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Cats' Corners: the little HOUSE in the woods....
Where House is NEVER safe...
House: 4.09 Games--they shoulda called this one on account of rain. Or stupidity. 
28th-Nov-2007 09:19 am

The conclusion of last night's episode left me confused and disappointed and  angry  and irritable.  Oh, and did I mention confused?  Continuity gods, why dost thou continue to forsake us?  Our forgiveness for last season's Tritter arc wasn't a large enough sacrifice?

And speaking of arcs.  I enjoyed the Stacy arc.  *ducks*
I tolerated the Vogler arc [well, really I just pretty much ignored it.].
I despised the Tritter arc.
The Survivor arc?  Makes me want to crawl into bed with my seasons one and two DVDs, and pretend to be awaiting season three.  It's not that I despised it.  It's not that I enjoyed it.  It's that I didn't care one way or the other.  And that?  Saddens me.

Some questions.  Where is the medical mystery that drove season one?  Where is the characterization that drove season two?  And even--where are the highs and lows that drove season three?  But most importantly:  Where the hell is Dr. Gregory House, the brilliant, damaged genius whose glimpes of humanity and vulnerability were all the sweeter because the rest of the time we were slicing ourselves on his barbed-wire personality?

For me, the character of House has become a caricature of himself--and a poorly drawn one, at that.  I feel no sympathy for S4 House, nor even empathy.  I love him still--but that's only because I can still remember how utterly complicated, how poignant, how amusing, he used to be.   I'm able to recreate that man with my fiction because I know that--underneath this season's confused, self-indulgent, shallow idiot, that man still exists.  He's simply hidden underneath the rubble of bad writing and inconsistent characterization.  Not his fault.

And where is Wilson?  You know who I mean--that man who  was House's anchor and his foil, his conscience and his catalyst, his reason for not throwing in the towel and completely, finally, turning his back on the human race?  The man who, with one gaze would have let both House and the audience know, last week, that he was worried sick about his abused, mistreated, misunderstood, vulnerable best friend?

I can't complain about the House-Wilson dynamic this season, because there is no House-Wilson dynamic this season.  I've adored watching Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard revel in each other's company each time they're on screen together.  I've cheered on the rare occasion when they've been able, solely through their skills as actors, to overcome the horrid writing and convey true glimpses of the complex men each has worked so hard to create.  And I've sighed sadly when even they are unable to overcome the writers' lack of characterization and continuity, and a scene between them comes off forced, or phoned in.

The plotline involving Wilson last night is a prime example of the reasons for my despair.  Yeah--I get that Wilson is a good-hearted, sincere, upstanding fellow who was about to let a patient walk all over him.  I get that it was House's job to prevent that from happening.  I even get that the writers may have been attempting to convey to us a Deep Message about the way the two are always looking out for one another.  What I don't get is why they couldn't give us a lousy three-second shot of House staring after Wilson, concern evident in his eyes, a la season one [just as, last week, I wanted the same three-second shot of Wilson's eyes, brimming with compassion, as he looked at his ill, defeated friend].  Instead, they left us to figure out for ourselves what House had done, and why.  And I'll tell ya--after last night's show, I visited a few chat and message boards, and was unsurprised to discover that the majority of posting viewers had totally missed the well-hidden intent of the plotline.

I want House back.  I want Wilson back.  I want the House-Wilson dynamic back.  And--because I am a foolish optimist, with unshaken faith in Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard--I will continue to watch the show faithfully, awaiting the day when the medical mysteries again capture my avid attention, the day when the writing again makes me laugh and cry and sigh and snort, all in the space of five minutes--the day when House and Wilson, the current confusing and separate entities, become again House-and-Wilson, two intriguing "halves" who make the most complex "whole" on television.  Or until the writers succeed in running the show into the ground.  Whichever comes first.

28th-Nov-2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
Er, please annoy my typos above. I'm tired (intriguining?).

i suppose that what's bothering me is another point you mentioned--that the writers are giving us intriguing, exciting glimpses into the minds of both house and wilson--and then are glossing over them, or even [apparently] dropping them totally [thus far, anyway].

I think back to the revelation of Wilson's depression. There were subtle hints that there was something wrong, that Wilson was suffering from depression, before it was revealed that Wilson was actually on ADs. After that revelation, one can go back and actually see Wilson's progression. So that gives me hope.

