August 16, 2012

Dr. House treats a coughing seamstress

As we all are now aware, I'm quite the Law & Order junkie.  In fact, there's only one thing that could cause me to turn away from a vintage episode of that show:

An episode of House M.D.

I long ago bonded with House, Cuddy, Foreman, Wilson, Chase and all the others as like unto a surrogate family.  Actually, Dr. Taub should hold pride of place in my esteem since he's a crossover cast member from Law & Order, with recurring appearances as a defense attorney.

The lawyer show is dead, now dwelling in the eternal afterlife of syndication.  The doctor show has one foot in syndication and the other on a banana peel, with only TWO more original House episodes to go (as I write this) before it goes out of production.

As my own bloggy, opera-themed homage to my fave show (sorry, Lost; sorry, Rockford Files), I now present my own original teleplay for a House episode featuring a certain opera character whom I believe you will recognize. NOTE: the more you know about both the House show and Puccini's La Bohème, the more this little exercise will make sense.  Good luck with that. SO: roll the opening credits for:

"Everybody cries. In Act IV"

Scene 1: the Diagnostics Department conference room at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital. Foreman, Chase, Cameron, Taub and Thirteen are seated with case-history folders in front of them.  House limps in, popping a couple of Vicodin

HOUSE
Anything interesting?
Millie, er,  Minnie. DARN! I mean Mimi!

TAUB
There's a young girl in the E.R. She was found collapsed in the streets of Paris, coughing up blood.

HOUSE
And the ambulance drove straight to New Jersey?  They must have made all the lights.

FOREMAN
She's French.  Just go with it.

HOUSE
Not interested.  Give her a Cherry Halls and send her back to the Rue Morgue.  See what I did there?  "Rue Morgue"? (No one laughs.)

THIRTEEN
She was also twitching violently from head to toe.

HOUSE
All our patients do that.  It hasn't been interesting since Season Three. Au revoir.

CHASE
One other thing. Even though she's French, her parents are French, she's lived in Paris her whole life, and she's never been to Italy, everything she says is in Italian.

HOUSE
(To the others) See? You should have led with that! 

CAMERON
Her name is Mimi. She just broke up with her boyfriend and she's feeling really--

HOUSE
(interrupting) Don't care. After we cure Minnie you can adopt her and add her to your collection of lost causes. Okay team, differential diagnosis: what causes coughing, twitching and, um, international linguistic aphasia?

TAUB
It could be the result of singing without supporting from the diaphragm. (They all stare at him.) ...She sings...

HOUSE
(dismissively) Thanks for playing.  Foreman and Chase, go to her home and check for toxins.  Cameron, do a brain biopsy.  Thirteen, check her out - she might be your type.  And start her on steroids.  And Taub, you schedule her for a coaching session; let's straighten out that technique. Start her on something simple like Caro mio ben.

Scene 2.  A sparsely furnished garret in Paris near the Latin Quarter.  Foreman and Chase pick the lock to let themselves in, only to find Marcello, Schaunard, Colline and Musetta playing cards.

CHASE
Oops. "Bone Joor", everybody.  We're Mimi's doctors - we're here to find out what made her sick.  Don't take this the wrong way, but have you seen any dead vermin or roaches in this rancid cesspool of an apartment? 

SCHAUNARD 
I killed a parrot a few months ago, but that was downtown.  I did it just to get out of a really boring gig.

FOREMAN
(holding up two dead fish he just found on the floor) What are these?

COLLINE
Oh yeah, I forgot about those!  Just before Mimi got sick, we were sort of horsing around with them; you know, playing swordfight duels and stuff.

FOREMAN
With dead fish?

MARCELLO
It was really funny! (Foreman raises an eyebrow) ...I guess you had to be there...  We should probably go ahead and cook those, right?  (Foreman and Chase exchange a significant look.)

CHASE
Exposure to spoiled fish could signal...

CHASE AND FOREMAN
(together) Auto-immune!

CHASE
Or maybe sarcoidosis.

FOREMAN 
Not without a rash on the ankles.  Could be non-hodgkins lymphoma.

CHASE 
The test came back negative, which makes sense since her ears haven't turned green.  And lymphoma doesn't explain the singing in Italian.  Auto-immune explains everything.  Better call House. (Whips out his cell phone) CRAP! We're in France.  No service.  C'mon, we have to get back to the hospital.

MUSETTA 
Aspetta, aspetta un po, miei signori!

FOREMAN 
Huh?

