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

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Parents Episode Review

Clowns are often the stuff of nightmares. A symbol widely associated with the happiness of children can also be terrifying. The fact that at the beginning of the episode the children are not happy indicates that the clown has a negative connotation, which is more actively expressed in hindsight. The nightmare (the first symptoms of the disease) begins with the clown and ends with the clown (the truth about the sexual abuse). House episodes are often cyclical.

The patient has a repressed memory, perhaps even one that has been completely erased from his unconscious. Because of the way the storyline develops we believe the mother is the guilty party for keeping the son from seeing his father. The inversion happens only near the end when the disease links to the father having sexually abused the child. This strongly reinforces the point which runs throughout the episode that biological parents are not necessarily the best parents. This actually applies to both parents: Maybe the mother "ripped off the band aid too late". While trying to protect him she screwed him up as he is perhaps now even more determined to make a connection with his father. His father also discouraged him from school, but does his mother not want him to become a clown because of what it represents or is it also about the need for her son to be a success? I found it terribly sad when I thought back to when Taub is talking to the patient and he says that he wants to pass on the joy that his dad gave to him. Which poignantly leads to his mother believing it's better for him to think his dad is dead but decent.

The question of nature predominating nurture takes centre stage. Does matching DNA mean you should have the right to raise your biological child? Legally it does, but morally? House says that all parents screw up their children, to which Taub (in other words) replies, then what does it matter if I keep my daughter?

House, in his usual habit of analysing his team, talks about their parents and how they screwed them up using varying techniques. Chase had a workaholic father and an alcoholic mother who neglected him, but which led him to read medicine and become a successful doctor. Park’s parents were overbearing and so House says she has to measure their affection in hours (as she believes a child needs stability and dedication of time from both parents), Taub is a parent (his daughters have the potential of being "screwed up squared")…and finally after House manipulates her by not manipulating her we find that Adams’ parents were very good parents but that she ended up being screwed up because of it. Instead of working hard as an escape to suffering, she romanticised it and made it happen, which makes her "the most screwed up of all" (and which led her to work in a prison).

When we see Taub at Rachel’s door, what we assume he’ll say is that they can take Sophia (now hilariously also referred to as Sophie; his other daughter) with them. He still believes that it matters to his daughters that he is there for them, that they will somehow recognise that and not be indifferent to who raises them at this early age.

The subplot of the boxing match was superb. I sensed some funny business was happening when Foreman was telling Wilson that he had to be his friend to keep House out of jail, and then when Wilson walked into House’s apartment I just knew. House manipulated him because of his kindness. Wilson takes it on the chin like a champ though. “I’m going to that fight, you let me worry about logistics.”

The clinic patient: Ironically the treatment for the imaginary disease (diabetes type two) is the cause of his actual disease. Incidentally House drinking "urine" before we knew it was apple juice made me simultaneously laugh and shudder. Also, the clinic patient's imaginary disease linked to his dad is an inverted parallel of the patient's dad actually giving his son syphilis.

House's parents: He faux reluctantly says that his decent daddy of the cloth was indecent with his married mother. His step father (John, a marine) was very strict and demanding. House is screwed up and he needs someone other than himself to blame. House hates being a disappointment so it made me wonder whether he had had any contact with his mother since jail.

I really enjoyed this episode, it was very rich in layers and the patient's story really captivated my attention which isn't always the case with the POTW.

Ps. I found it absolutely hilarious that House was stroking Taub's daughter like the Bond villain (and Dr. Evil) strokes his white Persian cat.


  1. Tracyhepburnfan:

    Yes, I too wonder if House has had any contact with his mother since Mayfield. Does she even know about him being institutionalized and imprisoned?

    House says that all parents screw up their kids. How does he view his mother as having screwed him up?

  2. Interesting question. Perhaps by lying to him about his biological father, so that House craves for a connection (as the boy in this episode did with his father). Then we discover that his biological father who was supposed to be 'Heavenly' impregnated his married mother.

    Another question: Does it mean that both parents are in some way responsible for screwing a child up or can it be attributed to only one parent? It was a perfect theory for a House episode.

  3. El payaso de verdad me aburrió. Pero que conste que me vi interesado por lo que estaba sucediendo.

    El episodio es interesante, no lo puedo negar... Y tu revisión como siempre...

    Y con respecto al tema de los padres, bueno, ¿qué puedo decir? Creo que es un tema delicado, pero House como siempre lo explora como uno no se espera...


  4. Tracyhepburnfan:

    Yes, I was thinking along those lines as well.That her lying to him about his parentage is how she screwed him up.

    Remember the line he said to Taub about the heart wanting to tell him, but the brain knowing he was better off not knowing? Could that also relate to House's parental issues?
    Maybe in the back of his mind he sees his mother as having to make the choice between head/heart in regards to telling him the truth about his parentage or even staying married to John?

    That is a good question about whether a child being screwed can be attributed to just one parent. It was a perfect theory. I would think both parents make choices, even if it is a choice of inaction/passivity, like POTW's mom and House's mom that screws up a child.