The Wife:

I’m writing a House twofer this week because last week I realized that I don’t really like writing about House. I don’t dislike watching it by any means, but it’s probably the most formulaic of all the procedurals I watch and that makes it a lot less interesting to write about. Nonetheless, last week’s “The Itch” and this week’s “Emancipation” both did something really interesting: they listened to the fans and came up with ways to fully utilize House’s old team, as well as the new team. As crowded as the cast is now, using both teams is actually kind of working out, so I hope the Season 4 detractors are happy now.

“The Itch”

The title refers to a bug bite on House’s hand that he just can’t stop scratching, creating a large, gross wound that he can deal with, as opposed to the large, gross wound in his heart from his unresolved kiss with Cuddy. Wilson believes that the fact that these two won’t talk about their feelings is causing them both to act differently, which neither party will admit, ultimately leading to spineless Wilson growing some balls and calling House out on his inability to have relationships with anyone, especially with someone he really loves, like Cuddy.

Well, everyone, it looks like the leg bone is, in fact, connected to the hip bone.

Well, everyone, it looks like the leg bone is, in fact, connected to the hip bone.

The POW in “The Itch” is an agoraphobic man who refuses to be taken out of his home by EMTs, thus making him Cameron’s case. Because of the highly unusual case (good to see everyone out of PPH), Cameron consults with House and his team. They can’t use any of the traditional hospital machinery, so Cameron and Co. start by looking for indicator markers in the blood via EEG testing to try and find out what’s wrong. Knowing that the patient had a seizure when he was first “brought to the ER,” Cameron tries to induce seizures any way possible, to no avail. House decides to bring in outsiders to test the patient’s agoraphobic response, but the patient only experiences intense stomach pain, not seizures, which they assume is an obstructed bowel. House tricks the patient into having in-home surgery, but secretly brings him into the hospital once he’s under sedation. Cuddy intervenes and keeps the patient from going back to his home, for fear of post-surgical infection. Obviously, the patient is none too pleased that he has woken up in the hospital and threatens to sue. Cuddy, in return, tosses Cameron and Chase off the case.

Cameron tries again to get the patient to agree to in-home surgery, but promises to only do it in-home this time. No tricks. Taub operates, and they discover afterward that the POW’s toes have gone numb, which House thinks is an indicator of Celiac’s Disease, so they start force-feeding him gluten to see if they can progress his condition. When that doesn’t work, House wonders if the patient hasn’t been accidentally poisoning himself with household chemicals that have built up in his bloodstream and weakened his heart from constant exposure. He then realizes that its actually lead poisoning from shrapnel left in the patient’s side from a gun shot wound years prior. The shrapnel has been acting like a time-release poison that finally let loose. The gun shot occurred several years earlier when he and his girlfriend were mugged. She died from her wound, while he survived and became completely introverted and increasingly afraid of the world.

The writers made the connection between House’s misanthropy and the POW’s agoraphobia pretty explicit in a lovely end sequence to this episode, wherein House rides over to Cuddy’s house and approaches her door, but can’t quite ring the bell, and the POW finally, for the first time in seven years, leaves his house and touches his feet to his front steps.

I appreciated the use of Cameron and Chase in this episode, even though it was at the expense of (mostly) Kutner, and I loved that end sequence.

[Husband Note: It seems a lot of people have been searching online for who played the agoraphobic, or, more importantly, what they know him from. His name is Todd Louiso, and I will always know him as Dick from High Fidelity.]


I dont need you to be smarmy, I need you to be my conscience.

I don't need you to be smarmy, I need you to be my conscience.

In this episode, an emancipated minor is the POW and Foreman tries his damndest to emancipate himself from House by working on clinical trials. Without House’s consent, he takes a pediatrics diagnostics case from Cuddy in order to help him prove that he can work two cases at once. Foreman’s case actually broke my heart a little bit because I really don’t like the idea of children being deathly ill. I think the worst part of this story for me was when the little boy crashed and the nurses had to bring out the tiny children’s defibrillator paddles. Tiny paddles shouldn’t have to exist. I know that they do, because every human body is weak and fallible, but I’d prefer to not think that they do. They make me really, really sad. Almost as sad as stories about animal abuse. But, Foreman’s case did come with the upside of utilizing Cameron and Chase as “his team” while House worked on the main POW with his fellows.

House’s POW also gave me something I’ve been fucking whining about all season: a Kutner arc! Well, it sort of did. Kutner identified with the POW, a 16-year-old factory employee and emancipated minor. She tells him that she was emancipated after her parents’ death because she didn’t want to go into foster care. Because of his emotional connection to her (his parents died when he was 6), he’s willing to believe her and stand up for her, until the minute he realizes that she’d been lying to him all along when he asks her about her dead parents in the MRI machine and sees her limbic system light up – the part of the brain that utilizes the imagination. She then admits that she got emancipated from her parents, not because they’re dead, but because her father raped her and her mother covered it up. Here, Kutner is done with her and its time for Thirteen to try her hand at the case.

