Tuesday, May 05, 2009

House, "Under My Skin": A moment like this

Spoilers for last night's "House" coming up just as soon as I get my best friend to oversee this blog entry...

Okay, that's two really strong episodes in a row. I'm just skeptical about the bigger picture.

Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Edelstein and Anne Dudek were all terrific as House realized he was so far down the rabbit hole that he had no choice but to admit his weakness to his closest friends. The case was interesting; it was nice to see the team solve the problem without House, and the last few episodes have made much better use of Chase as the one guy in the hospital who has no problem saying no to House.

But what, ultimately, are the implications of House's Vicodin detox? The Amber hallucination may have gone away, but the leg pain will be worse than ever, and House is enough of an addictive personality that I can see him going back to the pills (albeit maybe in smaller doses) just as easily as the show abandoned his various cures for the pain in the past within an episode or three.

"House" as a series has a mixed track record about major change. The disbanding of the original team took, though it's taken the writers nearly two seasons to figure out what to do with Chase and Cameron. None of House's major life changes or epiphanies ever stick, however, and David Shore has been on record as saying he doesn't believe House can really change.

And if that's the case, why are we bothering to play around with this? Just to finally put House and Cuddy together romantically for a while? I like the two actors together -- especially in an episode like this where Cuddy isn't acting like a lovestruck middle schooler -- but if I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop, I can't really invest in it.

I know some of you will say -- because you've said it before in the last few weeks -- that Shore can't win: if he doesn't change anything, he's accused of predictability, and if he does, we all assume it's a fake-out. But those accusations and assumptions also come from our knowledge of what the show's done before. If they had spent more time on the ketamine cure, for instance, I'd have more faith in this storyline's long-term viability. But they abandoned the idea as soon as it was expedient, and so I'm skeptical.

Again, I don't want to take anything away from "Under My Skin" itself. I'm just going to be casting a very wary eye as I watch next week's season finale.

What did everybody else think?

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not spoiled here - just speculating. But I think the sex scene at the end will turn out to be another hallucination for House. It is the finale next week, after all. If he was magically cured in the penultimate episode, where else would be left to go for the cliffhanger?

Sea said...

though it's taken the writers nearly two seasons to figure out what to do with Chase and Cameron.Having Cameron playing creepy girlfriend to Chase with the frozen sperm of her dead husband is not what I call figuring out what to do with her character. I expected more from the producers/writers, two long years and they still don't know how to integrate Cameron and Chase into the show.

amysusanne said...

I really doubt the sex is a hallucination. I'm not the biggest House/Cuddy fan, but having that be yet another figment of House's imagination would be pointless and a bit of a rip off. Having Amber be House's brain is fine. There is no Amber. Amber's gone. Having House suddenly hallucinating actual events with living and breathing people would feel silly compared to the more profound moments with Amber.

That said: while I've been anti House/Cuddy when it involved the twelve year old girl version of Cuddy we've gotten most of the season, I *like* the Cuddy we got last night. So, I could be persuaded to support the pairing of honest/vulnerable House and strong/adult/supportive Cuddy. It'll no doubt fall apart soon and they'll angst it up (or have Cuddy go back to scribbling House's name with little hearts around it) but at the moment, it's okay.

I loved last night's ep. Loved the previous week. Liked the week before that, hated a couple before that and tolerated the ones that came before that. So, it being so great these past couple of weeks obviously has me nervous not only because of the fact that nothing ever changes, but because I *do* agree with the previous commenter in that this can't be all there is. And that makes me nervous.

Rhoda said...

To my view, Shore -- with the character of House -- isn't telling a traditional Byronic anti-hero story in which there's an eventual resolution, but rather House is Sisyphus. We see him continually in his struggle to get the damn rock up the damn hill, failing, falling and yet trying again. So what you may see as failure to move the character forward and have him learn something, Alan, I see the story as the struggle itself -- and his ultimate "success," as it is, is not in getting to the top of the hill, but in refusing to give up.

And I definitely think the other shoe has yet to drop in his current attempt to get up the hill.

Matt said...

Chase as the one guy in the hospital who has no problem saying no to House.I rewatched the "House on a Plane" episode this weekend (it was the syndie weekend rerun), and it actually shows how much Chase's character has grown, because mini-Chase in that episode was given the direction to simply agree with everything House said. (Mini-Foreman was directed to disagree with everything House said, and Mini-Cameron was directed to get morally outraged at everything House said.)

