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4-1: "Alone" 2007.09.25 (recap)


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#271

lurcher

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Posted Sep 30, 2007 @ 6:57 PM

I enjoyed the episode a lot. However, I agree with some posters about having some trepidation about the way the show might go. Definitely do not want shark jumping a la "Fonzie" plotlines in this show.

#272

LA Don

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Posted Oct 1, 2007 @ 1:56 AM

I missed the episode - I teach - and thought Fox on Demand offered it. It doesn't.

Would anyone be able to show me a legitimate place to download this? Either tv.com hasn't made the download available yet, or I'm clicking on all the wrong things. Which is possible! -moocher


Just wanted to let everyone know Amazon has the season premier in their TV download section for free! -harlequinn

It was only 5 msgs earlier. Here's the link to the Amazon page Season 4 Premiere

Edited by TWoP Nikita, Oct 1, 2007 @ 2:09 AM.


#273

cmglover

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Posted Oct 1, 2007 @ 12:20 PM

Ben and Megan's bedroom looks like Pier One threw up all over it.

This is exactly what I thought when I saw it! Okay, actually I thought it was Bed, Bath, and Beyond, but still.

Great recap! Thanks, Sara.

#274

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Posted Oct 1, 2007 @ 4:05 PM

I thought this ep was just okay. I must admit, I don't really miss the cottages that much. But I think they were supposed to get on your nerves. I hope that further episodes this season will be better. I did like Wilson and his guitar stealing plot though!

#275

090108joanna

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Posted Oct 1, 2007 @ 8:55 PM

I found the Africa cause T-shirt oddly out of character for House.


marty -- I see what you're saying, and sort of agree, but not totally. Yes, House is unlikely to outwardly promote a cause such as helping Africa (it would fly in the face of his heavy self-promotion as an uncaring jerk), but I could see him wearing the shirt anyway. He wouldn't talk up a charity like this, but I see the shirt as a way to state his position without actually opening his mouth. As I firmly believe that House is very well-informed about a lot of things, and definitely has political views (even if we never hear them), I could see him non-verbally aligning himself with a charity whose purpose is to promote education, fight poverty, and improve healthcare in a place that desperately needs all of those things. It's part of "Climb out of your holes, people!" -- a display of his indignation over ignorance and bigotry.

#276

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Posted Oct 1, 2007 @ 10:02 PM

I was really hoping to get back into it with this episode, but sadly, it fell short. Hardly missed the Cottages at all. Cuddy seemed strident and even more impotent than usual. Even the Wilson-House dynamic seemed a bit forced. Let's hope things improve.

Sara M's recap is the best thing about this episode. Yay, Sara M!

#277

December54

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Posted Oct 1, 2007 @ 11:40 PM

This is the first season I'm actually watching the show on Fox - first two years I saw only after the fact, on DVD, and last year, since my TV was non-functioning, I decided to basically wait till the season came out on DVD (which meant trying to avoid everything on YouTube, etc. so as not to learn too much out of order).
My experience of seeing this episode just the one time, without the ability to pause and go back and repeat, or the ability to re-watch within a short period of time is that while I very enjoyed some of the humor (the lupus, the guitar scream, the ransom note), it didn't cause me to really get thinking about or feel very touched by House. What I love about this show is the revelation of character that we've been privileged to see over time. We've seen House grappling with fear (of his leg pain's return, of connection [does he enter the restaurant at the end of Half-Wit?]), love (Stacy, and how he understood Mark's ability to love versus his own), his awareness that he seems to lack certain emotions (Meaning; Lines in the Sand), the way he is deeply principled and humane and the ways he is a nasty s.o.b. I've liked how we've learned about the other characters, his associates as well as the one-time patients, through his interactions with them.
But until I read the previous poster suggesting that House is grappling with change (some of which he precipitated when he fired Chase), it hadn't really hit me that - of course - House has got to show everyone, including himself that everything's OK in order for him to continue to function, and that he's extremely uncomfortable with the lack of a team and perhaps suddenly at a loss with how to function. I mean, it's obvious, but I saw the janitor as just someone's gag (and no matter what anyone says, I do not believe doctors dress up janitors to impersonate doctors, although I could imagine a doctor trying to bounce ideas off of one), rather than a desparate attempt to bring the world under control. The guitar playing (which I also don't believe would be tolerated in a "real" hospital environment) was a fun buffer between him and what he didn't want to deal with, namely what to do next.
I've always been bothered by what to me seems to be the unreal idea that doctors would go investigating people's homes, but I've been able to suspend my disbelief. This episode I wasn't entirely able to suspend. I think it was due to a (I hope temporary) change in tone. I'm agreeing with those who appreciate the "darker" tone of the earlier years, and I'm pretty anxious about the survivor-style episodes coming up. Remember, though, when House tried to find a replacement for Cameron back in the first season - those job interviews were indeed funny, outrageously un-p.c., and well done. So.....

