Season Four Episodes:
- "From now on, everything you do gets charted. With pen. On paper. In a binder that says “Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital” on the cover… If you wanna run something through the labs, I get a copy. If you do scans, I get a copy. If you think about doing scans, I get a copy."
- ―The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff is a fourth season episode of House which first aired on October 2, 2007. House runs a reality show style contest to choose a new diagnostic team. While giving his new applicants an exercise, a prospective astronaut approaches him to treat her “under the table” to keep NASA from finding out anything is wrong with her. When Cuddy finds out about the arrangement, she demands that House properly chart every single procedure. When the patient refuses to consent to any test that would make NASA suspicious, House has to get even more creative than usual. However, he’s distracted by what appear to be familiar faces around the hospital.
Meanwhile, House is testing a room of forty doctors known as The Applicants. He shows a picture of Buddy Ebsen and tells them about his allergic reaction to his Tin Man makeup and instructs the interviewees to come up with alternative diagnoses. When Cuddy tells him he doesn't have the budget to temporarily retain forty doctors, he arbitrarily fires a row of ten of them to bring himself back under budget. When he realizes that he fired a row with an attractive woman, he then rehires the row and fires a different row. House's pager then rings, but it shows his own number.
The pilot is in his office. She offers him $50,000 in cash to find out what is wrong with her. She tells him that she's due to go to NASA's astronaut training but if they find out about her condition, they will ground her. She tells House that she started to hear with her eyes.
House tells his applicants they're going to do a diagnosis without keeping notes or records. He then introduces the patient, who is given the code name "Osama bin Laden". The applicants start questioning her about her synesthesia. One applicant guesses the patient frequently flies and may have an embolism. House then orders a group of applicants to do a whole bunch of tasks.
House assigns some spare applicants to wash his car. One of them says that she thinks that House is planning to fire them and leaves along with some others. Only one continues to wash the car. The applicant who said she thought the students were wasting their time returns and says she just did that to get others to leave. She steals House's car keys to take the car to a car wash.
Another applicant tells House that the patient has elevated red blood cells. House glances out his office window and sees who he believes is Chase. The car wash applicants return and House orders them to put the patient in a hyperbaric chamber as he thinks it might be carbon monoxide poisoning. The car wash applicant also lets the others know she still has her old job and is working both of them. Suddenly the patient goes into cardiac arrest. One of the applicants uses a defibrillator on her. He gets the patient's heart beating, but starts a fire in the oxygen rich environment. One doctor on the scene figures they will get fired.
The patient is put on nitroglycerine and blood thinners. They start discussing new diagnoses, including Lupus. House sends three applicants to do a transesophageal echocardiogram, and gives the rest busy-work looking for possible sources of infection in the cafeteria.
The applicants do the echocardiogram on the patient's heart but find no abnormalities. House orders a test for hypothyroidism, even though it might cause another heart attack. During the test, the patient starts suffering from symptoms unrelated to the test, including the hallucinations she had in the simulator. She runs out of the room having a psychotic break. House is paged when she locks herself in a room, otherwise security will know she's in the hospital. One of the applicants threatens to blab her secret, and when House says he knows it, she bursts out of the room. House thinks he sees Cameron. Cuddy comes along and sees them with the patient and wonders who she is. They tell her it's Osama bin Laden.
Cuddy goes to the applicants and asks who the patient is. One of the nineteen remaining applicants knows who she is from examining her home and reveals her identity. Cuddy tells House to keep a chart on her. House fires the guy who ratted. He goes back to the diagnosis. He fires another applicant for tattling as well. He tells the applicants they can't test the patient any more because there would be records.
House tells Wilson he saw Cameron. He also asks how to scan a liver without scanning it. Wilson blows him off on both counts. He thinks House is hallucinating and he will next see an African American Cameron with blonde hair. Wilson informs House that Cameron is with Chase in Arizona, and they just called him. Wilson thinks House is getting ready to choose people he doesn't like, because if he likes them he will care for them and he might end up getting hurt.
