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'House M.D.': House and Cuddy return to the '80s

November 10, 2009 |  7:06 am
House-Ep607_Sc44-45pt_2009
In case you missed the "everybody lies" memo that's been driven home in every "House" episode since the pilot, tonight's episode, "Known Unknowns," offered viewers (and Cameron) a helpful reminder.

House is reluctant to join Wilson at a medical conference in the Adirondacks -- favoring, instead, the nearby State Pillowfighting Contest, until he discovers that Cuddy also will be attending said conference.  His change of heart is fortunate, considering Wilson has appointed himself House's babysitter and refuses to leave him alone for the weekend.  Normally, I'd find Wilson's hovering a little obnoxious -- after all, House has been doing pretty well; maybe he deserves a longer leash -- but for some reason, it's more endearing than overly protective. I wonder if they've exchanged friendship bracelets yet.

With the grown-ups out of town on grown-up business, Chase, Cameron and Foreman are left with Jordan (newcomer Annabelle Attanasio), a comic-book fangirl who finds herself physically unable to tell the truth about her wild night stalking "Stiletto: Warrior Queen of Space" author Jeffrey Keener (Marcus Giamatti).

The web of lies eventually leads Cameron to theorize that Keener roofied Jordan when she brought his misplaced journal up to his hotel room.  When he denies ever seeing Jordan in his room, Cameron becomes particularly upset.  She's so obviously projecting her feelings about Chase's recently shady behavior onto the author.  
Forgive me if I roll my eyes.  The parallels are an unbelievable stretch, and Cameron's unwillingness to budge from her bogus theory just puts the patient in more danger.

Meanwhile, House uses the time away from Princeton Plainsboro to wriggle his way back into Cuddy's good graces ... again.  Speaking of Cuddy, is anyone else getting tired of the obvious camera angles down the front of Lisa Edelstein's blouse?  I've always enjoyed Edelstein as an actress, and Cuddy was once one of my favorite characters, but they're overly objectifying her, even in House P.O.V. shots.  It's gone from being a silly gag to a tired, repetitive anvil.

That said, I did like the '80s party.  It's so typical of House to refuse to conform, choosing instead to dress up in garb from the 1880s. I appreciated the reveal of House and Cuddy's backstory. It's hard to imagine them -- House especially -- as med-school students caught up in the rush of an innocent crush.  "I'm overly ambitious, I have a chip on my shoulder, and I know how to party," Cuddy recalls House telling her the first time they met.  

For obvious reasons, the whole scene reminded me of the climax to a John Hughes movie.  Surprisingly, though, I don't have much of an opinion on House and Cuddy's relationship.  I was apprehensive last season, but the writers have managed to keep House sharp and witty throughout his mental health saga, so I'm confident they could keep him interesting even with a girlfriend. House admits, so many years later, that the reason he never called Cuddy back after their college one-nighter is because he was expelled the following morning.  Gasp! Has she been wrong about him all along? Should she just ignore everything that's happened since??

Since the show isn't actually a Brat Pack flick, we can't fade out on Molly Ringwald giving Judd Nelson her diamonds in the parking lot.  House soon learns that, for the first time in a long time, Cuddy isn't available.  She's now dating Lucas (Michael Weston), the P.I. House hired last season.  I doubt it'll last long, despite Lucas being a far more dependable boyfriend for a single mother than House will ever be.  Lucas and Cuddy just don't have any chemistry!

Luckily, House is distracted from heartbreak by his favorite project: Wilson.  Upon learning that Wilson is going to admit to euthanizing a patient in his conference speech ("We all do it; we just don't talk about it."),  House drugs Wilson, leaving him passed out and without pants (wait... really?) in the hotel room.  House-Ep607_Sc41-43_4005

Instead, House gives the incriminating speech himself, using a stolen name tag.  He spares Wilson the trouble of an investigation and also manages to give him a much-needed boost of self-esteem.  Just as Wilson finds some pants and arrives in the conference room, House makes a last-minute addendum to the speech.  "I've never given any less than my best. I'm incapable of turning away from a responsibility. My friends take advantage of that fact far too often," House says -- speaking, of course, of Wilson.

His resulting love-hate BFF banter with WIlson leads to a patented House diagnosis reveal.  Once again demonstrating that proximity to the patient has no effect on his ability to deliver a snarky "a-ha!" speech, House calls home to Princeton-Plainsboro and announces that Jordan is suffering from a bad combination of oysters and hemochromatosis and can be treated.

Cameron is incredibly relieved to learn that Keener had not been lying when he said he didn't roofie Jordan in his room that night.  The metaphor just won't die.  Cameron genuinely believes that because Keener isn't lying, Chase probably isn't either.  Does she understand the idea that not all people work the same way?  She apologizes profusely to Chase for believing he had an affair.  Little does she know, adultery is the least of her worries.  

Finally!! Chase fesses up, and we fade out on Cameron's shocked face after he admits to murdering President Dibala.  I have a feeling Cameron's bags are as good as packed.

Now that the World Series is over, House will be back with another brand-new episode next week.  Make sure to check back then to discuss the Chase-Cameron fall-out!  In the meantime, sound off about this episode in the comments below.  I'm so interested to hear your thoughts on House and Cuddy as med-school co-eds!  Are you glad that Chase finally admitted his dirty deeds? Do you think we've seen the last of Thirteen and Taub?

-- Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack for more TV-related chit-chat)

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Photos, from top: House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) argue; House delivers a speech.
  Credit: Fox
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