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).

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The Husband:

Blah blah blah Desperate Housewives. What really mattered last night was the season finale of Brothers & Sisters.

Because, honestly, whatever happened last night on DH is pretty much just filler until the two-hour finale this coming Sunday. But what happened?

  • Gaby discovered that one of her old friends is now homeless after losing all of her money once she became a widow, which in turn shows Gaby a valuable lesson about life. And what’s that lesson, Headbanger’s Ball and Daisy Of Love’s Riki Rachtman? IT’S NOT A GAME!
  • Lynnette doesn’t want Tom to get plastic surgery, because it would result in them not looking like they belong together. Because as any DH viewer knows, Lynnette and Tom belong together.
  • After using her divorce lawyer’s advice, Bree breaks into her own house, only to discover that Orson still loves her unconditionally, and that she’s a horrible person for wanting to divorce him.
  • Susan and Jackson throw an engagement party, but Susan finds that she is hesitant to get married as it would cancel Mike’s regular alimony payments. But through a series of messages (actually Kathryn posing as Mike), he “agrees” to keep paying. But the marriage may not happen anyway, since Creepy Dave knows the truth behind the marriage and calls immigration on Jackson.
Damn you, Creepy Dave! Damn you!

Damn you, Creepy Dave! Damn you!

Blerghy blerghy blergh.

But how’d the Walker family fare? Was their trip to Mexico fruitful and exciting? Actually, kind of not. Choosing instead to follow its own path of actual reality, Brothers & Sisters ended not with wild drama, massive cliffhangers and people acting out of character (coughDesperateHousewivesandGrey’sAnatomycough), but with a neat (if underdeveloped) wrap-up of the show’s third and best season.

First Nora, then the remainder of the family, cross the border and find something that not only surprised them, but surprised me as well. I guess that since Tommy has always been such a jerk, I just assumed he took the clichéd way out and just went to Mexico to chill on beaches, drink a lot and bang hookers, but in fact he had joined a semi-cultist meditation society, one that pretty much strips away all your earthly possessions and first world problems and allows you to reassess who you are as a person. In other words, he’s a hippie who builds houses and fixes plumbing for the less fortunate, and eats meals in a room where talking is banned.

In fact, once this discovery was made, the Walkers weren’t left much to do other than smile at each other and update everybody on their current life events. But at least the show found a funny way to do such a ho-hum scene, done entirely in pantomime as they were still at the meditation society’s mess hall. In fact, it was so funny that it kind of overshadowed Kitty’s real problems that followed her to Mexico via Robert and a helicopter, culminating in her running after his departing chopper only to realize it’s too late and that their marriage is pretty much over.

Maybe now wasnt the best time to adopt?

Maybe now wasn't the best time to adopt?

But hey, Justin is going to become a doctor, and he and Rebecca are going to get married. Everything’s okay, right?

Not entirely. Ryan the Missing Walker still had one bit of usage left in him, which unexpectedly involved the underused Saul. So yes, it is technically true that Ryan’s dead mother was affected by William breaking up with her, and that may have caused her to kill herself by wrapping her car around a tree. But (what a tweeeest!) it turns out that William never went to Reno to break up with Ryan’s dead mother – he had Saul do it instead. And so Saul, refusing to hand Ryan the Missing Walker a send-off deal from Ojai that would make a CEO blush, demands from Holly that he return to Ojai Foods. Basically, I’m fine with more Ron Rifkin (having seen him in two shows, the pre-Broadway run of Wrong Mountain, as well as the Cabaret 90s revival at Studio 54), so I’m glad that he may actually return to being a character next season, and not just the gay Jewish comic relief.

I am so glad that I reinvested in this show after giving up on its halfway through its first season, because it is honestly one of the best written shows on network television, written by people who get the concept that big emotion doesn’t have to equal histrionic bullshit. It earns its laughs and tears by being a character show first and a plot show second. Even with such a non-event of a finale, it still feels right, as they start a new chapter with a new season. How will Justin and Rebecca’s marriage go? How will Nora’s charity center fare? Are Kitty and Robert really done?

