Query

Is it just me, or did last night’s two-hour Season 6 premiere of House totally suck in every possible way?free stats

Comments

55 Responses to “Query”
  1. greyaenigma says:

    I don’t know if it was you, but it wasn’t me.

    It did feel strange to not really have any of the other characters we’ve gotten to know hanging around.

    • Todd says:

      But the episode was a complete betrayal of everything the character, and the show, is supposed to stand for, and it was poorly cast, poorly written, poorly directed and poorly shot on top of it. I didn’t buy a single second of it.

      • greyaenigma says:

        Hmm. It’s certainly a huge divergence from the existing show. It didn’t feel like a divergence of the character for me — he was arrogant, manipulative, all the things we love to watch about House. But he does get “broken”, and that’s hard to see in such a strong character.

        I probably could have done without the aside with the administrator’s father, that didn’t seem to move the story. I wonder if, in an earlier draft, Braugher’s character and the random shrink who drugs Capt. Freedom were the same guy, but the separated them – making one more likable, and the other just a cipher.

        The music box bugged me, I admit. I couldn’t figure out why it was being kept on the ward, nor why they wait so long to actually give it to her once House figures it out.

        • Todd says:

          It’s not just that House was, er, “housebroken.” It was that the script was full of false pieties, easy bromides and dime-store psychology. Plus, all the “lovable crazy people” in the ward acted nothing like real-life crazy people at all.

          • greyaenigma says:

            I can see that. Maybe I’ll slip Cuckoo’s Nest into my queue when I’m done with Marathon Man. If it’s safe.

            • Todd says:

              That was another weird thing — they made all these specific references to Cuckoo’s Nest, but turned them all cutesy and toothless, they didn’t find anything new or interesting to say about them at all.

              • greyaenigma says:

                I had the strangest dream…

                I couldn’t tell if I was imagining the Cuckoo’s Nest references, it’s been a long, long time.

                Maybe the next episode will begin as House wakes up next to Wilson, with hospital’s drinking fountain missing.

                • Todd says:

                  Re: I had the strangest dream…

                  They lifted about half the plot points of Cuckoo’s Nest, from House hijacking the car to the patients lining up for their meds to the protagonist’s repeated attempts to buck the system. It was practically a scene-by-scene remake, but this time done really stupid.

                  • freyja says:

                    Re: I had the strangest dream…

                    THIS is pretty much how i felt. it wasn’t house at all. it was cuckoo’s nest hijacked halfway through with a happy ending.

                    i’m beginning to think that the show has jumped the shark. frankly, house getting “better” seems boring, and the way they treated mental illness was just… wholly disrespectful. oh, look, all she wanted was a music box that we for some unknown reason took away from her in the first place. now she can play a cello concerto for us all. oh, look, drugs solve everything. oh, you asked for outpatient therapy in the first place and it’s apparently the only effective treatment for you but you must for some nebulous reason stay on the ward and take various medications of a dubious nature and nearly kill someone before we shall even offer it to you– and then it will only take a few sessions where nothing near a breakthrough is made before we let you off the leash. WAT.

                    you’re correct in that nobody acted appropriately. and they completely forgot about wilson visiting. having house go home on the bus was like the ultimate slap in the face to anyone obsessively following the “bromance” (*raises hand*).

                    the only theme i thought was even passable was the idea of trust vs. fear, but they didn’t even get this across very well at all, what with the large pharma component inherent in the message.

                    oy. did they get a new team of writers or something?

                    • Todd says:

                      Re: I had the strangest dream…

                      It’s funny, in the past I’ve always been impressed with how they didn’t “dumb down” the medical stuff on House, and then I talked to people who are in the medical business and all they talk about is how House gets everything stupidly wrong. Last night, for the first time, they dealt with a subject I know the teeniest thing about, and everything was head-smackingly bogus and fake. My wife literally almost threw a drinking glass at the TV.

                    • greyaenigma says:

                      Re: I had the strangest dream…

                      In my experience, any time anyone sees anything done on film/tv that they have specialized experience in, it’s done screamingly wrong. In my case, the Go being played in Pi or A Beautiful Mind. And I happen to know they even had experts on hand in both those cases and they still managed to do stuff that made no sense.

                    • Todd says:

                      Re: I had the strangest dream…

                      And A Beautiful Mind screwed the pooch on the mental illness thing, too. Big time.

