Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Season 3, Episodes 11/12

I elected to put these two episodes ("One Day, One Room" and "Needle In A Haystack") together, as according to the various episode guides that I've seen, they were supposed to air in a reverse order. According to the production numbers I've seen, "One Day, One Room" was supposed to go after "Needle In A Haystack," for reasons I'm still trying to figure out. Either way, neither episode was particularly satisfying to me.

To take them in the production order:

"Needle In A Haystack" really did nothing for me. I spent most of the hour discussing how annoying that I felt the parent characters were, and how if the situation happened to me I wouldn't want my parents acting like that. Every time they showed up, I hit the mute. I understand their function in the story but I think it was a little over the top. That said, I enjoyed that the solution to the case was something so mundane rather than some usual wild disease (not that there's anything wrong with that, just that it was a good change of pace). I also liked the closing scenes with Omar Epps. I always appreciate when he gets more screen time, because he seems to be the least used of the three ducklings on the team.

Can we please stop stacking the show with female characters who somehow "match wits" with House? At one point, Cameron and Cuddy were both rumored love interests. Then we brought back Stacy. Then we had Ali, the jailbait. Then we had the rape victim from "One Day, One Room," who while not being romantically interested in House, continues the trend of women gravitating toward him. Now we have this new researcher character, who didn't really move me either. My personal belief is that House doesn't need a love interest, period, but if they're going to go that route, I wish they would pick one. This is an annoyance of mine about TV in general, however; does anyone else remember when the romantic subplot actually wasn't a requirement on a series?

As far as "One Day, One Room" goes, that's not my real gripe about the episode. My real gripe is that it provides yet another 'excuse' for House's behavior in revealing the random revelation that his father was abusive. What? When I think of child abuse arcs, the one that comes to mind is that of Detective Tim Bayliss on Homicide: Life on the Street. That revelation fit his character perfectly. Here, with House, it seems like another plot twist done for shock value. I don't know if it's the network or the writers or who's responsible, but there seems to be a pressing need this season to come up with an explanation for why House is who he is. I believe it was in "Finding Judas" that it was vaguely alluded to that he might have a preexisting medical condition that made him that way. In my opinion, that cheapens the character. He's not the product of his parents' dysfunction. He's not sick. He's just a cranky, genius old doctor, and that's why we love him.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Season 3, Episode 11: "Words and Deeds"

Long time, no update. That's one-part holiday hiatus, the other part that the so-called 'Christmas' episode was the most depressing episode of anything I'd seen in a long time. I know we're all sick of Very Special Holiday Episodes of _____, but sometimes they're just necessary. At least a little holiday cheer would have been nice (like the infamous candy cane debacle), but Shore and Co. seem hell bent on living their dark arc out to the end.

Which, apparently, was last night. David Morse's final episode. I've said it before, I'll say it again: love David Morse, hate his character, want him off my show. And really, the end for him only made it more confusing. So House hits it on the head that Tritter has been screwed over by his wife, a family member, a partner. Okay. Fine. Sort of makes sense. But...they don't explain who, what, why or when. Um...hard to understand why the guy would be so pissed off if we have not even the vaguest idea of what happened. And then after saying that neither words nor deeds mean jack to him anymore, Tritter actually wishes House good luck? What? I might have missed something, but it seems a little incongruous for Detective Hitler to suddenly be wishing our favorite snarky bastard well.

Props to Cuddy for bailing House out, but her whole "you make everyone worse for being [around you]" line seemed a little cruel, as if she only saved House so she could own his ass. Everyone in this episode seemed to be going through a case of PMS, not just our patient.

I think anyone who thinks about this show from a production standpoint knew rehab was never going to work for House. House in rehab = House in detox = House off the drugs = House in constant pain and unable to walk, possibly = not the same cranky dude we know and love = a big production no-no. I figured it wouldn't last past the end of the episode, and I was right. What I didn't see coming was the fact that he'd been on Vicodin all along. On a second watching, I guess I can see the signs. Is it me, or does he look more 'okay' here than he did in Detox (when he was really detoxing)?

