't know why they're bringing in gimmick after gimmick. Letting the old cottages go, then bringing them back; the multiple new characters and endless selection process; sending the main character off to a different location; next week, bringing in a documentary crew.... It's like the final seasons of "M*A*S*H."

nfieldr said...

Well... I'm going to miss ya House! You were a very good network show (except for that whole Tritter thing).

As we watched tonight's final scene, my wife says "If she (MM) is going to be on here full time, I'm done with this." And when my wife speaks, I listen.... at least as far as our TV viewing goes. *sigh*

Undercover Black Man said...

Michael Michele was in "ER"?? Dang...

Toss-up as far as whether she's more credible as a homicide detective or a medical doctor.

nfieldr said...

She never would have made it in the Blue squad room, huh, UBM? *wink*

Anonymous said...

Tonight's episode was like the telephone book: great cast, no plot. And no focus. The doctors were flailing around and so were the writers. And, worst of all, House was removed from the main action.

The competition was interesting for a couple of episodes; but now it's just repetitive. I like the old team. At least, they were interested in the patient rather than getting a job.

It takes a couple of seasons for the relationships between the leads to jell. Maybe it's time to add one or two new characters, but let's get on with it.

Somehow, in all of the competition, the medical mystery aspect has become secondary to a job hunt where no one seems to be much of a person. The only one who registered with me was Scooter.

AG said...

The cast bloat is painful and the prospect of Michael Michele is like tinfoil on teeth, but I must argue that it was Callie Thorne that stuck the fork in Homicide. It's a testament to just how good The Wire is that I'm still watching it after seeing her name in the press materials before the show debuted...

Bruce Reid said...

It's too bad that this episode will be remembered for all time as the entrance of Michele, because I actually enjoyed the separate storylines as a rare, successful tampering with the House formula. The parallels between House's employment of a long-practiced but little-studied herbal treatment and the team's fraudulent employment of a quack therapy nicely showed how firmly the show plants itself on its protagonist's side of rationality, and for once I bought how badly Foreman is tortured by the similarities between himself and House.

But yeah, it's henceforth Michele's premiere episode, and tarnished by the association. Ah well, it can't last too long, I hope.

J.: "I don't think the cast on this show could ever become too bloated because, in an ideal episode, there'd be a line of 250 people and House would spend 47 minutes insulting them one at a time."

Your lips to the showrunner's ears, J.

Anthony Foglia: "Anyway, did the final reveal explain the patient's eye twitches just before Foreman was going to release her?"

Everything after her admittance (necessitated, as Foreman had said from the start, by nothing more than heat stroke) was caused by Third World Doc poisoning her, I believe. I make no claim for the accuracy of the show's medical portrayal, however.

nfieldr: "She never would have made it in the Blue squad room, huh, UBM?"

Well, her arrival on Homicide did mark its needless transformation from functional beige to glaring "azure. Cobalt. Cerulean."

Alan Sepinwall said...

Michael Michele was in "ER"?? Dang...

A couple of years after you left, she turned up as the new pediatrician and Benton's love interest, and was so completely irrelevant that they just wrote her out when Eriq La Salle left.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I should mention, by the way, that despite my dismay over the outcome of the episode, there were a number of gasp-inducing one-liners, including House's "You know, I happen to have a position available on my penis," Taub rejecting Amber's fake come-on with "Shiksas are for practice" and House telling Wilson which part of Cuddy's anatomy is under CIA surveillance ("I told them the chances of invasion were slim to none.")

Kris Eton said...

Wow. Guess I'm the only one who really, really liked this one. Not for the medical drama, which has always been a distant second for me in importance, but for the interaction between (*gasp*) Michael Michele and House! Yes, the dreaded Ms. Michele was actually very good in this role because she is not supposed to be over-the-top emotional.

I really hated her on "E.R." but this time around, I thought she did a very good job with the subtle smirks, the repartee with House, etc.

I did think the whole fake polio bit was a little ridiculous. I just didn't believe any doctor would do that, no matter what motivations he had.

The part about no one believing House was at the CIA HQ was also funny. And Cuddy's reaction to what she thought was an obvious lie.

Oh, and what about the strange sexual tension between Short Doctor and Back-Stabbing Bitch?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kris Eton. I loved the interaction between Dr. House and Dr. Terzi (?). I've never seen House react that way to a woman.

By the way, did Short Doctor actually say to Cut-Throat Bitch, "Shiksas are for practice only?" Geez...

Homertojeebus said...

I must be the dumbest "House" fan ever. I just now got why you guys are calling the newbies "cottages". LOL. Who coined that?
I liked the ep a lot, mostly like Bruce said the deviation from formula. Fake polio was too much. MM was good in a guest shot, but I agree, poison as a cast member. Plus, the whole beauty queen thing is distracting enough, but does she have to be a CIA doc, too? They need to get rid of her quick.
I like 13, Kumar, and Big Love the most, but BSB and Short Doc could stick around, too, and I wouldn't mind.
That said, the "documentary" ep is so hack, I wonder if they'll nudge at the form.

christy said...

BIFF! Oh man, I was wracking my brain with that one. So familiar...and yet...

I'm really starting to think they're screwing with us with all these cast additions and announcements of who's a regular and who's a guest and blah blah....

Mac said...

I think "Cottages" came out of the TWoP forums, but I may be mistaken.

Hopefully, Cleo-bot will only be around briefly. Maybe for once House won't get what he wants. But I doubt it. Argh.

rukrusher said...

