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House: 516 - The Softer Side

House Episode 5-16 - "The Softer Side"

Airdate: Monday February 23, 2009

The Hook:

For once there's no mystery about the ailment. We open with a physician explaining to the parents of a newborn that the baby has "genetic mosaicism" - that is - a combination male and female DNA and sexual characteristics. The child's sex is up them - surgery will be necessary to 'correct' the genitalia, whatever the choice.

Cut to the closing moments of a middle-school basketball game. A boy dribbles, he's open for a shot, but passes off as his parents in the stands agonize over him losing his nerve. The shot is taken by another and missed, but a steal puts the ball back in his hands. This time the boy shoots and makes the winning points at the buzzer. At the stands erupt and the parents exult, the boy grins and pumps his arm, then doubles over and collapses holding his stomach. "Jackson!" his mother cries. The names are out of the way early this week, too.


Act 1

Foreman and Hadley play games in front of the dresser mirror. They banter about her shoe choices. Foreman likes the spike heels, but Hadley worries that he likes them too much, and House knows this and will deduce they are back together if she wears them. Foreman considers this and says "Go with the boots."

House and Wilson are in the cafeteria for breakfast. House actually asks for Wilson's bagel, which Wilson gives up, but remarks on House not just taking it. Cuddy stops by to assign House the case of the adolescent boy with genetic mosaicism and pelvic pains. "Fun," House says, but Cuddy says the parents insist the boy be told nothing of his condition. "Less fun," says House , "but still..." and takes the case, striding off without objection. "That was easy," Cuddy remarks.


House describes the case to the team. Hadley reads the file and as House says the boy is taking testosterone supplements, interjects "Vitamins" - the boys parent insist the hormones be described as 'vitamins'. She objects to lying for the parents, even as she continues the living lie about her relationship with Foreman. Taub suggests dehydration, but the E.R. has already begun hydration without affecting the symptoms. Kutner suggests the newly introduced testosterone could be the cause. Hadley suggests an MRI for a 'blind uterus' given the boy's genetic condition. Foreman disagrees, saying other doctors would already have ruled that out, and House agrees the MRI would be a waste of time.

He sends them to put a camera up the boy's penis, but as they get up to leave the boy's parents come in to ask about getting an MRI for a blind uterus. They've been reading up on their son's condition. To everyone's astonishment House OK's the procedure. After everyone else leaves, Kutner comments to House that it's a waste of time. "So is arguing with them," House says, leaving.

Hadley and Taub conduct the MRI. As they do, Taub asks how she's handling the 'break-up' and says House, though a jerk, did them a favor by making them break up, since as he terms it, 'Foreman is an unemotional robot'. Hadley says she's just broken up - she's not to the mocking stage yet. They find no evidence of a blind uterus.

Kutner goes to Wilson to report something's wrong with House. He's being entirely too agreeable. Wilson suggests Kutner not look a gift horse in the mouth.

Back to the camera test - a camera up the penis to examine the urethra. Hadley and Taub conduct this test, as Jackson asks for his parents Melanie and Joseph to attend as well. The test is a little painful, and Melanie strokes his head and reminds him of other difficult physical challenges he's overcome. Jackson says he feels pressure, but not down there - he's having difficulty breathing. Alarms begin to blare. Hadley listens to his heart, hears a muffles beat, and diagnoses pericardial effusion - fluid in the chest that will stop his heart if not removed, which she does jamming a giant syringe into his rib case and withdrawing fluid as his horrified parents look on.

Act 2

The team thinks the chest fluid was a reaction to the testosterone, so House orders cortico-steroids for a possible auto-immune disease and finasteride to counteract the 'vitamins'.


Wilson goes to Cuddy and accuses her of sleeping with House, that being the source of his good mood. Cuddy agrees that would explain everything except why she's not curled up a and whimpering in a fetal position. So now Wilson wonders what House is keeping from both of them.

