Wednesday, October 29, 2008

House, "Joy": Mother, may I?

Quick spoilers for last night's "House" coming up just as soon as I score some stepped-on coke...

An episode that started out annoying me to no end with the continued sledgehammer parallels between the patient and the doctors (in this case, Cuddy and Thirteen) took a very welcome left turn about 10 minutes in and turned out to be my favorite of the season. Lisa Edelstein now has her Emmy submission episode, and as awards bait goes, this was really strong. She got to show the full range of emotions as Cuddy dealt with the baby that may or may not have become hers, and she showed them all well. (Just look at that shot up top.)

The case was one of the more interesting ones they've had in a while (and was shot in very un-"House style by veteran "House" director Deran Sarafian), and then...

... I'm not sure whether to be pleased, alarmed or plain disturbed by the House/Cuddy kiss at episode's end. I don't remember whether it's ever been definitively said whether House and Cuddy did hook up in college/med school or if that's just something he likes to say to get her goat, but they have a history, and they have a bond, and they sure as hell have chemistry. But it also seems wrong to see House kissing anyone, even Cuddy. Again, my Swiss cheese memory is at work here, but I don't remember them showing him kissing Sela Ward. Actual physical coupling just seems alien for House. But I want to see how this plays out.

What did everybody else think?


Michael said...

Here's where me watching reruns on TiVo all summer will come in handy!

Once in season 4, House said something, talking about why she hired him, along the lines of "You gave me everything I want because for one night, i gave you everything you--" before she cut him off, though she didn't indicate he was lying.

We saw House kiss Stacy (in Baltimore) and once saw them in bed together, post-coitus (House was called back to the hospital shortly after.)

I'm assuming they won't make the House/Cuddy relationship a serious, devoted relationship right off the bat. THAT would seem crazy, even for this show. But if the characters move there slowly, I think it could work really well.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Thank you very much, Michael! This is one of the best reasons to have a blog: so I don't have to do the research myself.

L-A-Z-E-E, that's me.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Edelstein confirmed in a recent interview that House and Cuddy had a great one night stand but it didn't work out.

I actually am pretty excited about how the kiss and its aftermath will be dealt with. I thought the scene itself was amazing for Laurie and Edelstein - her anger, his confusion ("I don't know"). I never really thought the writers would indulge the flirtation but it looks like they intend to keep this somewhat funny if the preview for next week is any indication.

I've already seen end-of-the-world predictions from viewers (some of whom seem to coincide with House/Cameron fans), which always seem to accompany any change in relationship dynamics. But why bother watching any show if you don't want to see any changes? At worst, the show will cease being great and you'll have one less thing to watch every week. At best, the show can become more interesting, funnier, more dramatic (in a good way), etc.

Anonymous said...

I thought that the episode was terrific. The case itself was interesting enough, I really enjoyed watching Thirteen and Taub score some coke, but Cuddy stole the show. I cried twice during the episode and I've cried about it twice since it ended, so it definitely had the intended emotional impact.

I've wanted to see a House-Cuddy kiss for a long time, it was a good payoff. She has always looked out for House, always has his back, and is always the one doctoring him and sleeping on the chair next to him when he is sick. She's always looking out for his health and well-being, and while she tries to provide a structure for his work she usually winds up trusting him, or forgiving him, in the end. And he's obviously into her, and has been for a long time. I, for one, would be delighted if they eventually became an odd couple, I've always kind of expected that that's where the show would go - that for House (who acknowledged last season how tired he was of being miserable) to grow as a person and be inspired to improve his quality of life, he needs someone like Cuddy by his side. I thought it was a great moment when he kissed her.

Mr. Shara Says and I were discussing House's motivations in kissing her last night. We both agreed that the kiss was genuine, and represented that he did care for her. However, we're expecting House's defense mechanisms to kick into overdrive after this moment of intimacy. He probably could have had sex with her if he had chosen to - she was very vulnerable and needed comfort, but he kissed her and walked away. In that way, he acted like a 'gentleman' but that will give him freedom to give her a seriously hard time about it next week. He's definitely not ready for a relationship with her, but this incident will surely not be ignored.

According to Wikipedia, that episode where he claimed the past one-night-stand was called Top Secret.

Anonymous said...

Actually the "one night I gave you everything ..." was during Season Three's "Top Secret."

I don't expect, or particularly want, a House/Cuddy long term relationship (I ship House/Vicodin), but considering their history and their long term love/hate relationship -- along with House's always dysfunctional sense of human relations -- I'm happy to see them explore it.

It's also interesting that in an episode in which everyone loses and finds "joy," that House, who, according to Wilson "spreads misery," would make his move at a time when Cuddy is at her most miserable, and he's just witnesses his patients regain joy out of what had been a miserable existence.

Anonymous said...

