Tuesday, November 24, 2009

House, "Ignorance Is Bliss": That's it for me?

Brief spoilers for last night's "House" - and an explanation for why I may not be writing about the show again for a while - coming up just as soon as I wonder what took them so long to acknowledge the resemblance between Omar Epps and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin...

Okay, we're now at a point in the show/reviewer relationship where I just need to walk away for a while, if not forever. It's clear that the "House" producers have a vision for the show that doesn't interest me: not only their belief that Thirteen is endlessly fascinating, but that the show only works if House acts like an abusive middle school jackass as often as possible.

I don't think they're completely ignoring the events of "Broken." House's ultimate reaction to the Cuddy/Lucas relationship, and to Chase punching him out, suggested he still retained some of the lessons he learned from Dr. Nolan. It's entirely possible that they're doing a one-step-forward, two-steps-back arc right now. House's progress would have peaks and valleys, after all.

But given things David Shore has said in the past about his belief that people can't change, and given how abruptly and permanently the show dropped previous changes like the ketamine leg cure, I fear that we're back to House as misanthropic bully for good. And even if we're not, I've grown to hate how far they've taken that version of the character - and grown so tired of the juvenile House/Cuddy non-relationship - that I need to take a break, from writing if not from watching.

Taking a step back from regular blogging helped me come to a new appreciation of "Grey's Anatomy." When I didn't have to write every week, it became easier to ignore the parts of the show I hated and focus on the parts I liked. Maybe that happens with House, but I'm not sure. Were it not for "Broken," I'm not sure I would have come back this season, and the part of the show that was keeping me interested was seeing House attempt to grow and change. I've long since lost interest in the patients, don't much care for most of Team 3.0, and wish Lisa Cuddy would take the baby and the pod person who has replaced Lucas and go somewhere very far away.

That leaves the occasional House/Wilson episode, plus a character arc they may have abandoned. And that's not enough, I don't think.

So I'll give them a handful of additional episodes where I'll watch but won't write, to see if they can turn this boat around. But if not, I'm out.

We'll always have Mayfield, I guess.

What did everybody else think?

53 comments:

Robert said...

I, too, have given up on House. I turned on the episode from 2 weeks ago, watched 10 minutes, and turned it off. I support your decision.

Kimmy said...

The "changed" House was so much more appealing, because it was fresh, and new. I totally agree with you. By the time Lisa Cuddy was at House's door, telling him they broke up, I was back in my Twitter account chatting with Sons of Anarchy fans. I have zero idea what happened after that part in the show. It was still on, but I mentally tuned out. And as I type this review, I am thinking about Sons of Anarchy. House has lost me. See you after tonight's show!

Matt said...

Laurie's performance is still fascinating, and the House-Wilson relationship continues to work, but everything else is misfiring right now--the team isn't interesting, the cases aren't interesting, and there's no payoff. I know Laurie has gotten tired of shouldering so much of the load of the show, which is part of the explanation for the endless Chase/Cameron, Foreteen, and Cuddy/Baby/Lucas plotlines--to give them something to do with House off-screen. That said, the previews indicate a promising episode next week, going to a well that rarely disappoints.

Anonymous said...

I was pretty much done when I realized that 13 wasn't. I haven't watched House live in a long time. I record it, but sometimes it's weeks before I catch up with them. Not ready to give it up completely, but it's not the show I used to love.

olucy said...

I'll watch till the better end because of Laurie, but I agree that the show has fallen from glory and completely understand your desire to not blog it anymore. After last night's episode, I kinda had a feeling you'd be announcing that decision.

Alex said...

They should have gotten rid of Cuddy and Thirteen and kept Cameron. We needed a break from the former two.

Toni said...

I thought last week's episode was terrible, and am with you in not enjoying where the story lines are going. The wrap-up of Cameron and Chase felt forced. When a character who's been with a show from the start leaves, you're supposed to feel something; all I felt was annoyed at the square peg/round hole writing job surrounding her departure. "I'll lose you no matter what." Yeah, right.

But I have to say it was refreshing to see Cuddy evolve in this episode, even though I don't buy her and Lucas (from last season, not the kinder, gentler version this time around) as a couple at all. I'd have believed Wilson and Cuddy more than Lucas.