Hadley talks to the parents and advises telling the boy frankly about his condition so he can understand his treatment. Joseph and Melanie aren't so sure a sick adolescent boy is ready for the knowledge that he's a boy only by his parents choice, and insist the lies continue.

House take a clinic patient, who describes pain in all his arms an legs as he pokes his finger into them. House focuses on the finger he's poking with and bends it back to much more strident shouts of pain.

Outside, Cuddy asks nurse Helen if House is in with "the moron with the broken finger". Yet, for ten minutes now, which is about seven more that Cuddy figured House's patience would last. She expected the patient to come out screaming for a new doctor. Instead he emerges from the treatment room admiring his shiny new finger splint and murmuring "Thanks, bruh," to House who only nods pleasantly. Cuddy boggles.

Hadley and Jackson talk about how he preferred dance, but his mom pushed him into basketball. She notes his palms have turned red - meaning "we still don't know what's wrong with you." (and other internal organs are failing.)

Cuddy tell Wilson, "You were right, he is in a good mood."

Foreman and Kutner talk. Kutner tells Foreman he's lucky he broke up with Hadley - her bisexuality would have inevitably led to comparisons of Foreman with an endless parade of women - a comparison Foreman couldn't win.

Wilson and Cuddy barge into House's office to demand to know what's up with the new House, and 'no faking being asleep won't work,' Wilson says to House who's slumped in a chair. But continued non-responsiveness leads them to look closer. House is not breathing, and his pulse is weak. They start calling codes and beginning emergency procedures when Foreman and Kutner come in from the outer room to see what's going on. Foreman takes charge, saying the weak heart means that there's life there that just needs to be shocked into a stronger response. Tearing House's shirt open he grabs a handful of man-boob with each hand and squeezes. House responds with a shout of pain and gasp of breath.

Act 3

As Cuddy examines House, he makes suggestive comments. House tosses the episode of as "I took too many Vicodin." "My only problem is now that my 'nurples' are purple." He tells Hadley he knows why they broke up if Foreman treated her breasts like that. A look passes between Foreman and Hadley, and House adds "And I can see that from here." Kutner and Wilson both remember House not taking any vicodin. House wants to talk about the patient, and suggest maybe the kid was self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. He sends Hadley and Foreman to search the house and Taub and Kutner to search the school for evidence of this.


Wilson concludes - House must be on heroin! He and Cuddy discuss the possibility, and wonder what to do.

As they search, Hadley and discuss their relationship and Foreman asks Hadley if she misses sex with women. Yes, she says but not any more than she misses sex with other men or he misses sex with other women and why are they talking about this anyway? Comparing notes, they find Taub and Kutner were both taunting them about their relationship, and conclude they suspect the relationship continues, and that if they know or suspect, so does House. But, Foreman reasons, if House knows, he's choosing to jerk them around instead of firing them, and this is a good thing.

They've found no drugs or alcohol, but Hadley finds a poem about 'hiding behind a mask' and only being released by death, and she fears Jackson is contemplating suicide.


In the office Hadley and Foreman relate their find. House is acting sluggish again, but Kutner, sitting in the corner with an aspiration bottle handy, says he's OK, but House is just bugged that Cuddy is having Kutner baby-sit. Hadley is pushing her suicide-danger thesis, but House is only interested in diagnosis. Taub comes in and says the problem is infection - he's found toxo-plasmosis in the boys water bottle. Hadley leaves to start him on anti-biotics.

Hadley shows the poem to Jackson's parents. Against she urges telling Jackson about his condition. Melanie says she had no idea he felt this way, but she's still against telling Jackson. Joseph goes along. Since the testosterone wasn't the culprit, Melanie requests the 'vitamins' be restarted.

Foreman confronts Taub and Kutner in the locker room about their jerking him and Hadley around. Kutner wins a bet from Taub - he decided they were still together because Foreman smells like Hadley's soap every morning. Foreman wonders how come House didn't figure out the same thing.