All we really know is that Balthazar Getty has been demoted from main cast to a sporadically recurring guest role, so Tommy is going to be off-camera “finding himself” for most of next season.

The Husband:

I’m kind of over Desperate Housewives for the rest of the season. Not that it’s bad or anything, but I’m exhausted. Same for Grey’s Anatomy. Private Practice and Chuck did the right thing in winding down last week so as not to overload television viewers with a straight barrage of finales all together in a short period of time. Seriously. I’m ready for Wipeout and So You Think You Can Dance and Big Brother to just kind of lull me through the summer. Enough with all the scripted drama.

Hell, DH is basically just going through the motions now, and it seems that the season’s high point was all the Scavo twins madness with the affair and the nightclub and the fire and Creepy Dave and whatnot, and the rest of the stories are just basically filler. Even Creepy Dave’s stuff petered out after we found out who he was after and why (which, of course, we all guessed), so right now all I’m really looking forward to is his final solution as to what he’s going to do to Susan and MJ, and who’s going to get caught in the crosshairs.

So with that, I’m just going to give you the bare minimum of what’s going on with our “housewives,” because they all just basically reiterate stuff we already know, with one exception.

Gaby: Gaby’s older daughter goes to school with makeup on, so Gaby agrees to show her that beauty comes from within by not wearing any makeup to Carlos’ award ceremony for Latino Businessman of the Year. But when she learns of a photo session at the ceremony for the local paper, she runs into the bathroom and steals makeup from an Asian woman. Gaby is vain. We already knew this. Lesson failed.

Bree: Reverting back to some of the more conniving ways we saw during DH‘s first two seasons, Bree gets Susan’s ex to represent her in her divorce with Orson (which he still doesn’t know about), and is willing to fight dirty to do it. We already know this.

Lynnette: She and Tom follow a book that says that, in order to rekindle their intimacy, they are to have sex every night for the entire month. This proves difficult, which leads to Tom restating that, now that he’s unemployed, he has no passion for anything other than Lynnette. We already knew this.

Kathryn: Using MJ to trick Mike into talking about marriage, she finds out that he’s just not that into getting hitched. Big surprise.

Susan, dont get the wrong idea here. Im gay, but I really, really need a green card . . . so . . . yeah. Marry me?

Susan, don't get the wrong idea here. I'm gay, but I really, really need a green card . . . so . . . yeah. Marry me?

Susan: Okay, here’s some good stuff. Jackson is finally back in town (I hope your head’s all healed up now after that motorcycle accident, Gale Harold), and he proposes marriage, but after Susan embarrasses herself by declaring how much she actually loves him, he lets her know that it’s simply for citizenship, and he’s Canadian and his visa expired six years earlier. (Or six months. I don’t really care all that much how long it’s been.) She agrees, but she’s pissed enough to say that there will be no romance and no sex. It’s strictly business. This, in turn, messes up Creepy Dave’s plan to take her and MJ out for a fishing trip, as she, you know, needs to get ready to get married for a third time and all.

Two more episodes. Just bring ’em on, regroup, and come back with a better season. Because it can be better. Season 1 was genius television, don’t forget, and there’s really no excuse at this point.

But hey, what’s doing down in the vastly preferable world of the Walkers on Brothers & Sisters?

Not a whole lot, actually. Justin gets into a pre-med program in Santa Barbara. (I haven’t done any research, but my wife, an alumnus of UC Santa Barbara and a former employee of a local business newspaper there, informs me that no college or university in Santa Barbara offers a pre-med program. Then again, this is a show where Kitty basically jumps back-and-forth between her home life with Robert in Santa Barbara and the Walkers in Pasadena as if that 90-mile drive were nothing, so it doesn’t bug me.) Nora gets some detective work done in order to find Tommy so as to have next week’s big season finale take place in Mexico. Holly once again emotionally implodes as Ryan The Missing Walker does his own bitch imploding when he learns that everybody is against him, which in turn gets him to quit from Ojai and presumably give up his shares. Kitty is still trying to decide between Alec the single father and her own husband. And Kevin…well…as aforementioned, not a whole lot, actually.

