Oh House. Never have I been so frustrated by a show and yet kept endlessly coming back for more. Every season you manage to drag me back from the depths of apathy by dropping moments of television gold into the otherwise repetitive drivel you churn out in the place of actual plots. I guess I can only really blame myself for being lured back for more disappointment so many times. No, wait. I CAN blame you.
The centre point for all of my frustrations for the show would be one Lisa Cuddy. Nearly 6 years ago when I wrote about season 1 I described her as “ridiculously young and frequently pathetic” and nothing has changed beyond the fact that she now grumbles about how old she is more often. If I’m a fool for coming back to the series over and over she is by far the bigger fool for going back to House over and over, whether it be professionally or personally their relationship is horrendous. The previous season ended with them entering into a romantic relationship which had “doomed from the start” written all over it. Did Cuddy’s mother never tell her that you can’t go into a relationship expecting the other person to change? Actually given that we met Cuddy’s mother this year and the woman was a shrew, she probably never did.
Just to reinforce that House will never change, a new character is brought in to replace Thirteen while the actress was off making movies. Masters was young, brilliant and naive, and Cuddy sees a lot of herself in the girl (poor deluded Cuddy). But beyond being so irritating that she actually made me miss Thirteen, all Masters really did was highlight how idiotic Cuddy is. Masters saw all the things that House does wrong and rails against them, when she’s given the opportunity to move on, she realises that she’s not willing to follow him into his insanity and… SHE LEAVES. She walks out the door. Hear that Cuddy?
But no, Cuddy (and to a lesser, but no less self-destructive extent, Wilson), both just keep coming back for more and in the process just make the whole situation worse. As Cuddy and House try to forge a relationship, it’s not House that’s the problem, he’s just as he ever was (if not actually slightly better) it’s Cuddy that breaks things off and comes across as a cow because she expected him to change for her. Will big shock! THEN she’s pissed off that following the break up he reverts back to his previously erratic self.
On the plus side, thanks to Fox seemingly screwing up a contract negotiation, Cuddy will not be returning next season, and if the last we see of her is her appearance in the finale of this season – declaring that she’s had enough and wants House arrested, I think that will be the best ending the character could possibly have. It’s been seven years but she’s finally reached the conclusion we all did back in season 1, he’s never gonna be anything different, and why would you want him to be if he’s such a brilliant doctor because of it. Lisa Edelstein is a fine actress as evidenced by the way that she has managed to chew her way through some truly awful writing and I really hope she finds a role worthy of her.
Meanwhile it will hopefully leave House the show open to rediscovering the real strengths that it has demonstrated too infrequently (although just frequently enough to keep me hanging on). Even this season there have been episodes that are out of the box with creative storytelling, engaging medical mysteries and a number of interesting relationships that have grown amongst House’s team independent of the destructive ones hogging the limelight. The Bert and Ernie flatmate between Foreman and Taub, the surprising turns in Chase and Thirteen’s relationship, the understanding between House and Thirteen – each of these actually feel like proper interactions that have some sort of future. If this does turn out to be the last season, hopefully they will throw everything they have at it, bringing all the episodes up to the standard they’ve proved they can reach and cutting the repetitive drivel they’ve filled season 7 with.
The dvd will be released in September and is available from Amazon