House, “You Must Remember This”

I couldn’t bring myself to review last week’s episode of House because it was just annoyingly melodramatic, overwrought and fake. When I praised the first half-dozen or so episodes of season seven, I based that opinion on the fact that the series had stopped trying to pull these MAJOR moments out of its basic framework and instead relied on the lighter comfortability between the people who have now known one another for a long time. Last week’s episode ran in direct opposition to my thesis and felt like those horrid season five episodes that annoyed the crap out of me a few years ago. I felt like I had a bit of egg on my face.

Thankfully, “You Must Remember This” is a nice return to the version of House that I find myself enjoying the most these days. This episode is light and playful, but still moderately substantial in its incremental developments for House, and in the case of this episode, Wilson as well. Of course building an episode around House and Wilson is always a fast and easy way to get the series back on track for at least one episode since Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard are always, always, always awesome together. This is particularly true when they’re being immaturely antagonistic to one another.

Here it feels like Wilson hasn’t been in an episode for months even though I’m pretty sure he was in the one before last week’s travesty, and House is worried about him…because he’s taking care of a dead neighbor’s cat. To House, this signifies that Wilson has finally broken down from all the love he’s lost over the years, a tipping point if you will. With Sam randomly ditching him a handful of episodes ago, Wilson’s been something of a mess and with a cat in his apartment, House recognizes that it’s probably time to step in and help his friend. This of course involves yelling at Wilson for becoming a sadsack, male version of the cat lady and trying to manipulate certain circumstances to make Wilson think he’s actually allergic to cats.

This is how House gets things done, but it’s actually an interesting way to explore the changes in his relationship with Wilson. At this point, we just have to go with the series’ insistence that House has actually changed and now he’s legitimately happy with Cuddy, trying to figure out what that does to his relationship with a single Wilson is actually a smart writing move. the balance between the two of them has been completely swapped, only it’s probably more dangerous for Wilson to be depressed, moody and unwilling to move on. With House, that seemed to be the norm for so many years that it didn’t really matter how often Wilson tried to snap him out of it. Changing your outlook on life for the better is much healthier than changing it for the worse and that’s where these two guys are right now. And no matter his personal circumstances, House has almost always been there for Wilson, so his insistence that Wilson go out on the town prowling for strange fully works.

The end result of this story, wherein Wilson reveals he just can’t bring himself to date anyone else yet and House gives him a 10-day deadline, isn’t much of a revelation or development, but it suggests more interesting things to come between the two of them. And really, I’m not sure what else I could ask for from a House-Wilson plot. Their relationship always keeps this series afloat, even in the worst of times.* The plot could have been much more melodramatic, so there’s that.

*You know, like last week.

And shockingly, this week’s case and patient were actually pretty great. The patient could remember everything from her life, but get this: IT ACTUALLY CAUSED HER PROBLEMS. More seriously though, I thought the developments of the case and the goofy memory effect were well-executed, particularly if we consider how tepid this series has been at creating even moderately interesting cases over the past two and a half seasons. If I can actually remember what happened and who the person was by the time I write these reviews, I consider the case to be a success. Yay for low expectations.

This episode also continued the season’s desire to take Taub deeper into the depths of depression by having him fail the his credential renewal exam. This is certainly out of nowhere, but I appreciated that the writers tied it back to his terrible personal circumstances without belaboring the point or bringing back his horrendous ex-wife. Taub used to be my favorite of the new characters, but the series’ insistence on making him have a terrible personal life just frustrates the hell out of me. Approaching it from this angle, especially with a few nice, humanizing scenes for the Worst Person Ever aka Eric Foreman, is a much better way to continue to make Taub miserable.

Obviously, “You Must Remember This” won’t be remembered as an all-time great episode of House, but it’s a nice reminder that the series can still churn out mostly solid, inoffensive andentertaining episodes.

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