House: Season 4, Episode 2 Wednesday, October 3, 2007Posted by gordonshumway in gordonshumway, House, TV shows.
Tags: episode 2, hugh laurie, season 4
When I heard that Episode 2 was titled “The Right Stuff”, I had high hopes that it would somehow involve the New Kids on the Block. That scenario became less likely when the episode opens in the cockpit of a jet. The pilot is having difficulty navigating, and before she can voice her concerns, everything turns all psychedelic like she just flew through the poster rack at Spencer Gifts. The plane spirals out of control, crashes, and the screen goes dark. Out of the blackness, a metal door slides open to reveal that the pilot has been working in a flight simulator. She has a list of complaints that she gives the technician, everything from the gyroscope to the communication system, but she fails to mention her giant teeth. He assures her that he will fix the problems, pats her on the head, and gives her a carrot.
Meanwhile House is addressing a classroom full of potential team members, all wearing what appear to leftover race numbers from Michael Scott’s Rabies 5K. He gives them the challenge of determining why Buddy Ebsen’s makeup allergy prevented him from making movies and why this same affliction couldn’t strike Dane Cook. House is interrupted when Cuddy comes in and needs to know why he’s interviewing thirty candidates for three positions and honestly I stopped paying attention here because Hugh Laurie’s shirt is unbuttoned just far enough to conjure thoughts that involved the two of us, a crackling fire, and a jar of Nutella.
House’s pager goes off because someone is calling him from his office. When he opens the door, he finds the pilot standing at his desk. She offers him $50,000 to diagnose her problems because she is a Captain in the Air Force and is about to start NASA’s astronaut training program. House responds, “And I discovered salt and created FM radio”, the first laugh out loud comment of the night. She explains that he has to treat her off the record—no notes, no charts—because otherwise she’ll be declared unfit for the job. She has obviously forgotten that NASA once trusted Ben Affleck to save the earth from a meteor.
Apparently, she crashed the flight simulator because she began seeing sounds and tasting colors, which happened to me one time too. House called it “synesthesia”. I called it “eating a cookie that a man named Unicorn gave me before a Widespread Panic concert”. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have flown a plane either, but I did dance in a circle for seven hours.
After she excuses herself to change her diaper, House takes her into the classroom and introduces her as Osama Bin Ladin, which results in confusion from both the candidates and the White House. He outlines her symptoms, and challenges them to diagnose her without knowing her identity or documenting the case. They begin asking questions and I develop an immediate dislike for #13, because she has cheekbones sharp enough to grate cheese with. We are also introduced to #26, a plastic surgeon who—if I’d eaten another one of Unicorn’s cookies—would look a bit like Steve Carell, and one woman who I’ll call Hayden because she looks like a girl I had several theatre classes with in college and who seems to share this character’s commitment to cardigan sweaters, barrettes, and bitchery. Yes, I majored in theatre. That means I know how to act surprised every time I get fired.
House splits the candidates up arbitrarily and assigns them to tasks, like bloodwork, tox screens, and breaking into her home. One of the questions he uses to determine who does what is “Who approves of the designated hitter”. Apparently, Dr. House is a National League man which is going to be a problem, because I’m such a huge Red Sox fan, I switched to Yaz birth control. Keep my ovaries under control, Carl.
As one team is breaking and entering and another is washing his car, House is back in his office watching woman-on-porpoise porn, which I believe is titled “Grinding Nemo”. Not that I’ve seen that one. He through the door and thinks he sees Dr. Chase walking down the hall, leaving a trail of Elizabeth Arden perfume in his wake.
Osama the patient is being treated by one group (including Kal Penn, making his House and Kumar Go to White Castle debut, Hayden, and an idealistic African American doctor who is trying so hard to channel Don Cheadle, he just shat out a copy of Hotel Rwanda) in an oxygen-rich hyperbaric chamber when she has a heart attack. Kumar grabs the paddles and accidentally sets her on fire while trying to make a bong out of her sternum.
Allow me to interject that yesterday, I watched an episode of Intervention (What? I’m unemployed. It’s either do that or take another jar of pennies to the CoinStar machine) and realized that I’m not handy enough to be a drug addict. The people on the show were making crack pipes out of coke cans and bits of tubing and metal, which is way beyond my skill level. Last week I blacked my own eye trying to hang a picture.
House goes to the cafeteria and tells Wilson that he’s seen—or thinks he’s seen—Dr. Chase. Wilson tells House that Chase has taken a job in Arizona and that his vision is simply “repressed guilt that’s unrepressing itself”. House ignores him, much like the show’s writers have in these first two episodes.
Meanwhile, #13 (aka Cheekbones) and a balding, bearded candidate that House dubbed “Scooter” are trying to determine what caused the patient’s heart damage. Before placing a tube down her throat, he says “It’s going to feel uncomfortable but just keep swallowing”, a phrase rarely heard outside of senior prom.
Cut to yet another Arby’s commercial and I cannot think of another corporation that has a clunkier slogan than they do. I have never heard another person use the phrase “I’m thinking Arby’s”, even though it would be a reasonable answer to the question “What made me throw up in your flower bed?”
