Wednesday, November 21, 2007

House: Now you see him, now you don't

Spoilers for "House" coming up just as soon as I figure out who won our "When does someone finally have lupus?" pool...

A good episode for the most part, with the Cuddy's thong subplot providing Hugh Laurie the opportunity for many, many hilarious moments. (My favorite being the back-to-back scenes where he realizes that Big Love did, in fact, get Cuddy's thong.) I'll miss Big Love, as I thought the actor and character bounced better off of Laurie/House than some of the remaining people, but then, I still wish Scooter was here.

Now that the contest has only one episode/firing to go, though, I want to focus more on that than the episode itself. (Though feel free to discuss it in the comments if you want. The Wilson/House foosball game was another nice moment.)

I'm still annoyed that the representatives of the final three actors leaked the news to the tabloids, as it's sucked some suspense from the last batch of episodes. But for a thought exercise, let's pretend none of us knows who's staying and who's going, and let's look at these final four to decide who should stay and who should go.

(Note: while we knew Taub's specialty, the other ones -- not to mention some of the first names -- come from a Fox press release.)

Thirteen (Olivia Wilde)
Specialty: Internal medicine
Pros: More willing to stand up to House and less vulnerable to his mindgames than anyone, including the Cottages 1.0. House's frustration with his inability to manipulate her gives Hugh Laurie some amusing notes to play. Medically-speaking, has been right more often than anybody who's left. And I don't object to having Olivia Wilde on my television screen.
Cons: Finding out about her possible Huntington's diagnosis takes away a lot of the character's mystery, both for us and for House. While she inspires funny moments from House, she herself isn't that funny.

Amber/Cutthroat Bitch (Anne Dudek)
Specialty: Interventional radiology
Pros: The writers love her; without having put a stopwatch on it, I would guess she's had the most screen time/dialogue of any of the remaining candidates. Her ruthlessness provides lots of possibilities to toy with the series' standard formula. She and Taub have nice chemistry together. Brilliant (if completely inappropriate) nickname. I don't object to having Anne Dudek on my television screen.
Cons: Once she has the job, what is there for her to be cutthroat about? While Foreman was arguably first among equals in the original configuration, there's no real room for advancement within the team. How amusing is she if she doesn't have a goal to achieve? She and Taub may be redundant. Kind of cartoonish.

Chris Taub/Mini-Stud (Peter Jacobson)
Specialty: Plastic surgery
Pros: Jacobson's a strong, funny actor who plays well off everybody. As a near-contemporary of House and someone who was very accomplished in his own field (albeit a less-respected one), not to mention someone of independent means, he can stand up to House in ways the others can't or won't. Has nice chemistry with Amber, but also has a moral complexity she lacks, making him more unpredictable.
Cons: "Chris" Taub? Huh? There may be Jews out there named Chris, but I've never met any. Again, do you need both him and Amber?

Lawrence Kutner (Kal Penn)
Specialty: Rehabilitative and sports medicine
Pros: He's played by Kal Penn. Kal Penn is awesome and needs to be in my viewing life more often. his enthusiasm and recklessness provide colors that nobody else on the show provides, whether the original Cottages or these newbies. Funny.
Cons: By far the biggest screw-up left; even though he was right several times in this episode, the others have seemed much more on the ball, and none of them have lit patients on fire. I feel like we know far less about him than any of the other remaining candidates (not to mention past firees like Scooter, Grumpy and Big Love). He doesn't even have a nickname, for gosh sakes.

If I got to choose, I'd probably pick Amber, Taub and Kutner. What say you?


Anonymous said...

If I had to pick, I'd bring back Scooter and Big Love and team them up with Amber.

Sadly, any other combination seems a bit blah.

Anonymous said...

Why are Dr. House's comments 100% sexual innuendo this season? And the thong? Where's the EEOC when you need it?

I saw a Mad TV combined spoof of HOUSE/GREY'S ANATOMY where the Kate Walsh character said to the Hugh Laurie character (played by the incredible Michael McDonald), "GREY'S ANATOMY is written by women for women." The Laurie character responded, "And HOUSE is written by men for women who love abusive men." That's not a spoof anymore, that's the truth.

Anonymous said...

If I had to pick, I'd keep Amber, Scooter, and Kumar. I hate Plastic Surgeon guy, I liked 13, until last night, and I was completely unimpressed by Big Love.

Whatever, I miss Chase. Bring him back more.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised, I've actually managed to remain unspoiled on this one. Of the three that are left, I'd get rid of Kal Penn. I just don't find him that awesome.

Dave Jacob said...

I'm glad other people calls call him Kumar, too.

Of the current people? Thirteen, Kumar and Mini-Stud. Cutthroat Bitch's role is being a cutthroat bitch to get the job. Where do you go that's up from being on House's team? You don't get to be Wilson or Cuddy from there, Foreman's bid to being his own House failed because people who aren't Cuddy won't put up with a House, and Chase and Cameron have (within the context of the show; I'm sure their paychecks are bigger) lesser jobs now than when they were House's sounding boards. There' just no place for her once the firing is done.

