There has been a bit of blog buzz surrounding Tuesday’s episode of “House ”. While I am appreciative that the episode gave some consideration to life, it strikes me that we are so starved for any “life”-related themes that we are all too willing to overlook some very poor messages in the very same episode. For those unfamiliar, during the episode an expectant mother, single of course and impregnated via turkey baster by her gay friend (hey! It happens every day), has her life in jeopardy due to some undiagnosed problem with the baby. Since the baby is not yet viable, House insists that abortion is the only option. Dr. House repeatedly and pointedly refuses to call it a baby, but rather calls it fetus, blob of tissue, tumor, parasite, etc. When the mother refuses the abortion, that gives House only 2 days to figure out what is wrong with the baby, or both mother and baby will die. At this point, House goes on vacation. Dr. House’s female boss—with only her girly emotions and her own over 40, single, childless, hope to have a baby someday projection to guide her—decides that she will do House’s job and diagnose the baby’s problem. You see, if she can save the baby, she can hold out hope for every girl’s dream—that she might one day meet a nice gay turkey baster of her own. She eventually manages to diagnose the baby’s problem. House returns at this point to assist in the surgery. During this surgery, they re-enact the scene from the famous photograph by Michael Clancy. The baby reaches out from the womb and grabs Dr. House’s finger. Dramatic pause; Then the mother’s heart stops and House once again decides that the baby has to go. He is stopped again by his boss and she manages to stabilize mom. Mother and baby live. In the next scene, House actually calls the fetus, blob of tissue, tumor, parasite, a baby. Hoorah, House has seen the light! He then proceeds to tell his boss that the “right” thing to do is to kill the baby 99 out of 100 times. The episode closes with House looking pensive, rubbing the finger the baby grabbed.
I know I should be grateful that a very popular show had an episode that at least tried to represent the life side of things, but I have a hard time with all the packaging and other corrosive messages being shoved down our throats. Do you think that the writers/producers thought to themselves that if we are going to throw a bone to those wacky “culture of life” folks, then we need to balance it with some positive messages. I know! Let’s do the single mom, gay, turkey baster bit. Ugh! I know, I know I should be grateful. I can’t help but feel that we are dying of thirst and we are happy for a glass of saltwater.