'House': Is open marriage a unicorn?

house-open-and-shut.jpgOpen marriage is the topic du jour on "House," and the team spends more time debating it than they do treating the patient. (Surprise, surprise.) I thought the episode was pretty good, which is actually saying something since often my enjoyment of an episode is inversely proportionate to Taub's screen time.

Patient of the Week: Our patient (Sarah Wayne Callies of "Prison Break") is in an open marriage, and she collapses with abdominal pain when she's with her lover. After the usual raft of incorrect diagnoses (and seriously ... you can get amoebas from a loofah?), House improbably links the lilacs in her garden to bees, and the bees to an unusual reaction to bee sting. She's got Henoch-Schonlein purpura, which I will now add to my list of reasons to be terrified of bees. (Fair warning: The picture on the Wikipedia page involves buttocks.) But on to what we all really want to discuss...

The unicorn in the room: House suggests that monogamy isn't natural, citing the lack of any other species that mates for life. Wait, what about penguins? No? Stop shattering my illusions, House! The wife explains that since couples cheat anyway and it isn't realistic to expect someone to fill all your needs forever, they might as well be honest about it. Well, when you explain it that way ... nope, still not buying it.

Maybe I've just heard the line one too many times, but in my experience, "I'm in an open relationship" is just code for "I know you know that I have a girlfriend, so I'm just going to pretend she approves of my cheating." Though that's not the exact situation our patients are in, it's still unbalanced: The husband secretly doesn't have any other sexual partners, but wants his wife to be happy. How romantic? He's also been dishonest about losing their savings, which is a little less sweet. But Thirteen smoothes things over by telling the patient about her husband's secret fidelity, thus showing that lies can be a nice thing. Even if you're lying about cheating. This episode has me all mixed up, you guys!

House sums it up pretty nicely for us: "Other than you wanting to have sex with other dudes and him bankrupting your family, I think you kids are home free!"    

Taub and the slutty horse: Taub, who wants to get into a flirty nurse's scrubs, very unsubtly brings up the concept of an open marriage while out to dinner with his wife, after House sort of suggests it. When she asks if that's what he wants, he starts to say no but switches to, "Well, I know you'd never..." Oh, DUDE. She immediately realizes there's somebody else, and he tells her about the nurse, admitting he's attracted to her. I guess I admire his honesty? And yet somehow, it still doesn't seem like a good idea. After his wife asks if she's enough for him (since he's enough for her), Taub dashes off to a patient emergency. Bud-dy! I'm really glad these two don't have kids.

Can we take a moment to contemplate how this is an issue at all? He doesn't have great looks, he doesn't have a great personality, and we know there are plenty of male doctors at PPTH who have both. At any rate, Taub initially blames House for the disastrous results (and I think we can all agree that by taking House's suggestion, Taub has proven that he isn't too bright, either), but his wife actually comes around! She sees his cheating as inevitable, and she'd rather not live with the lies since they have a good life together right now. He's allowed one night a week to sleep with other women. Foreman: "Mazel tov?"

Taub makes a date with the cute nurse, but at the last minute his wife changes her mind about the arrangement. She's so tragically apologetic about it that I want to jump into the TV, hand her a Kleenex, and remind her that she doesn't need to be sorry for deciding she's not cool with her husband sleeping around. He claims he's come around and now knows he doesn't need anyone but her, but within hours he's helping the cute nurse load up her car trunk. He apologizes to her for cancelling their date, and just as they move closer to each other ... my DVR cuts out. Seriously, FOX? Sigh... Can anyone briefly summarize the very end for us in the comment section?  They kiss, she invites him to go somewhere, and he gets in her car. Weeeeak, man!  

Wilson makes mountains from molehills: Wilson and Sam's relationship is progressing despite House's best efforts, so he steps things up a little by planting a seed in Wilson's head about all the little annoying things Sam used to do (and hasn't stopped doing since): Loading the dishwasher wrong, putting the milk in the fridge door, putting banana peels in the trash. When she doesn't use a coaster, he finally confronts her. They eventually realize House set her up by doing that stuff himself, but the damage is done.

Every little frustration he kept quiet during the marriage comes racing to the forefront until they're having a shouting match about the circumstances of their divorce, ending with Wilson yelling that she used to be a "selfish b***h." Sam ends the relationship, and House is sorry about that (not his role in it, just generally), but mainly pleased Wilson finally stuck up for himself. I think we can probably find a happy medium between "please use a coaster" and "selfish b***h," guys. 

Convinced that karma works after his success with Wilson, House buys Cuddy an espresso machine in hopes that by doing something nice for her, well ... "If this should somehow lead to Lucas dying, or oral sex, so be it." Ha!

Sam comes back and apologizes to Wilson, though! They both acknowledge that they're trying to change, and they reconcile. Apparently it was better for Wilson not to keep things pent up after all. Sam: "I wish we had this fight ten years ago." House takes credit, and then puts the milk in the door when they aren't looking.      

Quotes:

  • House: "He's just trying to get into your skirts. And I don't mean that metaphorically." Sam: "Well, he's got the legs for it."
  • Taub: "A functional open marriage is like a unicorn. It's a mythical creature that doesn't exist." Later, House: "Gotta see if our patient's a unicorn or just a slutty horse. Think of how much fun Taub could be having." Still later, House: "A unicorn isn't a unicorn. It's just a donkey with a plunger stuck to its face."
  • House: "Must be interesting, growing up in a performance of "Oh! Calcutta!"  
  • Thirteen to Taub: "So, is she as bendy as she looks?"
  • Cuddy: "Do you read any of your department memos?" House: "Only ones labeled NSFW."

Open marriages: yea or nay? How are you feeling about Taub these days?  

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Photo credit: FOX