Friday, May 22, 2009

House: I've Looked at Love from Both Sides Now

Well, it's been over a week now since all of my season finales, and honestly I haven't blogged about any of them until now because it's taken me this long to even gather my thoughts. The problem has mainly been that, a week ago, a House blog would have consisted entirely of "A;HDGAGH;AAD;FGLKHAD I WIN!" whilst a Bones blog would have merely said "...wait, what?" My thoughts on Lost were along the lines of, "That was awesome! But wait, I still don't get it..." And then there's the Grey's Anatomy blog, which a week ago would have consisted of only three simple words: "Fuck that, Shonda."

However, it's a week later now and I believe I've managed to come up with a few more constructive things to say. I decided that it's time to sit down and really re-hash what's happened in my TV worlds over the past week - all four of the above-mentioned shows suffered game-changing elements and shockers (as well as some really cute - or really stupid, Shonda - celebratory moments) in their final hours - so now it's time to pick them apart, and tap into what it could all mean for the future.

And since it's been at the forefront of my fandom experience all season, we'll go ahead and start with House:

I promise this is not a blog entirely about Chase/Cameron, but let's go ahead and get the fangirly squeeing over with real fast, shall we? Chase + Cameron + wedding vows = MY 'SHIP GOT MARRIED. No, really, look how cute they are! Okay, but seriously, the build-up to the ceremony was a very interesting (albeit frustrating) exploration of the two characters, and I felt as though the way it was all wrapped up in the end was perfectly fitting and quite sweet. Doris Egan (who wrote this finale) explained it quite perfectly, I think, when she expressed that Cameron's need to always see herself as a reasonable, rational human being was actually what caused her to push down the true feelings of grief over her long-since-dead first husband, instead choosing to create a scenario in which she felt it necessary to hang on to Poor Dead Husband's frozen sperm "just in case" Chase ever fell out of love with her, became unfaithful, and left her childless & alone once again.

But Chase is, as Egan confirmed, a man with many insecurities and deeply-hidden fears when it comes to the woman he loves. So her statement that "no one plans on getting divorced," mixed in with her supposed doubts over their lifetime commitment to each other, struck him like a sucker punch that left him unable to see things more clearly - to see the reality of Cameron's blatant "self-deception." Once he realized what was really behind the issue of the sperm, we saw the sweet, understanding and incredibly loving Chase return to true form.

The plot had initially annoyed me, but now I can look back on it and see that it was about so much more than just frozen sperm and miscommunication - it was about these two characters learning the importance of give & take, compromise, and a willingness to sacrifice in the name of love before they ever actually stood before that altar and said their "I do"s. I saw another fan describe it as "a very God & Abraham moment, which is the true test of love," and although I had definitely thought of similar comparisons, I had never realized the truth of that biblical parallel. Just like with Abraham and his willingness to to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son, in order to prove his faith in and love for God, Cameron was also (although I doubt consciously on Chase's part) being tested. And in the end, her simple willingness to destroy Poor Dead Husband's sperm in order to make Chase happy and keep him in her life was all the proof of faith and love that her soon-to-be husband needed. It was never, I believe, actually about destroying the sperm - it was about proving to Chase that she loved him enough to do something unpleasant - something heartbreaking, even - if that's what it was going to take.

As Leigh said to me after watching the scene in the locker room, "You know what it's like? It's like drinking the fat."

And, really, I suppose a good Friends comparison using Ross/Rachel may work just as well as - if not better than - the bibical one of God & Abraham. Either way, the message remains the same and ultimate test of love and sacrifice was handled quite wonderfully. Love them or hate them, Chase and Cameron will surely have a journey of ebbs and flows in the seasons to come of their new marriage, but I'm convinced of their endgame status now more than ever. Surviving a test like that only to come out of it more in love than you were before is a definite sign of strength for their abilities to overcome more obstacles in the future, and I (of course) can't wait to see what's in store.

But for now, let's move on, shall we? This finale was about so much more than Chase and Cameron (obviously), and (believe it or not) I do actually enjoy the show for its quality overall. "Both Sides Now" was a brilliantly woven episode, subtle in that you weren't even aware of its brilliance until almost the very end. I had heard pre-show rumblings that House/Cuddy sex was going to turn out to be nothing more than a hallucination, and I honestly felt sick for the fans of that pairing. What I somehow never expected, though, was that none of it - the Vicodin detox, Cuddy's comforting words, her confession of crushing on him for over 20 years, etc - had actually happened. That, to me, was a major shock. And Hugh Laurie just pulled out all the stops when we saw House's moment of realization... that reveal of a pill bottle in his pocket where he had been convinced he was keeping a tube of Cuddy's lipstick... I have no words, really, except for, "Wow."

