Monday, October 23, 2006

Desperate Housewives: So...Much...Drama...

Does anyone else find Desperate Housewives kind of stressful to watch? While I think it's definitely back on track this season with the new mystery, I've gotten to the point (and I confess, this has happened to me before with this show) where it feels as if the housewives' separate storylines combine to become a giant, nerve-wracking mess each episode.

Take last night: Separately, each of these storylines would have been fine. Together, I found them completely exhausting. Mike's been brainwashed by Edie (bitch!) and is totally giving Susan the cold shoulder, so she kidnaps him from the hospital to take him to Wisteria Lane so that he can regain his memory. Gabrielle amps up the divorce-related bickering with Carlos, bringing men home to make him jealous. Lynette tries to support Tom's dream of opening a pizzeria, but ultimately tells him (after a discussion with Nora) that she's worried he'll fail. Nora, of course, goes behind Lynette's back and tells Tom that she believes in him, making Lynette out to be an unsupportive bitch. Danielle threatens to run away if Bree keeps her from sleeping with her history teacher, and after Bree blackmails the teacher into dumping her, Danielle gets him fired and sabotages his divorce proceedings.

Aaaaah! Do all the housewives have to have all this drama going on every episode? Am I alone in wanting a little more mystery (now with Mike!) and a little less individual drama? I guess this is what I get for watching two episodes in a row last night (I was behind due to the cable problems last week). While I love the show, sometimes it's just a little much.

UPDATE: I totally forgot to mention the best part of the episode! Ann from Arrested Development ("Her?") played Julie's slutty, bad-haired friend!


Bohemian Belle said...

Nice catch about Anne from Arrested Development! I love that show and I didn't even notice. Anyways, here's my review from my blog Bohemian Belljar:

"As usual, Monday mornings in the Bohemian Belljar mean a larger-than-average mocha, slightly more rumpled attire, and homage to my favorite over-the-edge domestic goddesses as I recap last night’s Desperate Housewives episode. What do I think about the latest desperate dish? One thing’s for sure: things are certainly getting stirred up. In fact, true to form for this dirty little show, last night’s “Nice She Aint” perfectly showcased these hot hausfraus are getting (tres bien!) more deliciously desperate by the minute.
Indeed, as season 3 has faithfully captured our favorite do-divas circling through a sort of Dante version of desperation, “Nice She Aint” reveals the latest circle in Sin Suburbia: sabotage.
In fact, according to the ghostly murmurings of Mary Alice’s narration, there is a lot more depth to the term sabotage than those pesky Beastie Boys would have us believe. In an attempt to shed light on the term, last night’s episode was a how- to guide to the most desperate types of sabotage: double-crossing. And triple-crossing, and quadruple-crossing. Meowww…..bring on the cattiness. I loved it!
What’s brilliant about this episode is the way the most desperate sabotage acts are performed by the show’s seeming dim-wits, the dull-bulb characters who’ve barely gotten a shot at the Housewives Spotlight, and are now using underhanded tactics to seize their chance to shine. Indeed, the creepy cunning of Norah, Danielle and Julie in this episode makes Gabby’s bed humping and Susan’s hospital break seem downright clumsy. And the backdrop of Othello and Iago, the ultimate saboteur, casts the perfect eerie irony on the plot.
Here’s what happens: Andrew, in an obvious foreshadow of his imminent death by AIDS (gosh these storylines are transparent sometimes) returns from life as a gigolo and miraculously becomes the Angel in the Home. Even though it’s completely unrealistic, it is nice to see Andrew and Bree getting along for once. Unfortunately, as things can never be peaceful in the Van de Kamp/Hodge home, Danielle now gets drafted for Dark Twin duty…..and the mousy stepsister really throws herself into the role! Taking a cue from a Sting song or two, she hurtles into an affair with her science teacher, then tries to slit her wrists with a spoon when Brie refuses to allow the trysts to continue. Hilarity ensues as Bree wonders what desperate measures Danielle might take next. Andrew’s wry response: “Yeah, next time she might jump off the porch.” Ha! Even guys show their kitty-claws on Housewives. Brilliant!
At the end of the day however, Danielle fails to realize she is the daughter of the Mother of Manipulation. Though Danielle’s ratting out her teacher to the student principal and sending a tape to his wife are classic moves, Bree’s victory is implied by her small, smug smile as she once again takes the cake for biggest blackmailer. It is Bree who calls the science teacher’s “love” bluff by threatening to bring over all Danielle’s stuffed animals and suitcases to his place, thus inspiring him to end the affair. But just when you think Bree is too manipulative to be believed, she morphs right back into model mother, demanding that the science teacher end the affair AND write Danielle glowing college references. This sort of perverse-motherhood is DH at its best!
Another yummy scene is Norah’s betrayal of Lynette, as her obvious plot to steal Tom takes on more devious twists. The knock-kneed husband hunter has some awesome dialogue accompanying her deft manipulation regarding Tom’s Pizza Parlor. Cue to her breezy, conspirational comment to Lynette: “You’d better find a way to talk him out of it…or we’re both going to be dancing on poles to pay for braces.” Contrast this with her abashed, doe-eyed look of adoration when she confides to Tom: “I tasted your pizza once…I felt like I’d died, and gone to….(cue in creamy, orgasmic tone) Italy!” These scenes expose Norah as a first-class comic actress and a devilish double agent, just what Wisteria Lane needs to pump up the scandal-factor. Sure her delivery was a bit, errr, cheesy, but Tom seemed to be eating it up. Watch out Lynette!
Last but not least, we have Julie finally breaking out of her candy-sweet shell to reveal the dark core beneath. Okay, not really, but at least Susan’s stepford daughter is finally developing more personality than your average coat rack. The whole seduction scene between Julie and Edie’s nephew Austen carried about as much heat as an unplugged iron, but her exchanging the essays at the last minute shows she’s not as pathetically pathetic as we once thought. But though double-crossed homework was a bit of a tepid rebellion, Julie does display some amusing new spitfire when, in response to Susan’s usual neurosis over Mike, her once sainted daughter shouts “Get over it! He’s just not that into you.” The zoom-in to Susan’s dazed deer-in-the-headlights look of shock makes this a scene for DH history.
But no double-crossing score card would be complete without the indisputable Agent Provocateur herself: Miss Edie Britt. Why hasn’t this woman got an Emmy, I’d like to know? I love Lynette, but Edie’s feisty presence and eye-slitting one-liners are by far the best on the show. Her character has been consistently, deliciously obnoxious, feral and oppressive for all three seasons, a strong contrast to the anemic warbling “growth” of the other housewife types wandering through this show.
Case in point, the weakest character of this season: one Gabrielle Solis. When it comes to our girl Gabby, schizophrenic would be saying the least. In the first season Gabrielle is revealed as a spoiled sex-kitten, predictably annoying, yet we love her anyway for always rocking hot outfits when she’s visiting Carlos in jail, and mowing the lawn in a ball gown so her husband doesn’t fire her gardener paramour.
But the Gabby of season 3 has gone from scheming to downright soul-less. All her attempts to hurt the adorable Carlos are just too evil, and there are not enough poker nights or cozy girl scenes to give Gabby a chance to redeem herself. The result is painful to watch. Aside from a few funny moments, like when she hid in a suitcase to avoid seeing her lover’s fiancĂ© and when she passionately humped and howled to her bed frame in an attempt to make Carlos jealous without actually sealing the deal, she has been walking around like a zombie, like-yikes-a real woman going through a divorce. In short, far from double-crossing, Gabby’s role in season 3 seems droopy and dejected. Note to ABC: IF we wanted to see women downtrodden by crises, we’d watch Lifetime.
So what does the next episode need? A gutsier Gabby, and some double-crossing from Wisteria’s favorite fellas. In a nutshell, I think Tom should go for with the pie parlor and make some pizzas as big and gooey and loveable as he is. I think he should knock it out of the park and finally give Lynette the break she deserves. Their marriage needs it. I think Carlos should play hardball so Gabby wants him back (they belong together! I miss their sizzling Latin love chemistry) and I think Mike should go back into his coma because I am sick of him being so boring and wooden and mean to Susan. However, I also think Ian the Englishman with his Victorian morals should eff-off, and Susan should get back together with Carl, the only charismatic male character who has ever been a love interest of hers. Austin should also move off the show and be replaced with someone hot enough to actually tempt Wisteria’s Sweetheart, and Alma should be found alive and come confront Orson. In short, it’s high-time for the boys on the Lane to do some sabotaging of their own. Tick tock."

For more critiques, check out my blog

Liz said...

Thanks for sharing your review! I also loved how Danielle became Bree. Interesting theory about Andrew...SOMETHING has to explain how relatively well-behaved he was in this episode, that's for sure.