Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"I just remembered I forgot to TiVo Alien.": House

So I'll bet that it seemed like a really good idea in the House writers room to do the abortion episode, don't you think? The one where we'd see Cuddy briefly become House because of her strong feelings about the topic and where everyone would debate if a fetus was a human being and the double whammy of a fetus grabbing his finger and Chase and Cameron's dalliance would give House such deep and overwhelming sadness that he would tear up tickets for his vacation and sit alone in his apartment while sad music played on the soundtrack?

Well, it didn't quite work as well as everyone hoped it would, even though everybody gave it their damnedest. I think the central problem for me is that I didn't buy that any doctor at this level of medicine -- especially Cuddy -- would be so dedicated to a pro-life position and saving a baby that she would put the mother's health at risk like that. Making exceptions for the health of the mother is something that even the most ardent pro-life ADVOCATES think should be law (the South Dakota abortion bill that made it to that state's ballot last year actually had that as the only exception). When it comes to the existence of the fetus vs. the life of the mother, virtually everyone agrees that the life of the mother comes first.

Except Cuddy, apparently.

Look, I can go with the idea that she wants to exhaust every possible option to save the baby -- sort of a pre-natal House, if you will -- but once the mother's life started to slip away from her, I think she would have reversed course and terminated the pregnancy to save the life of the mother (the fact that the baby couldn't survive on its own yet meant the show didn't get a chance to do its very own Love's Labor Lost). The whole thing seemed to be stilted in such a way to get a nice debate going on who's a person and who's not. House usually does these sorts of moral dilemmas pretty well, but it fell down on this part tonight. In particular, the scene where House has the fetus grab his finger seemed like something out of an anti-abortion tract.

I think that there's room for conservatives on television. I think there should be characters who are fervently anti-abortion. But when you twist a character to make them so, to the point that it seems like that's all you're trying to do, it gives the argument less credence, as if you had to read a whole bunch of position papers on the topic and shove them into the mouth of one of your actors.

Now, I've fallen behind on House this year, and I only watched this one to help out David, so maybe this was part of an arc that I missed seeing. It is nice to have a show like this that can be easily dived into at a moment's notice -- the only major plot development since I dropped out sometime last year was that Chase and Cameron had hooked up (and the characters talked about that plot point endlessly, so it wasn't like I didn't catch on). House has some great character work, but it's still a procedural at heart, and it's nice to have one or two shows like that on the schedule that are actually enjoyable.

But I'm not a House-head like so many of you, so maybe you have further thoughts on the episode. Me? I just forgot how nice it was to hear House's wisecracks, even if they seem a little labored at times.

No comments: