Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: House Ep. 8x13, Caveman Of The House

DAHLINGS -

Much like the doctors vying for the title of team leader, the writers of “House” are striving to see who can write the worst script before the series’ end. Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman have a strong lead with “Man Of The House.”

This script is a strange mix indeed: a cauldron of outdated sexual politics, sitcom, and…what was the third thing? Oh, yes, the patient of the week, a marriage counseling motivational speaker named…um…er…Biff. Sorry, but it's easier to call them all Biff.

A professional speaker who urges men to be more like women and get in touch with their feelings, Biff collapses and falls off the stage.

House announces that because of evolution, it is impossible to change the way men act. (Does devolution explain the change of his character from tortured genius to bullying baboon?)

It seems that Biff had a life-altering experience three years prior, when he was beaten up in a fight in a sports bar. Since then he became a changed man, from hard-driving corporate shark to someone with very strange hair and moist, sensitive eyes. Biff claims his wife has changed “my life and my diet.” He’s gone red meat and gluten-free, which means he can now only eat cardboard. She beams.

For no other reason than for wacky shenanigans and false conflict, House starts a contest among his team for highly undesirable position of team leader. Why anyone would want a job that humiliated Foreman for years is beyond me, but it’s going be hilarious!

Whenever the camera pans around the diagnostics room, I’m distracted by the redecoration, including the mysteriously vanished garage door into Wilson’s office. Who directed this episode, Greg Yaitanes?

But wait! There’s more! Flying in from Sitcom Land it’s the long-lost Dominika, House’s green-card bride. She’s adorable. Her accent is adorable. Her long brown hair is adorable. She needs to keep her adorable self in the country, which means to pretend having lived in marital bliss with House for the past six months. So they need to learn every fact possible to each other, coached first by Park, then by Wilson. He has seniority because he has been married three times.

(Side note: in an interview prior to Season 8, when asked if they were going to bring back Dominika, David Shore said no. Apparently he felt the show needed more breasts now that Lisa Edelstein is gone. And in the new world order, they have to be nonthreatening breasts. Dominika’s breasts are adorable.)

She offers House $30,000 to pretend to be her real husband as opposed to her pretend-real-husband—they are married, yes? So isn’t he her real husband? My head aches already. God, she’s adorable. She dances around House’s living room to Amy Grant songs. As much as I actually like the character, this woman needs to get a fatal disease.

Oh, dear, your faithful correspondent forgot the patient! There’s been some diagnosing, wrong naturally. Do you really care if I recap the diagnoses so far? No, neither do I. I’ve watched the episode twice, and I don’t know if I have the stomach to do it again.

House goes to Biff and asks if he was hit in the groin during the bar fight. The answer is yes. While they discuss it, House drops things, asking Adams and Chase to bend over to pick them up. Biff never takes his eyes off House. Which either means he has no sex drive, or he’s a fanboy who can’t stop staring at HL.

The blow turned Biff's testicles purely ornamental, which is why he is so sensitive and preaches feelings and makes pottery. And has no libido, even though his wife is the hottest woman on the show. Although less adorable than you-know-who.

House orders injections of testosterone. Biff’s wife obviously hopes that among the side effects will be getting laid more than every six months. The shots make him leaner, meaner, craving hamburgers, and cracking lascivious remarks about her ass.

The oh-so-funny B-story has House and Dominika posing in various outfits in front of a green screen, which can then be made into travel pictures. For the Las Vegas picture, they don huge Elvis wigs.

Taub asks to talk to House alone. Taub feels the team should be friends, not competitors. How long has he worked there? House announces that Taub is no longer a man because he is raising children. (Huh?)

And House is wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a giant Elvis wig.

GOOD GOD, WHAT ARE THEY DRINKING IN THE WRITER’S ROOM? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SIT THROUGH THIS NONSENSE? A CHIMPANZEE TAKING A CRAP ON A NEWSPAPER WOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS!

Oh, dear, pardon my outburst. So unlike me!

"Who can turn the world on with her smile?"