My favorite little moment was "Cutthroat Bitch" on his cell phone.

Anonymous said...

I don't for a minute believe that Michael Michele is being added to the permanent cast. I think that the extraordinarily nuanced and delicate final scene between her character and House established just how unsure he was after his fierce earlier flirting.

I loved seeing House in full-out pursuit of a gorgeous woman in this episode and I view this as a welcome step on an arc of recovery and renewal that the character has been moving through since the finale of season three. The game show competition among the candidates has energized House as a person. As season four unfolds we are now seeing House reassert himself as an internationally respected medical man, as a powerful professional within his own hospital, as a supportive mentor to Foreman, as a friend NOT in need of hectoring from Wilson, and now as a potent and engaging male.

This has been a great start to the new season, fresh and vivid, with minimal time for the deadening antics of Chase and Cameron and a ramping up of House's interactions with Wilson and the utterly delicious Cuddy. I don't think we have had too many characters and I love the added shades and complexities this season has brought to "House" so far.

-- Carol

Alan Sepinwall said...

Carol, I'll concede that there was some ambiguity to that final scene, and the look on House's face could certainly be interpreted as "Oh my God, she thought it was a real offer?" And if they go down that road of having her hang around for an episode or two before realizing that House only wanted to get in her pants (since she certainly didn't display any brilliant medical insight during this episode), I'd be okay with it.

Karen said...

Yes, "Cottages" was a TWoP forum contribution.

The line "Shiksas are for practice" brought me such joy that I could forgive almost everything else. I replayed it about 4 times before I was able to move on to the rest of the episode.

I didn't think the CIA plotline worked very well, but it was interesting to see Foreman deal with challenges to his authority. Of course, he got saved by being RIGHT in the long run, but it was still interesting.

I'd forgotten Michael's role on ER as well as on Homicide, but I agree, she doesn't seem to be able to mold her features into anything expressive of human emotion, which I believe is a problem for an actress. I hope she doesn't stick around too long.

Anonymous said...

I thought the line about shiksas was a little offensive, but I guess that's just me...

I wish Chase had the bigger role and not Foreman. Chase seems to have changed while Foreman and Cameron have not. He's the most interesting of the former "cottages."

Anonymous said...

[i]Pleeeeeze[/i] let the addition of Michael Michele be over by the middle of the next episode. For one thing, House doesn't need yet another new character at this point (I though we were trying to wittle them down to two or three -- not add more). And I [b]cannot[/b] overlook the fact that Ms. Michele played a large role in the death of THE BEST TV SHOW EVER, [b]H:LOTS[/b].

Her interaction with House WAS cute in this one ep, but I don't need to see any more of her. Hopefully in next weeks episode we'll hear about how House [i]almost[/i] had some "hot chick" CIA doctor join his team but she changed her mind (or had it changed [i]for[/i] her) at the last minute. Heh.

TC said...

Maybe this will play out like the classic Herb Brooks ploy. Bring in a ringer near the end of the tryout process to strengthen and unify the current troops.

leor said...

I wonder if the original cottages will stick around past this season. Maybe the writers wanted a more gentle transition to the new team, so they wanted to keep the originals around a bit longer, and phase them out. It looks like it will be almost half the season by the time the new team is finalized anyway, so what would be wrong with keeping them around another dozen episodes? If that's the plan, anyway...

stevie said...

I don't watch House but Michael Michele? Oy. The weird thing is, she's not really hot enough to justify her continual casting. I hope this turns out to be a nonissue for you House fans!ed

M.A.Peel said...

"she doesn't seem to be able to mold her features into anything expressive of human emotion,"

On a consistency note, that sounds a lot like Sela Ward.

filmcricket said...

I'm not too worried about MM becoming a permanent cast member at the moment; at the end of last season it looked like House was going to have some kind of fling with Piper Perabo and she hasn't shown up since. The writers never really seem to know what to do with House in the romance department and I don't get the feeling that's changed.

What I do fear is that she'll become yet another multi-episode plot hole, a la Vogler/Stacey/Tritter.

Foreman's probably my least favourite of the cottages, but I liked last night's deviation from the formula, it was a nice twist on the episode from S2 where House is stuck in an airport with Stacey while Cottages version 1.0 were trying to cure someone. And the one-liners, already mentioned here, were great.

The one good thing I can see coming out of the writer's strike is that Hugh Laurie might get to go home to his family for a bit.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

''I thought the line about shiksas was a little offensive, but I guess that's just me...''

If that joke offended you, how do you manage not to snap the tv off after most of House's insults?

Anonymous said...

"If that joke offended you, how do you manage not to snap the tv off after most of House's insults?"




Well, I'm used to Dr. House's insults, which, by the way are getting more and more sexist (hasn't anyone at that hospital thought of contacting the EEOC?). But this "shiksa" comment came from the plastic surgeon cottage, which was a little surprising.

Anonymous said...

It seems the whole chemistry between House and Cuddy is gone...not that they are not trying...just not happening. she could hardly contain around him, now she looks...bored

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the writers are doing to Cuddy. They're turning her into some kind of ditz.

Melly/Melody/or Mel said...

Well..my husband and I are starting from the beginning and watching season one thru netflix. I got hooked on a few re-runs in season two so that's where we are.

I did tune in to see the episode where everyone is vying for a spot. I couldn't believe it. Where is Cameron and Spence...I thought to myself..and what the f&%# is going on? I see the end coming.

I am going back to netflix...I can't watch in real time anymore..for more reasons than the writers strike.