Now, on to the preview:

Haven't we done this "psycho blonde patient unhinged and attached to House" thing already with the girl with the spores in her head from early in the season (that I didn't like either)? Granted, if this were a male patient, I wouldn't be saying this, but it seems like a case of been there, done that. And sort of a B-movie stalker plot, at that.

But I guess we'll wait 3 weeks and see. Until then, enjoy your 3 weeks of Ryan Seacrest...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Season 3, Episode 9: "Finding Judas"

You might be wondering (yeah, right) why I didn't post last week.

That's because I'm running out of ways to say that I basically hate the character of Detective Michael Tritter with a sense of horrible loathing, while still loving David Morse, the guy that plays him. Sometimes I'm not sure how that works, but it does.

David Morse is a pretty good actor. I'm not a huge fan of his, per se, but when I see him in things, I go, "Hey, it's that guy," and I know he'll give a good performance. My problem is that, IMHO, he's done exactly what he said he didn't want to do: get cornered into playing the bad guy. David Shore claimed Tritter wasn't just going to be the bad guy, but that's all he comes across as. Morse's arc has (I think) an episode or two left on it, so if they're going to character-develop him, they better do it fast, because all he looks like is a hypocrite cop who's just as big of an ass as the guy he claims he needs to take down. Some of the stuff he's doing would be bordering on unethical. It's hard to be vested in the plotline, when it's just overbearingly grating.

That said, Wilson ratting out House was nowhere near as big a plot surprise as it was probably intended to be. Chase was obviously a lame duck, considering they'd already used him as a mole in the Vogler arc. Sadly, a lot of plot twists in television can be figured out just by thinking like a TV producer: what decision would be the most apparently shocking? As put upon as Wilson has been recently, it really wasn't that shocking to see him finally snap.

Hello, Lisa Edelstein's screen time. We have missed you. Thank you for coming back.

Now we have to wait two weeks for a new episode...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Season 3, Episode 7: "Son of Coma Guy"

I think this is the first episode this season that I have really and truly loved. I really enjoyed this episode, and I thought it was really well-done.

Guest stars: I've already told you the David Morse history (and that said, I still want to murder his character with an icepick, no matter how much I like the actor). But John Larroquette really needs no introduction. He's got a huge list of credits, including Night Court, The John Larroquette Show, and a great turn on The West Wing as White House counsel Lionel Tribbey, where he threatened to beat someone with a cricket bat. Good stuff.

He's also very, very good here. I was all "Oh, that should be good but I don't know," but he plays well off Hugh Laurie, two dry personalities that work together. The best part of this episode, for me, though, is the interaction between Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard. And the fact that Robert Sean Leonard gets some much deserved screen time. He really is an underrated actor, and the complexities of the House/Wilson friendship are getting truly interesting this season (and next episode, if you saw the Really, it's good to see more of a guy who only has a couple of scenes an episode.

But I have one complaint. This has to be the lamest episode title, ever. That, or next week's episode title. Did someone in the writer's room just run out of title ideas?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Season 3, Episode 5: "Fools for Love"


That was my honest to God first reaction to the events of this episode. I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't seen it yet, but that last plot twist...was both unexpected and a little bit uneasy. Not to mention the very final scenes.

For those of you wondering "hey, it's that guy," David Morse has been around a lot of different shows in a lot of different places. I remember him as the star of the CBS series Hack alongside one of my all-time favorite thespians, Andre Braugher. He was Jodie Foster's character's father in Contact and recently, was seen in 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis and Mos Def. He's also here for multiple episodes, so get comfortable. I personally normally find him a bit bland, but from what I've seen so far of him here, I like him. We'll see how things pan out for his character, and for House.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Season 3, Episode 4: "Lines In The Sand"

Nothing much to say about this one, guys. In all honestly, I didn't care for it. Although, again, you can see the set design department got a whole lot more money (you'd think they'd give Wilson an office that looks bigger than a broom closet, though.)