                    • freyja says:

                      Re: I had the strangest dream…

                      yeah, it probably wasn’t the smartest move for them to delve into territory real viewers might actually know something about, wasn’t it? 🙂

          • Anonymous says:

            “Plus, all the “lovable crazy people” in the ward acted nothing like real-life crazy people at all.”

            One of my friends is one of those real-life crazy people, and the treatment of the ward and its inmates wasn’t far off at all. I’ve had the interesting experience of visiting my friend at two different psychiatric facilities, at various levels of flight risk and rehabilitation, and let me tell you…..it puts a WHOLE ‘nother angle on the show. When House’s roomate showed up, I said to a buddy of mine “HOLY COW, do they KNOW Adam??!!!! He just got ADAM for a roomie!!!!”

            • Todd says:

              Really? So your friend knows people who are catatonic for ten years, but when they get their magic music box back they can suddenly play an instant cello recital?

              I’m sorry, the Manic Hispanic acted nothing like a bipolar person, at all. He acted like a speed freak, and not a convincing one. The anorexic didn’t act like an anorexic, the superhero guy didn’t act like he was delusional. Everything was cuddly and cute and dumbed down and saccharine, if I wanted to watch that I’d watch, I dunno, any other show on television. I watch House so I don’t have to put up with that kind of nonsense.

              • Anonymous says:

                >I watch House so I don’t have to put up with that kind of nonsense.

                So you watch a show about a doctor with a drug problem who is such a complete ass that there’s no way anyone would have not fired him by now? That’s just as realistic as the psych ward patients.

                I *have* fired people for merely mouthing off to other people, and for hitting other people. There’s no way House could cut it outside of the fake world that is a television show.

                • Todd says:

                  What I’m saying is that I watch House for its acerbic, unconventional main character, not for its hard-hitting realism. I know House wouldn’t last very long in the real world, but if you’re going to have him be cute and helpful, if he’s “only kidding,” then there’s no point in having a show.

      • tawdryjones says:

        The acting was good.

        That’s all I got. I can forgive a lot in my favorite shows but that episode really tested me. The music box suddenly fixing everything? Are you kidding me? And he forgets his obsession with Cuddy to get all Elliott Smith over a one-night stand? Do not buy.

        • Todd says:

          But the acting wasn’t good, the acting was all grating and fake. The “crazy people” were the worst, but the supporting medical staff were also horrible, walking around with placards on their foreheads, “I AM A DOUCHE” or “I AM HARSH, YET KIND.”

          • tawdryjones says:

            The blonde was creepy, I thought. Her smile at the end when the rapper asked for his meds was just wrong.

            • Todd says:

              No kidding! Because the message of the episode was, “Just knuckle under to authority, you know that’s what’s best.” The exact opposite of everything the show is about.

              • shocka says:

                So the show is usually “Go against authority, regardless of who the authority is and what it stands for”?

                Do you think House is the hero of the show? If he was a real person, most people – if not all – wouldn’t give him time of day; same is true of the show. He’s also miserable on the show, surely he’d also be miserable in real life.

                • Todd says:

                  The show isn’t “Go against authority,” it’s “I’d rather be right than be popular.” But last night they had House making cow-eyes at the camera and begging us to like him, and it was a betrayal of the character.

                  • shocka says:

                    I think you’re misreading the text, but since you’d prefer to respond with snappy-single-sentences rather than intelligent discourse, kind of like Roger Ebert, discussing this is futile.

                  • mimitabu says:

                    i’ve always felt that the show was good at showing complexity in life (well, its success varied), and house was an excellent character since he seemed to go right by the “i’d rather be right than popular” line into “i genuinely don’t give a shit about other people” land. to me, he was a compelling character because the show repeatedly said, “no, he doesn’t really care that foreman’s leaving. it doesn’t make any difference to him if the patient dies or the patient’s wife cheated on him.” they give you the cues that you know from a million shows/movies where the grouch’s heart gets warmed, and house replies, “no, we’re really not going to do it that way.” and the dialogue is good, acting better, and the show generally entertaining.

                    …but i haven’t seen much past season 4 or so. i got a sort of… icky feeling from what i’d heard of it, and kind of expected it to head where you seem to think it’s gone.

                    maybe comparing this episode with the older episode with the sick girl who kisses chase would be appropriate. at the end of that episode, as house realizes that the girl is genuinely strong and good and cares about him, the moment is beautiful because he’s not touched–or at least, he’s not *just* touched. maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, but i think he’s baffled, and he’s questioning how he should feel or how he does feel or if he’s mistaken something huge, etc. it’s real human drama; heavy character stuff. turn him into scrooge and who gives a shit?