Foreman calls Wilson to tell him he thinks House is on heroin. His mood is too good, he's agreeable, and he's missing...'things he should have caught', Wilson, who's having a burger with House, talks as it he's discussing a diagnosis with a colleague, and says he'll make some tests.

While House is in the restroom, Wilson orders them both a drink - beer for himself and bourbon for House and proposes a toast when House returns. House correctly deduces Wilson thinks he's on a hard drug and taking alcohol would risk another respiratory arrest. "Well?" Wilson responds. House tosses down the drink, and leaves, with a "g'night" tossed over his shoulder.

Hadley gives Jackson another shot. He comments that the ampoule has the same red top as the vitamins his parents give him. "It's not vitamins.' she tells him, but tell him he'll have to ask his parents what it really is.

Wilson follows House outside and catches him purging himself. "You idiot! Heroin?" House denies it, then reveals that he's on methadone - heroin without the high. Wilson sputters that it's twice as dangerous, and reels off all the ways it can kill House. "If you're looking for some help with the pain..." "It doesn't help the pain," House says, "it eliminates it." He tosses his cane in a dumpster and walks down the street.

Act 4

Melanie complains to Cuddy about Hadley's conduct. Cuddy tells her she can't take Hadley off the case, she's an essential part of House's team. Hadley offers to stay away from Jackson, but Cuddy says she's soon going to be the only adult he'll trust, and she should stay close.

The parents tell Jackson the full story. He takes is badly. Jackson is alienated and refuses to talk to his parents.

Cuddy tracks House down in a bathroom stall and threatens to send in maintenance to pull him out. She tells him she knows about the methadone and refuses to let him use it in her hospital, prescription or no prescription. House says he'll send someone to pick up his stuff.

Hadley talks to Jackson and tell him he'll have to talk to his parents again sometime. She tries to discuss his 'suicide poem' with him. He unfolds the paper and tells her it was an English assignment to write a poem from Sylvia Plath's point of view. [Would I be insulting you readers to explain that Sylvia Plath was poet who committed suicide?] So, Hadley asks him, "You don't feel this way?" "Sometimes I feel sad," he says, "but I never though about suicide... until now." Hadley gives a distraught look at the parents sitting outside the room.

Jackson asks if the anti-infection drugs he's taking could make him nauseous. He starts to throw up, but when he does, it's red, red blood, not stomach contents.

House, at home, gets out some disused shaving equipment and starts to shave, as loud rock plays in the background. When his beeper goes off, he drops it in the waste basket.

Act 5

Foreman announces to the others that "we're own our on." Cuddy's put him in charge until further notice and House isn't taking calls. Their two most likely diagnoses now are Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, disease or systemic scleroderma. Hadley pushes for the former, and Foreman says to put the patient on protein pump inhibitors for that condition. Afterward he tells Hadley he knows and she knows the diagnosis they're treating first is the less likely, but she wants it to be that, because the scleroderma is fatal, and she feels responsible because of how she's impacted the family's lives. She tries to deny it but can't really.


Wilson drops by to see House the morning after his resignation, and finds a pretty young woman just leaving, House says he hired her to watch him sleep, and warn him if he stops breathing. Wilson says nurses usually wear scrubs. House says hookers are cheaper and don't complain of sexual harassment. House asks Wilson to help him choose a tie, and Wilson is boggled that (a) House is clean shaven, (b) House is wearing a tie, and (c) House has more than one tie. House says he's meeting with someone from St Sebastian's hospital and proposing they start a diagnostic department.

At PPTH, the protein pump inhibitor has done Jackson no good, so he's started on anti-inflammatory drugs to slow down the progression of the scleroderma.

Melanie complains to Hadley that her son is dying and won't let her in the room, and it's all Hadley's fault. Cuddy advises her it's not the time to start listening to a teenager, and to go to him.