Meanwhile, the patient gets jaundice. Don't they always? By the end of the episode, he’s so yellow he looks like Big Bird crossed with Donald Trump.

House and Dominika welcome the immigrant agent, Nate, to House’s apartment. Nate doesn't find it strange that a beautiful young woman is married to her creepy uncle. Everything is going beautifully until Nate asks to speak to a neighbor. He opens the door and—there’s Wilson! Wearing a silly hat! Wilson has dropped in from Sitcom Land to pretend to be the wacky British neighbor. But the real occupant of the apartment shows up. Ruh-roh!

Nate orders House and Dominika to be in his office at ten the next morning. Dominika might be deported! House is threatened with jail for the 35,000th time! What’s going to happen?

Long story short, the judge is so impressed by how adorable Dominika is that he’s going to let her stay for six months. But she has to live in marital bliss with House full-time. They will be spot-checked at all times of the day or night. I was hoping for deportation, but that would have been so season two.

Biff now has turbo-nads. For starters, he tells his wife that “he’s going to be the man in this relationship.” In fact, he’s going to make some kind of deal whether she likes it or not. In two viewings I did not get what the deal was, but it doesn’t matter. He’s Doing What He Wants, Damn The Torpedoes, Because That’s What Men Do.

"Can you believe anyone watches this?" "No one does. That's why we're cancelled."

After viewing some old videos of Evil Corporate Shark Biff, House has some kind of epiphany. House and Taub go see Biff. House announces that chronic hoarseness is a symptom of chronic thyroiditis. Biff’s not hoarse now, but he was three years ago. And chronic thyroiditis comes and goes. The Magi-Cam goes into Biff so that House can rattle off some gibberish that means, “you’re sick.”

They’re going to treat Biff with steroids. Testosterone and steroids! Biff will Hulk out! Maybe Chase will get stabbed once more! House says, “Kicked in the nuts is kicked in the nuts.” I rewound the scene to see what that had to do with anything. I still don’t know. Enlighten me in the comments, won’t you?

But Biff spoils the fun by refusing the testosterone, despite the health risks. “I’m a better man without it,” he sighs. His wife leaves the room to hang herself because now she will never have sex again.

Cut to wacky C-story: House is putting the team, save Taub, through a series of idiotic contests (suturing pigs’ feet) for the bafflingly coveted position. Taub gets it by offering to split the difference in his salary with House.

At the end, as Amy Grant blasts on the soundtrack, House comes back to his apartment to find it immaculate and hideously decorated. Adorable Dominika is doing adorable dance aerobics in the kitchen. Cut to House making a series of facial expressions until he says (and I want you to know I said this with him): “Honey, I’m home!”

Ruh-roh.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: House, 8x12, "Chase" vs. God

DAHLINGS -

The plot of “Chase” can be summed up in one phrase: boy gets nun; boy sleeps with nun; God gets nun.

Watching this knowing that the show has been cancelled fills one with an odd combination of sadness and relief. The slackness of tone gives one the impression the writers were already looking for new jobs.

Like “Wilson” and “5 to 9”, “Chase” focuses on a single character. Jesse Spencer is one of the strongest actors in the cast, but he’s working with weak material. The episode attempts to tackle the subject of faith from a different angle than House’s impenetrable atheism. Chase was sent to seminary school, as has been mentioned over the years. The reason for his leaving? Crisis of faith? Disillusionment? No, being a horny teenage boy and having an affair with the groundskeeper’s wife. We’ve been waiting eight seasons for this?

Naturally, Almost-Nun is a blonde babe, like the “asexual” woman a few episodes back. Your faithful correspondent is not certain whether she is a noviate or a postulant, but honestly, who cares? She is going full-on Catholic, becoming a cloistered Carmelite nun, forbidden to speak, and presumably, stop dying her hair blonde and wearing underwire bras.

Chase and Blonde Not-Virgin-Mary have a number of dreary conversations about faith. These are eerily similar to the debates House had in “Unfaithful” or countless other episodes where he stumbled across some poor sap who believed in God.

