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.

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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:

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.

The Husband:

Man, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know if it’s the writing or the winter break or I’m just losing my patience, but between Grey’s Anatomy last Thursday and last night’s Desperate Housewives, I have suddenly found most of the show’s characters temporarily unbearable. With GA it was the boring repetition of themes past and fights present, and with DH it’s that many of the characters have reverted back to their old, flawed selves from way early in the show’s run. Am I alone in this? Has everybody always been this obnoxious? I hope not, because that would not bode well for both the future of the show’s and, more importantly, my enjoyment of said shows.

In fact, I can pretty much shove all but one of the “housewives” stories into one short paragraph, so as to demonstrate my lack of interest in them. Bree, having emasculated Orson again and again in public situations, is taken to task by Alex, her future son-in-law, on the way she treats people. The two finally come to an understanding, and everything becomes okay again. Susan gets accidentally locked in Edie’s basement with her, where she learns, through some tough love, that she is completely unable to exist without having a man around. Gaby, meanwhile, can no longer control her kids, as they respect their now-full-time-employee father more, so she lets her gardener (Gary Anthony Williams, from respectively one of my favorite sitcoms, Malcolm in the Middle, and one of my favorite comedies, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle), who has a couple “monsters” of his own, come in and yell the children into shape. Gaby and Carlos come to an understanding about child-rearing, and everything is okay.

As for Lynette – who as you know if you’ve read even one of my DH posts is my favorite character not just of the show but in recent television – she herself was not unbearable but her story left a great deal to be desired. When a crotchety old man comes to Lynette complaining about her son, she is confused until she finds out that Porter, who ran away in order to stave off jail (on charges of something he didn’t even do), has been living with Lynette’s mother at the local retirement home and has been making a ruckus. Lynette goes over and gets into a heated argument with her mother, a relationship that seems to have very much changed between the pre-time warp of s5 and now. The show explains that they are on bad terms, pretty much, because Lynette noticed that her mother was gambling away all of her savings, began drinking again and kept falling asleep with lit cigarettes in her mouth, and that she put her in the retirement community as a result. Not a bad decision, really, but it does tend to drive people a part.

Lynette’s mother, however, is one step ahead and already tipped Porter off, so Lynette drives away in a huff. Suddenly, she comes up with a plan, wherein she fakes a car accident and has somebody call her mother, thus tricking her mother and Porter into showing up at the hospital. The plan works but drives Lynette and her mother further apart, until they talk about their underlying issues and vow to work through them.

Porter, meanwhile, goes to court off-screen and the charges are immediately dropped in a completely anticlimactic ending to a storyline that had taken up so much of the show. Was it really that simple? Just show up and the implied arson charges are dropped? How about the evil Warren Schilling? Where was he? Did he get into a motorcycle accident while not filming the show, too? Can we expect to only hear his voice over the phone just like recovering actor Gale Harold?

Brothers & Sisters, on the other hand, recovered very nicely from last week’s sadly pedestrian episode with a melodramatic hour full of Shonda Rhimes-worthy questions of ethics in all of its characters.

You cant even bother to show up at your own sisters book signing? I am hurt, Walker Clan. Hurt.

You can't even bother to show up at your own sister's book signing? I am hurt, Walker Clan. Hurt.

Kitty, as you know, has a book to promote, one on being on the campaign trail with her husband Robert McAllister and how it affected her own Walker family, and has been getting some very high-profile interviews, including appearances by the never-too-busy-to-shill Regis and Kelly. The next day, she has a local Los Angeles book reading and signing, but unfortunately Nora is the only family member to show up. Why is this and what caused all these rifts? Let’s go through all the candidates.

