Welcome to Dissecting House: a blog dedicated to the television show House MD, where analytical reviews of season 8 episodes are posted weekly.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Twenty Vicodin

With 'Twenty Vicodin' as the new premiere title came a lot of speculation about the meaning behind the words and the episode content. In my last post I mentioned that Peter Blake (@pkbhouse) invited fans to suggest reasons for the seemingly obvious yet deceivingly vague title. He RTd his favourite guesses on his Twitter page. There were 17 of them. He later posted:


Obviously being the dedicated (and impatient) fans that we are I thought it would be interesting to look at a few of the guesses. So I chose 4 that I thought could provide a solid foundation for the title 'Twenty Vicodin'.

First of all, it has been confirmed now by Hugh Laurie himself that S8 will begin with House behind bars:

Source: TVLine


It's probably not very diplomatic to include my own RTd answer but I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't actually think it could be a possibility. I know it makes no sense syntactically but you get the picture. 

We find House in jail, he is suffering from withdrawel symptoms after 20 days with no Vicodin. In his desperation he finds a way to access the medicine cabinet in the prison hospital by faking serious symptoms that get him out of his cell. He manages to convince them that he is in so much pain he is about to pass out. They give him the appropriate medication and leave him to recover (because the doctors are well aware that withdrawel is excrutiating, they believe him). He rips the IV out of his arm and manages to break into the cabinet to steal vicodin (because the stronger pain medication will only last so long). He plans to get back into bed and continue his treatment without alerting suspicion. That's when he meets Odette Annable's character who catches him in the act. In order to convince her not to tell anyone he promises to make her part of his team...


I like that in this case 'Twenty Vicodin' is more symbolic: It makes reference to all his most consequential Vicodin abuse with examples that include strong hallucinatory episodes ('Under My Skin' and 'Both Sides Now') in season 5 to 'Bombshells' and 'After Hours'. Pain is a selfish motivator to do anything you can to stop it regardless of whom it harms. It's even worse when Vicodin can no longer cure physical let alone emotional suffering. Everytime he took Vicodin he fractured a part of his future, his addiction led him to alienate even those closest to him. He was almost sent to jail during the Tritter arc (note: it was Cuddy who saved him from his fate then...). The end of his relationship with Cuddy and his emotional shrapnel cut him until he could no longer control his emotions, which led to the last five minutes of 'Moving On'. So in terms of continuity this would also link extremely well to the premiere.


I like the idea of Vicodin being used as a bargaining chip as it's very old school House. The warden will be played by Michael ParĂ©, as reported by TV Line. He will most likely play a prominent role in the episode so it is highly likely that the title is in some part a reference to him. As the most highly renown diagnostician House can ask for whatever he wants if it means that a life will be saved in the process, whether it is orthodox or not. (I wonder what disease he would have?)...Odette Annable's character could be related to the Warden and is the one who begs them to let House save him. House realises she is extremely competent (as well as attractive) and invites her onto the team. 


A slight change to this one. We now know that House will in fact be in jail when S8 begins so hallucination aside it is quite possible that House ODs in Paradise some time after 'Moving On'. The barman notices he has not turned up at the bar that day and enquires about him or someone else finds him, calls the hospital and Odette Annable's character is the one who revives him. They find out who he is and arrest him. Because of his addiction he has built up a resistance and that amount of Vicodin (20) doesn't kill him. Or perhaps he clinically dies for twenty minutes and that is how long it takes to revive him. Whatever happens in his mind during the time he is 'dead' could be part of the time warp.  (I like the Paradise-Purgatory-Hell imagery of this one).

OBSERVATION: Only the text in the pictures belong to the authors themselves. Their (more detailed) views may differ from mine. I simply took their ideas as premeses for mine.

So which, if any, do you think is the closest to the truth? If not, why 'Twenty Vicodin' as the premiere title?

64 days and counting...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Spoon Full Of Jail Makes The Medicine Go Down

Michael Ausiello tweeted earlier letting us know that 'Twenty Vicodin' will be the title of the S8 premiere. Here is what he had to say:

So now we're all left thinking of all the possible reasons for the mention of Vicodin and particularly the number twenty. I don't think that we should necessarily accept that twenty refers to a number of Vicodin.

I'll think about the new title and hopefully come up with something more substantial to post later on. In the meantime the floor is open for any suggestions! 

