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'Desperate Housewives': Not all gimmicks are good ones

January 11, 2010 | 10:01 am
"You gotta get a gimmick." Gabby

Marc Cherry & Co. continue to make it too easy for critics writing about Wisteria Lane.

Thankfully last night, this critic put away his claws because the show has almost gotten back to its familiar gimmicks that made me fall in love with it.

Recently Teri Hatcher revealed on “The David Letterman Show” that she broke a rib filming a stripping scene for the episode — on her 45th birthday, no less.

Not sure if this was Hatcher being overdramatic or her proclamation that she’s officially become Susan Mayer. But I really wished she hadn’t broken that rib. While her body remains “eat your heart out, twentysomethings,” she wasn't exactly sliding up and down the pole with all of her might. Who knew they “made it rain” on the Lane.

It was that return to the zesty, over-the-top Susan that I loved most about the episode. From finding out she was the part-owner of a strip joint (oh, Karl, you’re still a scoundrel, even from the grave) to strutting her stuff on the catwalk as Mrs. Fix It, she never bored me. Which was made way for a few cute scenes with her and Mike. After the whole Katherine debacle, they needed a firm kick out of awkward territory.

Now if only someone would rescue Bree. I mean come on. Not all gimmicks are good ones. This is where the show really angers me. She finally, finally has this sexual awakening — a well-deserved one — and then she falls back into old ways. I’ve always liked Bree’s “ice queen with a heart of gold and an oven-fresh with crème brûlée” persona, but what I don’t like is how frequently she assumes this role of guilted caregiver. 

First there was Rex, which is understandable, to a point: He was the father of her kids, and she desperately was fighting to save the marriage. Then we have George Williams (you know, the suspect pharmacist that poisoned Rex): Although I hated him, he paved the way for alcoholic Bree, which yielded some incredible scenes. And now Orson, who has continued to be a cancer on this show and on Bree’s life.

Why hasn’t Cherry & Co. realized he’s run his course on the show? No, they think it would make great television to have Bree take care of him out of guilt, and did I hear her say “there will be no divorce”? Well, this means only one thing: kill him. At this point, they could make it so easy. But then again, Orson has survived his own battle with the bottle, a plane crash, a tornado, his crazy mother, Mike almost dumping him off a building. Must I go on?

Felicity Huffman continues to be Emmy worthy, and last night was no different. I think it’s safe to say the whole neighborhood heard the intense argument between Lynette and Tom. Last week I vented about my disapproval of the Scavo pregnancy, and once again this proves that, and don’t get offended, this baby is a big mistake.

It played well for Tom to try to weasel into Lynette’s job, but it made me realize just how far Tom has fallen. The scene where Ms. McCluskey and Lee discuss the dreamboat that Tom was in his summer shorts confused me. There is no way they’re talking about Season 6 Tom, studly Scavo left seasons ago and never returned. I’ve yet to figure out why he’s let himself go so much when Lynette has weathered so many storms — a lot of which Tom caused. Watching the excitement on his face fade yet again was a dark reminder that on the surface Tom hasn’t progressed. His joy continues to be the kids (although they seem to be on a one-per-episode ration), and that is sadly sucking the life out of Lynette.

Not everyone on the Lane is bothering me right now. Carlos and Gabby had a nice subplot. Gabby’s humble beginnings were brought up once before, very early on, and it was easy to make the connection between that and her materialistic nature. I think it was courageous to take on the idea of ethnic identity – especially on the Lane, where minorities are as rare as they come, and we typically get one family of color every season or so. I liked seeing it through the eyes of the daughter. On one end, I think it’s important to know our heritage, although you hate watching kids make the connection that not all people look the same, and thus you might be treated differently because of your color. I was troubled that this little girl would equate Mexican with poor and even slid in a comment about oranges that raised my eyebrow. The storyline also reminded me why this is my favorite couple on the block – they've never bored me, even when Carlos was ridiculously blind.

Until I went to write this, I hadn’t even noticed that Angie or Katherine weren’t present. Did anyone even miss them? I sure as heck didn’t, so take the hint.

Looking forward to what other fans have to say about last night. Feel free to discuss here, or tweet.

— Gerrick D. Kennedy (Follow me on Twitter)

Photo: Gabby (Eva Longoria Parker) and Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) are shocked to learn Juanita doesn't know her Mexican heritage. Photo credit: ABC.

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'Desperate Housewives': One baby of a crisis

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