Where the team had previously thought vasculitis, they now move on to a diagnosis of arsenic poisoning from the homemade furniture that may have been produced using chemically treated woods. Sofia starts convulsing when Thirteen gives her the treatment for the arsenic poisoning, which leads the team to realize that lesions have formed in her brain. The arsenic in her bloodstream was actually treating those legions: she has leukemia and will need a marrow transplant. Thirteen tries to convince the girl to call her parents as they will give her the best match, despite what they may have done to her in the past. Taub steals Thirteen’s Huntington’s diagnosis to try to rationalize with the girl about taking the marrow transplant to save her life, as people like Thirteen have no chance at surviving their diseases. Still, the girl refuses.

Thirteen goes to find the girls parents and tell them that she’s dying, but instead she finds that Sofia has stolen the identity of a perfectly healthy girl and as been living as her. Angry, Thirteen (whose real name we find out is Remy Hadley, to which I say, who the fuck are your parents?), confronts the girl about her stolen identity, which she claims is because she didn’t want her parents to find her. House knows that she’s lying. She covered up her rape with dead parents, so House believes that the rape story may also be a lie to cover up something worse, a notion which led me to this question: what the fuck could be worse than being raped? The answer, clearly, is being murdered. But since Sofia is alive, there really isn’t much worse than being raped. For her, it’s accidentally killing her younger brother. More accurately, letting him die when she wasn’t watching him. That’s sad, but that’s not worse than being raped. I think we can call agree that this POW doesn’t quite have the same scale of awfulness as everyone else has. I’m sure she feels very guilty about this accident, but it was an accident. Being raped? That’s not an accident. That’s an actual crime. Anyway, House reunites her with her parents who will presumably forgive her and save her life with precious bone marrow.

Meanwhile, with Cameron and Chase’s help, Foreman manages to solve his case of a four year-old boy who seemingly has nothing wrong with his stomach but is getting sicker and sicker, and eventually crashes. Cameron and Chase beg Foreman to cave to House when the boy crashes, but House refuses to help because it isn’t his case. Eventually, Foreman realizes that the boy’s older brother was unintentionally making him sick by giving him too many vitamins, causing the boy to overdose on iron. This was a pretty sad realization as well, because the older brother really thought he was helping his brother grow stronger by eating more vitamins. He laments that his brother will hate him forever, but Foreman assures the older boy that his brother knows how much he loves him and cares about him and that he won’t be mad because it was a simple mistake, some advice I’m sure Sofia would have loved to hear the day her brother died.

In the end, House allows Foreman to do clinical trials, this time because he told House he would be doing them, like an adult, where as the last time, he asked for permission – a distinction which makes all the difference for House.

The Wife:

I feel like my complaints from last week’s episode regarding the complete exclusion of Kutner from the POW story arc is validated again this week when Thirteen gets her second POW arc. Come on, guys, let’s give Kutner some love, shall we? Thirteen is getting plenty of love, it seems, as her Huntington’s diagnosis turns out to be worse than previously thought, leading her to spend most of her nights out partying and cruising lesbian bars for the hottest babes she can shag in some sexy Shane McCutcheon-style one-night stands.

Unfortunately, Thirteen’s most recent conquest took the term “one-night stand” a bit too literally and collided with a night stand at Thirteen’s apartment as she was suddenly overcome by a seizure. Thirteen accompanied her new friend to the ER, where Dr. Cameron updated House on the details of the case. Obviously, House is delighted at Thirteen’s exercise in reckless bisexuality, allowing Thirteen to be primary care administrator for the case just to watch her touch her lover and to make jokes at the pair’s expense.

“You’ll have to excuse Dr. House. He mistakes immaturity for edginess.” –Thirteen

House recognizes the POW as someone who had written him for years to try to get him to take her case. Upon hearing this news, Thirteen becomes incredibly angry, accusing the girl of using her to get to House, to which she fires back that Thirteen was only using her for sex anyway, so why should it matter?

House insists that, since the seizure happened at Thirteen’s apartment, he return to the scene of the incident to find out of any environmental factors influenced the patient’s sudden onset of illness. Foreman goes with House to mitigate any additional snooping House had intended to do to dig up dirt on Thirteen. At her apartment, they find her inhaler and a brown recluse spider, so House insists that the POW be examined to see if she has any spider bites. (FYI, a brown recluse causes flesh to go necrotic, so I’m pretty fucking sure someone would have noticed that by now.) Thirteen does the exam, simply to get more girl-on-girl action in the episode, and she notices that the POW cannot feel Thirteen’s hand on her hip. The team now assumes the patient has RTA from kidney stones.