House tells the applicants they have to stress the patient's liver. He fires one applicant for snitching on another, then re-hires him when he suggests giving the patient alcohol. He also convinces a Mormon applicant to act as a control subject, over his objections to drinking alcohol.
They give tequila to the patient and the control subjects (including House himself). He discusses religion with the Mormon, and why he fell for a logical argument. The Mormon brands House as an atheist. House thinks he sees Foreman. Suddenly the patient has trouble breathing. House is chasing Foreman. Cuddy tells House Foreman is at New York Mercy Hospital. She realizes House has been drinking. He returns to the patient's room, but she is missing. The applicants took her to a treadmill to give her oxygen—records will show merely a routine stress test rather than an emergency. House starts to percuss the patient's chest, listening for abnormalities. He figures it's lung cancer or tuberous sclerosis and he wants to do an open lung biopsy. The patient refuses, as NASA will know about it.
House says they need to give the patient the surgery. The plastic surgeon in the crowd can't hide the scars, but he suggests breast augmentation as a cover story—they can do the biopsy during the operation and there will be an explanation for the scars. The patient eventually agrees. Cuddy confronts House about the reason he's doing such a surgery, but backs down when he threatens to tell her what is really going on and suggests an oversight committee would hand down penalties. They do a biopsy during the augmentation and find a number of cysts. They start discussing diagnoses in the operating room. Suddenly Chase appears on the observation deck with the answer - Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome . House wonders if he is hallucinating, but the applicants confirm he is there. Chase tells him he's now on the surgical staff. The applicants ask if House will hire Chase instead, but when House looks questioningly up at Chase, he quietly shakes his head no. House then affirms he'll hire from the applicants.
House and Wilson argue about Wilson not letting House know that Chase and Cameron are back at the hospital in new jobs. However, Foreman really is at New York Mercy.
They tell the patient she's fine for now, but the syndrome will affect her for the rest of her life. House tells the patient he has already informed NASA, but they don’t seem to care.
House picks ten applicants to stay. One rejected applicant who said she did nothing wrong confronts House, but he tells her that she didn't take any risks. He tells the oldest applicant that he knows he never went to medical school, but agrees to keep him on as an personal assistant to give advice.
House goes to see the now blonde Cameron. He thinks she's wasting her time in the ER. She admits she gave the patient House’s pager number. She asks why House ratted out the patient, but he admits he didn't—he just said he did to keep the others from doing it. Cameron thinks he did it because he couldn’t kill the patient’s dream.
- Row C: After House changed his mind saving Taub, Ashka, and Dobson from elimination.
- 23: For misidentifying Buddy Ebsen.
- 20, 28, and 38: As part of the Row D Elimination.
- 10 aka Dr. Mason: For leaking the patient's personal information to Dr. Cuddy.
- 1, 11 (Dr. O'Reilly), 25, 27, 31, and 40: Fired by 24 aka Amber Volakis to get even at House and to force The Applicants to quit.
- Beautiful Doctor aka 19: Eliminated by House in the final elimination at the end of the episode.
- 2 aka Dr. Ashka eliminated by House for not taking risk and letting her team down.
Applicants Remaining: 10.
- House fires Row D which contains Dr. Ashka, Taub, and Dr. Dobson But changes his mind and fires Row C instead.
- House fires Number 23 after misidentifying actor Buddy Ebsen as British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
- Number 24 (later known as Amber Volakis) forces a group of applicants to quit under the guise of a mutiny.
- House sees Chase wandering the hospital corridor, Cameron as a blonde leaving the clinic, and Foreman in the hallway; Cuddy tells House that Foreman is running the Diagnostic Department at New York Mercy.
- Number 6, Lawrence Kutner, accidentally sets the patient on fire while using paddles to revive her while they're all in an oxygen-rich room.
- Wilson reveals that Chase is working in the Mayo Clinic in Arizona; later, House finally figures out that Wilson lied to him.
- After learning that Number 10, Dr. Mason, ratted him out to Cuddy, House fires him. He then fires Number 6, Kutner, for tattling on Amber.
- Kutner returns under the guise of Number 9 but House quickly fires him yet again. On the way out he suggests that they give the patient alcohol, a move which impresses House so much he lets Kutner stay on, although Amber is clearly dismayed.
