House season 8 has managed to turn a cynical critic into a humbled fan, once more. Wonders really do never cease, now where’s my triple rainbow?

HOUSE: Former prison doctor Jessica Adams (Odette Annable, L) volunteers on House's team with Foreman (Omar Epps, C) and Park (Charlyne Yi, R) in the "Charity Case" episode of HOUSE airing Monday, Oct. 17 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. 2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Taylor/FOX

By the end of House season 7, I was vocally annoyed with the show and the character of Gregory House (Hugh Laurie.) But I have to admit that time changes things. And I know this, because my dirty laundry pile just keeps getting bigger. “Give it time” is not just a statement that gives us the illusion that things will get better. Time gives you opportunities. And the people involved with House took their summer hiatus to present a season 8 that would make them proud. And so far, they’re doing it. Admittedly, I’m bracing for the comedown from this initial series of new episodes, a “senior slump” so to speak. But for now, congratulations are in order.

After 8 years, the requisite scorned lovers, Vicodin addiction, prison and a rotating team, Gregory House is still likeable. By that, of course, I mean that he is still likeable in that “we love to hate him” kind of way. He’s always been a jerk. A smart jerk. And my biggest worry about House had been that the character of House was going to change so much he’d be unrecognizable. (Yes, I flee from change. I don’t even use the new pillows I bought because they are different and different is always scary. Even if it’s just…pillows.) So. House. A jerky wizard of insight and intelligence, he remains! Not to say there hasn’t been any growth. But not enough to fundamentally change why we love him. And really, we ought to wonder why we love jerks so much… but we aren’t in couples therapy right now.

Only on House do we ever think about how being too nice might be a bad thing. More TV shows should teach this, because we’d all have less debt. But seriously, it’s a great angle. And surprisingly, medically relevant to actual…medical things!

The case of the week had Wentworth Miller as a rich guy whose altruism was a symptom of a bigger disease. We’ve had this plot before on House, but this is a hard lesson to swallow and I didn’t mind seeing it again. Sidenote: Why does Miller always play a rich guy in disguise?The insight and the discussion points that were brought up in this storyline, and in the storyline with Thirteen (Olivia Wilde, we heart you but Tron was weird.) Should you do the right thing just because of guilt? Can you ever give too much of yourself? (There are people who do this. It’s sad and exhausting to watch the way they neglect themselves without a second thought.)  Should family come first, or is it selfish to value them over the rest of the world? These are valid questions, hell, they’re interesting questions. We got some answers in the episode, but they aren’t the definitive answers.

In a former episode, House takes it personally when someone is being too nice. Here, it’s not personal at all. He just wanted money. (And it didn’t seem he’d ever take it.) Curiosity got the best of him, as usual. He knew something was wrong, and he had to prove himself right. I’m not entirely sure my title for this House review is accurate, because while the character made everyone (from Foreman to Wilson) think, it didn’t actually anger any of them. But seriously, how fun is alliteration?

I don’t find either of House’s new team members all that interesting. I definietly dislike Odette Annable‘s character and find she reeks too much like Jennifer Morrison‘s Cameron character of the early seasons. But maybe it’s fair to have this personality type show up again, because so many of us are naive, do-gooders with rich guilt. (I’m often naive, but I do no good and I have never been rich.)

Charlyne Yi‘s character is actually interesting, at least. Despite the unfortunate haircut.

The interplay between Annable and Yi’s characters and how House manipulated and informed them about the world was pretty damn awesome. I mean, manipulating people isn’t cool, but the nuggets of wisdom were priceless, and I fully intend to use them as talking points with my therapist.

But if I find out my therapist doesn’t like and/or watch House, then we’ll be having a different kind of debate. Give House season 8 your attention, people. It’s good TV.

What did YOU think of this episode? How attractive would you say Wentworth Miller is on a scale of 1-10? Was Olivia Wilde’s hair too highlighted? Was Thirteen’s ladykiss necessary for the screen or just to please fans?

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