Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This episode was... atypical. First of all, with the exception of one phone call to Dr. Wilson, none of the typical cast were in the show in anything other than flashbacks. We were introduced to a new crew of, crazy people. Of course that would make sense since House spent the entire episode in the mental hospital... Anyway, despite being somewhat unusual for House (no medical mystery, no easily formulaic show pattern), it was an excellent premier for a show that has become (remains?) one of the best shows on television. If nothing else, the show is a tour de force for Hugh Laurie and his portrayal of Dr. House.

A couple thoughts on the episode:

- I loved Lin-Manuel Miranda. For those who aren't aware, he's also the writer/star of the Tony Award Winning In The Heights, and has been the "it" guy on Broadway over the past two years or so. He was fantastic, and I'm somewhat disappointed that we won't be seeing him any more over the next episodes.
- I'm curious to see how much House "changes" after his mental hospital visit. There's no questions he'll have to change at least a bit, since it would be unrealistic for everything to go back precisely the same. I'm hoping the writers continue to give Hugh Laurie and House something to work with, and don't just imagine the entire mental breakdown didn't happen.
- Despite the impressive premier, I'm also looking forward to getting back into the medicine. I like the mysteries, and I do enjoy the cast. In short, I'm definitely looking forward to this season of House MD.


  1. All in all, I agree with your assessment of the House premiere (re:Hugh Laurie's brilliant acting and Miranda's performance). However, I guess I was slightly disappointed in the overall uplifting theme of the premiere. I think one of the reasons House is such a fantastic show is that it doesn't give into the temptation to give us all a happy ending like most network television shows. Well, I guess that's not entirely true in that most episodes of House end with House and his brilliant team curing their patients.

    But, I digress. The thing about House is that the characters of poignantly complex and full of internal struggle. I'm not sure this premiere did justice to the House's character, who, of all the characters on this show, is the most complex and most "damaged." Maybe this psych unit is full of miracles, but it seems to me it would take a whole lot longer and much, much, much more hard work to get someone like House to "face his feelings" and learn to choose kindness over cold brashness. I don't think the premiere did justice to that kind of struggle and I think it could have. Hugh Laurie certainly has the acting chops to pull it off. In fact, we saw it last night. But when the writing fails the actor, there's not much more that can be done.

    All in all, the premiere gave us a shallow and glossed over story about House's "recovery." I hope this "rainbows and butterflies" approach to mental health stops here (thinking distinctly about the miraculous recovery of the "superboy" and the mute). I want to see the same kind of complexity and brilliant writing that got me hooked to this show in the first place. It can only go up from here, right?

  2. Gavin, I couldn't agree with you more. The first like 3 minutes where it was a musical montage of the weeks House was detoxing and first in the hospital were absolutely brilliant. Talk about acting at its finest. Wow. I'm so very glad they allowed him to stretch his character and show his true talents. And the rest of the episode didn't fail to impress. As someone who has been in mental facilities myself, I really empathized with many of the other characters and the situations and they did a very realistic portrayal of much of it. It hit really close to home. And the part about how much the patients influence each other even more so than the drs. sometimes is definitely a key point. I am also really looking forward to seeing how his character changes as he returns to his life. To be continued I suppose. . .

  3. Alaina - I see where you're coming from for sure, but I think some of the fact that it seemed a little "shallow" when dealing with the recovery is largely due to the constructs of the two-hour time limit. Since recovery is a process, hopefully we'll have much more to watch House deal with in upcoming episodes. I think they TRIED to show the slow process of healing when he was released even after acknowledging that he was still messed up. The "you lost somebody and you know you need help" was a cue to me (at least somewhat) that the treatment will continue in future episodes. I do agree that the other people were "healed" a bit too conveniently, and that fact was exacerbated by the fact that it all happened in the last 15 minutes or so of the show... a bit quick to be sure. Still, I dug the show overall, and am looking forward to new episodes!

    Kim - I totally agree about the first montage of him detoxing. Obviously (and fortunately) I've never gone through narcotic withdrawals, but I'd imagine they're quite unpleasant. I stand by the statement that Hugh Laurie may be the best actor currently on television. Also good to hear that the situation rings true for somebody who has a different perspective. It's always good to know that it's more than just my somewhat one-sided perspective thinking that for the most part it felt "honest" in its portrayal.

  4. So i'm not really sure what i think about this episode. I agree with all of you, although Alaina i think you're a tad harsh. I fell in love with this show because of the clinic scenes with house rudely but accurately diagnosing patients. And over the last few seasons those scenes have all but disappeared from the show. I also took the change from the old ducklings to the new hard. And yet my appreciation for this show has never wavered. I always look forward to House. But this season i was skeptical. I still am. House's snarkyness is what makes the show entertaining. Take that away and we have CSI: House, all medical problems. And part of what makes House so snarky is the fact that he is damaged. I get it. Even House needs to be fixed sometimes. I think they diagnosed House correctly. But that isn't the point. Are we ready for a House that is happy? Can we, as an audience, tolerate a happy House? Let's see what Mr. Shore has in store for us.

    Oh and P.S. Is it just me, or does anybody else hate the idea of House and Cuddy together?