Back in the hospital, Osama is having yet another test done, this time on her thyroid. While #39 (aka Carell-Lite) tells her how difficult she’s making this diagnosis, she trips out and goes all Monterey Pop on them again, before barricading herself in the Chapel. While House and the candidates try to coax her out, Cuddy materializes and demands to know what’s going on, who the patient is, and whether purple is her color. House looks over the balcony and thinks he sees the Limited’s Fall Collection (aka Dr. Cameron) walking through the hospital.
Cuddy addresses the full classroom and asks the same questions. #10 reveals that her name is Greta Cooper and that she wants to be an astronaut. House promptly fires #10, using the phrase “You’re fired”, and prompting Donald Trump to sue him for copyright violation. Since Cuddy has made clear that all further procedures must be documented, House asks the remaining candidates “How do we do tests without doing tests?” and gives them an hour to answer. Um, when I was in Trigonometry, I paid a German kid named Hendrick. I suggest calling him.
House is back in Wilson’s office, where the teddy bear on his book shelf has been joined by a golf trophy. Perhaps next week, he will have added something else equally lame, like the results of his mammogram. House is still concerned because now he has conjured visions of Cameron and Chase; Wilson responds by making a joke about Schroedinger’s cat, which is hilaaaaarious to Wilson because Cameron, too, is in Arizona. In a moment of “only Wilson, Lifetime movies and sometimes fortune cookies can deliver such meaningful platitudes”, he tells House that he’s going to pick a team because he can’t stand them, because liking them would be too stressful. Wilson then returns to perusing the Build-A-Bear catalog.
After considering Osama’s symptoms, he tells the team that they need to stress her liver without performing any invasive procedures. Kumar suggests getting the patient wasted because if she passes out too fast, it will prove that her liver isn’t processing alcohol. He then rides a cheetah out of the classroom.
House, #13, the Cheadle Channeler, and Osama are all doing shots of tequila, when Foreman walks by. House leaves the room to try to catch him when he runs into Cuddy who says something administrative and then gives him that look of ‘simmering resignation’ that has become her default setting. He returns to the room and finds nothing but an oxygen mask, just like backstage at a Rolling Stones concert.
While he was out, Osama stopped breathing but refused intubation or oxygen because NASA would have to know why, so they instead gave her a “stress test” which could be both noted on her Cuddy-mandated chart and explain why she needed oxygen. After listening to her chest, House is certain that she has either lung cancer or tuberous sclerosis.
Osama, of course, says they can’t do surgery and, to me, she’s becoming the most annoying patient that has ever been on the show. I liked her a lot better when she was on fire. Back in the classroom, #39 (I cannot wait until they get actual names, but he’s the Steve Carell-ish plastic surgeon) says that if she gets breast implants, they’ll be able to treat her lungs and provide a reason for her scars, which doesn’t seem fair. I’ve had asthma my entire life and all I got was an extra three years of virginity.
During Osama’s surgery, House notes a number of cysts on her lungs. He and the team are trying to find a diagnosis that causes synesthesia, heart attacks, gigantic teeth, a completely unlikeable personality and lung cysts, when an Australian accent and the smell of Elizabeth Arden wafts down from the observation area.
“Von Hippel-Lindau” suggests a very-much-not-in-Arizona Dr. Chase. I like how even though Chase was fired, he still essentially hangs out at his old office. I’ve been fired three times and have yet to try that, although Chase probably wasn’t marched out of the building with a stack of cardboard boxes and the threat of being tasered, so maybe that’s where we’re different.
Fun fact: Some medical professionals believe that von Hippel-Lindau is the hereditary disease that made the Hatfields and McCoys start shooting each other. All this time, I just thought it was because they were bored. Or because they lived in West Virginia. Or both.
Osama is recovering after her surgery, wearing a complimentary “I have Von Hippel-Lindau and all I got were these lousy tits” t-shirt, when House tells her that he’s told NASA about her condition “because those shuttles fly over New Jersey”.
House addresses the classroom again and gives a big “you’re fired” to half of them, prompting Donald Trump to call him a fat lesbian. It comes as no surprise to anyone that #13, Kumar, Hayden, Dr. Tittie Builder, and Scooter (the old man who—what?—never went to med school) all make the cut until next week. But, best of all, House finally popped a Vicodin for the first time all season.
House walks to the ER, where a very blonde Cameron is working as the attending physician. That sneaky Dr. Wilson lied about them being in Arizona—she and Chase both still work at Princeton-Plainsboro, are engaged, and can now share the same bottle of Sheer Blonde shampoo. She asks House why he told NASA about Osama’s diagnosis and he reveals that he never did, so she’s free to become an astronaut, albeit the first astronaut to work at Hooters on the weekends.
Cameron smiles at him with that tender, dopey “I want to have your babies and read you Nicolas Sparks stories” expression and says it was “because you couldn’t kill her dream”. Smile smile smile beam beam beam please go to commercial.
I know that tonight’s episode was supposed to be about the hiring process and finding a new team while revealing that Chase, Cameron and Foreman (because his name is still in the credits) will be part of the group as well, but where was the action? Where was the wrong diagnosis followed by unrelated seizures or frothing or pooping worms? I don’t want to say I was disappointed, but Osama’s story didn’t seem as fully realized as it should’ve been and God love Lisa Edelstein who probably wishes that someone would run over Cuddy’s foot with an office chair or that she’d spill hot coffee on herself just so she could make a different facial expression.
From the previews, it looks like next week will be better though, and not just because I’ll be watching that episode with Unicorn.
Read the Episode 3 recap here…