season 2

House M.D.: Season 2

House season 2

House MD season 2 DVD

 This past week I rewatched season 2 of House MD because I bought season 7 of House MD.  That probably does not seem to make a whole lot of sense, I admit.  I am rewatching all of the House MD seasons, but I just did not want to watch season 1 again.  I love season 1, but I have seen it at least four times and so I started the rewatch with season 2.  It was the second time I saw the second season. (Wow, so far I feel like this paragraph is an effort in writing a tongue-twister.)

Season 2 consists of 24 episodes that began airing in 2005.  I feel that I need to explain some of my feelings toward television drama.  I am a strong believer in dramas being dramatic, fictional, and multi-faceted.  Following the history all the way back to the Dionysia events of ancient Greece, we cannot deny that tragedy and comedy upon the stage are almost necessary conditions of Western human culture. So, if we enumerate “theatre-men” like Euripides, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Alfred Hitchcock, and Martin Scorsese, we can see that throughout history, theatre was never dull, disengaging, or forgettable.  While in the contemporary era television seems to be a distraction or a hobby, there is a definite core of cultural necessity tied within it.  Sure, a lot of television programming is frivolous and pointless – I would never write an apology for its intellectual vitality.  Nevertheless, there is something very natural and deeply-rooted about television shows that are dramatic, amusing, and entertaining.  House MD is usually all three.

I know that when I watch House MD, I am watching fiction. I know that I am watching theatre. I know that I may have to willingly suspend some disbelief. These are all normal elements of theatre. I feel like House MD would do very well if judged by ancient Greeks.  So, sacrifice the bull and ready the goat….

I could not remember when House’s ex-wife shows up. Apparently, its at the end of season 1.  The first episode of season 2 is called “Acceptance” and the title has a lot to do with House and his ex-wife, who (as a lawyer) has taken a position at the Hospital.  It also has to do with the patient House and his team are treating:  a death row inmate.  The inmate is played by none other than LL Cool J.  There are interesting dynamics between House, Cuddy, Stacy, and Wilson that run through the first part of the season.  While the individual characters are being developed and their relationships explored, there are a variety of unique, interesting, and complex medical cases hanging in the balance.

Starting a season off with a death row inmate can seem hack, but of course it raises the predictable issues. Is the death penalty just? Should doctors give equal treatment to a death row inmate and any other patient? These ethical “situations” continue throughout the season. In the sixth episode of the season, “Spin,” ethical issues surrounding performance-enhancing drugs in sports are raised.  In “The Mistake,” we learn of Chase’s father’s death and about a mistake made by Chase that led to the death of a patient.  A disciplinary committee investigates the actions and decisions made by Chase and House.  In “House vs. God,” the territory of faith healing and science is explored when a religious teenager is admitted.

In other episodes we meet House’s parents, meet an ex-bandmate of House, battle a case of life-threatening insomnia, and treat a patient who cannot communicate using spoken words.  All of these are interesting (albeit, probably not very plausible) cases. It’s good television – good theatre.  But the best episodes of the season are the two-part “Euphoria” episodes in which Foreman is on the verge of death and the last episode, “No Reason,” wherein House is shot in his office. We also get some zingers such as learning that Cuddy is considering in vitro fertilization.

House is as obnoxious, witty, and caustic as ever.  The script writers give us several great quotes per episode, however, I think the episode “Forever” has the best ones. A couple of these become “classic” in the show, and Hugh Laurie delivers them perfectly:

  • Ideas are not soda cans. Recycling sucks. Give me something new and shiny.
  • I ask you, is almost dying any excuse for not being fun?
  • Idiots are fun – no wonder every village wants one.

Overall, each episode provides solid theatrical performances that entertain the audience. The show is consistent, relatively intellectually engaging, and fun. Season 2 of House MD wins the goat at the Dionysia.

5 stars

Criminal Minds: Season 2

Criminal Minds 2

Criminal Minds DVD season 2

I finished watching Criminal Minds season 2.  It was about the same as season 1.  There were a few decent episodes, there were some really not good episodes.  Overall, it hasn’t gotten better, but at least it has not gotten worse.  Some of the scenarios/cases are over the top in this season. (I say as if any serial killing is not “over the top”…..)  Specifically, episodes “Sex, Birth, Death” and “The Last Word” are examples of really depraved and twisted killers.  In fact, the former is so bizarre and disturbing that I feel its a bit too much to have been aired on network television.

The writers did attempt to develop some of the characters.  We see this with the episode (“Profiler, Profiled”) that takes place in Chicago and provides us with some yucky details of Morgan’s past. This isn’t a great episode, but it does represent the entire season.  Basically, one of the overarching concepts of this season is that those in the BAU are just as much hunters as the killers in the episode “Open Season.”   The last episode drives this point home with a scene involving Agent Hotchner.

There are a variety of cases.  One involves Muslim fanatical terrorism, another bank robberies, another the Russian mob.   However, and this is one of my complaints about the show, practically all the killers/killings are traced back to some depravity involving sex.  It seems like the goal of the BAU is to connect how a killing relates to sex – in some way.  Now, surely, there are some sexually-motivated serial killers. However, watching this season, I feel like underneath all the variables and circumstances, it all starts with deviant sex.  Did Freud write this show? Are the writers channeling him?

I still like Garcia.  Elle is gone in this season.  Overall, I have trouble rating this series. I guess somewhere between 2 and 3 stars for this season.  It wasn’t very good. However, its “easy” to watch in that one episode just rolls into another and another.

2 stars

Fringe: Season 2

Fringe 2

Fringe DVD season 2

Tonight I finished watching the second season of Fringe. Its difficult to say how this season ranks with the first season – I enjoyed both quite a bit. I don’t know that I could pick which one is “better.”

This season has several “reveals” in it, so if you don’t wanna know… don’t read any further. Once again, Walter and Astrid steal the show, but during this season Olivia and Peter became far more interesting, as well. There was one episode that is “flashback” to 1985 when Peter dies and one episode that is like taking an LSD-trip with Walter (“Brown Betty”).  The latter is very weird and not at all like any other episode. I don’t know if that makes it good or bad. I guess I just don’t know what the writers were thinking with that one.

Not all the episodes in this season were part of the “over there/second dimension” storyline, which is nice. I think its a good thing that we see other odd cases as opposed to only ones dealing with the parallel universe and Walter’s exploits there.  In some of these episodes we learn more about the Observers, as they are called, and we also get a lot of our backstory questions answered. People who watched season 1 will definitely want to watch season 2 for all the answers. Most of the answers we get are regarding Peter.

The season ends not so much with a cliffhanger, but with Olivia in a bad spot, so to speak.

Walter:  “You know what? You know what you’re putting into our bodies? Death! Delicious, strawberry-flavored death!”
4 stars