The Husband:

No matter what your thoughts are on most of Entourage‘s sixth season, and oh man do I know a lot of people who were threatening to give up on the show this year, I think it ended on a very clear, concise note of an overarching theme that just took too long to get started. No matter what the flaws, the constant deviation away from the life of central character Vinnie Chase and his movie star woes, one remarkably poor casting decision, it wrapped up nicely, and season six came to be about the pros and cons of being impulsive. Everybody except Vince — who pretty much had no arc thanks to him already having a job to go to at the end of the season, shooting Frank Darabont’s Ferrari biopic — completely redefined their lives over the course of what seemed like a very short season, and while it couldn’t get to the heights of some of Entourage‘s best arcs, a lackluster season of this show is still an effortlessly watchable endeavor.

This was the year that we really got into the lives of “the guys,” and for better or worse, I’m glad it was able to dive so deeply. Eric, failing to get his management company off of the ground, takes a job at a bigger firm run by George Segal, gets a sweet-ass receptionist played by Brokeback Mountain‘s Kate Mara (who will definitely present some major opposition to E’s happiness next season) and already establishes himself as a dominate force against douchey Scott Caan. But his love life has become lazy, and his multi-episode back-and-forth with Alexis Dziena didn’t seem to amount to anything other than obnoxious scenes that went nowhere. And yes, Dziena sucked the life out of any scene in which she appeared, even though I can’t remember having a problem with her acting in the past in work such as Invasion and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. But she was terribly miscast here, and her presence was only validated when E finished off the season declaring his love for Emmanuelle Chriqui’s Sloan and finally getting engaged. It took a long time to get going, but I’m fine with E’s story overall. His impulsiveness threatened to destroy two of his relationships, but it ended up working in his favor.

Turtle, meanwhile, got the best arc of the season, or at least the most sincere, in exploring his relationship with Jamie-Lynn Sigler after their canoodling last season. For the first time in a while, their relationship seemed to be built with a major dose of reality, and their problems — her jealousy, his wandering eye while studying business at UCLA, the long-distance dating problem that is part of the world of a wanted film and television actor — didn’t feel like the frat raunch fest mode that this show has a tendency to slip into. And upon their final break-up, Turtle’s impulsive decision to hop aboard a plane headed for New Zealand turned into humiliation, and here’s hoping that between this and his education, he can mature further into adulthood.

Drama’s story was the one I dreaded the most this season, because honestly I tend to roll my eyes at nearly everything he does nowadays. I’ve been sick of his shitty decision-making for seasons now, and his comic relief persona hasn’t rubbed me the right way the entire time. It’s one thing for the world to work against you, but it’s another to be the sole cause of all of your problems, whether you were an asshole in the past or an asshole in the present. His impulsive decision, based entirely around the word of somebody who could have easily fucked up his career just for kicks, to drop out of Five Towns (after his physical confrontation with that douche from Eli Stone, of course) only to see his Melrose Place audition nearly cause him a heart attack (no thanks to you, Dean Cain), was going to be the latest straw of self-destructive behavior. But for the most part, this show doesn’t like to keep its characters in hell, and while Drama suffered so much this season that he nearly quit acting, his MP audition got “the network” interested in creating a star vehicle just for him. The soul-searching came too late to really save the arc, but it’s appreciated nonetheless.

And, of course, we have the saga of Ari versus Lloyd, whose pairing finally implodes when Ari so terribly tortures his assistant that Lloyd has no choice but to up and quit, moving on over to Malcolm McDowell’s company (and Ari’s former employer). It had been a long time coming, and the only way to break what was starting to become a tedious plot device (Lloyd does something good, Ari berates him, repeat) blossomed into something bigger and better. This led to Ari making some majorly ill-advised impulsive decisions when offered the chance to buy out McDowell and merge their companies, but his final decision to give in to a few ego-bruising demands made it all worthwhile. It’s still a bitch that Ari would even consider using his wife’s television money to make the deal, and that it was originally all for spite, and maybe you shouldn’t go around shooting paintballs at your new employees to indicate that the merger equals them losing their jobs, it was an emotional change for Ari nevertheless. It was also a considerably better story than last year’s moral quandary over whether or not he should have become a studio head.

No one likes you right now.

No one likes you right now.

Yes, some of the episodes didn’t add up, and the stalker mini-story fit into what Ebert would call the Idiot Plot where everything could have easily been solved had everybody not been a complete idiot. I don’t think I hate the golf episode as much as, say, my sister does, but the fact that I barely remember it doesn’t speak volumes for its quality either. It’s a pain in the ass to have Vinnie become a non-character on his own goddamn show, though, and Entourage always works better when he’s struggling for work, but it’s not like I hated anything he was doing.

But admit it, you really liked the episode where Zac Efron and Frank Darabont make some surprising (fake) revelations about themselves, the Aaron-Sorkin-visiting-Gary-Cole-in-jail episode was a better episode than it had any right to be, and Matt Damon outright stole the season finale.

With the show’s evolution comes the fact that we can’t simply see the same stories over and over again, and while showrunner Doug Ellin (who I didn’t realize played the asshole TV director until about an hour ago) doesn’t always know how to structure an episode as well as, say, James L. Brooks could, and he still has a bit of an emotional disconnect from his characters at the oddest times, he’s realized this fact. The stories may not be working at a 100% success fate, but in this day and age, I’ll settle for 75%. Besides, do you remember the first season, where nothing happened? That’s how you should weigh all seasons of Entourage, because it’s not the plot that matters, but the characters. Disagree if you wish, but I always look forward to another summer and another season.

But goddamn it, I wish they would have showed us at least one scene from Martin Scorsese’s Gatsby. We can all agree on that.

The Husband:

And now my weekly recap of ABC’s blatantly female-focused melodramas, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters:

How is it that a show known for its huge sweeps episodes and mystery-exploding finales can come up with a season premiere that doesn’t really feel like anything? With Desperate Housewives, it’s pretty much that aside from a well managed but mostly unnecessary flashback structure (pretty much designed to let you know immediately who Mike chose to marry) and a very brief start of a new neighborhood mystery, it was pretty much just picking up where we left off last season. And aside from the wedding (which starts and ends the episode), no time has actually passed, progressing only through some quick leaps throughout the eight weeks between last season’s finale and the Mike/Susan wedding.

