Further reflections on Allison Cameron (House)

The deeper I get into season 2 of House, the less I like Cameron. Which is not a problem in and of itself: unlikeable females can be great women characters. But what is starting to worry me is the specific ways in which she’s unlikeable: she’s either overly emotional, or kind of stalker-ish.

She’s too weak to tell patients bad news. Okay, some people are – I’ve certainly been to male doctors who thought, “Why don’t we wait and see?” was a better response than, “Well, there’s a possibility it’s cancer, but there are about a dozen other things it could be, so let’s not jump to any conclusions until we get the tests back.” I try not to infer any metamessages about women from the fact that it’s that it’s The Girl who has this weakness, because Cuddy is such an excellent contrasting example.

Cameron’s other irritating behavior has to do with her stalkerish tendencies regarding House. In season one, she basically forced him into a date. It didn’t go well, because after a short while he explained to her that she wasn’t capable of love: she just needed to be needed, so she went after people she thought were damaged and latched onto them. Again, this time because the writers were so specific about Cameron’s hang-ups, it’s hard to take it as an indictment against all women.

But in one of the episodes I saw last night, she took it upon herself to force a dinner between House and his parents and half the curious hostpital staff – a dinner he clearly didn’t want to have. She had the good grace to bow out at the last minute, as it was none of her business, but good lord: the damage was already done. Had a friend done that to me, I’d have verbally ripped him or her a new one. Cameron is not House’s friend. I’m not sure what she thinks she is to him, or wants to be, but she needs to get over it.

As unlikeable as Chase is, his crap isn’t spotlighted as often as hers, which would offset her and any perception that she represents any woman other than herself. And Cuddy doesn’t get enough screen time, by any stretch, so that’s not offsetting her. I don’t think the writers are trying to put across a metamessage about how crazy women are, but I do have to wonder: do they see her like I do? If not, how do they see her? If so, which audience members do they think want to see her this way?

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