It's been far too long since a new House
aired, and I was pleased to see the series return with a strong episode. While tonight's themes have been covered in the past, some new angles and the entrance of Cuddy's mother, played by Candice Bergen, helped this episode along.
Her character was a caricature of even the most annoying Jewish mother. Take George's mom in Seinfeld
and subtract all of her nice qualities and we have Arlene, the blonde "shiksa" Cuddy calls mom. Not only do we get a big dose of family time with Cuddy, but we also get a sharper look at Taub's life and learn what it takes to be a hero.And Then a Hero Comes Along ...
Is Jack the "Subway Hero"? Or was he actually selfish in his seemingly selfless actions? House will never believe anyone does anything completely selflessly, and why should he? He's been at this doctoring thing long enough to see enough patients come back from the brink of death and return to their old lives, selfish as always. But Jack rescues someone out of the pure goodness of his heart and something clicks for him: He actually can apply this freak selflessness to his everyday life! He very nearly does this before another opportunity comes along with his band Suicide Season. Perhaps the band name is speaking to his own version of suicide, in that he'll jump onto the subway tracks to save another, but he won't bother rescuing himself from mediocrity. This earns him a spot on House's loser line-up of former patients too selfish to do the right thing and let the people they love move forward.
Tao of Taub
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Speaking of selfish, and ironically trustworthy, we have Taub in this episode actually getting what he's wanted out of his relationship with his wife: sex! Finally, Taub is physically satisfied with his own wife and not the nurse flavor of the month. But why is Mrs. Taub so eager to please? She's actually tempted by the fruit of another, and it's not just Phil, her online emotional cheating partner. It's the Taub in the billboards she wants. The image of him representing PPTH with the tagline "Be better" is who she wants to believe she's sleeping with. She's got the emotional connection with Phil and the physical presence of Taub, and she's tricked herself into believing it's working.
It took Masters, who seems to asexually solve everyone's relationship problems, to point out to Taub, "Hey, you're selfish." Yes, Taub loves his wife. Yes, she loves him. But if it's not making either of them happy, what's the point? In the end, Taub, unable to face his better, larger than life billboard, throws paint at it, hoping to erase the Taub that taunts him. It might as well read, "Be bitter," since Taub will no doubt be on the decline from here on out.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Every interaction between House, Cuddy and Wilson was solid gold in this episode. All House wants is a quiet evening at home by himself with scotch and a little trashy television in the form of Real Housewives of New Jersey
. House, by nature, is alone. The novelty of his relationship with Cuddy has worn off slightly and he needs some quiet time. Much to his chagrin, now isn't the time he's going to get it, and Cuddy's birthday dinner is epically memorable. Cuddy manages to scare the wits out of House in order to get him to attend and he does, but in a typically Housian manner, also gets what he wants out of the dinner and drugs Arlene -- but not before she practically calls Cuddy a slut. Wouldn't be House if he couldn't drug two birds with one dose. Wilson's out too and the scene of House and Cuddy washing dishes has another layer. Cuddy was right to say they weren't common. Their domestic bliss comes only at the drugging of others.
So House loves Cuddy. Cuddy loves House. They're even happy right now. When did we ever think in the last six years that Cuddy would call House "sweet" in a literal sense? Their kiss on the couch was one of the happiest scenes we've gotten with the two of them, but I can't help but wonder if the patient's wife's words weren't just for Taub's ears. She said, "There's nothing worse than loving someone who will never stop disappointing you." In the season opener, "Now What?" House told Cuddy that he would hurt her again, that he would disappoint her in a major way. While "Larger than Life" focused on Taub's love-loss, will we soon realize that love may not be enough for House and Cuddy? Last season, House overcame drug addiction and has worked hard to be a better man. I'm hoping that this week's patient choosing his band over his family isn't foreshadowing House's return to disappointing those in his life, especially with drug use. Notes:
1. A true test of acting is the faked seizure. Not sure if Matthew Lillard passed, but at one point, he sounded like a turkey.
2. This episode reminded me of two others: "Autopsy" where House is convinced the braveness of a young girl with cancer is a symptom of her illness, and "Wilson," when Wilson's friend was going to go back to his family when he thought he was dying, and then changed his mind when he realized he was going to live.
3. Are Chase and Foreman every going to get another story line?
4. "I didn't read any studies. I just raised children."
5. I think Arlene's comment on Cuddy calling House, House was a nod to the audience that wondered if she was going to call him Greg once they started dating.
6. I'm hoping next week's "Carrot or Stick" isn't as silly and one-dimensional as "Unplanned Parenthood."
7. House's gift to Cuddy was cute, but I'm dying for him to give her some kind of musical gift.
8. The latest billboard campaign for the show features House balancing on some kind of tightrope. He's got to keep his relationship, his addiction, his friendship with Wilson and his job as a doctor in balance. It's going to be an interesting second half of the season.
Welcome back, House
. Same time, same place next week. Comment below and share what you thought of "Larger than Life," and follow me @TVTherapy
for more on your other favorite shows.(Image courtesy of FOX)