When an eighteen-year-old kid forced to raise his brother and sister after their parents died becomes sick, House decides to pit the Cottages against each other to see who can guess what's wrong with him. They all fail, of course, and House tells them that Jack has Hepatitis A. But when they cure him of that, Jack gets three more diseases. And then his brain has pus all over it. His immune system is compromised from a genetic disorder that only showed up when Jack was put under the stress of raising two kids. There are four things it could be, and the only way to figure out which one it is in time is to infect Jack with four different infections that each disease is especially susceptible to, and see which one Jack gets first. Chronic granulomateous disease is the lucky winner, and it can be cured with a bone marrow transplant. Jack's little brother is a match, but Jack refuses to let them do it since he says Will isn't old enough to give consent. House suspects that Jack has an ulterior motive for this, and he's right: Jack would rather stay sick and not have to take care of his brother and sister than get well and have to raise them. In other news, Tritter gets Wilson's car towed and his prescription-writing powers removed, forcing Wilson to shut down his practice. And House still won't help him out or even give him a ride home. I don't like Wilson, so I laugh at his pain for the entire episode. Ha ha ha!
First off, you'll all be pleased to know that I figured out how to use the Closed Captioning on my TV so as to prevent mistakes like last week's "incompetent"/"incontinent dog" fiasco. Mind you, I lost the instruction manual for my TV a long time ago, so it took me a great deal of time and effort to figure out how to get the closed captioning to work. And now I don't know how to make it go away, so I have words all over my screen all the time. But that's how much I care about you guys. Anyway, we open on a pizza place filled with arcade games and a giant rat mascot that is totally not a Chuck E. Cheese's. I used to beg my parents to have my birthday party there but they said no and I could never understand why. Now that I am an adult, I understand. And to be truthful, that animatronic robot band and the ballpit that was just a little too deep always kinda scared me, so it was for the best. A harried-looking young man passes a girl and tells her to get her own soda refill on his way to a table full of birthday partiers. He asks them if they're ready to sing the "Ralphy's Rumpus Birthday Rump Shake," which sounds pretty risqué for a children's song. The waiter and a guy in what could either be a squirrel, rat, or some sort of grey beaver costume dance in circles and sing the Ralphy's Rumpus Birthday Rump Shake song until the waiter looks sick and gets double vision. I'm pretty sure that happens to every adult who enters one of those places, though. Then he pukes all over the kids' table and collapses, holding his chest. The Magic School Bus Cam zooms inside his chest into his heart, which is zapped back to life by some EMTs with a defibrillator. The soda girl from before and a younger boy run up and say that the waiter is their brother. The EMT tells them to call their parents. The girl says that their parents are dead. The EMT just makes a face like "Ooh, that's hard luck, kiddies."
Post-credits, Wilson's car is being towed. He's confused as to why until the tow truck operator hands him a "love note from Detective Tritter" and I don't even get five minutes into this episode before I have to be extremely pissed off at the Detective Shitter, Omnipotent God of New Jersey storyline.
Over at PPTH, House has no sympathy for the eighteen-year-old orphan raising his brother and sister, since House has seen it all before on Party of Five, which he claims was "The O.C. of its day" even though it wasn't. Fox executives pat themselves on the back for getting not one but two of their shows mentioned in the same scene. House guesses that the stress of being a new parent and dealing with dead parents explains all of Patient Jack's health problems except for itchy feet, which Cameron explains away as athlete's foot. House accuses her of ignoring a symptom, and she gets huffy. Foreman is a neurologist, so he thinks they're looking at a brain problem. Chase thinks Jack caught something from one of the "feral kids" at the restaurant; Jack has barfed up so many fluids that he got an arrhythmia, causing the heart attack. And also, somehow, itchy feet. House says he knows the answer, but that he won't tell the Cottages. Instead, he'd rather make a game out of it and let them figure it out for themselves. Much like Encyclopedia Brown could only ask one question before solving his case, the Cottages get one test each to help them make a diagnosis. Their (literal) deadline is lunchtime. House scribbles something on the back of an envelope and posts it on the Whiteboard O'Symptoms. "The game is a itchy foot," the envelope Sherlock Holmes.