- Jasper: "I could be your boyfriend."
- Cameron: "I...think that wouldn’t be fair to the girls your own age."
- Jasper: " [Chase] seems like a tool."
- — Act Your Age
Act Your Age is a 3rd season episode of House which first aired on April 17, 2007. A six year old girl is admitted after collapsing at daycare, but her symptoms seem typical for someone ten times her age. The mystery just keeps getting worse until the girl’s brother also starts exhibiting strange behavior. At that point, the team realizes what’s causing the problem, but as the patients continue to get worse, they can’t determine the source of their illness. Finally, House finds a third person exhibiting unusual symptoms and puts the pieces together. Meanwhile, it appears that Cameron is more upset with Chase than Chase is with her, even though the breakup of their relationship was her idea.
While an 8 year old boy, Jasper is being treated by his father for a severe nosebleed at a post-school day care, his 6 year old sister, Lucy collapses with respiratory distress and is rushed to Princeton-Plainsboro.
Cuddy brings the case to House, who is intrigued about a six-year-old with restrictive pericarditis. However, it’s late in the day. Since House wants nothing more than to go home, he orders his team to run a lot of routine tests and leaves. The team goes to see the operation being carried out on the patient while they argue about the diagnosis. Chase goes home too while Foreman and Cameron run the tests, all of which are negative. However, Chase comes in first thing the following morning with a positive test result from a biopsy taken of the tissue in the pericardium - the girl is suffering from a fungal infection. House orders them to biopsy a lymph node to find out which fungus.
The father tells Chase and Cameron that the children’s mother died about a year ago from brain cancer. As Chase does the lymph node biopsy, her brother develops a crush on Cameron. All of a sudden, they realize the patient has double vision.
However, the biopsy was negative, ruling out a fungal infection. House thinks it might be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
House actually received a gift from a patient - a pair of theatre tickets. He offers them to Wilson, but Wilson initially thinks House wants to go to the play with him, until House tells him that men just don’t go to plays together. Wilson accepts the tickets.
As they explain rheumatoid arthritis to the father, the patient starts having a stroke.
The stroke was caused by a clot. House is mystified - her symptoms are those of an old woman. He orders an environmental scan for cigarettes and carbon monoxide. On their way, the patient's brother tries to give Cameron stolen flowers. Cameron gives him a kiss.
They start draining the patient's blood to keep it from clotting. Cameron and Chase arrive at the girl's home to see if the girl's illness may have an environmental cause. They argue about whether Cameron is trying to make Chase jealous by taking flowers from the patient‘s brother. She denies it. Chase discovers that the brother is having discipline problems at school. While there, they discover a bloody undershirt in a vent in the patient's bedroom. Chase reminds Cameron she broke off their relationship. She reminds him he broke the rules by trying to make it a more serious relationhip.
Cameron surmises that the child may be sexually or physically abused, but Foreman notes there are no signs on her body. Cameron thinks it is sexual. House orders a full physical exam, but Chase points out they can't do a vaginal exam without the father's consent. Foreman asks the father straight out if he's abusing his daughter, but he denies it and Foreman gets consent for the examination after threatening to call social services. Cameron performs the exam and finds cuts all over the patient’s vaginal area. However, there is no sign of vaginal tearing. Foreman surmises the blood on the shirt they found might not be the patient’s.
When Cuddy finds out House has not yet contacted child services for suspecting child abuse, she once again chides House for not following proper procedure. She tells him to call social services.
House finds out that Wilson took Cuddy to the play with his tickets. He thinks Wilson is trying to sleep with her. Wilson says they are just friends. He then plays with House's mind by claiming he slept with Cuddy.
Tests on the shirt come back and show that it is menstrual blood - although the patient is only 6 years old, she has entered puberty. Cameron explains to the father that her hormone levels are too high and they have to find the source. The patient finally starts talking again. The cuts on her vaginal area were from her attempt to shave off her pubic hair. The team gets together to decide what the source is. Cameron thinks it is environmental, but House thinks the patient has a hormone-producing tumor.
Wilson comes to House to tell him Cuddy sent him flowers with a romantic card attached. When he sees Cuddy, he runs away. As House walks past Cuddy in the clinic, he tells him Wilson is acting a little freaked and admits he sent Wilson the flowers.
The patient's brother confronts Cameron about Chase, and then corners her, asking her to be his girlfriend. When Cameron resists, the boy grabs her behind.
They operate to remove the tumor on the patient’s ovary, but she goes into V-Tac from an arrhythmia. They find the "tumor" is just a benign cyst. Cameron feels the hormones have to be from an environmental source.
The patient's brother sees Chase talking sweetly to Cameron and being tender to her, and goes into a rage and bites Chase. When they report the biting incident to House, he first brushes it off and goes back to watching professional wrestling on television. However, seconds later he calls Cameron back with to tell her that the girl's illness and the boy's aggressiveness are probably from the same common disorder.
The brother's testosterone test shows levels a hundred times higher than normal. The question then becomes what the source of the testosterone is. Everything Cameron got from the home tested out negative. Chase pointed out the mother died of a tumor. Since they are siblings, a genetic cause is considered. They start draining blood from the brother as well. Suddenly the sister's stomach starts to hurt - she has a cyst on her pancreas causing the pain, and the scans show other cysts that weren‘t there two days before. It could be environmental, but she's getting worse even though she's not in her usual environment. Cameron thinks the sister needs to have her pituitary gland removed because a pituitary adenoma is most likely the cause of the symptoms. However, she would need hormone treatment for the rest of her life. The father consents to the surgery. At this point House wonders if there could be another environmental source, and suspects the day care center. However, the father rejects this suggestion, saying if any other children there had the same symptoms, he would know about it. House wonders how he would have known about any other cases at the day care when he hasn’t been outside the hospital in four days.
