Tuesday, April 24, 2012

House Review: 8x18 A Lifeless "Body And Soul"

DAHLINGS -

“House,” you have abused me long enough. You have bewildered me with your nonsensical plot lines, badly written dialogue, anvils dropping faster than summer rain…but this time, “Body And Soul” crossed the line.

 You ruined my makeup. 

It was the reverse of the Season 6 finale, “Help Me.” That was a shattering episode with a horrendous ending. Let my guest blogger, House’s leg, explain:

 Greg drags me to hell and back in this giant wrecked parking garage, I get bent all kinds of ways, we have to go home WITHOUT the cane! So I’m not only throbbing, I’m burning, stabbing, aching, off the charts on the pain scale!  Greg doesn’t take the fucking Vicodin! It’s not a moral decision, jerk-off, it’s PAIN! What about PAIN don’t you understand at this point? Man, I was seriously pissed, but it’s not like I have hands or a mouth or free will. I’m just a goddamned leg, for Christ’s sake.
Then Cuddy showed up and I had to act like I wasn’t in shrieking pain because Greg was getting all like “wow, she’s here, I’ve wanted to bone her since the Crusades! And I looooove her.” They kiss and through some sort of magical endorphin boner process, I’m not supposed to hurt. AFTER ONE OF THE WORST DAYS OF MY LIFE.

Yes, the leg was extremely upset.

In reverse, last night’s episode was horrendous with a shattering ending.

The press release claimed the story was about dreams. There were dreams, and hallucinations. Why, why, WHY do they keep going back to hallucinations? If it weren’t for hallucinations, vomiting blood and paralysis, “House” would be ten minutes long.


Plot A:

The POTW is a cute little eight-year-old boy from Hmong ancestry. Whatever that is. Somebody in the comments can explain it, because I don’t care enough to look it up. Besides, the Hmongs on the internet are complaining the show got it all wrong. Amazing how many people this show can piss off.

Cute Hmong Boy dreams he is being choked by his late grandmother and wakes with acute respiratory distress. House brings several boxes of files to the team about Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome among males in the Hmong community. They eventually decide to look into infection, as well as the possibility of inhaled toxins.

Hmong Mom is an engineer, but Scary Hmong Father-in-Law is convinced that Cute Hmong Boy is possessed by demons. The young lad does have a collection of symptoms as assorted as a Halloween trick-or-treat bag. The most striking symptom is levitating. (And no, they never really explain the levitation, which sucks since it’s the only interesting symptom and looked good in the promos).
"Man, that is some seriously sick shit."

 Cute Possessed Hmong Boy speaks in tongues, wakes up from another choking dream with bruises on his neck, and crashes every five minutes.

One of the boy’s dreams involves Scary Hmong Father-In-Law choking him, which not only looks real but also seems possible. Even logical. It hints at possible child abuse. In earlier days, child abuse often played a part in family secrets. But that was when the show made some sort of sense. Instead, oooo, is it disease or is it …SATAN? 

Once again, it’s “Faith vs. Science”. This dead horse has been beaten until it’s the consistency of chopped liver.

At the patient’s home, the doctors discover a slaughtered pig and assorted voodoo-type thingies in the boy’s bedroom. Sleeping in an abattoir, now THERE’S a recipe for PTSD. Cute Hmong Boy’s father went crazy and killed his boss. Scary Hmong Father-in-Law thinks his son was also possessed.  Your faithful correspondent thinks it is because the son was choked and forced to sleep in a room with large dead animals.  Be that as it may, SHFIL convinces Hmong Mother to ditch common sense in favor of an exorcism. And slaughter another swine in the boy’s hospital room. Now I truly believe the show is written by the interns while the writers sit out by the pool and smoke crack.

During the exorcism, which involves pretty red cloth, Cute Hmong Boy crashes (again). Against House’s orders, Adams injects ibuprofen into the boy’s IV because she believes he has patent ductus arteriosis, which starts at birth but for some magical reason never manifested until now. Guess it was the demons.

But we’ll never know. Or care.

Plot B: 

Park has a sex dream about Chase. Chase has a sex dream about Park, which is quite funny. Any time I can get to see Jesse Spencer without his shirt is a good time. At the end, Park decides that the reason they have sex dreams about each other is because they’re good friends and comfortable with each other. So she farts.

