So, if you recall, a couple of weeks ago we lost a Houseguest. The show with too many cast members finally got rid of one. So pop quiz, hotshot: you’re a House exec. What do you do next?
Bring one back, of course. Well, duh.
I know the economy is rough and there are a lot of starving actors out there, and I’m all for a helping hand, but seriously. Do they have to meet a quota for supporting actors on this show? I don’t get it.
Cold open: a high school gym. Weren’t we just here? This time it’s a wrestling match instead of a basketball game. The sound cuts in and out, and this plus some conveniently-timed sign language tells us that one of the contestants is deaf. In case you still don’t get it, there’s his mom in the stands wearing a “Deaf Pride” T-shirt. The match starts and his coach is signing instructions to him, which has got to be a little tricky to do while wrestling. Not that he has long to worry-in a minute he starts clutching his head and screaming from the cheesy laser-blaster sound effects.
I used to love these things. Then I quit wearing Underoos.
House is trying to sleep, but can’t, because Amber’s ghost keeps bothering him with stupid questions, like “Don’t you want to know why I’m here?” I know I do. Turns out House hasn’t been sleeping much lately. He gets a page and stumbles into the Hall of Justhouse, where the Houseguests have figured out the deaf kid is hearing explosions in his head, thus he has something called “exploding head syndrome”. I could Wikipedia that, but I’m too busy trying to clean the snarfed Cheez-Its out of my keyboard. Next time I see my doctor I’m going to ask him to write that on my chart just to mess with the insurance people. House is paying more attention to Amber than to the live Houseguests. She writes something on the whiteboard, or tries to. “Damn imaginary pen!” LOL. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there. He says the POW might have had a seizure and sends the Houseguests to investigate. “Wrong,” says Amber, but off they go anyway. “You’re going to ignore your own subconscious?” she says. “It’ll be the limp leading the blind.” So it’s like that, is it? Amber is House’s brain in a miniskirt. This could be good.
House and Amber roll over to Wilson’s office to get some sleeping pills for House’s insomnia. I hear they go great with a side of Vicodin. Cameron (the “soon-to-be-second-prettiest Dr. Chase”) is in there. Amber thinks Wilson is trying to get rid of House too quickly and gets House to sneak a look at the file they’re going over. Cameron is asking Wilson to plan Cameron’s bachelor party. Now that sounds like a blast. Wonder what Wilson has in mind?
First, I thought we’d all make tiramisu together while listening to Billy Joel. After a nice risotto dinner… wait for it… Lattes! And an old French movie!
House, less than impressed, pulls rank and says he’ll plan the party himself. Wilson and Cameron are apparently cool with this, or at least lack the intestinal fortitude to argue. Foreteen is flashy-thinging the POW to try and induce a seizure. Much Moral Debate follows. Why doesn’t the kid want a cochlear implant to fix his hearing? Is deafness a disability, or a valid culture?
And why is he wearing that crash helmet? He’s
deaf hearing-impaired, not retar developmentally challenged.
POWmom interrupts this discourse to let us know that now he’s visually-impaired as well. Hrrrmmmz. What was that Amber said about the limp and the blind? House’s subconscious knew the POW was going to go blind. He asks Amber to elaborate. She recites some medical stuff he didn’t even know he knew. He asks her how high K2 is (the second-tallest mountain in the world, I think), because he read a book about it as a kid. She gives him the exact answer. (Or is House’s subconscious lying to him? Hmm.) House thinks this is pretty awesome. She tells him to go play the kid some music. He dons a pair of totally tubular shades and goes to see the POW with a boom box blasting Public Enemy.
Shouldn’t you turn that thing around the other way? And do they even make boom boxes anymore?
He puts the boom box on the POW’s chest so he can feel the vibes. Everyone is duly offended but the kid, who thinks this is cool. Then he notices that he can feel the beat through his body, but not his hands when he touches the boom box. New symptom: neuropathy! Amber 2, Not-dead Houseguests 0.
Foreman wonders how House knew to test for that. Luckily, Amber gives House a clue before he has to plead insanity: bowling pins, three of them. He’s been pinned in his last three matches, so House figured his balance was off. The Houseguests are doubtful. Amber points out that whatever’s causing the neuropathy could also be causing the deafness. Maybe they can cure that, too! Gotta love this show, it’s the only one on TV where the parents might actually get back together. House sends Louie to MRI the POW’s head and look for cancer. (It’s not cancer. Just sayin.) He sends Foreteen to… a strip club, to check out girls for the bachelor party. 13 is more into the show than Foreman. Big surprise there. He’d rather have another Moral Debate (and no, that’s not a euphemism for something kinky). Is House still into Cameron and trying to get Chase drunk enough to cheat? “Being drunk doesn’t change who you are, it just reveals it,” says 13, while borrowing money from Foreman to stuff in the dancer’s underwear.
