Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughts on Fox's House, MD

House. At one time, IMLTHO, the best show on network television. After last night? I'm mad. And while this is likely a rant, let me offer some ideas on how to fix Season 8.

At the end of the day, Dr. House is one of the best anti-heroes on television.* That's why I watch, have all the seasons on DVD, and force every girl I've dated in the last few years to watch with me. People say that the show has become formulaic, and I agree - it's a medical drama - and unless you're watching Discovery, medicine is secondary to the drama, it's the setting.

* Particularly since Fox cancelled Lie to Me, as Dr. Cal Lightman was another fantastic anti-hero.

Fox has renewed House for Season 8, and in many ways, that's good news. There's a chance to go out with a bang, and give the fans what we've earned.

Where's the Character Tension? Chemistry? 

The best shows on television have this inherent sexual tension between characters. So many fans cried for "HUDDY", the match up between House and Cuddy - and when it came to pass, it was a disaster. So, now television history will call it "jumping the shark".

Why was it a disaster? Because Cuddy wasn't realistic in her expectations of House. They spent an entire season exploring the "maybe" of this - and then once the relationship came to fruition, those notions never carried forward.

Marrying a foreign bride was the answer? No. Bringing back Jennifer Morrison would have been better (producers, you can still do it!).

Bring back a wicked Dr. Cameron?

Is it because I have a huge crush on Cameron? (I totally do. Sorry?) With Cameron, you had tension between House and her, between her and Cuddy, between her and Chase, between Chase and House. It was complicated! That made for tense moments, people wondering "Oh noes, what if?"

Attractive, intelligent, bisexual and dying.
So, then a new hottie is introduced, right? A bisexual Thirteen, that fans didn't seem to like. What's not to like about Olivia Wilde? Her character had depth, passion, and a complicated situation. (You can thank me for not googling a more provocative picture - Olivia Wilde is far more daring than Jennifer Morrison.)

But she's disinterested in anyone. Except Foreman. While Omar Epps is a decent actor, his character is emotionally closed off. What happens when you have two emotionally barren people hook up? Sparks? Or not. (sad face.)  Then the writers really dropped the ball in ignoring the potential chemistry between Chase and Thirteen at the end of Season 6. They brought Thirteen back, not from some interesting medical adventure regarding her Huntington's Disease (depth, motivation), but from jail because she euthanized her brother. (who? what?) Huh?

Fans grieve for the loss of "cutthroat bitch" (Amber Volakis) - why? Because there was a weird chemistry between her and House, a relationship between her and Wilson, and the weirdness between Wilson and House, as a result.

The provocative side of Masters? Nice!
I thought Amber Tamblyn, playing character Martha Masters, had some interesting potential. Zero sex appeal (and judging by this picture I found, clearly unfounded). She was a good balance to House's moral compass, until he corrupts her. Masters shows Chase the light where concerns his whoring, but a couple of episodes later, he's at it again. Zero lasting impact. Masters had the potential, too. Taub and his womanizing. Foreman and his uptightness. No one even bothered to become friends with the girl. Poor thing. She must feel so used.

What's our core conflict? We have one man who is a medical genius, can solve any problem, and each episode shows us how he does it. But the man is broken, twisted, and a grumpy bastard. Neat.

He has a team of doctors do the legwork for him, a few friends who have their own lives to live, but have chosen, for whatever reason, to tie their careers and lives to this maniac. It's a fantasy adventure!

The truths of each of the characters, their inherent issues and chemistry, begs complications. No one cares how many girls Taub gets pregnant (unless it's Cuddy), or if Chase picks up girls at bars every night (unless it's Huddy, Thirteen, or maybe one of her girlfriends). Give Foreman some personality, and some bloody ambition, as House self-destructs - Foreman should be going for House's job.

Wilson? He's the one person who knows House too well to be used only for comedy relief. (Chasing chickens? Really?)

What do you do? House is going to jail? (Again?) I don't buy the season finale. He's heartbroken over Cuddy, so he's going to almost kill her by driving his car through her home? Uh, no. He'd go in there and beat the crap out of her lover with his cane. (You can throw him in jail then.) (Aside, Wilson sprains his wrist? Why?) Have him punch Wilson in the face, too!

Ahh, Mira Sorvino. Come back from Antartica!
Bring back Stacy Warner. Bring back Ali (the teen stalker). How about Mira Sorvino from Season 4 (Frozen)? Where is Dr. Edward Vogler in all of this, as House descends into his own personal abyss?

You have a cast of people who understand House's self-destructive behavior, but not a single person who is empathetic towards it. That's the challenge in this series. Can he cure the world and still be a jerk? Who or what can make HIM better?
You can't have him do diagnosis from jail in Season 8. Is being in prison going to help him mend his ways? He'll lose his license, Huddy will fire him - there's no recovery from that ending. No REASONABLE ending. Or beginning. It's too late to undo that finale, of course, but there's still hope for Season 8, the final season of House.

Choose your own adventure, Fox.

Images: Google

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