I was watching on my DVR and it cut off right before the very end. I've since seen the last 30 seconds online, but would it kill Fox to have the show end on time??

Sara Ann said...

I ship House/Vicodin.

Hah! It is his most committed, long-term relationship. And you really see him open up to Vicodin in a way he never has with Cuddy or Cameron or whoever else...

The kiss (The Kiss?) felt a little too TV for me, if you know what I mean. TV characters have to be careful never to have strong emotions while alone with an important cast member of the opposite sex (or, for women, even a cast member of the same sex), lest they fall prey to the TV Rule of Hookups, which dictates that any two characters can hook up at any time so long as one of them is having strong emotions (especially romance-unrelated ones) at the moment. House being a jerk about someone else making a life change, especially a happy one, I buy, and I don't need some ulterior, shippy motive for it. House and Cuddy getting "huh?" face and falling into each others' arms felt contrived. It's not that I can't conceive it for the two characters, it's just that I felt that the show didn't really earn it. An earned kiss between those two I could very possibly enjoy. As it is...whatever, show.

Anonymous said...

I actually bought the kiss and was pleased to see House be something other than an a-hole to Cuddy for a brief moment. I would love to see them slowly evolve into a romantic couple. Sloooowly. Especially with Wilson providing commentary on it.

val said...

I don't know, I was a bit disturbed by the kiss. I mean, it was a long time coming but still...I was a little grossed out. (sounding like a 13 year old here hearing about her parents having sex for the first time).

Hatfield said...

I've gotten so used to reading this blog after watching some of my favorite shows that, after Taub and Thirteen made the clumsy connection between the single dad patient and Cuddy's impending single-motherhood, I was irritated and thought, "Oh, Alan's gonna hate this." Great, reading this blog has turned me sycophantic automaton. I hope you're happy!

Back to the really was the strongest of the season, for all the reasons listed above, and it was painful to watch the young mother change her mind. Great job by Edelstein as her face and demeanor change as she realizes what's about to happen. As for the kiss, I buy it. House has always been a slave to his manipulative impulses because he's the ultimate amateur sociologist--all that interests him is why people do what they do and if he can affect that. They have such a history together that she throws it back in his face and suddenly he wants her, because who else could he ever be interested in but a woman who sees him for who he is, even if he frequently tries to deny it? It'll be a real challenge for the writers to make this play out the right way (whatever that is) and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Zac F. said...

No mention on Wilson breaking the fourth wall on his commentary about House getting that look of recognition in his eye and then getting up and walking out of the room without saying anything? Easily my laugh out loud moment of the episode.

I also loved Taub and Thirteen scoring some cocaine especially Thirteen scoring the really good stuff.

Is it me or did the cinematographer want to show Olivia Wilde's body as much as possible? I'm not complaining by any means, but it seemed like any shot of her in tight jeans and a tight t-shirt was a full profile shot.

Have we heard anyone call Cuddy by her first name, Lisa, before? That threw me for a loop.

Mrglass said...

Amazing episode. I just wish Alan would spend more time analizing 'House' this year, for our pleasure (bundle its review with the awful 'Fringe' last week, really?).

Joan said...

Excellent, heart-wrenching episode. Kudos should also go to the actress who played the baby-mother, as well.

L-A-Z-E-E, that's me.

God love you, Alan, if there's one thing you're not, it's lazy! You just use all the resources available to you -- including blog readers -- very efficiently.

Mapeel said...

When House does his thing with Wilson--being the self-appointed voice of critique and "I'm going to tell you who you are"--it makes sense because they are friends. And it's the strange nature of this friendship that is compelling.

But the writers have kept Cuddy and House far apart for a long time now. His digging in and trying to "teach" her that she's not ready to be a mother was beyond obnoxious to someone he no longer has any emotional intimacy with (even in House terms).

Of course, now with The Kiss, they will go another round of push me/pull you.

jcpdiesel21 said...

All of the Cuddy-related stuff in this episode was good, but it felt a little rushed. I would have liked to see the possible adoption of Joy and its fallout play over at least a couple of episodes, so both the emotions and the House/Cuddy kiss could have felt more earned.

I wasn't very interested in the patient of the week case. And I used to really love House as a lovable jerk, but he's crossed the line too much to become an insufferable ass lately that I no longer enjoy watching him or the show nearly as much, so I think this is going to be my last episode. I could tell that I was over the show when I got the most pleasure out of Wilson's sarcastic comments to House and Thirteen calling him obnoxious when he dragged out his sentences to get the team to say what he was thinking in differential.

gack said...

I though the episode was fabulous. That said, I do not want Cuddy and House together. Would that, in any dimension, end well?

House is not going to turn into a soft, cuddly boyfriend for Cuddy. I don't think Cuddy could put up with all his games in an intimate relationship (or wouldn't they have gotten past a one night stand by now already?).

