Edie tries to find out the real facts about Dave, Gaby and Lynette try to get over on each other, and Orson admits what's behind his recent transgressions

By Tanner Stransky
March 16, 2009 at 06:28 PM EDT
Danny Feld/ABC
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As usual, the deceased Mary Alice began and ended another episode of Desperate Housewives with her now-classic voice-over that first previewed — and at the end, then wrapped up — the episode. This week, according to Mary Alice, the theme was all about hidden agendas: Lynette played Gaby for a salary bump; Gaby played Lynette to serve as her spy; Orson played Bree by stealing knick-knacks; Susan played her new boss Jessie for a good performance review; and Dave played Katherine to get her to come along on his camping trip.

But here’s my question: Isn’t nearly every episode of Desperate Housewives about hidden agendas? Aren’t secrets and deception — aka hidden agendas! — the very basis of this show? I could start nearly every TV Watch out with some play on hidden agendas. Wisteria Lane is always teeming with them!

Gaby and Lynette’s story line was just silly deception. Lynette applied to be Carlos’ new director of marketing, and she asked Gaby to put in a good word. Gaby was inexplicably not into the idea, claiming that she didn’t know much about Lynette’s work. (Which is basically a crock because she’s known the woman for nine years. I think you’d get a pretty good sense of how good or bad a person is, career-wise, in that time frame. But that’s neither here nor there.) It wasn’t until Gaby wanted to use Lynette as a spy that she got on board with the idea of her working for Carlos.

You see, Gaby wanted Lynette to report back to her about what was transpiring between Carlos and his new No. 2, Lucy, who he used to live with and sleep with. So when Gaby did unexpectedly proffer the job offer, Lynette lied and said they’d have to match another offer she got for $100,000 a year, when the offer she had was actually only for $80,000. When they each discovered the nefarious motives of the other, all Gaby had to say was, ”Fine, we’re a couple of users.” (About the salary bluff, Gaby hilariously added: ”Honey, I’ve played poker with you for the past nine years. I think I can tell when you’re bluffing.” Well played! But again: You know all about your friend’s poker face but nothing about her work ethic?) But, really, neither was too put out by the whole situation. In fact, aren’t these kinds of favors just the things friends would normally do for each other? Why do they have to be so veiled about their motives? If they both just laid them out there from the beginning, I’m sure they would both understand.

Lynette’s story line also yielded some interesting commentary on rampant ageism in the contemporary workplace. After being out of the ad game for seven years, she realized that she was no longer the hot, young exec anymore. Or as she overheard one young ad lady say, ”After 35, they take you out back and they shoot you in the face.” Ha! I love Lynette’s follow-up to the woman even more: ”Do me a favor: If you hear a gun shot, tell my four kids I love them.” You tell it, Lynnie! (Oh, and if you are, in fact, counting hidden agendas, while interviewing, Lynette told a potential new employer that she was 54 when she’s really 43 so she could land a job selling anti-aging serum. Because, you know, you gotta be old to do that!)

Elsewhere on Wisteria Lane, Orson was still stealing trinkets from his neighbors. Again, I feel like this is somewhat of a random and uninteresting story line. Okay, so he’s frustrated that Bree has all the power in the relationship, that he has to work for her, that he probably hasn’t had sex with the ice queen in years…okay, I digress. But, honestly, what grown man steals mantle-worthy pieces of crap to gain a little bit of control? Maybe he should just put the pants back on in the relationship — and his own life — and get on with things. Orson’s story line is one of the least compelling on the show right now. At least it rendered a few good lines for Bree. When she caught him toting a mug out of Bob and Lee’s house, she said: ”You’re telling me you own a mug with a picture of Bernadette Peters in Gypsy?!” And the banter with Gaby and Juanita about McCluskey’s sleeping Mexican was rather comical. But other than that, I’d suggest that the producers move away from the kleptomaniac story line if possible. No one likes a thief.

