Monday, July 31, 2006

Moo -- Episode 214, "Sex Kills"

Clinic patient:
Guy who loves "cows" (i.e. his step-mom)

Wilson: "It's not all about sex, House."
House: "Really? When did that change?"

Believe it or not, the guy lusting after his step-mom is the only one in the episode with any restraint. He knows it's not really right, and he's doing something about it -- albeit a little extreme, looking for the next best thing to chemical castration. But Wilson's wife (and Wilson too, for that matter) gave in to impulse -- killed their marriage. The husband of the woman in the car accident gave in -- killed her. Or maybe she did that to herself, when she gave in. And the main patient gave in to his ex-wife, which almost killed him.

And each in his or her own way is denying it or running away. The clinic patient says he's in love with cows. Wilson and his wife stay in a crappy marriage. The husband doesn't admit to the one night stand and gonorrhea until after the heart transplant. The wife hid pictures in her desk. The dad was tight-lipped for a while about going back to his wife, but really, he's the most forthcoming of the bunch.

So cow guy can fight lust, and the dad can eventually admit when he can't. They'd make a hell of a team.


The fluidity of gender -- Episode 213, "Skin Deep"

Clinic patient:
"Pregnant" husband

In the sex vs. gender debate, if you can call it that, I side with the idea that you're born with a sex; your gender is socially constructed. This episode takes the fluidity of gender to the extreme, where the perfect man is a woman (the clinic patient/husband) and the perfect woman is a man (the main patient/model).

Each patient is the opposite of him/herself and each other -- that last in more ways than one. It's funny (and rewarding, really) to see the husband go through sympathy pregnancy, with his big belly and breasts. It's temporary for him. But when the model finds out she's genetically a boy, it's tragic -- her entire concept of herself and her life is destroyed.

We viewers get to sit with the hermaphrodite idea for a while. House has his main-case breakthrough while the husband is in sympathy labor ("He's got more estrogen coursing through his veins ..."), then we get a discovery and explanation period before we watch House tastelessly break the bad news. So it's shocking how the model reacts getting the news for the first time, suddenly popping up from the bed and baring all. Whether it would have had more effect if it were closer to the comedic situation of the husband, to have a more sudden change in tone, I don't know.

As a side note: With all this gender confusion going around, it's a little interesting that the husband would feel more comfortable with House (read: a male doctor) than with Cuddy -- especially when he's concerned about his breasts. But Cuddy's giving away House's pager number is a nice little volley in their continual game of getting under each other's skin.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Irrationality -- Episode 106, "The Socratic Method"

Clinic patients:
Mom looking to scare her daughter away from sugar
Guy with hiccups

Irrationality is the tie that binds: Wendy's mom trying to get House to scare her daughter skinny for purely selfish reasons; the guy with hiccups covering all the "normal medical bases" for getting rid of them -- "pulling the tongue, ice packs on the throat, hitting yourself, the groin pinch"; the extremely well-intentioned son of the main patient thinking he can take care of his mom all by himself with nothing but vodka and microwavable burgers; and finally the main patient herself, thought to be schizo for most of the episode until her one rational act -- calling Social Services on her son -- tells House otherwise.

The hiccups guy is also another one of those structurally functional clinic patients. Before House gets to him, Cuddy coyly tries to get House to fess up to his birthday (it's Wendy's too, for another link) and in the process gleans that something else must be going on with his patient. She picks up the phone for some investigative work, we cut to hiccups guy, then Cuddy butts in and we cut to the bathroom, where Cuddy confronts House about the tumor shrinkage. So what was hiccup guy's function? A sense of time gone by.

And for my day's good deed, here's how you get rid of hiccups: Control your breathing. Go sit somewhere where you won't be distracted, and breath in for 8 and out for 8 till they're gone. Works every time.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Missed it

Sorry folks, but in all the excitement of the Fourth of July (except not, because I had to work), I forgot to set the VCR. So unless someone really wants to take care of "Deception" and "Failure to Communicate" for me (come on, it could be fun ... like a guest host), we'll just have to take a rain check until the DVDs come out. In the meantime, it looks like I'll have a chance to do some more from Season 1, so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Of mice and men -- Episodes 207 and 208, "Hunting" and "The Mistake"

Clinic patients:
Steve McQueen ("Hunting")
Guy without health insurance ("The Mistake")

I'm combining these because I don't have much to say and they're both Stacy-centric.

Steve -- not in the clinic. But he is a secondary patient of sorts, so I'm counting him. It says a lot about House's obsession with curing what ails ya that he even diagnoses mice. (Although how he thought something was wrong with a head tilt is beyond me -- my dog does that anytime I ask him to do anything.) Anyway, Steve obviously exists to help House and Stacy bond. Call it a precursor to Baltimore.

The guy without health insurance is much like the flight attendant in "Spin" -- he allows for another clinic confrontation between House and Stacy. House is just being House when he tricks "Buck" into (most likely) getting insurance, but this time it also applies more directly to the main case, where someone's hiding something about why Chase screwed up. As Stacy says: "Such a hero. Always righting wrongs. Who cares if you have to manipulate?" She's a quick study, that one.

One aside: Kayla, the main patient in "The Mistake," is another one who technically started out in the clinic, this time with Chase as her doctor -- which means all of the underlings have now officially been on clinic duty.