  • Well, Kevin, having recovered from surgery two episodes ago, is back at work as communications director for Robert, and against his better judgment is forced by Robert to schedule a meeting with a prominent politician who is, apparently, the person to go to if one is interested in running for higher office. Kevin doesn’t want Robert to ignore Kitty and would love to be honest with her, but he has to separate the professional from the personal. By episode’s end, Kevin learns of what he already suspected, that after a grueling and failed campaign for president, Robert is now interested in running for governor, and that he will tell Kitty of this plan when he is damn well and ready.
  • Justin is taking the day to move into his new but shitty apartment.
  • Tommy is trying to rope Saul in on a scheme to oust Holly as the CEO of Ojai Foods through very complicated means, which would include he and Saul buying up an orchard, being silent partners, getting involved with Ojai, then take their now bigger shares and earn control of the company and then fire Holly. Why this prevented Tommy from going to the book signing I’m not sure, but it is Tommy being kind of vicious and, as usual, not an especially appealing character. Saul refuses to participate in the plan, though, so Tommy
  • Sarah, having the best and most dramatic story of the week, has discovered that Greentopia and its founders need an extra flux of cash before a convention in order to promote their environmentally conscious website, but none of them have any idea where to get the money. Nora, who is dealing with her own issues with the design of her new charity center, gets wind of this and asks Kitty to help, who shows up to Greentopia’s “office” (Sarah’s house) with a check for $120,000. Much to the creators’ dismay, Sarah refuses the check, accusing Kitty of always being greater than her and always swooping down to be a savior whenever anybody in the family has a problem. Sarah, however, discovers she cannot take out a loan for the company, so she goes back to Kitty, who now realizes she shouldn’t have to buy Sarah’s love and respect, so they come to an agreement and have Sarah, who needs to take some responsibility, take out a second mortgage with Kitty as guarantor.

What struck me about this specific story was about how serious the fights between Sarah and Kitty were and yet they were done at a very quiet, sensible level with argument tones not of anger but of hurt and confusion. Neither had to raise their voice to be heard or to insult, and that’s a refreshing change for a medium so known for its histrionics. (Grey’s, I’m looking at you specifically.) And yet, everything was happening in this scene, so the energies present made the fights that much more interesting.

I also appreciate how Nora is handling her new charity project and her explanation of why she’s doing it. Basically, she feels that until now her legacy has been simply to raise her children and keep the family together, but now that everybody is grown up and she has no stake in Ojai Foods, she needs to do something that matters, something that lasts, something that will make her a true human being. But guess what? When she’s telling all this information onscreen, she’s not weeping uncontrollably about all of her regrets but instead is calmly reasserting her decision to be a better, more giving person. It’s uplifting more than depressing, and I respect that decision as far as the show’s tone is concerned.

B&S is back on track, and I am eternally grateful that this very serious and adult show still manages to crack the Nielsen Top 20 every now and again. It’s nice to see such quality get justified attention. It doesn’t happen enough, honestly, on the same week we say goodbye to the stellar Lipstick Jungle.

The Husband:

Sometimes I wonder, considering how much interest I have in some of the main storylines on this show, if I should just start calling these Desperate Housewives posts “What Lynette Did This Week.” She is clearly the most interesting character of the bunch who, even in her most soapy storylines, is still the most relatable of all the “housewives.” Never was this clearer than in last night’s episode, where I found myself greatly annoyed by Gaby, Susan and Bree.

Where to start? I’ll just go in order. Gaby, upon hearing that Carlos may regain some of his sight back due to a doctor discovering a bone fragment pressing on his optical nerve, freaks out about her life to a ridiculous degree. Why? Because once he gets his surgery, she thinks that he’ll realize that she has completely lost her looks and will no longer be beautiful to him. So what does she do? She tries to push the surgery back so she can go on a crazy-quick diet to get back to her pre-children weight. Not for health reasons. Because she actually thinks her husband will no longer love her. Let’s say that again. She is postponing surgery that could give Carlos back his sight for this reason.

So, youre saying I should just learn to dress my new body differently? Like they do on that show What Not to Wear?

So, you're saying I should just learn to dress my new body differently? Like they do on that show What Not to Wear?

It’s one thing to simply watch your weight and not let yourself go, but it’s another to be that selfish. At least the story ended with a nice Carlos monologue where he explains the moment where he knew he wanted to marry Gaby (it involves her eating a plate of ribs). So, yeah. No sympathy from me.

Susan discovers, via macadamia nut cookies, that Katherine and Mike are dating, and then threatens to lose Katherine as a friend.