  2. I’m a season behind, just starting Season 5, but… is that Franka Potente?

      • viktor_haag says:

        That’s just great; one of my favourite actresses appears on a show just in time for it to suck–wonderful. Hopefully, it’s only a guest appearance and she won’t be remembered for helping to make “House” suck. 8P

    • Todd says:

      It is! Which means that she’s had sex, on screen, with two of my wife’s favorite characters!

      • curt_holman says:

        Jason Bourne is one of your wife’s favorite characters???

        • Todd says:

          After seeing The Bourne Identity, my wife and I were walking down the street and after a long pause I said “I’m sorry I’m not Jason Bourne,” and she thought about that a moment and said “I would only ask that you move like Jason Bourne.” That said, yes, Jason Bourne is one of my wife’s favorite characters.

          • greyaenigma says:

            Having just heard an interview with Damon, I therefore recommend that always now stand at an angle from her, as if you are keeping one hip (where your gun is, in theory) away from her at all times. Because that’s how he moved in the movies.

  3. shocka says:

    No, it’s just you. Elaborate on how it was poorly cast, written, directed, shot, etc., then we can have a conversation. Otherwise, you’re the equivalent of those idiots who post to their blogs “HAY GUYS I JUST SAW BEST MOVIE EVER, DISASTER MOVIE, WAS ROFL!!! LOLZOR!!”

    • amanofhats says:

      Given the analysis and thoughts he puts in this journal, it would take a helluva lot more than a single-line post for Mr. Alcott to become “the equivalent of those idiots.”

    • Todd says:

      Well, okay. One, none of the supporting cast was remotely believable in the roles they were assigned to play, none of the mental illnesses portrayed were remotely like they are in real life, House didn’t act anything like himself, he repeatedly acted as though he had lost all his abilities to read people, the script was a series of fuzzy, heart-warming bromides instead of the hard-headed observations we’re used to, the shooting style was generic and under-rehearsed, getting across none of the tension and drama inherent in the situation, the supporting cast were a series of strawmen for House to knock over and then apologize to, and the entire thing was treacly, saccharine, coy, superficial, cutesy and self-pitying. House is one of the great shows of all time, but if last night’s episode was the first I’d ever seen, it would have also been the last I’ve ever seen. Only intense viewer loyalty kept me watching the whole thing, that and a desire to make sure he was returning to the hospital next week.

      • shocka says:

        I think House casts aside realism the majority of the time dealing with medical conditions, so even as a Psychology graduate I didn’t really take issue with the Hollywood-ised depictions of various psychological conditions, and I didn’t take any issue with the acting either. The show consistently borders on being completely ridiculous, a fantasy about an egotistical maniac who gets whatever he wants, who’s basically always right, who has no responsibility. He gets away with his flaws, of which he has many, because he’s always in an empowered situation working in an imaginary hospital that gets handed the most absurd and undiagnosable cases that only he’s able to solve. So, removing him from the position of power and forcing him to face up to the fact that he’s a flawed character, that interests me.

        I’m a bit stuck when you say that House didn’t act like House – he spent the first ep of the two acting like the jerk he is to get his way, which is what he does – and usually gets away with. I’m wondering if you’re referring to the fact that he opposed the psychologist’s tactic for the character with the superhero delusion, because usually he’s all about forcing harsh truths on people, but I believed his actions because, at that point, all he wanted to do was make life miserable for the psychs because he was miserable there and wanted to leave. After his powerplays resulted in the near-death of that patient, he’s forced to face that fact that yes, his behavior is antisocial, problematic and potentially dangerous. I’m fascinated by that arc.

        House as a character is a nihilist. Every situation he’s in he sets out to rub this in everyone’s face, as in the social experiment Black Psych (c) sets for him, in which he must mingle with people at the fundraiser. He finds that people will bend over backwards for him, to accomodate how hostile he is to them, to which he has to push and push until they do present themselves to him the way he wants them to, because it affirms his nihilism. But that nihilism is wrong, because the people do actually try to be nice. Why is House the way he is? He’s smart enough to know that there’s no simple answer to that, nor is there a simple solution for his problems. I found the exchanges with Black Psych (c) as a patient in the asylum to be refreshing and realistic, whereas everything else was the same old fantasy House hyperrealism – the ward itself, the things that Black Psych (c) had him do (call House in while your dad is on his deathbed? Really? What?!), the behavior of the other patients, his fling with Lola, it didn’t seem any more a stretch than anything else in House. I’ll concede that the mute woman being solved by the music box was saccharine crap, and that the whole thing was goddamn convenient – but House always is.