Oh! We did get some Tom Skerritt cameo work as Kitty flashes back on her radio career, which led her to confirm that, yes, William Walker may have driven Ryan’s mother to suicide. Kind of a waste of a cameo, if you ask me, but I guess William needs to make an in-the-past appearance every now and then.

Really, it’s just all set-up for next week, so I’m going to save my energy for that. Thanks for reading this half-assed post.

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:

I’m going to keep this short, because it’s been a full week since I watched these episodes of Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters, and since neither show will be back on television until April 19, I don’t really feel like too many people are going to come looking for this article with any frequency or questions.

So up first is the quick good and bad bits of last week’s DH.

Good

  • The complete collapse of Lesley Boone as Carlos’ VP, as a frustrated, overworked Lynette got her to mistake Carlos and Gaby’s kids as those of the non-English-speaking Hispanic custodian. A damn good way to go out and a good instance of two of the “housewives” banding together to take down a common enemy
  • The horribly psychotic and violent drawings done by Susan’s ex-husband’s son. Hilarious.
  • Edie is finally dead. (Fingers crossed that she’s not just injured. I’ve been waiting for this waste of a character to be gone since she fake-hanged herself at the end of s3.) And it wasn’t enough to kill her once. They killed her in three ways. First, Creepy Dave strangled her when she tried to call 911, but then let go right before she was to gasp her last breath. Then she drove her car into a telephone poll after swerving to avoid Cat Burglar Orson (don’t ask), and barely survived that, then got out of her car and electrocuted herself on the stray electrical wires from said fallen telephone poll. Dead dead dead.
Is it too soon for me to say Ding Dong?

Is it too soon for me to say "Ding Dong?"

Bad

  • Everything with Orson. Just…don’t ask. It’s lame. And if the rumors are true, this is his last season. What a lame way to go out.
  • Creepy Dave’s lame ultimate plan for revenge against Mike Delfino, which just basically was going on a cabin/camping trip with Mike and Katherine, then pretending to sleep while they left to go hiking, and then shooting at Katherine while they hiked, thus making Mike feel the torture Creepy Dave felt when his family was “killed.” And it was all foiled by Edie calling his cell phone, making him miss his mark.

So now onto Brothers & Sisters, where I think I can actually formulate some paragraphs.

So after all that build-up, what with Tommy embezzling money from Ojai Foods in order to concoct an illegal scheme to get Holly to give over her shares in the company which would thusly dethrone her, the entire thing just disappears. How? Even though Tommy is still on the run after ditching Justin and Kevin in Baja and cannot be reached, Sarah took it upon herself to reassert herself as a major businesswoman at Ojai Foods, leaving Greenatopia behind to fend for themselves. (In a nice way, but she’s still ditching them.) So then, at her first Ojai Foods board meeting, she and Nora, with their mere presence, basically convince Holly to drop all charges against Tommy, because the case itself would seriously damage the company and its insistence on being a family legacy.

Well…that was easy. I was expecting that to last through the rest of the season. But it did get Balthazar Getty to remove himself from the show, at least temporarily, until he is relegated to a semi-recurring guest spot next week. Nobody likes you, Tommy. And the case also managed to break up Justin and Rebecca, a.k.a. the hottest couple on prime-time soap television, leaving the increasingly evil Ryan the Missing Walker to be her creepy rebound guy. (Never mind that he has roped Rebecca into looking for evidence regarding his mother’s “suicide” and whether or not the dead Papa Walker was somehow responsible.) Hopefully Justin and Rebecca could get over this and go back to making sweet sweet love.

Uh, was he missing for so long because he was hanging out in Forks, WA being a vampire?

Uh, was he missing for so long because he was hanging out in Forks, WA being a vampire?

And when did Rob Lowe turn into a bitch? Well, that’s an easy answer, because it was when he had his heart attack during the two-hour “movie” episode. But heart attacks don’t turn people into a-holes as far as I know, and right now we have Rob Lowe suffering from the Ethan-on-90210 disease where his characters seems to be suffering from a body snatcher situation. And his bitchness is causing Kitty to start making eyes at the single father she sees at the park, played by none other than Eli Stone’s brother.

