Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: House Enjoys "The Perils of Paranoia" 8.06. And "Pencils."


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.

If you are going to post Anonymous comments, let it be known that you have to sign them somehow if you want to be published.


Anonymous said...

Hugh Laurie had plastic surgery.

...You are insane.

Mad Fashionista said...

No, merely observant.

Calling me insane--you aren't by chance a writer for House, are you?

Anonymous said...

You're not even funny anymore, you're just stupid and so bitter, sorry

Mad Fashionista said...

I beg to differ. I'm well educated. But thank you for your thoughts, imbecilic as they are.

Kate said...

It always seems like you are on the lookout for any opportunity to cry misogyny. Why would Chase want to sleep with a woman he isn't attracted to? Why would anyone want to sleep with someone they aren't attracted to? Sure this show has gone downhill during its run, but the one thing it's done better than most shows is to portray women positively. The cast has more often than included a much greater ratio of women to men compared to other dramas, and they're often in positions of power or influence. Most of them are also extremely intelligent. House choosing "the standard-issue Hollywood Hot Babe" isn't reflective of the show's misogyny, it's reflective of House's character! You're the one who calls Adams "the pretty one." And your complaints about Park range from the physical to the personal, but I don't think you've ever stopped to think about the fact that she's a very young woman who's found herself on a team of people she doesn't feel she can relate to and working for a guy who has gone off the deep end. She's still growing in every way and life is more trial and error than experience for her. It is for anyone that young. It's hypocritical that you accuse the writers and the production staff of misogyny and then put her down everything about her physically and dismiss everything about her growing up from a precocious child into a woman. Instead you call her an idiot and bemoan the lack of Cuddy because she was "mature." Of course she was; she's 20 years older.

It's obvious you go into each episode looking for things to dislike. You have a very clear feminist agenda that you hold the show to and you overlook everything that doesn't fit it. At the same time, you're the one who puts down the women of this show. Just stop it.

Anonymous said...

I loved¡ you're right, we've grown up with House, but now is ..at a very high cost ...I think, they announce soon their the final ..

Anonymous said...

"Calling me insane--you aren't by chance a writer for House, are you?"

XDDDDDD please i´m about to die laughing, stop at least in the comments!!!!

This was so brilliant and funny. I hate this crapfest called House but i love your reviews so much that i want it to get renewed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Miss MF, Your review was pitch-perfect in sarcasm and accuracy. This latest House episode defines "WTF" moments better than anything done to date. What a pile o'crap. I am still giggling at your commentary ("Oh shit, bears!")

I am amazed at your hilarious wit and insight. I totally had the same feeling about the middle-aged writers getting their jollies at the expense of women in this once wonderful show. I blame Katie Jacobs absence for the show's creative direction into a woeful turn of female castration. Thank you for the sausage fest mention (unless you got it from others besides me). The show is going as flaccid as D Shore's peen. House going thru women patients' names before locating the porno pretty with crotch rot was disgusting and not at all cute or clever. Just frat-boyish at best. So yes, you're right, House does look pretty creepy at this stage.

One quibble with your otherwise perfect review. I doubt Hugh Laurie has had plastic surgery for these two reasons. First, he looks old and worn out these days. Far from the refreshed face-lift look should he had a little work done. And second, check out the odd fold of flesh between his eyebrows that now looks like a jelly roll across the bridge of his nose. It makes him look mildly disturbed and frowning 24/7. If he had any work done, this should have been THE number one spot to start on.

Lastly, kudos for the description about crayons and ten years. So right. If only you were writing for this show, House might be saved before its inevitable cancellation.

Still, I can't help but feel that Fox had to work out a deal with the Ford advertising department to give it a freebie product placement in order to avoid losing the ad contract since ratings have fallen so far. I'm guessing this may be the start of many product placement attempts to salvage the show's lack of eyeballs.

Bring Katie Jacobs back, somebody needs to blow David Shore into a good mood (perhaps thats why Park's voice is so damn annoying?) and bring back women with brains in addition to hot bods (Yes, Cuddy, please) who can whip House into shape. Foreman the sofa was hilarious, btw.

Go MF, Love your writing.

Mad Fashionista said...

