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House Recap: Episode 16, "The Softer Side"

House Rundown: Episode 16, "The Softer Side"

Only when you're dealing with someone as crotchety as Dr. Gregory House could a good mood be a sign of major trouble. But that's exactly what happens on this week's House, when House's heart suddenly grows a couple of sizes and he starts being . . . well, I wouldn't go so far as "nice," but maybe "less mean." Finding out why House is acting civilized becomes a major focus of the team, which is otherwise working on a medical case that's reminiscent of last week's Private Practice. Ready to chat about it? Just


It's interesting to see the way a small change in House's behavior affects his relationships with his colleagues. Kutner is the first to spot it after House appeases his patient's parents; he tells Wilson, who thinks House must have had sex with Cuddy; when the answer to that is no, he realizes that House must be keeping something from both of them. Each person tries to come up with a rational reason House is acting polite — "Maybe he had a great cup of coffee. Or a tremendous bowel movement." — but when House stops breathing at work, they know there's a real problem. So, of course, they make the logical leap to House being on heroin. Heh. At least they got the drug part right: House has switched to methadone, which makes his pain go away so completely that he tosses his cane into a dumpster in a particularly amusing "Tiny Tim can walk!" scene. It's so good that when Cuddy tells him it's the drug or the job, he chooses the job. Of course, she'd rather have him ("if he buys a new pair of shoes, should we let him smoke crack?"), so she draws up a list of rules — but it doesn't matter. In the end, House realizes he needs his bad mood to be an effective doctor.

About the case: Take last week's Private Practice, age the kid a few years, and you have this week's House patient, born part male and part female. His mom's been pushing him to be all boy, and the kid has been kept in the dark — until Thirteen finds a suicidal-sounding poem and tells him he should ask his parents what his "vitamins" really are. Yeah, turns out that poem was part of an assignment to write like Sylvia Plath (which cannot possibly exist, or every parent in that school would think their kids were suicidal), and Thirteen has just destroyed the kid's relationship with his parents unnecessarily. It's interesting to watch her with this kid: She sees connections to the way her father handled the possibility of her having Huntington's, and she clearly thinks she's doing the right thing by intervening.

Meanwhile, Thirteen and Foreman's attempts to keep their relationship a secret aren't going so well, but I confess: I'm bored again.Kutner and Taub badmouthing one of them to the other made me chuckle, though, with Taub doing his robotic Foreman face face and Kutner telling Foreman at least he won't be dumped for a girl.

Some other thoughts:

  • Signs that House is happy: He shaves, he wears a tie (he owns a tie!), he doesn't make a patient in pain be more in pain.
  • House to Cuddy after Foreman's nipple-twist shocks House's heart back to normal: "I think my penis stopped breathing. Do you know CPR?"
  • I cracked up at Wilson trying to have a phone call about House while House was right there: "Well, that would certainly explain the inappropriate responses."

So: Do you prefer mean Vicodin House or slightly less mean methadone House? Are you still on board with, er, Foreteen? Sound off below.

Photos courtesy of Fox

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