(I hope that means I’m good friends with George Clooney.)

Plot C: 

Adorable Dominika is now the Dominika The Wonder Whore, as she demonstrates that she is a crack shot AND an ex-cop who reads about quantum physics in the tub. AND she’s made thousands of dollars selling knishes AND she knows how to fix small appliances AND she knows how to tilt her head adorably while delivering appalling dialogue in an adorable accent…she is House’s “dream girl”!
 
I’ll be in the lavatory retching if you want me.


Ahem.

Dominika reveals that she has fallen for House...they start kissing…ick augh bleagh Creepy Grandpa and That Girl blechh…when the INS calls and halts this abomination.  Dominika discovers House done her wrong by throwing away her INS notifications. Farewell, Dominika! Don’t let the door hit your adorable ass on the way out.




 "It's been real--oh, wait--"

 Just as we’re settling back with an ice-cold martini, House visits Wilson to tell him he’s “surprisingly depressed” that Dominika has left. Wilson emotionally coldcocks House by announcing, “I have cancer. Stage Two. ” The promo for next week shows Wilson coughing up blood on House’s couch, refusing to die in the hospital.

There were three possible reactions on the part of yours truly.

The first is: “Are you joking? The oncologist gets cancer? House’s only friend gets CANCER? In time for May sweeps? Are they so cynical that they think all of the millions of fans who deserted the show will come back in droves because Wilson is probably DYING? What kind of manipulative merde is this? Why did I ever think this show had a shred of integrity?”

The second is: “Wow, Robert Sean Leonard is going to knock it out of the ballpark!”

The third is: “OH GOD NO NOT WILSON PLEASE DON’T KILL WILSON IF WILSON DIES THAN HOUSE HAS TO COMMIT SUICIDE THEY ARE NOTHING WITHOUT EACH OTHER PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T KILL WILSON OH MY GOD THAT PROMO IS UNBEARABLE TO WATCH I HATE YOU DAVID SHORE DIE DIE DIE I’M GOING TO ROLL UP IN A BALL AND CRY MYSELF TO SLEEP.”

Mine was number three. Mascara was smeared. Eyeliner washed down the cheeks. Tears streaked the NARS blush. Martinis were gulped down between sobs.

“House,” this will not stand. Pardon the pun. It was only this afternoon that one and two kicked in. Yes, I am mortified at my initial reaction. 

If Wilson dies and House does an “Out of the Chute” redux, I want him to miss the pool and hit the pavement. Now THAT’S what I call a finale.

Random observations:

I’d much rather see Chase and Park get it on than Chase and Adams.  Why do they keep insisting that Park is ugly and Taub is a ladykiller?

Hugh Laurie continues to look weird. And old. Someone is not moisturizing enough.

If the last two episodes involve a grieving House drinking, taking pills and staring into the middle distance, how we will know it’s actually the end of the series and not any other episode?

Feel free to discuss this episode in the comments, and remember, I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

House Review: 8x17 "We Need The Eggs" Is Rotten

DAHLINGS -

Ladies and gentlemen, we might have a winner in the race for the worst script for House before the show leaves the airwaves for good. Sarah Hess and Liz Friedman had a strong lead with “Man Of The House.” It was neck and neck with “Gut Check,” written by David Hoselton and Jamie Conway.

But leading the pack by a length as we go around the home stretch is “We Need The Eggs,” written by Sarah Hess and Peter Blake.

Imagine you have a friend-of-a-friend, an obnoxious drunk who brays with laughter at his/her own jokes. Now imagine that friend-of-friend is a shambling, fetid zombie.

(Note to self: do not watch the Season Two arc involving “the love of House’s life”, Stacy, played by Sela Ward, on the same day a new episode airs. Said arc is sensitive, well-written, two adults behaving in a believably screwed-up way. “Distractions” begins House’s hiring of hookers for uncomplicated sex.)

