And now for something completely different:
I also got around to seeing "Merry Little Christmas." I must say that I came out of that episode wanting to punch everyone in the face. With maybe the exception of Foreman, who was kind of awesome, and Chase, who didn't do anything and has already been punched in the face fairly recently. Still pissed at everyone else, though.
I think my previous musings on the Tritter arc seem to be a little off, in light of some of the spoilers I've read and such. (I don't really avoid them. I'm just too lazy to seek them out.)
So, I think I was wrong about the reasons behind the arc. The point is not so much the Tritter half of it as much as the rehab part of it. The point is to bring House to his nadir before he drags himself out of it a (moderately) better person.
Of course, the best way to do this sort of arc is to make the main character the one responsible for his own downfall. Which makes sense. And in this case, the writers have two things things that they've established as House's main weak points (in their eyes, at least):
1. His assholishness.
2. His drug addiction.
Neither of these things can really bring him down on their own, mostly because everyone around him has become used to them, and he functions on a regular basis with them.
So they bring on a new character, purposely designed to be the downfall of House because of those things. Maybe it could have worked if the character had been complex and interesting with well-developed motivations of his own, but right now, he's mostly a plot device. And he kind of defeats the purpose, because House's downfall isn't caused by some fatal flaw, really, is it? It's because Tritter's an asshole.
Another thing they needed to deal with is the way they needed to strip away House's support system (i.e. Wilson, and to a lesser degree his drugs, Cuddy, and the ducklings). Which is why Tritter gets away from seizing/freezing all of Wilson's assets for no apparent reason. And that's why Wilson has to leave House at the end of Merry Little Christmas. (Still mad at you, Wilson! Even if it was for plot purposes. Don't think you're forgiven until you do something really awesome.)
So, yeah. I think this half was kind of carelessly tossed together, mostly because the writers were more interested in the second part of it. I guess I should give them credit for actually trying a new storyline, even if the first part of it is awfully repetitive. Which isn't really worth all that much, but it's more credit than I gave them before.
I really doubt the next half won't suck, or at least, won't suck enough to forgive the major suckage of the first. We'll see.
Anyway, I'll be off in this corner, pretending that this season isn't happening.