MUSETTA
Hold up.  I wanted some lines, plus I just remembered another symptom: her hands are always freezing.  The little bitch made me sell my earrings to buy her a damn muff that she wore for like two seconds before she started twitching violently and coughing up more blood. Plus, I got only one stinking aria.  She gets two.

CHASE AND FOREMAN
(exchanging another significant look) It could be LUPUS!!!!

Scene 3.  Mimi's room at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital.  She's hooked up to an IV and a heart monitor.  The top of her head is bandaged from where they drilled a hole in her skull.  Her throat is bandaged from the emergency traecheostomy they did 20 minutes ago.  A huge corrugated breathing tube has been shoved down her throat.  The sheets are soaked with blood that's oozed out of her rectum, and puddles of freshly-hurled vomit are on the floor. A bag filled with brown urine hangs at the side of the bed. Basically, she's a hot mess. And DAMMIT, she's still coughing and singing in Italian. Rodolfo, a short barrel-chested tenor, sits at her bedside, his eyes red from weeping. Drs. Thirteen and Cameron are doing something medical.)

RODOLFO 
(singing at or near the top of his range) MEE-MEEEEEEE!!  MEE-MEEEEEEE!! 

THIRTEEN
That is really getting on my last nerve...

CAMERON
I think it's sweet.  She's dying, and he realizes he loves her.  It reminds me..

THIRTEEN
...of how you married a guy dying of cancer.  Right. That story is getting old, just so you know. (House enters, popping more Vicodin.  Rodolfo resumes singing.)

RODOLFO
(holding Mimi's hand) Che gelida manina; se la lasci riscaldar...

HOUSE
(shooting a scornful look at Thirteen and Cameron)  You IDIOTS!  When were you going to tell me that the French boyfriend is also singing in Italian?  Whatever she's got, it's catching.  If we don't figure this out, she'll be dead in a day. Her liver and kidneys are shutting down, and you know what that means.

CAMERON
The vocal folds are the next to go!  She'll never sing again!

THIRTEEN
(rolling her eyes) It's hard to sing when you're dead, you idiot.

RODOLFO
MEE-MEEEE!!  Tu sei morta? GRAN DIO!  GRAN DIO!  (At Rodolfo's last words, House suddenly freezes, staring blankly into space as agitated percussion music is heard, signalling a brilliant epiphany. His lips register an eighth of a smile as he turns to his patient.) 

HOUSE
(to Mimi)  Hi, Millie, I'm Dr. House.

RODOLFO 
Ees no "Millie", ees "Mimi".

HOUSE
Shut up. (to Mimi) You have a granuloma.

RODOLFO
GRAN DIO!  GRAN...

HOUSE
Not gran-"dio"; gran-"uloma".  It explains everything. We'll start treatment.  You should be fine in time to start rehearsals for Turandot in Sarasota next month. (Suddenly, as more agitated percussion music is heard, this time signalling a new medical crisis, Mimi's feet turn black and her left pinky toe falls off.)

CAMERON
Granuloma doesn't explain...

HOUSE
(screaming in her face, making one final, probably futile, attempt to snare the "Best Actor in a Drama" Emmy award) I KNOW!!!!!!  I WAS WRONG!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS, YOU'RE RIGHT!!!!!  I'M IN PAIN!!!!!!!! I'M IN AGONIZING PAIN EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE!!!!! (During his tirade, Mimi begins gesturing towards the TV set on the wall, pointing at it and grunting.)

MIMI
(her speech hampered by the tube stuck down her throat) Mgh-hrgh... mgh-hrgh...

HOUSE
You're dying, and you want to watch TV?  What, you think you have a shot at getting on "The Voice" before you kick off?  Don't think so; Taub forgot your coaching session, the little twerp. Forget the TV!  Forget the....  (House suddenly freezes, staring blankly as more agitated percussion music is heard, signalling yet another epiphany.)  Wait... she's not trying to say "TV", she's trying to say "TB".  (He turns to Rodolfo.) Your girlfriend has tuberculosis. There's nothing we can do. I'm sorry. (Dr. Wilson sticks his head in.)

WILSON
Want to grab dinner?

HOUSE
I could eat.  You're buying.

THIRTEEN
(to Cameron, staring sadly at Mimi) You know what's a bummer? She kind of was my type... (Thirteen and Cameron walk out, leaving Mimi alone in the room.)

MIMI
How does TB explain my pinky toe?  Hello?  Man, no wonder this show is going off the air.

THE END

No comments:

Post a Comment