Bix said...

FYI-Amber's last name is Volakis.

Anonymous said...

So do we think Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison will be with the show past this season? I really didn't miss them at all last night and I can't imagine they're happy with the little to no screentime they're getting now.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain House's reason for firing Big Love? He got the thong and House never said how it can or cannot be obtained.

olucy said...

Cutthroat Bitch, Kumar and Mini-Stud would be my choices, too. So what if there's no promotability once you're on House's team? People take jobs like that as a stepping stone to bigger jobs at OTHER hospitals. Working for House for awhile would look great on any resume. And I could see her continuing to be cutthroat to always prove she's right. I think the character has a lot more potential (both comedic and dramatic) than 13, who is kinda boring.

Anonymous said...

It was obvious why Cuddy would want Kutner gone, but what about Cutthroat Bitch? Did she have Big Love put her up simply because she thought House would be more likely to get rid of Kutner over her or is there a reason why Cuddy might want CB gone too that we don't know about?

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain House's reason for firing Big Love? He got the thong and House never said how it can or cannot be obtained.

The whole point was to get around Cuddy, not to be under her thumb. Big Love conspired with Cuddy which is not taken lightly by House.

He already has Forman doing Cuddy's bidding, he doesn't need someone else on his team playing by her rules when it suits him.

Anonymous said...

Jacobson was great on The Lost Room, which apparently nobody watched but me.

Taleena said...

I'd bring along the two boys but I could care less about either girl.

I think Kumar and Mini Stud are both entertaining and I wish it was them plus someone new - or Scooter.

If it makes you feel better pretend Taub's name is Chaim and he goes by Chris to comfort his WASP clients or get along in the Ivy Leagues.

brian said...

I was under the impression that he was only keeping two now that Foreman is back. So it will be House and the three with Foreman operating as some sort of foreman of the underlings?

I'd jettison Cut-throat because she's the most one-dimensional. I agree that Kumar has been pretty boring, but hopefully this allows him room to grow.

Anonymous said...

Please.... anybody except CTB.

So far, I've also managed to remain "unspoiled", but I'm guessing "13" will be the one to go.

Anonymous said...

I think naming Taub "Chris" comes from TV producers' desire not to make anybody "too" Jewish. (It's interesting how few TV doctors have Jewish names, compared to real-life doctors -- or real-life TV writers, for that matter.) On the other hand, "Lawrence Kutner" does sound Jewish, and the part was probably written that way before they found out they could get Kal Penn.

Meanwhile, did they give Cutthroat Bitch the name "Amber" as a joke? It's kind of funny that her real name is so girly.

I really liked 13's attitude toward her possible Huntington's. I've seen similar stories on other medical shows, and it's usually drawn out into a long, emotional travail that eventually results in the patient having the diagnosis. (Though I was surprised House didn't make the point that as a doctor who wants to specialize in diagnostic medicine, she should know what's going on in her own body.)

Given the show's penchant for unusual conditions, it made sense that when they finally had someone's diagnosis be lupus, it was a man. Although men can have the condition, 90 percent of those under 50 are women.

One more thing I noticed in this episode: The "Zodiac" fortune-telling machine in the magician's home was actually an altered Zoltan -- a classic machine that was the inspiration for "Zoltar Speaks" in the movie "Big."

Hyde said...

I agree with you that Amber and Taub have developed a little chemistry, and if one makes it, he or she would be better served by the other also making it.

I disagree that the revelation about Thirteen makes her less likely to be chosen; on the contrary, it gives viewers a stake in her that we don't have in any of the others. Throw in the relationship with House, something none of the others yet have, and she's the closest thing to a shoo-in.

Anonymous said...

How about 13 gets the job but then dies at the end of the season and they bring in the fourth as her replacement? 13 supposed to be some sort of joke about her having bad luck? And will we EVER find out her name?

Anonymous said...

I thought this was the worst episode of a so far pretty strong season. The thong bit wasn't funny enough to make up for how offensive it was, the patient of the week wasn't all that interesting (guess that's why they didn't do lupus before now) and I liked Big Love. The character got royally screwed, losing his job and his friend all at once.

I was ambivalent towards 13 before last night, but now I emphatically hope she won't get chosen (although, TV being TV, she probably will be). She's just another pretty girl for House to dither about whether he'd rather get in her head or in her pants; it's been done. Instead of Cameron's Poor Dead Husband we now have 13's Potentially Dead Self. Yawn.

My guesses are Wilde, Dudek and Penn.

Rand said...