Also with the whole third season, basically. There was a lot of complex groundwork laid there, IMO. It was basically an entire season arc - first the shooting, then the brief euphoria and respite from pain, then a massive crash that took a long while to fully expose itself.

I remember how, post Cane & Able, there were complaints that the writers had dropped the storyline. It seemed like House got his leg back, then bam suddenly he was back to being disabled and using the cane again and it was like the writers forgot it ever happened. At some forums, people were angrily posting things like, "That's it??" and accusing the writers of copping out.

But it wasn't over, in fact it had even started back in season two, when we saw House's addiction ramp up. That was stopped by the shooting and the ketamine - or so we thought. But then the pain returned, and House continued on the spiral that saw him shooting morphine the previous season. It wasn't just "old House" again, like the shooting and ketamine didn't happen. It turns out the writers didn't let House be unaffected. He seemed unaffected, but his addiction was grabbing control. A combination of (I think) the shooting, having his glimpse of freedom taken away, his uncertainty about his abilities and his desperation drove him deeper into addiction. Before the shooting it was morphine, then it became stealing Wilson's pad and forging his name. He gradually started acting more and more like an out of control junkie, until he finally downed the bottle of Oxy and Maker's Mark.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but the point is that as soon as I'm ready to give up on these writers and their sense of continuity they surprise me. Who would've thought we'd essentially return, in Games, to an issue raised by House's hallucination in No Reason?

in the meantime, it's analyses like yours that make me remember that even when it's bad, House is still far better, in my opinion, than anything else on television--now, or ever.

Aw, thanks. ;) Hi, BTW, I've loved your fic for a while.

oddly, that thought has occurred to me several times this season--and i've quickly discarded it each and every time. i enjoy angst, i write angst, i think angsty thoughts. but i'm also very, very good at denial. and that particular theory hits far too close to "logical progression of events" for me to want to even contemplate it for long.

It's a horrible thought, but hell, even Wilson seems worried.

House doesn't meet all the criteria, but I'm sure you're familiar with those "warning signs of suicidal behavior" lists. And much of House's behavior has started coinciding with those alarm bells they print in those brochures: Development of extreme dependency. Sudden happiness after a prolonged period of depression. Risk-taking and careless behavior. Attempts to tie up loose ends with loved ones, express emotions or say goodbye. Discussion of death and/or the afterlife. Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death.

It's that common perception that suicide is proceeded by depression ("he or she didn't seem sad!"). When it's more common that suicidal people seem happy before the act, because they've finally made a decision.

28th-Nov-2007 06:57 pm (UTC)

and if you're familiar with my fic, you already know we'll have to agree to disagree on house's dependence on opioids in order to function normally. i see the examples that you call 'addictive behavior' as pseudoaddiction, and as a direct result of his having been forcibly deprived of those opioids he needs to function. my own theory? house doesn't have a problem with vicodin--he's got a problem (a big one) without it.

House doesn't meet all the criteria, but I'm sure you're familiar with those "warning signs of suicidal behavior" lists.

did you know they're getting ready to make Denial the 51st state, based solely on how very quickly i scanned that part of your comment and went, "uh-uh--not House!" ;)
28th-Nov-2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
i see the examples that you call 'addictive behavior' as pseudoaddiction, and as a direct result of his having been forcibly deprived of those opioids he needs to function. my own theory? house doesn't have a problem with vicodin--he's got a problem (a big one) without it.

I have complicated feelings about it, being both the daughter of an addict and yet also someone dependant on painkillers for a chronic condition. I agree and disagree with you at the same time (God I'm a kiss ass!) in that yes, I believe House needs the drugs to function normally. I also think he's addicted to them in the traditional (or psychological) sense.
28th-Nov-2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
I also think he's addicted to them in the traditional (or psychological) sense.

ohhh, i was gonna leave this so alone.... how, then, do you account for the fact that he went three months without them [and without picking up an addiction to anything else] following the ketamine coma?

[full disclosure: i am a chronic pain patient, 49 years old, with a seriously screwed up right leg--and a favorite cane. i take oxycodone, oxy-contin, tramadol, and ibuprofen daily. i function in a reasonable assimilation of 'normal.' whatever that is.]