#278

Scaramanga

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 7:30 AM

I found the Africa cause T-shirt oddly out of character for House.


Me, too, especially after his loathing of Dr. Charles's African philanthropy in TB or not TB. Maybe Dr. Charles gave him the shirt as a thank-you gift, and he's too much of a cheapskate to throw away free clothing.

#279

090108joanna

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 9:57 AM

Me, too, especially after his loathing of Dr. Charles's African philanthropy in TB or not TB.


Actually, I don't think he loathed Dr. Charles' philanthropy as much as the fact that Dr. Charles became famous (and obviously enjoyed his fame) by treating just one disease, which House saw as a lesser challenge than what he does. He also at one point in that ep told Dr. Charles the following: "You are not the same as them. Your life is not the same. And you are cheapening everything theyíre going through by pretending you are." So he saw Charles as somewhat of a hypocrite, which is one of the reasons he disliked him.

#280

sasmom

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 1:52 PM

Joanna said

Actually, I don't think he loathed Dr. Charles' philanthropy as much as the fact that Dr. Charles became famous (and obviously enjoyed his fame) by treating just one disease, which House saw as a lesser challenge than what he does. He also at one point in that ep told Dr. Charles the following: "You are not the same as them. Your life is not the same. And you are cheapening everything theyíre going through by pretending you are." So he saw Charles as somewhat of a hypocrite, which is one of the reasons he disliked him.



marty -- I see what you're saying, and sort of agree, but not totally. Yes, House is unlikely to outwardly promote a cause such as helping Africa (it would fly in the face of his heavy self-promotion as an uncaring jerk), but I could see him wearing the shirt anyway. He wouldn't talk up a charity like this, but I see the shirt as a way to state his position without actually opening his mouth. As I firmly believe that House is very well-informed about a lot of things, and definitely has political views (even if we never hear them), I could see him non-verbally aligning himself with a charity whose purpose is to promote education, fight poverty, and improve healthcare in a place that desperately needs all of those things. It's part of "Climb out of your holes, people!" -- a display of his indignation over ignorance and bigotry.


I think what you are saying about House is completely true. From the beginning of the series it's always been about "what you do" as opposed to "what you say."

House hates hypocricy. He decries all sorts of bigotry in many different ways. He is as blind with regard to medicine as Justice is supposed to be toward prosecuting crime. Yet he never calls attention to it, and would rather people saw him as a bigot than a decent man. I absolutely think that House would have bought that charity T-shirt. It's an "action" rather than a "platitude" and says with imagery what simple words would not as well portray.

House's first specialties were infectious disease and nephrology. ID specialists deal with diseases in the most horrifically poor places in the world. I would not be surprised if somewhere deep within House's background we find that (very early on) he worked with Medcins sans Frontieres. That down in the dirt sort of medicine would make him pretty cynical of the Sebastian types who stand in front of the cameras. House knew a lot about him. More than a casual observer might.

I espeically remember from that episode that quote about not being the same as "them" and cheapening what they are going through. That is the "real" House coming through. He rarely lets that side escape; it would tarninsh his image as someone who doesn't care about anyone but himself.

#281

marty118

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 2:32 PM

Here's the thing:

Suppose you want to financially support the Millenium Project (the charity that receives the funds from the Africa T-Shirt).

You have two choices:

1. Send them a check for $40.

2. Spend $40 to buy and wear the Africa T-shirt. The charity gets $20 and you get to walk around in the same T-shirt that Jennifer Aniston wears.
(The other $20 covers the costs of production, distribution, and promotion of the shirt itself.)