It's also a shame the writers killed off the best female character in the show's history - Amber - in favor of zombie-esque 13. And I did not buy the return of the old/new team members. I'd have enjoyed a new team member search far more, and it would've felt far more credible.

Toni said...

Adding on to previous comment - I loved the energy earlier in this season and was actually enjoying the show again. The last 2 episodes changed that and I'm not sure how much longer I'll want to watch a show I find neither credible nor emotionally satisfying.

Toni said...

Whoops - that was supposed to read "I'll love you no matter what," Cameron's quote to Chase before he spilled the beans.

I think I'm done now. :P

Anonymous said...

Utterly agree with you Alan! Will tune in to next week's Wilson episode and take a break for the rest of the season. I don't have time for a show that frustrates me rather than entertains me. Sad because I love HL and RSL. It's hard breaking up with such a talented cast. :( The show has lost that magical spark and now it's just not sparking at all. Too much shipping, uninteresting patients, waay too much 13. Ugh. Broken was wonderful, too bad the rest of the season isn't living up to that standard.

Rhoda said...

I fail to understand why you'd desire such a simplistic story as merely a straightforward advancement of the character. It's the one step forward, two steps back/two steps forward one step back progress that's interesting to me. I have no desire to see simple wrap ups of House's story.

The House we see here is still the game player we -- or at least I -- fell in love with from the beginning. It's the same game playing that Nolan himself at Mayfield didn't discourage. (He had no problem with House's lies at the party, he merely wanted him to reach out to other people.) We see House here playing games, but without the meanness of last week's episode. He learned from that and in the end accepts both Chase's punch and Cuddy's relationship with Lucas.

If you don't like a House that plays games, then you don't like the character at all. You merely want one that's easy to define and put into a box of either "naughty" or "nice." But I'm more fascinated by a character who does not fit into Santa's simplistic structure.

christy said...

Yeah, I get it too. I think I'm in it for the long haul, but I can't really imagine having to think of things to write about it every week. It's moved into "turn on, zone out" territory.

I did like the male nurse.

And wow, I'd never seen Mike Tomlin before. That resemblance is truly uncanny! Tomlin's cuter though.

Mo Ryan said...

I said That's It For Me after the second episode of the season, which featured more Thirteen-Foreman than one human should have to stand.

It's funny, but in talking about this in Twitter (where my thoughts can be expressed in a too-abbreviated fashion on occasion, go figure), one House fan responded that she thought I'd made a "snap judgment" based on that episode. Far from it, I explained -- appreciation for HL, the House-Wilson relationship and the show's past heights had kept me sticking around for two full seasons or more of an overall direction I did not like much.

But I got to the same point Alan and others did: I realized that Thirteen was not going away and that the show was continue to favor elements I don't much care for and put things I did like in the background (or eliminate them entirely). So, I'm done.

Lie to Me is my Monday Fox show now.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan said...

Other than watching Broken -because of your recomendation - I haven't watched an ep of House since they moved to Monday nights last year, and - I'm sorry to say - haven't missed it a bit. I used to love the show but they lost me last year with them shoving 13 down our throats.

I've been keeping up with the storyline by reading your blog Alan in case I decided to start watching again. Don't blame you for quitting though Alan.

TV Obsessed said...

I think I'm over House. There were some okay episodes this season, but with the last one, it seems the writers have really lost their way.

Anonymous said...

Yes.

I was willing to go with the old plus new team but unfortunately any good to be mined from that mix is obviously NOT going to be mined and the whole Taub being conflicted IMMEDIATELY after choosing to return and going back to lying to the wife just makes no sense at all.

And you get the most interesting POTW in forever with tons to be mined between two geniuses and House not being the most awesome genius and you end up with nothing.

I will say Castle had guest stars from Entourage, Mad Men, and Buffy last night and except for the actual ending and catching the final bad guy part was a very nice episode.

-EmeraldLiz

Anonymous said...

I too am disappointed with House. I liked the premiere, it was interesting, a new direction for the show but its back to the status quo now. This month I missed a number of episodes, and usually I would catch up, but now, I just don't feel like watching anymore. This particular episode was just meh: The only funny part was Taub telling his wife he beat up House.

Oh, what a coincidence: my word verification is: "quiti"

Publius said...

Can't we ask David Shore to make a spin off with House and Wilson on a cross country road trip? Thinking helping the helpless and solving medical mysteries Macgyver style with a ballpoint pen and duct tape.