I can't see how House could be in any kind of committed relationship (besides with the Vicodin, lol) without changing the character into something I probably wouldn't want to watch.

Kind of the drama version of making Barney a good boyfiend (typo, but I'm keeping it) to Robin on HIMYM.

I don't want either of them to change for a woman.

Patrick said...

This is the first episode of House that I've ever watched. I liked it a lot and will continue to watch. I don't have the time to go back and watch the DVDs (I've tried to with other shows, but it never happens.)

I got the impression from people that this was more of a comedy than last nights episode. Are the episodes normally this intense and serious?

Hal Incandenza said...

Alan, was that a Quantum Leap reference? If so: awesome.

Very good ep (though not, I don't think, as strong as the Wilson-House road trip episode).

Wilson's hilarious meta-comment aside, they really do need to find a better way to handle the "a ha!" moments at the end.

Is it too much to ask for--every once in a while--a scene with him sitting as a desk and reading a file (or, god forbid, actually doing some lab work) when he cracks it?

kat said...

Pat, season 1 episodes were routinely quite serious and intense, even though House himself is a caustic character, brilliant and funny even though the situations often were not.

Season 4 became ridiculous in the humor of the episodes and, IMO, the show forgot that it was actually a drama. They seem to be coming back to the dramatic elements which is a good thing.

Karen said...

Like 10:26 Anonymous, my DVR cut off just as the kiss ended and Cuddy and House pulled back to look at each other. I don't care if shows go over, I just wish they'd be honest about it, so that the DVRs don't lose the show. It's not going to make me watch it live, it's just going to piss me off.

So, if anyone would like to fill in Anonymous and me, I'm sure we'd be very grateful. I must say that no one has ever come through for me on such a request before, though!

I've never been a shipper with House and anyone (HATED House/Cameron, HATED House/Stacy), but I did cry out "It's about TIME!" when the kiss happened. House's confused, whispered "I don't know" made me wonder if it it was coming, and I was so glad when it arrived. Those two have had just crazy chemistry from the start.

I agree with Shara Says, though, and believe that House's defense mechanisms will sabotage it.

Anonymous said...

I found the baby storyline really irritating--it was clear that Cuddy wasn't going to get the baby for some reason. but Edelstein's acting, even when having to do ridiculous things like beg a baby to breathe rather than direct it to the NICU, along with the heartbreaking reason she lost the baby--because she was too happy--redeemed it.

I saw House's visit to her, and his bewildered answer to her question about why he always negates things: "I don't know" as acknowledging his own anhedonia, like the patients in the case.

Pamela Jaye said...

was *what* a Quantum Leap reference?

am I going to feel stupid I didn't notice it?

I did love the meta, but it's not new - Wilson was doing the "oh is this the part when you...?" way back when Chase's dad came to visit (and I could still remember the titles of the episodes... or the plots for that matter)

It's not quite as much breaking the 4th wall as Alan Shore's "I haven't seen you much this episode" or Denny Crane's "if you were the new guys, you'd have been in the season premiere" (and honestly? I miss those!)

As for House being more of an ass than anything else, I can live with it as long as you give me mysteries and PLEASE - Wilson. He's cute and I love his humor. I noticed the cute second, btw. (end of last season, I could have gotten a crush if I'd wanted to)

Pamela Jaye said...

they kissed, they pulled away, House said goodnight and walked out the door, Cuddy said goodnight and walked down the hall.

Unfortunately, I cannot describe their expressions while any of this was going on. Especially Cuddy's. And their expressions were part of the impact of the scene.
Sorry. (it's possible Cuddy looked a little confused, and then back to devasted - or not)

Anonymous said...

I liked the episode, but did anyone else *hate* the direction?

To start with, the camera work was really annoying and smacked of a film student trying every trick in the book for no reason other than to do it (I was suprised to read that the director was a 'veteran').

And I thought that while the actress who plays Cuddy is always great no matter what the material, I found that she played too passive when House was barating her. It's hard to believe that Cuddy is a human being with the most basic level of self respect when she just lowers her eyes when House claims that she wants to kill her adoptive baby.

Of course, this is due also to script problems, since the writers seem to completely lose perspective on both the show's self-referential tendencies, and House's ability to get away with being an ass while people still care about him.

I understand that they're trying to avoid (at any cost) 'softening' of the character, but it's starting to feel transparent, more like process than storytelling.

It seems like when Cuddy finally fought back at the end (before the kiss), it was suddenly clear that the only reason she hadn't fought back before was merely to preserve the drama of the moment at the end. It should have been a climax moment for the episode, but I just rolled my eyes.

