House, “Fall From Grace”

As we continue into the post-Huddy period of this season of House, it looks like the series is fairly confident in hitting the same notes each week with just enough variation to make subsequent episodes worth watching. Last week, House hung out in a swanky hotel with a bunch of hookers and jumped off a balcony into a pool. Although it’s pretty hard to top that last bit of zany behavior, “Fall From Grace” featured one OH CRAZY HOUSE scene after another as if the writers were trying to make sure we notice they were at least trying to top themselves. I tweeted this during the airing, but it feels like the series should have run out of “House does crazy stuff during differentials” scenes about three years ago, but apparently that will never happen. Here, he rides around on segway (which, is still funny, despite my initial resistance), plays ping-pong, drives a monster truck, gets a foot message, maneuvers to get a 60-inch TV in his office and oh yeah, DECIDES TO PARTAKE IN A GREEN-CARD MARRIAGE. Because just in case you didn’t know, HOUSE IS CRAZY.

Seriously though, despite the broad-ness and somewhat familiarity of those scenes, it’s hard not to be charmed by them. Hugh Laurie is always fantastic, but I particularly enjoy bratty, petulant House and if there’s one thing all the team drones do well, it’s their non-reactions to House’s insanity. Putting together scenes with Masters flipping out in response to House’s behavior while Foreman, Chase and to a lesser extent Taub just stand there like nothing weird is happening is an easy way to get a cheap pop, but it mostly works because those scenes are just fun. And as I’ve said countless times this season, I much prefer my House bratty and fun than I do melodramatic and overly mopey. I know that the season is eventually going to cycle back to some more “serious” and “heavy” episodes, especially as far as the House-Cuddy relationship goes, but it’s kind of nice to revel in this little retro pit-stop.

Much like the “crazy diagnostic” scenes, the green-card marriage plot seems utterly predictable and plays out in that way, but Laurie, the actress (I forgot to write her name down) and the rest of the performers did a nice job of selling it. The veteran members of the team are just as unsurprised as we at home are and I liked that. Wilson’s reaction was expectedly somewhere between shocked and disdain, but House’s Excel sheets and charts explaining why this woman could actually save him some $30k each year was probably my favorite moment of the episode. At that point, Wilson wanted to be really upset with his best friend for making a terrible decision, but financially, this isn’t the dumbest thing House as ever done. Hell, it’s probably a better move than his week-long stay in the hotel that came with a rotating band of hookers. Of course, the biggest concern for House is what this will do to him emotionally. By the episode’s end, he goes through the marriage despite Cuddy’s meddling (more on that in a second) and even though his new wife is actually kind of interested in liking him for real and not just providing a number of different manual services, House can’t do it. In that moment, he realizes that even though he’s just made a mockery of the institution of marriage, he still believes in love and his heart is still broken. It’s a quick little moment, but a nice reminder that the series isn’t going to just let everything head back to S2 levels of normal or something.

Cuddy’s story here is yet again less successful. Wilson again urges her to actually do something about House’s insane behavior and after caving for most of the episode, she does. She tries to keep her emotions in check and make her decision to push House’s wedding from the hospital chapel to what looks to be his apartment as a legal thing, but there’s some emotion behind it. In the end, the wedding gets to her and she’s left in House’s bedroom in tears, wondering why she ever got involved with this sham wedding in the first place. I understand the series is called House, but there were two people in this relationship and I feel like Cuddy’s been given a bit of the short-end of it here. We’re spending a lot more time with one person than the other and so many of the scenes we are getting to see Cuddy, she’s just reacting as a professional boss. There’s not enough exploration of where she is mentally and emotionally after this break-up. That post-wedding scene with Wilson where they discuss things going back to normal is a start, but for the impact of this break-up to be as successful as it could, the next few episodes next to spend some more time with Cuddy.

Other thoughts:

  • No House for three weeks, but then Thirteen returns! And she’s been in jail! And maybe killed someone! Seriously, they should probably just let Olivia Wilde go be a movie star. I like Thirteen more than most people and I still barely missed her.
  • This week’s case was less interesting than last week’s, but it did a nice job of filling the time between HOUSE BEING CRAZY.
  • House not allowing Taub to be in his wedding party is predictably enjoyable. Taub is seriously the most miserable human being on planet earth. His life is the worst.
  • Foreman joining House in getting a foot massage from his soon-to-be-wife was pretty awesome. This might sound blasphemous, but I think we need a Foreman-centric episode. He’s been less awful in the last half-dozen episodes.

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