Oh…yeah…Mike picked Susan over Katherine. And this is the absolute best choice from a purely storytelling standpoint. Admit it — we were all done with Susan’s love problems and her will-they-or-won’t-they with Mike, and Katherine’s story was completely static. This way, Susan can try out a new type of story and see how it fits, and Katherine, raging against Mike and Susan for their betrayal, finally gets a storyline that can bring out the fire she was completely lacking last season. Instead of a pushover just hoping that her new fiancé won’t fall back in love with his ex-wife, this new Katherine fights back, intercepting Susan’s wedding dress and threatening to stain it with pasta sauce, playing mind games with their respective friends, and ultimately blackmailing Susan into apologizing during the damned wedding ceremony. But all is not forgiven, and Katherine’s final moment, when she whispers to Susan that the apology didn’t really help, is the best Dana Delaney has been since the climax of her season 4 mystery.

But the rest of it, as is up to par with the majority of DH‘s episodes, is full of stories of wildly varying quality. I find no pleasure in any bit of Bree’s story with her affair with Karl, and I can honestly say that at this point I find anything Orson does far more interesting and sympathetic than any Bree story. I just can’t bring myself to care, and the affair is clearly not meant to last. Let’s see if Marc Cherry and the writers can, perhaps, give Orson another mystery revolving around those three years in prison we never really saw.

Lynette’s story is considerably dark for the Scavo family — and yes, I’m aware that their story last year involved a nightclub fire that resulted in a major death — as she deals with the twins that are on their way, her fifth and sixth child. After tearing into the happiness of a new mother at the doctor’s office, she admits to her husband that she is just really not feeling right about what is currently happening, as with these twins she doesn’t feel like she loves them as she did with all of her previous (and all unplanned) pregnancies. We’ve already seen the woman find a balance between her family life and her desire to reestablish her career over the last couple seasons, but this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Will we finally deal with a major abortion storyline on this show? Probably not, considering how gigantic the show is all across the board, as well as the fact that this isn’t Maude.

And as I expressed interest at the end of last season in Gaby’s new storyline that has the Solis family taking care of a free-spirited and nasty teenage niece, that plot is pretty much progressing as I expected. Some of it is fascinating in the way that Gaby sees a great deal of her younger self in her niece and therefore wants to help her to avoid years of suffering and unhappiness, but some of it is also embarrassingly melodramatic and pointlessly cruel — the nightclub scene where Gaby gets on the mic and embarrasses her niece for sneaking out of the house went absolutely nowhere. But Gaby works best when she has a worthy opponent, so I’m not going to be too picky for a few more weeks.

Drea De Matteo: here to fuck up your shit.

Drea De Matteo: here to fuck up your shit.

And yes, that new mystery — Drea De Matteo (of The Sopranos), her husband (Jeffrey Nordling from last season of 24) and their son have moved onto Wisteria Lane, they had to move because of something the son did, Drea has a major burn/scar on the majority of her back, and somebody strangled young Julie at the end of the episode. But it wasn’t much establishment for how much I think we are meant to care.

As usual, the world of Brothers & Sisters fits more into the real world and, you know, generally believable situations. (It helps that it doesn’t pretend it’s a comedy like DH does.) And unlike DH, this felt like a real season premiere. Big emotions, big secrets, big starts and even potentially terminal illnesses abound in our return to the Walker Clan.

As Holly and Nora prepare for Justin and Rebecca’s engagement party, the two (as usual) clash, which comes to a boil when the soiree must be moved to Chez Walker after an influx of termites. There, Holly oversteps her boundaries during the party-planning while Nora has to deal with her and Saul’s aggressively insulting mother (Marion Ross from Happy Days), and it all comes to a head when Holly breaks the rules and buys the happy couple a new car, leading Nora to oust Holly as “that disease-ridden tramp” that her late husband was banging for decades (and, you know, the mother of Justin’s fiancée who was once thought to be the Missing Walker). It’s another Walker Clusterfuck, but come on…Holly had it coming.

Justin, meanwhile, is losing his mind to stress thanks to a one-two punch. First, he is called into the Dean’s office and told that if he wants to stay in the med program, he needs to seriously up his grades all across the board. Second, he finds out that he was admitted to the school not because of his grades (which weren’t great), but because his Senator brother-in-law made a few phone calls. But by the end, Justin and Rebecca have stopped bickering, he has vowed to stop being a quitter, and then they almost get into a car accident. (Whatever.)

Kevin and Scotty get a big plot boost in their mission to adopt a child, focusing on the emotions involved far more than the details of the adoption itself. (Really, how many times have we seen a TV show delve into that story and think it’s being informative by letting us know all of the steps we already know because we watch so much television?) The heart of the story lies in Scotty’s hesitation in expanding the family, a character twist instead of a plot twist, and I am grateful for that. Kevin and Scotty are still probably the most realistic gay couple on television (seriously, I’m hard-pressed to find another, although Modern Family may prove its ability to join this distinction) and I’m glad that they can talk like adults about adult issues. Besides, the story gave me the only two quotes I wrote down the entire night.

“Which one of you gets to sleep with the egg lady?” — Grandma Marion Ross, completely missing the point of surrogacy

“How’s Assembling a Child by Tolstoy?” — Kevin to Scotty regarding the gigantic manual they received from their adoption counselor

But all this interest had to take a backseat to the big sad center. While Kitty and Senator Robert go to couples therapy to deal with that douche from Eli Stone making Kitty all weak in the knees, she finds that there is something wrong with her lymph nodes, and that the news isn’t good. The episode ended without declaring what the potentially terminal disease was, but we have to go with cancer, right? My wife, just based on me describing the episode, says lymphoma, especially because it allows her to suffer but gives her the possibility of not dying, and I’m pretty sure that Nate Stone didn’t spread any HIV to her. But still, boo.

So there you have it. B&S sucked me right back in, while DH was more of the same (although a vast improvement over last season’s first handful of episodes).

The Wife:

Eli Stone

Just a stones through from greatness.

Just a stone's throw from greatness.

I’ve written previously in my two (count ’em!) posts on Eli Stone this season about how I think the show lost some of its spark during the second season, but the most underwhelming parts of season two were, evidently, saved for last, to slowly peter out during this three-episode burn-off. To be honest with you, I’d forgotten a lot of this season simply because of the break between when I last watched and these remnants. Thus, nothing really stood out to me about them and they only served to reinforce my early assessments of what went wrong with the show. And keeping Maggie and Eli away from each other, while it did allow Maggie to come into her own (looking especially confident and sexy in the last episode) it lost a little bit of the spark from one of the most interesting relationships on the show, only to half-assedly rekindle it in the final episode’s desperate attempt for closure.