It’s one thing to be put off by your friend and your ex-husband banging each other, but it’s another to lose your shit about Mike dating somebody else when you’ve been fucking Jackson the house painter for months now. It was a dumb decision for Katherine and Mike to keep it a decision (storywise) and it was dumb of Susan to flip her lid so quickly (storywise and personality-wise). So, yeah. No sympathy from me.

Bree’s big problem this week? After busting his nose in the fire, Orson now snores loudly. Yep. That’s the entire focus of drama for Ms. Bree.

It’s one thing to have issues with your husband’s snoring because, as I’m sure my wife can proclaim, the one thing she apparently hates about me (her words) is that I snore. But here’s the difference. She never kicked me out of my bedroom because of it. Once she did ask me to sleep elsewhere because she had to take the GRE in the morning, so I was glad to give her the California King bed as a result, but she never forbade me from doing anything. Bree finally is able to get Orson to agree to some nose surgery as a return favor for him accidentally over-drugging her with sleeping pills, leading to a messy public cooking presentation at the mall. So, yeah. No sympathy from me. (But it might get some sympathy from my wife.)

Ahhh…and now we can focus on Lynette Scavo, one of my favorite characters on TV. In the aftermath of the fire, she is beginning to suspect son Porter, but not for wont of trying to think otherwise. You may recall, last season, that the twins burned down a competing restaurant, but technically that was the evil bastard daughter’s fault for putting it in their heads in the first place. Now, it’s more of a misunderstanding, because Porter was seen, not 10 minutes before the fire, fighting with the club owner. (See the last DH post to see why, because I don’t feel like writing that shit down again.) Creepy Dave is keeping quiet about the whole situation (but apparently feeling awful that seven people are dead and not just the one he actually murdered), so Lynette has no other choice but to suspect Porter, but finally believes him by story’s end that he had nothing to do with the fire.

Just before the mother-and-son heart-to-heart, though, Lynette succeeds in getting Anne to break it off with Porter and skip town. (It helps that Lynette gives Anne a big envelope of cash to get her started.) At the end, Anne finally tells her that she never was pregnant with Porter’s child, leaving us viewers to consider why the fuck she would ever pretend to do that in the first place. (Porter wasn’t going anywhere, so it’s not like he needed the extra boost. Besides, the “pregnancy” is what got her husband to punch her out and break a few of her ribs. Great plan, Anne.)

I feel like this episode was far too transitional to actually have any real purpose, no real forward momentum to speak of in terms of the major plots and simply served as a breather for those who, awkwardly, enjoy the show more when it’s about nothing. Me? I like things to be about things. (That’s the broadest statement I’ll probably ever make.)

In which case it’s only Lynette’s story, and the final minutes in which Creepy Dave goes to the police and declares that he may have seen Porter Scavo start the fire, are the only things worth my interest, and now I’m back to worrying about the show’s future for the rest of the season.

Over in Walker Land, I have three episodes on which to catch you up (“Do You Believe in Magic?,” “Going Once . . . Going Twice,” and “Unfinished Business”). Unlike DH, Brothers & Sisters is much better at telling focused, multi-episode stories that last all season, choosing instead to end each episode on matters of emotion and theme and not just overwrought drama. Let’s see. What’s the best way I can sum up what’s going on in the lives of all the characters?

Kitty and Robert continued their baby drama when a pregnant mother first makes and then rescinds her offer to let them adopt her unborn child. I couldn’t really feel a lot of sympathy for Kitty because it was her own damn fault, what with her overbearing attitude and inability to accept charity, that the offer was rescinded in the first place, but I will say that I got a big pang of emotion rushing through me when the mother (a doctor who is just too busy at this point in her life to raise a child) finally relented and realized that Kitty and Robert would make excellent parents.

The McCallisters succumb to some major baby mama drama.

The McCallisters succumb to some major baby mama drama.