Now there are three reasons why you might want to choose the 2nd option.

2a. You just want the shirt, because it's a celebrity shirt, so, you know, cool.

2b. You want to use the shirt as a conversation starter, so that you can get other people talking about the African situation.

2c. You want to promote the idea that the shirt is cool so that people who don't normally give to charities will buy the shirt and help the cause.

I just can't see any of those three reasons as being in character for House.

Yes, I can see him wanting to actually help. In which case instead of spending $22,000 on a guitar he might just send a $20,000 check to Save the Children. Or at least a $5,000 check at the same time he buys the $22,000 guitar.

But I can't see him buying a garment whose purchase results in the charity getting less money than a direct donation, and which attempts to make up for that deficit by engaging others in persuasive conversation about the cause.

It's a "do the math" situation.

Of course maybe he bought the shirt because he had given $50,000 and had been invited to a donor luncheon with Angelina Jolie and he wanted to impress her. That would be a totally in character reason.

But otherwise--just send a check.

Edited by marty118, Oct 2, 2007 @ 3:22 PM.


#282

misere

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 3:27 PM

Why does the fact that House wore a Millenium Project t-shirt have to mean anything about the character? How many viewers would have recognized it as a charity shirt off-hand? Frankly, I don't think we're supposed to connect the charity with House at all. Most people would not think twice to wonder about the shirt. "Oh, House is wearing another really cool t-shirt with an awesome graphic." That's in character.

But I'm sure that the show runners are aware that some fans research House's wardrobe and actually have purchased some of the Barking Irons shirts. I can't fault them for using the show as exposure for a charity, especially considering all the blatant product placement that occurs on other shows. What I'm trying to say is that I find it easy to disconnect the show's reality from our reality. In my mind, House wore an appealing t-shirt on the show. I found out later that the shirt supports a charity in real life. One has little to do with the other, IMO. Perhaps for some people that ruins the authenticity or the integrity of the show's world. That isn't an issue for me. YMMV.

#283

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 4:11 PM

But I'm sure that the show runners are aware that some fans research House's wardrobe and actually have purchased some of the Barking Irons shirts. I can't fault them for using the show as exposure for a charity, especially considering all the blatant product placement that occurs on other shows. What I'm trying to say is that I find it easy to disconnect the show's reality from our reality. In my mind, House wore an appealing t-shirt on the show. I found out later that the shirt supports a charity in real life. One has little to do with the other, IMO. Perhaps for some people that ruins the authenticity or the integrity of the show's world. That isn't an issue for me. YMMV.


Not only are they aware of it, they've promoted it on the House website. So he was wearing it for a reason. House does wear cool t-shirts. All the time. expensive t-shirts. This one promotes a cause that I can House promoting, but not making a big deal about promoting, but also enjoying the t-shirt. It's like the Comic relief t-shirts we have. Going all the way back to the first year of it. We're not promotign the cause when we wear them. My husband and I like them. That's all. And we get them as a bonus for supporting comic relief.

House's guitar was $12,000 not $22,000.

#284

marty118

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 6:51 PM

But the whole of that particular T-shirt is that, with a design of Africa combined with a peace sign, it looks like what it is: a charity shirt. It invites conversation, and I do see that as out of character.

The Barking Irons T-shirts look like "I should know what that is, I wonder if I do...I wonder if I'll sound like a fool if I ask about it?" which to me is precisely the feeling House likes to engender in people he meets casually.

So, yes, I think there's quite a difference. It's fine if the show wants to promote a charity, but I was responding to the comment that it seemed like House was being promoted in S4 like some cool kind of rock god. Exactly the kind of person who would wear the Africa project T-shirt. But not the House we've seen in S1-3.

YMMV, of course.

#285

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Posted Oct 2, 2007 @ 7:53 PM

Or he just wore the shirt because the costumers gave it to him. I didn't see a charity shirt at all. And, sometimes a tee-shirt is just a tee-shirt.

The fact that it now happens to be on the site could just mean they heard there was interest in it and put it up after the fact.

