Monday, March 30, 2009

'My Boys' review, 'House' goes POV - Sepinwall on TV

In today's column, I review the return of "My Boys" on TBS, which seems much improved over the previous disappointing season, as well as tonight's point of view gimmick episode of "House," which very much echoes the famous episode of "M*A*S*H" that Ken Levine co-wrote.


Matt said...

Not to be picky, but:

1. I think there's a "joke" missing in the third bullet point of the "My Boys" review.
2. Wasn't the episode of "House" called "Three Stories," not "Three Patients?"

Looking forward to "My Boys," which, even when it's not great, is good fun, and sad I'll miss "House." They REALLY need to diminish the 8 PM Monday pileup somehow, because "House" will lose for me to HIMYM and Chuck even with a dual tuner.

Bitsy said...

I'm about fifteen years too young to have even a vague memory of a MASH episode, so what I got from House is that it seemed like Diving Bell and the Butterfly, as in it was probably inspired by that, since in that movie the protagonist's disease was called Locked-In Syndrome.

Alan Sepinwall said...

1. I think there's a "joke" missing in the third bullet point of the "My Boys" review.
2. Wasn't the episode of "House" called "Three Stories," not "Three Patients?"

Thanks for catching both of those, Matt. Fixed.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Alan,

Seriously, 30 mins of no one from House's team except Snoreteen? I think I'm skipping this one. its not like there isn't plenty of other good stuff to watch tonight.

FYI, there was a recent David Shore interview with Ausiello where he talked about this ep & its relationship to "Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

Also, as Matt mentioned "Three Stories", not "three Patients".

Alan Sepinwall said...

Seriously, 30 mins of no one from House's team except Snoreteen?

No. The whole supporting cast (except, I think, Cameron) appears, and Taub and Kutner both have more prominent roles in this one than Foreteen.

Susan said...

Thanks for the last line of your column, Alan - I couldn't agree more, that so many of the ideas on House start out promising and then go nowhere. They don't seem to have the courage to take an idea and run with it to see where it really can go. So House gets ketamine and his leg is better, no pain - that would have been an interesting House to see for a while, but they resolved it in two episodes. Cameron takes over for Cuddy, which would have been really cool to watch how it unfolded - but it was over after one episode. Even Wilson severing his friendship with House after Amber died didn't last all that long. It's frustrating when they stick so closely to the formula that they're afraid to deviate too far.

Sea said...

This is unbelievable, Cameron hasn't been on House for 5 episodes in a row, 9 episodes out of 19 this season, what does a Cameron fan have to do to watch their favorite character on the show?

Thank you Alan, now I know not to get my hopes up.

Pamela Jaye said...

HaHA! (hope I got the accent right, there) You've been propelled into the Jon & Kate Zone (how does a little show on a 5th tier cable "network" get so much press?)

Anyway, I shall behave, because, should anyone start to discuss J&K, I fear the conversation would be *worse* than politics.
(Meanwhile, my brother has mentioned that he didn't know about my "large family fixation" (don't worry, America, I'm past childbearing) which I've had since seeing Yours, Mine & Ours as a kid)

To be remotely on topic, let me again bemoan the network programmers who have caused Monday nights (at 8 and now, in a lesser fashion, 10) to be so packed that last week, Castle accidentally got pushed to Saturday (are all mysteries this labrynthine? They got it wrong so many times, I thought I was watching House.)

Vaguely House-related, last night I watched a Mystery Diagnosis in which I caught a pheochromocytoma (sp?) because the 4th symptom was unexplained rages.

Here's a question (re: screeners). Is it odd to watch *random* episodes of a show? Is it more odd if it's a show you watch? Or are you just so used to it that it doesn't matter?
I became compulsive about watching a show in order with ER. (Thankfully, for old series and reruns, my DVR can be (and is) set to list eps in original airdate order (in All Programs view, it does show the most recently aired first))

Darn. I think I may have to save your House review for after. I'm sorry. :-( I've been *watching* "medical shows on TV" for the past 30 years! (I watched reruns of Dr Kildare (but not Ben Casey) when I was very little). Several years back, I watched Medical Center (again) on TNT and caught up on Trapper John and St Elsewhere as well.
I even watched The Human Factor (that was the one with Frasier's dad, right?) which Eriq LaSalle mentioned recently, most likely in the TV Guide article, and Birdland, but not Gideon's Crossing.

Thankfully, unlike Matt, I have a triple tuner (we built the machine shortly before House premiered opposite Scrubs and Veronica Mars) although it sometimes freaks out and kills iself under the pressure. Tuner 1 was just replaced and nothing works well (except NBC - were it not for Scott, this would be a cruel joke, since there is almost nothing left to watch on NBC)

I meant to mention - there will soon be two fewer medical shows. That's a quick drop. (of course you might have mentioned this as well. I didn't get to the end). And I amend: I've watched like *40* years of medical shows. I was doing this before I was 10.
(and btw, my cousin watches ER and Grey's - and she's a nurse. I never noticed this before. but I've only recently re-met her on Facebook. last time I saw her, she was 8 and I was 12.)

Let me go read something I can comment on in a non-peripheral manner. Probably Dollhouse

Anonymous said...


do you have any insight into how preview clips for shows are selected? If Foreman & 13 are in less prominent roles in this episode, why are they the two team members featured in Fox's promo clips? I realize that TPTB may not want to spill the beans with what is going on with other characters, but it does seem to send a contradictory message suggesting that these two are a key focus, particularly when Fox's promo for their April Fool special also features these two actors yet again. It just strikes me that they are almost going out of their way to alienate certain segments of the viewership (particularly, if yet again, there's no Cameron).