The Husband:

It’s been a few weeks off, so let’s let Sunday’s episode of Desperate Housewives catch us up with all the happenings on Wisteria Lane. This week, we viewers were given a surprisingly good, if not entirely important, ep of DH that had all of its old school elements intact, making sure that each of the stories had their own little charms and quirks, and even if they ranged somewhat in quality, they all kept up at the level of satisfactory or higher.

Susan: Now that Katherine has moved in with Mike, Susan isn’t really sure what to think for herself, but she is definitely trying her best to be nice about it. But there is still jealousy within her, so when she visits them and points out to Katherine that the wonderful beach painting set on the mantelpiece was actually painted by Susan during her and Mike’s honeymoon, she gloats a bit inside that a piece of her is still in Mike’s heart. Katherine was unaware that the painting was Susan’s, though, so by the time the housewarming party comes around, the painting is nowhere to be found. Katherine tells Susan and Mike that it fell while she was dusting and was being repaired, but when Susan finds it hidden in the garage, she lets Mike know and thus throws the party into a small amount of chaos. But after some harsh words are exchanged, Katherine and Susan are on the same page and understand that they can indeed co-exist in Mike’s life and each other’s as well, because if Mike was to date anybody after the divorce, it’s good that it’s somebody Susan really likes.

Gaby: In a storyline that on paper sounds obnoxious but somehow through some bit of luck comes through as funny and noble, Gaby becomes sick of protecting Carlos’s boss’s affair with his mistress a secret, even if keeping that secret meant Carlos getting a major cash bonus at work. She decides to pay his hairdresser mistress a visit at the mall salon (ewwwww…) and pretends to fess up about her own story of dating a married man in order to get the hairdresser to feel some guilt, but the ruse, which gives Eva Longoria [Parker] perhaps her funniest scene in a long time, falls apart and she ends up yelling at the hairstylist about continuing to pursue Carlos’s boss. When the boss gets wind of this, he confronts Gaby, who tells him that she can no longer keep a secret, which in turn gets Carlos fired. He’s fine with this, though, because he hated his new job and his boss, and his boss goes off to tell his pregnant wife about the woman with whom he is in love. But when the Solises receive a call from his pregnant wife, they go over to their house to find Carlos’s boss dead on the ground with a knife in his back. And the show is given yet another murder plot.

Im glad that dudes dead. That job fucking sucked. Now me and Tom can drink beers at noon together.

I'm glad that dude's dead. That job fucking sucked. Now me and Tom can drink beers at noon together.

Bree and Lynette: While Bree has to deal with Orson’s growing resentment toward her due to him not being recognized as a valuable part of her company, as well as his growing obsession with stealing items from rude people in his life, she has taken it upon herself to help the Scavos find a job now that their pizzeria has gone belly-up. How does she do this? Well, her book publisher needs a new advertising account executive, and Lynette thinks this might be the perfect opportunity for Tom to get back into his old line of work and stop sitting around the house, sleeping in late and drinking beer at noon. But at the casual job interview/dinner at Bree’s, Tom does not want anybody to get a job for him, and he treats the interview with carelessness. However, when Lynette, also a former advertising executive, sees his laziness and decides that she herself should pursue the position instead, she sparks something in him and they basically battle each other at the table, coming up with reasons the other should not get the job. (e.g. Tom was actually Lynette’s employee until he got fired and later basically ran the pizzeria into the ground, Lynette’s cancer could return at any moment, etc.). This uncharacteristic Scavo pettiness turns off the publisher until he can no longer take it and leaves the house, leaving Tom and Lynette to realize how silly they were being, and that they both need to do anything they can in order to bring money back into the family to pay off their debts, legal and otherwise.

Oh, and Edie (now on her way to the grave by season’s end, thank God) discovers through Creepy Dave’s former priest about former residency in Fairview, and that Williams isn’t actually his last name. Hopefully Creepy Dave’s story can rev up very soon, because it’s been a whole lot of cock-teasing so far.