#286

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Posted Oct 3, 2007 @ 10:13 AM

Until I knew it was an actual charity shirt, I thought it was a shirt giving the two-finger sign to African charities. In other words, a "f*** LiveAid and all its ilk" shirt. I could see House wearing that. It took me a long time to see how two fingers poking up from a map of Africa could be anything other than some kind of "f*** off" sign... and then I realised that two fingers as an insult is more common in the UK, and for an American shirt to have the same message it would just be one finger.

#287

Wallaby

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Posted Oct 4, 2007 @ 4:59 AM

That was actually a pretty good episode. We are getting the episodes "direct streamed" from the US now, so we are only less than a week or so behind the original broadcast in the States now (although I laugh that if it was direct streamed, we'd have the episodes straight off the satellite that night. But heck, it's a timeslot thing LOL). But anyway...my comments on the episode, which I can actually do now, as opposed to completly missing the boat months after the event when I come of here and it is old news :).

I really got into it, and must admit that I too did not miss the cottages as much as I thought I would. Perhaps because we had far more of Cuddy and Wilson this time, and far less excessive medical jargon banter in House's Rooms around the desk with the whiteboard, which I think was getting a little tiresome. It was more on the go sort of banter. And I think such medical banter works best on the move rather than around the table. I mean, yes the whiteboard chat is kind of cool and all, but it's nice for them to get out a bit and break the monotony there. We saw far more of the hospital and got a busier feel to the place, simply by House emerging out of his office and asking others.

Interesting use of some handheld pov shots in Wilson's car and when they broke into the "patient of the week's" house. Are they easing us into a new style of voyeuristic "fly on the wall" style camera work perhaps? Or was it merely some DOP & director having a bit if an experiment? But it broke the regular camera style a bit which was interesting. I am fascinated to see if that is leading anywhere for a shooting style change, or whether it was miscellaneous.


Interesting casting. Interesting in that there was mistaken identity between the two women, but their male partners also looked very much alike. A textual message to the conclusion I suppose. And, the female ER doctor looking and sounding a lot like Cameron. The ER doctor casting was cleary made to make us (and House) think of Cameron. I actually liked this new doctor too. I wonder if we will see more of her?

Wilson was excellent. My husband did comment though "Has something happened to his voice? It's a lot lower this time. He's usually quite nasal". Looks like RSL put more time into it this week. He is always good, but he was really much better when we see more of him. He was getting quite fleeting near the end of season 3. Great subplot with the guitar. He really made me laugh quite loudly with his "tightening string" line. Classic!

Um...that's it for the moment. When I get more time I can comment some more. But that is what has sprung to mind anyway.

Edited by Wallaby, Oct 4, 2007 @ 5:01 AM.


#288

iMissEthan

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Posted Oct 4, 2007 @ 10:18 AM

Two fingers here means peace, usually with the back of the hand facing the person giving the sign. It's my understanding that the UK two fingered fuck you is generally the back of the hand towards the receiver of the sign with the fingers in an upward thrusting motion, no?

#289

Cheers42

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Posted Oct 4, 2007 @ 4:42 PM

The most intriguing thing about the acting in this episode for me was the look on House's face when he stormed into Wilson's office with the cardboard box carrying part of his guitar. That look reminded me of my father when I was in really deep trouble. The stare down at the beginning of that encounter was priceless.

#290

paintedpistol

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Posted Oct 5, 2007 @ 12:01 AM

I thought the episode was pretty good. But the tone and all kind of put me off. It seems really tasteless that I am saying this but for me it was way too blurry. Season 3 toning was the best for me.

#291

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Posted Oct 5, 2007 @ 8:29 AM

Or he just wore the shirt because the costumers gave it to him.


Hugh wore the shirt because the costumers gave it to him. House doesn't have costumers. He wears what he wears for the same reasons you or I wear what we wear.

#292

mag1977

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Posted Oct 7, 2007 @ 1:55 AM

It probably means nothing but I was just rewatching Human Error and one of the med students (the blond girl that makes the third suggestion) that Cuddy was doing rounds with is the same girl that House talks to in the ER at the end of this episode.

#293

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Posted Oct 7, 2007 @ 2:32 PM

It probably means nothing but I was just rewatching Human Error and one of the med students (the blond girl that makes the third suggestion) that Cuddy was doing rounds with is the same girl that House talks to in the ER at the end of this episode.


