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What's In a Name: Shows and Sick People

Saturday, February 3, 2007

"Words and Deeds" 3x11

First? I need y'all to help me figure out where the heck January went. Last I knew it was three weeks ago, and I was eagerly awaiting the new House episode at the end of January. Well not only have we seen that ep, we've now moved into a new month. As Virgil said, "Tempus fugit!" (Yeah, I just learned this week that Virgil was the first to use that phrase, so I'm just showing off {g}.)

Anyway, on to the episode at hand, "Words and Deeds." In which House goes to rehab, Wilson gives a gift, Cuddy recaps perfectly, and Cameron sybills us with yet another one of her seemingly endless personalities.

Certainly the easiest interpretation of this episode's title is words and deeds (hereafter referred to as W&D), while not the same, all have consequences. No great insights there. What I found interesting was the weight the various characters put on one or the other (or even both).

Let's get the POTW subplot out of the way first (which I didn't like at all). Derek is a firefighter brought to PPTH after an attack of some sort at a fire scene. The diagnostics team at first suspects MRSA as the cause of his symptoms but, in true House style, the first diagnosis is totally wrong. After a few other not-quite-100%-on-the-mark diagnoses, Cameron determines that he has Broken heart syndrome, brought on by Derek's love for his partner Amy, who he tells Cameron is in love with and engaged to his brother. Because of his physical condition after a series of heart attacks, no pharmaceutical treatments are possible. The decision is made (and approved by Cuddy) to perform an electro-shock treatment that will remove his entire experiential memory. After the procedure, it's revealed that Amy and Derek's brother aren't even dating, much less engaged to be married.

Excuse me, WTF? I realize Derek is an adult and doesn't need any next-of-kin permission to consent to any treatment, but is there no way the reason for Derek's needing to have his memory erased woulda/coulda/shoulda been discussed with his family (his brother is the only one we know about)? That just was wrong, wrong, wrong-o in my book. Yes, I hear you...dramatic license and all that. But still, WTF?

Title tie-in? If Cameron had kept her trap shut, all would have been OK. Lack of the right words shared with the right people resulted in actions that resulted in a tragic, unnecessary loss of a young man's memory and personality.

As the team realizes that Derek experienced false memories, they are led to a final diagnosis of spinal meningioma, a tumor restricting blood flow to the brain, leading to the false memories. Surgery removes the tumor, and all is fine. Except Derek has no memories of his life. See? If they'd have talked everything out before the electro-treatment, they would have realized the cause of the false memories and so have the same end result. *sigh*

And overall, what in heaven's name was up with Cameron? "I just want you to do your job." Who does she think she is? While I loved the callback to Cuddy's line in the very first episode, I hated that Cameron delivered it. And, honey, the dude is in rehab trying (allegedly) to overcome his drug addiction. Doesn't he get any time off work for that? No, not as far as Dr Cam is concerned. All I can do is shake my head in wonderment.

Now, on to the Housiness. Again this week, House was a patient, this time of PPTH's in-patient rehab clinic.

Lots of people threw lots of words at House that got him to go into rehab. Cuddy (OMG she was awesomeness in a bottle!) in no uncertain terms laid out every misstep House took during the whole Tritter arc (nice job on the recap!). She even made the comment that Tritter had been trying to help House all along but House just pushed him away. She finally got it through his head that he needed to apologize to Tritter once and for all.

Which House does. Sincerely (allegedly). And Tritter doesn't accept: "I've never been interested what you have to say. It's about what you do." Which, come to think of it, is another callback to the pilot; Rachel Adler makes a similar comment to Wilson after she asks if House cares about him.

So W&D as relates to House. At the extreme ends of the spectrum we have Wilson and Tritter. Wilson, thought skeptical, believes House's W&D. He has faith in House whereas Tritter has no faith in an addict. The detective doesn't give credence to anything House says or does, whether it's the apology (yes, House actually says, "I'm sorry"!) or entering rehab.

House also apologies to Wilson. "I had no business blaming you. You were only trying to protect me. It's what friends do." Wilson, of course, has never heard words anything remotely like these out of House's mouth before: "Wait, is this an apology?" House confirms that is it and offers to stop if Wilson doesn't like it. Wilson says that it's just that it's "unfamiliar" but that House should definitely keep going.

I've not yet mentioned that House is in court in this episode. It's the pretrial hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to go before a jury. By the end of the show, Cuddy perjures herself to save House (cool, but huh?). For some reason I found it very interesting the Cuddy was the one who rescued him, not Wilson. I'll be curious to see if that has any implications in the future.

And Tritter concedes that he hopes he's wrong about House.

