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Role Model
1x16rolemodel
Director(s)
Airdate
April 12, 2005
Episode Number
1.17
TV.com Rating
8.8/10
Guest Star(s)
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor
3/10


"You asked me why I like you. You’re abrasive and rude, but I figured everything you do, you do it to help people. But I was wrong. You do it because it’s right."
―Cameron

Role Model is a 1st season episode of House that first aired on April 12, 2005. When a politician friend of Vogler’s collapses at a rally, Vogler demands that House at least examine the man. House soon takes an interest in the case, but his conclusions seem to end any chance the patient has of pursuing his political career. In addition, Vogler’s demands on House increase to the point where he wants House to shill for his company's new drug.

RecapEdit

A politician, Gary Wright, is giving a speech when he starts to feel unwell. He struggles through the rest of his speech, which his assistant finishes, and then insists he is okay. However, he becomes nauseated and disoriented, and vomits before collapsing down a short flight of stairs.

Vogler tells House about the case. House thinks the patient has food poisoning, and Vogler responds that if it's that simple, it won't take House much time. They start talking about House's having to fire Cameron or Foreman, and Vogler orders him to give a speech in support of a drug Vogler's company is developing. House thinks it is merely an expensive alternative to existing drugs. However, Vogler tells House that if he gives the speech and takes Wright's case, he won't have to fire anyone.

Foreman is examining Wright, who says he has been feeling run down. House comes in playing his GameBoy and makes it clear that he isn't interested in the case—until he notices that Wright's patellar reflex isn't responding. He orders an MRI and a lumbar puncture, which are normal except for a small smudge in Wright's brain that could be nothing. House wonders why Chase isn't scared of him anymore, and tells Cameron and Foreman that he doesn't have to fire anyone. He thinks the patient has either an infection or a tumor, and orders a brain biopsy to confirm.

Cuddy calls House into her office to tell him he can't do a brain biopsy on the patient. They go to argue the point in front of Wright, who House notices is stuttering. Wright agrees to the biopsy, which reveals a brain lesion caused by toxoplasmosis, a parasite (the team incorrectly calls it a fungus). However, toxoplasmosis causes brain lesions only in patients who have abnormally deficient immune systems. This means Wright has AIDS.

Foreman explains the diagnosis to Wright and tells him he has AIDS. Wright refuses to believe it, denying any behaviors that would give him AIDS. He refuses antiretrovirals. He says he only wants drugs for the toxoplasmosis, and agrees to an AIDS test only if it is done under a pseudonym. He also demands that the team test him for anything else that could cause the toxoplasmosis infection.

Cameron and Chase are shocked that House is giving a speech for Vogler. He says he agreed to it in order to keep all of them. He directs them to tell the press that Wright has cancer and start tests for it despite the AIDS diagnosis.

Wright starts complaining of a headache, and wonders why Foreman won't believe he might not have AIDS. The patient thinks that politicians, and especially African-American politicians, don't get the benefit of the doubt.

Cameron tries to thank House, but he's not interested. She tells him that people pray to God because it means something to them, and that thanking him means something to her. He calls her a naïve atheist. He says people pray so that God won't destroy them, and tells Cameron he's not going to destroy her.

The AIDS test comes back positive, and Wright is started on antiretrovirals. His T cell count is extremely low, which means it is likely he will die. House needs to contact the patient’s sexual partners, and Wright says he has only had two girlfriends. House still thinks he has had homosexual sex and wonders why he is continuing to lie about it. Wright asks why House always believes the worst about people, saying he prefers to think people are good and be disappointed every once in a while. House takes another blood test.

The patient tries to get out of bed, but finds he cannot walk. The antiretrovirals aren't working, and he is getting worse. Cuddy asks House why he is so upset about having to give the speech when Vogler's drug works.

House tells Wright the antiretrovirals aren’t working because he doesn't have AIDS. The first test was a false positive; a second test was negative. But he is still dying—the only difference is that now they don't know why.

Wright begins losing brain function and sensation on his right side. House calls Wilson in to help and orders a full body scan because it's the only alternative, even though such scans are normally useless. Wilson asks why House redid the AIDS test, thinking he must have believed the patient—something House never does.

The full body scan shows some abnormalities. Vogler comes in to lord it over House that it's not food poisoning. He gives House 14 pages of notes for his speech.

House confronts Chase about ratting him out to Cuddy and Vogler. Chase admits it, and House asks how he can continue to work with him. Chase tells him he has no choice.

Foreman starts to investigate the anomalies they found on the scan. Wright asks if he is going to be okay.

House tells Wilson he is selling his soul to Vogler by giving the speech. The only difference in the new drug is that Vogler's company added an antacid. Wilson tells him not to worry about it—he’s doing a good thing.