Rebecca, meanwhile, gets closer to her mother when she is promoted to an advertising position at the Walkers’ former company, Ojai Foods, in a plan for her mother Holly (and C.E.O. of Ojai) to get closer to her. While it does, in fact, repair some of the most pressing wounds in their relationship, it bothers co-company chair Tommy Walker (the only Walker left at Ojai) that she would so something so impulsive without telling him. He suspects her of wanting to take over as an entirely Holly-run business, questioning the business’ recent problems that caused Tommy to fire brother Kevin from representing them as legal counsel as well as caused fellow Walkers Sarah and Saul to resign from their positions. In the end, we learn that Tommy is, along with Saul, starting motions that would separate Holly from Ojai Foods permanently. What these motions are remain unclear, but I’d lie if I said I wasn’t completely fascinated by the possibilities.

Sarah, meanwhile, continues to piece together Greentopia, the green-based website she took on, basically babysitting the two young website creators and making big decisions without them. After using their help for a special party at the illustrious “Magic Manor” (don’t ask), she becomes closer to them, but everything is threatened when Graham (Steven Weber returning to wreak havoc on yet another show), her former lover and the finance guy who nearly got Sarah to ruin Ojai Foods (leading to her resignation), offers Sarah a very lucrative deal to represent Greentopia but would, unfortunately, push the two web designers almost completely out of the picture. She finally realizes that loyalty is better than money and rejects the deal, but not before nearly have them give over their last two years of work that bled their savings dry.

Meanwhile (there’s that word again), Scotty gets promoted at his restaurant, causing Kevin to make an impulsive decision to buy a house during an auction meant for Nora to find a place to house her new charity. This causes a rift between Kevin and Scotty (seriously, don’t buy a house without your husband knowing), so Kevin decides to give the house over to Nora. Unfortunately, the house is a dilapidated mess, and so the family Nora ropes the family into helping do demolition to the house’s bottom floor. (Like any good movie/show, B&S uses a house as a metaphor for life and family, a therapeutic way to air family secrets, tear down walls and build up new ones.) It’s going to be a long, tough road before Nora’s charity is up and running, but it’s going to make for some very nice, unique drama on a show filled to the brim with unique drama.

And what of the Missing Walker? Well, Holly kind of fucked that one up by opening her big honking mouth. Is there anything this woman can’t destroy?

And I know this won’t happen, but I’d love to see Dave Foley return as the NA participant who Justin sets up with Saul, with disastrous results. Saul has always been the lowest priority of the show’s writers and I wish he would get better material, so why not have him actually fall in love with the obnoxious but lovable man?

The Husband:

Because I am catching up on two weeks of crazy Sunday night ABC madness, I will be temporarily splitting Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters into their own posts so it doesn’t look like a big jumbled mess of text.

The episodes are doing a nicer job linking together as a serialized whole, so why not just bring you up-to-date on where all of the “housewives” are?

Susan: She and Jackson are really trying to make a real relationship work, but he has finally regained his artistic passion for actual painting (i.e. not just houses) and has less time to…you know…do it.

Drunk Susan: What time is it?

Jackson: 10:48.

Drunk Susan: No. It’s sex time!

Its sex time for everyone but you, Julie!

It's sex time for everyone but you, Julie!

In the second episode, daughter Julie finally comes back into town (welcome back, Andrea Bowen!), but with a surprise – her college boyfriend is actually her thrice-divorced professor (Steven Weber, you whore), and he has his mind set on making Julie his fourth attempt at a wife. Susan tries to stop the “surprise proposal,” but Julie is a big girl and can do it herself, saying that she has learned from all of Susan’s poor luck with men to never get married.

Bree: A fired employee, a late-night tryst with Orson in the kitchen and a surveillance tape used as blackmail all fall into place and threaten Bree’s career. Desperate to retrieve the tape of her infidelities from said former employee (the surveillance camera is trained on the kitchen at all times), Bree allows her son Andrew to do whatever he can to get the tape back, and he does so, making references to bribing a biker gang into threatening the thieving employee. When Bree gets the tape back, she notices that there is actually another couple banging each other in the business’ kitchen – Katherine and Mike.

In the second episode, Rachael Harris (hooray VH1 people) shows up to interview Bree regarding her new book but turns out to be a muckraker, digging up all the dirt she can on Bree (imprisoned husband, former drinking problem, gay son who turned tricks while homeless, etc.), but relents when Bree reveals that she is not as perfect as her book makes her out to be and that she’s just trying to have a happy life.