Foreman confronts Thirteen with the information about her Huntington’s diagnosis that she had hoped to keep from her employer. He calls her out for acting recklessly just because she thinks she’s dying: drinking, doing drugs and having sex with strangers. She insists that she’s merely trying to cram “as much life into [her] life as [she] can.” Foreman’s knowledge of her situation doesn’t stop her from bringing her reckless behavior into the workplace, though, and shortly after this encounter Cuddy catches Thirteen pumping herself full of IV fluids to get over her previous night’s adventures. Cuddy calls House in and demands that Thirteen be drug tested. Instead, House chooses to save Thirteen’s ass from drug testing, but then turns around and fires her for her behavior.

“A slutty party girl is fun until she pukes on your shoes, then she’s just a pain in the ass.” –House

Refusing to let go, Thirteen continues to work on the case as a civilian, even coming in to perform an emergency tracheotomy when she realizes that the POW’s lungs are filled with cysts that will burst if Kutner and Taub put her through a treadmill test, which they had already administered. The team tries their best to get Thirteen’s job back, citing her attention to the case as evidence. They assume that the patient has Lam, a degenerative lung disease in which her cysts will continue to develop in her lungs until they stop working entirely.

Give her some of that bisexadrine we found at Breckin Meyer's place. She should be fine.

Give her some of that bisexadrine we found at Breckin Meyer's place. She should be fine.

House allows Thirteen to deliver this news to the POW, as she knows the patient and knows what it’s like to receive a death sentence. As the two women bond over the mutual demise, Thirteen notices that the POW is bleeding where her cysts were removed. The development of this aplastic anemia leads House to believe that she has a blood disease. For Thirteen’s commitment to the patient and admission that her disease is worse than she originally thought, House rewards her with her job. Then House has his epiphany when he notices Thirteen’s cracked lips and asks her if the POW cried when she received the news of her impending doom. Thirteen can’t remember tears and House solves the case: it’s Sjogren’s disease. The patient will live – she just has no tear ducts or glands – and Thirteen has Candida from making out with her. At least one of these two women will go on to have a somewhat normal life, and Thirteen can spend her final days helping other people instead of being hell-bent on self-destruction.

“Another life saved by girl on girl action.” –House

Note: It turns out that Angela Gots, who plays Spencer (the POW), has a 5-episode arc on the fifth season of The L Word, which I’ve yet to watch. I am now no longer surprised that she reminded me so much of Kate Moenning’s Shane McCutcheon in appearance and diction.

The Husband:

It’s weird, because it’s not November sweeps for another week-and-a-half, but other than Privileged and Eli Stone, it seems that every show on network television is having top-notch episodes. This week, House proved once again that it can easily mix harsh drama and hilarious comedy and get away with it, slingshotting its tone without getting whiplash.

And no, it’s not just that there was lesbian sex (which was highly over-advertised for how little there was, but I expect the PTC will still find some way to complain about it) that got me to like it, but everything about Thirteen’s state-of-mind, one that is slowly falling apart due to her impending death in only a matter of years. I’d actually be surprised if she makes it through the entire rest of the year (and thus television season) as a doctor at Princeton-Plainsboro, because she’s really hitting the wall.

I also usually tend to be bored at any Wilson story, but I guess Bobby Sean saw something in his plot this week that got him to break out of his mild acting slump and give it his all. Hell, it’s definitely fun to play a prank on House and convince him that you’re in love with a prostitute and doing drugs, simply to prove that you guys are, in fact, back to normal friendship-wise. I hope Wilson can continue to be a little less…depressed in coming episodes, because it felt like a welcome respite from all of his Amber mourning.

The Wife:

On this week’s House, our favorite curmudgeonly diagnostician continued using his new best friend Lucas to dig up dirt on his team and on Cuddy.

The patient of the week is Breckin Meyer, playing a starving artist named Brandon who begins to suffer from visual agnosia, which gives him distorted perception, rendering his artwork to be like that of so many bad Picasso imitations. This is pretty much what I would have expected, because when I think Breckin Meyer, I do not think “great artist.” I think, “Hey, that’s the guy who played Jon Arbuckle in the live-action Garfield movies.”

Why you don't hire Breckin Meyer to play an artist.

Why you don't hire Breckin Meyer to play an artist.

In investigating the cause of Brandon’s visual agnosia, House plays mind games with his team, dropping bits of information that Lucas has uncovered about them:

  • Thirteen paid 12% interest on a car loan.
  • Kutner once crawled for twenty miles, setting a world record and getting his name in the Guinness Book
  • Taub’s wife has a secret bank account with close to $100K in it, all accumulated in cash deposits made once a week.

