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September 20, 2014

House: Joy

by Jen Creer, posted Oct 29th 2008 11:15AM
House: Joy(S05E06) Maybe it's just me, but one of the things I love best about House is that the writers often use the medical mystery as a parallel for the mini dramas occurring between House and his staff. Last week, with "Lucky Thirteen," the patient's fate actually coincided directly with Thirteen's, because the two women were lovers and were, briefly, both dying. This week, the patient(s)' symptom of sleepwalking was synonymous with House and Cuddy both sleepwalking through their desire for each other, and their waking to that desire paralleled the successful treatment of the patients.

I really liked the parallel structure of the dual plot points, even though I thought it was a little obvious. One of the things that keeps me hooked on House is that even when they do obvious, they do it pretty well.

"Joy" was a great episode because there is a lot to unpack. And let's face it-one of the joys of House is peeling back the good doctor's layers.

If the show were only about medical mysteries, we probably would have all tuned out along ago. (Okay, that's a lie, but the other materials do add to the show's greatness). Let's look at the patients a bit: Cuddy is younger than House, and the daughter is younger than the father. The fact that the patient pair is father and daughter is troubling to my parallels unless you want to get all Elektra about things, and I don't. So let's just say that the only similarities we are going to focus on here are: the daughter's dark hair; the father's 5 o'clock shadow and drug use; and the duo's seeming indifference to each other until they are successfully treated. Literally and metaphorically they wake up.

The patient, Jerry Harmon, aka Jamal Hammoud, lies about his identity. House does not lie about his name, but he lies to himself and everyone around him about who he is and his own motivations for things. We are catching glimmers of this, as at the end of "Birthmark," a couple of weeks ago, House tells Wilson, "My dad is dead."

Jerry Harmon can't believe he has done cocaine; he insists that he is not the type of person to do things in his sleep that he wouldn't do awake (and how would he know?). House has always claimed that he does drugs because he is in pain, but in this episode, he asks Thirteen, "Is that why you do drugs? Because you're happy? Most people do 'em because they want to be happy."

House has always insisted that everybody lies, so it only follows that he is probably the biggest liar of them all, never owning up to his own misery. Instead, he focuses on distracting himself and everyone around him by making everyone miserable too. This doesn't mean that other characters on the show haven't repeatedly pointed this out to House; it simply means that he has never owned it.

House's poking and prodding of Cuddy has amplified. He has always treated her rudely, but he is really pushing the boundaries of any relationship with his insistence that Cuddy will be a terrible mother, that her planned adoption is a mistake. He tells everyone, including Cuddy, that Cuddy will change her mind, that she doesn't really want the baby. This, of course, is a lie, but for most of the episode, we are supposed to be too distracted by this to focus on the truth he is really protecting her from: The reality is that many birth mothers change their minds about giving up their babies. If he keeps the ground shifting beneath Cuddy's feet, perhaps he is trying to keep her from being too happy about the adoption because he doesn't think it will happen for the reason that, in fact, it doesn't happen.

House lies again at the end of the episode when Cuddy asks him why he has to negate everything. He says, "I don't know," but then the kiss between them says it all. Okay, truth here: I adore House, and I think he's hot, but that kiss kind of skeeved me out. But anyway. He might be the consummate liar, but people's bodies do not lie. Now that he and Cuddy have woken to their desire for each other, will either of them be honest enough to continue it? After five seasons, having them kiss is a risk, but with Gregory House, it's a pretty safe bet that things won't get boring.

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Brhee

The strange thing is that House's negativity about Cuddy being a mom when he thought she was going to adopt made perfect sense to me. House has always had a thing for Cuddy-- and a baby would be competition for her affection that he couldn't compete with. He feels threatened that she wants to take this step into motherhood. This is compounded by the fact that he is so afraid of his own feelings that he won't make himself vulnerable enough to admit them. So in typical House fashion- he acts like a jerk, trying to talk her out of adopting by naking her see how bad she'd be at it.

By the same token, his remorse at the end- when she had lost the chance for adoption- also seemed natural to me. He didn't want her to adopt, or have a baby on her own- yet, he didn't realize how much losing the child would hurt her.

The kiss is as close as he was willing to go to admit his feelings.

Wilson's commentary about the pigtails and the inkwell highlight this. After all-- we all know that the boys only tease and torment the one's they have a thing for.

November 01 2008 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nick

look...if Cuddy hated House for being an ass, she would have fired him, plain and simple
of course, she claims she only keeps him around since he's a good doctor, but come on, even if u had an amazing doctor like House, but you couldn't stand him, you would fire him

the fact is, she's grown used to, and even likes his gruff exterior
House even admits, on occasion, that she helps him sometimes

yes, the kiss was a little odd, but what do you expect? these are two people who have been holding back from each other for years, who have never gone further than a little bit of sexual tension

unless, of course, the rumors about their one-night stand are true...(house did state in a 3rd season episode that they spent the night together once)

anyways, i miss stacy, and it would be good for her to come back and shake stuff up even more. i heard rumors last april about a) there being something that happens between house and cuddy, and b) that stacy might come back. one has come true, so im still waiting on b)

October 30 2008 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
vacelts

I know that kiss was suppose to be the big moment of show this week, but it was an after thought for me. I spent the whole episode fuming at House.

I know he's Mister Hard to Get Along With, but I think he hit a new low this season, but particularly this episode. I was so angry with him for ruining Cuddy's happiness.

Being a mom (or becoming one) is hard enough without some arrogant ass trying to pick you apart.

And then trying to show up at the end to comfort her (or ease his guilt for giving her a hard time) drove me nuts. If I were Cuddy I'd never let him in my house.

But that shows us that despite her exasperation with House at times, she has feeling for him, which explains the kiss.

A good episode in that he made me scream at the TV, but as a mom hard to watch.

October 30 2008 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

Cuddy & House...ewwwww...GROSSSS!

October 29 2008 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

On spoilertv there is another version of the kiss which is actually a lot better than the one that was shown.

I think this has been a long time coming. It's been hinted for a while now that House has feelings for her. They fit together really well and I can't wait to see what's in store for them.

October 29 2008 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rob

loved it loved it loved it. It's what we have been waiting these past 4 seasons for, Cuddy & House get it on. This will defo screw with the House/Wilson dynamic. Loved the opening scenes but disappointed to see them sticking the needle in the hip again 2 eps in a row!

October 29 2008 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aj

I thought there was an epsiode, I think it was the one where there was a benifit poker game, where it was revealed that when House and Cuddy first met, they ended up having sex once.

October 29 2008 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
khamel

agree that the kiss was awkward.

but the strangest thing about the episode was the directing. alot of strange shots of peoples faces, there was that odd scene where house, kutner and taub were sitting on the bench and 13 came to tell them about something. i rarely notice stuff like directing (especially in tv) but it was so different from the regular episodes that it was jarring. it wasn't even bad, just different - something you dont expect from such a straightforward show (atleast in production).

October 29 2008 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to khamel's comment
Joey Geraci

Wouldn't she have gotten some kind of legal agreement from the mother that would sever her parental rights? I was thinking, as the girl changed her mind, that Cuddy not fighting it had to mean something. As it is, it looks like the writers wanted to end the baby story at the end of the episode, but I think most people in Cuddy's position would have got the mother to sign some paperwork. Maybe you can't do that till the baby's born? I don't know.

Yea, the kiss was crazy! House's writers have a habit of doing that, don't they, putting some key event or piece of dialogue in the last half-minute or so of the episode. Kind of annoying when my DVR likes cutting off House a little early.

October 29 2008 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Joey Geraci's comment
Ari

i love your thoughts on House.

I LOVED the kiss. I thought it was passionate. I can't wait to see what they do with House and Cuddy!

October 29 2008 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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