House recap: Brazilian Whacked

While Foreman helps the new ducklings with a disabled drag racer, House treats a spy who may have been poisoned in South America
Ep. 06 | Aired Nov 6, 2007

KEEPING IT RIO House deduced that the CIA man had been posted in Brazil.

To use a very bad pun, I wasn't completely nuts about this episode, in which a CIA spy essentially suffered the Brazilian equivalent of a peanut allergy and became a shell of his former self. The diagnosis of a nut overdose seemed pretty anticlimactic. Until then, the plot had worked well enough for those of us who love the mystery of bizarro ailments. It seemed the Langley patient had radiation poisoning (similar to the Russian KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was dosed with polonium-210). But no, our spy simply ate too many castanhas-do-pará. For a moment during this two-patient hour, I was hoping for a '50s Cold War theme — with one person the victim of a KGB assassination and the other suffering from polio. Instead, the plots never thickened. What's more, the opening sequence with the drag racer was too reminiscent of the season-premiere opener with the astronaut who went all trippy during a flight simulation. I did, however, love the scene on the private jet to Langley where House was pouring that premonitory bag of nuts down his gullet as if they were Vicodins.

It turns out this episode was a lengthy tease to introduce CIA doc Michael Michele as a new physician for House to play doctor with on the show. She has already spiked his blood pressure and passed the reflex test by not slapping our hero when he said to her, ''You know I happen to have a position available on my penis.'' (I was actually afraid to write this quote down for fear of getting slapped by my editor.) So now she'll administer doses of sexual tension at regular intervals. I'm eager to see how House will top the comment above.

Meanwhile, back at the reality-show subplot, I can't believe Dr. Grumpy caused polio-like symptoms in a patient to see if he could save the world with orange juice. So he's the reality-show-cheater cliché. I almost expected to see Padma Lakshmi ask him to pack his stethoscope and go. At this point I am not really rooting for any of the mini-docs. I'm suffering reality-competition-show fatigue again and realize that I watch series like House for the smart writing and real acting by aces like Hugh Laurie. You have to wonder which if any of the contestants could add much to a show where a sharp character like Michael Michele just joined the repertory.

I am still psyched, however, during those increasingly rare moments when House banters with Wilson or Cuddy. Loved when House told Cuddy he knows how to kill a man with his thumb and she replied, ''Who doesn't?''

Foreman is getting a ton of airtime, and though it's noble that he wants to do the right thing, it's fascinating how well he plays an arrogant jerk. You would think that since he lacks any levity or wit or charm, viewers would be inclined to vote him off the show, yet I get how integral he is as a foil for House's bad-boy tendencies. Foreman has become the whiny little brother who squeals, ''I'm telling Mom.'' A fun sucker, but that's his job. Balance. He is the House police.

What do you think? Did either subplot have a good payoff? Which mini-doc are you rooting for, and who should go next? And with the addition of Michael Michelle, is the cast getting too big?

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