”Desperate Housewives”: The truth behind rumors
Dear Mr. Cherry,
Call me Carrie, because I’m sending you telekinetic hugs and kisses. Lovely bear of a man, you’ve returned this show — and my girls — to their exalted status at the top of the evening-soap heap. Whether Housewives‘ sudden artistic resurgence is a onetime thing or the beginning of a whole new era remains to be seen. All I know is that Edie is back to her double dealing, Susan is thisclose to hooking up with Mike, Gabrielle got her bitch on, and Lynette nearly went on an honest-to-God date with someone who wasn’t Tom. Oh, and Julie’s in the house! And Marcia Cross isn’t on bed rest after all; she’s in her mountain ski whatever ordering muffin baskets for her friends! Yay!
It’s awfully brilliant of you to air an episode whose main theme is gossip and the way in which rumors dominate suburban life (as your actresses provide fodder for tabloids). The whispering hadn’t caught up with poor Gaby, who learned — at her engagement party, no less (nice) — that Edie was sleeping with Carlos. (Memo to Edie: Dropping this bombshell as someone celebrates her betrothal is even worse than wearing white at the wedding.) Gone was the loved-up, smiley Edie of weeks past. This week she was determined to keep Carlos for herself at all costs, even if the price was Gaby’s friendship. The independent, ballsy Edie’s willingness to give up the Wisteria women spoke volumes about her love for Carlos. And just as in the old days, tonight Miss Britt just loved to be the center of attention — whether she was trading idle gossip (”since when does praying make boobs look better?”) or telling Gaby about her hot romance. Gaby and Edie have always played so beautifully against each other, even if tonight’s showdown in the driveway was the adult equivalent of sticking out one’s tongue in the school playground.
Clearly, Marc, you’ve been reading Us Weekly. Like Brad and Angelina early on, Lynette and her chef are having an emotional affair. ”I just chose ravioli over motherhood,” she said, and with her shiny locks and sexy black dress, I’d say she was trading those rugrats for more than just pasta. I know the Lynette of season 1 would never have run off and had some kind of affair with a pizza-joint staffer. But tonight, the fact that she got all dolled up, flirted shamelessly, and snuck around behind her hubby’s back proved that she is embracing her sexuality and her natural coy manner. For the past year and a half, it’s seemed as if Lynette were hidden behind a cloak of marriage and mommyhood, and now she’s finally emerged with her cute laugh and curler to reclaim her place as one of the sexier women on the block.
Tom, meanwhile, has reverted to being the whiny and selfish (but not annoying and pie-hungry) yuppie we all loved to hate. His jealousy over Lynette’s interest in the pizza chef shows that despite a recent spate of arguments and a thrown-out back, he really does care deeply for his wife. This was the first episode in a long time where we truly saw that.
Thanks, Mr. Cherry, for bringing Susan home. We first fell in love with her when she locked herself outside, naked, then fell in a gigantic plant (to the amusement of her hunky crush). Then she became a selfish, whiny near Londoner. Tonight, Susan was back. Her best friend, confidante, and daughter was in the house, and the two were up to their old tricks, as Julie helped her mom spy on Mike. We finally got some insight into Susan’s mind. Far from the flighty, tacky nightie enthusiast she’s been recently, she ended up on a therapist’s couch expressing heartfelt anguish about having to choose one man over the other. As she bawled on the shrink’s sofa, we at long last understood her rationale for dumping both — she felt terrible hurting each guy’s feelings, aww. And at Edie’s party, we even got a mention of Susie Q’s career as a children’s book illustrator. I’d all but forgotten it existed.
Mrs. McClusky’s battle against neighborhood gossips and taggers was the first time I’ve felt genuine sadness and compassion for a Wisteria resident since Zach in season 1. Credit here goes to the writing and to the fantastic acting of Kathryn Joosten. Her interaction with Lynette’s son is adorable; sometimes their conspiratorial dynamic is very Tom and Lynette.
This evening, Gabrielle finally got away from this whole ”soft” image I’ve been bemoaning for weeks and got back to her usual snippy self. Upset after Edie’s revelation, Gaby tried to get her neighbors to turn against her new rival. ”Good friends share more than gossip and brunch!” she yelled when they protested. ”I want icicles hanging from that bitch’s ears!” Lynette and Susan were so afraid of her that they hid out at Edie’s son’s birthday party, and the image of them crawling on all fours as Gaby’s sinister convertible pulled up the road is something I will never forget. Would they have been as scared of her when she was all goopy during one of Lang’s knee-weakening ”I love you” rants? Nope. Welcome back, Gaby on Wheels! And props for this heavenly observation, Mary Alice: ”For the first time, Gaby was willing to let Carlos be with someone else…because he still belonged to her.” Oh, man. Am I the only one who feels sorry for Edie? I’ve never seen her look happier than when she was with her two boys (not even the postcoital bliss during her Karl affair can compare). I hope that Carlos was just downplaying the relationship in order to spare his ex-wife’s feelings. Or, because he knows Gaby’s a busybody, to prevent even more salacious gossip from spreading.
Marc, I do give you massive props for the image of Susan parsing Mike’s voice-mail (don’t we all do that when a guy calls?) and for posing this long-awaited question: Why do the men on this show get away with so much? But I’m disappointed in your decision to have Edie hire a reptile man as Travers’ party’s entertainment. Because of a traumatic incident involving one such animal wizard when I was five years old, I am so terrified of certain slithery critters that I was forced to watch a whole scene of this episode with my head down. And the big McClusky reveal was a little trite. (C’mon, isn’t there room for one more cold-blooded killer on Wisteria Lane? Give the people what they want!)
Other than that, welcome back to greatness. ”How do we protect ourselves from the venomous sting of such idle gossip,” both in this column and in other media? By delivering such quality episodes every week.
PS to you TV Watchers: What do you think? Have these woman been restored to their former glory? How sweet was the final scene between Susan and Mike? And did he really move for good, or was he just hankering for a late-night road trip?