November 8th at 8pm ET marks the addition of medical student Martha Masters into Dr. House’s super team of medical diagnosticians in the medical drama “House.” Played by Amber Tamblyn, the young Martha Masters attempts to swim with the big fish as they diagnose a campaign manager stricken with something potentially life-threatening that tends to happen in every “House” episode.
In its 7th season, Dr. House has gone through several teams to cycle through characters and keep the show fresh. But at least “House” manages to introduce and incorporate each casting change into amusing and dramatic arcs that allow viewers to accept the departing doctors while getting to know the new ones. In comparison, Masters’ introduction feels very heavy handed. Dr. Cuddy simply drops the young Masters into House’s team just because she feels that her misanthropic boyfriend needs a feminine touch that is not her own. This episode dubbed “Office Politics” shows off the office politics in Princeton-Plainsboro as Dr. Cuddy constantly keeps the new blood on the team despite Dr. House’s repeated firings of Masters. And there is also a little back story that helps accelerate her kinship to the team as Dr. Taub recalls interviewing her during an earlier time. Just as Ms. Masters is crowbarred into the team, she is getting crowbarred into “House” audiences. But so far, she is not exactly easing comfortably into their hearts.
Dr. Cameron was constantly compassionate, which became her motivation when she needed to rebel for the patient’s sake. After developing her for such a long time, “House” pulled a blind maneuver with 13, a blank slate of a character whose personality and quirks developed on the fly as episodes past. Though not really a member of the team, Amber’s ruthless personality and tactics made her memorable and showed that the women of “House” had claws. Compared to the previous young female doctors of “House,” Ms. Masters so far lacks a believable personality audiences can relate to. All she has are awkward social skills, a genius level of knowledge that does not always relate to medicine, and strict morals that clash with Dr. House’s. But the moral clash is moot when used against Dr. House since audiences already know that already circumvents anything in his way in order to solve the puzzle. So Masters could be easily replaced with the conversational and bureaucratic equivalent of a speedbump.
Things have gone a little south for “House” since Dr. House went off his Vicodin and finally released all the sexual tension between his boss Dr. Cuddy-typically a “Jump the Shark” moment of any successful series. Ms. Masters as a new doctor currently has not been the best character to bring the show back to its glory. But perhaps with some more episodes, she might at least fit in among the diagnostic team of “House.”
Or they could just as easily kill her character just as easily as the other odd doctors out for another “special episode.”