House visits the day care and, after asking one of the girls there if she's "growing hair in her special place", realizes that the father is having an affair with the day care supervisor. She denies ever being to the patients' house (she claims that Jasper and Lucy just lost their mother, so they thought it was too soon to let them know) but House realizes that she has recently had a lip wax. House quickly surmises that she had been exposed to testosterone as well, and that the source has to be the father. He returns to the hospital and confronts the father about whether he has been using testosterone cream to keep up with the much younger supervisor. He confirms it, and admits he had no prescription, but can't understand how his use of the cream would affect his children - he keeps it at his gym. House explains that like most other things, testosterone is taken out of the body through sweat, and that his children were exposed every time he touched them, even in the hospital. He agrees to stop using it.
Wilson is wondering what to say to Cuddy about the card she sent. He tells House that he’s going to go to her office and just kiss her. House agrees with the plan. Wilson goes to leave the office, and then turns back and lets House know that he knows that House sent him the flowers. After they play games with each other for a minute, Wilson makes it clear that he’s not interested in Cuddy and that House is a jerk for letting him say he was going to go kiss Cuddy.
Cameron finds flowers from Chase above her locker and thanks him for them. However, she says she doesn’t want a relationship. Chase says he knows that, but he also knows she likes flowers.
The family goes to leave the hospital, and the father has invited the day care supervisor to accompany them out of the hospital. Cuddy and House discuss the pros and cons of dating people outside your age group, and even trying to form a relationship. House then tells Cuddy he has tickets to a play.
After Cameron informs Chase that they are no longer going to have a sexual relationship, Chase confronts Cameron and asks her to admit she may have feelings for him. Chase makes it clear that he cares for Cameron and wants a relationship with her.
Wilson has recently taken Cuddy to a play. House confronts Wilson about this and intimates that Wilson is interested in a relationship with Cuddy, which Wilson denies. However, Wilson receives flowers with a card from Cuddy which seem to indicate that Cuddy is very interested in a relationship with Wilson. He goes to House's office and states he is going to just go into Cuddy's office, kiss her, and tell her how he feels about her. After leaving House, he returns a moment later to let House know he knew all along that House sent the flowers and he couldn't believe that House would let him humiliate himself like that. However he instantly gets back at House by claiming he is interested in Cuddy. House buys it just long enough for Wilson to say that he was kidding.
At the end of the episode, House mentions to Cuddy that he has two tickets for a play.
Clinic Patient Edit
House gets the test results, but knows it isn't the patient's urine. He figures the patient is mimicking the symptoms for someone without insurance - otherwise, he's pregnant.
Major Events Edit
- Chase and Cameron have their first fight since breaking up.
- Jasper, the patient's brother develops a crush on Cameron.
- House learns that Wilson and Cuddy went to a play together.
- Wilson thinks that Cuddy has sent him flowers but it's revealed that it was actually House.
- After hearing that Jasper attacked Chase in a jealous rage, House figures out that he probably has the same disease as his sister, Lucy.
- Wilson eventually figures out that House sent him the flowers. But he gets his own-back by managing to fool House into thinking that he likes Cuddy.
- House asks Cuddy to a play.
Zebra Factor 9/10Edit
Precocious puberty is a rare condition, but it can also be caused by exposure to topical testosterone crème. There are cases where children under the age of three have developed secondary sexual characteristics after such exposure.
Trivia & Cultural ReferencesEdit
- Joel Moore, who plays Eddie the clinic patient, also plays one of the clinic patients in One Day, One Room.
- This episode features two characters who would go on to play minor recurring characters in another FOX show, Bones: Joel Moore (clinic patient) and Carla Gallo (the teacher in the opening).
- Gulag was the agency in the USSR that ran the country's forced labor camps from 1930 to 1960. The camps were generally referred to as Gulags as a result..
- House is watching TNA Lockdown 2006 when Cameron calls. The match is Christian Cage vs. Abyss.
- House's remark to Eddie the clinic patient about Eddie's "friend, Eggs Benedict," not having insurance is a reference to Woody Allen's "Eggs Benedict" track on his album "Woody Allen - Stand Up Comic."
- Hugh Laurie as Gregory House
- Lisa Edelstein as Lisa Cuddy
- Omar Epps as Eric Foreman
- Robert Sean Leonard as James Wilson
- Jennifer Morrison as Allison Cameron
- Jesse Spencer as Robert Chase
- Erich Anderson as Deran
- Carla Gallo as Janie
- Joel David Moore as Eddie
- Bailee Madison as Lucy
- Slade Pearce as Jasper
- Ellery Sprayberry as Girl in daycare
- Marcus Folmar as Security Guard
- Bobbin Bergstrom as Nurse
- Tonya Davis as Second Nurse
- Episode article on Wikipedia
- Episode page at IMDB
- Episode summary on TV.com
- Episode page at House MD Guide
- Quotes at House MD Quotes
- A review of the medicine at Polite Dissent
- Episode page at TV Rage
| Previous episode:|
Act Your Age
| Next episode:|