Sunday, March 01, 2009

Medical catch-up: House & ER

Getting caught up on stuff on the DVR on a lazy Sunday, so quick spoilers for this week's "House" and "ER" coming up just as soon as I hire a hooker to watch me sleep...

Maybe it's because I put it way down at the bottom of my priority list this week, and went into it with no expectations whatsoever, but "House" wasn't too bad, I thought. Yes, it's still The Thirteen Show, but at least this was a case that had nothing to do with her hang-ups about death, and I almost kinda sorta believed that she and Foreman might actually appreciate being in each other's company for once. Plus, House's methadone cure gave us an interesting window on the character, and didn't feel just like a rehash of the Ketamine arc from the start of season three.

Carter's arc on "ER" continues, and by making it explicit that his kidney problems tie all the way back to Lucy's stabbing, it feels less like piling on the guy, Mark Greene style, then a callback to a classic "ER" storyline. So long as he gets the transplant, I'm okay with it, and it was nice to see that he was about 50/50 with his old-fashioned hunches versus up-to-date ER procedures.

Meanwhile, David Lyons and Linda Cardellini both nailed two iffy storylines. Brenner is a sketchy character at best, but Lyons has done really well with both of the episodes dealing with Brenner's childhood abuse. Sam's an even bigger mess, and I really shouldn't care about anything going on with her personal life. Yet watching her listen to her senile old monster of a mom (who doesn't recognize her at all) declare that she wishes she had a daughter like Sam, I was reminded of what a great actress she was on "Freaks and Geeks" and how happy I was when she first landed the "ER" gig.

What did everyone else think?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am I wrong, or has Julia Campbell done almost all of the medical shows this year, as either the wife or the mother of the patient? Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, ER and now House?

DonBoy said...

The Carter/Banfield scene in the last act of ER cracked me up...he had me going for about 2 seconds, then I realized it was a big writers' joke and I actually paused the TiVo to laugh.

Tara said...

I still can't connect to Sam, or to Linda Cardellini's portrayal of her, even after all these years. The stuff with Amy Madigan totally fell flat for me and just came off as schlocky and overdone. It just seems like a cheap, cheap knock-off of the Emmy nominated/Emmy winning work that Maura Tierney and Sally Field did in season 7 when Maggie first arrived in Chicago.

SR said...

As I watched this episode of House, I grew more and more excited. Watching Hugh Laurie play a not-in-pain version of House was fascinating, and I thought it opened up so interesting new directions for a character who had become very one-note.

And then they hit reset switch at the end of the episode as House decided that being a great diagnostician was more important than being pain-free. Yawn. Couldn't we have at least enjoyed 3-4 episodes of Methadone House before they threw away such an interesting premise?

Anonymous said...

You could say the same about the one day Cameron held Cuddy's job.

EOTW said...

I somehow actually wached HOUSE this week. I NEVER watch it anymore. I gave up after it became clear that they are just treading water from here on out. I LOVE Laurie but the show is sinking fast.

that being said, I didn't hate this ep all that much. It was kinda nice to see it after so long of not.

I just don't undestand why they still have Morrison and Spencer in the credits

In the ned, I think it's still over for me, but this ep was more than OK and a nice reminder that show can be more than it has become.

Lizbeth said...

To me the Sam storyline seems like a ripoff of Grey's Anatomy. Sam, like Meredith, is stuck caring for a mother who never mothered her - and she can't get closure because her mom doesn't even remember how she's damaged her.

And besides, it also seems like every other ER doc has had similar storyline where they reconnected with their cold, uncaring, dysfunctional parent as the parent neared death.

To me it just seems like an excuse to have an older actor come in and give it their best Emmy-acting shot.

Pamela Jaye said...

i really liked Sam's "Ellis Grey" storyline. and that is the first time i have ever cared about Sam. before this i would have just as well have had her psycho ex kill her.

Methadone beter than ketamine but the ending was a ripoff.

neither was as good as Grey's but i'm biased

tabernacle said...

Re: House, I agree that it was still, unfortunately, the Thirteen Show--and also that, despite that, it was a bump up from the last few episodes. Unfortunately again, they did hit reset by the end of it w/r/t House's pain-free-ness.

Random: In terms of Robert Sean Leonard, this (being in _House_) must constitute a weird sort of existence. He was in _Dead Poets' Society_. He was in _Tape_. And now, though he is part of the epic Watson & Sherlock mythology of the show, he pops up for three seconds every three episodes? Weird. On the one hand, _House_ is a very successful show, and work is work, and this is meaningful work, as these things go (he could be on a _CSI_ or a _Law & Order_, is what I'm saying)--but still: three seconds every three weeks. Weird.

Alan Sepinwall said...

On the one hand, _House_ is a very successful show, and work is work, and this is meaningful work, as these things go (he could be on a _CSI_ or a _Law & Order_, is what I'm saying)--but still: three seconds every three weeks. Weird.

