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House Fodder

Doctor House in the House

There's nothing like a good formula and "House" stayed true to its roots on Tuesday night's season premier episode. We begin with a trippy sequence; choppy movements and mottled colors seen through the deadened eyes of a wheelchair-bound man at a family barbecue. Seemingly out of nowhere he steers himself directly towards the pool and drives in, plummeting to the bottom in a shot straight out of "The Graduate." Cut to theme music.

All good and well, but I thought we'd see something a little different - they left me with such a cliffhanger at the end of last season it seemed incongruent not to start with the House situation. But - onto scene two! Now this is what I was looking for. House taking a brisk jog (obviously cane-free) through the park, sweating it up and breathing heavy. Hot! He runs straight into Cuddy's office where she and Wilson are debating which case should be House's first after three months off.

Cuddy: "You ran here?"
House: "It's just eight miles."

Clearly, the ketamine-induced-coma-trick worked. They offer him two case choices. One, a hot yogi who snapped her neck and can't move but whose x-rays show no damage, or two, a man in a wheelchair who tried to commit suicide by driving into a pool. They urge him to take the yogi case, since the other one holds no diagnostic mystery, but he wants both. "What about Stephen Hawking who tried to do the 500 butterfly?"

It turns out that post-hallucination House is trying to be a human being - taking a case simply for the chance to help lessen someone's pain. He awkwardly attempts conversing with worried family members and doesn't know what to do when they actually thank him for his concern. It turns out he doesn't like the feel-good stuff after all, but is still interested in what made the man take a spin.

It was fun watching House bolt around on two healthy legs, skidding to a stop "Risky Business" style, but we all knew it wouldn't last. While skateboarding (yes, skateboarding) down the sidewalk, checking out the ladies, he's suddenly gripped by a bolt of pain in his leg. Uh oh.

As for the yogi, House is up to his old tricks when he burns her foot with a lighter to test the legitimacy of her paralysis. She instantly moves, proving she's either faking or delusional. After she starts to bleed internally, he decides the two conditions can't be coincidental, and demands she undergo surgery to find the problem. Cuddy finally consents, but before the chick goes under the knife, House spots something sketchy - a funky toenail previously covered by nailpolish. This ain't no run-of-the-mill fungus, this is Scurvy. Problem solved.

House turns his attention back to the man's case, although Foreman, Chase and Cameron are getting fed up with his overzealous interest. They're convinced he's just inventing a puzzle to make it worth his while, and for the first time ever, they say no to his demands. He eventually comes up with a hunch of what could be wrong (he's convinced it wasn't suicide), but Cuddy won't let him operate on just a hunch - where's the medical reasoning he usually presents?

In the meantime, House admits to Wilson he thinks his pain is returning and asks for a painkiller prescription. Wilson denies him: the surgery worked, it's just middle age, take an advil, stop running so hard. House isn't convinced and neither are we.

After House makes a rainy visit to Cuddy (by the way, is she pregnant yet?) in the middle of the night, medically explaining his hunch (the man's hypothalymus isn't working correctly - he drove into the pool because his body was overheating), she is (secretly) convinced and the next day injects the man with a shot of cortisol, House's suggested cure. And wha bam! Miracle of miracles, the man stands, mumbles, and hugs his family. Another case solved - but unbeknownst to House, who Wilson decides to keep in the dark. He thinks House's need to make things exciting is out of control and "just because he was right doesn't mean he wasn't wrong." Cuddy is worried about being dishonest and Wilson comforts her with a reassuring, "Everybody lies."

I look forward to hearing which song is chosen for the end of each episode. Controversial, but I even liked Elvis Costello covering "Beautiful." So when I heard "You Can't Always Get What You Want" I felt disappointed - this is at least the third time they've used it. I love the Stones as much as the next girl and yes, I get what they're going for here, but could we step up our game a bit? Especially for an episode that ends with House illegally writing a prescription for painkillers on Wilson's notepad? Thanks.

-Amy Maloof

Posted by Amy on September 6, 2006 12:52 AM
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