Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: Is "House" Now A "Charity Case" ? 8x03


Episode 8x03, “Charity Case,” is aptly named. It sits on the street, legs crossed, begging bowl in lap, looking toward the viewers. “Please help me! Please, give me my demographic! Look, I gave you back the Magicam! The whiteboard! Clinic duty!”

This episode reminded your faithful correspondent of a rickety beach house. Boards slapped on haphazardly to keep the wind out. Poles keep the walls from collapsing. Years ago, this was a lovely house, but time, the elements, and spectacularly bad judgment have brought it to this sorry state. Very well, I’ll stop the metaphor there and leave out the part about the bad wiring.

In the open, as soon as the POTW (Wentworth Miller) talked to the woman at the shelter, I knew after his exit she would find a mysterious check for ONE MEEILLION dollars! (Pinky at mouth.) As soon as Mr. Handsome leaves, he collapses and we go to:

The utter lack of credits. What foolery is this? If you’re going to go “back to basics,” why not restore the song? Is NBC too cheap to pony up the money for the rights? Is it because Odette Annable might jump to the other show when it’s renewed and they’ve have to remove her credit? Just a sort of orangey picture and a huffing noise. Only “Supernatural” can pull this off.

Mr. Handsome is a gazillionaire who gives all of his money away and lives in poverty. Naturally, this does not sit well with his wife, who probably wants a decent three-bedroom apartment with a view. Like the environmentalist in S5 "Saviours," the POTW feels that other people are equally deserving--if not more so--than his own offspring.

House is sure Mr. Handsome’s extreme altruism is a symptom, that nobody is that generous.

As in:

S2: “Autopsy” – House believes courage is a symptom (no)
S4: “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – niceness is a symptom (yes)
S5 “Brave Heart” – bravery is a symptom (sorta)
S6: “Instant Karma” – millionaire gives up money to save his son (it didn’t make any sense at the time, either)
S7: Some guy jumps in front of a train to save a little girl – heroism is a symptom (can't remember)

13 puts in an appearance, telling House she has found the right girl and doesn’t want to be a doctor any more. Since we already know this is Olivia Wilde’s last episode, listening to her argue with House is tiresome. But—and this is bizarre—the most colorless character on the show suddenly seems like a STAR because she’s in the same room with House’s two new little girls.

These two actresses…I mean, why? Charlene Yi can’t act and has the most annoying voice since Cuddles, the Downy Soft bear. Odette Annabel can’t act either, but she is excellent at wearing her hair in a fetching cascade down one side. The reason why they have been hired might be that Laurie, Shore and Yaitanes are all having mid-life crises and nothing eases the pain like a barely pubescent female. In fact, this may be why Hugh Laurie is using Just For Men on his hair and beard, rather than the foxy silver it is in real life. From the front he looks like he’s wearing three reddish brown pom-poms on his head.

Getting “back to basics” means bringing back the Magicam (a welcome addition); a repeat of the scene where House pitches small objects (peanut shells) from the balcony toward the back of a janitor; clinic duty, which manages to be unfunny AND derivative. A kid is masturbating. Wow. Back to the fun, indeed.

Wilson puts in an appearance as House’s conscience and provides the epiphany, I forget how.

Foreman gets to break House’s balls over deliberately dosing Mr. Handsome to create symptoms before Mr. Handsome can be discharged. “You’re off the case.” I like this Foreman. But then, I’ve always loved Foreman.

Still, the void created by the lack of Cuddy is unmistakable. No mature female on the show, no interesting sexual politics, no one for a woman over the age of 18 to identify with. No woman who can act. Yi and Annable enact a subplot about Yi’s inability to accept charity (OW! That anvil hurt when it hit my foot!). Chase is going to appear ridiculously old when he shows up; House already looks like their horny grandfather.

To cut to the chase (God, I miss Chase), House and his two little girls/new team solve the case. Mr. Handsome’s altruism is a symptom of a nodule on his thyroid. Before he diagnoses Mr. Handsome, House tries to get a ONE MEEEILLION DOLLAR donation to get his team back. And presumably the office next door, now being used for orthopedics. He diagnoses Mr. Handsome, and no ONE MEEILLION DOLLARS for poor House. Oops.

Then it’s time for a last dose of altruism, as House selflessly sends Thirteen away to a life of Sapphic pleasure in Greece. And Ms. Wilde to a multi-million dollar movie career.

So perhaps it’s not altruism, it’s sour grapes.




Anonymous said...

Why do you even bother watching?

Mad Fashionista said...

Why do you even bother commmenting?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you get your ass off the computer instead of wasting your time with this show.

Oh, I liked the episode a lot by the way.

Mad Fashionista said...

My ass isn't on my computer, it's on a desk chair....OH! I see what you're getting at, you little minx! LOL!

Anonymous said...

This made me laugh so heard. Excellent review!

Anonymous said...

This is the best review i have read in a long time and totally accurate. I never thought i would miss 13 but gosh with these two new "talents" on the show i will miss her. And that´s saying a lot.

Even Hugh Laurie looks ridiculous this season and Robert S. Leonard looks like 5 years older.

The show is lacking something...let me guess...o yeah new writers, a new casting department and Lisa Edelstein.


Doya said...

I didn't hate the episode, and yet nothing you said can really be argued. It is all true.