Karen said...

I've definitely been an anti-Huddy person all season, and while I thought House looked pretty good for someone who had just spent a night detoxing (and I don't know about these things, so can some one tell me - is one night long enough to detox from something like that?), and while I agree that mature, caring Cuddy is far preferable to schoolgirl crush Cuddy, and while their getting together at the end of the episode didn't bug me as much as I expected - I'm still anti-Huddy. House has always reminded me of Woody Allen characters in movies like Annie Hall and Manhattan - funny, smart, entertaining, but not someone you'd want to be emotionally involved with because you would definitely get your heart stomped on. And watching the inevitable disintegration or explosion of whatever it was that happened between Huddy last night is going to be predictable and painful, at least if they do it honestly and not just the same way they've brushed past the pain "cures" that Alan mentions.

I now suspect, though, that I could watch RSL read the phone book. Not listen to, which is my usual line with actors I adore, but watch, because nothing is so amazing as RSL's facial expressions.

The Cameron thing to me felt predictable too - here they go, finding the necessary problem to keep them apart. Although the overriding feeling I have whenever there are scenes like those between them is still squirminess at what it must be like to be Morrison and Spencer, with their real-life history.

christy said...

Interesting idea, Anonymous.

I have to admit, as much chemistry as there is between those two, I couldn't help thinking about how she's about to have sex with someone who she just watched vomit all night and who she saw put his hands in the toilet just a few hours ago. I mean, I guess that's life, but...still.

One night also seems awful quick for him to just be ready to go back to work after detoxing.

But when Anne Dudek would just smile...so creepy! And the way they interlaced his asking Cuddy for help and Amber telling him not to was pretty effective. Overall, pretty entertaining.

amysusanne said...

TV detoxing is in a different universe from real life detoxing. It's like how quickly children go from being babies to six year olds and how those women from "Desperate Housewives" are the same age now, five years in the future, that they were when the series started.

My main thought as it became clear they were about to have sex was to hope that, at the very least, he'd brushed his teeth fifty or sixty times.

Damien said...

Great episode - so many great scenes, typically with Laurie (Cameron/Chase thing, however, was bleh!).
I have to mention the restaurant celebration scene - just fantastic! I got chills when I heard the first few notes from Amber's haunting song because her distinctive voice signalled, even before she was shown on-camera, that she's baaaack.
I can't help but to think that House's detox, the Cuddy kiss, and much that happened earlier, didn't really happen and that House may still be in the insulin induced coma, and so is dreaming about hallucinating, detoxing and getting it on with Cuddy. Wouldn't surprise me if the writers pull a stunt like that, but I guess we'll have to wait till next week.

amysusanne said...

Except that they already *did* that. The show might go in circles, but they don't tend to reuse the same "twist" and to have House still be in a coma and none of the second half of the ep actually happening would be even more pointless than just the sex being a dream.

K J Gillenwater said...

Smart, strong women are sometimes drawn to men who are messes. So the Cuddy/House thing is totally believable to me. Cuddy is very capable in everything aspect of her life...except her love life.

So I can buy a House/Cuddy pairing. In fact, I can even see what the attraction is...THOSE EYES! Just so compelling.

Plus, she's dealing with a LONG infatuation. From med school days. Never found anyone who has the brilliance of House, perhaps. Mixed in with her need to care for him...it all makes sense.

So bring it on.

You may not like that Cuddy isn't smarter than that, but it's real to me.

jackie said...

I loved this one, too--as usual, the writers are calling in all the chips they've distributed all season long and making them pay.

Alan, I have a different idea than you do about what this show is about. I don't think we're on a journey to see House "cured"--I think we're watching a character study of a man who is both extremely flawed and supremely talented, and one side can't be separated from the other. We're watching him try and make some changes, without even being sure what changes he wants to make and what parts of himself, difficult as other people find them, he values enough to keep. The struggle is the point and as long as Hugh Laurie keeps delivering the kind of performances he gave last night, it's interesting to me.

I actually think the storylines that wrap up changes in pretty bows and deliver them to the audience are the unrealistic ones. House's peeling back of layers but resistance to life changing epiphanies rings truer. In his own way, he's trying to change. And we're seeing lots of fallout and consequences from past behaviour and choices.