I think I speak for all heterosexual dudes when I say that Foreman is definitely not enjoying this enough.
Louie tells the POW he could possibly get his hearing back. He’s not a bit happy about this, he wants to stay deaf. POW Plot Device #8: Patient Doesn’t Want To Be Cured. Rats. I had that on my bingo card last week. He’s afraid his whole life would change: school, girlfriend, etc. Not to worry. After looking at the MRI results, Louie declares “it’s not cancer.” Seriously, that shouldn’t even be a bingo square anymore. Foreteen returns from Bada Bing with pictures. House breaks the news to 13 that she’s not invited to the bachelor party, but she plays her trump card: “If I get drunk enough, there’s a chance I might make out with one of the strippers. Or become one.” Foreman eye-high-fives her. Well played, Remy. Well played. Some disagreement ensues about whether it is or isn’t cancer. They need a brain biopsy to confirm it, but POWmom will never agree to that without proof, so House consults Amber again. She figures out they can get a look at an old MRI from when the kid broke his nose wrestling. The Houseguests (the live ones, that is) are starting to give House funny looks. Seriously people. It’s not cancer, I promise.
BECAUSE, if it was ever cancer, Wilson would have something to do besides sit around his office and play shrink. Right now, Chase is on his couch trying not to be talked out of letting House do the party. “Have you seen Caligula?” Wilson asks him. Ha, I was right about Wilson’s party plan! House barges in with the MRIs and Wilson thinks yes, it could be cancer. (It’s. Not. Cancer.) House has very little trouble bamboozling Chase into letting him do the party, and Wilson says he’s not coming. What a sore loser.
So now that Chase has something to do besides sit around Wilson’s office, he’s off to drill on the POW’s head. House and Amber are watching from the skybox and discussing what strippers they want to get for the party. Amber votes for the stripper House got Wilson for his bachelor party, but, as House correctly points out, that was nine years ago and strippers don’t generally age that well. Chase interrupts House’s conversation with himself to tell him that it’s not cancer after all. They should rename the show “It’s Not Cancer, M.D.” Amber thinks they should stick a cochlear implant in the kid while they’ve got him there, and House talks Chase into the evil scheme in about fifteen seconds. I don’t buy it. Chase never sticks his neck out unless there’s something in it for him.
The kid wakes up, and for once, you see the holes where they screwed into his skull to keep his head still for the surgery. All of a sudden he can hear all these annoying little noises, which would be freaky, except I think I heard somewhere that those implants don’t just work like that, you have to train your brain to hear them right. But what do I know. Anyhoozle, it’s time for the parent/teacher conference. Mom complains to Cuddy that she wants the implant back out. Sort of. Amber wants to know why she’s just sitting there. She must not be all that mad. “I’m mad,” she says. Very convincing, no? She leaves and House says “he’s opting in to a handicap” and “he’s an insult to all the other gimps out there.” Doctor Sees Self In Patient. Bingo! Cuddy is sympathetic, but she’s putting Foreman in charge of the case.
Back in Name That Disease Land, Foreman isn’t doing any better at figuring out this week’s puzzle and Amber is distracting House by eating candy and crossing and uncrossing her legs. (What does it say about House that his subconscious likes to wear miniskirts?) House is more interested in why Wilson isn’t interested in the Implant Fiasco, and goes to ask him. Wilson’s just glad House did something nice for another human being, in his own twisted way. Meanwhile, the POW and his mom are having an argument about whether he should keep the implant, He hears her say his name and gets all verklempt, wetting his bed in the process.
Not a dry seat in the house.
House misses this display because he’s busy sampling ice cream for the party. Spiked ice cream, no less. What a cool idea! Louie brings up sarcoidosis, which is met with derision because it’s never sarcoidosis. Amber remembers a similar case from med school and everyone else in the room goes all black and white while House is thinking. I must say I’m enjoying seeing House’s brain at work. Why couldn’t they have done this sooner? Chase comes in to tell House that Cameron won’t be thrilled about the party, and oooh I know, House should kidnap him! What an original idea! She’ll never see through that! Meanwhile, Amber remembers that Wilson’s stripper’s name was Karamel. With a K. What are the chances she still goes by that name 9 years later? Less interestingly, the POW’s girlfriend is oohing and aahing over her boyfriend’s implant. (Something doesn’t sound quite right about that last sentence.) She asks 13 where the bathroom is in deaf-speak. I’m sure there’s a more… sensitive name for it, but sensitive isn’t exactly my middle name, so moving on. The POW seems a little worried and asks 13 if he sounds like that too. 13 hems and haws.
