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"House'' and Around the House

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 28, 2005

Well, that cold I mentioned is a persistent creature, and one I'm getting very tired of. It's been hanging on today, so after a brief stop at the office, I came home to work. Which proved more difficult since my cable was out for a couple of hours, not only knocking out the TV but also my Internet connection. I've missed chatting here.

Still, I caught up with last week's ''House'' and then watched a preview of tomorrow night's episode, which ends with one of those twists so good that I dare not reveal it to you here. But even before the episode gets to the twist, it's yet another ''House'' tour de force, moving back and forth in time, inserting characters into scenes in inventive ways, operating like an especially dizzying stage play -- and on top of that, throwing in an emotional kicker that hit me especially hard. Plus a guest-starring role by Allison Smith, who seems to be everywhere lately.

This is a show that has become so sure of itself, it is absolutely fearless. Last week's episode, with Cameron trying out meth, was one example. (This week, it's Chase at the center of the pinwheel.) It wasn't the main plot, but it forced you to look at a character in a different way, while not going so far that you found her actions unbelievable. And the show is just nervy. A reader had already e-mailed me to take a look at the address of House's home, and there it was, 221B. Same as Sherlock Holmes.

Besides ''House,'' I finally got around to last week's ''Veronica Mars,'' if only to be ready for the stunt telecast this week. Once again, the show juggled an incredible number of stories, character expansions and even social issues in a single hour, without feeling overstuffed. I'm not sure about it all -- Logan's turning hero, Duncan's nightmares -- and I am really missing Wallace, who's important in terms of how we see Veronica. And I missed several bits of dialogue thanks to Channel 43's kicking off the sound during its superfluous weather alerts. (By Wednesday night, everyone of at least modest intelligence knew the weather was getting tricky.) But I still really like it and am glad I waited to watch. ''Veronica'' just isn't a show to watch while fighting sleep or allowing distractions.

While I was watching those things, though, the lack of cable/Internet connections kept me feeling isolated. Yes, technological breakdowns can force us to consider things from different perspectives. Thanks to a previous cable TKO on Sunday, I listened to the first part of the Browns game on the radio -- but they didn't sound any better than they looked once the TV was back. But it was just weird not having the usual access to things. It's another reminder about one of my pet themes, that the advances in technology create gaps for the people who can't afford to keep up. And if you feel behind for a day, how will it feel if you're behind every day?

The networks, of course, are rushing forward so fast that they're already creating gaps in the interest of profit. That exclusive ''CSI: Miami'' scene available only on the Internet, for instance. (A scene, by the way, that was also a huge promotion for a car company.) Or the plan to make some new ''Lost'' content available only through a cell-phone company and then on the ''Lost'' second-season DVD. And that's just what's happening in entertainment.

But, as I've said, I have ranted about that before. And will again, probably tomorrow, when I give a talk at the University of Akron. So I'll give it (and me) a rest now, except to say that it's good to be back.

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