If Chase is not sure he wants to return to PPTH, why is he hanging around? He’s on crutches from being stabbed in the heart last week (don’t ask). Somehow being stabbed in the heart doesn’t seem to have slowed Chase down. Including the inevitable scene where Chase and Not-Virgin-Mary tumble into bed and make sweet, sweet love. He even opens the tiny bandage for a reason that escapes me and we get to see the near-fatal, traumatic…pencil-sized wound.

After Wilson donated part of his liver to a friend in “Wilson”, he winced whenever he moved. Even after he left the hospital. But it clearly doesn’t impair Chase from cavorting with Not-Virgin-Mary.



"So, do you like to swing?"

But God has Other Plans for Not-Virgin-Mary. Post-coital in Chase’s bed, her neck swells up. She’s rushed off to PPTH for surgery! Which Chase performs! Huh? Hadn’t he decided he didn’t work there anymore? Did I miss something?

Not-Virgin-Mary has a vision during surgery that God is calling her. Somehow one night of sweet, sweet love has convinced Chase he loves her. But no. She’s going to put on the habit and leave our corrupt world behind. I’d care if they had bothered to give Not-Virgin-Mary a personality, but the writers forgot. They were too busy writing YET ANOTHER PRANK WAR, this time between House and Taub. Although it was a pleasure to see Taub without those dreadful twins, the prank war…it’s so tedious that describing it will set off my narcolepsy.

"Ha! I win!"

Chase goes weeping to House, who gives him a fatherly talk about Chase reassessing his life after his mistakes. No, don’t ask me what that means. It didn’t stop Chase in Season Two when he killed a patient in “The Mistake.” (Maybe he reassessed his life that time during the commercial breaks?) Perhaps one of my darling readers can explain the to me in the comments.

The upside of all of this is that Adams and Park have virtually nothing to do. The downside is that Wilson appears for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him scene.

Feel free to respond in the comments. And yes, the show was canceled. All the talk of “deciding to come to an end” sounds suspiciously like public relations hooey. Let’s hope the series finale leaves the cast alive—most of them, anyway. When you comment, remember, I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Friday, February 10, 2012

Taking A Partial Hiatus...

DAHLINGS -

After giving the matter much thought, your faithful correspondent shall be taking a partial hiatus from her blog-thing. There shall still be recapping television shows, perhaps reviewing some films, and as always, writing about plus-size issues.

Please do not worry that this means anything significant. Merely that if I can't be as fabulous as necessary, I need to slow down.

I am not able to attend Mercedes Benz Fashion Week this year, so there will be no coverage. It is strongly suggested that you read one of the fine blogs listed on the right.

Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Review: House Season 8 Ep. 11, Tumor Ex Machina

DAHLINGS -

The opening of “Nobody’s Fault” is a disheveled hospital room, covered with spatters of blood. A bottle of Lidocaine lies of the floor. It’s one of the best cold opens in a long time, but then, I love gore.

I spoke too soon. We are plunged into an extremely dark room, House sits opposite a Dr. Cofield, played with a stunning lack of charisma by Jeffrey Wright. Cofield is the head of Neurosurgery at New York’s Mercy Hospital. He was once Foreman’s mentor, so Foreman has brought him in to cover his own ass. (Why a head of Neurosurgery is involved in this is one of those things best not thought about or your ears will start to bleed.)

Director Greg Yaitanes loves effects that draw your attention away from the story to the direction, so the first few minutes are spent puzzling, “why hasn’t PPTH paid its light bill” and “This is a modern hospital, why are they sitting in room straight out of the 1920s?” .

Cofield is there to investigate a violent incident involving the POTW, a chemistry teacher who collapsed while jogging and now cannot feel his arms or legs. Since once again I don’t remember the patient’s name, let’s call him Biff. House begins by saying the incident is “nobody’s fault.” That bad things happen. Since Cofield seems never to have been in a hospital before, he is inclined to disagree.

The case is examined from each team member’s perspective. During the case proper, the lights are on, but when it returns to the investigation, the lights go out and there is an eerie blue tinge. Make sure to watch this in a darkened room or you won’t see a thing. And somehow Jeffrey Wright manages to suck all of the energy out of each scene he’s in., which affects the overall pacing of the episode.




