Wednesday, November 12, 2008

House, "The Itch": Two steps forward, one step back

Brief spoilers for last night's "House" coming up just as soon as I clear out a drawer for my special lady friend...

I'm guessing the Cameron/Chase 'shippers will be happy with "The Itch," and the House/Cuddy 'shippers only slightly less. The patient of the week(*) took a decided backseat to romantic angst for various characters, as Chase tried to explain to Cameron that their relationship isn't as perfect as she thinks, and as Wilson tried to hurl House and Cuddy at each other by any means necessary.

(*) Said patient was played by Todd Louiso, whose appearance always makes me think of him dropping an air-conditioner on Tim Robbins' head in "High Fidelity" -- or else of him lecturing Jerry Maguire about jazz. Always nice to see him working.

But as someone who doesn't really miss Chase and Cameron now that they've been reduced to background noise, and who can go either way on a Cuddy/House romance, "The Itch" didn't do a lot for me. The various reactions to House's "I hit that" joke were funny, and this is the kind of storyline that really plays to Robert Sean Leonard's comic strengths, but I watched it a week ago on a review screener and can already remember very little about it, save that it left me feeling unsatisfied.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

Did anything happen at the end. Once again, I forgot to extend my DVR timer. Really need to do that soon. Only saw when the shut-in started to walk out and House was looking into Cuddy's window.

K J Gillenwater said...

Shut in kept walking, House turned around and left. Shows you who the courageous one was in that bit.

I really like the House/Cuddy thing going on. I'm tired of House doing the 'alone and miserable' thing and would like to see what this guy would be like in ANY sort of relationship at this point. Just to stretch his character a bit.

RSL was awesome.

Loved that when House sort of told the truth about what happened between him and Cuddy, no one believed him...except RSL.

I also tried to decide how much surgical finesse Taub could have after being a plastic surgeon for so many years. Can just any surgeon dive in and do that type of surgery???

tabernacle said...

^"But as someone who can go either way on a Cuddy/House romance--"

"Like 13! Like 13! Like 13!"

[spirit of Pam Beesly leaves my body]

Anonymous said...

@T: I'm mentally high fiving you for that.

I enjoyed the various character moments and it was nice to see Cameron and Chase as a bigger part of the story again, but the POTW was the highlight for me. Todd Louiso was the best part of the episode. He always makes me smile.

Anonymous said...

I am liking the House/Cuddy dynamic, although it could become trite. I <3 Robert Sean Leonard, so good to see more of him lately. The Cameron/Chase thing has been boring from the get-go. Give it up already. I like chase and would like to see more of him, but Cameron is driving me crazy at this point. Agreed about Todd Louiso - would like to see him doing something more prominent. He could be the central character in a sitcom and I would watch it.

J said...

I honestly couldn't give a good cold compress to who diddles whom on this show. House is about (1) people insulting each other and (2) whacked-out medical shit. If we have to waste any time on anyone's love life, it should be Don Rickles', and he should have a serious case of horse syphilis.

This is everything positive I have to say about this episode: Cameron's hair looked better, or maybe I've gotten used to it.

Anonymous said...

I'm on board for a slow lead-up to a House/Cuddy romance, so this ep was okay by me. Plus: Todd Louiso! He rules! And Wilson was fantastic in his matchmaking attempts.

Don't care about Cameron/Chase, except it always reminds me that the two actors were once engaged and now aren't, so instead of thinking about the characters, I'm thiking about the professionalism of the actors, which is my own prob, I realize.

Anonymous said...

Not a bad episode, but I have to wonder why are Cameron and Chase still on the show?

Karen said...

I was a little disappointed by the ending, with House looking in at Cuddy and then walking away. Not because of the emotional weight of the scene, such as it was, but because it seemed like a blatant repeat of the scene where House walks by the restaurant/bar where, after being told he needs to relate to his team more, he sees Cameron, Chase, and Foreman making merry together--and then walks away. Was that the end of season 1? Of season 2? I can't remember any more.

But it did make the action feel like a been there, done that sort of moment. I suppose some could say that it shows consistency on House's part, and I guess I'd have been fine with learning later that this was what House had done, but setting up the scene logistically the exact same way bugged me.

That being said, I did like the Chase/Cameron resolution, because they're kind of adorable together, but it was tempered by my coruscating hatred for Cameron for telling the patient he was in the hospital when he was in the OR. She's such a pain.

Anonymous said...

That was the end of season three.

I think that's pretty much the way this show works, though. House is always a couple of steps forward and a couple of steps back and he never really moves anywhere at all. Everything goes in circles. I've always thought that we're gonna end the series exactly like we started it.

Alas said...

I miss the investigator guy. Could completely live without Chase and for that matter, RSL.

I had actually thought that RSL was really asking Cuddy out, and only went with the "I'm pushing you two together" after she suggested that he was joking.

tabernacle said...

I would agree with amysa (and thanks for the mental high five! My first ever--heh). The show, by design, has positioned itself in a very particular place on the continuity/[blank]-of-the-week spectrum. It's a procedural, so it naturally falls on the patient-of-the-week side of things. But there are also soap-opera elements--or attempts at character development, if you're feeling generous. _Except_ the whole thing is predicated on House's inability/reluctance to change, so... We get the _illusion_ of forward movement, and then some sort of reset. And _we like it that way_. It's very strange.

I usually tire pretty quickly of shows that don't move forward (case- or enemy-of-the-week), regardless of how good the execution might be. This show, however, is the exception. I think we need the impression of forward momentum, but, at the same time, we don't actually want that much true change. Would you guys agree?

Anonymous said...

Cameron's hair looked better, or maybe I've gotten used to it.
It did. But the closeups, the lighting, and the fact that we haven't seen her on a regular basis for a while were not kind to her skin.

The POTW was really good. Not just in those final 2 minutes, but all throughout the episode.

M said...

My son called me last night during House because he was so enthralled by the dream sequence that so beautifully emulated a Wiley Coyote cartoon. I totally agree and yet nobody seems to have noticed/mentioned it. It was so well done and yet, lost?

Unknown said...

Given the episodes over seasons 4 and 5, I can see why you forgot that this used to be a medical show about adults, not a soap opera or a remake of High School Confidential.

I'm glad Cameron and Chase are back not because of their relationship (which I don't care about) but because this is the first episode in a long time that dealt with ethical dilemmas and adult decisions. I guess it takes getting them back before someone not only tells House he's being unethical but stops him from doing it. House is a much better and more interesting character when he's challenged and neither Cuddy nor the new team seem to do anything any more than flap their hands helplessly at him.

As for the House/Wilson/Cuddy plot, I kept wanting to get back to the patient and the medicine. I'm not interested in House acting as if he's never kissed a girl before or House and Wilson talking in study hall about how hot Cuddy is.

Karen: we don't know if House walked away or went inside at the end of Half-wit. Here he clearly walked away, unable to risk getting out of his misery as Cameron and the patient were doing.

Mapeel said...

RE Cameron and Chase: how weird must this be for Morrison and Spencer. It's bad enough when a relationship with someone you work with doesn't work out, but then to have to act in a relationship with that person for your job--yikes.

Unknown said...

I wish they'd drop the House/Cuddy thing. I'm hoping Michael Weston comes back as Lucas Douglas P.I. and helps end that story arc.

Best part? Dude! The explosion! That was brilliant!

tabernacle said...

Yeah, it's always hot when House does hands-on, doctory things.

Bruce Reid said...

I'm not a shipper for any couple on any show--if two characters have chemistry and the writing makes the hook-up believable then fine, otherwise it's a drag. But Chase is probably my favorite of the original three so it's nice that he had something to do. And that he continues to espouse the pragmatic indifference to taking things personally that still convinces me he's more like House than anyone else on the show.

And agreed that Leonard pretty much owned the episode.

But I was disappointed that the show had the patient leave his self-imposed prison at the end of the episode. Yes, it made a nice contrast with House chickening out, but I miss the earlier seasons' bucking of standards of normalcy. Once upon a time the patient would have given Cameron what for while insisting upon his right to be an asocial shut-in.

The grossly obese patient who refused to acknowledge his weight was a problem (and was right); the poor, put-upon girlfriend who turned out to donate an organ in order to manipulate her lover into a lifetime commitment; the he-everyone-thought-was-a-she teen model who remained blithely unrepentant about seducing his own father; those were patients whose intransigence really stuck with me. And House's own indifference to anything but finding a cure usually had him playing along--didn't he even advise not informing the unaware half-siblings they were relations, since what good would come of it?--which only blurred the traditional moral lines further.

But the show runners have apparently decided that House's amorality is a symptom, not a feature, and are committed to giving us little more than the expected. House hasn't turned into a disappointment or a shadow of its former self yet--the recent episode concerning the death of House's father was as good as they've ever done--but if this is progress color me concerned.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, but... Cameron said she met the shut-in when she treated him for the flu.

How does a shut-in catch the flu?

Anonymous said...

He tried to leave the house to leave flowers on his girlfriend's grave. Maybe that wasn't the first time he did that.

olucy said...

How does a shut-in catch the flu?

Infected pizza delivery people? Infected Peapod delivery people? Infected Jehovah's Witnesses?

Hatfield said...

The nightmare about blowing up the house (House) had me rolling!

J.J. said...

The relationship nonsense and personal story lines are getting out of hand. They've got House. His boss, who has been a handful lately. His friend, with all kinds of baggage. His new team of three (two of which are working through drama in their personal lives). His old team of three (two of whom are dating each other).

Which is fine. It's an hour-long show, and there's nothing wrong with juggling a lot of balls at the same time if you can manage them.

But, in a medical show, you either cure or kill off a patient each week (who we knew nothing of beforehand), meaning you introduce a new pivotal character every single show. They have to introduce us to the Patient Of The Week, they have to suck us in with a bizarre medical condition, they have to create unusual circumstances to handicap the genius doctors with a challenge, they have to give us reason to be interested or amused by the patient's story.

There's just way too much going on. The show worked better when House had his original team, and Cuddy and Wilson didn't bleed over into the rest of the show so much.

Pamela Jaye said...

someone on one of my lists mentioned:

...a glimpse of "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" in House's apartment

I didn't see it, but I only watched the ep once

Anonymous said...

I must say, the ending was really great especially with the music. The episode was satisfying and I always love to see more RSL and the old ducklings.

The only problem I had with the ending was me freaking out that shut-in left the door open. Yes, no one would rob him because he's got two (most likely) deadbolted doors, but still.

olucy said...

I was just at the site to watch the short vids for this week and saw a Heads Up Announcement. The Nov. 25 ep is going to run 1:11.

So for those of you who have been having your DVRs cut out the last 2 minutes, you might want to add a couple extra minutes to tomorrow night and an extra 15 for next week! (end of PSA).