Happy About House

I have been pleased with the new season of House, which I think is shaping up to be one of the best ever.  The entertaining Dr. House already has survived an extended stay in a mental institution, kicked his Vicodin habit (for now, at least), lost his medical license, shown his cooking ability, moved in with Wilson, watched his team kill off a ruthless African dictator, and generally shed a lot of the baggage that, I think, weighed down the show last year.  How often can you watch House pop pills, act like an ass, treat people like dirt, and then see that all is forgiven because he solves the unsolvable medical mystery after an epiphany with about five minutes left to go in the show?  Predictability breeds viewer fatigue.

Last night’s episode was a good example of how old story lines apparently are ending and the characters are moving on to promising new vistas.  For years, House has treated Wilson like crap, with rare exceptions.  Last night, after House kept Wilson from committing a career-killing move and then made Wilson feel better with some straight talk, you got a sense of why Wilson honestly considers House to be his best friend.  For years, House and Cuddy have danced a smoldering, unconsummated sexual samba.  Last night, when House decided to finally act on his interest in Cuddy, he learned that he had waited too long and Cuddy was going out with House’s brilliant and exceptionally odd former private investigator.  Even better, House seemed to accept the news with some maturity, rather than pulling a crude prank or plotting some painful method of revenge.  For a few episodes now, Foreman has actually seemed like a likeable human being rather than an arrogant jerk.  Chase and Cameron have gotten some camera time, and now they will have to deal with Chase’s decision to tell Cameron about his cold-blooded murder of the perpetrator of African genocide.  From the previews, it looks like Taub will be returning and 13 too; I pray only that the leaden, completely unconvincing romance between Foreman and 13 isn’t resurrected and thrust in our faces yet again.

I don’t know where it will all lead — which is the main reason I am finding this season so enjoyable so far.

Step Away From That Cheeseburger

As health care, health care costs, and health care reform dominate the headlines and political debate in America, here’s an interesting story about Japan’s approach to health care.  Even though Japanese are already quite fit in comparison to other industrial nations, the government has enacted legislation that sets a maximum waistline size.  For men over 40, the  limit is 33.5 inches, for women over 40, the limit is 35.4 inches. (!)  How many Americans 40 and older do you think would meet those requirements?  For that matter, how many Americans 20 and older could meet those requirements?