Gaby: It’s old crazy rich Frances Conroy all the time in Solis Land, but now that she’s being especially crazy (wanting the Solis children to call her “Grandma,” crashing one of the Solis daughter’s birthday party), Gaby loses her shit and tries to kick old crazy rich Frances Conroy out of their lives. So old crazy rich Frances Conroy calls up the country club and gets Carlos fired for giving her a massage-gasm.

Birthday parties are not for crazy old Frances Conroy!

Birthday parties are not for crazy old Frances Conroy!

In the second episode, old crazy rich Frances Conroy relents and gets Carlos his job back. In addition, she kind of sort of makes the Solises the sole heirs to her fortune. (What the hell with this back-and-forth?) Gaby doesn’t want old crazy rich Frances Conroy to have control over her family no matter what the cost (especially when old crazy rich Frances Conroy is dead set on getting the girls out of public school and into a private school an hour away) and asks to be taken out of the will. Then the club fire happens, and not everything is settled. (More on that fire later.)

Lynette: It’s good to see that within the first few moments of the episode, Lynette learns that it’s not her husband Tom having an affair with Anne Schilling but her son Porter. Immediately, she threatens to kick Porter out of the house if he does not break up with Anne (who is, as you may remember, his best friend’s married mother), but things become complicated when he finds out that Anne is pregnant with his child.

In the second episode, the shit really hits the fan when Porter’s twin Preston comes to Lynette and informs her of all the secrets Porter’s been keeping from her, including the fact that he wants to leave town with Anne forever (her abusive husband would surely kill her if he found out about the pregnancy), so Lynette approaches Anne for the second time in two episodes, this time at the Schilling household, to try to work things out. Mr. Schilling overhears the conversation, however, and begins beating and kicking the pregnant Anne for making him out to be a fool. When Porter hears of this, he grabs a gun and goes to…the club.

Blue Odyssey is code for excessive viagra usage.

Blue Odyssey is code for excessive viagra usage.

The Club: It’s the Battle of the Bands, and Creepy Dave has signed up Blue Odyssey as a competitor. What they don’t know is that his former therapist (who specializes in the criminally insane) has gotten wind that Creepy Dave has returned to Fairview, so he follows him to the Eagle State to get him to leave the place that presumably caused him to go nuts in the first place. (What happened that made him go crazy? This is DH, so we’ll learn at the end of the season probably.) When the therapist looks at the band’s member list, he recognizes one of the names (which one? We don’t know) and tells Creepy Dave that he can’t go through with whatever what he’s doing, so Creepy Dave takes the therapist to the storage room, strangles him to death and then sets him on fire.

The fire rages out of control, with many of the major players nearly dying (especially Mike, who passes out from smoke inhalation while trying to save Jackson), but Dave saves Mike and carries him out to the ambulance, saying, cryptically, that he is not done with him yet. Since the club was owned by Mr. Schilling, though, Porter is blamed for the arson and is arrested.

I ask again, what is Creepy Dave’s plan? Is it really as obvious as it seems in that Mike Delfino is the one who caused him all the hurt, or are the writers doing a really good job misleading all us all the time. We know that Creepy Dave’s brother was murdered while in jail, and that Creepy Dave seems pretty focused on the members of his band, but three players in Blue Odyssey (Mike, Orson and Carlos) have all been to jail.

My plan is to rock hardcore! And kill my therapist.

My plan is to rock hardcore! And kill my therapist.

Goddamit, what the hell is his plan? You got me hooked at least on that facet, DH. Now just find something for Susan to do that’s not so horrendously dumb. Get Susan involved in the central mystery, darnit. In fact, get all the “housewives” involved, because right now they’re mostly just doing their own thing, and that was one of the main problems with DH’s worst season (that one being s2).

The Husband:

Finally! The first good episode of Desperate Housewives this season. Maybe it’s because I was looking for some answers. Maybe I just missed the characters’ earlier incarnations (children or not, Gaby is still shallow now, just a different kind of shallow). Maybe I just wanted to see everyone all together, which is when the show usually finds its best rhythms.

Or maybe it was just a good episode that was better-written, better-acted and better plotted than any of this ho-hum season so far.