Which we find out that he isn't wrong. In the last scene, where House is in jail for the night due to a contempt citation (are you surprised?), Wilson discovers that the rehab attendant had been sneaking Vicodin to House all along.
   Wilson: So nothing's changed?
   House: Nothing's changed.
Wilson tries to process this as he turns to leave. He stops, then turns back to ask if House's apology was real. "Believe what you want," is House's reply along with a smile that would melt glaciers. And Wilson's heart. Wilson again turns to go, saying he'll see House tomorrow.
   Wilson: Goodnight, House.
   House: Goodnight, Wilson.
I loved that. So Walton's Mountain-ish.

Two awesome shout-outs this ep: House nicknamed the rehab attendant "Voldemort" (Hee! House reads Harry Potter!) and later makes a comment about "turning the dial to 11" (not surprised he's a Spinal Tap fan; actually, if I remember, in some interview Hugh mentions that This Is Spinal Tap is his favorite movie).

And House claims Andre the Giant for his Higher Power. Can we claim that as a Princess Bride shout-out? I'm going to!

Oh and I nearly forgot: it's Chase's turn to say, "Everybody lies." At least he got to say something.

I leave you with a mental picture: House smoking. I know it's a disgusting habit (I'm a ex-smoker myself), but this is House. Smoking. Sexily. Need I say more?

Episode rating: 3 canes out of 5


Saturday, January 6, 2007

"Need to Know" 2x11

Happy new year to everyone! Most of the holidays are over, and real life is back in full swing. I hope that whatever and however you celebrated over the past weeks, your time was relaxing, enjoyable, and full of joy.

This post I'll look at "Need to Know," which I count as my anniversary episode; that is, it's the first ep of House that I ever saw. Needless to say, I was hooked immediately, and I've been obsessed and stalking watching regularly ever since.

We're introduced to the PotW in the first minutes of the episode. She is Margo Dalton, portrayed as the "perfect" mom, wife, employee, and all-around people pleaser. Through the episode, we find that she lives her life very much on a "need to know" basis and that she hides some very important facts about herself from her doctors and her loved ones.

Of course, the diagnostics team has a need to know the root cause of Margo's physical ailments. She has uncontrollable muscle spasms, becomes psychotic, has a stroke, and is discovered to have a vascular tumor in her liver. Diagnoses that are considered along the way include Huntingdon's, drug abuse (Ritalin), and schizophrenia. The answer is her conflicting fertility/birth control meds; she doesn't want her husband to know that she doesn't want another child but is too fearful of what it would do to their relationship so won't tell him. Instead, she chooses to undergo surgery on the liver tumor (even though it would completely clear up on its own if she stopped the birth control pills). As House and Wilson watch the surgery from the observatory, House says he thinks her decision is actually romantic in a way (her willingness to go so far to preserve her relationship to the point of jeopardizing her life). He says he can barely put down the toilet seat for the woman he supposedly loves.

There are no clinic patients this week. House does take a mouth swab from Cameron for an overdue HIV test.
   House: Cameron, I love you.
   [Cameron's jaw drops. House swabs her mouth.]
   House: Get your test result tomorrow.
Hee! I love that. *snap* to you, Greggy! Arrrr to you, Cam!

This episode sees the death of House and Stacy's romance (am I wrong to say "Yay!"?). She had decided to leave Mark for House, but at the end he rejects her, saying that he knows in time she would become resentful of both the decision she'd made and the lack of change House would have made for her. Rather than face the pain of losing her during a realtionship again, he pushes her back to her husband and their life in Short Hills. *whew!* And that should (hear me, writers??) take Stacy Warner out of the picture for good.

The episode ends with an angsty House-Wilson dialog on the roof of the hospital at night. Suffice to say that it's the next step in all the psychoanalyzing that Wilson does in later eps from that season and season 3. Although I do like the end line of the show (Wilson to House, obviously): "You don't like yourself. But you do admire yourself. It's all you've got, so you cling to it. You're so afraid if you change, you'll lose what makes you special. Being miserable doesn't make you better than anybody else, House. It just makes you miserable."

Quote of the episode? House [knocking on Wilson's office door]: I know you're in there! I can hear you caring! That is the exact moment I feel in love with House the show, House the character, and Hugh Laurie the actor.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode; let's give it 3 canes out of 5. On the plus side, it had a really interesting case, one or two fluffy House-interacts-with-a-kid scenes, and House and Wilson gettin' their angst on. On the negative, it had Stacy and no clinic patients. I miss it when there are no clinic patients!

New House on Tuesday, hurrah! According to the previews, "Words and Deeds" gives us House in court (supported by Cuddy and Wilson sitting behind him Yay!) and agreeing to go to rehab. I can't wait; how about you?

