Tag Archives: house

It’s Not Lupus; It’s Just Stupid

27 Jun

Fair warning:  here there be spoilers.  If you’re not caught up on House, click away now!

I don’t remember exactly why we started watching House.  It was most likely a case of “everyone else is raving about it,” or “the Netflix queue is empty.  What looks good?”  I believe we caught up right around when Thirteen, Taub, and Kutner were vying for their jobs.

I don’t watch it for the medical drama (does anyone?).  The characters’ relationships and their story arcs are what makes the show — as House himself might say — interesting.  As infuriating, stubborn, and downright reckless as some (okay, all) of them can be in their reactions, I’m usually willing to go along with it.

People being self-destructive?  Sure!
People sabotaging their relationships because they’re sad/upset/scared?  Happens all the time!
People manipulating one another for murky reasons?  I’m there!

This hasn’t been my favorite season to start with, but the finale has has pretty much lost me for season eight.

Okay, fine.  I will either watch the first episode of eight or its recap, to see how they’re tying up the threads they left loose after this last fiasco.  But I’m not feeling terribly inclined to hang around after that.

If you haven’t seen it, but you don’t mind spoilers, Television Without Pity has a recap up.  The TL;DR version:  Frame story!  Cuddy and Wilson are getting patched up by EMTs and cops.  Cops are looking for House.  Cuddy says she’ll press charges and doesn’t want him near her hospital anymore.  Rinse and repeat this any time the story comes back to this scene.  We don’t really learn anything new in these expositiony bits, other than “House did something crazy/reckless” and “We don’t know where he is.”

THREE DAYS EARLIER, House has a patient, as he does.  The case is a decent subplot-story, but nothing terribly noteworhty compared to previous patients (even though the trailers set it up as House has met his match! OMG!)

The meat of the plot here is, he tells Cuddy he’s making some changes after, y’know, carving his leg up the week before.  Cuddy wants to have a fight with him so he can get all his anger at her out in the open.  Also, Cuddy’s sister wants to set her up with some guy, which she doesn’t tell House.  They (Cuddy and House) have lunch.  It ends with her pushing him verbally until he pushes her physically and tells her he feels hurt.  Because,  wow, Cuddy, you didn’t know that?  (I know, the “breakthrough” here is supposed to be that House said it aloud.  And Hugh Laurie nailed the scene and all the emotions that go with it.  But I really don’t see why Cuddy forced it, aside from stroking her own ego.)

Anyway.  After a shitty day, Wilson shows up at House’s apartment and wants to take him out for a drink.  House drives, and says they need to swing by Cuddy’s to return her hairbrush, which she pettily asked for during that awful lunch.  Cuddy’s hosting her New Guy for coffee, along with her sister and brother-in-law.  That didn’t take long, did it?  House stands outside, looking forlorn,  and heads back to his car.

(We see the four of them leave the room, so the writers/producers can be all “Nah, it was just destruction of property, not attempted murder!” regarding what’s about to happen.)

House leaves Wilson on the lawn, drives up the street, turns around, speeds back down, and plows his car through Cuddy’s dining room.  Then gets out, hands her the hairbrush, and leaves.  On foot.

Next we see him, he’s having a drink – not at a depressing dive bar, where Wilson told the police to look – but on a tropical beach somewhere.

This episode aired a month ago, and I still have to take a moment to stop frothing before I can type about it.

First of all, let’s talk about what, exactly, House did:

He drove a car through his ex-girlfriend’s house.

Let that sink in for a moment.  I know that the show has been a one-man game of Can You Top This? this season.  I know that the relationship between House and Cuddy was neither mentally nor emotionally healthy, but at least in that regard, I always had the sense that Cuddy was aware of and for the most part willing to play along with House’s mind games.

This episode moves us right into the realm of domestic violence.  The writers might argue that it was merely destruction of property, since House knew the four of them weren’t in the room, but I have to call bullshit on that.  He saw them leave the room before he got in the car.  He had no way to know, during his rubber-peeling trip up the street and back around, whether or not anyone had returned to the dining room.

He especially had no way to know whether or not Cuddy’s little girl Rachel was in there or not.

I understand that Lisa Edelstein announced just before the finale aired that she wouldn’t be returning for Season 8.  This episode was written before that announcement, however, and I have to wonder how the writers intended to resolve this utterly over-the-top arc.  Cuddy taking House back and letting him continue to work at the hospital after his numerous fuck-ups was getting to be a tired theme already.  Had they planned on her forgiving him for this?  On having her relent and allowing him to return to Princeton-Plainsboro?