I actually found the whole central vision-mystery from the last episode to be extremely frustrating for two reasons, one complaint for each part of it:

1. The parents of the braindead girl who didn’t want to give up her heart to that dying woman are selfish idiots. I am not a religious or spiritual person, but I was raised Catholic and I can tell you that there are several flaws in their argument about “not wanting their daughter’s heart to burn in hell because it’s inside an atheist.” First of all, denying someone the chance to live is possibly the least Christ-like thing a so-called Christian could ever do. Second of all, Christianity believes in the soul, not the body. So if their daughter dies, she goes to God, not her body and not her organs. Certainly, if she signed up to be an organ donor, she is aware of that fact, and so are her parents who are executors to her will. This whole case was insanely stupid, and I’m glad Eli proved their idiocy by basically pointing out my first complaint that denying someone the chance to live because they have different beliefs than you do isn’t only discriminatory, but COMPLETELY ANTITHETICAL TO YOUR SUPPOSED FAITH.

2. I guess Eli was busy using all his smarts and logic on that because he seemed COMPLETELY INCAPABLE of using it to interpret the plane crash part of his vision. He knew from the beginning it was a KeyStar air flight. He made a correct step in getting employee flight records after seeing the Weathersby Stone travel bags, but for some reason never made the connection between the name of the airline and what employees might be flying on that airline. Instead, he totally wasted Jordan, Taylor and Matt’s time by asking them not to board their flights. (Now, I suppose in the world of Eli Stone, KeyStar might be the ONLY airline, but I find that highly doubtful, as that would be an air travel monopoly and, surely, some client of WPK would have already sued them and broken up said air travel monopoly long before Eli turned over a new leaf.) Then, once he got the time and date of the crash in his next vision, he didn’t take any further steps toward, say, looking up KeyStar flights departing from SFO that day and figuring out, based on listed travel times, which ones would potentially be the ones that would crash. I realize he’d still look like a crazy person/terrorist if he called the TSA and gave them a list of specific flights to check, but it would also stand to reason that he might be able to better prevent the crash if he actually took the time to narrow down the field of possibilities.

Instead, we got a little deus ex machina with Maggie’s fateful voicemail announcing her receipt of the Weathersby Stone travel bag and her intended us of it during her flight to Italy, departing that day. I suppose I should be happy that it got him there in time to drop seemingly-dead, only to have him reunite with Maggie, who just happened to demand to be let off the plane before it took off due to her own hunch, which then caused a flight delay for another safety check, allowing the airport staff to find a safety problem with the plane, preventing it from blowing up and saving the lives of all of its passengers. I should also be happy that Eli’s burst aneurism didn’t kill him, although I guess he’s still got that second one in there, waiting to destroy him.

Then there’s also that who odd and problematic talk with God/his father, in which its revealed (yet more telling instead of showing) that the atheist he fought so hard to get a heart for ended up dying during her transplant, which miraculously and conveniently ended up giving that braindead girl’s heart to none other than Eli’s soul mate, Grace. Are they still soul mates now that Eli’s still got a deadly aneurism and Grace has a new heart that will allow her to live a normal life? And how does Grace figure in to last season’s vision of Maggie with a baby that is presumably Eli’s? I know this God-snowglobe ending was meant to tie up loose ends, but I feel like it mostly made a mess of things.

Harper’s Island

The next murder Im hosting will definitely be held in my new murder basement, by the way.

The next murder I'm hosting will definitely be held in my new murder basement, by the way.

I never got the chance to write about Harper’s Island prior to this, but I did watch the limited-run series in its entirety and enjoyed the show’s commitment to campy fun good times. You see, I like murder mysteries. In fact, every year, I host a murder mystery party at my house in which I invite some friends over for dinner and a 4-hour immersive role playing game with lots of improvised craziness and clue-solving. Watching Harper’s Island was exactly like playing one of my murder mystery dinners, only with a significant increase in the number of potential suspects and an ever-growing body count. (At my dinners, only one person dies. And they stay dead, unlike John Wakefield.) Clearly, I am inclined to like such a thing.

In the beginning, I thought the show wasn’t going to be as cool as it ended up being, and part of my problem was with the casting and the writing. Too many of the actresses looked the same, and didn’t seem to have distinct enough personalities. In fact, up until the near-end, I would sometimes confuse Bride Trish’s sister with her step-mother, and I’m glad Bridesmaid Lucy died so early on because otherwise, I’m not sure I’d have been able to tell her apart from Chloe (unless Chloe were in every scene with Cal, like he has was cute her British accessory, or something). But once certain unnecessary bodies were dispensed of, the key players really started to flesh themselves out and the show got good. I’d say this is when the cast was probably at a total of 10, just after Mr. Wellington’s encounter with that headspade that awakened everyone to the possibility that there was something other than a wedding going on on Harper’s Island. (Here I must insert that my murder dinners are meant for eight, which is a perfect number because these things are filled with a plethora of information to keep straight, and maintaining tidbits from any more than eight sources while drinking bottle after bottle of wine is exceptionally difficult.) Once we got down to a manageable number of characters, we started to explore Abby’s past with the island, the history of the Wakefield murders, her mother’s diaries, her father’s obsession and the possibility that she – or someone else – could have been John Wakefield’s love child.

I also became somewhat invested in the growing relationship between Chloe and Cal, and, subsequently, in the changes in their characters during this whole ordeal. At the beginning of the show, Chloe was an effervescent party girl who was nothing if not gorgeous, which is perhaps why I couldn’t tell her apart from Lucy. Cal, on the other hand, was a fish-out-of-water Englishman, a man a bit too posh and uptight for seafaring life in the Pacific Northwest, constantly picked on by other party guests and locals because of his difference and because a girl like Chloe had no business being with a man like that. But as they found themselves in the midst of danger, Cal and Chloe stuck together. She got a lot tougher and a lot smarter, and he likewise proved his mettle by employing his medical knowledge (from working as a mortician, I believe), to help the survivors figure out facts relating to bodily injuries and their causes, as well as patching up certain wounds and instructing others how to patch up his own. Nothing cemented their growth more for me, though, than Cal’s death at the hands of John Wakefield and Chloe’s defiant swan dive to join her would-be fiancé in the river below, growling, “You can’t have me,” just before she takes the plunge. Beginning-of-the-series Chloe wouldn’t have done that for Cal, but end-of-the-series Chloe did.