"Do you think you could turn on the light on the table?" "No."



Biff was involved in a classroom chemistry explosion but for some reason nobody thinks that has anything to do with what’s happening.

The only member of the team who acts as though he is not spoiling his trousers with terror is Taub. Park and Adams are both…well, they’re Park and Adams.

In keeping with this season’s direction, there is a pointless prank war going on between Chase and House. But more on that later.

Biff has a rash under his arms, so House orders him pumped full of steroids in hopes of making the rash worse. Unfortunately, this gives Biff a major case of ‘roid rage. In one of those “this needs to happen even if it makes no sense”moments, Chase and Adams decide to biopsy the rash. Chase wheels in a table, revealing that he has a scalpel and a bottle of Lidocaine. Biff goes berserk and stabs Chase with the scalpel. There is an excellent shot of a stunned Chase not realizing that he has a scalpel stuck in his chest.

(For the record, Jesse Spencer knocked this out of the park. He tends to be criminally underused.) They rush him to the OR. With Cofield, Adams blames herself. Taub guesses that Chase might be at fault for bringing a scalpel into a room containing a psychotic patient. (YA THINK?)

There is a temporary moment of dramatic tension when Chase can’t feel his legs, but by the end of the episode he’s in physical therapy. When House opens his Vicodin bottle, it explodes (prank war). This gives House an epiphany, so he sprints out of the hearing the same way he sprinted out of the hearing during Season Three when he was on trial for abusing drugs.

ANYWAY, House realizes that Biff’s being in the explosion loosened cancerous tumor cells from his lymph node which proceeded to go through his entire body. Since we’ve completely forgotten about Biff, my only reaction was “Huh?” However, Biff’s wife isn’t buying it and rushes Biff to another hospital.

As usual when we reach heavy dramatic moments toward the end of the episode, it starts pouring rain outside. The entire team gathers to hear Dr. Cofield give his verdict. It’s something along the lines of House being brilliant but a complete disaster, when they are suddenly interrupted! By Biff’s wife!

House was right! Biff will be cured by House’s diagnosis! “He saved my husband’s life!” she exclaims breathlessly to Cofield.

Your faithful correspondent dropped her drink, exclaiming, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

But no. Cofield announces that the incident is indeed nobody’s fault. House, ever maddened by good news, yells at Cofield for being a coward. Then he visits Chase, who’s walking on a treadmill, and says, “They were wrong. I’m sorry.” Chase and House share a manly moment of silence before the end credits.

Next week, the episode is about Chase. Since we see him talking about leaving PPTH in the promo, then in a lab coat, it's a good bet that the status quo will be preserved. People don't change.


Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

Thursday, February 02, 2012

How Planned Parenthood Saved Me

In the wake of the Komen Foundation's baffling decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood, I decided to reprint this entry from May 2011.

DAHLINGS -

I do not dwell in the past, but the battles over the reproductive rights of women compel me to reveal a few pertinent facts. Planned Parenthood was the only resource when I was a young woman--a young, upper-middle class woman with a good education and family background--that helped women of every class and nationality, in confidence.Today Planned Parenthood is so often presented (not always transparently) as a program that is targeted at minorities and encourages promiscuity.

THAT IS SO IDIOTIC THAT IT DEFIES BELIEF!

Ahem.

It is not a matter of pro-life/pro-choice, it is a matter of WOMAN CONTROLLING THEIR REPRODUCTIVE DESTINIES RATHER THAN THEIR REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS CONTROLLING THEM. It is about women's health, not only abortion. Contraception, family planning, prenatal care.

What, in God's name, is so hard to understand about that? Oh, pardonnez moi, 95% of the politicians voting to cut funding are male. It's not going to have an impact on their day to day lives. ONLY ALL OF THE WOMEN IN THEIR CONSTITUENCY!!!As the Reverend Debra Haffner writes: "Access to maternal health care, contraception and family planning services can and should be available to all women, regardless of nationality, geography, economic status or other factors. "http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-debra-haffner/celebrate-mothers-locally_b_858048.html

I am not used to being outraged, dear readers, but this is simply too much to bear. My story, in brief. When I was a young woman, I was extremely attractive to the opposite sex. (Thank goodness some things never change.)

