House has been one of my favorite television shows for years. I’ve appreciated that it tends to be philosophical, even (or maybe especially) when episodes make me wrestle with what I believe and understand about life and the human condition. I was going to say that I find the show “smart”, which I do, but I also realize that statement is probably saying more about how I see myself (look at me, I like smart television!). But my “smart” show has done a couple of dumb things lately, and I couldn’t let this latest one pass unnoted.
I think the show has been stuck for a while, recycling the same basic philosophical conundrums with different cases. The major cast shake-up at the start of this season gave me hope that the show would break its own mold and begin to present its stories in a new way, which might lead to exploring some new questions. And it did…for about two episodes, before safely zipping back to the formula, even bringing back key performers who help keep the formula “safe” and easy to digest.
Now, tonight’s episode has insulted me in a way I have heretofore expected only from basic cable, or the Fox Sports division (please tell me Joe Buck is not involved in the production of House!). I just got a stunningly obvious and wooden commercial for the new Ford Explorer dropped into a scene. Oh, wait…did I forget to say SPOILER ALERT? Here’s your spoiler: the Explorer has “this new curve control thing, that automatically slows the car when it senses I’m taking a curve too fast.” And just in case you missed the wide shot of the Explorer before the good doctor took a curve too fast, or the close-up of the tailgate of the Explorer (the camera car must have really been going too fast!), you’ll also get a follow-up shot of the front end of the car masquerading as a nice way to show us both of the actors in the scene.
Oh, and here’s another spoiler: one of my favorite shows may have just taken a curve too fast and driven right over a cliff.