Now, about that John Wakefield love child. As it turns out, that love child ended up being Wakefield’s accomplice, and it isn’t Abby, but her childhood best friend, Groom Henry, who reveals to her (after kidnapping her and murdering his father and anyone else still alive except for hostage Jimmy) that he set up this whole thing (including his fake relationship and fake wedding to Trish . . . ouch!) to lure Abby back to the island so they could be together . . . even though they’re technically siblings . . . which is really creepy, but doesn’t seem to bother Henry at all. I don’t understand why he kept Jimmy alive to allegedly pin the title of “Wakefield’s accomplice” on, especially after going through all the trouble to stage the burning deaths of Trish, Abby, Jimmy, Wakefield and himself. Even with “Wakefield’s accomplice” alive somewhere, it’s doubtful that the Washington State police would dig further into people “proven dead” or go digging about on an even more remote part of the island to look for said accomplice. So to take someone hostage and force them to write a false confession? This strikes me as very bad planning on Henry’s part, especially since his only post-massacre plan was to hole up in a really sweet house with Abby for the rest of their days, living out a warped little domestic fantasy and hoping she developed Stockholm Syndrome. Clearly, keeping Jimmy as a hostage is just a handy plot device so freaked-out Abby can find him, thus making her even more freaked-out and so Jimmy can find a reason to break free from his restraints and launch himself at Henry, thus taking him out with a very large boat knife and allowing Jimmy and Abby to ride off on a state police boat into the Puget Sound sunset.

But all in all, I had a lot of fun watching this show, delighting in the ever-growing body count, the inventive, nautical deaths and the various murder mystery tropes and red herrings dropped along the way. I wish the series had been more of a success, though, because I like the idea of these limited-run series. As my friend Drew wrote, they definitely solve the problem of Twin Peaks Season 2, and other series with a central mystery that outlived the story they’d planned to tell. (Joss Whedon was always very good at keeping each Big Bad around for only one season, and any subsequent seasons would deal with a new and different evil.) Plus, it was kind of like having a murder mystery at my house, only without all that cooking and planning. I’d have been interested to see other incarnations, especially because Creepy Little Madison was already poised as a natural successor to Abby as a Wakefield survivor for the next edition of murders in and around the Pacific Northwest.

The Husband:

As usual, my wife catches me with this article just when I’m getting extremely busy at work, so I can’t contribute very much, but I will agree with pretty much everything she said about both shows.

In a little way, I think I enjoyed the final four episodes of Eli Stone more than my wife simply because of some of the nice character development, but was left scrambling to reach for my iPhone and look up character names as they were mentioned, because a several months-long break between episodes kind of destroys any concept of who is named what. (This doesn’t happen to quality shows like Mad Men or anything on HBO, but that’s because they’re sweet programs that dare you to forget their characters.)

As for Harper’s Island (which I almost accidentally typed as Herpes Island, which is the inevitable porn spin-off), this was the perfect show to watch out of the corner of one’s eye while playing Peggle and Unblock Me on my nifty little Apple phone. (I plug! You give me money!) I had an even harder time telling the characters apart, but basically because I never bothered to learn their names in the first place. Except for Abby. (Yes, I forgot Henry’s name, even though the actor played a very memorable Harry on Ugly Betty over the last three years.)

More importantly, I don’t think there was one point in the entire series where either my wife or I ever bothered to venture a guess as to who was going to be the killer. No clues followed. No online community message board chats. I just watched until the next kill or the next shot of a scantily clad Chloe. (By the way, this Alvin & the Chipmunks actress, Cameron Richardson, has done her share of tasteful nude photography, so go forth and view.) Once during the final three episodes I jokingly guessed that it would be Madison, which, to be fair, wouldn’t have been the worst idea in the world. Just implausible.

More limited series, I ask, and networks could take a lesson from CBS sticking to this show, even if it was shifted from Thursday at 10 to Saturday at 10. To think, would Taye Diggs’ Day Break have developed more of a cult following had ABC allowed it to finish out its run? The world will never know.

The Husband:

Now that we are completely done with Edie Britt (and her one-episode stint as a narrating ghost), we can finally move on with all the dangling story threads. And, once again, I feel that the show has no idea what to do with Gaby anymore. When this season started, every story with her children felt out-of-place and forced, but when they never showed up at all, Gaby’s stories simply felt like the same-ol’-same-ol’. This week was a lot of old and a little bit of new, as she joins a gardening club only to find out that they don’t sit around all day drinking and gossiping but actually gardens. And so, with the help of Tom Scavo, she stages a coup to turn the club into something fun, only to have to reel the newly buff Tom in from spending too much time with Patti, the town skanky cougar. (Even if we all know that Tom would never cheat on Lynette, merely hanging out with this STD-ridden hoooooooooooe is problem enough.) All of this info comes to Lynette’s attention at an awkward Solis-Scavo dinner.

But there are, of course, more secrets to uncover at this dinner, but just like the one between Gaby and Tom, the one between Lynette and Carlos is equally non-threatening. Lynette took a shower one day at Carlos’ office at work, which in turn upsets Tom, so Lynette is hesitant to tell him about what happened the next morning, when Carlos swung by the Scavo house to pick Lynette up for a company meeting, only to hear her knock herself unconscious in the shower and carry her passed out naked body to her bed.

Yeah, ho-hum. See?

As far as the Hodge clan stories are concerned, Orson’s neurotic thievery has finally caught up with him as Bree catches him in a lie about what he was doing the night of Edie’s death — don’t forget, he was one of the many elements that caused it to happen, accidental or not — and begins to work with her son to divorce the man, as he just simply hasn’t been the same since before he went to jail. Which makes sense. Because he was in jail.

The only worthy story this week deals hardcore in Creepy Dave’s life, as he has seemingly stopped all of his vengeance schemes in order to mourn Edie’s death and drink himself into a stupor. The neighborhood doesn’t know what to do with him, but Susan at least makes an effort to sneak through his house and take away anything that could be used as a means of suicide. (Gun, knives, ties, belts, etc.) When she comes back to return the gun and knives — because she was pulled over by the cops and was found with all the weapons, ho ho! — she relates a story to Creepy Dave, one that completely changes his focus and purpose on Wisteria Lane. As we all know, something was fishy about the day that Susan and Mike got into the car accident that killed Creepy Dave’s first family, but now it comes together more clearly — Susan was the one driving the car, but she and Mike decided to say that Mike was driving as Susan didn’t have her license on her. And as these words go into Creepy Dave’s ears and through his fucked-up brain, a new scheme seems to form, and his bloodlust arises anew.

What will Dave do with this new info? The show seems to infer that he’s going to do something horrible to Susan and Mike’s son, MJ, which would be above and beyond the cruelty of his original plan. But this man has just lost his second wife, so who knows how far he’s willing to go?

After last week’s sex fest, not much was going down on Brothers & Sisters this week, so I’ll just say it was a good middle-of-the-road episode and just run through some of the more important updates.

The Saga of Tommy Walker

Now that Tommy has made it very clear he is not coming home to Pasadena, his wife Julie is left struggling to pay the bills and support their child to the point that she has to give up the house. Kevin groups together some money to put the house in the Walkers’ name, but then Julie is offered a well-paying teaching position up in Seattle (whut whuuuut?) and leaves, presumably forever, from the clutches of the Walkers. I missed the second half of the first season of this show, so I don’t really have any connection to her character, so this is fine.