This ostensible premise is a large slab of fatback about how we all want love but fear it too much, and the substitutes we choose instead. “We Need The Eggs” is a quote from Annie Hall:




I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken.' And the doctor says, 'Well why don't you turn him in?' and the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They're totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.
OUCH! That anvil hit my foot! And so early in the episode! House says the movie is a critique of “our modern mores”. (Annie Hall was made in 1977.)

The underlying premise is how the show demeans women at every opportunity. Not just House, the show itself.

Open with a man out on a date with a woman, Molly, who is not his girlfriend. She likes him and tells him she wants more. His eyes promptly begin to bleed. Way to avoid commitment.

I have to admit here that I was filled with excitement because the arcade game owner was played by my old pal Eddie Pepitone.

The POTW, Biff, is in love with a rubber sex doll, Amy, played by a rubber sex doll. He’s had it customized to look like a yoga instructor he dated for the length of your average high school crush. He loved her but she didn’t love him.















"You come here often?"


Perverted Biff adores Amy (reminding your faithful correspondent of both Lars and The Real Girl and “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning” from Supernatural, in which a man is in love with a—surprise!—rubber sex doll). Speaking of Supernatural, the segment I enjoyed the most was when Amy became “real”, climbed on top of Perverted Biff and proceeded to gush blood from a wound on her torso all over both of them. But of course it’s a hallucination, the go-to device for damn near everything this season.

His illness is from using tap water in a neti pot.

Parallel with this is a sitcom so tawdry I wanted to erase it from my mind half-way through. One imagines the guffaws in the writer’s room: “That’s really sick!” “Let’s go there!” “Omigod, House and his hooker—genius!” “We make hot chicks to do sexy things—no, STUPID sexy things!” Greg Yaitanes: “Ka-boom!”

House’s favorite hooker, Emily, is quitting to get married. He needs a new hooker/rubber sex doll! OUCH! That anvil hit my other foot!

House interviews a parade of prostitutes at his office. One is rejected because she can’t fix small appliances. The last one is reduced to standing on her hands and spreading her legs wide open. Cue laugh track.

House goes to Wilson for advice, Wilson points out that House is married to a beautiful, intelligent woman—adorable Dominika! House enlists Dominika in an adorable plot to break up Emily’s marriage. They hide in her truck called “Knishing On A Star”. Har har.



















Bond Girl and Creepy Grandpa coming up with a plan

Wearing a wire, Dominika propositions the fiancĂ©, a fat man (visual gag: beautiful woman, ugly guy, the uber-pairing for most sitcoms) who is ready and willing, but—wait for it—he’s not Emily’s fiancĂ©. He's her brother! Cue laugh track to hysteria and applause.

House begs Emily to reconsider. It creeps her out that House is living with a fake wife. Maybe she would be okay with a rubber sex doll.

“I see the way she looks at you. I see the way you look at her,” wise hooker Emily says. “It’s not the way my pimp looks at me.” Oh, wait, that last line might be a misquote.

House is stunned at this revelation. He and Dominika might be in love. At least for this episode’s purposes. For a character David Shore said they weren’t bringing back, Dominika is getting an awful lot of screen time. All right, so it’s not Karolina Wydra‘s fault that she’s trapped in this crummy storyline. But why is she so cursedly adorable? Why are all of the women such ciphers?

Oops, I forgot, this is House.

In other boring relationship news, Adams and Chase debate why neither of them have relationships. Yawn. Taub invites a woman over by lying to her. Yawn. Park meets a fellow nerdy music lover and they play guitar together. That’s cute.

House almost kisses Dominika when she says she fixed the blender. You see? A hooker couldn’t fix the blender! Dominika is the woman he’s been searching for! She’s adorable! Then he pulls away—he’s scared of love—his relationships always end badly—he’d have to run his car into his own apartment--!

But when he opens a letter that says Dominika has been approved for citizenship, he throws same into the trash. Much the way he deleted the message on his answering machine while Wilson was staying with him, saying there was an apartment available.

In Episode 10 of Season 2, Stacy compares House to hot vindaloo curry. She starts to tell the same Woody Allen joke, but before she can deliver the "egg" punchline, House interrupts with "curry."

God, I miss curry.























"Why am I even here?"

