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Recent Episodes :: Episodes ::  #517 "The Social Contract"

March 9, 2009
517 House and Wilson
Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) keeps a secret from House (Hugh Laurie) in the HOUSE episode "The Social Contract" airing Monday, March 9 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
©2009 Fox Broadcasting Co.
Credits: Adam Taylor/FOX
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Written by
Doris Egan
Directed by
Andrew Bernstein
House describes the place and time as "New Jersey Winter"
Patient of the Week:
Nick Greenwald all of a sudden starts saying whatever he is thinking and then gets a nosebleed and collapses.
How House gets involved:
Cameron brings up the case from the ER. And the team thinks this is frontal lobe disinhibition like the famous case of the railroad worker who had after a spike penetrated his brain had a personality change.
The privacy invasion / ethical breach
House brings Cuddy in to see the patient for no reason other than so she can hear what the patient thinks of her looks---he says it is a gift to her and her smile after he leaves suggests that he is right. But he also enjoys everyone's discomfort.
Plus House threatens to fire Taub if Taub doesn't prove he really does play racketball with Wilson.
Preliminary diagnoses:
The team finds an infection and think that will stop future problems but leave Greenwald with the same inability to keep his thoughts to himself. The only possibility they can see for helping him get back to the way he was is an operation that is likely to kill him. The patient appeals to House saying that he would rather be dead than have no family or friends. House goes to Chase to have him convince his boss, a neurosurgeon, to do the dangerous operation. But even though Greenwald lives through it, he finds he still is incapable of inhibiting his speech.
The final diagnosis
Doege-Potter Syndrome, which is associated with a fibroma which causes low blood sugar and for his immune system to attack his body. Removing the fibroma stops everything except the damage already done to Greenwald's relationships.
Clinic Patients
Additional Information
  • Wilson was a tennis star in college.
  • Wilson had been searching for his brother for some time and 13 years ago, he saw his brother in Princeton but couldn't get to him before he disappeared. When he hears this House says, "That's why you were so eager when I told you there was a job at Princeton. I thought it was just my charm."

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517 House, Wilson and Kutner
Kutner (Kal Penn) consults House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard when the team treats a patient who can't stop himself from saying everything he's thinking - no matter who it hurts in the HOUSE episode "The Social Contract" airing Monday, March 9 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Credit: Adam Taylor/FOX
Additional Resources
Cast: Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House; Lisa Edelstein as Dr. Lisa Cuddy; Omar Epps as Dr. Eric Foreman; Robert Sean Leonard as Dr. James Wilson; Jennifer Morrison as Dr. Allison Cameron; Jesse Spencer as Dr. Robert Chase; Peter Jacobson as Dr. Chris Taub; Kal Penn as Dr. Lawrence Kutner; Olivia Wilde as Thirteen

Guest Cast: Jay Karnes as Nick; Susan Egan as Audrey; Darcy Rose Byrnes as Mika; Jodi Harris as Elaine; Devon Michaels as Timothy; Carlos Arellano as Nurse Gonzales; Sheri Foster as Cashier; Bobbin Bergstrom as Nurse

Quotes, Quotations, Dialogue, Scenes
  • House invites Wilson to a monster truck rally Wednesday night but Wilson says he can't make it. House doesn't understand and is insistent so Wilson explains, "The fact is I just don't like monster trucks."

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       "Yes, you do."
       "No, I don't."
       "You've always liked Monster Trucks."
       "No, you've always liked them. I've tolerated them. Seriously, I can only watch so many hyped up dune buggies crush so many motor homes without feeling the urge to go see La Boheme and I hate opera, too."
       "What are you hiding?"
       "I'm not hiding it, I'm saying it loud and proud: Death to monster trucks."
    Kutner comes up to tell House that the patient doesn't have nasal cancer "and no marriage either if he our patient keeps saying everything that comes into his head without regard for the consequences."
    Wilson looks accusingly at House. "You always led me to believe you were one of a kind."
    Kutner says, "Luckily, jerkiness is a temporary condition for this guy."
    House disagrees. "No, it's not. We may be able to fix his impulse to say his thoughts out loud, but he's always going to be the guy who thinks them."
    Wilson sees it differently. "He's also gonna be the guy who doesn't say them. If he's spent his whole life constructing the nice guy persona, isn't that as much who he really is as anything else?"
    House tells him, "You would argue that. You're all persona."