The Continuing Break-Up of the Hottest Couple on TV

Now that Justin and Rebecca are done, she has been dealing with all of Ryan’s drama in re: his dead mother and her relationship with William Walker. This had the potential to make Rebecca and Ryan a very creepy, incestuous-but-not-incestuous couple (both their moms banged the same dude, and both at some point has thought they were a Walker), but Rebecca begins to see Ryan’s true, evil colors when he accepts Holly’s offer to work at Ojai Foods. Since he is technically a Walker, he would be entitled to some shares, enough that if he banded up with Holly (and presumably Rebecca), they could overtake the entire company. Rebecca ain’t no fool, though, so she returns to Justin to make him aware of this plan, depressed that Ryan wasn’t the sweet guy he thought he was.

Kitty’s Emotional Affair

Kitty, still struggling through her marriage with gubernatorial candidate Robert McCallister, is getting closer to single father Alec (Matt Letscher from Eli Stone), going to far as to help him pick out a new house. This, in turn, leads to a fairly major car accident, which Kitty decides to lie about in re: if there was anybody else in the car. But when Robert decides to take their adopted child to the park and is approached by Alec’s little boy, he puts two and two together and exposes Kitty for having an emotional affair and lying about it. This collapse has been brewing since the birth of their child (which Robert missed due to his political schedule), and the addition of Kitty running to Alec at his new place and making out with him pretty much seals the deal. I don’t know how much Rob Lowe is into being on this show, but this is a program that puts a lot of effort into having its focal characters be pretty morally responsible people, and I don’t know if the writers and showrunners are even planning on getting Kitty and Robert back together.

The Husband:

Ding dong, Edie is finally fucking dead. Thank whatever lord you have, because her constant story repetitions that serve no purpose other than to act as a cheap plot device for other, better plots have finally come to a close. No longer do we have to put her in all the promos as if she were one of the “housewives” despite contributing nothing to the series other than a plastic shell. Hell, she didn’t even feel like a housewife when she was, in all actuality, a wife this season to Creepy Dave.

Clearly, no one is all that moved by Edies death.

Clearly, no one is all that moved by Edie's death.

But the show isn’t done with her yet, at least not in this week’s episode, because for the first (and hopefully last) time, she takes over the Mary Alice role and became the narrator. As long as her mannish voice is gone next week, then I accept that this, an episode based solely on the housewives (plus Mrs. McClusky) reminiscing about Edie Britt. But if she sticks around in the ether, then I’ll be fucking pissed.

As the rest of the stories have been put completely on hold for the long van ride to Edie’s son’s boarding school, there isn’t really a whole lot to talk about. (Nope, no mention of Creepy Dave’s story, which directly caused Edie’s death.) Basically, Gaby and Edie had a very special night on the town that turned into a tender moment fueled by jealousy that Gaby got more free drinks at a bar than Edie did, Susan called out the new-to-the-neighborhood Edie for sleeping with a married man until Edie turned around and informed Susan of the terrible truth of Susan’s husband’s infidelity with another woman, Lynnette learned to battle cancer when Edie takes her to a biker bar (huh?), and Mrs. McClusky had a drink-fueled heart-to-heart with Edie about what it means to lose a child as opposed to giving one up.

The only memory I really and truly appreciated was Bree’s, which dealt with the years between last season and this season as it pertained to Orson’s incarceration. After being basically forced out of Wisteria Lane, Edie had taken to visiting Orson every so often in prison, not for sex but just because the prison was nearby and she needed a friend, and Bree was certainly not coming as often as she should…being Orson’s wife and all. The story filled in a couple emotional holes that seemed to positively gape when this flash-forward season started, so I’m glad that the writers took the time to at least address some Van De Kamp/Hodge drama.

There only five episodes left, so they’d better be nice and juicy.

…I can’t believe I just wrote “nice and juicy.” This is not good.

Over on Brothers & Sisters, everybody has sex on the brain (look at the episode’s title if you need help with that one), save for most of the children (thankfully offscreen) and the on-the-lam Tommy. (Although, technically, he is stranded in Mexico, so who’s to say Balthazar Getty is not getting some south-of-the-border va-hi-na or participating in a Double Indemnity-inspired murder plot concocted by Patricia Arquette twins.)

Let’s split this up into two sections.

Getting Laid

  • The newly reappointed-to-Ojai-Foods Sarah, who shares a quick office tryst with Cal the accountant/volunteer firefighter (Christián de la Fuente from Dancing with the Stars and…other stuff I don’t watch), only to find out the next day that he was a temp and she bought and wore that too-tight red dress for nothing.
  • …actually, she was the only one getting laid.

Not Getting Laid But Certainly Thinking About It

  • Kevin and Scotty, who are propositioned by Kevin’s closeted former lover Chad (Jason Lewis) to have a threesome with him, only to reject his very forward suggestion but still be hot-and-bothered enough to have a shirtless make-out session, only to be interrupted by the just-banged-by-a-temp Sarah. (Jason Lewis, after playing a model/actor on Sex and the City and a soap opera actor on House, stretches his performance abilities to play…an actor.)
  • Ryan The Missing Walker continuing to lust after Rebecca, despite making it so obvious in mixed company that Rebecca’s estranged father warns her of this creepy boy’s total creep factor.
  • Nora, who is suddenly revisited by architect Roger Grant, who has informed her that his open relationship with his London-based wife (a set-up that turned Nora off) has turned into no marriage at all, so now he only has eyes for her.
  • Kitty, who is watching her marriage completely fall apart (despite Robert’s affidavit, signed by his doctor, that his heart is finally okay enough to survive a bout of passionate lurrrrrvin’), is starting to really feel fondness for Alec the single father, who brings her treats at the playground their children use every day. Watch out, Kitty – his brother is a lawyer who can see the future via musical numbers (or however one is to describe Eli Stone’s “powers”).
  • Justin, who is trying to either find a way to restart his relationship with Rebecca or at least find closure, neither or which really happens.

Other than the knowledge that Tommy, despite having all charges dropped against him, still doesn’t want to come back to his family and relatives in the United States, not a whole lot of story progress was made this week, but it was definitely an entertaining way to come back to the Walker clan after several weeks off the air.

The Wife:

Hey, people who watch Desperate Housewives and stuff! Question! Is “Look Into Their Eyes and You’ll See What They Know” the first DH episode that draws it’s title from Sondheim lyrics rather than song titles? Because that song is “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company. Here! Watch the brilliant Anna Kendrick perform it in Camp!