I haven't checked, but are you sure? Because the blonde with Cuddy is definitely a medical student (pre grad), and the one in the ER appears to be a resident or higher (post grad), because she's got primary responsibility for the patient.

Also, isn't the one in the ER the one who gets fired right away in 4.2? Because those appying for House's fellowships have to be post grad (although obviously he hasn't vetted all the resumes, so I suppose there's some wiggle room there).

#294

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Posted Oct 7, 2007 @ 6:56 PM

What makes a House episode for me, completely draws me in, are the character reveals and exploration of Dr. Gregory House. The situation in which House finds himself at the beginning of the Season 4 premiere is ripe for great mining of the character, just as being pain free (albeit briefly) and dealing with Tritter were last season.



House is alone. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for House (and his patients and colleagues)? House believes that itís a good thing. He can play his guitar, learn riffs (without disturbing anyone), and hide out in his office. He can deal with patients as necessary (and only as necessary) without having the closeness of a team. He insists to both Cuddy and Wilson that he doesnít need a team, and ultimately, maybe heís right. But the first episode of the season explores the value of a team for both House and for us.



Without a team, House is still a creative, brilliant thinker. His mind moves very fast, leaping from one set of ideas to another, making the connections. And without a team he doesnít need to explain to anyone how he got from A to B to Z. On the other hand, he has no one through which to filter his rapid fire ideas, leaps and connections. As Cuddy suggested at the end of Alone, Cameron, Foreman and Chase worked as a sort of filter or sieve. Even as he taught them, asked questions in the most Socratic of methods about diagnoses to which he already knew the answer, their responses validated, corroborated and solidified his own final sketch of the problem. And more than that (maybe), the functioned as Houseís court (not to judge him, but a court as in Kingís Court). They were his audienceóand, as House has said, he does his best work in front of an audience. He needs that as well (heís a bit of a drama queen, as we know)ósomeone to play to.



With CCF gone (but not forgotten), House looks to substitutes much as he did in last seasonís Airborne. First, a maintenance Engineer who happens by Houseís office is pulled into his (rather elliptical) orbit and becomes Dr. Buffer. With House at his metaphorical best, he explains the patientís symptoms to Buffer to elicit some feedback to his thoughts.



Wilson and Cuddy refuse to play and Wilson cruelly kidnaps and mutilates Houseís new guitar. House is adamant that he doesnít need a new team. And he doesnít. Not really. He was able to diagnose the patient, but imperfect information (and the lack of people off of whom to bounce ideas) delayed the decision. Cuddy was wrong in that she said that Houseís stubbornness about a team nearly killed the patient. It delayed the diagnosis. Thatís all it did. But House relents and does perhaps realize that team is better than ďnoĒ team.



The question remains, however, why doesnít House want a team? Wilson thinks itís because House is too sensitive to change and loss, and has been hurt by the loss of his former fellows. Heís formed connections to them, and their loss leaves House at sea. Better to have no team than to have to deal with the anguish of loss. I donít think Wilson is right here, but loss is something I would think House would not be comfortable with in any event. He has suffered separation much of his life. From moving around (presumably) as a military bratóleaving friends and schools behind at each move, to the loss of his right leg, his athleticism, his independence, and his pain free existence (because of a choice made for him, without his consent, therefore out of his control); the loss of the love of his life. Itís not a great wonder as to why (with Wilsonís assumptions and experience about how House deals with loss) Wilson is adamant that House refuses to hire a new team out of fear that he will lose them.



I do think that House isnít quite that sensitive a soul (although, as you all know) I do think he IS pretty sensitive inside (one only has to see his face as he hears and plays the piano to access that part of House). But I do think that House is more comfortable alone. He doesnít have to go outside his comfort zone and (this is what I think Cuddy and Wilson really fear) House will once again isolate himself from the world, withdraw even further, and they will be back to square one with him.



Wilson believes that House was unwilling to play along with the mind games because he was grieving the loss of the team. I think House was upset (genuinely and rightly so) that his guitar was stolen by his best friend to teach him a lesson. That Wilson returned the guitar to him broken, shows a lack of sensitivity on the part of Wilson about musicians and their instruments.


