The ”House” season premiere: The doc works alone
Whoa! Was that an explosive season opener of House or what? The first metaphor was bang-on, as literally a house (okay, an office building) collapsed on its foundation, and we were left wondering who, if anyone, lived. (For a moment I thought Dunder Mifflin went down — that’s how fall-TV-lineup-deprived I’ve felt all summer).
But I digress. When we last checked in at the Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, our impatient doctor, Gregory House, had alienated or fired his three good-looking associates, Drs. Cameron, Foreman, and Chase. There were no survivors. The question is whether they’ll come back. I miss Dr. Chase the most; the others could go on Dancing With the Stars and I wouldn’t watch, though I’d be happy to see them return to House.
Now, I am as addicted to Hugh Laurie’s House as Dr. Gregory is sweet on Vicodin. And when our shock-rock doc opened the episode by shredding an Eddie Van Halen two-handed arpeggio on a white Flying V guitar, I wanted to raise my Bic to him and shout, ”Yes!” It was then that I noticed our teamless player was rocking solo, a notion that became the theme of the next 40 minutes. It made me wonder: Does Gregory House, M.D., have the chops to diagnose patients on his own, or does he need a backing band of med students with whom to trade riffs and sort out medical mysteries?
Would Van Halen suck without its lead guitarist? Did you buy any of Mick Jagger’s solo records?
You did not.
And so our patient mystery unfolded — poor swollen-noggin girl Megan survived a building implosion, and House got to Sherlock Holmes his way through her various medical puzzles all by his lonesome, employing some favorite plot tricks: 1. Misdiagnosing an ailment and prescribing meds that cause nearly fatal new symptoms. 2. Busting into the operating room because he sees something the top surgeon is gonna miss. 3. Achieving that aha! moment in a Jungian synchronistic way — something someone does or says or wears or eats teases out the last piece of the puzzle from inside House’s head, resulting in a rapid diagnosis of the patient’s heretofore unsolvable life-and-death situation.
Were you beginning to feel as if you were watching a Scooby Doo mystery unfold? And by that I mean, could you solve the puzzle from the beginning? I couldn’t — I was rapt till the end — thrilled by every bad-boy maneuver. I could almost see House charming Dr. Cuddy by barking a cheeky ”Ruh-roh, Raggy.”
I thought the ending was really clever in a Twilight Zone kind of way, but I did not much care about Megan, the patient. It’s bizarre to me that I am in love with an obvious sociopath (House) but the patient’s meh boyfriend and annoying mother kept me from feeling anything for her or her plight.
For me it was all about House and his bulldozing actions and dialogue. The subplot, in which Dr. Wilson kidnapped House’s beloved guitar in order to blackmail his friend into hiring a staff, was the kind of fun we like to have here around the E-Dubs offices. As a plot device, it added humanity to our hero, who does not suffer loss well.
And I love watching a jerk on TV. I love Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Laura Kightlinger as Jackie Woodman on The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman. Karen Walker. Archie Bunker. George Sanford. Nelly Olson. Oscar the Grouch?.It makes me happy to live vicariously through them. And so I am happy this jerk is back.
Favorite quote of the episode: When Cuddy asked House where he came from, he replied, ”Apes, if you believe the Democrats.”
Nice. Oh, and if you want the cool African-peace-sign T-shirt House sported in the first scene, check out this website and say hello to Bono while you’re there.
What do you think? Did you enjoy seeing House work solo? Did you like the potential new assistant we saw toward the end of the episode? Or do you want the old ducklings to come back? If so, which one do you miss the most?