The Wife:

A part of me feels like catching up with Eli Stone is too little too late at this point, as we are now nine episodes into the season, leaving only four after this before the show goes away forever, but Eli Stone, while this season has faltered a bit, doesn’t deserve to go away with a quiet whimper. It’s a good show. And it’s too bad people don’t watch it. I realize just now that’s its basically Private Practice – Medicine + Spirituality + The Law. (I’m basing that half-assed math solely on the fact that the shows are both about ethical dilemmas and how to approach them.) And if people won’t watch a medical show about Big Ethical Question that’s a spin-off of another highly successful medical show about people sleeping with other people, what hope is there for a show about a Prophet-Lawyer? The answer, evidently, is not much.

Seven episodes have aired since we last wrote about this show, largely dealing with the break-up of Weathersby, Posner & Kline and the reforming of those partners as two distinct legal entities. Jordan broke off to form Weathersby Stone with Eli as the other managing partner, successfully avoiding a breach-of-contract suit by proving that his newfound interest in pro-bono work was the original intent of Weathersby, Posner & Kline based on a cocktail napkin he and the other two partners signed containing the first draft of their mission statement when they formed their firm. From there, Posner and Kline try to seduce all of Weathersby Stone’s loyal employees by offering them the kind of money their newly pro-bono counterpart cannot. Taylor stays with her father, as does Keith, who has stepped up to become a much bigger character this season, while Matt Dowd goes where the money is and, much to Eli’s dismay, Maggie Decker, too, turns to the dark side, lured with the promise of being able to choose her own cases as head of the pro bono department.

From there, Eli has gone on to break up Maggie’s marriage (after having a vision of her fiancé cheating), as well as break up his brother’s marriage (after having a vision of Laura Benanti cheating on Nate with, uh, Eli). He’s gotten really good at breaking up engagements this year. But there’s more to his relationship with Nate than just Laura Benanti’s fickle affections. After getting his visions back from Nate and discovering their father’s journal, he grapples with living his life and knowing his fate. Ultimately, Dr. Chen convinces him to burn the journal (but not before making a secret copy for himself). However, desperate to unlock the journal’s secrets, Eli starts participating in a very dangerous kind of acupuncture called The Dark Truth, which Frank refuses to perform on Eli more than once, thus leading to a rift in their friendship as he turns to rival acupuncturist Dr. Lee (Melinda Clarke) for help. Meanwhile, he receives a vision about a burning building, complete with Victor Garber’s Jordan Weathersby singing the most strangely keyed version of “Don’t Mess Around with Jim” I’ve ever heard, leading Eli to take on a drug trial case for a wealthy businessman that turns into an emancipation hearing for that man’s son when, after Eli helps his father get permission to run an MS drug trial that could save him, contradicts the son’s own wishes. Eli needs to prove that the father (the Jim of the song) did not have his son’s best interests at heart, and he achieves this by having Nate look into Jimmy’s medical records, thereby discovering that his father had falsified his CT scans to show that his son’s MS had not worsened, thus allowing him to swim on the Olympic team. (Complicated, I know.) Nate’s testimony in the case means that he can no longer work for St. Vincent’s, the hospital at which Jimmy’s primary care physicians worked. Instead, St. Vincent’s offers Nate an extremely large amount of hush money to keep their shoddy and falsified medical records under wraps. Thus, while risking Nate’s job, Eli actually puts his brother in a pretty sweet position, financially, giving him the means and free time to ask Laura Benanti to marry him. And then Eli has that pesky vision. And Laura Benanti finally sings something. (Finally!) And then she leaves Nate on their wedding day, despite Eli’s best efforts to keep himself away from her. As it happens, he could do everything in his power to make sure he didn’t reciprocate, but there was nothing he could do about Laura Benanti’s feelings for him.

Pity. She looked fucking amazing in that wedding dress.

Needless to say, this leaves Nate furious with his brother – putting their father’s vision that they were to work together in dire jeopardy. It’s difficult to explain in a catch-up post just how intricate the late Mr. Stone’s journal has been to the Nate-Eli relationship, but it has been a good plot thread to keep this season together. Last season was about Eli coming to terms with his gift and learning how to use it, and this season has been about how that gift affects other people – especially the brother who didn’t end up with the vision-providing deadly aneurysm.

Couldnt we just have a threesome with Laura Benanti and call it a day?

Couldn't we just have a threesome with Laura Benanti and call it a day?

Meanwhile, Maggie is struggling to find her place at Posner & Kline and, other than plugging up an intel leak at Weathersby Stone, hasn’t been doing very much at all. She pines for Eli, but stays away when she isn’t met with quite the same reaction. Poor Julie Gonzalo goes underused again. It’s like on Veronica Mars – her character had such potential at the beginning of Season Three . . . and then it just petered out. I guess we’ll never find out how she ends up with Eli and a baby in the future now.

Keith got a good multi-episode arc with guest actress Tiraji P. Henson (who deserves a Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Benjamin Button; she also deserved that same accolade for her work in Hustle & Flow, but they let her sing with Three Six Mafia in the live performance of “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” so I guess that’s a decent consolation prize). Henson starred as Angela, Patti’s daughter, a promising medical student who was arrested for a DUI when she wasn’t drunk. Keith managed to get her off that charge, while falling for her, until he finds out that she tested positive for cocaine. Angela insists that the false positive was because of some antibiotics she had been taking for a cold (which she probably shouldn’t have had even a glass of wine with, if warning labels on drugs are to be believed). Angela later gets suspended from medical school when she is accused of stealing drugs from the nurses station – a charge she tries to disprove, coming to blows with her mother over her drug addiction and, in the process, allowing Eli to discover that Patti once had a severe alcohol problem that was only solved by Jordan setting her straight. Henson and Loretta Devine have a great scene together during this confrontation, and it allowed us to see Patti as something other than a sassy black side character. (She’s great and all, but I often worry about black actresses being pigeonholed in the sassy black friend role. Or, sometimes, as the “magical negro” trope.) While Keith doesn’t get to end up with the girl, he does manage to help Patti and Angela have a real, honest relationship and assures mother and daughter that, while Angela probably can’t return to that medical school, she can find a way to work in medicine if she still wants to and make her mother proud.

