Monday, January 5, 2009

'Desperate' Mondays: Home is the Place

The gals of Wisteria Lane are back from their Christmas hiatus. And back they're back with a . . . whimper. A pathetic whimper.

Seriously, I was sorely disappointed with the fresh episode of Desperate Housewives.

Gabby and Carlos Solis, the comedic shining stars of the show's fifth season were, eh, not a good sign. Now that Carlos has regained his sight, are the writers really going to have the characters slip back into their old ways , returning Gabby to her shallowly materialistic former self? What I've adored about Eva Longoria Parker's character this season is that she's developed a sarcastic, witty sharpness as she awkwardly tossed herself into a new way of life, one not marked by glamour and opulence, but by caregiving. Who knew she had it in her?
By having Gabby pressure Carlos into taking a six-figure job he despised -- he wanted to work at the low-paying community center helping the blind -- and punctuating that decision by having her place shiny, gold shoes into her giant closet, I felt as though the character was going backwards to a time and place when her story was among the least compelling of the Housewives, or minimally tied with Susan Mayer's.

And poor Bree Van de Kamp Hodge was reduced to a caricature of a controlling in-law-to-be -- adding not a hint of irony nor insight into her character -- by engaging in a competition with the nut job mother of her son Andrew's fiance. Buying a house in her pricey neighborhood in order to keep her son in town and away from the loony mother-in-law? And savvy Andrew, who knows his mother all too well, didn't see through it? Come on people, you can do better than this.

The bottom of the barrel, as far as the latest episode was concerned, was Susan's story. The writers appear to be laying the groundwork for having her break up with her lame painter boyfriend (the actor playing him -- Gale Harold -- had a very serious motorcycle accident in October). Susan went clubbing with her neighbor at a gay bar and then, many, many drinks later, fail to recall whether she slept with him. (She didn't and he returned the following day to the home he shares with his partner next door.)

No, wait, I take that back. Susan's clubbing wasn't the absolute worst part of the new episode. That honor belongs to the sad, sad Scavos. Are we really supposed to believe that Lynette Scavo was going to intentionally run down the man who had threatened her son, going all Orson Hodge on him? (Yes, we've already seen someone vindictively run over someone with a motor vehicle in a previous season.)Even if Lynette was simply acting as though she'd kill the husband of her teenaged son's lover in order to coax the teen's location out of his brother, this story is growing more and more absurd. At this point, I have no interest in what happens to the Scavos.

The new year is not off to a roaring start.

Interesting tidbit: Anyone notice that a second Six Feet Under alum appeared in Desperate Housewives this season?

Image credit: ABC.

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