Publius said...

Castle was quite good last night. I had almost written it off entirely when I saw they were going to have a guy with two wives in the preview but they had a fun, cute take on it.

Sara said...

What they should do is firing the whole writing staff and hire a new one that isn't too obsessed with Thirteen to help revitalize the show, that would be a good start.

dez said...

And you get the most interesting POTW in forever with tons to be mined between two geniuses and House not being the most awesome genius and you end up with nothing.

Talk about squandering opportunities! The banter between those two should have been epic. When they finally started talking is when I finally stopped playing with Facebook and became interested in the episode.

I hope House is really going to leave Cuddy alone because I want that storyline ovah. Enough is enough

Joseph said...

Even though I wasn't particularly impressed by the episode or the direction of the series, the Mike Tomlin meta-joke made my day.

Anonymous said...

Loved "Broken" and many of the shows this season, in fact the two before last night's show are the only ones I've really disliked in ages. The storylines lately seemed rushed and cramming in to much exposition, there's no room for House to reflect and that seems to be a big flaw to me. Let us watch House figure it out, directors!

I had mixed feelings about last night's show because a lot of it made me uncomfortable. I hated that Cuddy tricked House into driving 6 hours for nothing. She is mean in her pranks (a tripwire for a cripple!) and they make me sort of hate her.

But on reflection I think I'll look at last night's show as part of a transition because House has elements of his former self and his new self jarring with each other and he still has the expectations of everyone he works with to drag him down to where he was before. I'm interested in where this dance is going. I have to agree with others that 13 is not my favorite character, but when she's not center stage with all her poor acting, she's fine. Just no 14. Please. And get rid of Lucas. He is dead air.

All that said, the more Hugh Laurie carries the show, the better I like it. I think we learned House can open up and behave well when he's treated well. Can't one of the characters treat him decently? I mean without punching him out or hurting him physically and/or emotionally? Or tricking him back? I loved how Nolan said "can we get past the games now?" and House immediately dropped out of the mindgames mode.

House won't lose me as long as they have Hugh Laurie, who is so damn good, but I do hope they give him the space and truly good writing and directing and perhaps a slower editing style to tell House's story.

Heather said...

I too have given up on House and actually decided to after last season's finale. It just isn't the same show anymore. It became a chore to watch it and the medical stuff that I was really into in the beginning got boring and shelved for trivial quibbles between the team. Sorry House.

Kirian said...

Well, I hated pretty much every thing about Broken. The silver lining there is that the rest of the season has been a big step up for me. I was sick of the House and Cuddy thing last year already, I despise the misogynistic undertones in the show, and I hate how the writers seem to re-write the characters' histories at their whim.

On the other hand, I love watching Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard. I love their characters. The House-Wilson relationship is hilarious and touching, and the actors are so good, both separately and together, that I will watch them until the show ends.

Anonymous said...

please Alan wait until after next episode to stop reviewing the show, that episode is going to be focus on Wilson and I'd really love to read what you have to say about it, because I love Wilson and you are my favorite House reviewer. Thank you. ;)

JasonR said...

Ugh, why do I watch this show?

This might be a bit crass, but House's relationship with everyone reminds me of spousal abuse. There is no rational reason anyone would put up with him otherwise.

Alan, please do drop this from you rotation. I think half of the reason I watch is so I can follow along with your posts. The other half is me hoping "maybe things will change this week"". It's ironic that my relationship with the show is the same as the relationships that I hate on the show. Maybe that's the secret to its success (and Hugh Laurie's acting).

evie said...

Hated beyond hate last night, the first episode with the insufferable Chase instead of Cameron, and the Cuddy relationship that won't go away. The only good moment was when he came into the empty house on Thanksgiving.

Hate.

Jane said...

If Hugh Laurie's in it, I'll watch it. That makes me a bitter-ender. And I'm enjoying this season much more than I did S4 & S5. Thanks to Mayfield, we have the original House back. Without the addiction (and with the therapy) he is funny, brilliant and still manipulative. But most of the meanness is gone. So I'm hoping Known Unknowns and Teamwork were just dips in an otherwise excellent season.

