Monday, November 2, 2009

'Desperate' Monday: Don't Walk on the Grass


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

Gabby Solis – who didn’t realize the Soviet Union had broken up – as a homeschooling “bad mom?” That unbelievable situation was matched only by Tom Scavo answering to the moniker of “T-Scav,” Bree Van de Kamp Hodge contemplating marrying a lying philanderer, one Carl Mayer, and Katherine Mayfair is continuing to act like a psychopathic stalker who’s apparently trying to wrestle every woman on Wisteria Lane.

Gabby the Homeschooler

Why is everyone always saying that Gabby’s a bad mother? Why is this a running thread, a joke carried over several episodes? What, seriously, is wrong with Gabby’s parenting? I want some specifics here people.

Sure, she swears sometimes, but so does her husband. (If swearing makes you a bad parent, then I’m in big trouble.) She can be impatient, as can her husband. (Ditto with me and a lack of patience.) She might be a little liberal with letting her kids play on their own around the house and get into mischief – like last week’s sledding down the stairs incident – but that just means she’s got a “Free-Range Kids” point of view on parenting and doesn’t think she should hover over her kids. Last week, when the man who promised to have a monkey perform at Juanita’s birthday party tried to renege on his agreement to play the party, Gabby didn’t want her daughter disappointed so she insisted that the monkey perform even though his owner said the animal was tired. Is that Gabby’s fault that the monkey went nutty on the clown, or is the monkey’s handler’s fault? The world, apparently, is blaming the mom on this one.

Yet the theme “Gabby’s a bad parent” is omnipresent, including in the latest episode where, when 7-year-old Juanita couldn’t pronounce the word “persecuted” during her elementary school’s Thanksgiving play and the girl then dropped the f-bomb while on stage. From the dictator principal’s point of view, the onus for Juanita’s use of blue language fell squarely onto Gabby’s shoulders, not on BOTH Gabby and Carlos. “If you want to assign blame, you might want to look at your dubious parenting skills,” the principal said. In response, Gabby dropped some f-bombs of her own and said she was withdrawing Juanita from the school, hence her unwilling foray into the world of homeschoolers when she and Carlos learned all the area private schools had no openings until the next school year.

Now I’ll give you that Gabby’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer (“The Soviet Union broke up?”) and is ill prepared to homeschool her daughter -- plus she shouldn’t be seeking affirmation of the quality of her parenting skills from her 7-year-old -- but she’s not a BAD mother. Jeez.

T-Scav’s On the Case . . . Or Not

Tom Scavo going by T-Scav, bringing home drunken puking college peeps, buying them kegs of beer and promising to get them pancakes following a “cut-throat game of beer pong?” Were these pieces of evidence pointing to a mid-life crisis? Nope, just a middle-aged man cutting corners in college (bribing the students who obtain the answers to the statistics exams) so he can get his degree and thrive in a new career to help support his growing family of soon-to-be six kids.

I’m kind of ambivalent about the whole Tom-is-cheating-in-statistics storyline, though I did take distinct umbrage to his likening Lynette not revealing her pregnancy to her boss to his cheating on exams. Lynette’s job is crucial to the family’s economic survival in a recession, which I suppose could be argued about Tom’s career. But Lynette’s situation isn’t comparable because pregnancy discrimination is a serious thing that happens to women, penalizes them for being pregnant when being pregnant isn't a bad, unethical thing, unlike knowingly cheating on tests when you've booted your studies.

Bree’s an Idiot

The facts: Carl Mayer cheated on his first wife, broke her heart, stole items he’d given her as meaningful gifts and later blamed her for “losing them,” urges his clients to break the law, openly ogles women’s breasts in front of his girlfriend, parks in handicapped parking spots without concern and re-gifted a supposedly cherished family heirloom with a lame line. So why in the world would Bree risk her friendship with Susan Mayer, risk her own heart with a proven cheater and thief and soil her reputation in Fairview? For good sex?

Please Knock It Off W/the Gal-on-Gal Tousles

Someone at Desperate Housewives must’ve received some kind of network memo that says, “Have more scantily clad chicks fighting. It’s great for ratings. The more cat fights, the better. Be sure to show cleavage.” Only such ugly cynicism could be behind the repeated scuffles between Katherine and other Wisteria Lane women: Fisticuffs which end with lingerie-clad Susan and Katherine wet and thrashing about in a bubble bath, Susan accidentally shooting Katherine in the arm while Katherine was wearing short shorts at the time and Katherine wrestling with Bree in a fully decorated wedding reception hall while they’re both wearing attractive dresses (which have been getting more and more revealing as the season has progressed).

Katherine’s become unhinged because the man she loves has returned to his ex-wife. She’s miserable. She’s angry. She’s heartbroken. WE GET IT. I had an inkling of hope that, like Katherine, the writers were going to finally “take the high road” and have Katherine be conniving and manipulative and smart about how she’s going exact her revenge on Susan and get Mike back. The whole you-should-have-me-over-for-brunch-so-I-don’t-sue-you bit was mildly amusing. But when she called Mike late at night, dressed in a nightie and sexed up her boudoir with candles, rose petals and champagne and then fought with Susan in the tub, I felt as though adolescent boys had started writing the scripts, trying to see how much humiliation with a twist of sex appeal they can create.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about “Don’t Walk on the Grass.” Do you think Gabby’s a “bad mom?” Is Bree being foolish? What do you think about Katherine impersonating a WWF wrestler?

Image credit: Ton Tom/ABC.

1 comment:

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Joan Stepsen
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