I was proud of this episode, because while Susan and Gaby got somewhat less important stories in the grand scheme of DH, the stories themselves were still well-written (to a point) and well-performed, because even if you’re saddled with a story about the emotional purpose of a painting, you should act like it’s the most important thing ever. All the elements were in place this week, nobody onscreen or off was phoning it in, and some great stuff got set up. I can’t exactly ask for more, can I?

But, oh man, what’s been going on with the Walkers of Pasadena? Well, they had their two-hour “movie event” two Sundays ago, and it brought the show some stellar ratings, but oddly, I can’t think of much actually happening during the episode. Here’s what I do recall:

While Rebecca brings her father back to Los Angeles after her New York trip, which turns mother Holly into a screaming mess, we get some big McCallister goings on. Although today is the day that Robert and Kitty’s surrogate mother is to give birth, Robert has some major political issues to deal with. Now that he is running for governor, he’s looking for the right time to announce his candidacy. However, when he has a talk with the current governor (a female Republican, which I can tell you is a bit of a ways off here in California), he discovers that his candidacy has already been leaked, and that he needs to do a press conference ASAP re: running for governor before anyone else can get to it. Problem is, this press conference is right at the same moment Kitty needs him at the hospital for the birth of their son, and when the Walker family, now at the hospital, sees Robert live on TV miles away, Kitty takes this as a sign that their recent problems are only going to grow. When Kevin (Robert’s director of communications, don’t forget) finally gets him off the podium, he tries to rush him to the hospital, only to have Robert collapse in the parking garage as a result of a heart attack. So now, at the same hospital at the same time, their son is being born and he is about to die from cardiac arrest. Brought back from death at the last moment, the doctor suggests they operate on Robert, even if it would hurt his chances as governor. The surgery goes through, and Robert gets Kevin to lie about his condition and say it wasn’t a big deal, which in turn worries Kitty that she basically married a liar and that raising their new kid together will be supremely difficult.

OH NOES! TANNING HAS DONE THIS TO HIM!

OH NOES! TANNING HAS DONE THIS TO HIM!

Oh, and Tommy’s in major trouble, but that goes right into this week’s episode, so let’s proceed. I must say that Balthazar Getty’s eventual exit from the show is going down in a very big, very complicated way, and it’s making for some way harsh drama.

So…yeah…you know how Tommy was setting up a scheme that would sneakily give Tommy all of evil Holly’s shares in Ojai Foods, and thus he would be able to fire her? Well, Holly (with help from daughter Rebecca) finally put all the pieces together and confronts Tommy about his horrible and illegal plan, screaming at him and then finally pressing criminal charges, as Tommy had embezzled a couple million dollars from their shared company (Tommy’s father, Papa Walker, was Holly’s lover, as we all know) to put this scheme into motion.

But while Tommy goes to court, the family decides to not tell Nora just yet. Why? Because Nora’s dealing with her own stuff, as Ryan the Missing Walker Who Goes to Berkeley finally used the open-ended plane ticket she gave him to come down to Pasadena to visit his previously unknown-to-him family. What does Ryan hope to accomplish? Well, since his mom is now dead, he needs to know who he truly is. Or something like that. You’d have to ask him.

And now we get about a 20-minute long Walker Clusterfuck, because the big look-our-family-is-getting-bigger dinner at Nora’s place turns into a multi-sided screaming match, as Ryan overhears the Walker Clan talk about Tommy’s legal troubles, then accidentally brings it up with Nora (thinking that she already knows about it), leading Nora to finally confront the increasingly stubborn Tommy about what he was possibly thinking in embezzling from his father’s company. Insulted that Nora would compare him to his adulterous and law-breaking father (well, come on Tommy, you two are both adulterers and criminals), he accuses Nora of turning a blind eye years ago to the problems since it afforded her such a lavish lifestyle, resulting in Nora providing Tommy with one of the best dramatic slaps I’ve seen in quite some time. Nora goes away from all the hubbub, only to scold Saul later for keeping Tommy’s scheme a secret, even if Saul warned him against it in the first place.