RSL has given interviews where he says he's very happy to have such a low-stress gig. They give him a spotlight every now and then, but for the most part it's easy money.

tabernacle said...

I hadn't even thought about it from that perspective: the money-to-effort ratio has to be sweet indeed.

dez said...

I enjoyed the focus on House, especially Cuddy and Wilson trying to figure out what was wrong with him (and everyone assuming it was heroin, too). Made it easier to tune out the Thirteen Show aspects of it this time.

Pamela Jaye said...

Am I wrong, or has Julia Campbell done almost all of the medical shows this year, as either the wife or the mother of the patient? Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, ER and now House?

I noticed it too. But checking IMDB, it's just House and Scrubs.
I think it's that the dates were so close. I was able to go back on my DVR and find the Scrubs ep and look at her (not that i'm a good example. I have lots of disc space and those are two shows I tend to save)

Last season it was Elliot's ALS patient, Shannon - who landed at Sacred Heart in the middle of her arc as Nurse Rose at Seattle Grace. My brother and I argued over that one, but I was sure it was her - and it was. Sadly, I spent so much time proving the point (her name wasn't listed anywhere for Scrubs when it was airing) that I missed most of the episode.
But that's okay. I saw it the other day.

If you find someone who hits the quadfecta, do let me know. I'd love to see it (and we only have 15 + 8 + 5 + 5 seasons to look thru...)

there has to be someone.

Pamela Jaye said...

To me the Sam storyline seems like a ripoff of Grey's Anatomy. Sam, like Meredith, is stuck caring for a mother who never mothered her - and she can't get closure because her mom doesn't even remember how she's damaged her.

That's probably why I liked it.
And the fact that the mother also played the shrink that had to put Meredith back together after Mommy Dearest destroyed her didn't hurt either.

Alan, it does look as if you've been up to your neck lately. Have you or do you plan to watch Grey's? I hear it's going to snow. (hope you're working at home)

Pamela Jaye said...

my first comment looked like it was a reply to Lizbeth's but actually I hadn't read her comment yet. (I can't remember if I'd even read the blog post. I think I did, but I remember commenting on Dollhouse and then realizing hours later that I'd meant to get back and read the post and had forgotten... (I've done it now, obviously. I'm going to have to look up Tahmoh as everyone keeps mentioning him/her and I have no idea)

Granola Mom said...

I actually hated this House more than the others of this season.

"Oh, look, House almost died AGAIN."

"Oh, look, House isn't as good when he isn't miserable AGAIN."

Blah, blah, blah. It's all new !3 Show, with House reruns on the side.

Ariadne said...

I lasted through 20 minutes of House and then shut off the TV. It was Thirteen MD again and while it wasn't about her disease, I am thoroughly sick of the character. Shore should just get rid of her but I doubt he ever will because for some reason, he's obsessed with the character.

In the 'B' plot, we got House's pain yet again. I know nothing is ever going to change on this show, least of all House, so why bother watching? And yet another episode where Cuddy doesn't get House while they try to convince me to get excited about the House/Cuddy hook-up.

Mediocrity and repetition has become the House by-word. Chase and Cameron are gone but they have been replaced by new versions of the existing characters. Anyone truly original, like Amber, apparently has no place there.

I was impressed by ER though. I've never liked Sam but I felt real sympathy for her and Linda Cardellini hit the notes for the first time since the original Steve arc. And David Lyons really made me feel for Brenner, who came on as such a jerk but is now showling nuance and new aspects to the character.

The ER final season wrap-up is very impressive. David Zabel is bringing back the old characters but he's tying them into the whole of the ER canvas. Carter could have been his old Mary Sue character but he's come back as more a fish out of water than the ER god. Everyone gets more complex and more interesting instead of retreading over the same old ground.

It is an impressive bit of show-running and House's David Shore should be taking detailed notes.

Anonymous said...

I gave up part way in this episode - I don't care about 13, her shoes, her Huntington's or her incredibly annoying boyfriend. And I absolutely despise the train wreck Cuddy has become. Add in yet another repetition of "House (unsuccessfully) uses nasty drugs to deal with his pain & Wilson & Cuddy meddle" & there's pretty much no point to watching this show.

jackie said...

Really liked House this week. Another look at what House will do for pain relief and not a rerun of ketamine. In fact, I would say a better done look, with great follow through from Painless and House's look at his future. I thought making his choice a quality of life issue because methadone, like any of the big pain drugs, can have side effects, was a great decision by Liz Friedman. I also think the Thirteen storyline is now working well. Very much still onboard House!

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting the that free clinic patient was wearing a shirt that had "13" on it. Perhaps a way to say "We'll put as much thirteen as we want"?

I agree with the majority- House was such a great show and I feel they've just lost their way with way too many offshoots and cutting down any really good ideas before they can develop.

-EmeraldLiz (can you tell how behind I am on the DVR?)