Have to comment on Hugh Laurie's guitar playing. He was having way too much fun (although I know it's acting--and the riffs he was playing in the opening scene were quite difficult). Wonderful. I really liked the way the dialogue between House and Cuddy almost played out like a blues number. With snatches of speaking bookended by the blues progressions. It was brilliantly done. Call it the Cuddy Blues.

#295

Cheers42

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Posted Oct 7, 2007 @ 9:07 PM

Call it the Cuddy Blues.

Sasmom, I don't disagree with your evaluation of House but I do think there's more. Cuddy wanted House to care for patients in the clinic in ODOR because she felt it would help him find his humanity. I also think this is a bit too simplistic. House had all the humanity he needs. He's just very uncomfortable with it. I think that, like so much else about him, he knows it's there but likes to control how it is expressed. Episodes like The Socratic Method, Fetal Position, Lines in the Sand, etc. give us glimpses and we see that each time he attempts to control how the humanity is expressed, with varying degrees of success.

He does better intellectually with a team. He does better emotionally alone. The question is, as a physician, which is more important? I think even House agrees that his intellect demands the team more than his nature demands solitude for his emotions. We've seen that he will set aside his own emotional need for his patients time and time again (Detox, Failure to Communicate, Euphoria, etc.) only to be embarrassed when others see this side of him. Maybe embarrassed is not the right word. Perhaps he's upset with himself for letting others see. I don't really know.

Fact is, he's a fictional character in development. The fun of analyzing this show and this character is that the answers are complex and subject to change based on the whims of writers, producers, and production company and impacted by the pressure to produce ratings and primetime products ripe for commercial advertising dollars.

Sorry to sound so cynical. I love House as a character and how HL plays him in particular. I hope the character remains consistant. I'm just not feeling particularly certain that will be the case.

#296

sasmom

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Posted Oct 7, 2007 @ 9:19 PM

cheers42,

I think we agree on much of what makes House tick. And I think we're sort of saying the same thing. I thihnk House thinks he does better alone. Cuddy and Wilson believe that when House is alone, he'll shut out the world completely and withdraw. I would agree while House would not prefer the company of people (although there are times he seeks them out, esp. Wilson and Cuddy), he would sink further into his hole, left completely alone. Hie emotions run very deep, and he's not very comfortable with them. He pushes everyone away to avoid putting them on disply in any sense. Wilson keeps pointing out his emotional self, much to House's discomfort. "See, yeah, you really are human; you really do have emotions." he would say.

i love when House sets aside his emotional need for distance. I love watching him struggle with it.

#297

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Posted Oct 7, 2007 @ 9:27 PM

I had something to add, but I think we'd have to take it to the G. House thread. See you there?

#298

Dizzydaze

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Posted Dec 30, 2008 @ 5:54 AM

It probably means nothing but I was just rewatching Human Error and one of the med students (the blond girl that makes the third suggestion) that Cuddy was doing rounds with is the same girl that House talks to in the ER at the end of this episode.

I haven't checked, but are you sure? Because the blonde with Cuddy is definitely a medical student (pre grad), and the one in the ER appears to be a resident or higher (post grad), because she's got primary responsibility for the patient.

Also, isn't the one in the ER the one who gets fired right away in 4.2? Because those appying for House's fellowships have to be post grad (although obviously he hasn't vetted all the resumes, so I suppose there's some wiggle room there).


I just came on to post this exact observation. It's definitely the same actress, but it's doubtful it could be the same character....going from med student to unsupervised ER doc in a matter of weeks? No.

She's also the first one fired in 4.2 for mistakingly IDing Buddy Ebsen as Neville Chamberlain.

#299

Raynes

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 11:44 AM

I slowed down then stopped my tivo and you're right. Here's what it says: From Jesse maybe dis will help ...cold do the next ..owe with sombody....bee a brode -n brane iff dere is such thing.

The ... stands for places where the writing is covered over with the Shore Z Prods. logo.

I know this is a very old post but I think I solved the puzzle.

from Jesse

Maybe this will help
to(?) could do
the next hove(?->heave?) with
somebody will
be having a broaden
brain if there is such
thing.

Does it make sense?

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