Yesterday @pkbhouse invited fans to guess the meaning behind 'Twenty Vicodin' and RTd his favourites on Twitter. Check out the suggestions: http://twitter.com/#!/pkbhouse

I wonder if anyone came close.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

S8 Premiere Title Guess : A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

While we wait for Peter Blake to tell us the new title for the premiere of S8 (he will no longer be using 'Dark Matter') this is my suggestion:

'A Stitch In Time Saves Nine'

Any part of this sentence would work well:

'A Stitch' - This could mean an ache, a problem, a solution...

'In Time' - Reference to the time lapse, doing something 'in time' as in succeeding, or waiting for something to happen (being patient)...

'Saves Nine' - He saves nine lives in some way or another (in prison, consulting from afar for patients at PPTH) as a form of retribution....cutting his sentence short perhaps.

The phrase itself as a whole (for those who don't know) means resolving a problem as soon as it presents itself rather than later having to deal with more extreme consequences (a reference to 'Moving On').

We should find out the REAL title today so stay tuned.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

When The Cat Is Locked Up, The Mice Will Play Doctor

Ok, so that's not the original saying. I just wanted to update the blog with the latest [H]ouse news.

SPECULATION: So recently we've had TV Line's speculation about House being in jail at some point during the premiere. Here is what they had to say:

Source: TV Line

Today I found out that Odette Annable will be joining the team as a series regular. Will she be a Cameron, Thirteen or Masters type character? Or will she break the mould completely? Deadline Hollywood broke the news:

Source: Twitter @nikkifinke

If this pans out will House be able to practice medicine after his arrest? Will his medical licence be revoked or suspended? I'm thinking that Annable will perhaps act as House's puppet while he is unable to practice medicine. Any ideas about Annable's character?

So many questions...let the speculation fire burn.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Mr. Sandman Bring Me A Dream

I was listening to Mr. Sandman in the park when I started thinking about how funny it was that they used this song at the beginning of 'Family Practice'. And by funny I mean cleverly ironic. A lot of us thought it was a reference to the obvious, the fact that perhaps what was happening or what was going to happen would not be real, but a dream or a figment of the imagination of some sorts. I suppose in hindsight we weren't far off. 'Bombshells' is a few episodes later...

Let me go back to why I first thought it was clever to use this song. It's about Mr. Sandman bringing her a dream, "make him the cutest that I've ever seen". And then we have House. The anti-dream in terms of what you think you would want. In reality, despite being a miserable mysanthropic addict, he is an utterly fascinating and brilliant man. He is far from a dream though. So this lead me to think about 'Bombshells' and the fact that he appeared to Cuddy in a dream in order for her subconscious to access the fact that on some level she already knew that he would fall back on his old (candy) cane crutch Vicodin. So at least from this perspective it appears to be a parody reference to Mr. Sandman bringing her a dream man. In fact he came in an almost feverish nightmare, a hallucinatory style dream.

Anyway, I just thought I would write this down as I thought it was an interesting, and on the surface a very strange song choice.


As I don't think I'll be able to speak to Miguel any time soon, I'll stick to my theory for now...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Escape

When a little bit of escapism goes a long way...

Life's a beach

Gif tailor-made for me by @ncismelanie_
Thank you!

7x08 "Small Sacrifices" - The Almighty Lie

I wrote this after the episode aired (22.11.11). I'm not exactly sure what possessed me to write something so long, but it was an incredibly interesting episode. So here it is:

One of the predominant themes throughout the episode which is aptly named ‘Small Sacrifices’ (for more reasons than one) is Religion. How it is perceived is contrasted by faith and atheism. Continuing the flow of last week’s “A Pox on Our House” the opening scene refers to a very prominent historic event. The score used creates the tension we’ve come to expect of House. The scenes are almost graphic and the anticipation of waiting for the stake to be driven into the man’s palm results in a sharp intake of breath. The difference from last week is that the scene takes place in the present and pays homage to the past. When the cross is raised, the silhouette of the cross and the man’s back is raised against the backdrop of the city, looking down upon it, as Jesus himself is said to have done. 

The hospital opening scene sees the contrast between the work and personal relationship between House and Cuddy. “What you got against chickens? One got choked last night thanks to you!” (And the chicken as a euphemism for sex metaphor begins…) House refuses to accept he was wrong for lying to his boss (creating a division between work Cuddy and girlfriend Cuddy). The constant back and forth is realistic, entertaining and true to both their characters. The play for power and having the last word keeps the relationship fiery. 

