Monday, October 01, 2007

"We might as well sit on the porch and play banjos!": Desperate Housewives

Despite all of the critical praise, awards and hype surrounding Desperate Housewives’ first three seasons, it’s never been more than pleasantly diverting for me. However, even when the show hit a creative nadir in season two, something about the residents of Wisteria Lane kept me coming back for more. Although I think this show is neither as clever nor as groundbreaking as it is believes itself to be, I absolutely credit it with encouraging the return of adult soap operas to primetime programming, and for that all soap lovers should be grateful.

Last season we left the housewives in various stages of agony and ecstasy. Susan and Mike finally closed the annoying “will they or won’t they” door for good by getting married. Bree and Orson returned from exile with a baby on the way, only instead of the baby being Bree’s as her baby bump would attest, it turns out it is really Danielle’s that Bree is pretending to bear herself by wearing pregnancy pads. Lynette learned she had cancer. Gabrielle married political climber Victor, only to overhear him treating her more like a political commodity than a wife and immediately running to the arms of Carlos. And Edie? Edie hung herself after a Gabby-smitten Carlos gave her the boot.

Or did she? Turns out, after Carlos dumped her Edie meticulously staged her suicide attempt so that Carlos would rescue her and be cuckolded into staying with her. That’s not pathetic at all, wanting a man who would only stay with you out of fear of what you will do if he left. Girl power! It seems Edie’s plan didn’t accommodate for nosy neighbors, and when Carlos gets distracted by a neighbor's anger of his incorrectly placed trash cans she ends up almost accidentally finishing what she started. He saves her just in time, though, and her plan appears to work, as any ideas he had of leaving her have gone by the wayside.

Not to say Carlos is in love with her, because he’s too busy planning secret rendezvous with Gabby to worry about falling in love with Edie. Gabby, somehow managing to be simultaneously sympathetic and dreadful at the same time throughout this entire storyline, wants Carlos to leave Edie and she will leave Victor so they can be together again. Since their relationship was so wonderful the first time. Carlos refuses, so she tries to make it work with Victor – only to run back to Carlos’ bed at the first sign Victor is planning to continue to put his political career ahead of his marriage. I don’t know why she cares about saving her marriage, considering she’s in love with Carlos and heard Victor saying he only married her for the Latino vote on her wedding day, but let’s just go with it. It’s Gabby, she can’t be alone.

Bree is still working the pregnancy pads and finding it more and more difficult to keep up the ruse. Andrew, somehow becoming the only sane person in the Van De Kamp family, refuses to be involved with the charade. After a close call with a barbeque fork to the belly at a neighborhood party, Orson tells Bree they should just tell the truth, and Marcia Cross rocks my world with a speech about how she messed her own kids up so much, and just wants a chance to do things right this time. Completely understandable, yet oh so woefully misguided at the same time. I love Bree.

Susan is trapped in the 80’s sitcom portion of the evening, finding out she might be going into menopause and freaking out, only to learn she is actually pregnant. Mike is ecstatic and Susan acts happy as well, but we learned earlier in the episode she doesn’t want any more children. I already don’t care.

Lynette is busy with chemo and keeping her cancer a secret from everyone. She only reveals her illness when a pushy school mom gives her a hard time for not helping with any of the school events that year. This reveal comes simultaneously with the reveal to the other housewives of her condition, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say Felicity Huffman broke my heart a little bit in that scene. She really brings so much to the character, and the scene in which the housewives band together and declare “no more secrets” (while all lying through their teeth) is a touching one.

Now, on to the new blood. Susan’s old neighborhood friend Katherine (a PERFECT Dana Delaney) has moved back to the neighborhood with her new, younger husband Adam (Nathan Fillion, who makes the world better by simply existing) and daughter Dylan in tow. Like everyone on Wisteria Lane, they have a secret and I’m pretty sure that secret has something to do with Dylan, considering that although Dylan grew up on the block and was Julie Meyer’s best friend she doesn’t seem to remember anything about that time of her life. There’s also some sort of nonsense with a mystery room, but considering what happened the last time the show had a mysteriously locked room I’m going to forget that part because….NATHAN FILLION, PEOPLE.

All in all, a pretty solid start to season four. Definitely enough of a setup to be at least pleasantly diverting. And did I mention Nathan Fillion?


James Henry said...

I heart Bree. That scene with the BBQ fork made me laugh so hard. Her facial expression when they are trying to prove that the fork is a gag and Orson stabs her in the stomach was priceless. "Oh, my baby!"

David Sims said...

I half want to watch this because I love Nathan Fillion more than I love cookies.

But I 99% don't want to watch this cause DH bores the life out of me.

Good review anyway, Carrie.