PS: Did you see the "My House" Scrubs episode? I'd been hoping for a full episode parody, so I confess I was disappointed. But I did love the parody we did get!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Merry Little Christmas" 3x10

Wow. Just wow. That is what you call a hard-hitting episode. It's taken me almost two weeks to recover.

The title was all about the irony. About the only straightforward word was "Christmas," as it was definitely that holiday at Princeton-Plainsboro. There was falling snow and everything! However, there was nothing "merry" about it, and the events that took place were hardly "little" in the lives of the characters.

The show opens with Louis Armstrong singing "Zat You Santa Claus?" (awesomest Christmas song ever!). House enters his office to find Wilson and Tritter waiting for him. Tritter's opening line: "Merry Christmas." House's reply: "And a happy go to hell." Ah, the holiday spirit abounds at PPTH!

For much of the rest of the episode, everyone verbally scourges Wilson for "ratting" on House while at the same time laying into House to take the deal. Cuddy cuts off House's Vicodin supply, Chase shows off his bruise from the punch House landed on him the week before, Foreman is pretty much Foreman, Cameron is as eardrum-puncturing annoying and whiny as I have ever seen her, and Wilson breaks my heart with his willingness to sacrifice himself for House because, "statistically speaking," he believes House has a greater effect on saving human life than he does. I am a total sucker for Wilson, I admit it.

House himself is a patient this week, detoxing and breaking down emotionally. As always, he attempts to treat himself; however, since everyone's interfered with his status quo, he can't treat himself with his beloved Vicodin. So, as in "Detox," he finds, shall we say, alternate methods of pain management, up to and including stealing a dead man's Oxycondone by signing out the drugs from the hospital pharmacy as the dead patient! I think he did that deliberately to get Wilson off the hook. He had to know he'd be caught...he was detoxing, but he's not stupid.

The actual PotW was Abigail, a 15-year-old dwarf recovering from a collapsed lung. She faces a series of ever-worsening symptoms that the team works to diagnose before all her internal organs shut down. The best thing about this patient? Her mom, who is also a dwarf. Quote of the night: "Care to go for a spin?" delivered by House to 4'1" mom after a very snarky back-and-forth of sexual innuendo, including the mom telling House that her ex-husband used to "pretty much just lay there and spin me." And man, I love that little half smile he gets when he knows he's in a battle of wits with a worthy opponent. I'd love to see the mom return in a future ep; she was a great foil for House's trademark brand of snark.

The other patient we have (unless you count the House/Wilson friendship) is Mr. Zebalusky. Perhaps he is more appropriately called an ex-patient, as he's hardly in need of medical attention by the time we meet him. But we have to get the Oxycondone from somewhere, right?

The end of the show finds Tritter and House together again, this time in Tritter's office. With "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as the background music (See? Irony!). House has agreed to the deal Wilson set up, but Tritter tells him they have new evidence and no longer need Wilson's testimony, the deal's off the table, and House is going to be charged. Last line of the show? Tritter again telling House, "Merry Christmas." Way to celebrate, Tritter!

Aaaaaaaannnnnddddd it'll be January 9 until we see new House on our TVs. Good luck staying away from the spoilers between now and then. Me? I don't wanna know; I want to watch it play out through the show! How about you?

Season's greetings to all!

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Saturday, December 9, 2006

Welcome to Shows and Sick People

Greetings, fellow House afficionados!

I'm thrilled to be a contributor to the House MD Guide website! I've enjoyed the various features of the site as I've gotten deeper into the world of House, and I thought it would be fun to be part of it all.

My blog is called "What's in a Name: Shows and Sick People."

"Ah," I hear you reply, "wonderful. But what will I get from reading your blog regularly?"

Excellent question; I'm so glad you asked. These are the topics that I will discuss in my postings:

What do the titles of each episode refer to? Indications are that each title has more than one reference to the episode. I'll provide some starting points and then look for you to tell me your insights and thoughts.

What are the names of the patients from each of the episodes? I'll include the POTW as well as the clinic patients and anyone else that undergoes treatment of one sort or another (yes, Steve McQueen will be listed as a patient for the appropriate episodes). I'll give my thoughts on the patients and invite you to do the same.

My first episode-related post will be for this week's new episode (Merry Little Christmas). Then while we're on holiday hiatus, I'll go back and look at some past eps.

So again, welcome! I hope you'll enjoy my little corner of the world and share your thoughts and insights with me.


Friday, December 8, 2006

Welcome Post from House MD Guide Editors

Welcome to our new blogger.


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