On ''Desperate Housewives,'' wino Bree fakes recovery; plus, Susan reveals her true feelings to Dr. Ron, and the Solises learn adoption isn't easy
Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
Credit: Marcia Cross: RON TOM/ABC

”Desperate Housewives”: Bree drowns in denial

For most of season 2, I’ve thought of this show the same way Madonna thinks of her various wannabe suitors in her recent single ”Sorry”: I’ve seen it all before, and I can’t take it anymore. Those words pounded through my head during Mary Alice’s opening voice-over about Bree’s various household routines. No more routines, I begged.

The episode seemed to hear me. Or maybe it heard the voice-over, which reported ”an addition” to Bree’s typical routine. Just as Bree incorporated a congratulatory shooter of wine (which, to my delight, she double-fisted along with a watering can) into her daily chores, the other characters spiced up their typical story lines with a little something extra. Tom and Lynette had the same argument they always have (Tom can’t handle that his wife is the Man), and boom! Love in an elevator, livin’ it up while they’re goin’ down. Gabrielle and Carlos went through their usual routine of dealing with the consequences of their pimpin’ lifestyle in the law-abiding, not-as-fun real world, but this time at least they fought from the same side. Go Team Solis!

And Susan performed her typical tangled-up-in-props bit (this week: hospital machinery!) and rambled incoherently about what she’s looking for in love (this week: to be struck by a thunderbolt), and then presto! She whipped out an honest declaration of her true feelings about Mike to Dr. Ron just as he was about to chase down her wandering spleen. To be fair, Susan was at this point drugged out of her mind. But hey, if that’s what it takes…

Bree and Andrew continued their tradition of sort of loving and definitely hating each other at the same time. I suppose the alteration to this routine of theirs is just that it’s getting increasingly out of control, to the point where I can’t even believe something so screwed up, painful, and somehow convincingly real is happening on TV. I’ve never gotten quite as invested in this story line as I did tonight. Even after all the hitting (Bree slapping Andrew, Justin punching Andrew — in the name of love, of course), I didn’t really start caring about their problems until the end, when Bree hurled a bottle of white toward the refrigerator. Now that caught my attention! Bree loves white wine. We must really have a problem!

It’s sort of clichéd, but I like how the writers are mirroring Bree’s alcoholism with her love-hate relationship with her son. Both seem to be addictions she could probably give up if she decided to, but she can’t because she adores them so much. (In terms of white wine, I know that sounds ridiculous, but have you ever paused the show on one of Bree’s longing gazes toward a bottle? It’s the same way she used to look at Rex, wondering if he appreciated her hints of oak and full-bodied taste as much as she did his. It’s intense.) It would probably be better for both of them if Bree just gave in and let Andrew go. If he continues living with her, there’s no way she can be happy or kick the habit. And if he leaves, at least she can keep her chardonnay in her apparently scratch-proof fridge instead of in the closet. Honey, that wine is skunked. Back off!

Even the Mike-Paul-Zach-Noah (his name’s Noah?) plot advanced this week, although the progress made little sense and I’m still not sure exactly where this story can go. I’m not surprised Paul managed to fight off two thugs with knives in the back of a van — I mean, he did invest early in Velcro, bottled water, and designer coffee. The man is impressive. I was confused, though, when the cops who had taken him captive suddenly released him onto his front lawn. Why would they decide not to kill him? Did they note his wily van behavior and think, ”This one’s a fighter. Better drop him off at home”?

Either way, Paul’s return was worth it just for the look on Felicia Tilman’s face; the fact that she was holding a tray of fresh macaroons only made this scene tastier. And speaking of deliciously askew nurse figures, the nutjob assigned to take care of Susan completely saved all of the otherwise dull hospital scenes. I particularly enjoyed her outburst to Dr. Ron: ”Why are you always falling in love with skanks, you beautiful, beautiful man?” It was almost as inappropriate as what John’s mom, Helen, said to Gabby at the adoption center. ”Mrs. Solis hired my son to do her yard work. And also, she would rape him.” Only Desperate Housewives could use ”rape” in a punch line and make it funny.

What do you think? Why do they keep saving Paul’s life? Which couple’s strife do you care about the most? And with Tony and Carmela back on the air at the same time, which show did you watch? (If you taped or TiVoed one, which show did you watch first?)

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