“House” Mini-cap: Don’t have a nice day

Niceness as a sickness? Oh, yeah, House is definitely back. Last night’s first-post strike episode, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," opened with a not-so-sly wink at the writers strike that kept the show off the air for months. Picketers holding familiar-looking red, black and white signs march up and down the sidewalk. But wait, those are nurses, not Hollywood scribes. And so enters Gregory House, M.D.


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credit: Art Streiber/Fox

With the nurses on strike, the good bad doctor hides out in the emergency room to avoid Cuddy. She is trying to get him to help in the E.R., so clearly it’s the last place she’d look for him. But House finds something interesting instead. A man who doesn’t mind waiting for hours in the E.R. Clearly, this is a sick, sick man. Well that or, as House asks, "Is he Canadian?"


Photo credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Fox

This fellow doesn’t complain. He just smiles constantly. And he says everything tastes like lemon meringue pie. So, clearly, we have our Patient of the Week. But the rest of House’s team is perplexed by his theory of "niceness as defect." As the misanthrope’s minions scramble to find out what’s causing the patient’s plague of niceness, we get our first reference to the newly revealed bisexuality of Olivia Wilde‘s character, Thirteen.

House: Taub, [you're] with 31.
Thirteen: 31?
House: Oh, I’m sorry. I thought that either way was good for you.

It ain’t much, but at least it’s something. Now if House uses Thirteen’s sexuality as an easy punchline each episode, this could get really old, really fast. Hopefully Olivia’s comments in a Feb. 4–10 TV Guide magazine cover story pan out: "There’s romance ahead, and it’s shocking. Whoever you’d imagine her with isn’t who she ends up with, and it causes all sorts of complications."

Now, that issue hit the newsstands before Thirteen’s sexuality was outed in the last pre-strike episode, which aired Feb. 5. So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say they might actually explore her bisexuality in whatever romance they have planned. Since there are only two other recurring female characters, Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), perhaps my naughty "who wants to play doctor" scenario wasn’t too far off. I mean, we can dream, right?

But back to the poor sick/nice man. The team diagnoses him with syphilis. And then they decide that House’s extreme jerkiness might be a symptom of something else as well. So they test a vial of his blood that happens to be lying around. Bingo, syphilis. So they start treatment on both men. But then something weird happens. House gets nice. Hugh Laurie plays it so well you almost believe him. Almost.


Photo credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Fox

Have these doctors never watched the show they’re on? Oh, wait. Fine, but they should still know better. As House’s team past and present convene to wonder whether the cure and its accompanying niceness are also curing House’s genius, we’re reminded how big and unwieldy the cast has become. Foreman, Taub, Kutner, Thirteen, Cameron and Chase — that’s a lot of second opinions.


Photo credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Fox

While the docs muse over the very nature of genius, House is working out a joint custody agreement with Cutthroat Bitch/Amber (Anne Dudek) for his best friend and her boyfriend, Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). It’s silly and kind of out of character for House (why wouldn’t he just swap her lubricant with Super Glue?), but the wrangling over arrangements, pick-up and drop-off times does give us the show’s one other slightly lesbianish moment.

Amber asks when she and Wilson will have time to, shall we say, get intimate. House replies: "You can have it tonight. The L Word is on." Again, it ain’t much, but at least it’s something.


Photo credit: Isabella Vosmikova/Fox

So, how does it all end? House doesn’t have syphilis (he switched the vials to mess with his team’s heads, duh). The patient doesn’t have syphilis (he has some disease I’ve never heard of which causes encephalitis which causes his brain to swell which might be why he was nice all these years, much to his wife’s chagrin). Cuddy wears a black tank top (this is apropos of nothing, but was quite nice to behold). And Thirteen is still single (but tune in next week, because maybe her 31-side will finally come out, so to speak).


Photo credit: Chris Haston/Fox

So, what did you think of the return of House and Co.? Will Thirteen become Thirty-one? Did Cameron ever sleep with House? And did anyone really think he was becoming a nice guy? Discuss.

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