NOTES:
House + Dominika = Eeeeeew
I’m starting to wonder if Hugh Laurie isn’t just high on life.
Robert Sean Leonard is mugging his way through his scenes with a palpable air of disdain.
The rubber sex doll is the perfect actress for House.
I wish Dominika was played by Eddie Pepitone.
The “Park looks nerdy but says shocking things” is getting old.
After this episode, I’m going to my doctor to get checked for an STD.

Ciao,
Elisa & Fletcher


DISCLAIMER: I am a reviewer, not a recapper. There’s a difference. You want a recap, go to another site.

To those who ask, "If you hate the show so much, why do you keep watching?"

Because I need the eggs. OUCH!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

House Review: 8x16 "Gut Check" = Airsick Bag

DAHLINGS –

A while back I mentioned that the writers of House are in a race 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.” But there is a serious contender, “Gut Check,” written by David Hoselton and Jamie Conway.

Disclaimer: I do not usually use the vulgarities written here. But desperate times and all that.

Words cannot adequately convey what sheer torture your faithful correspondent endured watching this. Director Miguel Sapochnik has directed some of the worst episodes of House (“Larger Than Life”, “Family Practice”), and he truly let out all of the stops on this suckfest.

The program’s slide into the cesspot is positively meta. Is the show itself some sort of sick House-ian screwing with the audience, putting us through the wringer for their own amusement? Are they teaching us a lesson, as House so often does? If so, the lesson is: never take for granted that you have viewed the suckiest episode of House. There’s still more manure to be mucked out of the writer’s room.

The patient of the week…oh, the hell with it, he’s Hockey Biff…is an “enforcer” on a hockey team, the big guy who punches out the smaller guys on the rink. In the opener, after the usual fancy slow-fast-loud-silent things they like to do when there’s action, they go straight to the inevitable scene of the patient vomiting blood. Although this time it’s on ice. Very pretty. Points to the art department.

House just happens to have a hockey table game when the case is brought in, which made me want to take an axe to my television. Does House have a secret underground bunker of toys suitable for every case? The show likes secret underground bunkers (oh, dear, yours truly is going to be called out because it was an above ground bunker in “Perils of Paranoia”).

Taub hates Hockey Biff because he reminds Taub of all of the bullies he endured in school. But then Taub likes Hockey Biff because…um…sorry, I have no idea.

Biff and Taub share a moment.

Hockey Biff has the requisite paralysis, the word “sarcoidosis” is thrown around, and Hockey Biff grows breasts. Didn’t a gentleman lactate on this show recently? Taub diagnoses Hockey Biff: the man has mononucleosis, which back in the day was known as the kissing disease. Dear readers, I suffered from mono in my youth, and the most dramatic symptom was lassitude. But then, I already had breasts.

For an instant Hockey Biff considers no longer being an enforcer, but his moral dilemma is neatly solved by a $2.1 million dollar contract.

But Hockey Biff is merely a footnote to two of the most unbelievable, intellectually insulting and badly acted character arcs—wait, that’s been most of the character arcs recently. In any event.

For the “wah-wah-wah” part of the show, Park wants to escape living with her parents, so Chase offers her his spare bedroom. Adams has been firmly pushed into the background so that Park can say and do wacky things. Expect Charlene Yi to land a quirky role in a sitcom next season. That’s obviously what she’s being prepped for. Park moves in, but so does her grandmother, Popo. Chase takes a liking to Popo. Short but seemingly never-ending short story short, Park moves back in with her parents, and Popo stays with Chase.

Wah-wah-wah!

The egregious, deplorable House/Wilson plot is the cement shoes tied to the feet of “Gut Check” that pulls it to the bottom on the swamp. On the one hand, we get to see more of Wilson than we have all season. On the other hand, we have to live through moronic shenanigans that make the Three Stooges look like Chekov.

The set-up: Wilson cannot sleep because the new baby next store is keeping him up all night. House makes the instantaneous deduction that in reality Wilson regrets not having children. House reveals to Wilson that Wilson impregnated Beth, a falconer (a falconer! How delightfully random—NOT) eleven years before, and as a result, there is a male heir to the Wilson name. Wilson, having had a lobotomy this season, is overjoyed and doesn’t question for a minute that his best friend of many years never mentioned this before. House vowed to keep it a secret. Since when has House successfully kept a secret from Wilson? Since when has House wanted to keep a secret from Wilson? In reality---oh, God, this show is so bad I’m referring to earlier seasons as “reality”—House would have lost no opportunity to browbeat Wilson about his love child.