There are parts that are back to basic, but mostly it just feels backhanded. There is something missing, and it's more than Cuddy. They haven't pieced House back together again after completely diminishing his character to only "jerk" definitions. They lost the complexity, the deeper subtext, and the magic. I can see them working on it, but they are lost. Therefore, so is the episode.

Good Fun! Good Humor!
Thank you.

Drdiagnostic said...

Dahling, this was such a fresh, and wonderfully light-hearted review. I especially enjoyed your metaphor of the show being an old beach house. Greg House would be wiping a tear from his eye right now.

I couldn't agree more with the lack of a strong, professional female character to look up to. Unfortunately, it appears we've reach the age of Justin Bieber and must conform apparently to its society of inhabitants through the television medium.

Charlene Yi to me is like a whiny school kid and her lack of acting skills show incredibly. Probably if you put her in a parka and just had her eyes showing, she could be the cartoonish Kenny from South Park. as for Odette Annable, well....she's the show's new young eye candy and flavor of the year. Sadly, the flavor leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. Got a strawberry flavor lollipop instead...preferably a Lisa Edelstein one?

I did like the return of House throwing things off the balcony and the Wilson appearances. And in the end, House must have found a heart that grew three sizes....or 17 inches....as he set 13 off into the sunset to be...dare I say it...happy.

Great job Mad....so much fun!


dalilita76 said...

OA and CY´s interactions felt like kindergarden. And having House watching them without making any sarchastic remarks was OOC and painful to watch. I would kill to know the exact thoughts HL was having while they were shooting these scenes. CY´s acting skills are non existent, OA´s are only slightly better. I´ve always admired and enjoyed HL´s acting on House, but this season he seems tired and kind of subdued. I´ve only liked OE (and Foreman) on season 7 (and I mean really really liked him, to my utter surprise), but now he has returned to his usual boring self. I can´t believe I´m gonna say this, but Thirteen was the only person -besides RSL- whose acting I actually enjoyed this ep. Unlike OA and CY´, her delivery of the medicine related lines was convincing. And I really enjoyed her scene with the POTW (whose story and condition, on the other hand, I couldn´t care less about). Her final scene with House was not wonderfully well written (though it was a thousand times better than Cameron´s) and her performance wasnsn´t great, but I thought she did it well, and -contrary to my expectations- I was a little sad to see her go. I hope JS and PJ´s return will give a little more life and substance (and credibility) to the team scenes, but frankly, at this point, I´m not holding my breath (specially when I think about all the "funny" moments with Taub and his kids/Chase and his women the writers must have in stock for us).

The episode had a few good moments (VERY few good moments), and I even laughed at a situation or two (not the clinic one, that was pointles, uninteresting and unfunny), but I agree with @Doya. TPTB are lost, and the old magic and sparkle are definitely gone.

Thank you very much for the review. I enyojed immensly and it really cracked me up. I truly appreciate the laugh in these times of misery we are going through with this show. And I apologize for the length of my comment :).

resourceress7 said...

Speaking of HL's odd hair (yeah, that orange bit on top is a bit scary. Ooh, maybe he's the 12th Doctor - he's always wanted to be ginger.)...

What's with the completely inconsistent bald spot coverage and/or portrayal of House having bald spot(s) on top or in back? Make up your minds, hair & makeup department! I was always fine with House having more hair than Hugh. That's just part of Hugh's wardrobe for the role. But now I'm confused. Even from scene to scene and shots within scenes. Oh, wait. It's that 12th Doctor thing again. The *toupee* is the 12th Doctor, and when we don't see it, that means it's of on adventures in the TARDIS with his sexy companions, 13 and girl-with-no-lines (her mouth appears to be for French kissing only).

resourceress7 said...

P.S. I laughed at the silly jokes (ladeling kittens, echovirus-irus-irus) - as always, coupled with HL's facial expressions. A bit of House and Laurie. :)

Enjoyed it. Still waiting to see how things get rolling this season. I'll keep watching because I'm a big fan of HL and RSL. But the ball rolls nowhere but downhill, there's always fanfic (my current drug of choice) ...Hey wait, House didn't pop any pills onscreen in this ep, did he? That weirded me out the first time 13 came back, with the spud guns and such. Vicodin: on or off? Check back next week to see if writers and propmasters remembered to include it.

Ah, inconsistencies. But, for all my meandering gripes here, my verdict on the show is: Still not boring. (Except for several eps of S7. Drat that inconsistency again, hrmm.)

jaridit misr said...

i like that

fakr gidid said...


Anonymous said...

OMG this was so damn funnnnnny! ONE MEEEEILONNN Dollars. I love that. Now if Hugh had only poised his little pinkie by his mouth I would have laughed. Mad Fashionista, you friggin roooock. I love your spot hon review. It was the most boring episode to date and that's not saying much because I thought the same thing about the one prior. I had hoped the show might surprise us core viewers by doing something unique but I can't help but agree that House does look like a nasty horny old grampa and the two new team members are ridiculously too young to be on his team. I too miss Chase but not Taub. It's unmistakeable the gapping chasm of sexual politics and one-to-one verbal sparring was a major part of the show's charm which now is lacking thanks to Lisa Edelstein's departure. Hugh/House is obviously phoning it in and the cases are not creative. I miss the magic but can't see watching the show anymore. So sad.

Mad Fashionista said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! I blush. It's so nice to have one's obsessions appreciated.