It’s a television problem as old as ‘Cheers‘ Sam and Diane. Heck, there’s probably some long forgotten show on the Dumont network that fell apart when the characters with sexual tension eloped then stayed overnight in a hotel room with two twin size beds. For years ‘House‘ showed viewers just enough sexually charged sparring between House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) to convince everyone that they belonged together.
Huddy was maybe five percent of the show. The bulk of the series was House and his team solving medical mysteries. House’s addiction and other personal demons made him one of the most fascinating characters on television. Huddy was a tasty side dish that you always wanted another bite of, but never the entree.
The show teased the couple before, having House hallucinate he was with Cuddy when he was high. At the end of last season, they finally kissed for real. Last night’s season premiere opened with them having a steamy sex scene that involved the television cliche of a woman cleaning a man’s wounds. The most sensual moment was when Cuddy kissed House’s withered leg.
Then they woke up together the next morning and it all went to hell. They spent the rest of the episode basking in their romance. So much for practicing medicine. They took a bubble bath together — a House style bubble bath in which he filled the tub with mouthwash. Cuddy complained that it burned, resulting in House’s best retort of the episode, “How do you think my anus feels?”
Lisa Edelstein previews the season:
Meanwhile, chaos was afoot at Princeton-Plainsboro. Due to a series of contrivances, the one neurosurgeon on the schedule went home sick and the hospital was at risk of being decertified as a trauma center. House convinced Cuddy to play hooky, hiding the problem from her. Apparently, giving into their feelings has impaired their brains. It’s supposed to be romantic, but it came across as incredibly selfish. For all they knew, there could have been an ebola outbreak and a ten car pile up crowding the emergency room. Not even Meredith and McDreamy at their worst would pull a stunt like this.
It’s up to Chase (Jesse Spencer), Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) and Foreman (Omar Epps) to figure out the ostensibly hilarious mystery illness that has made the neurosurgeon flee the hospital. It turns out to be food poisoning. Afterward, Thirteen disappears. She led Foreman to believe that she was participating in a clinical trial for Huntington’s Disease, but it turns out that she never signed up. She will be gone for much of the season, thanks to Olivia Wilde’s burgeoning film career.
Cuddy and House are oblivious, as they spend the entire episode hiding their sexscapades from a snooping Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and talking about what it all means. This is the precise sort of conversation that House has spent his whole life avoiding. Seeing him have a sincere conversation with Cuddy after the years of sexual harassment is disconcerting. He even nobly tries to talk his way out of the relationship: “You’re going to try to convince yourself I’ve changed, then I’ll start doing all those horrible things again because I haven’t changed.” But in the end, Cuddy convinces him they can go the distance and he tells her loves her.
This was the least House-like episode of ‘House’ ever. The acting was terrific, but it felt more like ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Hardcore Huddy shippers may have been delighted, but it was enough to make this viewer long for the good old days of bizarre ailments that were caused by people lying about their sex lives.