Instant child! A little boy with glued-one eyebrows meets Wilson, they have everything in common, Beth never appears, and on the second meeting, Duncan declares, “I love you, Dad,” and gives Wilson a big hug. How did House manage all of this with such lightning speed? How did he know that the conversation with Wilson was going to happen? Oh, I forgot again, making sense stopped making sense to the creative staff by the end of Season Seven.

Despite Duncan neither acting nor speaking like an eleven-year-old (he prefers prosciutto to peanut butter) Wilson is delighted that he has a son. Robert Sean Leonard sells the heck out of the subplot, but underneath he seems to be saying, Are they really asking me to say this crap? But when Duncan wants to move in with Daddy because Mommy is moving to Costa Rica to save wildlife (ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?) lobotomized Wilson believes it and freaks out. In the past, Wilson would have seen right through the scam, and played House against himself, perhaps pretending to be overjoyed with his new “son” and telling House that from now on, his “son” was going to take all of his time, so bye-bye, House.

But no. House unmasks that “Duncan” is Wendel (with one l, thank you to the reader who picked up this error), a child actor he hired to show Wilson that he never really wanted a child. Wilson starts to get angry, but then remembers that was the old Wilson, with a brain and a backbone. So he sits back on the couch and gives a forced chuckle. (I swear, Robert Sean Leonard looked like he was dying of embarrassment at that moment.) At the end, he is shown happily making pizza with House. Insert agonized scream from yours truly.

Lobotomized Wilson: Kid? What kid? You want some prosciutto?

What has happened to Wilson? Why didn’t he have more of reaction when he found out his best friend had kept his son a secret for eleven years? Why didn’t he have more of a reaction when he found out the boy he’d bonded with was a hired actor? Why is he there at all? For House to make mildly lascivious homosexual jokes to? For fan service? If he has to be there, at least give him back his frontal lobes.

Random Notes:

Hugh Laurie continues to look weird. Are they foreshadowing cancer, or does he just look weird?

Odette Annabelle is definitely being sidelined. Now that they’ve got adorable Dominika, the man fantasy girl-with-boobs quota has been filled.

Until next week, that is. From the press release 8x17 :

Meanwhile, House is interviewing for a new favorite hooker, since his current favorite, Emily, has decided to get married and leave the business


We can hope that House is using this plot for sly commentary on the objectification of women on television. But probably not.

Ciao
Elisa & Fletcher

Note to anonnonablog regarding "Chasing Zebras": you have to go to Amazon to buy the book.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

What If Women In Great Art Had Today's Bodies?

DAHLINGS -

I came across a fascinating article in the Guardian that asked the question: what if the females in great art were changed to fit today's ultra-skinny form? Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano did just that, changing the bodies from the Old Masters' portraits to today's norm.

The results are shocking! The redone paintings make it clear how unrealistic our media is and how distorted our view of women's bodies has become. Giordano's website is here.



Botticelli's Venus Before


Botticelli's Venus After

I urge you to look at Giordano's pictures (there are many others) and think about what societal norms have done to our perceptions of ourselves.



Ciao,

Elisa & Fletcher

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

House Review: 8x15, "Blowing The Whistle"

DAHLINGS –

It can be shattering to discover that someone you worshipped has shortcomings. That is what happens to the POTW, Army Biff, in “Blowing The Whistle”, when he finds out his father’s death was not honorable, but a drunk-driving traffic accident in which Dad killed a pedestrian.

Now for the important, shattering, truth: at times I have mixed feelings about House MD. I actually shed a few tears after the episode. Not because of the episode. Your faithful correspondent is deeply saddened that the show she has been intimate with for years is packing its bags and leaving. I know you are all shocked and amazed that I have any shortcomings, but there you are.

With only a handful of episodes left, so it’s hard to tell what is important or unimportant, or unimportant now and extremely important later. In latter seasons, they built up to some major astonishments (for example, in Season 6, discovering that Dr. Nolan, House’s psychiatrist, had been advising him behind the scenes all season without the audience’s knowledge). This episode is surprisingly good, which this season means mediocre in any other season.

