Tag Archives: amber

A Sneak Peak at Chasing Zebras: The Table of Contents

So Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is available for pre-order in several more places both here and abroad. It’s being sold at Barnes and Noble, Borders and at Amazon UK and Canada (and of course the US site). And we’re still five-plus months from the street date. (And a lovely picture of the cover has finally been added to the Amazon and B/N sites !)

With the London Book fair next month and North American Book Expo in May, things have only started. I’m still waiting the copyeditor’s changes (and slightly fearing the sharp blue pencil that I, myself, have wielded from time to time). The next several months will fly by I’m sure.

So, in honor of all this, I’d like to give you a sneak peek at the book’s Table of Contents and direct you to the book’s website for even more of a peek at the six-season episode guide:

(Please note that this Table of Contents is still preliminary and the order might change as the book moves through the publication process).

TABLE of CONTENTS

Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D.

Introduction: Elementary, my dear Wilson

Sidebar: Finding a Holmes in (the) House: An Interview with a House-loving Holmesian

Sidebar: Cast of Characters

Differential Diagnosis: A Character Study Wrapped in a Mystery Wrapped in a Medical Procedural

Sidebar Formulas are made to be broken

Sidebar: Drama vs. Medical Accuracy: A Balancing Act

Sidebar: When it Doesn’t “Fit”

Dr. Gregory House: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

Sidebar: When House’s Objectivity Fails Him

Sidebar: House the Linguist

From Bach to Eddie Van Halen: The Music of House, M.D.

Boy Wonder Oncologist: Dr. James (“Jimmy”) Wilson

Sidebar: The Impact of Amber’s Death: A Closer Look at “Dying Changes Everything”

Sidebar: It’s Not All About the Neediness

Smart, Funny and Zesty: Dr. Lisa Cuddy

House’s Haunts

Sidebar The “Ball of Unknown Origin”

Sidebar: The Mutual Admiration of Stephen Colbert and Dr. Gregory House

Caring Until Her Eyes Pop Out: Dr. Allison Cameron

His Father Made a Phone Call: Dr. Robert Chase

Like House, But Nicer—Dr. Eric Foreman

House’s Fellows: Imprinting on the Daddy Doc

PART II: THE GUIDE

Guide to the Guide

Season 1: Patients Make Us Miserable

Sidebar: Before the Leg

Sidebar: An Odd Sort of Humility: A closer look at “DNR”

Sidebar: A Closer Look at “Role Model”

Sidebar: God, Religion and Hypocrisy

Season 2: Settling into the Story

Sidebar: House and Medical Mistakes

Sidebar: House’s Windmill: Death–A Closer Look at “All In”

Sidebar: Ketamine: A Closer Look at “No Reason”

Broken: House, Pain and Drugs

Season 3: Finding Meaning

Sidebar: The Happiness Scale: A Closer Look at “Lines in the Sand”

Sidebar: Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Doing the Right Thing: House and Ethics

Season 4: A Shakeup at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital

Sidebar: Diagnostics Team 2.0

Sidebar: Learning to be a Doctor from a Doctor Like House

Sidebar: A Closer Look at “House’s Head” and “Wilson’s Heart”

The Enigmatic, Unlucky “13”

I Cheat: Dr. Christopher Taub

The Tragedy of Dr. Lawrence Kutner

Sidebar: People Don’t Change: A Closer Look at “Don’t Ever Change”

Season Five: Upheaval and the Ultimate Escape

Sidebar: Coincidence vs. Divine Intervention–A Closer Look at “Unfaithful”

Sidebar: Kutner’s Death and House’s Crash

Sidebar: Diagnosing Dr. House: A Conversation with a Clinical Child Psychologist

Season Six

Appendix: “Time is Not a Fixed Construct” Continuity and the Series Timeline

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Survey of the House, M.D. fan community

I am doing a very unscientific survey of the House fandom for a very large project, which will become public in the next few months.

Thanks for participating in this. Please let me know if I can quote you or use your name (and which name—screen name or real name).