Wilson comes to Cuddy to say "We made a mistake." Cuddy is doubtful. Wilson says even if the drug is dangerous, who are they to deny their friend a last chance to be happy,

Melanie holds Jackson's hand, as Joseph sits nearby.

Act 6

At home, Foreman tells Hadley the drugs are slowing the progression of Jackson's disease. When he tells her the AST levels, she realized they've gone down too fast to be accounted for by the anti-inflammatory drugs - the decline could only be because his kidneys are improving under the renewed testosterone, which wouldn't be the case if Jackson had sclera derma.


The brand new spiffy House goes to see Cuddy for a Letter of Recommendation to take to St. Sebastian's. She tells him she's been working instead on a protocol for his taking methadone under supervision with regular blood tests - she's offering him his job back, with conditions. House agrees and accepts.

Returning to his office, House asks for and update on the patients' progress. Taub and Kutner are describing their treatment for scleroderma when Hadley and Foreman come in and explain their reasons for believing it's not that - a theory, they say, they cooked up when they bumped into each other in the lobby.

Back to square one, or so it seems. House suddenly exclaims "Oh, crap!" and asks if the kid was fond of energy drinks. Kutner says the team room was full of them.

House goes to the patient's room and explains to Jackson's parent that their over-protectiveness nearly killed their son. His initial collapse was simple dehydration. His rehydration, begun in the E.R. was delayed because his kidneys were under stress from the energy drinks, the when the useless MRI was performed at the parents' request, the contrast agent they had him take, which usually would be eliminated by the kidneys in a few hours, wasn't because of the kidney stress, and spread all over his body interfering with numerous organs. A few weeks of dialysis and he should be OK. Smiles all around.

Hadley talks to Jackson and encourages him to pursue dance along with basketball.

Back in the office, House plays with a pair of dice and broods. Cuddy comes in with a methadone dose but House says he's decided not to take it. His improved mood nearly killed his patient when he acceded to the unnecessary MRI. Cuddy argues he doesn't have to be unhappy, that he can live without being the unhappy genius, that maybe just 'very good' is good enough. House isn't buying it, "Why do you care if I'm happy?" For the nth time in their relationship, Cuddy is on the verge of blurting out a reason, but cannot bring herself to state what she feels, and remains silent. "This is the only me you get," House says limping off.

= Cecil =
Next Week:

Jack Bauer shoves "House" out of the way for a two hour "24" episode.

In two weeks:

A mild mannered patient has a condition that's turning him into House.

Last Episode: 02/16/09 5-15 Unfaithful
Next Episode: 03/09/09 5-17 The Social Contract

Cast and Crew Ep. 5-14, "The Greater Good" Aired 01/26/2009

Cast and Crew

Director:... Deran Sarafian
Writer:...... Liz Friedman


Hugh Laurie................Dr. Gregory House
Lisa Edelstein..............Dr. Lisa Cuddy
Robert Sean Leonard...Dr. James Wilson
Omar Epps...................Dr. Eric Foreman
Jesse Spencer...............Dr. Robert Chase
Jennifer Morrison........Dr. Allison Cameron
Olivia Wilde................Dr. Remy Hadley (Thirteen)
Peter Jacobson.............Dr. Chris Taub
Kal Penn......................Dr. Lawrence Kutner

Recurring Role:

Bobbin Bergstrom........Nurse

Guest Stars:

Dominic Scott Kay_Jackson (the boy)
Ben Reed________Joseph (dad)
Julia Campbell____Melanie (mom)
Nicole Cannon____Nurse Helen
Meagan Gordon__Young Woman (House sitter)
Fred Kronenberg__Doctor (gives diagnosis to new parents)
Nick Puga_______Ian (moron with broken finger)


$300______________Soul Coughing,
Bobski 2000________Galactic

Posted by Cecil on February 23, 2009 1:29 PM
Permalink |

House with pain is so much better. I love when he's jerky, or at least completely jerky... and I think that Cuddy realized that she likes him better like that too.

