House Review: Control Over Damage

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I tried. I really tried to like "Parents.

More than that, I wanted to. This episode was full of potential. I've been waiting and wanting the series to go back and discuss House and his parents for years. The episode "Birthmarks" from season five was one of the last times the show delved deeply into House's past and after that there were mentions, but an episode based around a boy's relationship with his father seemed like a perfect opportunity for the series to dive into some ripe material. 

Instead, it stayed on the surface and focused more on House's ankle monitor, Taub's Sophie's and Dr. Adams' past.

Lest we forget the patient of the week, Ben, who is trying to connect to his biological father via his affinity for clowns and making children laugh. Aren't we past the clown era? I can't even look at clowns these days without getting creeped out; kids are too savvy in 2011 to buy into a face-painted weirdo. But the teaser showed just that; kids were bored and didn't care. At least the episode accurately portrayed these reactions. 

Patient Room Gathering

Meanwhile, we're stuck between three storylines that I can't say I really care much about. House trying to remove his ankle monitor and the accompanying Foreman/Wilson hijinks? Eh. We've seen it before. Although I can say that I never would have expected House to pick Foreman over Wilson! My skepticism tells me this is House's way of staying on Foreman's good side as a boss, but why would he try that hard? Wouldn't the House we know and love much rather be at that fight with Wilson? 

And what House wants, he always gets. So either tonight's fight wasn't his endgame, or the people over at House forgot that Wilson and House are the odd couple, not House and Foreman.

The main storyline seemed to be Taub's; at least I felt like he had the most screen time and we were supposed to care about him the most.  'll repeat: I like Taub, but only in small doses. When he is in the episode more that House, I take issue. I know that his parenting decisions reflect the patient's and he's taking a stand as a father in wanting to be part of his kid's life, but I'm not all that invested in Taub becoming a parent, so the stakes were pretty low for me. 

What I did enjoy about the episode was the questions it raised. Is it better to have a bad parent, no parent, or a there-for-two-seconds-parent that is heavily idealized? It's a trick question. The answer is D, a good parent, which brings us back to how Taub's kids tied into the patient's biological father. 

Taub was fighting the idea of Phil, Rachel's boyfriend parenting his child. But is Taub selfishly motivated or does he really think he belongs in his child's life for the betterment of that child? He chooses to believe that he is best for his own child, especially after finding out that the patient's father sexual abused his son and that was the cause of Ben's condition: syphilis. Taub could easily be a better father than syph-dad, right? 

Unfortunately for the patient, it's not the case. Ben, while idealizing his father since he barely remembers him, clings to the idea of him and nothing else. If he knew the truth about his father, that would all be over. It's a nice juxtaposition between his situation and Taub's, but I just wanted more House involvement with the parent storyline, rather than him just attempting to figure out Adams' issues.

We do inevitably find out what exact brand of "screw-up" Adams is: turns out she just wanted to be a person with more depth, so she ran away from her perfect life for awhile and has since spent her whole life making it up to her worried parents. Excuse me while I try and hack up some empathy. You may be waiting awhile.

So is it true that we're all screwed up? I'm sure House would have us believe that we're all damaged in some way. I don't think he's come across anyone that he's found to be perfectly healthy, mentally or physically. The question is can our upbringing change just how damaged we are? 

One last thing I did enjoy was hearing Chase's little anecdote from his past about how he became interested in medicine. However, it might not jive with the fact that he went to seminary school first. Just a little continuity error from your neighborhood reviewer. Regardless, the more I learn about Chase, the better. 

