Monday, November 3, 2008

'Desperate' Mondays: There's Always a Woman

Poor Lynette Scavo.

At least once a season, it seems, Lynette suspects her husband Tom is having an affair, or is having some sort of relationship-altering break-down. Remember that wretched Nora character a few years ago, who was killed during the made-for-sweeps-week grocery store shooting, who'd had a relationship with Tom that pre-dated Lynette and yielded a child named Kayla? Lynette, who'd initially suspected Tom of going to back his old flame, had to then suffer under the torment of Kayla, until Tom finally agreed with Lynette that the girl was troubled and needed to be sent away. (During that same time-frame, Lynette almost had an affair with a Scavos' employee.)

Over the past few episodes of this fifth season of Desperate Housewives, Tom started a garage band, bought an expensive mid-life-crisis mobile, wanted to sell the family restaurant (for which Lynette left her ad exec job to help him run) in order to take a year-long RV tour, and then signed a lease without consulting Lynette for space for his crappy mid-life-crisis band. The latest episode portrayed Tom acting even more immaturely by hiding out from Lynette -- leaving her with restaurant work and parenting to do all on her own -- and playing video games at the band's playing space until the wee hours of the morning.

Throughout the show, it was suggested that Tom was up to more than simply being a childish idiot, particularly when he spied a condom wrapper on the floor of his band's practice space and hid it from Lynette. It was only at the tail-end of the episode that viewers learned that one of Tom and Lynette's teenaged sons was having an affair with a woman old enough to be his mother. But because Tom's been lying and sneaking around, Lynette thinks it's Tom having the affair.

It's enough to make you feel utter fatigue for Lynette, formerly my favorite character on TV. We've been down the I-don't-trust-Tom road before. That's so season two. While the teenage son having an affair with an older woman is a different twist for the Scavos (thought May-December trysts have been done in season one with Gabby and the gardener, and with Danielle Van de Kamp and her high school teacher), I'm growing weary of seeing Lynette jumping to conclusions and having to go through the same, old tired arguments with Tom.

What I did find fresh and new in the latest episode was the Gabby & Carlos Solis story, where Carlos inadvertently gave a rich older client Virginia Hildebrand (played by Six Feet Under's Frances Conroy) an orgasm when he massaged her back. This led to Virginia offering Carlos $50,000/month to accompany her to Europe for a few months. With giant dollar signs in her eyes, Gabby was initially on board with this arrangement . . . until she learned about the orgasm. Her ire was cooled, however, when Virginia offered to take Gabby and the girls to Europe as well, and to pay off Gabby with couture.

This has snappy satire written all over it. The character with the funniest story arc and wittiest lines, by far, is Eva Longoria Parker's Gabby. Neal McDonough's Dave Williams, as Edie Britt's husband, has also added some much-needed spark to Wisteria Lane with his character's mysterious backstory and odd antagonism with Karen McCluskey.

As for the other stories this week -- Susan Mayer's on/off affair with the goofy painter and Katherine Mayfair's fling with the ex-con organ thief -- eh, I'm not too interested. I want more Gabby, more Dave and more authentic Lynette (say, from season one and early season two).

Thoughts on the Lynette-Tom tension? Is it a tired storyline? What's ahead for Gabby and Carlos as they enter into business with Virginia?

Image credit: ABC.

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