NEXT: Paying lip serviceSusan’s hidden agenda in inviting her boss, Jessie (played by the divine Swoozie Kurtz), over for dinner was to woo her into doling out a good performance review. What Susan didn’t realize was that Jessie was a lesbian. Uh-oh, and what we didn’t know — until it became ever so painfully apparent a few minutes into the dinner scene¬ — was that the lesbian was really into Susan. ”I’ll drink to that,” Jessie said, after seeing Susan bend over. (Umm, I don’t even know if I want to go there…) There was the obligatory grabbing of Jessie’s knee by Susan. And Susan’s ambiguous declaration: ”And people wonder why I’m through with men.” It’s a wonder that the ditzy Susan (who, oddly enough, didn’t really annoy me too much last night) didn’t see it coming until Jessie kissed her — quite fervently, I might add — on the lips upon leaving for the evening. We viewers could see it coming a mile away.

The two best scenes of this story line, however, came later. First, the poker scene with Susan, Gaby, Lynette, and Lee. (I’m just gonna put this out there: Lee was only in the poker scene so that he could serve as the gay voice to this gay-themed story line. I mean, right? Of course he had to offer up a few punchy sound bites, too. After Lynette asked him to advise Susan’s Sapphic situation, he said: ”Why ask me? Aside from the occasional parade, gay men rarely interact with lesbians in the wild.” And there’s your obligatory punch line from the gay for the evening.) The best part: When Gaby kissed Susan on the lips to find out what kind of kiss Susan had with Jessie. ”Was it this?” Gaby asked, pecking Susan on the lips. ”Or was it this?” she said, giving Susan a rather long and luscious kiss on the lips, to the surprise of Susan, Lee, and Lynette. Without question, it was the second. I guess because it was rather unexpected, I rather enjoyed the Susan-Gaby kiss.

The other genius scene for Susan? When Susan and Jessie were sparring about their situation in front of their class of elementary school students, using rhinos and gazelles as metaphors for men and women. ”I’m just saying, if you were on safari,” Jessie said in front of the class, ”and you saw a sleek gazelle next to a grunting, sweating rhino… Your eye wouldn’t go straight to the gazelle?” Hehe. Susan shot back: ”Though I would definitely appreciate the beauty of the gazelle, if I was going to take a trip to Africa, I would be more excited to see the rhino.” Then she rightfully added: ”I think we are dangerously close to no longer speaking in metaphor.” Jessie clearly did like Susan and thought she was just dissing her for her age (lots of age-related issues in this episode!), but the pair patched it up in the end. Can we please see more Swoozie in the future? Can she officially move on to Wisteria Lane and replace Mrs. McCluskey as the batty old woman (not that she’s that old!) on the street? Especially since Pushing Daisies isn’t on the air anymore, I enjoyed seeing Swoozie back on ABC.

The Dave story line inched along, as usual. After Edie did that glorious search on the World Wide Web last week, she backtracked and went to the newspaper office to check out David Dash (aka, Dave’s real name). (Also: Wouldn’t she have turned up the newspaper articles when she did her World Wide Web search? Sorry, I have to just keep using World Wide Web when talking about this because it’s all just so ridiculous and that equally as ridiculous terminology just seems to fit.) So, at the newspaper office, Edie found out about Lila and Page, but not the tiny little detail about how it was Mike who was unintentionally responsible for their deaths. (That looks like it’s coming next week.) Dave’s long-gestating camping trip with Mike was also a focus, and the creepster insisted that Katherine come along (a.k.a., his hidden agenda). Clearly, Dave wants to repay Mike by taking away the woman in his life. ”If he ever lost you, it would destroy him,” Dave told Katherine, although she didn’t get the depth of that comment.

Next week promises the death of a housewife for the most! shocking! episode! yet! Even though this week’s episode tried to sort of tease us that it could be Katherine who dies, I don’t think there’s any real question who it’s going to be. It’s Edie, folks. Even though Edie was never my favorite housewife, I have to say, it pains me to see her go. You could always count on her for a laugh or a snide remark. But what am I doing here? I’ll eulogize her properly when she actually bites the dust.

So now, I’m lobbing it over to you, TV Watchers: Are you pumped up for next week’s big, shocking episode (with death included!)? Are you, too, ready for this Dave story line to be jumpstarted? Are you bored with Orson’s foray into petty crimes? And: Were you as uncomfortable as I was when Lucy asked Carlos to ”sizzle me” after she locked down the deal with the company’s CFO? Ewww!

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Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, and Felicity Huffman star in the soap set on the dangerous Wisteria Lane
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