After he performed an action that could very well have killed her child?

We’ll never know.  My gut says that, yes, they would have either found a reason for her to let him come back, or would have removed Cuddy from her position as Dean of Medicine to get her out of House’s way.

Since she’s leaving the show, that will have to remain unknown.

Let’s move on.

Storytelling-wise:  the frame story was totally unnecessary.  Starting a story near the end can work to build tension, or to get your viewers wondering why on earth a character – whose motivations they’re pretty sure they know by now – could possibly be doing Out of Character Thing X.  To fangirl Nathan Fillion as an example:  check out the Firefly episode “Out of Gas,”(Holy shit!  Mal’s dying and Serenity’s been abandoned!) or the Castle Season 3 opener, “A Deadly Affair”  (Holy shit!  Castle just fired at Beckett!)

When you have that sort of setup, then jump back three days/six hours/a week, the audience is waiting for one of two things to happen by the time we’ve caught back up to the present:  either the day is saved during the last five minutes (as is the case in of “Out of Gas”),  or we learn that things aren’t quite what they seemed (Castle wasn’t really shooting at Beckett; he was shooting at the bad guy behind her!)

The only reversal of expectations we get out of this episode is that House isn’t at a dive bar.  That’s…  not something we needed five minutes of EMTs and cops to set up.  All of the Cuddy/Wilson post-crash scenes could have been shown chronologically and they wouldn’t have changed the plot or level of tension in the slightest.

Actually, it could have closed a few plotholes they left wide the fuck open:
1.  The incident happened in the afternoon, in broad daylight.  Why is it full-dark when the cops and EMTs are finishing up?  How could it have taken hours for them to put Wilson’s arm in a sling?
2.  House left on foot.  With an injured leg.  How the hell did he get away?  Did he thumb a ride before he got to the end of the street?

Which leads us to the Current Internet Theory:  that a good chunk of this episode didn’t actually happen, and House either overdosed on Vicodin, or is still in the hospital/undergoing surgery or he’s had a psychotic break of some sort.

I truly hope that’s not what’s going on here.  We’ve already been there, done that with House a few times now.  At what point do the viewers get tired of “Ha ha, it wasn’t real”?

I’m not a fan and-then-she-woke-up endings at the best of times.  It’s a good thing I was too young to truly appreciate Dallas back in the day, but even at eight years old, hearing that Bobby Ewing’s death was a season-long dream sequence made me think I wasn’t missing out on a grown-up show after all.

Having any or all of this last season of House be not-real also means the character suffers no consequences for his actions.  Again.  Lack of accountability is sort of a running theme on the show, and while I’ll suspend my disbelief enough to say, okay, Cuddy’s covering for the medical shenanigans he pulls because he’s just that good, I am beyond tired of Cuddy and Wilson’s seemingly bottomless wells of forgiveness when it comes to House’s personal bullshit.

Of course, the writers succeeded on one level, at least:  I’m a sucker for completing stories.  Leaving us with this infuriating cliffhanger guarantees that I will tune in for at least the first few minutes of the Season 8 premiere.

But as of right now, unless they do something mind-blowingly brilliant, after that’s resolved I’ll be removing House from the DVR queue.

Did you watch this season’s finale?  Will you keep watching next season?  Should I have faith in the writers, or have they lost your trust, too?  Let me know!

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The House My Memories Built.

28 Jan

My cousin Jenni is a photograph terrorist and has been uploading pictures from our formative years. Her reasons are simple enough – a deep rooted desire to humiliate her family members all the while evoking nostalgic yappery – but after seeing one picture with me in a pink knit skirt suit with huge swans all over it . . . well? Let’s just say I could go on a rant about the awesometastic misery that was 80’s fashion. Instead, though, I think I’m gonna ramble on about something else, namely the backgrounds on the pictures and the house I grew up in.

If someone has a quasi-decent childhood, I’m pretty sure where they went from toddler to child to teenager has significant emotional meaning, especially if it happens to be the same house. Barring you lived someplace weird, of course:

"Oh no, someone shit sherbet at us again!"

I lived in the same house from the ages of eight to about seventeen. I may romanticize this house some? But holy shit was it awesome. Like, I had the coolest-house-of-all-my-friends awesome. It was built in the 1700’s – maybe earlier actually (my mother might pipe in to give an actual date). It was an old farm, so we had cornfields all around us going back for acres and acres. There were hideaway crawl spaces throughout the house in case of Indian attack.

