“House” is back with Candace Bergen as Cuddy’s mother. I was actually hoping to see House go at her, but drugging her to sleep was pretty cool too. I hadn’t seen the new episode yet when I ran into Lisa Edelstein at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association. I was still thinking about House’s fake apology for lying at work. I think even if he wasn’t really sorry, the gesture of apology kind of retroactively makes it sorry anyway.
As we contemplated the deep themes of “House,” it started to drizzle in Pasadena. Edelstein and I ducked into the bar to finish our banter. I wish I had A-list Hollywood writing behind me like Dr. Gregory House does, but I did my best with the star of one of my favorite shows.
Q: House apologized but he didn’t mean it. Cuddy doesn’t know that yet, but does it matter if he means it or not? Isn’t getting in the habit of doing the right thing make him genuinely sorry?
Lisa Edelstein: Yes, because honestly I think anybody who says they’re sorry has complicated feelings behind those words. It’s just that he’s a little more honest about it.
Q: It’s like the old story about the evil man who pretended to be good all his life. Well, doing good deeds all his life made him good.
LE: I think you’re onto something there because I think actions do speak louder than words. What people think, if we were defined by what we thought, we would all be screwed because it really only matters what you put out there into the world, doesn’t it? But those are very esoteric questions.
Q: Do you guys talk about these themes on the set?
LE: I think they might talk about it in the writer’s room. On the set we act it out. We make it work.
Q: Have you been waiting for this year where Cuddy hooks up with House since the beginning of the show?
LE: No, I’ve had a lot to do along the way. It’s been great with all the twists and turns. I enjoy the tension of the dance between the two characters and a lot of the other things that I’ve gotten to do: this quest for a baby, I’m running a hospital. Certainly it’s been great. It’s been great having this experience.
Q: I always thought Cuddy loved House and all his games.
LE: Right, and they can’t dance around it forever. They needed to get in there, shake it up a little bit, have a scrap, go for it, see what happens.
Q: What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
LE: Candace Bergen is coming on so that was really great. I loved working with her.
Q: Have you been happy with the progression of this season, dealing with each ethical dilemma but not going everywhere right away?
LE: Yeah, yeah. Look, they took on some pretty big subject matters particularly with the relationship so it had to be dealt with in a really subtle way while still maintaining the life of the hospital and the structure of the way we tell stories on “House.” So there was a lot going on.
Q: Do you see this as the beginning of a resolution for “House?”
LE: Possibly. Possibly. I mean, the show really isn’t about finding resolution ultimately. If we find it, then the show’s done. But this is definitely part of his journey.
Q: You’ve probably gotten this question for six years, but would you want House as a doctor?
LE: Absolutely. He knows what he’s doing. He takes a few risks along the way but he gets the right answer in the end.
Q: As the boss, hasn’t Cuddy figured out that it’s never the first thing the team thinks it is?
LE: Hasn’t the team figured that out? Cuddy’s in her office minding her own business. I guess Winnie the Pooh said you have to look in the last place first if you want to find what you’re looking for. Maybe he’s right. Then the show would only be half an hour long. It wouldn’t be as much fun.
Q: I consider “House” the best comedy on TV. What do you think?
LE: I agree with you. It’s hilarious. Sometimes we just choke on our coffee at the script read throughs.
Q: Are you getting to do more outside the hospital this year?
LE: There’s one big episode that has a lot of outer hospital stuff, yeah.
Q: So vague, is that a big spoiler?
LE: I guess it is. We’ve really been limited about what we can talk about. Plus, I don’t really remember what we’ve done because we’ve been on vacation for a month. I have no idea except that Candace Bergen is coming.
Catch “House” Mondays at 8PM on Fox.