And then there’s Matt and Taylor, whose strange relationship has taken up a lot of screen time this season and has culminated in a pregnancy. They’re learning how to be a couple, how to be good parents and, mostly, how to not be a Big Giant Douche and a Fucking Ice Bitch. In the latest episode, they thought, briefly, that there would be a chance their baby would have Down Syndrome, something that made Matt immediately want to find ways in his life to accommodate a special needs child, while Taylor turned straight down abortion alley. In actual human life, having a baby does change a lot. It certainly changes who you are as a person. I’ve just never seen a baby used as a character-changing plot device in this way. I mean, we’ve seen the dude-needs-to-shape-up-and-be-a-dad thread before (Knocked Up, Worst Week . . . oh, dozens of other examples), but I’ve never really seen it work both ways. And so deliberately. There is absolutely no reason for Taylor and Matt to be having a baby other than to see how they, as characters, react to this change. This plot, for me, is probably the strangest part about this season. I see its function, but I don’t really understand its necessity. Oh, well, Taylor won’t have that baby before the final episode airs in two weeks, right? I won’t have to care about this plot very soon.

Even with that weird baby plot, I will miss Eli Stone, and not only for the Victor Garber and Loretta Devine and Johnny Lee Miller’s very strangely large head, but for its heart and its faith. Much like Pushing Daisies, this show asks us to believe in miracles, and to have faith. It’s certainly not subtle about that approach, especially when George Michael appears in your living room and insists that you gotta, in fact, have faith, but I think we need things that ask us to believe in miracle-working lawyers and candy-coated pie shops filled with Anna Friel in beautiful dresses. If not for the landscape of arts and entertainment, where in the world are we asked, so blatantly, to indulge in hopes and fantasy?

That, and I’ll miss playing “Hi, Broadway actor!” with my husband when Broadway vet-fueled Eli and Daisies are gone.

The Wife:

Continuing my day of posts spent writing about shows that are canceled and shouldn’t be, here it is, folks, the last episode of Lipstick Jungle for this year. Unlike the ABC shows, however, NBC promised us at the end of this episode that LJ would return “in the new year” with “new episodes,” which I can only assume to mean the final two episodes of the series. There’s been a lot of talk around the interwebs about whether or not LJ is technically canceled (it isn’t), but the show’s fate lies in how the final three episodes do (so sayeth the New York Post). Given that the final two episodes will air next year on unspecified dates and times, I don’t expect that the show will survive its turn at the sophomore show guillotine. But it should. We know it should. And we know that Eli Stone and Dirty Sexy Money and Pushing Daises (over on ABC) should all have been spared the blade. But before I begin my final defense of Lipstick Jungle, let me recap this episode:

Shane and Wendy continue to see their marriage in crisis, with Shane upset that Wendy wants to go back to work, feeling, perhaps, a never-expressed belief that one parent should be home to raise the children, as well as feeling like Wendy doesn’t care for his opinions or desires after she shot down his proposal to have another child based on her need to get back into the work force. Their rift grows further when Josie, Shane’s manager, baits him with the prospect of a job touring as a keyboardist for Natasha Bedingfield. The job would take Shane away from his family for four months, a prospect which Wendy finds preposterous, despite Maddie’s urgings that her father should take the job so she can meet Natasha Bedingfield.

Shane and Wendy have a very real fight about the subject, which their son Taylor overhears. Shane accuses Wendy of not respecting his needs and desires by asking him not to go on tour, when she would be perfectly allowed to pack up to go to a movie shoot the first chance she got. Wendy counters that her shoots would never take as much as four months and that she was only ever gone from her family for two weeks at a time. They further discuss their roles and responsibilities in the relationship, leading Shane to turn down the tour at Wendy’s urging.

Feeling this is a mistake for his career, Josie comes to talk to Wendy, trying to shed some light on what it’s like to date a touring musician. Josie tells Wendy that you just have to make the best of it. You spend a lot of time on the phone, and you relish the times when that person comes home. But Wendy refuses to hear Josie’s side of the story, shutting her down and telling her that while she may have Shane’s best interests as an artist at heart, Wendy has Shane’s total best interest at heart.

Witnessing his parents fighting causes Taylor to act out at school, starting a fight with his best friend whose parents are also divorcing. (You know, the kid whose dad tried to hit on Wendy.) At the parent-teacher conference, Wendy and Shane resume their fight again, which prompts Wendy to ask if the two of them can see a marriage counselor. Instead of taking Wendy’s offer to work on the relationship, Shane decides to take the Natasha Bedingfield tour behind her back.

Meanwhile, Victory continues to work on her Baron Brothers campaign. She and her friends all approve an ad where a woman is lying naked on a bed in Victory Ford linens, and Victory is excited by the choice, until she finds out that the Baron Brothers intended her to be featured in the ad. (Frankly, I thought that was pretty clear since the drawing of the girl in the picture looked exactly like Victory.) Another rattling part of her meeting with Baron Brothers was spotting Joe Bennett across the room. While her Baron Brothers rep heads off to take a phone call, Victory excuses herself to talk to Joe, but she finds she can’t say her peace there because Joe only wants to talk business with her.

Victory tells her friends about appearing nude in the Baron Brothers ad, and they both assure her that doing the ad herself is the best move for her career. Nico assures Victory that the nude ad links her image with the brand. It shows people that if they buy her sheets, they can be like Victory Ford because she uses them herself. (Why Nico isn’t in marketing, I don’t know. She’s clearly good at it.) Wendy and Nico call Victory out on her fear of nudity and convince her to do the ad, hoping it will help her get over her fear of being seen as vulnerable. Nico even recommends Kirby for the job, hoping that a photographer Victory knows will be more comfortable for her to work with.

Victory takes it all off and comes out of her shell.

Victory takes it all off and comes out of her shell.

After losing Charlie, Nico decides to freeze some of her eggs, just in case she should want a child in the future. Wendy helps her prepare her hormone treatments and assures her that she’s doing the right thing, even though the excess of hormones make Nico have hot flashes at inopportune times. Kirby drops by her office to thank her for the recommendation to shoot Victory’s Baron Brothers ads, and also to ask her permission to show them the nudes he took of her as part of his portfolio. Nico assures Kirby that she’s fine having people see those pictures, just as her alarm goes off to tell her to take more hormones. She tells Kirby that she’s decided to freeze some of her eggs, just in case. Kirby doesn’t know quite how to take the news, surprised that Nico is rushing into the idea of parenthood so quickly after having Charlie for only a few days. He tells her she’d be a great mom, after seeing how good she was with Charlie. Awkwardly, she reminds him that he was great with the baby, too.