One thing I don't understand is the constant harping on Thirteen's presence. Don't get me wrong. I dislike the character -- really, really dislike it. And I think she is part of the most chemistry-free couple in TV history. But it's been more than a dozen episodes since they finished with the "all Thirteen, all the time" arc. While she'll never be fascinating (or even close), when she has no more screen time than any of the other supporting characters, she really is tolerable.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"One thing I don't understand is the constant harping on Thirteen's presence."

You and me both. Indeed, half the fun of reading reviews like Alan's is the hysterical, foaming-at-the-mouth hatred of folks who are really, really, really on the verge of dropping this show because they can't stand the character -- and this time they mean it, unlike the last 40 or so episodes she was in. It also seems that 13 hatred correlates strongly with Cameron adoration, which is the most inexplicable fandom on the planet.

Epiphany said...

Alan,

You mentioned taking a writing break from this show before and I, in addition to many others, pleaded with you not to. Personally, I truly value your thoughts on House and I hope you will at least give next week's Wilson-focussed episode a chance: it's the last one until January 2010 anyway so there's a built-in break for you. :-)

On to last night's episode and I thought it was a vast improvement on Teamwork.

The positives: some humour at last! I'm British so the Mike Tomlin joke wasn't funny until I Googled him. However, the reason behind Chase's punch and Taub letting his wife think he'd taken House out cracked me up. Clinic made a VERY welcome return. The POTW was interesting. 13 and BoreTeen were kept firmly in the background. House seemed more like his old self and his old-new self.

The negatives: Last week a porn star POTW, this week a genius - in both cases, opportunities for telling interaction with House went begging. Finally, this needs to be the last time any roadblock is put between House and Cuddy; either do it or drop it because it's getting stretched out to a ridiculous degree now.

Nobody on this show is ever happy for long anyway so what's the big deal?

Renton said...

For those of us who called it quits on the show long ago, what was the Mike Tomlin joke?

I made some reference to the uncanny resemblance at the office last year and the reaction was something along the lines of "you think all African-Americans look alike?"

Rose said...

I don't understand all this negativity towards House. It seems you guys want House to stop being a jerk. Is that right? You guys want him to be good? That makes no sense to me. House is House. His rudeness is the bread and butter of the show. If he were to completely change, then House as we know it would be over. I don't understand how anyone could expect such a thing.

What the writers set-up with House's "transformation" earlier this year was not a new and nicer House but a House that was less self-destructive and working towards his own happiness. The pranks have nothing to do with it. It is the intention of the pranks that is important.

Instead of pushing everyone away, now he has a goal of forming a real relationship with Cuddy. That's what his current antics are all about and I think that's an interesting progression for his character.

I can understand not wanting to write reviews for this show since things change so slowly. (I wouldn't want to write about the boring supporting characters either.) However, I don't understand what it is that most of you actually want from House that you are not getting.

JasonR said...

However, I don't understand what it is that most of you actually want from House that you are not getting.

I certainly can't speak for everyone, but my issues is not necessarily with House, but with everyone around him. Everyone's reaction to House have little to no basis in reality. And that wastes House's "house-ness" (for lack of a better phrase). He comes off as an abusive a-hole, not as the misanthropic genius (I assume) he is supposed to be.

There is a pretty large continuum between jerk and nice guy. It shouldn't be hard to find a good zone to put House that is somewhere in between. It would make it much better/funnier when he drifts too far to the jerk side.

filmcricket said...

And you get the most interesting POTW in forever with tons to be mined between two geniuses and House not being the most awesome genius and you end up with nothing.

Yes. This hour could have been just House and the POTW in a room talking and it would have been fascinating. Huge wasted opportunity there.

I'm really just watching this until Chuck comes back on the air - I long ago lost interest in anything except the dynamic between Laurie and Leonard. Thirteen's prominence wasn't any more annoying than Cameron and her Poor Dead Husband in the first season, but at least Cameron was interacting most with House, whereas with Thirteen we also got Foreman and their boring relationship. If that's truly over, and we've dropped the stupid House/Cuddy stuff, it might make the next episodes more bearable.

shara says said...

@mo ryan - agreed that Lie to Me is the go-to Monday show. I don't watch House anymore, I just tune in to recaps to see if anything is improving. But Lie to Me is on fire, with the past 5 episodes in a row being stellar. (Side note - Mr. Shara Says is somewhat irritated by Tim Roth's twitchiness, with the hand-waving and talking in people's faces and whatnot. I like it and think that it adds to his persona of doing things to distract and get people off their guard. Any thoughts?)

