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"House" Talk

By admin Published: November 4, 2008


With "House" getting a break for election coverage, it's a good time for me to comment on the last couple of episodes: the House-Wilson detente and Cuddy's attempting to adopt a child. For reasons I'll explain, they have me thinking of "I Love Lucy." ...

There's an old maxim that every episode of "I Love Lucy" can be summed up as "Lucy wants something." It's a summary that indicates not only her unchecked desires but her childishness (and, many would argue, the sexist underpinning of "ILL." But that's a different argument). Lucy wanted what she wanted and never had enough maturity to settle for less than what she wanted.

I have been thinking about this while watching the last couple of "House" episodes because they so underscore the child within Gregory House. A problem child, I will admit. A spoiled, nasty, inconsiderate, unchained child. But a child nonetheless. One defining gesture was his throwing Wilson's keys down the storm drain. But you could also look at the way he handled Cuddy's adoption efforts; they were the actions of not only a spoiled child but an only child, one who does not want to share the attention of Mama -- that is, Cuddy -- with a new baby. Once there is no baby, he is mollified; he is even kind and loving again to the mother figure. (And no one who has watched this show over its run can argue that Cuddy is not a mother figure.) It may be a love that is tangled up in Oedipal urges and confusion, but love it is.

If we extend this thought, then Wilson becomes the first-born, the responsible child, the one who was raised with strict rules and then saw his little brother have the advantage of a childhood that was more relaxed in terms of authority. But I'm not sure I want to push the idea that far. For one thing, it doesn't entirely work. There is also something of a father figure in Wilson vis a vis House. And House sometimes plays the older relation of Wilson -- albeit the Hud kind, the guy who has gone wild and is a constant threat to drag the responsible younger child into trouble.

But however we interpret it, does this make "House" a better show? Only if we use the interaction among the core characters as a counterweight to the medical cases, which are intriguing but not strong enough to hold real interest over an entire episode. I was glad to see Wilson back, because I like the way he and House work together. And House needs him. I am far less comfortable with the latest Cuddy scenario. But we'll see. I have a copy of next week's episode, and will probably see it and ponder here before next Tuesday.

And if you haven't voted yet, please get to it.

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