Next week promises to be so dramatic, they can only show House clicking his pen. I'll believe the good drama when I see it.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
  • 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (65 Votes)
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Yet another review this season from someone who doesn't understand this show and never liked it to begin with, that's the only possible explaination why anyone, not just Palmer, could hate this or any episode of House. This entire episode is classic House, and the delivery of it as good as ever. It's all here, a patient or their loved ones with a secret that if they told House he could have had the case solved in minutes, House needling his team about their personal problems based on whatever problems the patient of the week is having, a incredibly minor problem House is having and resorting to absurd methods to solve it, screwing with the administrator (I don't care what anyone says, Foreman is not only a great administrator, he does a better job of being one than Cuddy ever did) and so on. What's best is they manage to follow the series formula and STILL BE UNPREDICTABLE. There's only one thing in this episode I saw coming, House going to the fight with Foreman, (I figured that out when Foreman says "I'd like to go to the fight too) otherwise pretty much everything took me by surprise, in a good way, and the fact that this show can still do that when I've seen every episode is saying a lot.

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I noticed at the beginning of the episode, when House and Wilson were talking about the boxing game, there were 2 shots of Hugh looking directly at the camera. It was strange

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Great review. Completely with you and Jess's review on this episode, again. Boy the show just keeps going for the low hanging fruit and the one-liners. No depth, no drama, no interest. The patients of the week has become a tick of sorts instead of something to be used as a device to delve deeper into House's own life in some way only the viewers generally get to see. Unfortunately, the POTW device has gotten dull, like the show. Man, I do miss S.6 and the first part of s.7 when we got to see House on unfamiliar territory trying to open up and have a life that included happiness. Now he's become a caricature of a once-interesting enigma. Just don't like it anymore. Feels like a house guest who's overstayed his welcome (no pun intended).

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Cancel House, it became so boring

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I think the consensus is that House is on the downhill slide to oblivion. It would be nice if all our questions were answered before the final episode, but if the writers are anything like Greg House, they really don't care what we want and I don't have high expectations that House's Daddy issues will be resolved in this world.

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HOUSE conned Wilson out of the tickets because Wilson was initially WILLING to skip out on his previous commitment to see the fight with House. Thus House, who tried very hard to actually GO with Wilson, seeing no other option, tricked Wilson out of the tickets and went with Foreman, who could authorize him to go AND would of course not say NO to an opportunity to ringside tickets. NO remorse for House, because Wislon was just as willing to dump HIM to go see the fight. Wilson, of course, has no hard feelings, KNOWING that he deserves it. I LAUGHED and LAUGHED. This episode had a PUNCHLINE! Sure, it was a bit slow and not as exciting, but it PAYED OFF in the end. House skimmed through the case, was more worried about his personal life, and STILL solved the case. And did so quickly. NO HUGE EPIPHANY here. It was quick and subtle. He was not stressed and in despair. I loved it!

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Actually, it's a 1 to 5 scale, not a 0 to 5 scale. Where 1 is Awful, 2 is Bad, 3 is Mediocre, 4 is Good, and 5 is Great.

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@Elisa I don't care if she agrees with me or not. She could think whatever she wants about the SHOW, but to hate the show because it didn't include some of the fan-fiction she made up in her head is just ridiculous. I think Foreman was a terrible choice for Dean (especially after he was deemed unhirable due to being too much like House). That doesn't mean I'm going to hate every episode because Foreman isn't replaced yet. And she said she didn't like the show, and yet she gave it a 3/5 which is commonly known as a good grade. (0- terrible, 1-bad, 2-indifferent, 3-good,4-great,5-exceptional)

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um? are you an idiot? He didn't pick Foreman over Wilson. Foreman was the only one who could sign off on House breaking his curfew, House obviously struck him a deal a ticket for his consent to break curfew. I didn't find this episode bad at all though I still find the idea of Foreman as Dean absolutely ridiculous and completely unbelievable!