        I don’t understand why you thought it was poorly directed, written or shot. Do you really thing House is one of the great shows of all time? The only thing transcending it past “CSI in a hospital” are the character exchanges and insights – half of the show we’re not allowed to follow because of all the medical jargon we can’t understand. I don’t disagree that it’s a great show, but I don’t see why you think it’s one of the Best Programs Ever.

        • Todd says:

          “The only thing transcending it past “CSI in a hospital” are the character exchanges and insights”

          Which are exactly what were missing last night — the character was denatured, and suddenly stupid for some reason, suddenly unable, for the sake of a sentimental script, to diagnose, or to read people in any interesting or meaningful way.

          • shocka says:

            Same character, different location. He was still reading people and trying to figure out their motivations, which is what he spends most of his time doing at Plainsboro, which in turn stops him from having to socialise with people – a defense mechanism of trying to have power over people all the time (by trying to figure them out) instead of actually engaging with them. Wasn’t he still the same House when, at the deathbed of Black Psych (c)’s dad, working out why Black Psych (c) wanted him there? Then he stopped and sat down instead, to talk to him, to actually be human with someone for the first time, well, ever. What’s your issue with this?

            What are your feelings on next week’s episode being back at Plainsboro?

        • freyja says:

          i think we’re in agreement that the themes and character development are interesting things to explore, but the problem is the writers explored it BADLY. house learning a lesson is fine and all, and it’d be a good lesson to learn– but we don’t see the development. we are told that he’s learned something significant without experiencing it alongside him. i agree with you that the one-on-one sessions with the black psych were very good– there should have been MORE of that. i mean crispy crap, we don’t even get to see the hallucinations taper off. i expected a tougher road.

          this isn’t the only episode i’ve taken issue with in this regard (telling instead of showing, i mean), but it being two hours long you’d think they’d do a better job this time around.

          house does have its flaws and sometimes brushes right up against complete unbelievability but it doesn’t matter as long as it serves the story. most of the stuff in this episode did not do that. it was just not even fun or satisfying to watch, beyond being unbelievable.

      • Anonymous says:

        And there I was on my way home from work at 11:30, planning to write you an e-mail asking whether you’d seen House last night, and to fill me in because I missed it and the promos on TV looked baaaaaaad. Now I’m glad I have no time for television this week.
        –Ed.

  4. iron_pyrite says:

    I didn’t want to face it, but yes, it was painfully weak.

    There are so many dark and interesting avenues the show could have explored. It’s almost as if the writers realised that an honest treatment of mental illness is pretty much unworkable on network television, and decided to haul-ass out of there as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    The mute recovery and ‘I’m ready to take my meds’ ending made me nauseous. And the script came within seconds of getting all Giuliani on us (“Evil people killed a lot of good people that day.”)

    The only spark of imagination was the half-hearted attempts to depict Franka Potente as another hallucination – but that seemed to have been abandoned by the time House starts talking to Braugher.

    My only hope for this season is that House adopts the fragile and wary demeanour of a well-beaten twelve-stepper, and he returns to Princeton Plainsboro to find his proteges transformed into bitter, dysfunctional ‘Old House’ clones.

  5. iron_pyrite says:

    Also, when I saw Hugh Laurie rap, I couldn’t help but think of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgfcVeIwGAs

    (also noted by TWOP)

    • Todd says:

      One of my all-time low points in watching any television show came last night when the Manic Hispanic couldn’t think of the next line to rap, and I spoke the answer rhyme out loud, and then Hugh Laurie said it a second later. I should never be able to out-guess what House is going to say.

    • freyja says:

      YES. that is exactly what i was thinking of the whole time! i bet hugh laurie wrote that in himself.

      also, re: your above comment i was so ready around the scene where house finally gets his cake to dream that we were about to find out it was actually all a hallucination– the whole asylum bit. i think that’s the only thing that would have saved the episode.

      of course, every time i think they mess house up they end up redeeming themselves. so here’s to hoping it at least stays interesting…

  6. malsperanza says:

    Rats. I haven’t seen it yet, but I was really hoping Andre Braugher would rescue the show from its slide. And Franka Potente! But it sure sounds like a depressing wallow.