And to be honest, maybe it's just because I'm more of a House/Cuddy supporter than a full-on House/Cuddy 'shipper (and hopefully any Huddy fans reading this can tell me if I'm right or wrong) but once I actually looked at the big picture of everything that had happened, it seems to me that the reality of "Both Sides Now" is far better for House & Cuddy than the hallucinated love affair of "Under My Skin." What we learned in the finale is that House is truly, completely smitten with her, and that he was also more than ready to jump into a fully committed romantic relationship with her. He was indescribably happy with what he believed to be his post-coital reality, to the point of actually suggesting that he and Cuddy move in together. House is clearly very much in love with her, and I think it was very telling that he chose to stand up and fight for her when Wilson posed the question, "Do you want to be the man with all the answers? Or do you want to be the man with Cuddy?" House's loyalties and romantic affections, in my opinion, lie very obviously with Cuddy... and isn't that revelation actually far better than one night of passionate, clothes-ripping sex?

The sex would have been a nice bonus, of course, and I understand that it's painful to have the rug pulled out from under something as potentially awesome as that, but I honestly believe what the writers have now created is a much more complex and interesting scenario than anything that could have come into play otherwise. The exploration of House's newfound feelings, compounded with his illness and Cuddy's mixed emotions about it all, will be a fascinating one to watch. If the Huddy fans choose to stay tuned, I doubt they will be disappointed with what's to come.

Moving away from 'shipping for a moment, I would be remiss if I didn't at least attempt to analyze what's happened to House's mental state and what it all might mean from here on out. It appears that our snarky doctor is officially schizophrenic, which Enigma and I had been predicting all along, but my fascination lies in how they're going to make this work. As Wilson clearly stated, House can't practice medicine if he's hallucinating. House can't practice medicine if he's taking anti-psychotic meds. House can't practice medicine if he's walking around with an untreated mental illness. So, then, wherein lies the answer? Clearly, we're not going to have several more seasons of House, MD in which the title character isn't even working in the hospital. He has to get back to his job somehow, and I'm so incredibly intrigued as to how it's all going to play out. Is he going to try electroshock therapy, as he once mentioned? Will they find a way to more or less cure him of the schizophrenia, leaving him sane and capable of practicing medicine without having to take any psych meds of his own? How will this all play out? I can't wait to find out.

But in the meantime, there's the question of what happens on the show between the season premiere and House's eventual return to his office. What of the diagnostics department? Will Foreman just take over? God, I hope not. He's proven several times (and most recently in "Emancipation") that he is pretty much terrible at handling diagnostics cases without any help from House at all.

My hope (and this isn't just a 'shipper bias, I swear) is that House's absence will be the opening for Chase's and Cameron's long-promised reintegration. I'd love to see them working as doctors more, and I'd really love to see them working together as doctors - since they haven't really had to do so since before they even became a canon couple. The existence of the diagnostics department without the leadership of House (and for a long-term, undefined amount of time) holds the potential for a lot of great character exploration of the ones left behind - the push and pull, the battle for power, the ongoing struggle of everyone learning to work together - in harmony - without their father figure there in the next room to referee the fights on the playground, so to speak.

In a nutshell, it's time for all the ducklings (new and old) to truly grow up and come into their own; to learn how to work, love and simply just live without House there to keep them on the right path from day to day.

Things are definitely about to change again, in a very major way, but I for one am extremely excited to get started on that adventure. September can't come soon enough!

2 Responses to “House: I've Looked at Love from Both Sides Now”

Julie said...

I have been waiting for this post, lol. :)

If Chase and Cameron aren't brought back in more-or-less full capacity to help Foreman with a House-less diagnostics department, I don't think they ever will be. I believe the department was created by Cuddy specifically to give House a job but I wouldn't expect her to dissolve the department in his absence. It would be dumb of Cuddy to give Foreman more power but the show never seems to acknowledge Foreman's (many) shortcomings. He certainly hasn't grown like Chase and Cameron; even Taub has resolved the problems in his marriage. Foreman hasn't dealt with his fundamental problems like not visiting his mother or brother but has instead created new ones with dramatic solutions.

I have read a lot of speculation that House's problems are being caused by the (many) traumas he has endured during the past five years. The motercycle crash was never really acknowledged and that just doesn't make sense to me. If TPTB wanted Mos Def's character to be found in an ER, House could just have been bothering Cameron or something in the PPTH ER. I hope there is more significance to that but idk idk.

I read every time there's a new House post and I love the insights here! (I am j-daisy on lj)

Lucid said...

What a lovely post! I, like you, am happy about the Chase/Cameron wedding. I know that any relationship isn't always bright and sunny but if no one can get their stuff together on this show to be together, then I hope these two can stand the test of time.

I'm not sure about Foreman being head of diagnostics while House is out. After him screwing with the drug trials, it seems like a bad idea. Maybe they will bring Chase or Cameron in, since they are both doing really well in other areas.

As for the House/Cuddy thing, I was irate at first but I got over it. Meh, whatever. I do hope once House gets all his issues sorted out, they can work to reestablish their friendship and maybe get to something resembling an attempt at a relationship. Well, I just hope they don't go back on what they started.