Tuesday, February 6, 2007

House—Needle in a Haystack

We're back to the usual format as we open with Mysterious Ailment Victim, Stevie, a teenager who's in a car making out with his girlfriend. He starts wheezing uncontrollably and I feel warm and cozy because this looks more like the show I'm used to.

House's diagnosis of the teen is complicated by the fact that he's Romany. Conflict ensues when the parents arrive and try to enforce their traditions, even as it interferes with treatment. They end up dealing more directly with Stevie, bypassing parental consent in a not particularly legal manner. In the end, the source of his troubles proves to be more mundane than expected. And, as usual, it isn't lupus.

In the meantime, House spars with Cuddy to get his parking space back from a new doctor, who's wheelchair bound.

So House is back to formula, as is a far better show for it. Let's hope last week's episode was just a fluke, and they won't try anything like that again. Or if they do, that they'll execute it a whole lot better.

Some quibbles--the cultural conflict that interferes with diagnosis and/or treatment has been done to death, and gets tiresome after a while. I know little or nothing about modern day Romany culture (except that a while back they used to shove souls into vampires, but that's a different show), but it seemed a little too shallow and pat to me. On the other hand, Stevie's final decision to accept his family's culture rather than take the internship Foreman offered was nicely done. It wasn't patronizing, nor were we made to feel like he'd made the wrong choice. So that mitigated things a bit. My other quibble? Not enough Wilson.

Overall, a good installment.

The song at the end was In the Waiting Line, by Zero 7, from the soundtrack to Garden State.