Perhaps one of you out there could explain the POTW’s A-story to me. Army Biff (Arlen Escarpeta) leaked a video of a civilian massacre, yes? He will go to prison, yes? His by-the-book brother is well and truly pissed, yes? Army Biff feels it is a matter of honor to let the public know what the military is doing. Biff’s Brother (Sharif Atkins) feels it is a matter of honor not to let the public know what the military is doing. Have I gotten this straight?

Army Biff was a more significant presence than most of the season’s POTWs, with a more compelling story, even if I had trouble following it. Army Biff refuses treatment unless he is given a public forum for the video he leaked and his reasons for doing so. Both sons venerate their late father and each feels in his own way that Dead Dad would approve of what they are doing. Biff knows that his dad died in an accident, but he suspects a military cover-up. However, it is Biff’s Brother who covered up the accident. I did wonder why it would be so shattering to find out that your father killed someone accidentally while drunk…well, perhaps that would upset one a tad. My apologies.

The show might have cast two actors with a passing resemblance to each other. Atkins does a lot with a little, most of which consisted of standing about scowling with disapproval.

House sits with Army Biff and gives a speech about honor. It sounds fairly close to an old-time House monologue :“You’re not doing this for honor. You’re doing this to please your father. And the pathetic thing is, the man you’re trying to please never existed.” (House daddy-issues alert!)

The B-story, taken from “Half Wit” and a few other episodes, has House pretending to have liver failure. In "Half Wit" he faked brain cancer to get experimental drugs to get high. It would have been much more fun if he had let Wilson in on his scheme, as he had when he faked having syphilis to screw with his team in an earlier episode.







"Breaking The Record" for scenes set in the men's room while House is taking a crap

Adams is the one who diagnosises hepatic encephalopathy from a few vague symptoms. Everyone gets very freaked out. He's sick! Maybe he's dying--again! It is obvious that House is again trying to screw with his team. It is Chase, the team member who has known House the longest, figures out how House has been doing it. I mean, Chase has been to this rodeo before.(Note: Jesse Spencer has shaved his neckbeard! God, he’s beautiful. But I digress.)

There were two clinic scenes this time. As often happens, those were some of the best parts of the episode. However, in the first clinic scene, Wilson sounds so much like House that it’s possible Hugh Laurie wasn’t available that day and Robert Sean Leonard was swapped in. But still, highly amusing to see the patient busted for compulsive nose picking. In the second, House has a hungover clinic patient hop on one leg while singing the “iCarly” theme song.

Taub has been freed from the confines of that godawful marital soap opera, allowing him to be the Taub we all know and love. (His gaming name is Taubinator!)

Yet another gaming scene. Taub wins, which means House is dying.

Park gets to be the self-righteous one this go-round, and she is more entertaining to watch than Adams. I may dislike her intensely, but she has a personality to dislike intensely. But if you were deathly ill, would you want someone nattering away at you about right and wrong? If he wasn't so weak, my bet is Army Biff would take a swing at her.

Wilson is around more, which is always a treat. As I wrote above, I do wish House had let Wilson be his co-conspirator, rather than let his friend worry along with the others. Wilson looks harried and unhappy in most of his scenes. I am hoping that this is the character, not the actor. But then, Hugh Laurie has been phoning it in all season and it’s almost over, so why try too hard? It’s still a shame.

After the past two episodes, “Blowing The Whistle” is a definite improvement. Let us hope the upward trend continues. In what fashion the series ends is anyone’s guess. Your faithful correspondent hopes that the series ends with House and Wilson getting married.

Feel free to discuss in the comments. Bear in mind that I am always right.

Ciao,
Elisa and Fletcher






Random notes:

Seizure in the cold open - check
Blood in odd openings - check
Sarcoidosis - double check

Hugh Laurie looks weird.

Thank God Dominika wasn't around.

Nothing can make me care about Adams having sex. Seriously. Nothing.


DISCLAIMER: Before all of the House/Cuddy fans explode, yes, I miss Cuddy and I miss Lisa Edelstein.