To celebrate Mrs. McClusky’s 70th birthday, every major character shows up at Edie’s house for a surprise party. As if an answer to my prayers, the show then decides to rewind the clock for each of the main four characters and fills in bits and pieces of information about what happened over the last five years.

Gaby (Past): We see the news that, even though it was thought that Gaby could never have children, she is pregnant, leading her to slap the doctor. After she gets pregnant with her second “miracle,” she asks Carlos to get a vasectomy.

Gaby (Present): She notices that her period is late, and loses her shit as she and Carlos just can’t support another child.

Gaby: Put the baby down.
Carlos: [Pause] I don’t want to.
Gaby: I need to hit something, and it needs to be you.

She doesn’t go far as to, say, ride horseback to get rid of the baby like Betty on Mad Men, but she does freak out considerably, leading Carlos to admit that he did not, in fact, have a vasectomy. In the end, Gaby is delighted to have her period, and Carlos finally agrees to have the procedure.

Susan (Past): Just as her divorce with Mike is about to be finalized, Susan mopes to her house painter, Jackson, and both fall into bed very quickly. He is ashamed to admit that he is not looking for a relationship, and is surprised to learn that neither is Susan. They agree to keep it casual.

Susan (Present): Jackson is really starting to feel the love for Susan, so he suggests that he moves in, leaving Susan to freak out and demand to know what happened to their arrangement. When Jackson realizes that Susan has no plans for them in the future, he breaks up with her. (But not before trying to make Susan jealous by kissing the very game and very single Katherine.)

Bree (Past): On the eve of her husband’s incarceration, they have a dinner with Andrew and the gay couple down the street (welcome back, guys!), and Bree begins to freak out about what to do for the next four years without Orson. She resorts to alcohol, falling off the wagon and letting Katherine pick of the pieces, including doing much of the work for their catering service, leaving Katherine a better reason to be pissed that Bree has become the face of their business despite only being responsible for 50% of the work.

Bree (Present): Faced with having to come clean to Katherine about bringing on Orson as a partner, she decides to not piss Katherine off any further and instead fires Orson, who immediately turns around and asks for a divorce. Bree comes clean about why Katherine is so important to the company, both in the past and in the present, so Orson decides to go to Katherine and offer his services as a partner only if he is able to earn it.

Lynette (Past): For those complaining about how Lynette shouldn’t have to deal with Tom’s midlife crisis, well, it’s become a lot more complicated than that. It turns out that when trying to fix an electrical problem at the restaurant, Tom electrocuted himself, and if there wasn’t a cop in the restaurant at that moment to save him, Tom would be dead. Now, it’s good that Lynette is putting her foot down about a few things in the present, but I’d just like to say if I was her and my husband had been dead for a few minutes, buying an old sports car would not be out of the question, nor would playing in a garage band. There’s a point when near-death crises can become too much, but I find this explanation a lot more manageable.

But Lynette, its such a shiny car!

But Lynette, it's such a shiny car!

Lynette (Present): Finally fed up with Tom’s recent joie de vivre, she rejects his proposal to take the kids out of school for a semester to travel the country with them in a van (or, as Lynette describes it, the “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”) and reminds him that his restaurant is more than enough of a new adventure for the both of them, until he admits that he has already found a buyer to purchase the business.

The Party Itself: Since the party was thrown by Creepy Dave and Edie, we know that there has to be some underlying motivations behind the whole shebang. Earlier, Creepy Dave had found Mrs McClusky going through his mail, so right before the party he gets Edie to take McClusky out for a drink so he can secretly move a few things in her house, tormenting her in the process. When McClusky shows up at the party, she is enraged and wielding a baseball bat, blaming Creepy Dave for mysteriously rearranging all of her junk, as well as the earlier theft and return of her cat. Of course, she comes off sounding like crazy, so she is called into the hospital being labeled as “losing her mind.” Just as she is to be driven off in the ambulance, Creepy Dave admits to her that he did do those things, and that he was very sorry he had to get rid of her. During the show’s final narration, we learn that Creepy Dave is out to get “the man who ruined his life,” whoever that could be. My money’s on Mike, presumably for the traffic accident that ended the lives of a mother and her young child, as well as ending Mike and Susan’s marriage.

