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« ’Shriekingly bad’ | Main | Love Goes Behind Enemy Lines: Some Reflections on ’Blood Diamond’ »

January 30, 2007

Calling all ’House’ viewers

If you saw tonight's episode, I'd love to hear your answers to this question: After one of the most honest discussions on abortion that I've ever heard on TV -- in which both House and the rape victim he was treating agreed that it was murder, and she refused to be put off by his assertion that murder is sometimes okay -- why did she choose to abort in the end?

I've got a few vague ideas on the subject myself, but I'd like to hear yours first. And if you have any other thoughts on an incredibly thought-provoking episode -- such as House's militant Darwinian rationalism vs. the girl's insistence that something has to matter, or the rather withering look at psychiatry and how it can't solve everything -- I'd be interested in hearing those too.

(And if anyone happened to catch the girl's name, you might share that with me as well. After a full day of work and a night class, I wasn't exactly watching on all cylinders, if you know what I mean.)

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Comments

Jordan

I can't explain why she capitulated, although it could be that House's constant criticism of her instinct that there must be providential meaning in everything, even if we can't know, articulate, or explain that meaning, finally won out.

It did strike me that House's virulent atheism, what you call his "militant Darwinian rationalism," is a great exemplification of the "new" atheism, of the Richard Dawkins variety.

The girl's name, ironically enough, was "Eve."

That was a very interesting program and discussion. While I'm not sure why she did abort I just re-read the recap, http://www.fox.com/house/recaps/ , and I come away thinking that she was rationalizing that the rapist wasn't such a bad guy and was hurting as well. That maybe if she kept the child then something positive would happen between her and the rapist. It was only after House said he was abused by his father did she open up about the rape, saw it for what it was, and then agreed with House. She never says why she believed what she first believed. So in the end House's argument seemed more reasoned and logical to her. My wife and I watch this program each week because we find it addressing issues instead of just providing mindless pulp. I don't always agree with their position but it does make you think. He also is quite the wise guy which I can relate to. He demonstrates better problem solving skills then doctors I have come across lately.

Sarah Edwards

Her choice to abort mystified me, since nothing in her conversations with House seemed to lead to her changing her mind about that point. The off-hand way that it's mentioned at the end made me think that her decision was a way for the writers to get themselves out saying something they didn't like, or were afraid the viewers wouldn't like. To give them the benefit of the doubt, though, maybe there was more to it that was cut for time constraints.

Speaking of House's rationalism, when he said that it is only by the strength of our superior intellect (or something like that) that we humans occasionally aspire to not be evil, I wanted to know two things: where is he getting his idea of evil (if we are, in fact, "base animals"), and is he implying that the rest of the animal kingdom is "evil" *all the time*? What does that even mean?

Overall, though, it was definitely an intellectually and emotionally engaging episode on all fronts.

BJ

I think the trauma of the rape and the consequences that she was facing are probably what drove her decision to abort her baby. I don't think that House's criticism of her beliefs had anything to do with the decision at all. As a rape victim of strong Christian faith myself, I thank God that I was never faced with that decision, though I certainly worried about it when I was going through it.

I was really moved by the program and thought that House was much more affected by the religious exchange with Eve than she was.

Kristine Steakley

Ironically, Law & Order SVU, on another station right after House, featured a (rerun) story line about a woman pregnant with a rapist's child, whose husband abandons her over the issue. During the episode, we are reminded that one of the detectives on the show is a "child of rape."

Kevin Lewis

Why did she choose to have an abortion in the end? Because the writers made the choice for her. This is not a real person, just a story. The writers did some justice to the general arguments we as Christians hold; that abortion IS murder, that without God life is meaningless, that life IS sacred and more valuable than 'quality of life' or convenience. But in the end, the writers can take their story anywhere they want, whether it is consistent with deeply held beliefs and makes sense for the character or not. This show has an agenda, and by making this character make a decision that flies in the face of her convictions and what she knows is true, they are saying it is OK for the viewer too. It is relativism.

Ali

I thought about this episode for a while and realized something: David Shore only had the ability to write about what he knows and believes. If he hasn't realized that products of rape are still children or that there are moral absolutes, he doesn't have the ability to write about a character who sticks to believing those two thing.

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