I had intended to keep up with House once the PI came back, because I really like him, but I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm at that point. I'm sure I'll catch up at some point, but I'm not watching now, and I haven't even replaced it with other TV from that timeslot - I'm just finding other stuff to do.

Anonymous said...

I thought this week was better and Laurie did show the struggle between the old House and the new House and that did fascinate me. 13 is awful, but she didn't dominate, but I don't know what anyone can do to get them to make her go away. Still, aside from last week's awful one, by and large I think they've been stepping up.

A-T-G said...

I loved house - because of the fantastic Mr. Laurie and his character's struggles; with friends, with co-workers, with patients, and with himself. Last year was the "I'm done!" year for me and I stopped watching. I did, however, continue to read your recaps for the show. Eventually, your enjoyment of the season opener got me to watch it again. I was encouraged and excited to see where they could take this character, who continues to struggle but, ultimately longs for a deeper human connection.

Instead, the burned the good-will and brought back a character I have loathed from the start (13!!). I agree with you, Sir. Take a breather!

George said...

House is getting a lot of (deserved) flak...Here's why

For one thing we need more "new" House, Shore, Jacobs et al have seemingly given up already on the idea of House changing, all to eager to revert to House the misanthrope. Rhonda commented that she thought that Houses one step forward/two steps back change was what made it interesting. I see where she's coming from, but House doesn't seem to regret his actions or even try to stop himself from being manipulative or offensive.

Bringing back Andre Braugher would give us an insight into House's mental state as well as allowing House to explain himself. It would also make the show better, straight up.

13: Who even cares?! A hot doctor, whose bisexual and dying. You'd think they could make her interesting. They seem to be completely against personality by creating Fourteen.

Foreman: Haven't like the guy since "Euphoria" in season 2, 'nuff said.

Chase: By the time he left the team I liked him, he's grown a lot, but in their efforts to make the POTW's interesting they've messed him up, as well as Cameron and maybe even the whole show. Why even bring in the Dictator?!

Cuddy: She's ruined Lucas for one thing, he was cool, funny and he connected with House before, but he's just popped out of nowhere, (leaving behind his likability) to delay the inevitable Huddy hook up. I don't even care about Huddy now, it's been so blatantly and unreasonably denied for so long that I've moved on. Boring.

Wilson: Where the hell is he?! Him and House together are the best part of the show, and they've just shoved Wilson into the background for no reason. Apparently there's a real Wilson-centric episode coming soon, so I'll keep watching.

Taub: I've got nothing against Taub, Taub's cool.

The fact is, the writing is predictable and bad. House is reformed when it suits the writers, Lucas' reappearance was cynical, the POTWs (apart from tonight's) are all meh and the actors just aren't connecting any longer. I'll keep watching to see if they can rectify but I'm not counting on it.

Ariadne said...

I'm going to echo a comment I read by sommeone elsewhere:

Cuddy and Lucas manipulated House, Taub manipulated his wife and Chase manipulated everyone. It looks like the writers can only write House and so they are making everyone's character into House.

It makes for rather a one-note show.

I know you didn't care about Cameron but the character did serve a purpose on the show as a contrast to House and to drive some of the patient storylines. Instead of dumping Foreman or Thirteen, both of whom have been over-used already, the producers got rid of the only character who held House to any kind of ethical standard or who cared more about the patient than about showing everyone how much smarter she is than they are.

With Cameron gone, Thirteen and Foreman knock-off versions of House, Wilson relegated to a Huddy Pandarus and everyone else in the show turning into House too, what else is there to write than House as a misanthropic bully and more House/Cuddy juvenile game-playing?

House and Cuddy could never work as a functional relationship without major changes in the character of House so the time the show spends on it is just so the more the show unless House. They could have used Broken as a way to move House forward. Instead it's looking more and more like they're using it as a plateau as House and the show get further in to the rut.

Ariadne said...

Castle was quite good last night. I had almost written it off entirely when I saw they were going to have a guy with two wives in the preview but they had a fun, cute take on it.

I agree. Decent mystery and much better character relationships than on this show.

Would you consider reviewing it instead of House?

Chris said...

Ariadne said

"With Cameron gone... what else is there to write than House as a misanthropic bully and more House/Cuddy juvenile game-playing?"