Maybe next week.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Season 3, Episode 3: "Informed Consent"

One of the things that most struck me about this episode was its ending. I'm not going to go into what, for those who might not have seen it yet, but there are two things that grabbed me:

1) ANOTHER musical montage. I'm normally a big fan of these things -- when I'm working on a screenplay, I have playlists, sometimes for each individual character or relationship -- but there is such a thing as overkill. I'm pretty sure House has hit that point. We've had musical pieces in at least two of this season's three episodes (I can't remember if there was one in "Cane and Able" or not).

2) The ambiguity. You can infer what happens, but for me at least, it took me two viewings to see it. It's never quite explicitly stated what happened and on the first try I was completely confused. But this kind of "make or infer your own ending" is not a new practice. There's a Without A Trace episode that deals with a man on death row, and the episode ends as the Missing Persons team is waiting for the phone to ring to see what happens to him. Fade to black. You never know if the man lives or dies. Most of the time, in my humble opinion, these kinds of endings are a letdown...we want to know what happens to a character or plot we become invested in, not just sort of guess. We want to know for sure that little Timmy lives or somebody gets the girl.

Also, am I the only person who found the whole subplot with the seventeen-year-old hitting on House quite disturbing and gross? Granted, Hugh Laurie is an attractive man, but this girl doesn't even know him. She sees him once (it could be twice, I'm not sure if this is the same blonde who was ogling him in "Meaning") and she's all over him. Even if she were legal it just seems creepy. And they have the sort of implication at the end that he may be amused (if not interested, despite his remarks to her). I so hope they drop this and we never hear about it again. I have enough problems with having both major female leads on the show having (or once having had) things for House, I don't need some teenage attention whore in his life, either. But that's just me saying. David Shore's the man in charge, and we've already gone through three potential love interests -- Cameron, Cuddy, Stacy -- and a hooker, so...who knows.

All in all, I wasn't impressed.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Season 3, Episode 2: "Cane and Able"

A little later than usual, since I didn't get to see this episode until Wednesday night. And frankly, I'm kinda wondering what all the fuss was about.

I got somewhat of a kick out of the X-Files quips and references, being a longtime fan of that show myself. I'm sure that other fans were also thinking of the implants used by aliens for awhile on that series; also, Steven Spielberg's epic miniseries Taken also did a (visually) similar take on implants, where abductees had these little slivers of metal in their heads -- that when they were sucked out, actually came to life as little alien parasites. Creepy.

We continue this week with taking new looks at places in PPTH we haven't seen before. There's another shot of that new foyer second level, and then House takes the team through various rooms in the hospital in an attempt to find a big enough TV. Anyone who knows about television production knows this is one of the perks -- and developments -- of an emerging TV series. As you succeed, you get more money for production, which means that you can build more sets, which means, "Hey, let's go actually use that giant thing we just built." Exec producer Bryan Singer discussed at a panel earlier this year how one of the signs of success was the fact that they could now show ceilings in shots in Season 2 because they had ceilings to show.

Bryan also said one of his directorial influences was Tommy Schlamme (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), and although he didn't direct this episode, I did see a shot or two sort of like Schlamme's sweeping camerawork, a style that's somewhat become more popular since the success of that political drama. Which is one of the only shows to have an entire giant set built merely for its pilot -- then again, it had TV production heavyweight John Wells behind it.

Random trivia fact: Sheryl Lee, who plays Clancy's mother, played Mary Alice Young in the pilot of Desperate Housewives, but was subsequently replaced with Brenda Strong. Who was on Sports Night, which was done by the people who did The West Wing. It's a small world, isn't it?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Season 3, Episode 1: "Meaning"

New season, new blog. I've decided to start from scratch and every Wednesday, bring you my random thoughts on each episode.

