Monday, October 26, 2009

‘Desperate’ Monday: Everybody Ought to Have a Maid

*Warning, spoilers ahead from the latest episode of Desperate Housewives.*

“It is in our nature to judge those around us.”

In the opening scene of Desperate Housewives, we were handed the theme of the episode about our propensity to judge others yet not wanting to be judged ourselves. Gabby didn’t want her parenting judged by an overprotective helicopter mother. Bree didn’t want to be judged for having an affair by the housekeeping staff at a motel. Susan didn’t want to be judged by her neighbors as over-the-top jealous of Mike’s ex-fiancé Katherine's efforts to get him back. And Tom didn’t want to be judged by another guy for seeming to have no . . . walnuts.

I loved, just loved, the Gabby storyline this week about the virtues of good enough parenting versus smothering parenting. As Gabby poured herself a glass of red wine, she heard a thump followed by a yell. When she ran to the source of the sound, she found Juanita and her friend Rachel after they’d “sledded” down the carpeted stairs in an open suitcase. Gabby determined that the girls were fine just as Rachel’s mother entered the house, aghast that Gabby hadn’t been watching the girls’ every move so they’d never sustain so much as a scratch.

“You’re pretty cavalier given that your carelessness almost killed my daughter,” the mom said.

Gabby took the overreacting mother aside and told her she’d been a “wet blanket” since she quit smoking, to which the mother replied, “I think you’re a lousy mother.”

“Did you just say that to my face?” Gabby asked.

“Yes, and I’m afraid I won’t be bringing my daughter here anymore. The safety and well being of my child must come first.”

“Fine. Juanita only had Rachel over because she felt sorry for her,” Gabby said. “It was a pity playdate.”

The rest – the ostracization of Gabby by other mothers who were told their children aren’t safe at Gabby’s house, Gabby’s revenge by planning a killer birthday party that the kids begged their mothers to attend and the monkey-run-amok for which Gabby was blamed – wasn’t as funny as the first scene which opened the show and scored delightful points about hovering over one’s children.

What I irritated me somewhat about how this thread was concluded was, in the wake of the monkey-savaging-the-clown scene, Carlos said Gabby’s “negligence” had turned their daughters into self-sufficient, confident girls. Liked the point he made about raising strong children (as opposed to frightened and insecure ones) but not the part that labeled her as a bad mother for not keeping an unbroken eyelock on her kids.

Bree’s affair with Karl. *sigh* I just cannot get into this story, no matter how much I might want to, even when a wise member of the housekeeping staff offered herself up as a cautionary tale to Bree about the steep costs of infidelity. Karl is a snake. Susan is Bree’s friend and Susan’ll never forgive Bree for having an affair with Karl. And Bree knows this, therefore I’m having a hard time sympathizing or comprehending or caring much about Bree’s rationale for frequenting a cheap motel room -- which she called “our place” -- with the man who broke one of her good friend’s hearts.

Oh, and Susan shot Katherine. I want to take Katherine and shake her by both shoulders to put some sense back into her. This was a professional woman with culinary Bree-like skills and creativity, someone who had the courage to flee an abusive spouse and start a new life, and now she’s become completely unhinged by the fact that her fiancé went back to his first wife, the mother of their son, so much so that Katherin’s acting like a lunatic. One could understand deep disappointment, hurt feelings, humiliation, anger and the desire to get back at Mike and Susan for hurting her. But this has gone to crazy lengths, even by DH standards, watching Katherine unravel.

But to offset crazy Katherine, I was pleased to see the old Lynette and Tom resurface, even though they were only given minor face-time this week. Tom’s explanation to Karen McCluskey’s main squeeze Roy about why he allows Lynette to maintain the illusion that she calls all the shots in their home was that it makes her feel safe after growing up surrounded by insecurity and shouldering too much responsibility at too young an age. Sweet.

Do we care about the creepy Bolen family whose teenaged son gave Julie the gun which got into Susan’s hand and wound up being used to shoot Katherine? Or that Julie Mayer dumped the married Nick Bolen who has a son her age? Eh, not so much.

Your thoughts on “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid?”

Image credit: Danny Feld/ABC.

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