Last night’s House had a too-on-the-nose “this patient is like me” message (genius with a drug problem), a Chase story line that’s increasingly difficult to care about, and a weird turning point for House and Cuddy. Not for the characters House and Cuddy, really, but for us the audience: Do we actually want these two to get together or what?
Once upon a time, I rooted for this relationship, but I’m getting to a point where I don’t know what it is I’d be pulling for — and I can’t tell if the show’s creative team knows, either. What’s here? What’s at the center of this relationship, and what is it that I’d even want to see the show explore if theses characters ever got together?
House and Cuddy’s relationship is a microcosm of the show: The problems that plague them plague the series. When their banter is charged and substantive, the show shivers with organic, real emotional tension. When the show brings back a straw man to stand as a faux obstacle for the suddenly urgent feelings they Are Coming To Terms With, well, it’s more like the chills you get right before you hurl.
Give me something to care about, House! I’m begging you. The problem isn’t just that the characters themselves don’t seem all that compelling, it’s that they don’t seem to react to each other. When Chase punched House last night — which he said he did just so everyone would, uh, leave him alone (?) — no one said anything. I don’t mean no one called him out, I mean the other characters in that moment reacted with complete silence. Really? No one even is going to let out a “whoa” or a “Chase!” or a “heavens to Betsy!” or anything? If the team members can’t be connected to each other, I don’t know how they can be connected to us as an audience.
Of the remaining team members, who is it that we’re supposed to be invested in?
On the plus side, that punch was exciting for a hot second. On the minus side, ugh, Chase is extremely annoying. He was never my favorite, but now sans Cameron, he has zero meaningful contact with anyone. Remember when he kissed that young cancer patient, and it was all messed up except you almost for a second understood that he thought he was doing the right thing? I remember that. But what I can’t remember is anything recent where Chase seemed like he couldn’t be swapped out for any of the other doctors. Could I imagine Cameron killing Dibala? I actually thought she did. Might Foreman or Thirteen or Taub have crossed the same line? I don’t see why not. We’re missing the essential Chase-ness of this character, unless that core quality is whiney jagoff, in which case, we’re all stocked up. Cameron complaining that he’s just like House? If only.
I just find her tiresome. And that was the least authentic consumption of a tuna sandwich I have ever seen.
Again, a bit tiresome, and despite being a character we’ve learned a lot about — and someone we’ve seen rise through the ranks — do we really know Foreman? Have we ever seen Foreman really break, like we’ve seen Wilson, or really win, again, like Wilson? He hasn’t proven himself to be tough enough to stand up to House, but he doesn’t fit in with the other underlings because he outranks them. It’s time for Foreman to let his light shine.
Taub is the only team member with a sense of humor, which is why I like him generally, but we’ve already exhausted the “Taub’s marriage is rocky” story potential, and also, I don’t care about Taub’s marriage at all.
My suggestion: Bring back Andre Braugher and really push the House-in-therapy story for the rest of the season. Lucas and Cuddy are not cutting it when it comes to creating dramatic motivation, and we need to see Wilson play something other than exasperated. What would happen if we saw someone have a little fun? Or if Cuddy made them all do some hokey bonding retreat? Or if Wilson and House went on vacation? Something? House is in a major rut right now, and relying on residual Huddy feelings that we’ve developed over the years won’t work for much longer.
Are you with me, PopWatchers? Do you think House has hit a rough patch, or do you think this is the beginning of the end? Are you still pulling for Huddy? Which of the remaining team members are you invested in? And what’d you think of last night’s episode?
Photo credit: Michael Yarish/Fox