On ''Desperate Housewives,'' Susan and Gaby battle over the same day for their weddings; plus, Edie manipulates Carlos, and Lynette gets some bad news
Teri Hatcher, Desperate Housewives
Credit: Desperate Housewives: Danny Feld

Desperate Housewives (Season 3 -- Episode 322: What Would We Do Without You?

”Desperate Housewives”: It’s all about timing

Who pulls cash out of his pocket in the middle of a fancy restaurant? How gauche. Other than that minor faux pas, Mike Delfino was on his game tonight, hauling the love trailer front and center and graciously starring in this episode of The Wedding Date: The Series. Ditto Tom Scavo, who overcame his resentment of Lynette’s flirtation with chef Rick to support his wife during what was — if next week’s preview is to be believed — a cancer diagnosis. I wish I could say similar things about Fairview’s other Prince Charmings, but Carlos and Lang failed me yet again.

Don’t you love Susan and her double standards? Sure, Mike didn’t propose in some terribly cliché fashion on the floor of an overpriced bistro. But did she need to rail about it all angry-like on the car ride home? C’mon, Susan, the dude just paid for some overpriced meal you likely didn’t eat (nice clavicles), so cut him some slack. Especially because the last time he didn’t propose in a jiffy (that whole hit-by-a-car business), you ran off with some haughty English bloke. What I’ve loved about Ms. Mayer in recent episodes is her departure from the usual ”cute ditz” routine. Yes, she was a little out of it on last week’s mountain sojourn, but her words during that concluding ”I love you” phone speech were emotional and lovely. This week, she was one-note and immature, widening her eyes and hurling a flower bouquet at the wall. (And can we talk about that seriously uninspired floral arrangement? Je ne l’aime pas, François.)

Here’s what I hate about Carlos. Just when you start thinking he’s a decent human being, he tells his girlfriend that he doesn’t want to move in together because he doesn’t love her. Thus, we were promptly enrolled in Manipulation and Deceit 101, with Professor Edie Britt. Wearing the world’s tackiest, loudest eyesore of a dress (am I hallucinating, or was there a mirror hanging off of that thing?), she strolled over to a nursing home, found Carlos’ landlady, and faster than you can say ”functional junkie,” ”smack,” and ” ‘smack’ is so ’90s,” Carlos was grudgingly hightailing it to Edie’s crib. I love how he claimed not to love her, but although he could’ve stayed in a hotel, or with Mike and Susan (hello, they’re finished using the love trailer), he’s obviously whipped, and he followed Edie with little more than a halfhearted did-you-have-anything-to-do-with-this fight. Also, hasn’t Carlos already been a victim of birth-control deceit? Despite the sweet look on his face when he talked about a pirate-ship kid’s bed (Disney will soon release the next Pirates of the Caribbean installment, and ABC is part of the company — cross-promotion or coincidence?), I still hate that Carlos is essentially using Edie to fulfill his own dreams of fatherhood. I did like Edie’s mention of being possibly preggers with Carlos’ ”like child,” and the bitterness Nicollette Sheridan radiated here was a total premonition for the pill-popping deceit to follow. ”I just peed on that,” she said about the pregnancy test. ”For God’s sake, put it on a coaster!” Yeah, she so wants a kid.

Gabrielle got short-shrifted tonight. Aside from Eva Longoria’s heroic acting — for example, not blanching at Lang’s sweet nothings (”Can you blame me for wanting to make everything as perfect as you?”) — there wasn’t much for Gaby to do other than look pretty. She and Susan had a verbal smackdown when Gaby ”stole” her friend’s wedding date, and the ensuing cold freeze was like when my friend and I both wanted to ask the same guy to prom. ”It’s not theft; it’s an hommage,” Gaby said, in one of the evening’s few good one-liners. I expected more from Gaby when she realized that Lang was only jumping through wedding-detail hoops in order to throw a press-friendly fiesta made for photo ops. Hellcat Gabrielle from season 1 would never have sat idly by, a pensive look on her face, as Lang duped her. Of all the characters on this show to go soft, I think the loss of fiery Gaby (though there have been a few recent returns to form, such as the front-row make-out at Lang’s debate) is the biggest tragedy. How bland the show can be without her. Oh, and PS: Stick-thin Gaby and Susan probably wouldn’t have worked their way through that calorie-packed box of chocolate and bottle of vino.

At the pizzeria, Tom tricked Lynette into having a couples’ session with a therapist friend, and I have to say that my confused face mirrored hers. Ditto the angry fine-let’s-have-sex scene, and Lyn’s subsequent tumble from the Scavo family bed. With the exception of Tom’s grabbing Lynette’s hand during the lymphoma announcement — and Felicity Huffman’s fabulous acting in the waiting room, where she copped to having feelings for Rick — every move these two made tonight was so out of character it was absurd. Mommy didn’t talk to Daddy at the breakfast table; Daddy made Mommy do therapy in a pizza joint; and Mommy practically raped Daddy before falling off the bed and conveniently needing a CT scan, just in time for a sweeps cancer plot. Tonight we watched two formerly great ad executives complete their journey to becoming the Crazy Restaurant Couple of Wisteria Lane. Godspeed, you two, and may Marc Cherry restore you to your formerly intelligent, soul-of-this-show selves by the start of next season.

So Susan’s happy, Gabrielle’s doubting, Edie’s pining, Carlos likes pirates, Mike needs to return the love trailer to Star Waggons, Lynette’s going to be Very Sick But Better in Time for the Fall Premiere, and Bree is going to come back! Hopefully next week will bring screen time for Andrew and other sorely missed supporting characters. And wedding-bell blues, of course.

So, kids, what did you think? Did Marcia Cross look fierce in that promo? What’ll happen when Carlos finds Edie’s birth control stashed in that fabulous handbag? And will Mike and Susan and Gaby and Lang really get hitched?

Desperate Housewives (Season 3 -- Episode 322: What Would We Do Without You?
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