————-

  1. When did you first start watching the show?
  2. What first drew you to it—made you come back and keep watching?
  3. What do you like best about the show?
  4. What annoys you (if anything) and why?
  5. In what ways do you think the show has changed over the past years?
  6. Do you like it more, less or the same, and why?
  7. House is really several shows in one. There is the medical mystery, of course, the patients and their stories, the hospital characters and their stories—and then there’s House and his story. Is there one aspect you watch for? Or the show as a whole? Elaborate.
  8. Do you advocate for any of the various relationships on House? Which one(s)?
  9. Who are your favorite writers on the series? Least?
  10. Favorite episodes —try to name one for each season if possible
  11. Least favorite episodes?
  12. The since mid-season one, the series has worked through various character arcs and story arcs: Vogler, Stacy, Tritter, Survivor arc, for example. What do you think of these…too long, badly crafted? Wonderful? Please elaborate on what you like and dislike about them?
  13. Do you read fanfiction? Why? Do you have a particular preference for the type of House fanfic?

Best of House, M.D. part 1

New feature in this space, not found on my Blogcritics pages.  Best of…House, M.D.

I’m putting something big together right now, and I would love to know what you think are the best. . .

Answer any or all…

Silly moments

Best Musical moments

Best Chase moments

Best Cameron Moments

Best Foreman Moments

Best TAub moments

Best Kutner Moments

Best 13 Moments

Funniest moments

Best Wilson moments

Best House moments

Best Cuddy moments

Huddy Moments

Hameron Moments

Wilson-House moments

Angstiest moments

Best clinic patients

Best Guest stars

Best Patients of the week

Best “teasers:

Please respond below. . . Have fun!

New House, M.D. Poll–Best episode to submit to the Emmy panel (if nominated)

This may all be an academic discussion if House isn’t nominated for best drama next Thursday, but I’m running a little poll on Blogcritics. A little pre-nomination day speculation, as it were.

Participate right here

Full Review (not linking to Blogcritics) of Both Sides Now: House, MD

I apologize to all who have tried unscuccessfuly to get into the Blogcritics site the last couple of days. There are some outstanding issues with re-design that are being fixed, but still not perfect. For that reason, I’ve decided to reprint my review of the House season finale here and will do the same with the Doris Egan interview to appear later this week. 

 

Tears and fears and feeling proud
to say I love you

 Right out loud

Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

                Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”

 Dr. Gregory House wakes up in bed after making love to Dr. Lisa Cuddy after the “cut” in last week’s House episode “Under My Skin.” Cuddy is gone, but not the memory, as House finds her lipstick sitting on his bathroom sink. He smiles, noting the lipstick smear on his face, the happy recollection of their ardent lovemaking. He pockets the lipstick, noting its color, with clearly a fondness for it: a talisman and a symbol of what lies ahead for the clean and sober House and love finally kindled after seasons of sparring and sparking.

House’s cruel mocking of Cuddy’s motherhood last week transformed into a cry a cry for help, stopping her in her tracks as she stalks angry from his presence. His tearful confession that he is hallucinating stuns her as much as his plea that desperate plea that he needs her. Ever House’s guardian angel, Cuddy ignores House’s hurtful words, and,  anger forgotten, she takes him home, sits with him as he goes through the unrelenting agony of Vicodin detox, holds his hand, caresses his sweaty brow and calms his nerves and stomach with ginger tea. And in the morning she gives him an even greater gift. A 20-year old secret; an inkling that she’s loved him for all these years; that he’s not simply the Buraku of Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Not just a hospital asset. She has always liked that “interesting lunatic—for who he is; not for what he does for the hospital. And then asks him: do you want to kiss me? And in his heart of hearts, he is honest: “I always want to kiss you.” A gentle brushing of the lips deepens into passion for them.

Singing as he enters his office the next day, still holding onto Cuddy’s lipstick, House is in a spectacular mood. Not just for having sex, but for having won Cuddy. “Zing, zing, zing went my heart strings…the moment I saw her, I fell,” the sappy lyrics of a 1940s Irving Berlin tune tells us that he’s in love, much as in season two, House’s night with Stacy in “Need to Know,” inspired him to sing a sappily romantic aria from the Romberg operetta The Student Prince.

It’s a nice story, filled with the promise of love and redemption. Hope and happiness. “This is the story you made up about who you are. It’s a nice story,” House hears Amber say in his ear. But as Kutner’s grave image tells House at the end of last night’s season finale “Both Sides Now,” “too bad it isn’t real.”

What will stay with me the entire summer will House’s horrified and then shell-shocked face with the dawning recognition that the entire experience with Cuddy has been a delusion. Everybody lies, goes House’s mantra. But the lie his own brain constructed is the cruelest of all.