  • Later House brings over an empty plate to where Wilson is eating his lunch. "Anyone sitting here?"
       "Just my persona."
       House takes half of Wilson's lunch, discusses insults and then says, "I'm not suggesting that like our patient you are hiding a dark sarcastic core under a candy shell of compulsive niceness."
       "I'm not always nice. I'm not nice to you."
       "Because you know nice bores me. Hence, still nice. No, I'm suggesting you have no core. You're what whoever you're with needs you to be.... The interesting question is why. Why do you think the world will end if you're not there to save it? ...And why did you lie about monster trucks?"
       "I didn't."
       "I checked your appointment book. You have tomorrow night marked off."

  • Everybody Lies
    "Everybody Lies" Charcoal T-shirt
    The patient goes to House about the fact that he still can't help himself from saying what he thinks. House says there is nothing he can do. The patient knows there is an option. "You can operate."
        "You could die."
        "So, I'm either better or dead? I'm okay with that." He explains, "I-I've always been kind of an impatient guy. But I've worked hard to keep my mouth shut. I've made my wife happy. I've made my little girl happy. I want that back, otherwise it's no life."
        House seems to understand since he goes to Chase and hands him the file. "I want you to remove a small problem."
        Chase looks at the file and says, "I'm not a neurosurgeon."
        "But your boss is. You could assist. I'm sure you'd like to add to your resume."
        "It's too near the brain stem. Nobody's gonna touch it."
        "Your boss would. He's an egomaniac. I know 'cause I keep seeing him at the club. He just needs a little push. I'm sure by now you've kissed his ass sufficiently." Chase laughs at the insult and turns away. "Would you like me to phrase it as 'you're politically gifted'? I can do that."
        "You want me to help you: tell me why?"
        "Why what?"
        "Why you care. The puzzle's solved. The guy is alive. And the odds of coming out of the surgery with that same status aren't that great."
        "My patient has a quality of life issue."
        "He says awful things. Hardly a medical condition."
        "When he leaves here he's going to lose his family. He's going to alienate the people he works with. And if he ever finds a friend who's willing to put up with his crap, he'll be lucky until he drives him away, too."
        Chase seems impressed with the honesty and the emotion House exhibits. "I'll see what I can do."

  • While House watches the operation Wilson joins him and acknowledges that he has been antagonistic to House in his effort to keep his privacy. He says, "I may have overreacted."
        "You definitely overreacted."
        "I knew you'd meet me half way."
        "It made me think---you only snap on one subject: losing people. So, I went to the intel...."
        Wilson interrupts, "Maybe the reason I don't always open up to you is because it's redundant."
        House continues about what he learned. "Daniel Wilson. Once you've got a name, it's amazing how much stuff you can learn on the phone. I mean if you're a doctor and you lie freely...." Wilson tells House he is headed for New York to see his brother who is in a psych ward, so House asks, "Why wouldn't you tell me this?"
        "House, you and I, we don't have the normal social contract. I don't expect you to tell me lies that —"
        "I am fully capable of lying to you. I've lied plenty of times."
        "I mean collaborative lies. Giving sonmeone a hand who maybe need to deceive themselves just a little. For two days I've been thinking about how Danny's going to react when he sees me, If I said that to anybody else they'd sat, 'Don't worry.' You wouldn't."
        "Because it might go horribly wrong."
        "Yeah. Yeah. It might."
        "In which case you might want some company." Wilson seems surprised and touched by the offer from House.

  • At the end Wilson is waiting for House and walks out with him. After making a comment about talking to his brother and then stopping, House says, "Go on."
       "I thought seeing him again would change everything. It would be wonderful or terrible. Instead we are just strangers."
       "Which is better than terrible." Then House pauses.
       "Go on."
       "Does it bother you that we have no social contract?"
       "My whole life is one big compromise. I tiptoe around everyone like they're made of china. I spend all my time analyzing" what will the effect be if I say this? Then there's you. You're a reality junkie. You'd smack me over the head with it. Let's not change that."
       "No—see—this— If you were implementing the social contract, you'd say that, but only because it makes me feel better." Wilson seems confused.
       "It is kind of fun watching you torture yourself."
       That seems to put Wilson more at ease. "Do you think things will work out with my brother?"
       "No." Wilson responds positively to the honesty. "But when it does go wrong, it won't be your fault."
       "Thanks, House."
       "You do actually like monster trucks."
  • ---Preliminary: The above needs to be double checked. ---
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