Monday, October 16, 2006

Twofer -- Episode 221, "Euphoria, Part 2"

Clinic patient:
Young girl who has been "seizing" every time she gets in the car seat. Mom thinks it's epilepsy; House knows it's something far better.

The connection:
House: "You mix rocking, grunting, sweating and dystonia with concerned parents, and you get an amateur diagnosis of epilepsy. In actuality, all your little girl is doing is saying 'yoo-hoo to the hoo-hoo.' "
Mom: "She's what?"
House: "Marching the penguin. Ya-ya-ing the sisterhood. Finding Nemo."
Girl: (giggling) "That was funny."
House: "It's called gratification disorder. Sort of a misnomer. If one was unable to gratify oneself, that would be a disorder."

The name of this episode is Euphoria, and from what the mom says, the girl does seem to be enjoying herself. (I say good for her.) And because the first symptom of the cop and Foreman's disease was euphoria, there's our connection.

But really, the thematic link is just a bonus -- it's only important that there was some sort of clinic patient. This is the second episode of a two-parter: Things are getting dicey, the stakes are higher, time is running out. As House says later in the episode, "Only thing I can do is think. You can pretty much do that anywhere."

How do we know he's thinking? In the scene leading up to the clinic, Wilson walks in on House watching Steve McQueen through a web cam. "So this is your plan?" he says. "Just sit here and watch your rat all day?" Well, yes. The clinic scene opens with the web cam image of Steve, himself euphorically playing on his water bottle, and House watching for any signs that will help him cure Foreman. Even in the next scene, when Cuddy berates House for ignoring Foreman, we get the sense that House is doing anything but.

Cuddy: "One afternoon and you're on pace to set the record for most patients seen in a month."
House: "You're upset that I'm doing clinic hours? Wow, that is so like rain on your wedding day."
Cuddy: "For the past three hours, I have been on the phone with the CDC while you are --"
House: "How's that going, by the way?"
Cuddy: "They promised to expedite --"
House: "Tough to do an autopsy when they haven't even picked up the body."
Cuddy: "It's tough to treat your patient when you're not even on the same floor. Go. Clinic is covered."
House: "I go watch the meds drip into his IV, you think that'll make the treatment work faster?"
Cuddy: "Go to your office, play with your ball, write on your white board and insult your team. Do whatever it is that you do to figure things out."
House: Feeling guilty? It's not too late to change your mind. Go call the CDC. Tell them you were just joshing."
Cuddy: "Keep avoiding Foreman's case until he dies. Then I'll drown in guilt."

House's point is that Cuddy, who is arguably focusing all her efforts on Foreman's case, has gotten just as close to figuring things out as House, who by all appearances is focusing on other things. But he's not: History has taught us that clinic patients are easily fixable, no-brainers. And because House was keeping track of Steve, we know that he's thinking about Foreman while being productive elsewhere. In fact, that might be why he's in the clinic in the first place -- to feel productive. He's not getting anywhere with Foreman, but it's important to note that the clinic patient comes at the beginning of the episode. House shouldn't be getting anywhere with Foreman anyway.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Poor Darwin -- Episode 209, "Deception"

With the World Series cutting into our quality House time and my life finally at a resting point, I'm going to try to wrap up season 2's loose ends. First up is this episode, which I missed in summer reruns. Still to come: "Euphoria, Part 2" for sure, "Who's Your Daddy?" and "No Reason" possibly (depending on relevance). So without further ado ...

Clinic patient:
Girl using jelly-jelly for birth control jelly

The connection:
By now I think it's safe to say that House has a problem with authority. And with Foreman now in charge, it's meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Which is why I saw flashes of season 1's "Occam's Razor" -- when House continually called Cuddy into the clinic for consults to get back at her for giving him more clinic hours. His philosophy: You make me miserable, I'll make you miserable. This time it's Foreman who gets the short end of the stick. House walks into the clinic, sees whatever nastiness results from using strawberry jelly for birth control, and immediately reaches for the phone.

The game, however, is short-lived. Foreman does drop by, but he brushes off House's attempt to annoy with a joke ("I'll make sure to put a gold star by your name") and tells him the main patient's biopsy came back negative. Really, House seems to have lost the power play struggle. Not only was his diagnosis about pancreatic cancer wrong, he was also in the clinic to begin with -- in the previous scene, Cuddy told Foreman that everything was running smoothly with him in charge.

If there's a connection between the clinic patient and the main case -- a woman who makes herself sick for attention (Munchausen's disease) -- it's tenuous. The girl could be seen as another example of what people do to themselves, but there's a big difference between stupidity and craziness.