I can only imagine how great he feels without any pain at all. I would kill to have that. (Not kill, but you know what I mean).

House is ALMOST as witty as Ben... just not. =] I think they would be good friends.

... too bad one is on Fox and the other is on ABC. =[

-- 1. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at February 24, 2009 5:28 PM

Do your parents know you're attracted to dysfunctional older men? {g}


It's a sadness that House thinks he has to be in pain to be effective. I've had a painful knee for forty-five years, and I'd give just about anything to not have it. I think I'd be *more* efffective without it.

-- 2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at February 24, 2009 6:27 PM

Yes, they do actually. =] It's actually because I admire really smart and witty people.

Now I'm a big fan of Shakespeare because I realized how brilliant he was. (Obviously I'm not attracted to him though...haha).

I think when House is a jerk he thinks more. When he was being nice, he didn't seem like he was thinking more of consequences. He was less straight-forward. I think his straight-forwardness has benefited him and others, but no one really realized it until he lost it.

Most people would seem to be "more" efficient without their pain, but House is different. It seems like he NEEDS his pain to function properly. He needs a distraction from pain so he uses medicine and sarcasm to be that distraction. I guess if he doesn't need a distraction, he wouldn't care so much about solving puzzles and concentrating on medicine.

He looked like he stopped caring once he felt better, because he didn't need to care.

I don't know if that made any sense, and I know I wrote the same thing in like 8 differnt ways, but that's my speculation on the situation.

He is the one guy that I can seriously say looks better with scruff. I usually don't like the way scruff looks on men.

-- 3. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at February 25, 2009 4:59 PM

I've never been able to figure out how someone maintains a consistent three-day beard (or in the case of the losties, maybe seven-day beard).

Do they have razors that shave a quarter of an inch out?

Or do they just shave, then wait a couple of days before showing themselves in public, again?


Yes, I think you'e put the dynamic of House pretty well. He thinks he gets too trusting when he feels good and can't do his job preoperly if he trusts people because "everybody lies".

And taunting/teasing has become his way of relating to everyone. I think there's a certain unspoken measure of comtempt for anyone not as brilliant as he (which I think he figures is just about everyone).

Of course writing a character who's smarter than the writer is a difficult thing to do - as generations of science fiction writers who've tried to portray ultra-intelligent machines/people/aliens will testify.

For a good view of just how well (or not) the writers get the medical issues on "House", take a look at this blog, written by a doctor:

-- 4. Posted by: Cecil at February 25, 2009 5:18 PM

I am not a fan of the whole "House needs to be in pain to be a jerk to work effectively" theory, especially not of it being so blatantly expressed. Although the scene where he tells Cuddy he doesn't want to be a "good" Doctor was brilliantly done.

-- 5. Posted by: FenwayBen at February 28, 2009 11:23 AM

Don't they have those eletric trimmer thingys for beards and scruff? That way if someone likes their scruff they can keep it the legnth they like it without having to start over. My sister bought one for her boyfriend because she likes his scruff, I think it's gross.

I've gotten mixed reactions from doctor family members about this show. Most of them say that they don't like it because it's not actually how everything is and some of the things they say or do are not true, but the other half say they love it even though it's not completely accurate.

I personally thing that this show helps me have a better understanding about medically-related things. I know they sometimes "over-do" or "over-dramatize" situations, but that's so that they keep the viewers engaged and watching.

One time I went to the doctor and they were talking about my ANA test. My mom asked them what it was for and I said, Lupus, (But it's never Lupus) or an autoimmune disease. I wouldn't have known that if it wasn't for House. I also know what it means when someone pees/pukes blood, etc. (or at least I think I do).

Maybe House doesn't actually NEED pain to work effectively, but I believe that he thinks he does. And if he thinks he does, then that's all that matters.

-- 6. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at March 1, 2009 4:45 PM

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