- House reveals that Jeffery Cole, Number 18, is a Mormon.
- Wilson reveals that Cameron has been a Senior Attending in the ER for three weeks while Chase is in Surgery but that Foreman IS actually at Mercy.
- Out of the nineteen applicants left at the end of the episode, House fires nine of them, leaving ten remaining.
- Number 26, Henry Dobson's secret is finally revealed. He tells House that he never graduated from medical school. House tells him he may keep him on as an assistant.
- Cameron finally meets House in the ER and it's revealed that she has gone from being a brunette to being a blonde.
- House tells Cameron that he lied to Greta about telling NASA of her condition.
Trivia & Cultural References
- The title of the episode is from The Right Stuff, a 1979 non-fiction book by Tom Wolfe about the original seven American Mercury program astronauts. It was made into a movie in 1983.
- This episode may also be a reference to Alan Shepard, an American astronaut who was also featured in Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff". Shepard became the 5th man to walk on the moon, thanks in part to a procedure performed on him for Ménière's disease by an American otologist also named Dr. House.
- The opening sequence in the flight simulator, with the multi-chromatic color scheme and close up on a blinking eye, is a homage to a similar scene in Stanley Kubrik's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Buddy Ebsen was an American actor and dancer. He is best known for his roles as Jed Clampett in “The Beverly Hillbillies” and as the title character in the detective series “Barnaby Jones”.
- Neville Chamberlain was the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1937 to 1940. He is remembered now for entering into the Munich Agreement in 1938 which handed over parts of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany.
- On the blackboard behind House (visible after he lifts the projection screen) someone has scribbled "Tesla was robbed". A possible reference to the fact that many creations by Nikola Tesla were claimed by other engineers and scientists, while Tesla died poor. Nikola Tesla was the famous inventor of all sorts of electricity-based technology we have today such as remote control, alternate current and even what became today's Wi-fi. He is mostly know by his famous contraption, the Tesla Coil.
- Wilson tells House that Cameron can't be in two places at once because she's not a dead cat. This is a reference to Schrödinger's cat though it is perhaps slightly misued - the quantum-mechanics analogy states that if a cat cannot be seen while inside a box where it has access to poison, the unobserved cat can be simultaneously assumed to be alive and dead (in Wilson's joke, Cameron is simultaneously "here and there" as opposed to "alive and dead").
- Osama bin Laden was the head of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.
- If you believe the Warren Commission, Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of President John F. Kennedy in November, 1963.
- More about Dolphins & Porpoises. Porpoises have dull flat teeth while Dolphins have sharp conical teeth, and Porpoises have shorter beaks.
- Nepal is a small nation between India and China that has a population roughly equal to that of Canada. It is the home of many of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, as well as being home to several Buddhist monasteries.
- Tequila is an alcoholic beverage fermented from the blue agave cactus.
- Mormonism, or more technically the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is a Christian religious movement that developed in the United States in the 19th century.
- Brigham Young University is a private university owned by the Latter Day Saints.
- House’s reference to “Magic underwear” refers to the Temple Garment, an undergarment worn by Mormons who have completed an endowment ceremony whenever they enter a Mormon temple.
- Barbara Feldon is an American model and actress who is best known for her role on “Get Smart” as Agent 99.
- House mentions a few confidence tricks. The “Texas Bag Scam“ is probably the con game where the con man and the sucker find a bag of valuables or money, but the sucker is told they must pay an advance fee in order to take proper ownership of the valuables. The “Saratoga Wire“ is most likely the con shown in the movie “The Sting“, where the con man convinces a sucker that he can predict the results of races, then arranges for the sucker to place a large bet on the wrong horse and splits the proceeds with the bookie. The “Paris Exposition Trick” is probably a reference to the famous Eiffel Tower Scam (the Tower having been built for the Exposition), where a con man sold the scrap metal rights to the tower.
- This is the first appearance of Amber Volakis, played by Anne Dudek. Anne is also the sixth cast member who also had a guest role on Charmed.
The Right Stuff