Wednesday, May 30, 2007

"Thank you. You are indispensable. Uh...you're still fired.": House



Uhh...right? OK? It's really a shame. Cause, I dig House, more than Todd and others do. I find its formula comforting, compared to most procedurals which simply make me tire. I really like the supporting characters that nobody likes, namely Chase and Cameron. So it's too bad this third season of House has been really lackluster, and that this season finale was a step-down in quality from last year's in a level that bordered on the criminal.

Sepinwall points out that one of the main problems with having a cliffhanger in this show is that last year (and really, any other plot development that has ever occurred on the show) showed that nothing is ever really gonna change on House. Like, at the start of this season, when House's limp was gone, I assumed he'd get it back soon enough, but I thought maybe they'd wait six or seven episodes, rather than, like, one and a half, which is how it worked out. Then, we got the Tritter arc. Every season so far has had a multi-episode arc concerning House, in the first year with Chi McBride and Sela Ward in the second season, but this one was a disappointment on ALL LEVELS. It didn't make much sense, the antagonist was poorly developed, it was resolved confusingly and basically without incident. I'm not totally down on the season--I sort of half-enjoyed the Chase/Cameron romance, and there have been some standout episodes ("Airborne" especially, although the one with Dave Matthews and "Insensitivity" also come to mind), but it really seems like the show is resting on its laurels.

Anyway, all this contributed to the lazy four-episode mini-arc that led to the major climax in Tuesday's season finale "Human Error", that being EVERYONE ON HOUSE'S TEAM EITHER QUITTING OR GETTING FIRED. First, Foreman submitted his resignation after killing a patient, for fear of becoming as disassociated from patient care/morality as House. I never went for this plot twist because it seemed unusually passive for Foreman: that he'd consider House that strong an influence on him. I mean, I get that he'd respect House's diagnostic skill, but does he really think House is gonna fundamentally polarize his moral compass? Isn't the whole formula that House is amoral and the others wait around looking shocked at his SHOCKING ACTS OF AMORALITY? Foreman literally wanting to run away from House cause of this didn't seem plausible to me. Stretching the whole thing out over four weeks, was just cruel. I mean, we all know nobody's going anywhere. Honestly. They might be out of the picture for a bit, but I betcha a few eps into season four, the whole team will be happily together again (BTW-if they aren't, I won't be impressed, more disappointed at how lamely they were broken up). Anyway, making the whole situation into a CLIFFHANGER situation just did not work for me.

In season one, Cameron quit during the whole Chi McBride thing, and even THAT wasn't a season finale. Yet now, House is basically one of the biggest shows on TV, and this is what they sate their hungry audience with? Well, pardon me if I am not OMGing all over the place. I suppose I should touch on the content of the episode itself. I actually preferred the previous ep, about the sociopathic teenager who they all thought had a personality disorder, but turned out just to be a gigantic tool. This week, it was some incredibly noble Cuban dude who brought his wife (whose illness symptoms, including death, seemed out there even for THIS show) across stormy waters on a raft to House so that he would save her. The guy's fascination with House was barely touched on, which just had me wondering why on earth he knew about him at all, but...whatever. I barely remember any of it.

No, the real meat of the plot here was House bizarrely firing Chase for no discernible reason as Foreman's resignation day loomed. Literally. NO. REASON. Hey, that's the name of last year's finale! Wasn't that a good finale? Sigh. I think the writers are trying to sell Chase's firing as part of House's crazy unpredictable nature, mixed with maybe some sexual resentment for Cameron, but the whole thing was just confusing and out of nowhere. It almost seemed designed as a catalyst for Cameron to quit as well (to really leave House adrift), as well as for Cameron to actually develop feelings for her screw-bunny Chase. Per point A: meh. I might have been able to buy one of the actors leaving, but having all three quit doesn't make the whole thing seem cataclysmic, it just makes it totally unbelievable. Per point B: who didn't see THIS coming. I liked Chase and Cameron (Spencer brings a fun feistiness out of his off-screen paramour Morrison), but who didn't see them actually falling for each other eventually. Surprised it took this long. At least that was well-handled: a nice little low-key smile between them.

Look, I'll watch next year, and I'll always enjoy the show, but I really hope that season 4 brings some more intriguing arcs (seriously! get Cuddy and Wilson involved on more than an episode-to-episode basis!) and maybe a little more clarity to the characters' journeys. The haphazard structure of this season, with major-seeming plot points happening one week and then being completely forgotten after that, has been tiresome. There's a great show here, and a fantastic performance to tie it to. So here's hoping House is back on track when we see it next.

4 comments:

Todd VanDerWerff said...

Hey! I like House!

Season three of any hit show is when it decides if it's going to beat its formula into the ground or if it's going to risk losing audience by taking creative risks. House tried to do both, and it just couldn't make either work. It tried too hard to be all things to all people and didn't really succeed.

There were some good episodes, but the overall arc of the season just wasn't horribly compelling. Still, that episode where House had to solve the disease on the plane is one of my TOP TEN HOUSE EPISODES.

David Sims said...

Yeah. You might see that I mentioned "Airborne". But I found this season really aimless and irritating.

Carrie said...

I stopped watching House near the beginning of the season, as soon as his leg went back to hurting. As you mentioned, it just got so same-y for me. The only episode I saw past those was the Dave Matthews one. I guess I will have to check out this "Airborne," huh? The beauty is I won't need any context to watch -- the one good thing about procedurals.

David Sims said...

Airborne really is a lot of fun. It has a lot of House/Cuddy too, which is always a thumbs up.