Monday, March 30, 2009

House, "Locked In": Up-down solution

I more or less had my say on tonight's "House" in today's column, but fire away with your own thoughts on whether you wanted more gimmick, less gimmick, etc.


Mac said...

Though at least Mos Def got to think what we've all been thinking -- enough with Foreteen. Can you imagine being "locked in" with Foreman talking about his feelings for his big-foreheaded paramour?

Actually, I liked the episode. And apparently next week's episode is super special too! As things involving Meat Loaf so often are.

The word verification for this post, by the way, is "booedi". I think Blogger is saying, "Boo for firing Edi Gathedi last season instead of Olivia Wilde".

David J. Loehr said...

Maybe the whole Foreteen storyline was building up to this one little metajoke.

At least, that would give them a good reason for it...

Lisabeth Laiken said...

Thanks for referencing "Point of View", I remember watching that as a kid and being amazed at how storytelling works.

I thought it was a good episode, I would say one of the stronger ones this year, but that's not saying much.

And what I really want to know is why has no one given Mos Def his own show!

Mike said...

Funnily enough, my reference for the episode was "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which also dealt with locked-in syndrome.

Girl Detective said...

Why can't Mos Def articulate? Everything he said sounded mumbled and mushy.

I'll give them the break away, as it gave the viewer tension whether he really was in there.

They're making Taub too pathetic.

Mapeel said...

I enjoyed it too. I liked the beach scenes with Island House. It was also another episode dealing with God, and faith, like Hello Kitty. Addressing these big issues is still an interesting part of the House character.

Brandon said...

I thought the direction of the episode was fantastic, but I think the concept's been done much more effectively before (Johnny Got His Gun, MASH, Diving Bell).

I liked Mos Def, but him yelling at his doctor was like watching people yell at the TV screen, which is to say incredibly annoying. A lot of his dialogue bothered me, especially when the writers used his condition as a way to announce the subtext.

christy said...

I actually laughed a lot. I think my favorite was "Would you be telling this story to someone who could walk away?"

The promo for next week had me laughing in derision, though. No spoilers, because there's nothing to give away. It was just like, "it's going to be amazing. Just take our word for it." OK.

olucy said...

I liked the ep a lot, but was completely frustrated with House being OK with Taub stealing Kutner's idea. That whole "He cared enough to lie" is a load of crap.

wv: unmogl. Every CEO in today's economy.

Bix said...

I thought it was funny that Mos Def was nearly unintelligible in the scenes in his head where we saw him talking, but he had to make the effort to be coherent when recording his voice overs for the locked in scenes. Also, is it just me, or was the show uncharacteristically vague in explaining the lifesaving treatment at the end of the episode? His liver was "destroyed," but an unnamed medication fixed the damage? As they've said on the show, there's no dialysis for your liver, and he didn't get a transplant. Are there any medical types here that could determine whether or not the ending was BS or if it to a legitimate treatment that the show didn't mention by name for some reason? They always mention medications by name so it seemed pretty weird to me.

Anonymous said...

Polite Dissent does medical reviews of each House episode after they air. He thought the medicine in this one was terrible.

J.J. said...

I wish they hadn't come up with so many flimsy excuses to leave the 1st person view and give Mos Def standard acting scenes. The goggles that were supposed to make him think he's on a beach, or all those bizarre scenes where he spoke to House or wandered in the background in scenes he wasn't really there for? I didn't like all that.

And I could have done without us hearing his thoughts, quite frankly. Take away his inner dialogue narrating everything, and I would have just as easily understood what was going on without him holding my hand by commenting on every little thing to make sure I caught it all.

Also, I didn't like the up/down computer business. Maybe there's a real science to that, but I almost never buy into it when the show ventures into weird territory like that. It took the guy--what?--one night to sync his brain with a computer. That seemed silly.

I like Mos Def and all (have ever since I first noticed him playing Sorenson's C.I. or whatever on a couple episodes of NYPD Blue), but I think the episode would have been better if they didn't give themselves so many chances to actually use the actor playing this character.

I think it would have been a much better episode if you take away our ability to hear his inner thoughts and take away the computer nonsense after the operation ruined his blinking ability. That way, instead of us knowing he's still alive in there, aside from the race to figure out what caused his locked-in condition, we'd also be worried that maybe he's actually brain dead by the end just like they thought he was at the start.

Damien said...

J.J. said: "I almost never buy into it when the show ventures into weird territory like that. It took the guy--what?--one night to sync his brain with a computer. That seemed silly."

Why is it silly? Brain interfaces like that do exist and have been used with quadriplegic patients which allows them to move a cursor over a virtual keyboard to communicate or to push screen buttons to perform various pre-programmed tasks. To train a computer to recognise a simple up/down movement, would not take too long at all.

People seem to have a thing about Mos Def's performance, however, since I have no idea who he is, his performance seemed fine as just a another POTW.

Overall, I liked the ep because they tried something different. Yes, POW eps have been done before, but what hasn't? The point, is the telling of the story interesting enough to be entertaining - yes (if not perfect in every respect).

J.J. said...

Damien, I have to stand by my take on the computer thing. It just seemed silly to me.

Like I said, maybe there's real science to it. But they introduced it and integrated the technology so quickly, it seemed almost absurd to me how fast they rushed right through it.

Now, you can tell me it's a viable technology and it doesn't take too long for the computer to calibrate itself with a couple of simple brain signals.

But, then, if this is the case, why does the episode make it seem like this is Talb's big, brilliant, off-the-wall idea? They made it seem like it was an unconventional, long-shot idea. Two scenes later, it worked perfectly (as if it were routine, just minutes after establishing that we're not supposed to think it's routine) and they're already moving on to the next clue in the mystery.

Damien said...

J.J. said: "But, then, if this is the case, why does the episode make it seem like this is Talb's big, brilliant, off-the-wall idea? They made it seem like it was an unconventional, long-shot idea".

While I don't wish to sound like a House apologist, the utility of the idea was that it was timely, made when a solution was desperately needed. Also, the solution is somewhat outside a purely diagnostic setting in which the team mostly operate, so in that respect, it was a good idea. Also, the mind/computer control tech isn't exactly mainstream, it's still undergoing research and development.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

""But, then, if this is the case, why does the episode make it seem like this is Talb's big, brilliant, off-the-wall idea? They made it seem like it was an unconventional, long-shot idea"

No, they didn't. Taub clearly thought it was, but House told him that applying existing technology to the exact sort of problem it was developed for hardly counted as innovative, creative thinking.

J.J. said...

Maybe I read the reactions wrong, but I don't think House's comments about the idea already existing take away from the fact that this was supposed to be the other doctor's big idea. I think he was just trying to deny the doctor any satisfaction by letting him know one good idea isn't going to save his job.

In the context of this show, though, whenever one of the doctors thinks of something useful that eluded every other supposedly brilliant doctor in the room (particularly House), that's what passes for the "House" version of a big score. That's why I was confused that they made it seem like such a brilliant, obscure suggestion one minute... and the next minute, it all plays out as if it were just another routine thing.