Thirteen suggests that drugs may be the cause of Brandon’s visual agnosia, citing all the messed-up artists she’s known in her hedonistic bisexual glory days. House at first writes her off as a moron because ERs test for drugs (and because 12% interest on a loan is a really stupid deal), but later realizes she was right: Brandon has been making extra money in order to impress his super-hot girlfriend (Marika Dominczyk, who played Bernadette the stock-room girl in The 40 Year-Old Virgin) by participating in clinical trials – sometimes for up to three drugs at once.

I knew I shouldn't have taken that Bisexadrine . . .

I knew I shouldn't have taken that Bisexadrine . . .

As the team discusses just which drugs Brandon may have been on recently, House cleverly injects each trial drug (which has a made-up name in trials, anyway) with a name that reflects each the new facts he’s learned about his team: Bisexadrine, Cuckoldasol and Worldsauruskneesasil.

House weans Brandon off the various drugs he’s been taking only to reintroduce each one independently into his system in order to judge which one is the cause of his visual agnosia. Taub’s suggestion about a former toxin being stored in Brandon’s fat cells that is only now being released due to weight loss leads Taub to discover a warehouse full of Brandon’s unsold old paintings. Every other month, his paintings display distorted perception, leading to the revelation that the cause of Brandon’s visual impairments is indeed drug-related. House realizes that the intermittence of distorted perception is probably because some undigested pills have become trapped in a beazor (a sort of hairball for people) in Brandon’s stomach, occasionally releasing little bits of toxins into his blood stream and causing negative reactions with his other drugs when he’s taking them, thus warping his perception of the world, leading to some very upset portrait subjects and a very confused Thirteen and Taub when Brandon insists that they don’t appear to be the same people. (Seriously, Breckin Meyer-vision is weird.)

Not Taub and Not Hadley are not your real doctors.

Not Taub and Not Hadley are not your real doctors.

Taub’s insecurities about his marriage worked their way into this case. As House reveals Mrs. Taub’s secret bank account, it leads Taub to believe that his wife may be having an affair, which worries him because it points out his own former infidelities. Taub cannot decide if he should confront his wife about this, but realizes he must after he sees that Brandon was so hesitant to reveal to his girlfriend that he wasn’t a successful artist, thinking, of course, that a catch like Heather wouldn’t want to be with a douche like him if he weren’t wealthy. Taub decides to ask his wife about the secret account. She tells him that he just ruined his own surprise, as she had been saving up the money over the years so she could buy her doctor husband his dream car, knowing that he’d be working so diligently that he would never do it himself. (Aww, she loves that cheating douchebag.) When presented with his gift, Taub realizes that he needs to confess everything to his wife. I’m sure we’ll see how that turns out next week.

As for medical gobbeldygook this week, I’m glad I got two emergency tracheotomies in a row and that beazor illustration was freakin’ sweet. I need more disgusting visuals of people’s insides on this show. Because I don’t even get those on Discovery Channel’s Mystery ER, which is exactly like House, but without characters or good acting. I expect disgusting visuals on a medical show, and someone needs to give them to me.

The Husband:

I have no idea why. Maybe it was because it was our first time seeing Mini-Stud in his own habitat. Maybe it was just that Peter Jacobson (the actor who played Mini-Stud) and whoever played his wife really rehearsed the shit out of their first scene together. I don’t know. But when Mini-Stud confronts his wife about her bank account is probably my favorite scene this show has had for a very long time. I don’t know why. It’s not even that original. He thought she was having an affair, he felt guilt for his own affair, he confronted her about the account, then she tells him she was buying him a car. See? Simple. What the hell is going on in my brain?

I just think it was played extremely well, and as for an insight into Mini-Stud’s life, very revealing. The creepy muted greys of his house. The hushed way the couple talk to each other. It just actually had real emotion, something that this show doesn’t show very often. Usually, the show works in very broad emotions of anger, sadness and humor, but this scene seemed like almost a different show. A show I could potentially enjoy more.

Surprise! I totally don't deserve this car because I cheated on you!

Surprise! I totally don't deserve this car because I cheated on you!

On a lighter note, I really dig that Lucas and House are both nearly tearing themselves apart for just a little bit of Cuddy’s affection, sort of a never-touch love triangle. It’s a nice, sweet story with the potential for a very dark future, and if we’re going to have any of the original cast have the most screentime, I’m glad it’s Cuddy. (Sorry, Omar Epps, I know that because of Mekhi Phifer’s death on ER last week that you and Taye Diggs are now the sole young black network TV doctors, but I’d like maybe a little more acting out of you.)

Still, the Cuddy affection-fighting really tickles me, because no matter how good actress Lisa Edelstein is on this show or in movies (especially Keeping The Faith) or how much I hear that she was once a very popular New York party girl, she will always by Cindy McCauliff, the transgender woman on Ally McBeal who Richard Fish was in love with until he found out she had a penis. Keep that in your mind when you watch Dr. House and Cuddy flirt. It gives the scene a whole new energy.