House writers don't drop storylines. They let them marinate and pull them out when they're really spicy.

Anonymous said...

Very good episode, seriously creepy Amber, completely ruined by the lat 10 minutes of the episode.

I think the sex ill turn out to be a hallucination - given House's past track record with detoxes, we know it was way too fast & clean & there's no way House physically would have been up to having sex. If it was "real" then David Shore has officially lost his grip on reality along with House. I have to disagree that Cuddy wasn't behaving like a pathetic schoolgirl - she's been pining, never mind mommying this man for for 20 years & she ditches her baby without a backwards glance.

In fact Shore just continues to demonstrate what a misogynist he is in his treatment of women - we've now got insane sperm-hording, can't commit Cameron, Cuddy so House-obsessed she jumps her drug-addled employee (just watch her professional credibility collapse when that gets out), 13 failing to recognize Foreman's hooked up with a clone of his own dying mother, & a PotW who doesn't have an ounce of regret for giving her boyfriend both a back injury & gonorrhea.

I do think the writers are finally coming to grips with writing Chase back in effectively, but they are refusing to with Cameron & in fact actively sabotaging her because of their own canon that its Cameron House consistently turned to on a number of occasions in the past - its clear they would simply like to sweep that under the carpet, because its seems to be the only way they can make the Huddy work is give Cuddy no competition, also hence the miraculously disappearing Wilson in the last 10 minutes. After all, if House needs Wilson to get from the bar home, how the f@*k does he suddenly appear in Cuddy's office under his own steam?

dez said...

Unfortunately, I was out of it due to illness during part of the ep and forgot to hit record on the DVR. Could someone please tell me what the patient's diagnosis was? Also, what was the ickiness with Cameron & Chase? Thanks!

Of the parts I saw, there was some damn fine acting from Hugh Laurie. I don't mind Cuddy/House, either, but like amysusanne, I sure hope House brushed, flossed, and mouthwashed with industrial-strength Listerine before he planted a kiss on Cuddy. Yuuuuck.

olucy said...

I didn't love this ep as much as a lot of you seemed to. Didn't *dislike* it, but I was a little bored about halfway thru, but knew that if I bailed, something would happen in the second half that everyone would be talking about this morning. I wondered when the Huddy hook-up was going to happen, as we're running out of eps.

I know the medicine on this show is often criticized, but...House comes out of his COMA, gets out of bed, throws on his clothes and goes back to work. And after a night of detoxing, House is ready to go at it with Cuddy. Okay. WhatEVer.

And YES to hoping he had brushed his teeth 50 or 60 times and showered 3 or 4. I'm glad I wasn't the only one thinking about that.

jackie said...

"I know the medicine on this show is often criticized, but...House comes out of his COMA, gets out of bed, throws on his clothes and goes back to work."

You do come out of an insulin very quickly with the administration of glucose. That wasn't unrealistic. The detox, I grant you, was compressed. (-:

amysusanne said...

Oh, come on...let's be a little bit fair to Cuddy, please. She didn't "ditch" her baby. She has a nanny and that nanny just made some nice overtime coin. It isn't like she left her on a park bench and it's not like she didn't have a very good reason. If a friend is in trouble, as House clearly was, and that friend is very serious about getting out of that trouble, as House clearly was, you help them. That's what babysitters and nannies are for. There was nothing irresponsible about what Cuddy did wrt helping House detox, even if it was the most magical detox ever.

@dez: the "creepy" with Cameron and Chase is that she froze dead husband's sperm when he was diagnosed (with his permission, so it isn't as if that was actually creepy) and Chase's knowledge of this is driving a bit of a wedge between them. It's just more of Cameron being afraid of committment and more of Chase telling us over and over that he is fully committed to her. While it was neither interesting or surprising, it also wasn't actually all that creepy. Pointless, but not crazy.

The diagnosis I'm not even going to touch since I lost interest in it about halfway through what with the House stuff being more compelling. Something about an alergic reaction to the antibiotics (the skin part, at least) and gonnorhea and then they magically saved her hands and feet from amputation using...ask;djfas;l. Yeah, I really did stop listening after awhile.

Edward Copeland said...

The one part of the episode that had me puzzled is that one minute Wilson is driving House to a detox center then suddenly House is standing in Cuddy's office, which gives me pause about the incredibly quick withdrawal in his place.