Foreman tells House that all the anomalies on the scan were routine. House wants to biopsy the patient's spleen despite the risk of him bleeding to death. Cuddy very reluctantly agrees.

House finds Cameron in the lab. He asks why she likes him, saying he wants to know what makes her tick.

Foreman goes to the patient to seek consent for the spleen biopsy. However, Wright is having trouble breathing, and Foreman realizes they can't do the biopsy with him in this condition.

The team thinks Wright might have hairy cell leukemia, but there is no safe way to test for it directly. They look for other markers, and none are present, but the patient is positive for Epstein-Barr virus. That doesn't indicate hairy cell leukemia, but it does point to something else. House rushes to Wright's room and says he didn't damage his tongue in an accident, as he claimed earlier: He had an epileptic seizure. Wright admits it, but says he hasn't had a seizure since he was 10. House takes away his oxygen until he admits to taking a drug that, with the Epstein-Barr virus, can cause an autoimmune condition: common variable immunodeficiency disease.

Chase points out that he guessed the patient had that condition earlier, and House rejected the diagnosis because it is normally a childhood disease. House believes that the patient got the disease as a child, but it remained asymptomatic until he was under the stress of campaigning. He orders the team to treat Wright for it despite how unlikely it might be.

Over the next week, Wright starts improving. He needs to take medication for the rest of his life, but he will be fine. The team tells him he can continue to run for office. He admits that he won't win, but says that House is wrong about always having to win.

House goes to give his speech, with Vogler depending on House's reputation and integrity to sway the audience. He starts on script, but stops after one paragraph. When Vogler threatens to make him fire Cameron or Foreman unless he completes the speech, he goes back to the podium and tells the audience that he knows the new drug is good because it's the same as the old drug, only a lot more expensive. He says that Vogler's company merely fools around with existing drugs to get a new patent. Cuddy and Wilson are mortified. Vogler is stunned. House leaves the stage.

Cameron goes to see House at home. She tells him she's resigning so he won't have to fire her or Foreman. House asks why, and she says it is to protect herself. She admits she liked him despite his faults because she thought everything he did was to help people. But she now realizes she was wrong: He does what he does because it's right. She thinks the only way she can do the right thing is by quitting.

Clinic patient Edit

House thinks a patient has had a miscarriage, but she says she hasn't had sex in a year, since she split up with her husband. House doesn't believe her, and tells her to start her own religion since it must have been an "immaculate conception".

The patient comes in again with a bruise on her neck, which House says is a hickey. She continues to insist she hasn't had sex. He thinks she is having sex without knowing it. He takes a hair sample to test for alcohol, drugs, and GHB—the date rape drug.

The tests are all negative, and House accuses the patient of lying about not having sex. She says she has a new symptom: a rash on her butt, which House identifies as a carpet burn. Upon further questioning, House finds out that the patient wakes up exhausted and that her ex-husband lives downstairs. He figures out that she has been sleepwalking and actually having sex with her ex-husband in her sleep: She has Sexsomnia. That explains her fatigue, the bruise on her neck, the carpet burn, and, more importantly, why she was pregnant.

Before she goes off to make her ex pay, House says it's highly unlikely her ex-husband knew she was asleep and not in control of her actions, since sexsomniacs act pretty normal while sleepwalking. He notes that the patient's ex lives in the same building as her, she's unknowingly having sex with him, and she hasn't slept with anyone else since the divorce, all of which points to unresolved issues between them.

Zebra Factor: 3/10Edit

Common variable immunodeficiency disease is rare, but not terribly so (it affects about 1 in 50,000 people). A case would probably appear in the hospital during House's stay there. It is also the most common primary immunodeficiency disease.

Major events Edit

  • Vogler demands that House either fire a member of his team or give a speech promoting Vogler's new drug at the upcoming North American Cardiology Conference.
  • Cameron reveals she is an atheist.
  • House finally confirms that Chase has been leaking information to Vogler so Vogler will protect his job.
  • House tells the cardiology conference that Vogler's new drug is no better than his old, off-patent drug, humiliating Vogler and causing a great deal of embarrassment to the hospital.
  • Cameron quits in order to avoid pain from her feelings for House, which she doesn't believe will be reciprocated.
  • Wilson tricks House into thinking he's put "the moves" on Cameron, and House's reaction proves that Cameron has gotten to him.

Trivia and cultural referencesEdit

  • "NASCAR dad" was a term coined during the 2004 United States presidential campaign to refer to white, middle-aged, working class to lower middle class voters.
  • "The Jets" is a reference to the New York Jets, an American football team that plays its home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. House also makes American football references when he talks about the full body scan and the effects of the patient's disease.
  • While talking to the patient, House says that someday the United States will have an African-American president. Less than four years after the episode's air date, Barack Obama was elected.

Cast Edit


Previous episode:
Heavy

Role Model
Next episode:
Babies & Bathwater

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