After taking her next hormone shot, Nico passes out in her office and Griffin rushes to take care of her. He accompanies her to the hospital, and to her home, where he refuses to let her lift a finger, instructing her to lie down while he prepares some tea for her. Ever since their Halloween meeting with Hang Time, Nico and Griffin have been growing friendlier, and the show has certainly been humanizing him more. During their afternoon together at Nico’s house, Griffin tells her that he overheard her at the hospital talking about her fertility treatments. He is barely fazed by the news, telling her that he had friends who went through the treatments a couple of years ago and now have a darling baby girl. Griffin goes on to encourage Nico’s desire to have a child and orders dinner for her, during which they discuss their failed marriages, their commitment to their jobs and the eerily similar fact that their former spouses both left them to start families with other people. Realizing that they’re more similar than she thought, Nico starts to rethink her relationship with Griffin, wondering if perhaps the two of them have a chance to have something together, as they both understand what its like to love a job more than a family.

After freaking out a bit at the Baron Brothers shoot, Victory finally becomes comfortable in her own skin, ready to keep shooting even after Kirby announces that he’s gotten more than enough great material from her already. Newly confident, Victory heads over to Joe’s house to surprise him and say her peace about their breakup. She tells him that she finally understands why she thanked Rodrigo instead of Joe at the fashion show, feeling that if she had thanked Joe, she would have felt too exposed. She then thanks Joe for all that he’s done for her and, most importantly, she tells him that she would have said yes to his marriage proposal. Joe immediately takes her in his arms and they spend the night together, reemerging the next morning as that same happily confused couple we know them to be, only this time, with a Victory that’s got just a little more spunk and fire in her, a Victory that knows exactly what she wants. After telling her friends about spending the night with Joe, she announces to them that this time, she’s going to ask Joe to marry her.

Victory, finally living up to her name.

Victory, finally living up to her name.

I’m so happy to see Victory finally come out of her nervous, self-conscious, self-doubting shell. Those things were preventing me from liking her. She’s still got those qualities, of course, because those things make her human, but I’m proud of her for learning to put those things on the back burner when it really matters. Finally, she’s learned to take control of her life, and that’s totally commendable, especially because I think she’s finally become the right partner for Joe Bennett, the kind of girl who can stand up to him, who can put a ring on his finger and who can command his respect. Before she really found herself, it was too easy for Victory to lose her footing with Joe, too easy to be treated just as arm candy, but now, I see her as a much more formidable partner. All I can say is that I hope Joe Bennett says yes to her proposal and that this season/series finale features a quickly put together but fabulous Ford-Bennett wedding.

Now, as to why this show is actually great, I point you towards Shane and Wendy’s fight. I’m told that a lot of people (women specifically) don’t like this show because the ladies of Lipstick Jungle don’t talk like real people. Really? Because I’m pretty sure that Shane and Wendy’s fight was one of the most real things I’ve heard on television in a long time. It is absolutely like the kind of fight you have about balancing your work life and your home life, which is a really important balance to find when you’re married with children. And the best part about this argument is that both parties are right, but neither seems to be willing to find a compromise that will make them both happy. It’s dramatic, without being melodramatic, which is more than I can say for most relationship fights I see in movies and on television.

Shane deserves to value his career just as much as Wendy does, but Wendy also deserves to be able to continue the career she loves. I don’t know where Shane got the idea that Wendy would want to stay home for good, considering he married her knowing that she was a career-minded lady, but it seems like he’s decided that now that she’s given up the office, it makes up for the first fifteen years of their marriage where he stayed home, working freelance, while she was the breadwinner. That said, Wendy also deserves to have a partner in the relationship that can help them care for their children together, which Shane can’t quite do from the road. But then again, its only four months. Four months that he’d be gone in their fifteen years together. For all the two week stints that Wendy was gone, I think its safe to assume that, over the years, they’ve added up to more than four months.

Personally, I can see that being on tour for four months would be hard on their marriage at this time. They know they’re not doing well. And Shane should know that, with Wendy starting a new project, this is not the best time for him to leave her with full responsibility for the children. I don’t think it was ever said that he couldn’t take a touring gig in the future, simply that it isn’t a great idea right now. Especially since their son thinks they’re getting a divorce. But at the same time, Maddie is fifteen and is certainly old enough to babysit her brother and see that he gets home safely from school. Should Shane head out on the road, surely someone could convince Maddie to help out more around the house for a little while, especially if she were rewarded for it with a private meet-and-greet with Natasha Bedingfield.

I like that fight because it’s very real, very nuanced and very delicately crafted. It’s more real than anything I’ve ever seen on Sex & the City, which, compared to this show, is extremely melodramatic. I also find Nico, Wendy and Victory to be better role models. Know why? Because we actually see them working. Sure, we saw Carrie write, but I think we all know she’s a not a great writer who probably shouldn’t have even had that column in the first place. We’ve never seen Miranda lobby for anything or talk about her cases. Once Charlotte gave up the gallery, there was no need for her to work anymore because she achieved her WASPy dream of finding a rich man that she could have a perfect home with. And then there’s Samantha, who did PR, but never seemed to have any clients other than Smith Jarrod, whom she was also fucking. Their world on SATC was fun, certainly, but unrealistic and unattainable. The ladies on LJ make much more sense for a world in which women do have to balance their work lives and their home lives. These ladies have worked hard to get where they’re at, and they deserve to be recognized in their fields. The truth is, everyone has a job and your job impacts your social life. And yes, the ladies of LJ lunch together as often as the ladies of SATC do, but you know that these girls are returning to the office when they finish their lunch.

I also find their problems to be all that much more real than those of SATC. Granted, SATC is a comedy and the situations are usually quite exaggerated, but SATC had its dramas, too. I was crushed when Joe left Victory on the roadside in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Prada.” I was never that crushed from anything on SATC. This show takes the time to fully craft the relationships between its characters, and they explore real issues that people face in relationships when they strive to balance their work lives and their personal lives. SATC never gave us a working life for the girls to contend with. And because their problems with their relationships were seated in their own neuroses, I cared less. (Except about Miranda and Steve. I love Steve and I still believe that he would have never cheated on Miranda, no matter how little sex she had with him. He would just watch porn and masturbate, like everyone else does.)

Lipstick Jungle is one of the only shows on television with female leads, and it’s good. It’s really good. Wendy, Nico and Victory think and act like real women do. Their problems are real. And they deal with those problems the way actual women would. I relate to these women, and it’s so refreshing to have something so relatable on television. But I guess not enough television viewers know actual women who act like this, who think through situations rationally before responding with histrionics, women who got somewhere by using their brains and pride themselves on that fact. Or not enough viewers actually want to see women-driven programming that’s smart, stylish and actually good. And that’s really sad. Really, really sad. I thought we were at an age where women like Wendy, Nico and Victory would have as much power on the television as they do in their Manhattan, but I guess I was wrong.

I’ll be sad to see this show go. Truly. It’s much smarter than SATC ever was, and much more honest. And I’d rather see that than see Carrie overspend on shoes anyday.