Danny said...

House never went to detox with Wilson, he knew that if he went to detox he would be able to cheat and manipulate others into getting a fix and therefor making the detox moot. He decided he would be honest with Cuddy, so he instead went to her for help. I would imagine with his level of narcotic use detox would take several days to weeks until he feel well again, but it is a show, we couldnt have watched all of that.

Ariadne said...

I hope the post-insulin scenes are a hallucination because otherwise there are some large continuity errors, including Cuddy having lied to House at least three time during the series (she said that she hadn't lied to him in 20 years).

It was a very good episode for House/Wilson interactions and Anne Dudek was wonderful as Amber.

While this new adult interaction between House and Cuddy was pleasant to watch, I'm having a hard time buying into given how childish they were during most of the season. Shore ruins all the ships (House/Cuddy, Chase/Cameron, Foreman/Thirteen) before they get together so that when they actually happen, I find the pairing both annoying and unsatisfying.

The medical case remains a sidebar to the soap opera. At least Foreman and Thirteen were less annoying than usual.

Chase and Cameron continue to remain isolated from House, which is too bad because House could use more friends than just Wilson and Cuddy.

I want to know what Jennifer Morrison did to antagonize David Shore. Or is he trying to ruin Cameron because fans want her back instead of accepting the new team? The missish Barbie whose entire storyline consists of dithering about her relationship with Chase and now creepily keeping the sperm of her dead husband even though she's marrying Chase is a very far cry from the woman who could handle House better than Cuddy did when she took over her job in Big Baby. Doesn't Shore trust people will love House/Cuddy without ruining Cameron?

Anonymous said...

So the baby sitter working a 12 hour day, followed by a 12 hour night shift & then another 12 hour shift because Cuddy's back to work the next day without a break is fine because Cuddy's got money to throw at it? Yeah, & Cuddy treated her handyman like crap too. Never mind actually spending time with Rachel's about the lowest thing on her so-called mother's priority list. We've seen Cuddy repeatedly forget about Rachel on the slimmest of excuse, most recently when Cuddy went scurrying in to the ER in the middle of the night during House's bachelor party mishap.

Diane said...

Cuddy having lied to House at least three time during the series (she said that she hadn't lied to him in 20 years).That wasn't a continuity error - as House explained to her and the audience very clearly, it's a lie to say she's never lied to him in 20 years, so obviously she said that because she wanted to reveal what she lied about exactly 20 years ago.

amysusanne said...

You know that nannies aren't actually required to be awake the entire time that they're taking care of the child, right? They get to sleep just like parents do. And making the distinction that she (or he...I didn't pay that close attention to the gender of the nanny) was a nanny and not a babysitter is shorthand for letting us know that in spite of the fact that he/she has regular "office hours" they are also on call. They are the nanny. That is what nannies do. It's a lot more fun to complain about what a horrible bitch of a person Cuddy is and how she's the worst mother ever, but she didn't do anything wrong here.

Rhoda said...

So the baby sitter working a 12 hour day, followed by a 12 hour night shift & then another 12 hour shift because Cuddy's back to work the next day without a break is fine because Cuddy's got money to throw at it?Cuddy clearly said that her nanny left at 7:30, and then that she would call her babysitter when House needed help. She clearly differentiated, so at least two different people as backup caregivers. She's smart enough to have backup available because of her highly demanding job. This means that, yes, she's an executive who has money and planning available to her. This does not make her a capitalist bitch abusing the working class.

amysusanne said...

Totally missed her using the word "babysitter", though that drives the point home even further. When hulu puts it up I'll have to watch that scene again.

belinda said...

I don't know. I have lost some of my enthusiasm for House, the show, and I'm not sure how I can get it back. Even after an arguably good episode, I am still frustrated with the general trajectory of the characters and story as a whole. Like with Cuddy and House, a scene I would have loved to see maybe a season or two ago, was a little underwhelming, in part because of how they've written Cuddy (into a bubbling idiot in this recent season). So even though the performance by the actors were pretty great, the scene at the end didn't feel complete. Though I suppose, that could be the intention.

And while I love Amber, maybe Grey's has tainted my feelings on dead character hallucinations; I felt it was unnecessary for the most part, and while much less cringe-y than Denny and great to watch, seemed to be a bit of a clutch for the writers.

