Tuesday, March 10, 2009

House, "The Social Contract": Lie to me. Please.

Brief spoilers for last night's "House" coming up just as soon as I come up with a long list of Jewish sports stars to add to Taub's predictable Sandy Koufax reference...

Well, that was a pretty good one, wasn't it?

I don't mind the sledgehammer parallels between doctor and patient so much when the doctor is house, and when the patient is played by a good actor like Jay Karnes (Dutch from "The Shield"), or when the patient's story turns out to be so tragic even after he's cured. That guy's relationships with his wife and daughter will never be the same after this.

This was also the first big House/Wilson episode in quite a while, and one that, for once, was more about Wilson himself than about Wilson's friendship with House. (Though there was still some of that, of course, including House conducting the witch hunt with poor racquetball-impaired Taub.) I like that House made the attempt to shut out the team in order to be there for Wilson, even though he failed, and I like that Wilson seemed to let that go because House tried, and because House was there for him again the next day. A fine showcase for Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard.

All that, and we got a very low Foreteen quotient.

What did everybody else think?

26 comments:

Mary said...

Didn't care all that much. I'm not a fan of Doris Egan's episodes - it seems to me that unless you're a House/Wilson fan, you are not going bow at her feet. Still better than Birthmarks, but weaker than Unfaithful and The Softer Side, in my opinion. At least the 13/14 fest was minimal.

Bob said...

I found it interesting that House did his best to avoid this patient. You would think House would find this guy interesting. It turns out that House and Wilson do have a social contract with each other. Yes, Wilson is willing to be brutally honest with House but he also cares about him. House avoided the patient because he was not willing to engage with someone who is brutally honest but does not care about him.

Karen said...

Oh, I'm really glad to read this review, Alan! I thought last night's episode was really good, for all the reasons you mention and because it finally addressed--FINALLY!!--why Wilson actually IS friends with House.

I was anxious to see if you agreed, and I'm happy you did.

I felt so horrible for that patient and his family, but I was angry that the wife kept asking questions she knew would hurt her directly after the poor bastard got out of brain surgery. Still. A heartbreaking story.

It was lovely to see Chase's dawning realization of why the case was as important to House as it was. While he may have no inclination to change his own behavior--or the toll it's taken on his own life--he certainly doesn't seem eager to condemn anyone else to that kind of existence.

Alex said...

There was too much foreteen in the first half hour of the episode, and we got a gratuitous scene with Cuddy and the patient of the week. The second part was better because the focus was in House/Wilson relationship.

Another week without Cameron. The writers don't care about her or her fans.

Deanna said...

Doris Egan hit it out of the park ... again! This is one of my favorites of the season, along with Birthmarks. We're not all Huddy fans and goodness knows we're not all Foreteen fans, but everyone loves House and Wilson! These two actors always soar, and -- with a script by Doris Egan -- they're in a stratosphere all their own.

olucy said...

Finally....some continuity about Wilson's brother. I thought they had dropped that storyline forever. Also some insight into Wilson's personality. And nice to see that even if House was brutally honest with Wilson, he was willing to be there for him.

Anonymous said...

The scene where House told Taub that Jews don't play sports really annoyed me. Mostly because it seemed like the writers had forgotten that Wilson is supposed to be Jewish too. In the pilot Wilson got House to treat Robin Tunney by saying she was his cousin. And when the team found ham in her fridge House figured out they weren't really related since Wilson is Jewish. But from the way House was talking and singling out Taub it seemed to imply that Taub is Jewish, but Wilson isn't.

olucy said...

I thought that was off, too, Anonymous. Wilson IS Jewish.

renton said...

Have I not noticed the "Ordinary People" movie poster in Wilson's office before? (I know he's had a Touch of Evil poster up in the past)

Or was it added to reference the film's fraternal guilt that was also part of Wilson's story line last night?

Mrglass said...

I thought it was one of the best 'House' episodes ever, because it made clear what is the best part of this show: the friendship between House and Wilson. After letting us think that Wilson was suicidal (not a totally strange idea after what he went through), the writers even bring back the lost brother introduced a few seasons ago.

That is a nice reward for longtime fans. Will we get to see him?

Oaktown Girl said...

Regarding Cuddy's private reaction to her encounter with the patient, I would have much preferred if the had just openly laughed or sighed and shook her head over just another one of House's antics. Instead, we get the gratuitously sexist scene showing how wonderfully pleased she is that the patient preferred her over the younger 13 - the quenching waters of male attention being poured over the dried up desert that is the 35+ year old professional single woman.

Other than that (which was rather a big thing since it was Cuddy's only scene), I thought it was a very good episode.

Will Eidam said...

I did enjoy House's magically appearing fork out of his coat pocket as he started taking food from Wilson's Lunch Plate. Subtle, and most probably missed it, but it was the highlight of the episode for me.

Reminded me of Joey on Friends in The One With the Free Cheesecake.