House chugs energy drinks so the Houseguests won’t bore him to sleep complaining that they can’t find a heart problem. He says they need to do a stress test, which Foreman doesn’t think is the safest thing right after surgery. House and Amber figure out a sneaky plan to do the test anyway, but the POW has taken care of the stress himself by tearing out his cochlear implant. He sounds like a sheep being mauled by Chewbacca, but more importantly, there’s House’s proof of heart trouble. So now the poor kid is having problems everywhere. “What goes everywhere?” asks Louie, who seems to be suffering from short-term memory loss, since he can’t remember that they ask this question every freaking week. Have they ever had a patient who didn’t have problems everywhere? Blood, lungs, Amber waving a lighter over her head. One of these things is not like the other. While the Houseguests test for the boring stuff, House and Amber go down to the morgue to have fun with alcohol and fire. House catches a dead guy on fire, while Amber is busy figuring out that all the POW’s symptoms have been triggered by some sort of heat. Soooooo now it’s MS. Sure it is. Now House has to forge the dead guy’s cause of death so it includes burns. LOL.
“Setting patients on fire” wants its own Bingo square.
Meanwhilz, the 1.0 Houseguests are heading out for the night (and the MS treatment is working) when Chase gets “arrested” by “the police”, who threaten him with deportation. If only. Cameron is wise to the plan, of course.
AT THE BIG PAR-TAY
House seems to have gotten his shot-lighting trick down now. Wonder how many other corpses were incinerated in the making of this party? The party turns out to be in Wilson’s apartment, so Wilson can hardly not come. Karamel the stripper (who has held up well in the last nine years) hugs Wilson like a long-lost pal and hauls him off for a drink. Louie is sandwiched by a couple of girls about twice his height. (The House crew makes fun of Peter Jacobson’s height on Twitter all the time, but this is the first time they’ve played it for a laugh on the show.) First Wilson and then 13 do body shots off Karamel (who should really be a regular cast member by this point), and then Chase, and then… “What’s that taste? Is that… STRAWBERRIES? *gasp* *choke* *pass-out*“
House is missing all the mayhem sitting the tub with Amber, who is unfortunately still fully-clothed (although what would it say about House’s subconscious if she weren’t?). Foreman interrupts the outer inner monologue to tell House that Chase had an allergic reaction to Karamel’s “body butter” and needs to go to the hospital. Cameron is going to have a field day with this one. Chase will probably end up sleeping in his drawer. House is suspicious of Amber/himself because he knew Chase was allergic to strawberries, and he knew the stripper used strawberry body butter. OK, I’m not really that well-read on the personal hygiene products used by strippers, so I have to ask: WTF is “body butter”? It sounds about as appetizing as “toe jam”. Also: that was Nine. Years. Ago! Is she not allowed to change her butter preference? Anyway, House is now afraid he set this up on purpose to sabotage Camerase. In other news, the POW does not have MS. YAWN.
All the Houseguests are stumbling into the ER with Chase as Amber tries to get House to go in as well, but House wants sleep. Cuddy calls him and he tosses out something implausible that I can’t pronounce or spell, then hangs up. 13 realizes this diagnosis could actually make sense, because the POW would be hoarse and how would they test for that, since he’s deaf and rarely speaks? Foreteen goes running into his room and they take the tube out of his throat so they can listen to him talk. REALITY SPOILER ALERT: Having a tube stuck down your throat makes you hoarse anyway. He sounds hoarse to me, but Foreman evidently doesn’t think so. While preparing to stick the tube back in, he notices tobacco stains on the POW’s teeth. Drunk Houseguest lightbulb! The POW used to chew tobacco to lose weight for wrestling, but then he quit, and then his symptoms started. He’s got…
Impossible! It’s never sarcoidosis. What a twist! Maybe someone will even get cancer next week!
No closing montage this week, but a few quick cuts: 1. House asks Cuddy to prescribe him some sleeping pills, and after giving him a Cuddy lecture about the party, she does… and asks him what’s haps in Houseville. He admits he hasn’t slept since Kumar offed himself. 2. POWmom is pulling rank, and making her kid get his implant put back in. Hooray for parents who don’t give in to rebellious-but-clueless teens! 3. House looks in the mirror after sleeping the sleep of the drugged, and expects Amber to be gone-but no such luck.
I actually enjoyed this one a lot. Lots of humor, and it was cool to get a look inside House’s head. Question: why is House projecting Amber as his inner demon? My guess is he still feels at least as guilty about her death as he does Kutner’s.
Besides, do you really care to see Kal Penn doing this?
Stay tuned, we only have, what, two episodes left? And one of them should be the long-promised Huddy hookup! SO TANTALIZING! Copyhacker out!
***To read Copyhacker’s new short story, Left Coast Karma, click here.