But the Walker Clusterfuck doesn’t end there, as seemingly everybody in the family is now against having Rebecca around them, as her mother could put Tommy (who has a wife and child) in jail for a very long time, even if it wasn’t her fault at all. (I think we can all agree that Tommy was being incredibly selfish and stupid throughout this entire ordeal.) Unfortunately, Holly won’t budge with the criminal case, even after having a sit-down with a desperately pleading Sarah, so any member of the Harper family is starting to look like the enemy.

And the biggest victim of this battle, at least in my opinion, is Justin and Rebecca, who after another round of bickering, finally break up. (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The hotness is broken!) And who is there to pick up the broken Rebecca? A love-at-first-site Ryan, who visits the emotionally drained Rebecca at her house, leading to a closed door and a “to be continued” story thread.

I never thought that Justin and Rebecca’s earlier issues would result in a break-up, as they were usually stuff that could be dealt with simply by being more honest with each other, but Rebecca felt like she had to take her mother’s side and was sick of being attacked for something she didn’t do, and it was the last straw. It’s very sad to see this coupling end, and it’s especially tough to see the barely-involved-in-the-affairs-of-the-Walkers Ryan assert himself so quickly into Rebecca’s life — oh God, it’s going to get emotionally brutal really quickly, isn’t it? — and Brothers & Sisters continues to tear me apart.

Phew…what a gut-wrenching show. Not Big Love gut-wrenching, mind you, but man did Sunday’s episode bring me down. Great television, don’t forget that, but man is it hard to go to work after writing about all this madness. B&S, keep on keepin’ on.

The Husband:

So what’s going on in the D-House? (No, not the Dollhouse, although that would make more sense. I mean Desperate Housewives, and now I’ve wasted the amount of time I thought I would save in abbreviating the show’s title by explaining it here. It’s early for me, people!)

Gaby: So, what has Gaby learned over the course of this season, about motherhood, about responsibility, about her love for her husband. Apparently nothing, because now she’s just plain old money-grubbing Gaby from pre-flash-forward, although her reasons have slightly changed. Hers and Carlos’ excitement over his bonus at his new job is tempered when they have dinner with his boss and find that the entire company is doing away with bonuses this year due to the poor economic climate, which puts them in a bind. (It would, of course, be less of a bind had Gaby not started buying ridiculously expensive things again, but whatever.) Later that day, Gaby sees Carlos’ boss traipsing around with another woman, and uses this info to blackmail the boss into granting Carlos an even bigger raise than he would have received before the bad economic news. So Gaby is defined by money again, the kids are nowhere to be seen, and Carlos is once again whipped. What season are we in again?

Bree: When Orson finds out that stepson Andrew is making more money in Bree’s catering industry than he is, he tricks her into revealing her bank account password (it’s one of her favorite pets growing up, Munchie) and looking into her finances. Yep. That’s actually it. The Bree storylines have really become a snooze in the past few weeks, and I’m sad to say that I actually miss the bitchy, conniving Bree, because this new battle-with-Orson crap is getting old.

Susan: Susan continues her growing hatred of Katherine and her unintentional mothering of M.J. when, now that Susan is working at M.J.’s prestigious grade school, she finds that Mike has had to work so much that he is having Katherine watch M.J. and M.J. is really liking all the gourmet food and attention from Ms. Mayfair. (Goddamn, that’s a lot of times to type M.J.) M.J. likes Katherine so much, in fact, that when Susan says she can’t make M.J. a panini, he leaves the house without permission and gets his noms from Katherine. This is made even worse when Susan discovers that Mike is now finally moving in with Katherine, which is just going to confuse M.J. more. I was fine with Jackson leaving the show (sorry about your motorcycle accident, Gale Harold), but I’m not really digging Susan’s storylines over the last few episodes. Where’s that spunky chick I know and half-way love?

