HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

TV Review: Hugh Laurie Returns as Reliable as Ever on ‘House’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – Last season of “House” opened with a divisive episode in which our beloved doctor (Hugh Laurie) spent some time away from Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in a “Cuckoo’s Nest”-inspired tale of potential madness. Once again, the writers of one of the most successful shows of the last decade have chosen to start the new season of “House” with something a bit left-of-center in “Now What?,” premiering tonight on FOX, but this episode may have longer-lasting repercussions.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 3.5/5.0
Television Rating: 3.5/5.0

At the end of season six, Dr. Gregory House and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) finally had a seriously touching moment in which she revealed her love for him. As the title of the episode makes clear, now what? Can this often-divisive relationship turn into a romantic one? Having recently gone through the trauma of losing a patient, faced with this potential life-changing moment, and recognizing that his boss is lying next to him, House ditches work. He spends the day with Cuddy playing chess, making out, and trying to solve what could be his biggest mystery — Is there room for love in his cynical life?

Hugh Laurie returns as Dr. Gregory House in the seventh season of HOUSE premiering Monday, Sept. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2010 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Justin Stephens/FOX
Hugh Laurie returns as Dr. Gregory House in the seventh season of HOUSE premiering Monday, Sept. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Photo credit: ©2010 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Justin Stephens/FOX

It would have been remarkably ambitious (although probably a bit frustrating to some fans of the show) if the premiere of “House” had taken place entirely in the doctor’s apartment, but the doctor’s decision to take the day off has repercussions back at the office. Hospitals need to have a licensed neurosurgeon on staff or be forced to shut down their emergency room and even transfer the stable ICU patients to a building with a full staff. When the powers that be learn that there’s no surgeon in the building, Chase (Jesse Spencer), Taub (Peter Jacobson), Foreman (Omar Epps), and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) scramble to fill the position and stumble across a doctor in the middle of his own medical crisis.

House (Hugh Laurie, R) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein, L) explore a romantic relationship in the HOUSE season premiere episode
House (Hugh Laurie, R) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein, L) explore a romantic relationship in the HOUSE season premiere episode “Now What?” airing Monday, Sept. 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Photo credit: ©2010 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Taylor/FOX

While they try to cure the surgeon and stay in business, the boys also try to deal with the revelation that Thirteen is leaving. She’s headed to a medical trial for her Huntington’s Disease. The varied responses from Chase, Taub, and Foreman are one of the highlights of the premiere. It’s not a spoiler to reveal that Wilde is taking a leave of absence from “House” — it’s been widely reported — but how it plays out is unexpected and interesting. She will be missed and can’t return soon enough.

How dramatically rewarding can an episode of “House” be when its title character doesn’t leave his apartment? While you have to give credit to the team of “House” for taking these kind of structural risks this many seasons into a program that could have easily gone stale by now, the season premiere undeniably spins its wheels a bit. The writing of the will-they-or-won’t-they dynamic between House and Cuddy as these two determine the scale and boundaries of their relationship feels a bit undercooked. It’s slightly understandable that neither of these confident people want to be the first to jump head first by revealing how clearly they want something long-term with the other but it leads to a slightly stagnant and unbelievable arc to the episode. I just didn’t believe that Cuddy would sit around all day with House, far too unrealistically often with her shirt off, while the two talked around the issues of love. It feels forced.

Having said that, after seven seasons, the principal players on “House” are as confident and talented as ever. Laurie proves yet again that he can play the small moments as expertly as the big ones. He has developed this character far beyond his irascible hospital persona, making him feel well-rounded and three-dimensional in the quiet moments as well as the dramatic ones. And Edelstein has long been an underrated actress, so it’s nice to see her given a chance to do something with depth, even if the writing lets her down.

“House” will quickly return to business as usual and I do admire the nerve of the writing staff to once again keep their doctor out of hospital scrubs for the entire premiere. Even if there could have been a more dramatically interesting way to accomplish the same romantic arc, it’s refreshing to see a show in its seventh season taking creative risks for at least the premiere. And the ripple effect of the final scenes of the premiere will clearly carry through at least the first part of the seventh season. Consider the premiere just the appetizer — it may not be completely satisfying but it bodes well for the full meal.

‘House,’ which airs on FOX, returns on September 20th, 2010 at 7PM CST. It stars Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps, Olivia Wilde, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson, and Lisa Edelstein.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

House Cast

Are all of the cast from the House series recruited from the communist party?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Sherlock Holmes with David Arquette (teaser)

    CHICAGO – Different isn’t bad and might be great, but you’d better have an irrefutable reason to change what was never broken. Campy being the only word to accurately convey this alternate-reality version of Sherlock Holmes with an original script, writer Greg Kramer and director Andrew Shaver try too hard to be different without ever figuring out why.

  • Merry Widow, The

    CHICAGO – Standing up at the Lyric Opera house in Chicago is unusual before a show. But in this case, it was the night after a tragedy, and the operetta “The Merry Widow” – set in Paris, France, in 1905 – was about to unfold. The orchestra struck up La Marseillaise, a reminder that we’ll always have Paris.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions