House finale: "Help Me"

Warning: Here thar be spoilers for the House finale. Skip over them if you haven't seen it.

House is appointment TV for our home, one of the very few programs to be so (others include No Reservations, Southland, and Top Gear), so we were jazzed for the season finale. But after reflection, I have to say I was disappointed in the writers and the seeming pandering to the audience.

But Joanna, you say, the writers have to do what the audience wants or they won't have an audience. True. But I believe they could have created a much better hour of TV and still pleased the audience by simply giving Hugh Laurie the opportunity to act.

Gregory House is one of the most compelling characters on TV because he's a tortured soul; the conflict between the man he is and the man he wishes he could be is the heart of the show. What's interesting about him is not who he's kissing this week, but the layers of emotion and hidden vulnerability in the character. This week's finale had so much opportunity to showcase Hugh Laurie - he could have killed it - but they had to make time for Thirteen's issues (whatever they were - the writers couldn't make me care no matter how hard they tried) - and and the Cuddy-House dancing, which felt shoehorned into the hour time allowance*. If they really wanted to go that route, they should have done a two-part finale, ending with him on the floor, pain pills in hand, contemplating the virtual suicide of swallowing the Vicodin, torn between doing the right thing and easing the pain from everything in his world going wrong. Instead, Cuddy suddenly arriving and announcing that she'd broken it off with Lucas seemed like a cop-out, a convenient decision made to throw a bone to the audience. It seemed like a bad romance movie. Actually, it would have been wonderful to end the series with that scene. But we've got at least another season to discover - where do we go from here?

There was so much to be explored in House's unexpectedly compassionate interactions with Hannah. He allowed himself to connect with her, comfort her, hold her hand, share his secrets with her - in short, be human, be vulnerable - only to have her ripped from him anyway by a fat embolism. It was like the world spat in his face and his gut-deep sorrow at her loss was the best part of the episode.

There were a few things they did do fabulously - House's speech to Hannah urging her to amputate was honest and sincere, and the amputation scene was gut-wrenching and stomach-turning; and the moment when the ambulance doors opened in time for Foreman to witness House's shock at Hannah's death was heartbreaking in the best and worst way. Foreman's attempt to reach House through his sorrow and anger was a wonderful scene between two men who, in my eyes, understand each other better than anyone else. Hugh Laurie did some amazing acting work with what he'd been given. Besides, you want to make me cry? Get a man crying onscreen. Augh, I'm dead.

It was good. But getting the hell out of Hugh Laurie's way and letting him do what he does best would have made it fantastic.

I welcome your thoughts on this or anything else.

And now for something completely different:


*I'm probably the only person on the planet who doesn't care for the House-Cuddy pairing. Boooring.