The patient’s circumstance (not the patient himself) attracts House’s attention so much so that we see him visit the patient straight away, which is very unusual. The 'House vs God' scenario begins... The crucifixion was not atonement but bargaining. This closely parallels the five stages of grief we know so well from [H]ouse. The patient bargained for his daughter’s life (which ironically sounds more like a deal with the devil). He has gone through denial (that his daughter only had two months to live), anger (that his wife left him), bargaining (to keep his daughter alive), depression (he is afraid of dying but must die to honour his deal), acceptance (to accept treatment [while being lied to]).  House’s atheism propels him to mock the POTW and he talks about ‘causal determinism’ and explains that “we are hardwired to need answers” . It is a battle between science (medicine and intrinsic self preservation) and Religion (unwavering faith). House believes Religion is the fall back answer rather than the rational one. Interestingly, Chase seems uncomfortable with what House is saying (as although he was/is Catholic he has renounced his faith a fair few times). 

The meeting between House and Wilson takes the format of back and forth lying and probing. Their personal relationship intertwines their business one (talking about cancer while talking about Wilson’s lie). This in fact counters House’s argument that Cuddy should accept to keep personal and business life completely separate.

Wilson, who is usually the moral compass in House, advises him to lie as it will pacify Cuddy’s feelings. House interprets the advice in his own Housian way, and embarks on an ‘I have to make Cuddy lie to get even’ escapade. 

The lab scene provides the opportunity for the audience to find out about Master’s history (her parents and their marriage) and the fact that Taub is anxious about his wife and her fidelity. Chase says the “chickens are coming home to roost” when Taub reveals his wife has a meeting at a hotel. 

Again there is a breach in House’s theory that private life can be kept separate from work. He asks for confidential patient files as “tat for tit”. She asks him to concentrate on “work thoughts” and when telling him she doesn’t like what he’s wearing she becomes suspicious that he is trying to make her lie. 

When Wilson’s office door is locked House also becomes suspicious. He admits to Wilson that he lied and forged Cuddy’s signature. Wilson (the usual moral compass) lies again and says he is busy because he is the Head of Oncology when he is in fact helping Sam. He reveals to propose at the wedding. House mocks Wilson about love and suggests “a Buddhist aquarium” as a perfect place to propose. The darkness of lying and betrayal throughout the episode is countered by mockery, irony and humour.  

Taub ironically has trust issues about his wife’s fidelity. The irony is amplified by the fact that she is possibly cheating with a man in a support group for “people with unfaithful spouses”.

House presents a “33 year old carpenter presenting with narcissism, delusions of grandeur, hallucinations”. However, he is not describing the patient, but “HIM with a capital OMG”. House continuously mocks the POTW about Religion. House suggests the neurological problem is to blame for his ‘delusions’ and suggests an MRI to find God (of course implying that there is no God). 

House’s admission of her forged signature to Cuddy only serves as an entry into the honesty/lie equilibrium. House brings up her DOB that he read in the HR file, believing she lied about it. However she lied to HR, not to him. He wants her to “embrace the value of lying”, which she will not.  

When the diagnosis turns to MS, House asks where the POTW’s friends are. He says all he asks is that they pray for him. To which House replies “always sacrificing, very inspirational”. House does not believe in self sacrifice. The irony is that one could very well argue that he himself suffers from narcissism and delusions of grandeur. The POTW claims that “faith is not a disease” and that medicine will not turn him into an atheist. House counters with “…but [faith] kills a lot of people”. 

The irony and mockery of House with the tailor in a Christ-like pose is overwhelmingly good. He stands over his ‘children’ (always refers to them as ‘kids’) as Jesus did and as the patient did (over the backdrop of the city in the opening scenes). 

Religion comes into play once again with the diagnosis of Marburg MS. He will die in a few days and stem cell (embryonic) experimental treatment is the only option. However the patient’s Religious beliefs will prevent him from accepting treatment. A criticism perhaps, of Religion preventing Science from evolving. The patient believes that accepting treatment is an insult to God.

Masters then wants to use the daughter to persuade the POTW to get treatment in an “honesty is not all bad” policy, which counters House’s beliefs. However he uses it. When the patient refuses the daughter says “If God could do this I hate God”. Religion is constantly the source of disagreement. 

At the wedding Chase’s womanising rampage counters Taub’s belief that his wife is betraying him emotionally by revealing intimate thoughts. When he asks her stop, she does not agree. The tables are very much turned. 