Anonymous said...

cameron has fans?

this is the house show. interns dont stay around forever. they should be moving in and out here

Alex said...

Anonymous 5:14, I bet you're one of those who think that House, Cuddy and Wilson are the core of the show, right?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Okay, people. Everyone take a timeout. I see where this is heading two or three comments from now. Talk about the show, not each other.

P "N" K said...

I really liked the Cuddy moment. In fact, I think it would be unrealistic to the extreme for anyone not to have at least some private satisfaction after having their chassis referenced so positively. Or was it the pistons? Either way, Cuddy behaved like any normal person would have when faced with House being his juvenile self -- separate the person and the tough boss.

PaulRW said...

I've enjoyed this season quite a bit more than Alan and many others here -- while acknowledging some flaws pointed out.
But I agree that this was the best in a long while.
[Last week's was an upturn as well, but it cut short what could have been an interesting extended storyline.]

Granola Mom said...

Hurray! A decent episode with limited 13! Cuddy wasn't horrible! The POTW was interesting! Wilson! Even a little Chase!

Though it wasn't awesome, it's episodes like this that keep me from giving up on House completely.

Elaine said...

I agree with "Mrglass" that the best part of this series is the House/Wilson friendship, and Doris Egan delivered another solid episode with those two characters as the focus. When the focus is on the childishness of the House/Cuddy flirtation or the many perils of Thirteen - as it has done so many times this season - I'm ready to flip channels.

Now that I've had my House/Wilson fix, I want to see Cameron again, and more Chase. I miss the warmth they bring to the show, and they've been missing far too long.

jackie said...

So glad you liked this one, Alan. I loved it, even though it was just slightly anvillicious--the episode as a whole was so good, it didn't matter. The POTW was wonderful. I loved the House/Cuddy scene--House finding a way to deliver a compliment that wouldn't have Cuddy waiting for the other shoe to drop. The scene with Chase was gold--Jesse Spencer and Hugh Laurie play beautifully off each other. And the House and Wilson exploration was so well done, both in letting us see more of Wilson and also in showing us how House is trying to reach out this season, after the tragedy of last season.

I've enjoyed this season more than you have, though I agree on there being an overbalance on Thirteen's screentime. This episode had everyone in balance and it was a cracker. I wouldn't have changed anything. Go, Doris Egan.

Sarah said...

I think the episode would have had everyone in balance had every supporting character been featured in the episode, unfortunately that wasn't the case, as always the writers had to chose between Cameron or Chase. I think it wouldn't hurt the show if Thirteen or any other supporting character with a big amount of screentime this season like Cuddy were written off an episode for time to time, sharing their amount of screentime among the rest of the cast, that certainly would bring balance to the show.

I liked this episode better because it was a change from the rest of the season, Thirteen's Huntington's drama and Cuddy's baby/House's obssession drama. It was about time that Wilson got a storyline other than playing matchmaker for House and Cuddy.

Sharon said...

Anyone know if Susan Egan (who played the wife in this episode) is related to Doris Egan?

jackie said...

I've read that she's Doris Egan's sister, but don't know if it's true for sure.

Ariadne said...

It was good to have a House/Wilson episode again since all Wilson has done since the last Doris Egan episode was act as Cupid to House and Cuddy. It's kind of sad though, that each writer is writing what seems to be writing a different show. You can predict who the story will highlight based on who wrote it. House and Wilson, a Taub sub-plot and a dash of Chase and Cuddy but no Cameron (for the third episode in a row) -- yes, it must be a Doris Egan episode. What happened to having a show-runner to balance things out?

After almost five seasons of House being rude and narcissistic and unable to have a real relationship with anyone, I'm tired of the character. I enjoyed the scenes with Kutner and Taub and the patient more than I did the ones with House himself.

Can the House/Cuddy relationship get any more insulting or unpleasant to watch? (Don't answer that, I'm sure it will.) I guess True Love means setting up your mature, professional love interest to be sexually objectified by a stranger. Or maybe Cuddy's ego is so frail House thought she needed it. Next move -- wolf whistles from construction workers. Oh, the romance of it all.

I remember when I used to love House episodes rather than loving mocking them.

Anonymous said...

This really was a thoroughly enjoyable episode. I regret it a bit that I haven't brought myself to watch it earlier.

As for Cuddy: I think she was more happy about the fact that house was trying to tell her she looked good that day than about the patient preferring her over Foreteen. And that was a nice touch, as the two of them are clearly moving forward.

Also, it's been too long without a House-Chase scene like that, and frankly I'd take one of those over any Cameron scene in a heartbeat.

Kutner's Harry Potter reference also cracked me up. He is the most underdeveloped of the new "ducklings", and while I liked the stuff with House and Taub this week, I still think it's a pity that Thirteen and Taub get so much more screentime than he does.

Anonymous said...

*preferring her over THIRteen, I meant, of course. :D