Thank you for the comments, everyone, both pro and con. I can only say that one reviewer calls Adams Pretty Dr. Pretty, which unfortunately sums up her character as she is unable to act. She makes Olivia Wilde look like Helen Mirren.

The word "feminist" has no meaning any more. It's sad.

Jess said...

Hey girl, loved your comments!

I enjoyed your review very much. I can't believe I'd forgotten about him going through names of clinic patients till he finally found the "hottie". It felt forced, like so much else they've done this season. In the old days it would have fit right in though, ya think?

I liked what House said to Park about people respecting her but just not liking her. Sounds a lot like him. People have respected him but not liked him. You almost wonder if House ever wanted to be liked or respected? Could a man like him ever have both? If he was liked but not respected that would mean he wouldn't be the brilliant diagnostician. But being respected and not liked means he is. Just a thought.

Seven years they've had to go through his daddy issues...or at least since season 5, and only NOW? I suppose he's at the summit of his life, and trying to figure out who he really is and where he's going. I would imagine given all he's been through, he has to do something. He can't go back, he can't move forward and standing still is doing nothing. He's looking back at what he could have had and has many regrets. Now if he looks forward what does he have? Nothing unless he makes it for himself. The one puzzle this man hasn't ever been able to solve is in fact HIMSELF.

Just to correct though, Hugh said no more television but he will still do movies. It seems that some media outlets are making the interviews about him "leaving television" out to be a negative, that he's somehow not happy with it and not appreciate. Rather from what I've read of his comments, he is in fact very appreciative of the experience to do "House" and feels that considering there could NEVER be another character like him, there's no point in his portraying another TV character. Now see that makes sense to me, when you've spent eight years in what many (including Hugh) consider "the role of a lifetime" why would you want to do television again?

I really enjoy your writing. So why am I not already following you on Twitter? Good question! Going to rectify that right now!


STFU said...

Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you`d had enough oxygen at birth? Because either something went wrong at birth or you're parents are siblings. You seem to hate on House/ Hugh Laurie rather a lot - maybe not just hate but dig away nastily at it. I can't believe you're a house fan!

Yes i agree. YOUR INSANE!

Mad Fashionista said...

Ever wonder what life would be like if you'd learned proper spelling and punctuation?

STFU said...

So i'm guessing that was a yes to my earlier question in whether your parents were siblings. I personally haven't had that pleasure in wondering about my upbringing, but i'm sure your mind is full of inquisitive thoughts. :) I'd like to see House in the way you do, i really really would, it would be an experience, but I just can't seem to get my head that far up my ass.

Anonymous said...

Your reviews are just awesome. Don´t pay attention to all those HL blind worshippers. They don´t want to accept that the show is going downhill and that Hugh is totally uninspired this season.
You are just brave and brilliant enough to speak out loud what many people are thinking about House this year (and i think ratings agree with you). And you do it with a lot of sense of humor so all of us (who don´t believe Hugh is a god and the show is a perfect, intelligent massive hit) enjoy your point of view week after week.


Mad Fashionista said...

I'm not interested in your upbringing. Although it's quite sad that your parents forgot to teach you manners, spelling, and how not to beat a dead horse. By the way, I like your user name very much! Quite amusing.

Mad Fashionista said...

I should note here that I shall not be publishing too many more of these hair-brained adolescent comments. I graduated from high school a long time ago. Also, calling me fat is not an insult. Sorry to harsh anyone's mellow.

Anonymous said...

Good grief your wholly accurate review of the ep really has gotten a few people hot under the collar! Shock, horror that you might compare a 50 something doctor to a 'creepy Grandpa' when he picks a female patient on the basis of their nubile body. Oh but this is House remember?! Everything he does is edgy and cool, and he's not at all the victim of writers partaking in a pissing contest to see who can come up with the most ridiculous and unfunny "hijinks of the week". What were you thinking woman?! (That Mr Laurie happens to share the same face that they are forcing into increasingly creepy contortions is merely collateral damage.)