I finally got to see the season premiere this afternoon and the jury's still out on it. Part of me liked it, the other part of me was pretty apathetic about it. It didn't really move me one way or the other till the end. But, it did bring to mind some other TV shows that have gone down this road before.

House is running. At least for the time being. House is supposedly crippled for life and yet he's running.

Did anyone else think of Dark Angel?

That being the sci-fi show FOX had a few years ago with Jessica Alba. Her main cohort slash love interest was Logan Cale (played by Alba's then real-life fiancee Michael Weatherly), a guy who was in a wheelchair. Then, for whatever reason -- I stopped watching the show at that point -- after however long of being in said wheelchair, he miraculously stood up and walked and was healed. Not too long after that, the show got cancelled.

I spent most of my night hoping House didn't go that route. But judging from whispers I've heard about the next few episodes, and some subtle cues toward the end, I'm thinking it won't.

On one hand, as a person, you feel remarkably bad for House. You want him to live a normal, pain-free, drug-free existence and be happy. As a viewer, we all know that we like our House cranky and that for him to be all Mr. Sunshine would scare us all and take out what makes the show unique on some level. It's somewhat of a conflicting time to be a fan, in that sense, when the best interests of a character you've come to know and love aren't in the best interests of the show.

Still, I think it's going to be a good season, because let's face it, Hugh Laurie would be good if he read the phone book.

Until next week.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Welcome, my fellow House fans, Housians, Ducklings, what have you,

You're probably looking at the title of this blog and thinking it's a mouthful of words and you're not quite sure what that means, and who is this new person we've never heard of? Never fear, before I get into anything substantive, I'm here to shed light on both those questions. In reverse order, but then again, I'm a little weird like that.

My name is Brittany, and I'm a senior sportswriter and analyst for eSports Media Group. I cover baseball, football and poker, and I was one of three candidates within the organization for ESPN's Dream Job, their competition to cast the next SportsCenter anchor. My main goal, however, is to be a professional television screenwriter. I've been obsessed with the media as far back as I can remember. I've written screenplays, a ton of teleplays, stageplays, radio name it and I've probably done it at some point. I've directed a handful of student films, and I started producing in 200o, when I was named a California Arts Scholar and awarded the Governor's Medallion, which is the highest arts honor available to a student in the state of California. What do I do? Promptly trip at my awards ceremony, in front of Samuel L. Jackson and national TV cameras.

Okay, so I'm not the most coordinated person in the world.

That aside, I'm a TV and film buff who spends too much time thinking on this kind of thing. My other major fandom is 24, though I am a student of Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing). Currently, I'm obsessed with the new Disney sports flick Glory Road, which I've seen three times in eight days, and if Josh Lucas doesn't win some sort of award, I will cry. I've read every book, transcript, shooting script I can get my hands on, and I've seen more movies by and involving more obscure people than you've probably ever heard of. I'm also a big fanfic writer. I spend about 80% of my day writing and roleplaying, and am in several House RPGs.

What all that means is I've been around the block a few times. I adore House, and I've been pleasantly fascinated by it ever since I was converted to it with "Control." Yet as I do with everything, I can't help but also analyze it from a writing and production standpoint, and compare it to other things I've watched, namely all the cop shows I'm addicted to (and all the medical shows that are my guilty pleasure). That's what this blog is going to be about. Observations from a professional writer and aspiring screenwriter about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the show and analyses and comparisons of it from all sorts of points of view. I hope it elucidates the show for you and maybe helps you watch it with a little additional information in your back pocket.

I'm always available for chat with fellow fans, so feel free to fire me an email anytime, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and opinions with you. At least in the virtual world, I can't fall on my face in front of a major movie star.

Best of luck to Hugh at the Golden Globes! If there's any justice in the world, hopefully he'll win this time.

-- Brittany

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Welcome Brittany

The House MD Guide editors welcome Brittany's writings on "Medical Investigation: Analyzing House Through The Media Lens"