Lynette: Poor economic climate strikes the Scavos when they find that their pizzeria is overstaffed and underpatronized, so, mixed with their steep legal bills for Porter’s antics with the Schillings, Tom decides to fire his staff and replace them with his own family, child labor laws notwithstanding. It’s a tough start, especially when Porter refuses to serve some of his high school peers in fear of being mocked at school, but Tom for once puts down the hammer, throws Porter against the wall and declares that this pizzeria, ever since he and Lynette quit their jobs in advertising, makes or breaks the family. It’s a strange little piece of story, and I’m sure many viewers may turn against Tom for this sudden half-assed violence, but Porter had it coming, and Tom needed to step outside his mid-life crisis and really focus on keeping his family safe and together.

So this is definitely a transitional episode, and it all seems to be leading up to Creepy Dave’s devious plan that should go down in the next couple episodes, but that’s also no excuse for some dilly-dallying nonsense storylines. There’s nothing wrong with an expositional episode, but they still have to be compelling, and if I’m to get on 24’s case when they forget to tell a good story but still move the many plots forward ever so slightly, I’m definitely going to do it to a show that can’t rely on awesome action sequences and Kiefer Sutherland’s soft-to-loud line readings.

I wish I could say that Brothers & Sisters, once again, came on at 10 p.m. and completely schooled DH in the ways of proper storytelling and valid emotional catharses, but this week everything seemed kind of…wonky. Rebecca visits New York and reconnects with her father (Ken Olin) in a nice way, and in doing so she becomes a stronger woman, but other than that the rest of the stories just kind of moseyed along with nary a surprise.

Yes, Kitty’s writing career keeps getting in Robert’s way, especially now that he is running for governor, but this week was more of the same, as Robert becomes unsettled by an interview piece about her where she reveals some uncouth private details about their marriage, and tries to have Kevin kill the piece. Kevin doesn’t want to, but Robert, by episode’s end, feigns that he will love Kitty no matter what and will accept whatever she chooses to do with the interview piece, while quietly lying to her and killing the piece himself. It’s sad that their marriage has dissolved in the last several episodes, so much so that I think we’re being cheated. They were a happy couple, and all of the things that stand in their way seem remarkably convoluted. I get the need for conflict, especially when their surrogate mother is about to give birth, but I don’t know how much is actually working.

Heres 50 bucks, no go film where you should be filming.

Here's 50 bucks, now go film where you should be filming.

Maybe I just had a bad taste in my mouth right from the start, when Nora, who received a call from Ryan the Missing Walker, decided to fly up north to the Bay Area and visit this UC Berkeley student, and the only location shot they could give us was a helicopter shot of San Francisco. Yeah, San Francisco is on the other side of the Bay Bridge, and the East Bay, especially the Berkeley campus and the city around it, is so beautiful that I don’t know why they couldn’t just show us Berkeley and its spirit. But instead, it’s a stock shot of The City and a coffee shop (where Ryan works) that looks like it belongs in L.A. But hey, I’m from Berkeley. There’s no reason to appease just me. I just wish they would have taken the time to get it at least slightly right. Storywise, Ryan is nice enough to Nora and they come to a few understandings, but his resistance in coming down to Pasadena to meet the family is just more of the same ol’ same ol’. I’d love some progress with this story, because if the show is going to make a big deal about a new Missing Walker, as they did earlier in the season, I’d like some development.

And the fall of Balthazar Getty continues as Holly finally figures out that Tommy has put into motion a plan that would take all her shares in Ojai Foods away from her and thus oust her from the company, and that Saul has been lying to her. Saul, meanwhile, is furious that Tommy decided to go through with the plan as presented to him several episodes ago, and is probably going to be in a hell of a lot more trouble by not being completely honest with Holly. Ms. Harper is a devious one, and I can see one of both of these characters in jail by season’s end. Rough stuff, but at least it’s a new development in the story, and it is kind of fascinating. It’s just not enough to carry the episode.

It’s just a minor stumble, though, as B&S continues to have its best and most compelling season ever. My suggestion? Tell me what the hell is going on with Sarah and Greenatopia.