In this episode, the show just seemed really self-important and full of itself for the first time. It's ironic, in attempting to avoid some of the tropes of other modern TV shows, they've completely fallen into the worst thing that can happen to a TV show: being obliviously self-conscious to the point where I'm thinking about what the writers are thinking rather than what the characters are thinking.

K J Gillenwater said...

"House is not going to turn into a soft, cuddly boyfriend for Cuddy. I don't think Cuddy could put up with all his games in an intimate relationship"

I'm going with real life experiences here. I've always seen House as the annoying boy in 3rd grade who treats the girl he likes the worst. Makes her life a living hell. This is what he does to Cuddy constantly. A messed up dude like House will never be cuddly on to the outside world. He will most likely only be vulnerable with people very, very close to he was with cancer doctor. He will open up with him, because he trusts him. I think over the years, he has begun to put some trust in Cuddy's feelings for him.

What got me was the look on his face when she told him she was adopting a child. I knew at that instant that he was devastated she wouldn't have chosen him if she was so lonely and wanting love in her life...or that he possibly wouldn't be her choice for the father of her children. He WANTS a cuddly relationship....we've seen that with his ex. He loved her. He cared for her. He was not a constant ass to her while they were that 'nice' and 'loving' side is inside, just buried very very deep.

No, House will never be cuddly. But Lisa wouldn't want him to be cuddly. I think of House as more of the devoted type. Who'd joke about his wife to everyone else, but when they are alone, he is dedicated to her.

I LOVE where this is going.

"ridiculous things like beg a baby to breathe rather than direct it to the NICU"

Why would they take a baby to the NICU if they haven't even begun to get it to breathe? Every delivery room is equipped with the suction, oxygen, reviving equipment. You don't move a newborn to the NICU until you have an airway established at the very least.

Karen said...

pamela jaye, you are my HERO. Thanks for giving me a sense of what happened, even if it's not exact.

Anonymous said...

@Kristin: Very well said, I totally agree with that assessment. The show would totally jump the shark if House suddenly got all nice and sweet, but I am totally on board with what you described, and I think it would remain very true to the character and be a blast to watch.

olucy said...

I got zapped by my DVR turning off too early a couple of times before I finally remembered to set it to run about 3 minutes longer, just to cover it. Haven't missed an ending since. Wouldn't want to have missed this one.

I'd say "dazed and confused" sums up their expression after the kiss.

Actually, mark, I thought Cuddy's responses to House were understandable. She's known him FOREVER (on and off since college). If he could still raise her ire after every one of his antics she'd look ridiculous. And since he was baiting her by trying to show she wasn't ready for motherhood, I thought she showed considerable constraint in not rising to the bait (and giving him what he wanted).

Anonymous said...

One of my least fav eppys. Just a notch above ODOR, which I hated.

Cuddy's baby mama drama was a complete turn-off. I liked the other case but there wasn't enough meat to it.

The kiss? very nasty. I don't know if the TPTB realizes this but "prolonged open-mouth kissing" only works when the [arties are extremely attractive.

And way to go with unethical Cuddy.

olucy said...

Karen, the ending is on You Tube. Catch it while you can.

Pamela Jaye said...

just the ending? cause if so, cool use of youtube.

olucy said...

yes. you can YT the kiss and see it play out til the end.

Anonymous said...

As someone above said, very unethical behaviour on Cuddy's part. Does anyone on the show any more know how to look up ethics in the AMA guidelines? Do they care?

I'm glad LE got her Emmy nomination episode. Can it stop now please?

Ever since they started shipping Cuddy with House at the end of season 2, her character has grown weaker and weaker. She has no control of House any more, worse is that she appears to love what he does to her.

Meanwhile House has got more immature and nastier. Their interactions are no longer pleasant to watch. I want the House and Cuddy of season 1 back please. I can't see any relationship working between them unless House grows up and changes, a lot.

As for the kiss, it looked like they were both desperate and trying to make sure everyone in the gallery could see passion. Better than the House/Stacy kiss, more obvious acting than the House/Cameron one. Hugh Laurie should be given a note excusing him from love scenes.

Anonymous said...

Pamela- from my count they still do at least a one liner on Boston legal every episode. The one I just watched (the dude ranch) had Alan saying "You don't get to talk, you're just an extra."

I didn't really love this episode of House, although I did LOL at Kal asking for a pseudonym and House putting "Jones" as his name. The idea that they didn't find cocaine in the dad's blood immediately and that 13 is so screwed up not to notice that the daughters behavior is SO odd that perhaps it merits further attention just put me too far into irksome.

And I knew they wouldn't give Cuddy a baby right off in one episode, but I do agree she did play it wonderfully.


Anonymous said...

What happened to CLINIC DUTY?????
That's where most of the comedy was and a nice break from the drama.
Won't talk about this episode because I am a House/Stacy shipper.
BTW, House and Stacy were never married.