Monday, September 28, 2009

'Desperate' Mondays: Nice is Different Than Good

* Warning: Spoilers ahead from the recent episode of Desperate Housewives.*

Welcome back Lynette Scavo. I really missed ya. After several lackluster seasons which took a once, razor-sharp send-up of suburban motherhood in the person of Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) and made her a silly, grating joke, the Lynette from Desperate Housewives’ first, award-winning season is back . . . or at least she made an appearance in the sixth season premiere.

Pregnant with twins with four kids already at home, fortysomething ad exec Lynette is distinctly ambivalent about the pregnancy. When she was getting her ultrasound – for which her husband Tom took the day off from his university classes to attend (he's going back to school) – she could’ve cared less about seeing the grainy gray and white images of her unborn babies on the screen. “When are you going to start getting excited about our kids?” Tom asked, incredulous about her disinterest.

“I don’t love them,” she said, looking ashen as she confessed that she didn’t feel this way when she got pregnant with her other children, all by accident. “None of them were planned, but I loved each of our kids the moment I knew they were coming. It’s different this time. I don’t love these babies.”

“Stop saying that!” Tom said. “When you hold them in your arms, you will care about these kids just as much as the others.”

Having a lead character be so blasĂ© and indifferent about her pregnancy, to admit that she’s concerned that she isn’t feeling the love, is brave and risky. “Do you realize that when these twins finish high school, I’ll be in my 60s?” she said, lamenting the fact that they’d already gotten past all the sleepless nights and diapers and she didn’t want to go back “. . . At their graduation I’ll be a crazy old lady with oatmeal on her chin.”

In addition to Lynette tapping into something that’s usually not discussed without fearing being tarred and feathered for being an unfit, undeserving mother, the season premiere gave us the return of the quick-witted Lynette, particularly when she let the happy, shiny first-time mom-to-be in the ob-gyn's office hear some ugly truths about motherhood that she said mothers are reluctant to share with one another: “Your children will hate you and steal from your purse. Your husband will begin to buy your birthday presents at the car wash, and the kicker, for the rest of your life there will be so many moments when you’ll feel lonely but you’ll never be alone.”

She held up the cover of a magazine with a woman in a bathing suit. “You see this? You’ll never wear a bikini again,” Lynette said, adding that while she might look good with her clothes on, “you haven’t seen me naked. My stomach looks like Spanish stucco. And my breasts resemble two balloons you’d find behind the couch a week after the party.” As if on cue, the young mom-to-be wept.

In other Desperate Housewives premiere news, Susan Mayer remarried Mike Delfino, much to the chagrin of her scorned Wisteria Lane neighbor Katherine Mayfair, Mike’s former fiancĂ©, who did everything in her power to torture Susan for “taking” Mike and for not trying to make amends, but not necessarily aiming her ire at Mike. When Susan’s wedding dress was delivered to Katherine’s house because she wasn’t home, Katherine decided to put it on and cook a big, boiling pot of marinara sauce. When she showed up at Susan and Mike’s wedding and demanded that Susan (not Mike) issue a public apology for hurting her, Susan locked Katherine in a closet. Of course Susan got out of the closet just in time to confront Susan and Mike as they were walking down the aisle, freshly betrothed. Am I the only one who wishes that Katherine would go back to being the Bree-like perfectionist she was when she first appeared on the show and wouldn’t divulge the secret recipe to one of her famous pies? Desperate doesn’t suit her. The departed Edie yes, Katherine, no.

Speaking of Bree, I got a kick out of how she’s applying her perfectionist, Type-A tendencies to the business of her extra-marital affair with Susan’s ex-husband Karl (also her divorce attorney) such as going to the hotel room she booked for their tryst and cleaning the bathroom and changing the sheets ahead of time. Previews show Bree and the slimy Karl getting hot and heavy in the upcoming episode. Hope the writers plan on also revisiting Bree’s burgeoning cook book/food guru enterprise sometime soon.

Over at the Solis house, Gaby was given a boatload of killer one-liners, 99 percent of which were about Carlos’ 16-year-old niece Ana whom they’ve taken in. (Ana’s mom is in prison and her dad bolted a long time ago.) As Ana pushed Gaby’s buttons by dressing provocatively and sneaking out of the house to go to a party late on a school night, Gaby uttered a series of gems.

“All the girls in my class dress like this,” said Ana, referring to the lacy, low-cut half-camisole showing off her belly.

“That’s why your school nurse is an obstetrician,” Gaby said.

When Carlos said he felt badly for Ana because she’s had a hard life, Gabby responded, “Yeah, yeah, she’s one dead dog away from a country song.”

All in all, a relatively satisfying season premiere. What did you think of the return of the Housewives?

Image credit: Ron Tom/ABC.

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