No longer able to distinguish reality from illusion, House has confabulated a fantasy that did not leave him isolated and alone in his apartment, his life falling apart. What line was crossed in House’s mind that caused it to snap? Had he reached the same level of despair that Kutner had weeks before? That moment where the line between living and dying in misery blur? House’s mind made a choice, and he could just as easily have committed suicide, as Kutner had in “Simple Explanation.” But, instead, his mind chose the comfort of Cuddy’s healing sensuality; the warmth of her body and the belief that he could be happy.

 The heartbreaking revelation that it was all a delusional fantasy is as heartbreaking as it gets. No, Cuddy never went home with him, instead leaving, angry at his cruelty. He never tells her he’s hallucinating; she never looks back.

 Instead he goes home, spending the night alone, in despair knowing he’s hallucinating but unable to stop himself from the continued downward spiral. His support systems gone, House sinks further, his mind creating the fantasy that he is loved and is redeemable, two things that have always been beyond his belief. The final scene between House and Cuddy parallels his fantasy night of detox as Cuddy forgets her anger, replacing it with concern and love as House begins to realize that he is no longer simply suffering hallucinations, but full-blown delusions.

House’s halting “No, I’m not alright,” finally realizing the cruel trick played on him by his own mind, has been months coming. House has been headed for emotional collapse since the end of last season. As guarded as House is, neither Cuddy nor Wilson saw it coming. Were there clues they might have picked up on? Things they might have done to mitigate House’s deteriorating mental state? Was it drugs, or something else? What did they miss?

What a way to end the season. The man who has stood on a ledge for five years has suddenly, tragically (and metaphorically) finally jumped and right down into the rabbit hole. “Both Sides Now,” takes the year of unrelenting emotional and physical trauma endured by its central character to its logical conclusion. A very, very bleak ending to an intense, downbeat season. Hugh Laurie gave yet another raw, brave and gut-wrenching performance. If he does not win the Emmy this year (and I mean it!) there is no justice. At all. Really.

 Doris Egan’s complex script plays with the concept of self-perception. Who we are? What makes us, us? How much of it is wishful thinking, a slightly deluded perception of who we might be; and how much is the reality. Our emotional well-being relies on us being able to tell the difference between the two.

This week’s patient, Scott has undergone surgery on his corpus collosum that stopped his seizures, but destroyed communication between the left (rational) and right (aesthetic) parts of his brain. In his case his left brain doesn’t like what his right brain is doing. And the miscommunication between them leads to something called alien hand syndrome, causing his left hand to do what it wants, when it wants, consequences be damned.

House calls the right brain the brain irrelevant, yet (as Foreman points out) House’s insights and intuition likely stem from that half of his brain (not to mention at least half of his musical gift). The left brain does the math, analyzes the parts. It’s the logician: rational, analytical. It is the most obvious part of House’s personality. The right brain is intuitive, holistic, random and subjective. And without it, House would never be able to synthesize or imagine. He dismisses it because it’s his most fragile part: his creativity, his romanticism, his love of music and art. It reveals him, therefore it must be suppressed.

And in the midst of all this sadness, Cameron and Chase marry in a beautiful ceremony intercut with House’s journey toward his own uncertain future. It’s poignantly ironic that House, understanding Cameron’s fears and advising her to take a chance on happiness, saves her relationship with Chase, as his own possibility for happiness evaporates like a mirage in the desert. The beautiful and haunting melody of the Rolling Stones “As Tears Go By” (and probably my favorite Stones song ever) gives the illusion of a love song. But the lyrics are starkly evocative of where House’s life now stands as he travels the long road to the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. “It is the evening of the day/I sit and watch the children play/smiling faces I can see/but not for me/I sit and watch as tears go by.” No wonder I wept at the end of this stunning finale to a great season.

What does the future hold for House? We’ll have to wait till September to find out.

And I cannot finish this review without saying something about Carl Reiner. He’s 86 years old and still brilliant and funny as hell.

Thanks David Shore, Katie Jacobs, all the writers and directors, cast, and especially the magnificent Hugh Laurie for making this season as powerful as it gets. Thank you to all my loyal readers who have made this column such an enjoyable experience and a great success. I will continue writing through the summer and as promised, later in the week, please look for my exlcusive one-on-one interview with the finale’s writer, House co-executive producer Doris Egan. I’ll be speaking with her later today about the finale and the future. Look for my interview with her later this week, with much more on the finale. So please stay tuned.