They were like that even when Cameron was on the show so her presence didn't really make a difference in that respect. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Olivia Wilde has been one of the show's biggest casting mistakes and 13 is one of the worst characters on TV at the moment.

House and Wilson save this show: it's as simple as that. And before Lucas came along, House and Cuddy's sexual banter was a hoot. Get rid of Lucas yesterday!

Susan said...

Alan,

Walk away. I did after the season opener. The writing used to be good, really good. And I was drawn back to the "Hugh Laurie is phenomenal in the first episode." But although he was good, the writing sucked. The other characters also leave me bored now. And as you said, there just isn't enough screentime with Wilson.

Anonymous said...

House "officially" sucks now--bad writing (see SNL)

Anonymous said...

I saw House this week not getting his usual kick out of his manipulations and genuine hurt with the Cuddy prank and the rejection of his peace offering. You could see him relate to the patient wondering if it might not be a better world if he weren't a genius.

Ariadne said...

And before Lucas came along, House and Cuddy's sexual banter was a hoot.

Chris, I think House and Cuddy's sexual banter stopped being a hoot by late season 3 when they started shipping House with Cuddy and surgically removed her brains and backbone to do it. Season 1 and 2 they were great but the combination ofjuvenile behavior from them both (the stink bomb in House's office, the trip wire, the game playing) combined with every random person from the SWAT leader to the priest to the Locked in patient to random interns saying how much House and Cuddy want each other (do they think the audience is stupid and would have missed it otherwise?) have made this the phoniest and most unpleasant relationship on TV for me.

If they can't write House in a reasonable relationship, and it looks like they can't, I think they should have left House alone and solitary with only Wilson to share rocking chair space on his porch, snarking at those foolish enough to be looking for love.

Anonymous said...

The thing is House execs could save the House&Cuddy ship by taking a page from Hill Street Blues Frank&Joyce. You don't need the constant boob jokes and pranks. These are two intelligent people who are constantly being "DUMBED DOWN" for no good reason. Both HL & LE are more than capable of pulling off an interesting, dysfuntional relationship with each other that actually WORKS without losing what makes each character unique, but first the constant will they, won't they crap needs to stop. Put them together, let them struggle with each other and their issues in a REALISTIC WAY as well as showing us some more great clinic pt's, House&Wilson w/o the Huddy matchmaking,an interesting POTW, AND the death of Foreman/13 relationship while making sure to keep Chase on House's team! Finally I hope TPTB read some of the posts on this site and reconsider the path they are going down.

Vita said...

I really loved the new energy this season - sparked, IMO, with Jesse Spencer's performance giving the show a little kick. I was definitely disappointed with the last couple of episodes - the one where Cameron left moreso than this week's, which at least had some clever bits with Taub using Chase's punch for his own benefit, etc. The previous episode had none of that, and not surprisingly since Eli Attie is terrible at writing major plot points and yet they keep handing them to him.

I wasn't thrilled to see Lucas return because I thought he was a terrible, uninteresting character last year, but I thought maybe it was guilt by association with the blah episodes he was in...no, he's still irritating. I think Rachel agreed with me - she gave him the dirtiest look I've ever seen on a toddler.

That said, I really don't get the harping on Thirteen. I don't like her much, either, but she hasn't dominated the story for a while now. She was even - *gasp* - funny and empathetic this week.

All things considered, I do plan to keep watching House. I find that I still enjoy it most of the time (yeah, episode 8, I'm looking at you), and it's one of the few shows I watch where I'm still thinking about what happened days later - for better or for worse. There are lots of other shows that I enjoy, but they're all in the moment and then gone for another week for me. House still forces me to pick it apart and consider the whys - sometimes to its benefit, sometimes to its detriment.

Anonymous said...

I don't like House, the show or the character. However, I love Wilson and the House/Wilson relationship. I've been watching the 1st 3 mins of Wilson since it was posted several days ago. The first 3 mins are awesome with RSL, HL, and Josh Malina. It's just excellent. No fat, ALL MEAT. With the Wilson episode, we're going to get all the things I loved about House - medical mystery, medical ethics, House/Wilson, Wilson/POTW, and some delving into the always puzzling Wilson - apparently House's greatest puzzle.

Graeme said...

I understand the rationale for dropping it from regular review, I even agree with you doing so. I guess what puzzles me is the idea that there is any moving the goalposts on the part of the creators of House.

