Wednesday, April 20, 2005

House Shocker: Obstructionist Member Ejected

TENSE DRAMA

Last night watching House, M.D., I came closer than anytime since my teen years to throwing something at the TV. It's that fat bastard, Vogler (elegantly played, like a bludgeon wrapped in an Armani suit, by Chi McBride).

Over the weeks, my anger at this (fictitious, dammit!) character has been growing as he laid ever-heavier hands on the hospital operations. Okay, House himself (Hugh Laurie) is a jerk with a drug problem. But he's focused on the right thing, in his irritable way—even his sarcastic bite has a curative effect. And I would never ask for a doctor to be genial and social at the cost of brilliance in solving medical mysteries.

Actor Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House.
Hugh Laurie photo courtesy nndb.com.

Vogler does, though. At first I thought perhaps he just had his nose out of joint over House's relationship, however fractured, with the hospital administrator, Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). Then I realized it was a deeper issue. House frustrated Vogler precisely because he was liked and respected in spite of his prickly persona. House had achieved two things Vogler couldn't.

We had the advantage of seeing exactly how slimy Vogler could be, as he systematically sought to reduce House's ability to function. "Fire one of your people." he demanded. When House offered Dr. Chase (Jesse Spencer), the one member of his team Vogler had subverted, Vogler refused, demanding that he "fire someone else." Vogler even countermanded some of House's medical decisions, making it hard for his team to function effectively.

Then last night, things finally came to a head. When the hospital's chief oncologist, Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) refused to vote to end House's contract, Vogler ejected him from the Board, and succeeded in firing him, by making the terms "Me and my $100 million, or Dr. Wilson."

I won't spoil the show for those who may catch it in the reruns, but take heart. The IMdb shows Vogler as a "regular guest," while both Wilson and Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who resigned last week, are still listed as "credited cast." Rumors are that Cameron will return next month.
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