The news last week that Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy) would not be returning for season 8 of House was a big disappointment to me. I like the character a lot and I really liked the House/Cuddy relationship. In previous posts, I expressed my disappointment in the break up of the relationship not just because I’m a sucker for a nice romance, mainly because as much as I love Hugh Laurie, the outrageousness of the character House is almost cartoonish. No one could act like that in reality and function as a human being surely? I liked that House had a stab at a relatively normal life – a relationship. They didn’t make him into a pussycat, but the extremes were toned down a little. The show appeared to be actually having House develop as a character rather than be the same bitter, insane but brilliant doctor. Since the break up, House has reverted to the Vicodin (can he really be licensed to practice medicine when permenantly high?) and it is back to the cranky insanity and it’s just all kind of old hat to be honest. We’ve seen it all before – for seven seasons! Last week’s episode that saw him take a scalpel to his own leg was just gruesome (although it was a much better hour of drama than this one.) Would it propel House into a change? Of course not!
In this episode Cuddy tried to get him to talk about the break up, and we actually see that she is having trouble moving on herself. When she does – inviting an eligible and far more sane man to dinner – we get the just bizzarely extreme finale of House driving his car right into her house! Attempted murder anyone?
The case of the week was a disappointingly dull and mundane one involving the excellent actress Shohreh Aghdashloo (and yep, I had to go look up THAT spelling!) who several years later is still memorable for her turn on 24. The heavy handed parallels to House situation were very crudely drawn. Throw in a light weight pregnancy storyline for Taub and we had what was a disappointing end to what has been a season of highs and lows. Since the House/Cuddy breakup the show has pretty much jumped the shark and I find it hard to see how the situation will improve next year.
By all accounts, the network was looking to save money and wanted Lisa Edelstein to take a pay cut/appear in less episodes. I don’t know if her offer was worse that Robert Sean Leonard or Jesse Spencer and Omar Epps – wonder if young hot movie starlet Olivia Wilde was offered more cash?? Whatever, Edelstein took the decision to quit, and this is an actress who has always been invested in the show and the character.
I find it hard to see what will happen next year. We will presumably have to have a new boss with no Cuddy (unless she remains unseen but still in charge) and that could bring a while new wave of tedious conflicts with the new guy/gal. Will House even be in the same situation or could we see him serve a spell in prison after his car crashing shenanigans? The puzzle element of the cases has been very mixed this year, as have the patients of the week. While the first half of the season that saw House and Cuddy develop their relationship was very enjoyable, it’s been one huge downhill slide since then. Hugh Laurie’s contract is up at the end of season 8, I wonder, and in many ways hope they call it a day then. Of the many excellent finales around, this was one of the weakest. It will take a lot to convince me to be a fan with no Cuddy and just nutty House.