TV Review: HOUSE 8.4, "Risky Business"

This is a rare episode where House acts like…well, like a diminutive of Richard, but the episode itself is rather dull.

rating: 2.5

House, the TV series, is generally at its best when House (Hugh Laurie), the character, is at his worst. But please note my use of the word €œgenerally€, as this is a rare episode where House acts like€well, like a diminutive of Richard, but the episode itself is rather dull. Our story beings with Thad Barton, CEO of a business that€™s about to move to China. He€™s busy cleaning up his front yard after protestors planted signs, hung him in effigy and TP€™d his trees. While he€™s doing this, his daughter arrives. The two talk for a bit, then Barton€™s vision starts going wonky, making him see his daughter as very small and far away. Of course he ends up under the care of Doctor House, who refers to the problem as €œAlice in Wonderland Syndrome,€ which, somewhat to my surprise and amusement, actually exists, though this wasn€™t as surprising as when I found out that there€™s a protein called Sonic hedgehog. Naturally, House€™s first, second and third tries are all wrong, but we know that€™s going to be the case from week-to-week, and most of us just tune into the show for the soap opera aspects of it, and in this episode there were plenty. First off, Doctor Park (Charlyne Yi), is about to go to her disciplinary hearing. This stems from her punching her previous supervisory doctor after he grabbed her backside without invitation. She stands a decent chance of getting fired, especially since the other doctor is someone who has fifteen years seniority and has gone to anti-sexual harassment classes. Doctor Park, on the other hand, is what she is: a mildly weird, rather young doctor with no real standing at the hospital. She does gain a certain sense of hope, however, when House points out that the other doctor was drunk at the time he grabbed her. The second bit of soap opera concerns Doctor Adams (Odette Annable), who shows up for work a little late and nicely dressed. House doesn€™t really buy into her claim that she was at a job interview and spends much of the rest of the episode trying to figure out exactly where she was and what she was doing. Then finally there€™s the ongoing issues of House trying to get money for his department, House trying to get rid of the bone shop next door to his office and House trying to avoid going back to jail. These goals aren€™t necessarily compatible with each other, as he learns when he enters into a prank war with the bone guys. There were bits of this story that I liked. The discussion of jobs being sent from the US to China was interesting for me, and I liked Doctor Park€™s defense of child labor, appalling though the concept is. The outcome of Park€™s hearing, predictable though it was, was also nicely done. I also rather enjoyed House€™s war with the bone guys, and I liked the new layout to Foreman€™s office. I also really like the fact that, these days, anytime House screws with anyone he has to be very careful how he handles it, because it could end up with him going back to jail. But on the other hand, something was lacking here. Maybe it was just that the CEO and his daughter weren€™t very interesting characters, or perhaps it was just the €œby the numbers€ feeling to the episode. It wasn€™t bad or anything, but it€well, it just was, and ultimately I hope for more than that with this show.

Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at