I'm actually tired by Thirteen as well, especially since I don't know if they can really develop her character over the long term. I'd like to have 3 new people who actually have character development potential. I can see Mini-Stud and to some degree Kumar having some of that potential though I'm not thrilled with them. I do miss Big Love, his exit was actually pretty interesting and tragic, but while I feel bad for the character it was an earned tragedy. Still I think over the long term Big Love would have been more interesting.

Overall for the episode it was pretty good. I liked the magician because well I just think magic's cool (although not so much with tv magicians, although if they had a show about a drama about a working magician I'd probably watch that) Although I agree it seems like House has upped the sexual innuendo a bit too much this season.

However, while I certainly think House is written for women who love abusive men, but heck it's written for men who love abusive men too. House is supposed to be a jackass, but the fact that he gets cut down to size every now and then makes it more than just a celebration of jackassery. I love the fact that he never found out the magician's trick (although did it seem to anyone else that there was a long period during the episode where the patient just seemed really absent while everyone talked about him and what they were doing to him?).

Alan Sepinwall said...

(although did it seem to anyone else that there was a long period during the episode where the patient just seemed really absent while everyone talked about him and what they were doing to him?).

No, I noticed that, too. Felt like either there was some kind of production problem that kept them from filming a lot of the usual "Oh my god, he's seizing!" scenes, or else the episode was running really long and they decided to sacrifice those in favor of more candidate interaction.

J said...

If it were up to me, I'd pull a Bachelor and sack the lot of them. Not because I don't like the remaining four -- and c'mon, there's plenty of stuff they can do once it's time to explore how they function as a unit (CTB's ruthlessness vs. Kumar's goofball would be a fun dynamic). But because I've enjoyed the process so much. Fresh Meat=Good Times.

(Worst case scenario, the show's just worth watching for five minutes of House-Wilson interaction. They should get together with Shatner and Spader, start a poker game.)

Was only disappointed in this episode because it didn't follow through with its whole "where's the magic" theme. I pretty much figured it was Big Love's last episode when he was beat up on stage at the beginning for not having a sense of humor. As the various parties tried to bribe him, I started thinking he'd remove himself at the end, doing the Foreman thing, not wanting to become a mini-House. And then he'd exit, and House would never find out how he got Cuddy's thong.

(I wasn't bothered by the thong-stealing as I guess some others were. For me it was pure Animal House juvenalia, undermining authority though underwear. Which is frat boy stuff, sure, but it wasn't fetishized.)

afoglia said...

This episode was weak. First, the magician's act sucked. Was he honestly complaining that the guy he brought up was acting as a straight man and not going for the funny lines? The insults of the Amazing Jonathan, but without any of the wit!

Why didn't Big Love point out that he did do as House asked--he did sneak around a superior doctor, only it was House, not Cuddy. It probably wouldn't have helped, but it's a good point to make.

Worst of all, they completely got the medicine wrong again. The second time in two weeks. First of all, type AB blood means your blood cells have both A- and B-proteins on their walls. So having anti-A and anti-B antibodies would make him type O, not AB.

Do they even have a medical advisor?

Anyway, as for the remaining contestants, I don't like 13 at all. She's boring eye candy. Plus, her character can easily become another Cameron and hold a torch for House. I want Cutthroat Bitch to cut her throat.

I like Cutthroat Bitch. Yes, there's the problem of how her character will ask once the competition is over, but that's also an opportunity. How will Taub and Kutner react? Will they trust her, or think she's trying to make them look bad?

PS: bigted, I must be the only one who thinks if anything, they named her Amber after the reality-show regulars Rob-and-Amber. It was either that or Omarosa.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I am SO not a medical person, but I thought the explanation was that he was really type A with B properties in there b/c of some funky condition. Which means, he should have gotten A type blood???

Would someone please explain that....???

Anonymous said...

If there was a universe in which I could pick Thirteen three times, then that would be my choice.

As that is sadly not a possibility, I will take Thirteen, Taub, and Kutner.

Amber is annoying/not funny.


black magic woman said...

Kumar (Kal Penn) has a medical problem where he is shaking. It happened twice in this week's episode. It could have been caffeine withdrawal, but I'm wondering if House will point that out in next week's ep. That might be the reason he is kicked out. House may end up with 2 women on the team.

Anonymous said...

Did I get that right? The magician was performing in Atlantic City ... and they took him to a hospital in Princeton?

Luca Giacomelli said...

I love cut throat Bitch!!



Luca Giacomelli said...

But I'll miss Big Love...

Unknown said...

I'll miss Big Love. My hopeful thinking for the final three was him, Kumar and Amber. Now that he's gone, I'm guessing it's Kumar and Wilde for sure - they're the biggest names on the casting list. I've never seen Peter Jacobsen in anything else but I really like him here. I love Amber, though. I can't stand 13 - she's so boring and I couldn't care less about her interaction with House and the possible Huntington's. Yawn. So basically, I'm undecided.

I would like more Chase, though!