Rich C said...

"All right, all right, all right," indeed. As you said Alan, My Boys isn't the greatest sitcom alive, but I really love watching these characters hang out. I am so excited for the board-game episode! The more time spent in Crowley's, the better (episode) I say!

Anonymous said...

"This is unbelievable, Cameron hasn't been on House for 5 episodes in a row, 9 episodes out of 19 this season, what does a Cameron fan have to do to watch their favorite character on the show?"
I second that. This sucks, it really sucks... Cameron is my favorite character, yet again no Cameron at all - the writers really know how to get rid of long-time loyal viewers. Obviously it's only Huddy and Boreteen fans counting these days - who needs the fans who've stuck to the show for the last five years, who've never missed one episode...
Thanks for the warning!

Anonymous said...

I love the line, "...whatever my wife's latest TLC fixation is."

It's exactly the same way in my house, Alan. We joke that TLC should make a slogan of, "TLC: Reality TV for women who are too good for 'The Hills'"

Johanna Lapp said...

All women are too good for "The Hills." Some have self esteem issues that obscure that truth.

Anonymous said...

House looks bad tonight. I hate these POV episodes. They can be so tedious.

Kate said...

Thanks for the heads up, Alan. I was hoping to finally get away from the overwhelming Boreteen and House/Cuddy story lines which are both long past their Best Before dates, and get some insight into the very underused characters of Kutner, Cameron and Chase. (David Shore said last season he wants Cameron and Chase in every episode. This make 5 of the last 6 where Cameron hasn't even made an appearance. I don't know about everybody lying but David Shore definitely does.)

I like Mos Def but I can't stand any more of Thirteen, Foreman, Cuddy or even House himself at this point.

The overall quality of the show has become so bad that now I only watch for the few characters I still like. Is it worth watching this episode for 5 seconds of Chase or Wilson?

MASH did it very well, and they did it with an ensemble cast. Too bad House keeps making promises it can't keep.

Sad when Grey's Anatomy is more realistic and better drama than House.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I can't really speak to the ads, or whether the extremely vocal Cameron/Chase fans (or, for that matter, the vocal Thirteen haters, a group of which I'm a charter member) represents the show's audience as a whole.

But when the episode's not focusing on Mos Def, it's spending most of its time with House and Wilson, House and Taub, and Taub and Kutner.

Anonymous said...

I guess Chase gets his obligatory blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment. Why must they consistently focus on boring characters like Foreman, 13, and Taub who is nothing more than an older, married, Jewish Foreman--cynical, combative, and snoozeworthy.

Given the near universal sentiment that expresses loathing of 13, I think it's safe to assume that 13 haters DO represent the majority of the fandom. With a polarizing character like Cameron, you get as many people defending her as defaming her. 13 is unifying in that most seem to agree that she's a liability to the show. There. We've discovered her one redeeming quality. She's nearly unified the fandom in hatred of her character.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up on what I'm about to expect, Alan :) I now know whether I will be impressed or become depressed (ha, ha).

But on the Thirteen hate; I do understand that many in the fandom seem to dislike her. Many are vocal about it and I do like her, but I don't blame those who are expressing their hatred with caps (LYK THISS! !) . If my favorite characters were Wilson, Chase, or Cameron, I'd be pretty pissed off that they turned the show into '13 and Hungtingtons MD'. And agreed up to par with the explanation in general with the female hatred in the House fandom; Cameron's character is so mysterious and interesting - yet unanswered, so people tend to defend her and yet there are people who tend to dismiss her for that. As for 13, however, her storyline seems to be forced on us. Mysterious - but her problems already answered, and yes, she is interesting - but the viewers just don't seem to like the character. :/

Unknown said...

Alan, in an earlier review of a House episode, you implied that Cameron and Chase fans only appeared after they were off the show. Not true, we were always here, we were just polite and we trusted David Shore. Now that we know better, we've become vocal.

With the exception of three episodes that were about Wilson and Cameron House has focused on three plots and three plots alone this season: Thirteen/Foreman, House/Cuddy and Taub's marital/financial woes. I'm with you in the Thirteen hate group and now I hate Foreman too because they've overdone him too, I don't know why they decided to write House/Cuddy as immature and nasty instead of adult, and I really don't care about Taub. I could take one or two of these storylines if I were getting something good on the other characters but Shore decided that instead of a smorgasboard, it was a fixed menu with only 3 dishes, all of which I've had more than my fill of by now.

On top of that, the medicine has got so bad, Grey's Anatomy does a better job.

Now that I know it's going to be House and Taub heavy with minimal Chase and no Cameron, I'm going to be watching Chuck at 8 pm.

Pamela Jaye said...

having now seen it, my reaction is...

glad you did mention Cynthia Nixon


Those type of eps make me severely uncomfortable. (I've only seen the three, ad I'm sure the MASH would not have bothered me as much. but the ER and this. ::shudder::)
aside from that, I didn't know there was a name for it.

So, maybe I'll just go read the Chuck review.
(I guess psychiatry won't work on House as well as with Meredith Grey? But then, if he wanted to be happy, we could have had *that* a couple weeks ago, so I don't get the motivation)

Ah, so nice to see positive (and backhanded) compliments on Grey's (aside from the Izzie thing, Shonda's keeping her word better than david Shore it seems)

And finally - they seem to have backed off a bit on the 13 Angst Fest, which makes her a lot easier to take.
Alas, no Wilson Joy *and* he got a haircut :-(
At least I know Scott Bakula did *not* (I saw trailers yesterday, on mute) and so I can be ever happier.

Pamela Jaye said...

for Alan's wife and any Jon & Kate viewers who might be reading a post this old.