House is a sociopath, without affect or emotion. He is incapable of change or growth. The procedural works precisely because House is a sociopath and House can make those lateral leaps that those with a conscience could not.

"Broken" was beautiful, wonderful television, but it was like everything in House-- the Ketamine treatment, villains like Tritter and Voger, House's ex-wife, Wilson leaving House, House having delusions-- nothing more than the illusion of change posing as a threat to destablize the status quo. The truth is the status quo can never be changed. House is a sociopath. House cannot change, grow or evolve.

I'm disappointed in the lack of progress from "Broken" because it's kind of the WMD of game-changing illusions and so therefore you hope that this might be the time. But that's the thing about House. He's like an abusive, bad, boyfriend. You hope that this time it will be diferent, only it never is.

Also, I don't get the hate towards Thirteen. I don't like her, but in all honesty she's no better or worse than Cameron. I've never understand the collective love-in for Jennifer Morrison. Just about everything said about Thirteen could be said for Cameron: a so-so actress playing a starchy not very well-written part.

KatieMB said...

Review or don't review House, that is your choice Alan. Just seems strange that a TV show reviewer would stop reviewing a show because he doesn't like it any more. Almost House-like behavior! ;)

I came back to House this year/season after having gotten very bored with the show the past couple seasons. I was very impressed with the first shows; though there were some problems in those shows, I thought they were very well done, and were a wonderful departure from the House formula. I expected to see House continue therapy as he was interacting with Wilson et al in the hospital. I wasn't expecting huge personality changes in House, but seeing him struggle and grow - even just a bit - seemed compelling and with Hugh Laurie acting, I thought it would be terrific TV viewing. It was the greatest opportunity for House to be rejuvanted and the writers completely squandered it.

Unfortunately, they've slid back into the House formula of previous seasons. Though I don't dislike any of the characters, the predictable approach to the POTW bores me to the point that I barely pay attention to it. While I want to see House and the team uncover what the problem is, does it have to be so predictable? Must they all start bleeding? Or lose feeling in their legs? Or experience heart failure? Can't the writers come up with a new approach (or two) to the POTW?

As I said, I don't mind the characters, I recognize why they're there. Yet they're all relatively boring too. I have no recommendations beyond make them more interesting...please make them more interesting. Like others have said, ENOUGH of the Cuddy/House "ship" - it's unbelieveably boring but if you want them to be together, then DO IT already.

Not giving up yet, but am sad to admit that this season is becoming another blah one for House.

Kate said...

Graeme, I think the difference between Cameron and Thirteen shows just how much the goal posts for the show have changed over the past 3 seasons. (I also think that Jennifer Morrison is a better actor but that's another matter.)

In season 1 and 2, House was a jerk but he wasn't without scruples and there was an underlying vulnerability to him. Cameron was a character who both brought out that vulnerability and self-hatred (such as the scene where he asked her to the monster truck show) but who also contrasted with House and so highlighted what an original creation he was. She cared about the patients as opposed to House who cared about the puzzle foremost and to a smaller extent was affected by the patients. And more than anything, she held House's feet to the ethical fire so that House's rule-breaking stood out from the background and seemed necessary and justified for his patients.

Thirteen is like House and Foreman, a self-absorbed character who is all about what's best for her and only has empathy towards patients who mirror her. Anything subtle or complex has been wiped out. Like Narcissus, the current team (except for possibly for Chase) is a reflection of House and so House becomes more and more outrageous to stand out. And none of the team cares a drop about ethics much less about who the patient is and how their actions will affect him or her. In fact, the patients have now become either background noise or anvils for the soap opera of the personal lives of the characters on the show.

At this point, the character of House who was there in the first seasons, who had the potential to grow as a person, is gone in spite of his time in Mayfield. He's crueler, more spiteful and more selfish than he was before and also more ordinary. Increasingly the brilliant deductions seem like something pulled out of a writer's hat at the end of the episode rather than something that is set up. Instead of preventing the show from becoming boring in the formula, the new team and the new version of Cuddy have made the formula even more basic and less complex.

Tonight's episode should be good because it's by David Foster who I think is the one writer still on the staff who writes medical drama rather than farce or Harlequin romance. But even Hugh Laurie's acting can't save this show for me, especially since Robert Sean Leonard mostly only turns up to push the Huddy mess.