As my dear darling Mama had taught me, I was religious about birth control. I never had unprotected sex.

At 21, I missed several periods. I was panicked. I couldn't tell anyone. I was afraid to tell my ob/gyn. Partly because I was 21 and things like this were not supposed to happen to moi.

Pregnancy happened to careless, low-class women. Never to moi.

The only option was to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic in New York City, although I lived outside the city at the time. I was examined, and the doctor told me the most beautiful words in the world:"You're not pregnant."

The burden fell off my shoulders, and I resumed my life, both practical and romantic. Again, I was religious about birth control. Perhaps my taste in partners was occasionally lacking, but not my protection of myself. It happened again. This time with all of the symptoms that went along with being enciente. I was still young, unmarried, with absolutely no desire for children. What could have gone wrong? I was so careful!

Again, I sought out Planned Parenthood. Again, it was a false alarm. Faithful readers, if an abortion had been called for either time, I would have had one in a heartbeat. I was far too young, far too inexperienced, with no interest in having a child. I would have been a terrible mother. Je ne regrette rien. It happened once again, in the weeks before my marriage. We knew we couldn't afford to have a baby. My fiance was in school. Abortion was our only option. We were devastated, but it would have been the only feasible choice. Again, Planned Parenthood. Again, a false alarm.

Years later I researched a novel (yes, your faithful correspondent has some skeletons in her past, including some unpublished novels) about a young woman whose father is an abortionist, circa 1916. The lack of women's choices in those days, both in love and in work, fascinated me. (Also I adored the clothes, a major component in writing an historical novel. At least for moi.)For research, I went to the Planned Parenthood main office and archives. These were in the days before the loonies started destroying the material--although it had just started.

Over the weeks I read dozens of articles, personal stories, medical journals, etc. All described the horror of life before accessible birth control. Back alley abortions, suicide, women chained in unhappy marriages, women literally unable to STOP having children whether they wanted to or not. Millions of unwanted children raised by miserable or cold, uncaring mothers. Fathers trapped in jobs because they had so many mouths to feed.




"Down With The Abortion Clause" Kathe Kollwitz,1924


THERE WAS NO CHOICE. AT ALL. UNLESS YOU WANTED TO RISK DEATH.

Or join a convent, but that seems a tad extreme, don't you think? Some members of the government dream of going back to that happy time! There is more to say upon the topic, but I shall save it for another entry. Dear readers, do not let the government slash Planned Parenthood funding. They help prevent more unwanted children coming into the world and the women without the money or too frightened to get the help they need.

Ciao,


Elisa & Fletcher


P.S. I still use birth control conscientiously. And recommend that my readers do the same. Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource.

A Valentine's Day Special From Leading Lady Bras

DAHLINGS -

Far be it from me to withhold the gift of uplift to my fellow larger lovelies! Today I received the following press release:






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New fans can Like us on Facebook for an introductory 10% discount code. All of our fans can Tweet "I LOVE @LeadingLadyBras" TODAY and on VALENTINE'S DAY and receive a 10% discount code. The codes can be used at our e-boutique during the entire month of February. So go on -- Spread the word, Share the Love!

Promotion codes are good for one per person. Cannot be combined with any other coupon offers. Discount applied at check out. Expires 02/29/12


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Disclaimer: your faithful correspondent has "road-tested" two Leading Lady bras, size 42DD. This bra was lovely and gave excellent support and (most important) projection:




Scalloped Lace Underwire Bra

















The other bra was, simply, the largest bra I have ever worn. Not in bra size, but in size. The neckline almost reached my collarbone. It fit well, but let us say, that it is not exactly this writer's preferred look. A woman who feels she needs maximum support would undoubtedly find this more to her taste.









Molded Seamless Wirefree Bra












I urge you to go to their website and browse their extensive selection of full-figure and nursing bras. You shall be pleasantly surprised.

