Monday, October 08, 2007

"If that’s your lame attempt to keep me from calling your worked, well played.": Desperate Housewives

This show was built on a foundation of secrets. Starting with Mary Alice’s suicide in the pilot, the examination of the dirty secrets of suburban life has always been the central theme. Secrets are again on the forefront of Sunday night’s episode with less than exciting results, as the show continues to treat these neighborhood secrets like new, shiny ground to walk on instead of the old, dusty, hoof-beaten earth they really are. People in suburbia aren’t always what they seem? You don’t say!

The main secret of the episode was Katherine's secret lemon meringue pie recipe, which Bree wanted but Katherine determinedly denied her. Fearing that if she did not make the best pie on the block she would lose her entire identity to this new interloper with tastier pies, she decided to break into Katherine's house and steal the pie recipe. In the process of breaking in, she overhears Dylan confronting Katherine about her father, who Dylan assumed was a deadbeat Dad her whole life until Mrs. McClusky said her father used to be around a lot when she was a baby. Bree also hears Katherine and Adam saying they must come up with better secrets to hide the past. So...Katherine and her family have a secret? Thanks for clearing that up, show! I wasn't sure.

This storyline sounds like a stinker on paper, and granted it wasn't the height of television storytelling, but Marcia Cross manages to squeeze diamonds out of coal yet again with a pitch perfect performance. She really is the comic heart of this show, and although it seems ridiculous that someone would go to these lengths just to have a great-tasting pie, for the character of Bree it makes perfect sense. Dana Delaney is also quite good in this role (making me miss the gone-too-soon Pasadena, where she played a somewhat similar character) and the tension between her and Bree in their little pie showdown is so palpable it almost makes you squirm. More perfect homemaker standoffs, please.

Elsewhere on the block, Gabby wants Carlos to leave Edie so they can have not-secret sex. Carlos wants Gabby to leave Victor so they can have not-secret sex. I want to push both of them off the roof to put us all out of our misery. Alas, this doesn't happen and instead Edie blackmails Carlos into accepting a marriage proposal by insinuating that if he doesn't she will rat his $10 million offshore bank account out to the IRS. Later, he visits what appears to be a hitman to "take care of the problem" with Edie. A match made in suburban hell, those two are.

Susan acts like Susan, and gets mistaken for a stripper at a neighborhood party due to her pregnancy-enhanced cleavage. Really, Susan lives in her own universe on this show, which I like to call Wacky Non-Comedy Land. Poor Julie continues to be more mature than her mother, and Mike...has nothing to do now that he isn't potentially shady. I say spin those three off to a weekly comedy and pair it with Caveman to make everyone happy, or at least make me happy because then I could happily ignore it.

As for Lynette, she's undergoing chemotherapy and kicks Tom out for being too needy instead of mindlessly distracting her like she wants. Tom is a horrible person for being sad his wife might die! I just don't know how Lynette can stand him! Anywho, Gabby is reluctant to visit Lynette, which we learn is because her father died of cancer when she was young and her mother forced her five-year-old self to sit by his side smiling so he would never see her cry. That's harsh, yo. I don't care much about Gabby, but I will admit to being a little dusty during her speech.

All in all, a slightly entertaining episode that still mostly felt like filler. The question remains: are there really any more interesting secrets to examine, or has the central premise of Desperate Housewives simply run out of gas? I would argue that it ran out of gas in season two, but others may disagree. Yes, it still manages to be intermittently entertaining, especially when Marcia Cross is featured, but any sort of shock value that existed in the first few seasons has pretty much vanished. Edie blackmailing someone into marrying her? No big shakes. Carlos hiring a hit man? That card. A new family in town with shocking, yet to be discovered secrets?

Just another day in Fairview.

1 comment:

Todd said...

What this show needs to do is develop a real villain that everyone on the show simply hates (with justifiable reasons), then have that villain gunned down in a season finale. Your fifth season is all about solving that villain's murder.