I didn’t review last week’s Parents because I had so little to say. Team: Teenage girl has MPD and cancer. House: dead child was deaf. It was supposed to have a “shocking twist.” If it was the child’s elaborate sarcophagus being opened, one must assume the promo monkeys never saw a few episodes of NCIS. Or one episode of Supernatural, where the gore-covered bodies pile up like cordwood. As usual, the episode botched the presentation of mental illness. The creators must dislike the mentally ill almost as much as they dislike women. House got punched a few times. Everybody had a glass of sangria and sobbed despairingly on the lawn.
Moving on to The Perils of Paranoia, the cutesy title warning of the stinking mound of ordure that was about to happen. My agonized screams could be heard for miles. My assistant Leo came in with a peach mango martini pour moi and stared at the flat screen in disbelief. “Why are you watching this crap?”
“I don’t know…” I gasped. “It used to be Hugh Laurie but he’s had all of this plastic surgery and he’s phoning in his performance. And Robert Sean Leonard but he’s not even trying to hide his contempt for the material. And Lisa Edelstein, but she’s gone. BUT I CAN’T STOP! GOD HELP ME, I CAN’T STOP!”
Leo shook his head with a sigh and took a seat.
You know when you see a comedy and all of the decent jokes are in the trailer? That was this week’s “prank war” between House and Wilson. I was so looking forward to it! Wilson believes House has a gun in his apartment. When he goes to ransack the place, an improbable hunting net traps him in the air, which is a funny image. What followed was ludicrous slapstick. Wilson finds a gun in a box marked “House,” in case House forgets who he is when he opens the box. In a scene that lasts approximately ten years and is written in crayon, House waves it around, points it at himself and Wilson, demonstrating with a pencil that the barrel is blocked. “You win,” Wilson sighs.
“Naturally Wilson doesn’t call the police because the crazy felon who runs Diagnostics has a gun,” I remarked to Leo.
"That’s ‘cause they’re married.”
The POTW is a prosecutor, who collapses with a heart attack in the cold open, but of course it’s not a heart attack or we’d have no show. We barely have one as it is. Turns out the uncharismatic patient has a secret bunker behind a bookcase on his wall (OH, COME ON!) loaded with a small infantry’s worth of automatic weapons and C-4 explosives. His wife does not take the news well.
"Sorry, honey,” he tries to explain. “I totally forgot to tell you that I built an underground bunker."
"Well, I had a free weekend..."
He only eats food he cooks himself—I’m assuming he grows his own meat and vegetables at his secret farm under the back porch—and drinks bottled water. The world is going to hell in a hand basket and this guy wants to go vigilante on the bad guys’ collective asses. Come to think of it, Hitler had a lovely secret bunker, with curtains. But I digress.
House thinks the paranoia is a symptom (that means that most of the GOP presidential candidates have diphtheria, too. Sorry to spoil this so soon). The patient didn’t have vaccinations. Do you think that storyline had anything to do with Fox News having a segment on parents refusing vaccines? Do it, Moms, or your kid will throw chairs through the window while hallucinating they’re being attacked by bears. Bears? Seriously? Vigilante Patient has an underground bunker and he’s afraid of bears? Does anyone even clock into the writer’s room?
"Oh, shit, bears!"
Speaking of ham-handed product placement, Adams, the pretty one, while driving with Park, the one whose voice annoys me so I want to reach down her throat and pull out her vocal chords, mentions her Ford cruise control. And a minute later we sail into a Ford commercial! My dear readers, I hoped the creators had a shred of integrity intact, but the Ford ran over the last shred. At least Adams didn’t crash the car into the patient’s house.
Long story short: the patient is paranoid. And he has diphtheria.
Park is paranoid that the rest of the team doesn’t like her. Unfortunately, she’s right. She goes to House for consolation. She is an idiot.
Wilson is paranoid that House has a gun. Wilson should be.
I’m going to make a stretch here to say that Taub is paranoid that Foreman has no personal life. Never mind the details. Foreman hooks up with a horrifically buff former America’s Top Model contestant who’s married. One saving grace of this episode was that Taub was relegated to snarking on the sidelines.
When Vigilante Patient is on the mend, he promises his wife they’ll move to a new house without a secret bunker. “Oh, honey, can it be English Tudor?” she asks, caressing his cheek. “Now that I know you’re an insane time-bomb who still might go off any minute, I love you even more.” Cue heartwarming music. VP plans to donate the arsenal to the Peace Corps. As long as the new house has no bears.
I mentioned the show’s overall dislike of women at the beginning. That was code for “rampant misogyny.” As a friend tweeted, “This is a sausage fest.” They are trying to fill the void left by Cuddy’s departure (her name has been uttered once or twice). Cuddy was a confident, mature, sexual woman with an impressive job. Now we get, what, an anonymous pretty cipher and a teenage geek? And a passel of middle-aged men? Eeeew.
One feels a certain fondness for middle-aged writers and directors, getting back at all of the girls who wouldn’t date them in eleventh grade.
Meanwhile, during clinic duty, House barks out the names of female clinic patients until he gets to the standard-issue Hollywood Hot Babe, and takes her into the clinic room. Har de har har. Let’s laugh at the less attractive women in the waiting room. Is it me, or is House’s awful make-my-ears-look-big dyed haircut making him look more Creepy Grandpa each episode?
"It’s not you,” Leo assures me. “He is Creepy Grandpa.”
The crowning touch is a scene where Chase and Adams, the pretty people, are on the verge of hooking up when Park gets on the elevator. Standing on either side of her, they look like her parents. She gets up her courage asks Chase for a drink, causing him to squirm with a “kill me now” expression on his face, before he agrees. Ha ha ha! Less attractive women are so funny! Especially when they come on to cute guys who’d rather suck on a tailpipe than get naked with them. But, who knows, maybe Chase and Park will get it on. I'd rather that that Chase and Adams.
Side note: what is with the gruesomely thin women on this show? America’s Top Model weighs about 70 pounds but still looks like she could out-bench-press Foreman. When she walks toward Foreman in the gym, he looks like a sofa compared to her. At least women who don’t eat make cheap dates.
At the close, House puts the box with the gun on the upper shelf on his closet, and then takes out his father’s ceremonial Marine sword, caressing it gently before returning it to its hiding place. This was the “mid-season finale” (when did television start using that term?). I guess come January we’ll be watching House explore his daddy issues. Because, honestly, what’s left?
Watching this mess lurch to its conclusion, Leo and I touched glasses. “We lived through it,” he said.
“But at what cost?” I retorted, paranoid that my IQ level had dropped twenty points.
In January House MD will be back to slog toward the finale.
Feel free to express yourself in the comments. But bear in mind that I am always right.
EDITED TO ADD: Hugh Laurie has announced he is leaving acting after the final season of House. That's too bad, but understandable. A weekly series is an unbearable grind.
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