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'House': Whole lot of shakin' goin' on!

October 31, 2007 | 11:14 am

House

I just have to say it out loud: "House" just keeps getting better and better. What at first seemed like a pretty silly idea -- to passive-aggressively keep from hiring a new team, House has a group of doctors competing like they're in a reality show -- has turned out to be brilliant. Not only do we get all sorts of great new characters, we also get to see House at his best, trying to figure out, and neutralize, each one. Gone are all the boring concerns about his Vicodin addiction, gone is the irritating model of House declaiming and everyone else denying (even though he's always right), gone is the increasingly dull and unbelievable tension between him and Cuddy. (As subordinate/boss, that is. The sexual tension, one hopes, is still in there somewhere.) Cuddy is done trying to squelch him; now she is just shooting for managed chaos. Which is so much more fun because it revolves more around the medicine and less around all the personal pathos of the staff.

      Last night's case was a screenwriter's dream. A man comes in with no memory but a very strange disorder -- Giovanni's Mirror Syndrome (where do they come up with these things?), which causes him to unconsciously mimic those around them. So all of the characters were subjected to a vision of their own selves, and we got to watch them react to it. How great a dramatic idea is that? Although it must be conceded that while Patient X managed to delve into the psyches of all the contestants, he stayed on the surface when mirroring House, revealing only his lust for doctor 13 and admiration for Cuddy's breasts. Too bad; it would have been interesting to get a peep into House's interior, and even more interesting to see what he thought of the image.

But the quibble is so minor, I'm ashamed to have made it. This season of "House" should be handed out as Christmas gifts to every writers' room in America to serve as a template for really shaking up a show in danger of bogging down in its own conceit. Mercifully, House didn't kick anyone off the island last night; the loss of any of the new characters will lead only to heartbreak for me. I miss the old guy already and don't care that he wasn't a doctor. Indeed, I was just as uneasy when Cuddy announced she had hired Foreman back. I love Omar Epps, but I hope this doesn't mean a return to the old "House." As good as it was, the new "House" is better. 

(Photo courtesy Fox)

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