House – Selfish (S07E02) – Episode review

After a rather subdued season opener last week, wasn’t it a relief to see [[House (TV Series)|House]] start in the usual way – with a random person being struck down by a mystery illness.

There’s something reassuring about seeing House return to its formula. After an episode that focused on House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) away from Princeton Plainsboro, we knew exactly what we were going to get. House, tormenting his team, diagnosing a dying patient while the clock ticked and plainly pissing off his team.

Except this time, there was the subtle difference of this being Greg House in a relationship. The battle lines between him and Cuddy are drawn in different places now – as she gives him the decisions she thinks he wants and he plays it safe with treatments. And what’s the surest sign that Cupid’s arrow has struck the stubbly Doctor? Well, he’s voluntarily doing his clinic hours.

Even though he’s whistling cheerfully while he works, House is back to his abrasive, caustic self in other aspects of his life. It’s so good to have this House back. Hugh Laurie’s scenes with Lisa Edelstein in particular were fantastic – lots of ass grabbing, which I approve of. And if you weren’t in stitches when Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) asked for proof and Cuddy grabbed House’s crotch, then you’ve got problems. Especially after House’s parting remark: “And she didn’t even ask me to cough…”

Patient of the week is a girl who falls ill after a skateboarding event. House doesn’t quite go through the usual channels here – normally he meets resistance from Cuddy, but this time she capitulates to his risky strategy. Except House knows well enough that she’s not comfortable with it and then chooses the safer option. Clearly their relationship is affecting their work.

The most difficult decision comes at the end – to take a lung from the girl’s already disabled brother whose life expectancy is already short. House argues that this is the best shot, oblivious to the dilemma this presents for the parents. And his callousness spills into a stand-up row with Cuddy in front of the patient’s parents which unleashes all the tension from earlier in the episode. Cuddy calls it the most honest exchange they’ve had since they came to work that morning.

It must be difficult to resist the temptation to reset everyone to their former pre-relationship positions. The idea of House in a relationship and happy is tough to come to terms with. Selfish tackles those issues well – it proves that House won’t be permanently changed by his relationship, certainly not in terms of the abuse he gives his colleagues.

Not much action for the flunkies: Foreman, Chase and Taub. But then all eyes are on the new couple and their tempestuous relationship. I mean, who thought the two would end still be together by the end of their first day in work as a couple? It’s no guarantee of happier times ahead, but still interesting to watch how the two settle into this new phase.

A less well-established show couldn’t pull this off as successfully. In many ways, the fact that we’re in our seventh year of House and we know the routines at Princeton Plainsboro and the history of the characters makes it more fun to watch. Did you guys enjoy this episode?

Standout moments

  1. All that ass grabbing, and the crotch-grab in front of Wilson. The House team had a lot of fun introducing the Huddy relationship to the hospital, even in the scene where they declare their relationship to the personnel department.
  2. House getting bribed by an elderly father & son to give the same diagnosis – that the father needed a place of his own. Especially liked the fact that House then bribed Cuddy’s nanny to stay late with the same $40.
  3. House giving his team short shrift when they call with an update on the patient – “So, this is purely exposition?” (hangs up). Well, he was in bed with Cuddy at the time…
  4. Wilson picking at House’s salad in the restaurant before House gets up and tells the cook that the salad was on the table when he arrived.

Selected quotes from Selfish

  1. Cuddy: “I just don’t want our relationship affecting our jobs. Or the other way around.”
  2. Taub: “Are you sure it’s a good idea to go yanking on the chain of command?”
  3. House: “Well, outside counsel will have to review the crotchless undies clause…”
  4. House: “Losers love company. If even a misanthrope like me has a chance of happiness, it’s gonna be pretty lonely on that landfill of loserdom that you call a marriage.”
  5. Wilson: “I’m happy for you. You’re happy for you. This is huge.”
  6. Old man: “He’s 102. His next test is an autopsy.”
  7. House bribes the nanny with the same $40 that the old man gave him.
  8. House: “Gotta head off the worst worse first… I studied under Dr. Seuss.”

 

 

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