Though, it was nice seeing the team work out a medical puzzle sans House. I only hope we'd finally get back to seeing the old team, if they are going to stay on the show (and the new, even though I still find them less intriguing characters than the old, if they are going to stay on the show) be doctors and interact with everyone, instead of this whole marriage thing. I still feel they've missed an opportunity when they had both the old and new teams and not have them interact (as doctors AND as colleagues/friends) for most of the season and last's. If they'd integrate the teams a bit more, I might not dislike the new team as much as I do.

Bix said...

Alan:

But what, ultimately, are the implications of House's Vicodin detox?...the leg pain will be worse than ever...Cuddy indicated that this might not be the case: The long term Vicodin use could have made his pain worse.

R said...

Its kind of funny watching the semantics argument about exactly who is looking after Rachel - what you call the person doesn't negate the fact that Cuddy dumped her inconvenient kid on someone else for 36- 48 hours (depending how you calculate the detox). I wouldn't call her a capitalistic bitch myself, I myself think she's simply a colassal idiot with such a f'ed up set of priorities that she's sleeping with her employee. Its a given the fallout will be disasterous & she's only got herself to blame.

James said...

You do come out of an insulin very quickly with the administration of glucose. That wasn't unrealistic. The detox, I grant you, was compressed.Yeah, that's totally true, but you don't go *into* insulin shock nearly as quickly as house did, even when injected directly into a vain, and it takes a much bigger dose than shown.

A few candy bars within 15 minutes would have prevented the coma.

Also, you don't hear electric noises when it happens (although the convulsing was accurate). :-)

Edward Copeland said...

One thing I've always questioned as someone who does suffer from chronic pain is, despite the fact that he swallows a LOT of Vicodin, in my experience after awhile, you usually build up a tolerance to painkillers. While Vicodin has never been one of mine, when you have to start increasing doses, one of the risks is your breathing and I have to wonder why House hasn't OD'd by now, but then again Vicodin isn't one I've tried, though maybe I should.

amysusanne said...

I'm not really sure what her sleeping with House has to do with anything since I'm pretty sure most people agree that it's both stupid and bound to cause lots of problems. Nobody's arguing that one (that I've seen), the point is that it doesn't make someone a bad mother to have a nanny or babysitter take care of the kid while she's helping someone detox. The sex was irrelevant and after the fact and the time table obviously make believe and not as it would happen in real life, but of the actual time spent taking care of House, she wasn't neglecting the kid for selfish reasons, she was keeping a friend alive. I'm sure everyone will survive the 36(ish) hours Cuddy spent away from the baby.

oskr said...

i have a question firs of all im from chile and i dont know write in inglish but y wanna know the name of the song that played in the finale scene when house kissed cuddy ???

The Bgt said...

You can find all music from all House episodes here

www.fox.com/house/features/music/season5.htm

As for the episode, I loved the House story. The patient of the week was too gory and suffering for my taste and with no interest.
I don't mind Huddy as long as it is nicely written.

RL said...

Too bad oksr, I stopped watching House before that scene

Pamela Jaye said...

I think Grey's Anatomy deals better with change (although not with hallucinations)

Pamela Jaye said...

oh, also, the fact that they are no longer focusing on Thirteen is a relief.
I don't remember the patient, but I remember that ...she, was at least not so much of an afterthought as many recent POTWs have been.

Recently, my brother compared Chuck to Grey's, saying they had a similarity that he approved of.
When House goes the Grey's route (the more soap that procedural route) it's not great. Some eps - like when Amber died - I like. The rest, I just get confused as to what show this is.

Speaking of...
Is Scrubs finale-ing tomorrow?

K J Gillenwater said...

So, if Cuddy were married and she and her spouse decided to go away for a night, she would also be a cold, heartless bitch instead of a good mother? PUH-LEEZE.

The baby doesn't even know she's gone. Baby will not remember. She has good caregivers. Not seeing her baby for 36 hours is not a crime, does not make for a bad mother, etc.

So a single mother is not allowed to have any kind of life outside work and being a mom?

jennilynn said...

When Hugh Laurie says "I always want to kiss you" (ok, it doesn't look as good typed as it does remembering the scene in my mind), I just want to melt. Watch it over & over. Fall in love. Hopeless romantic.

I may miss Amber - her episodes rocked!