As for the cosmetic surgery well it's hardly surprising is it? The man smokes and drinks heavily, and clearly those calling you insane have little idea about the industry, especially with the advent of the dreaded High Definition. I've suspected it and it's par for the course. It just doesn't jibe with the 'I don't do anything to look this good' image but then neither did the L'Oreal campaign. This however is the man who sat with an acupuncture needle in his ear during an interview where he trashed homeopathy. Gosh! An actor who isn't all he seems. How novel! ;) Having said all this I like the guy. I just don't need to believe the sun shines out of his backside to do so, but then I haven't done blind worship since I left Catholic school.

And to the poster above who's extolling the House PTB's commitment to the sensitive and accurate portrayal of female characters just remind me again how many female members of the original cast are still there in comparison with the male ones? What about the number of newbies who are over the age of 30? Or indeed the ratio of female writers/producers to the male ones? Sausage fest indeed!


Anne said...

Good Times, MadFash! Good Times! :-).

People are expressing it in a variety of ways, but in the end more viewers than not found this episode lacking. Even the tease of the John House history didn't make up for it. And it they explore the father history in the same superficial and OOC way they've dealt with so many things the past few years, there will only be further disappointments. Then, in retrospect the on thing people liked about the epi will be what they hate.

Keep writing! You are a riot and add a little flavor to the mix!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Dani. Aren't you smart and clever. I am glad to see that MF doesn't feel like mocking your lack of punctuation marks. Spelling mistakes are fine as long as you just agree with her. Good to know.

And you did raise interesting questions. What about the number of female members of the original cast who are still there? What about new male cast members? No newbies over the age of thirty? Well, they are new fellows. What about the original fellows over thirty? What about the ratio of male/female writers? Wow, you got me there. That has changed a lot. Oh, wait... it hasn't.
Okay, wait, you mean, you actually NEVER liked the show then? Huh. That explains it then. Then again, WHY ARE YOU HERE?

And yes, The L'Oreal campaign got nothing but fawning reactions. Clearly that's why Hugh Laurie did it. ...huh. Wait AGAIN...

MF, you are obviously craving attention. Good for you. Why not? Go for it, really. I just wish you would find another outlet. You are obviously no fan of House. Why not find something you actually like? You might be able to get attention by writing about something you actually enjoy. Try it. You might like it. If you keep trashing House I am inclined to believe that you just like to piss people off. Seems like a sad way to live. Not that you are interested in any opinion not agreeing with your own. Still, I just felt like saying it.


PS: Kate, I really liked your analysis. Too bad MF couldn't be bothered to reply to you. I would have been interested in that.


Anonymous said...

Well if we're playing pedantic Claire, that question right at the start could have done with a question mark, but let's not quibble over trivialities. Clearly your impassioned role as defender of the meek and destitute over at House is causing blind spots, but nobody's perfect eh?

You also seem to miss the point. The one male regular cast member who left the show did so of his own accord, whereas the women who've gone were inched out, either by being essentially sacked or made wholly unacceptable contract offers. (Please let's not pretend LE's departure was all about money. Being told the women's charities you support are not 'Fox appropriate' is just offensive. JMo's treatment was equally foul.) It's also ironic that every single female regular team member has ALWAYS been young, whereas season 4 brought us Taub the middle-aged fellow. Fancy that?! On the contrary I used to love the show when they were capable of showing things from an intelligent and sensitive viewpoint that was often sympathetic to a female perspective. Remember 'One Day, One Room' or 'Fetal Position'? However that was back when they still had Doris Egan on-board and Katie Jacobs was more than just a credit on the screen. Now we have 'it wasn't domestic violence, it was inanimate object assault', coupled with slave brides and the comic 'genius' of moveable walls and hunter's nets. Seems like a far cry from the days when they dealt with trifling things like the very existence of God.

I'm sorry that dissenting voices upset you so much, as demonstrated by your emphatic use of CAPS LOCK, but I'm afraid that's life. Advocating self-censorship on the basis that a review is unfavourable towards an actor or a show, well, that way madness lies.... Your passion for the show is to your credit though, it's just a shame that those working on House can't or won't show you and fellow viewers the courtesy of a similar level of involvement.

Keep it up MF! Like somebody else commented the 'Oh shit bears!' is inspired. :)


Mad Fashionista said...

Thank you, dahling. Going forward I shall only publish comments that deal with the content of the show and my reviews. Personal attacks are meant for schoolyards.