As the official, card-carrying, biggest fan of House, like, ever, I’ve come to a couple conclusions.
One, it’s a darned good thing I’ve never been hospitalized for anything more confounding than childbirth. Because if my own medical team were forced to break into my home in search of what ails me, about all they’d discover — courtesy of 3 cats, a zillion-year-old house and five other family members who can mess a hell of a lot faster than I can clean — is that I should have been dead a long time ago.
And two, after last Tuesday’s hilarious, heartbreaking Season 4 premiere, I want to find something to identify me — something so indelible that it cannot be burned or peeled or crushed from my body — so my own family is spared what the family of the debut’s patient du jour endured.
Yeah, I know. It’s a TV show. But when the stories and the characters are so scrumptious that you don’t even want to acknowledge they’re just actors acting after all, it’s easy to get carried away. Well, for me anyway, since I pretty much spent my summer angsting myself into oblivion that, on the heels of the mass main character exodus from Princeton-Plainsboro, this will be season that the writers lose their edge and the stories get tired — or worse yet, inane (see also, Kevin Federline in a pig nose on CSI. Still love the show — but can’t say I’ve fully recovered).
Fear not, fellow House fans. All is well, right from the season’s opening exchange:
After Cuddy informs the so-bad-he’s-good doctor that the time has come to set aside the attitude — and his beloved Flying V — and replace Foreman, Chase and Cameron, he corrects her: “I don’t need a team. I don’t have a case.”
And when she tells him he does now, courtesy of a young woman catastrophically injured in a building collapse, he corrects her again: “I can’t take the case. I don’t have a team.”
He gets the case anyway.
And finding no one to talk it out with but his white board and his marker, he enlists the closest the thing with a pulse — an in-the-wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time janitor. Stunned into submission by a laundry list of symptoms and one failed analogy about floor buffers, the newly-christened Dr. Buffer nonetheless offers a flawless diagnosis — wait for it, House lovers — “Maybe it’s lupus.” Blink blink.
And just when you thought that joke had grown mold …
Speaking of which, not long after, Dr. Buffer is taken on his first off-campus field trip — the aforementioned unauthorized visit to the patient’s house in search of the ill-inducing mold, med or modus operandi. This is where I not only make that mental note to keep my house a lot cleaner (or move all the expository stuff right to an expository-stuff shelf right there in the entry), but also to push my secret diary all the way in on the bookcase. If I ever have a secret diary. Which I might, if I ever manage to grow me some secrets worth writing down.
Anyway, while he’s away, House discovers that Wilson has joined Cuddy in the crusade for team replacement by taking the V comically hostage until he complies. So he goes for a visit, aforementioned secret diary still in hand, prompting Wilson to muse, “It’s been a while since a patient took a swing at you. Can I watch?”
And soon enough, it’s Wilson again who sets up the requisite a-ha moment o’ diagnosis while sputtering about what might happen if the wrong meds were administered after House avenges his guitar by “relocating” one of his patients to another floor.
“Bad things,” says House, as the lightbulb comes on. “Bad things would happen.” (Okay, if you’ve watched this show for even a handful of episodes, you know that having the wrong medicine administered is generally what leads to your survival. But let us not pick nits while a young woman’s life is in the balance.)
Turns out the girl in the bed is not who House thought. Not the girl whose home he invaded, whose diary he read and whose lover and mother he verbally crucified based on its contents. She is the wife of the young man out in the hallway who couldn’t make himself leave the hospital and her remains behind. And she is physiologically opposed to almost everything House has done to cure her. One family destroyed and one resurrected.
“I did it, Mommy,” says House expectantly, his back turned for effect as the door to his office swings open. “I did it all by myself.” Oops. Dr. Buffer is nonplussed.
“I did it, Mommy,” says House expectantly, as the door to his office swings open again. “I did it all by myself.”
This time it IS Mommy, and while Cuddy is relieved, she is hardly impressed and wastes no time putting him in his place. Which is right smack in the middle of You-Sir-Need-A-Team.
“Cameron would never have accepted that he knew nothing about the love of his life,” she tells him of the dead woman’s devastated beau. “Foreman would have done anything to prove you wrong. And Chase would have done anything to prove you right. Any of them would have solved this case days ago. Hire a team.”
Or, if you’re like me, keep your fingers crossed that the old team returns.