Jlc

Hey Lisa! Another on-spot review. Also, shout out to Anne. As soon as I saw the word "Anvils" I knew it was you! I could not get interested in the POTW story.Man I miss the old exciting cases! I guess I'm wondering why the mother never had the father arrested for molesting the kid 12 years ago. Also, how on earth did House come to the epiphany that the father molested his son? The father's walk? House knew right away it was syphilis. I suppose you could say that the mother's reluctance to have the father anywhere near her son could have sent a signal that maybe he'd done something bad but the way this epiphany just popped up watching the guy walk....I don't know. I didn't "Feel" the epiphany moment like I used to. Where did it go? Now it just feels thrown in there with no rhyme or reason. That scene with Taub and Ruby--holy cow she looks to be no older than 18. I know she was a nurse but damn, I'd never realized just how young she was. I wasn't interested in the Taub storyline though I did get the parallels between his story of trying to be a parent, albeit a few hours a week, compared to the boy who never had any contact at all with is real father. I'm just not interested in the Taub baby thing. I also am getting tired of "mean" House continuing to rag on Taub about the babies. Geez, even House has a heart, we know this because we've actually SEEN it in the past. Or is that another issue of continuity (or lack of it) with Shore? I love any reference to House's parents because it gives me hope they will delve into who he is through his upbringing but alas again I was disappointed as were many. Remember when Cuddy was trying to choose a sperm donor and he told her "who you are matters" "genes matter" well I never forgot that. House is WHO he is because of his life experiences and in part because of his genes. It matters! He didn't become this way after the infarction, ok he may have gotten worse, but his father had a lot to do with the way he is, not to mention he could be somewhat like his biological father IF WE ONLY KNEW!?! I like what Chase said to Adams, and I paraphrase---about the team doing what they are now and being so good at it, to fill that hole left by dysfunction in their childhood. TPTB have left an incredible gold mine untapped for so long and it's a real shame. I had hoped in Season 6 with the references to House's biological father as author of that book House was reading and also in the episode Braveheart where House was talking to his dad before he went to sleep (I do hate that TPTB chose to cut out that wonderful flashback scene of House as a little boy with his dad). I hate that we never got any kind of storyline from that. It's kinda funny that a man who spends his life solving puzzles IS in fact a puzzle himself, one apparently we never have a chance to solve or even come close to solving. TPTB keep the pieces from us I suppose because they think we can't handle it. I still don't like Adams. Poor little rich girl had a great upbringing with parents who loved her and she hated it because all her friends came from dysfunctional families. So we're supposed to believe she's dysfunctional because she was functional? She likes the idea of working with screwed up people because it makes her feels normal. I suppose that's the only way TPTB could get anyone watching to like her? Sorry, didn't work. I do like the conversation House had with her on their way out of the hospital, when he was talking to her about it. The look on his face always says so much more than the words he speaks. House is all about solving the puzzle, that's all she is to him. Adams's little secret is out, the poor little rich girl was loved too much. Boring! In regards to the boxing match, I thought that House would never choose Foreman over Wilson then I realized that TPTB have made House a selfish SOB who is going to do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Thus for House it didn't really matter to him who he went to the fight with or how he got there so long as he was there. The ONLY way he was going to be able to go to that fight was to go with Foreman's blessing so he did what comes naturally and manipulated Wilson. Foreman hasn't changed. He threatens to send House back to prison but seriously he's House-light, he's just like him as House said years back in the episode "Family": "you've been like me since you were eight years old" Overall I wouldn't rate the episode as memorable, not even the ending. The fact is that I am spoiled rotten. You see, I was spoiled by the excellence of what I call "Classic House MD". I expect MORE from this show because of the absolute brilliance we've been given in the past. Hugh is an incredible actor and the writers/Shore (who have given us excellence in the past) should be giving him MORE and BETTER because damn he can take that and turn it into sheer BRILLIANCE. That's what we got in the old days-->BRILLIANCE. [H]ouse, M.D. was once a show that we could not get enough of. I compare it to the great book you can't put down because it's just that good and you don't want to miss a thing. The question I have is WHY in Season 8 (and in Seasons 6 & 7 though I will say that 6 was much better than 7 in regards to House's character) are we NOT getting the same brilliant and exciting stories that we did in earlier seasons? We know it is possible because it's been done.