Ciao,
Elisa

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Review: House Season 8 Ep. 10, "Runaways"

DAHLINGS -

It would seem that, in its return to basics, “House” has established several ongoing motifs.

1) The team does almost all of its work without him. However, House
occasionally swings by for the epiphany. Or to say “put him on interferon”.
2)There is an amazing amount of time spent on meaningless mind games and
high-larious pranks.
3) Park is quirky and says “surprising” things.
4) Adams is a hologram.
5) Foreman is in almost every scene. Which is odd, because he’s not on the team
anymore. As Dean of Medicine, he’s getting more screen time than Cuddy did. I adore Foreman, but really. Doesn’t he have a large teaching hospital to run?

On a cheerier note, your faithful correspendent could actually recall this week’s episode, “Runaways.” Last week’s episode, “Better Half,” was so dull it could have been a filmed blocking rehearsal. Even now I can’t remember the plot…oh, yes, early onset Alzheimer’s, a fascinating, tragic disease that the show managed to make neither fascinating nor tragic. It was even irritating when House spoke Portuguese. Yes, House knows every single language ever invented, but please, just once, show, have a translator come in! There was some kind of prank war. And fisticuffs.

What “Better Half” clearly demonstrated was that the chemistry between House and Wilson seems to have evaporated. The rapport is no longer, the relationship is no longer there, it’s two actors in a room. Neither of them particularly interested in what’s going on.

Hmmm, I remembered more than I thought I would.

Back to “Runaways.”

Right at the top, House announces for the 107,406,321th time, “People don’t change.”

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, BANISH THIS PHRASE TO THE BLACK HOLE OF WRITER’S PURGATORY! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NEVER USE IT AGAIN! IS IT SO MUCH TO ASK THAT IN A SEA OF CLICHÉS, YOU CAN’T LEAVE OUT ONE???

Ahem. I beg your pardon. It’s a bit of a sore point.

A teenage runaway arrives the clinic with an ear bleed. This was once the hospital where seeing House was truly the last-case scenario. Desperate people came from other countries because he was a world-famous diagnostician. Now, it seems, all one needs is a trip to the clinic or the ER and House pops up, ready to go.

The teenager is supposedly homeless but she has set up shop in an abandoned house. Can’t recall her name, so let’s call her…Biff. Poor Biff has Druggie Mom. Druggie Mom and Biff briefly reconcile when Druggie Mom tells Biff, “I only did drugs after you were asleep, honey.” “I love you, Mom.”

House no longer has an ankle monitor on, so he drags to team to oh-so-wild-and-crazy places. Such as a shooting range, where he dresses like Elmer Fudd. Then a turtle race, in which Park gets to be quirky at a turtle.(Don’t these doctors have tests to run? Laundry? Anything?)




House’s biting wit is on display when he can’t stop giggling over the name “Pooholtz.” Straight out of Oscar Wilde’s playbook.

Foreman’s extramarital affair ends when he learns the wife has told the husband and the husband doesn’t mind. It makes no sense, but it’s just as well, as the wife is an even worse actress than Park.

Taub…remember when Taub was a wonderfully dry, snarky doctor? About two decades ago? Taub’s storyline is one of the best arguments for Planned Parenthood that I’ve seen yet. He bonds with the Sophii by telling them about football.

ANYWAY, Biff’s diagnosis is worms. Rather like the girl who went fishing with her parents and ate undercooked trout and ended up with tapeworm, Biff went swimming with Druggie Mom and contracted worms. Druggie Mom goes to bond with Biff. But Biff has run away once again, just as…somebody else ran away. I mean, the B-plot is always the A-plot on training wheels.

And there were two wacky civil way reenactors.

My hand on the Bible, I am not making any of this up.



Next week’s episode is supposed to be iconic.

ETA: As I was writing this, the Fox network announced that it is bumping “House” off the schedule for the month of March, extending “Alcatraz” in its place. You may draw your own conclusions.

ETA Part Two: Feel free to discuss this review in the comments. However, personal attacks will not be published.

Ciao,
Elisa