I was safe thanks to my secret tunnels!

A few of the other amenities of Casa de Embryo Hillary:

* A staircase that went nowhere. Yeah, like the Winchester House.
* A dirt floored cellar that was probably where someone hid bodies, because there is no other purpose for a place that god damned terrifying. Black and smelly with spiders the size of your head and . . . ugh.
* A huge barn that had become a garage over time. The best part? The BATS IN THE BELFRY. Well, where a belfry ought to be if we had a belfry. You get the point. Swarms of bats would soar out of the barn’s upper double doors during the summer, and we’d sit around and watch them eat mosquitoes.
* Ghosts. (We’ll come back to this one)
* The original outhouse in the back. Yes we had indoor plumbing, but no one bothered to knock the outhouse down for some inane reason. They were nice enough to board over the poop hole in the bench, though.
* Servants quarters! Still standing! And apparently a death trap as my mom never let me play in there.
* Two streams to either side of the house that housed snapping turtles. Yeah, funny story about my mother in a three piece suit and heels trying to shovel a snapping turtle into a Rubber Maid trash bin one morning because the stupid turtle got lazy/distracted moving from one stream to the other and was taking up residence in the driveway behind the cars.
* A walk in pantry.
* A real old fashioned claw and ball tub. It was so deep you could drown people in it if you wanted to. Mind you, we had no shower – that was far too advanced – but we did have the best bathtub ever.
* An enormous weeping willow tree dead center of the back yard.
* The totally random, abandoned urns of people we didn’t know in the attic. See: Ghosts.

Okay so you may not believe in ghosts. I get it, and I understand it. Ghosts don’t make any sense. I mean, the first thing everyone thinks of is this:

But there were a few things that happened at that old place that were downright weird, and all of it we attested to the unclaimed dead people urns you can’t exactly throw away because that just seems rude, and Mrs. Keeler. Mrs. Keeler owned that house before we moved in, and she loved it. She loved it so much, in fact, that before she died she had someone make an audio tape of her speaking. Weird, yes, but it gets better. She basically said when she passed over she planned on returning to the house because she loved it, and anyone living there shouldn’t worry if they hear funny things going bump in the night. It’d just be her, she’d come home, and she means no harm.

I always thought the story was goofy and a little unnerving, but otherwise ignorable. Then one day we went to the cemetery up on the hill (West Bridgewater was a small town, there weren’t a lot of cemeteries and everyone was buried in pretty much one of two places). Mrs. Keeler’s son in law had died – a friend of my grandmother – and he was buried in the family plot right next to Mrs. Keeler. Her epitaph?

“Goodbye. For now.”

CREEPY OLD LADY MEANT CREEPY OLD LADY BUSINESS.

The dogs used to stand at the foot of the stairs at night, growling up at nothing. Mind you, the family would all be downstairs so who knows what they thought they saw. The first night my mom moved in, she took the doorbell off of the wall and removed the battery. Old doorbells were eyesores back in the day, really clunky with these huge cylinder things attached. She put both parts – doorbell and battery – on a shelf in the pantry, with nothing connected. The first night she slept in the house, she swears the doorbell started chiming in the middle of the night. She went downstairs to check on it and . . . yeah, doorbell still lacked the battery. My uncle, who lived in the house before us, said that sometimes there looked like a lantern light swinging back and forth at the edge of the corn fields. He’d stare out at it on summer nights. Maybe it was the twelve pack of beer, maybe it was a real ghost, who knows.

Now, believe or not, I don’t really care. Because I am a writer of all things spooky and crazy, I am choosing to suppress my logic and say IT’S ALL TRUE. I BELIEVE ALL THE THINGS.

"A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." - Winston Churchill

We moved out of the old farm house when I was seventeen and my mother decided she wanted nice things like predictable hot water. Whatever, Mom! Who needed electricity all the time and heat in the winter! (I kid, please put the beating stick down) Sadly, a couple years later, there was a fire and the awesomest house to grow up in burned to the ground. I was devastated, actually crying the first time I drove by it that something that really did help shape the person I am today was gone. When I look at it now, all paved over (and making me channel Joni Mitchell), I still go into a funk because really, what kid wouldn’t want to live in a place so cool?

I think in retrospect I had it pretty good at the old farm. I strive to one day be the owner of my own creepy house, complete with attic urns, bats, and a staircase going nowhere. It’s a good goal, I think.