House uses humour constantly when dealing with Cuddy, as he is still slightly uncomfortable with allowing himself to love her. He tells her she looks “simply stunning”. However, she wants is an apology not flattery.  When House asks her “What would you wear?” referring to getting married, the dulcet tones of love in fact hide an ulterior motive.  When she says “I may not be young but I’ll be first time” House catches her in her lie as she was married before in 1987 for 6 days (which he uncovered when he became suspicious she knew too much about divorce law). His entrapment backfires. 

Wilson’s proposal to Sam also backfires. His claim to love her work and her sense of morality negates the fact that she insists she was telling the truth about the radiation levels on the five cases she is being audited on. She leaves him because he has not changed, or better, evolved. 

House once again lies to the patient to save his life. He says he did a PET scan on his daughter and tells him she still has Neuroblastomas and that the CT scan had missed the tiny tumours. “Looks like God broke your deal”. Is morality therefore a relative concept?

When he tells the patient the truth and that he is not being punished for breaking his deal with God; and that therefore there is no God, the POTW replies that God is truly merciful and does exist. “Punishment is proof of God and no punishment is proof of God, ingenious argument”. “Faith is not an argument”. This prompts House to re-evaluate his stance on his stubbornness to prove a point. Masters realises the patient would be dead if House had told her the truth. However she still believes in the absolute value of truth which helps counter House’s theories. 

The turning point in the ‘Huddy’ relationship takes place in Cuddy’s office. He truly believes that if everybody lies, trust is unfounded and fictional. However he has learned that trust is not an argument that can be won or lost. He must suspend cynicism and believe. He then takes a “leap of faith”. “I won’t lie to you again” he (more likely than not) lies to Cuddy. He admits to Wilson that “I lied” and took your advice. He knows he will lie again, but so does she. 

House sacrifices his rationality and reason to appease her. Cuddy sacrifices her moral ground that lying is not acceptable, as she understands that it is his small sacrifice which is of value, and not the fact that he promised never to lie to her again. It was in this lie, in fact, that a middle ground was found and a compromise made.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Does 'Dark Matter' = Time Warping?

My last post referred to the premiere of Season 8 possibly having the title 'Dark Matter'. Peter Blake told us the title was not very revealing in terms of the episode content. Now link this to Michael Ausiello's 'Blind Item':

Is 'Dark Matter' a reference to the time lapse, a sort of black hole in which we not only lose time but valuable exchanges between characters or plot twists...The blind item can of course be talking about various different shows, so there is no concrete evidence that is in fact some insight into the premiere of Season 8.

Here is a little passage I read on Wikipedia (I know..) which I found interesting and which may corroborate this theory. I've highlighted some phrases I thought were relevant in terms of TIME and the AMOUNT of dark matter in the Universe. It's not as sombre as it sounds but if you relate it to House and his misery, he seems to understand a lot about the Universe, not wanting to depend upon the seemingly little amount of 'light'. The part about dark matter also being transparent is of course paradoxical out of context. House himself is a paradox relying on 'happiness' in the form of misery. This could also mean that things that we have missed in the time lapse will later become apparent, in a 'flash back' manner after the 'flash forward'.

I also like the fact that the 'Big Bang' was interpreted by the Friedmann equations. It's more than likely a huge coincidence, but who knows, maybe Liz Friedman has had some input on the episode... 

On a serious note, I really do think the 'Dark Matter/ time lapse theory is a valid one. Is it the correct one? Probably not. But I would like to thank @bnm_productions for talking about dark matter in a scientific term and thus triggering my brain to make the connection. 

So, could [H]ouse be losing time? If so, what will we be missing?

Friday, 1 July 2011

What 'Dark Matter' Will House Be Dealing With?

Peter Blake or @pkbhouse (writer) tweeted telling all [H]ouse fans that the Season 8 premiere could be entitled 'Dark Matter', and said it was a "fake spoiler" because it didn't really reveal anything about the content of the episode. He invited us to guess nonetheless, making sure he keeps fans interested in the show during the hiatus; especially after the 'controversial' ending to the season and Lisa Edelstein's departure from the show.

My first reaction (and my tweet to him) when I read the title : "Brain related? Dark instead of grey because it's House. Or, (more likely), a dark matter as in a sombre, difficult issue?" But that was tweeted on a whim, without much thought. I will consider the matter (sorry, I had to...) and hopefully we can start a discussion.

Looks like we won't be getting any more clues about 'Dark Matter':

Ok, not my most eloquent moment.

So it's all down to us. Think you know what he may be referring to? Just leave a comment.