    All last season the show was desperately introducing new characters and throwing the old ones under the bus, trying to mix things up. I liked what they did with House’s character at the end, making him a flat-out delusional, lying addict, like any other crapped-out fuckup addict. But the rest of the cast was just floundering.

    I bet they thought the “Cuckoo’s Nest” stuff was an hommage. (Of course, I sort of feel the same way about the “Cuckoo’s Nest” movie: it’s a wimpy, saccharine betrayal of the book.)

    Oh well, I suppose I’ll watch it online anyway.

  7. faroffstar says:

    This episode made me think the same thing that a lot of episodes of House have of late: Man, I miss Season 1 House…

  8. Maybe I’m just not that observant but I kind of enjoyed it, saying that, I am hoping that now House seems to be on the mend that this will be the last season.

    (There’s no fun in having a goody two shoes House now is there?)

    I’m sure Wilson will mess him up, Wilson is a bad influence on House.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, I was just glad to see any setting other than the hospital. I wish the whole season could have been there (albeit a bit more smartly done). It all seemed a bit rushed to me. I like the character but I tend to hate hate procedurals with a white hot passion. I’m sure things will go back to normal very quickly. If there’s anything this show has taught us it’s that nothing matters long-term. But that’s Fox for you.

    He and Wilson should just become consulting detectives for Scotland Yard. That’d make me happier than a stark return to the status quo.

    -Matt

    • Todd says:

      I actually have a soft spot in my heart for procedurals, but I’d never seen one done particularly well on network television prior to House. I tried looking at CSI, Numbers, Bones and a few others but found them all unwatchable.

      • Anonymous says:

        My general rule about them is that in order for me to watch them first-run(and the wife would watch NCIS and SVU all day every day if she had her way so it’s a bone of contention in the household), they have to be at least 45% comedy. I’m not sure what that rule says about me, mind you. In 2009, I generally like my television with lots and lots of forward character and plot progression, which probably tells you I read too many comics as a kid or something.

        House is generally very, very well done, though, so it may or may not be my one exception to that rule. As it is, it’s probably not, considering it’s smack dab full of dark humor.

        -Matt

  10. colebitt says:

    If not House, then What?

    I had the privilege of watching all 5 House seasons for the first time earlier this year. I was getting tired the one-show-one-patient-near-death formula. I was getting tired of House being House. I was getting tired of how the patients, in many cases, were representations of House. So the House confronts House trope was well used. The House is almost going to change his set ways but doesn’t got stale because he was so predictably set.

    I hope that somehow House and a couple other main character migrate into a drama with different qualities. I would like to see a true arc in the House character too. I feel these hopes are too tenuous after watching last night’s episode.

    My question, then, is what next?

    I will start with Lie To Me. I have neuroscience chops in my background, so I really appreciate the Paul Ekman / microexpression stuff, at least until the point where the level of absurdity is too high. I have liked Tim Roth ever since The Legend Of 1990. I was glad, however, that I didn’t notice him as one of the apes in Planet Of The Apes. Lie To Me provided characters arcs for the main characters even if they received little play during the shortened season one. Once the formula of two thematically related cases per week gets tiresome, the show can more into the personal dramas.

  11. Perhaps my recent lack of sleep has crippled my judgement…

    …but I kinda enjoyed the episode. I sort of found it interesting how the writers (either by accident or design) essentially dropped House into an entirely different TV series that operates by completely inverted principles. “Everybody lies, and any exceptions are invariably cruel” becomes “Everyone is honest, and any exceptions are out of kindness.” Cold rationality is replaced with warm sentiment. Stubborn, lonely doctors actually care about helping their patients. And House has to adapt to this strange new version of reality like he’s Alex the droog suddenly stuck inside of “Parent Trap” or something.

    But aside from being some kind of odd, self-referential thought experiment, taking House out of “House” could arguably be one of the only ways to change his outlook on life. So much of “House” is a function of House’s personality and perspective; the dark humor, the fixation with puzzles, the way that every third character is some manner of mirror held up to him. Virtually everything in the “House” world confirms House’s assumptions and reinforces his attitude. And removing the audience from the rules of “House” seems meant to help them believe and invest in House’s recovery (though clearly the execution fell a damn ways from 100% success in this regard). And it also put the idea into my head at least that House staying “well” back at Princeton-Plainsboro is going to be nigh impossible. I expect a rather interesting season of struggling against backslide.