Curse you, Creepy Dave!

Curse you, Creepy Dave!

As far as Brothers & Sisters is concerned, I think it is officially in my top 10 network shows now. I’d have to consult my DVR’s season passes to confirm this as a part of the list, but each week I find myself loving it more and more. Why all the love for this season and far less for previous ones? I’ve already run through a few of those reasons in my past posts for this show, but TvGal over at Zap2It made a very good point that everyone at the show seemed to finally realize for this season that not every episode has to end with a big family blowout involving every single character in one room, that it has found a way to better balance the various stories and really pick at their own internal conflicts. I think this is great, and the rewards for all the loyal viewers have been immense so far.

While Sarah has trouble finding a job that will pay her anywhere close to as much as her former salary at Ojai Foods, Kevin has a much more personal matter to deal with: Scotty’s conservative parents are coming into town from Arizona, and partner Scotty wants nothing more than to make them comfortable and happy for the weekend despite their objections to their civil union. This involves mostly Kevin trying not to politically go on the offensive or have any real blunt PDAs with Scotty. Kevin agrees, but he makes the first wrong move by having to push a fancy dinner with the parents back two hours (as Scotty describes, “past their bedtime”) as he has been invited to attend a cocktail hour with his firm, which is a sure sign that he is finally to be made partner.

Unfortunately, when you have a boss played by Mitch Pileggi, it’s almost always a sure sign that something bad is about to happen. Kevin finds out that he has been passed over for promotion, so he quits and then brings all of his negative energy to the dinner. He has done one thing right, though, by inviting the McAllisters (Robert and Kitty) to the dinner, as Scotty’s parents are both big fans of the illustrious Republican senator and his wife/former Director of Communications.

Cheers to your bigotry, Scotts parents!

Cheers to your bigotry, Scott's parents!

Angry at his law firm and fed up with Scotty’s mother’s complaining about the restaurant and undermining his desire for he and Scotty to adopt a child, Kevin blows up at them, asking for them to be more understanding of their son’s lifestyle, and then he finally accepts Robert’s offer to become Kitty’s replacement in his cabinet, despite their political and ideological differences.

Scotty: [blandly] Someone has to cross the aisle or nothing’s going to get done.
Robert: Try to be a little less enthusiastic.

When the weekend is over, Kevin has admitted to Scotty his passing-over at the firm, and then proceeds to apologize for roping his parents into it. The parents realize that they need to be more supportive of their son, and that they will be back a few months later to try again.

“Someone has to cross the aisle…or nothing’s gonna get done.” – Scotty’s Father

Kevin’s story has been my favorite this season, and bringing in the parents once again helped to shed light on the differing opinions on gay marriage and old-fashioned traditional beliefs in a mature, [mostly] fair way. Once again, the show has found a way for me to relate to Republicans, which is not someone I’m always wont to do.

As you can see, I need money.

As you can see, I need money.

Nora, meanwhile, has set up an appointment with some potential investors in her new charity, only to be shot down as a result of the amount of money she needs as well as her sparse resume. That is, until she mentions having been married to William Walker for so many years and witnessing him build a company from the ground up.

Male Investor: I used to know William Walker. How is he?
Nora: Dead.

Sympathy for her recent loss, the male investor meets with her later on, but mostly to discuss his past with William and their many games of golf. Upset that she may not be good enough to convince the investors into giving her over $3 million, she takes Sarah’s advice – act like you do when you go to the butcher shop, confident and never settling for less than the best cut of meat – and berates the investor for the world not giving enough credit to the work experience of stay-at-home moms (especially ones who raised five children pretty much on her own).

In the youth-driven story, Rebecca and Justin begin to feel the strain of a sexless relationship – a strange yet mutual decision – and let it affect other bits of their lives. Rebecca, especially, takes a renewed interest in her mother Holly when, at the end of the last episode, she discovered that Holly had an investigator gather information on Ryan, the missing Walker bastard child, and lied to Rebecca about it, despite promising that there’d be “no more lies.” Rebecca, now working as a file clerk for Holly at Ojai Foods, decides to accompany Holly on a visit to a vineyard, testing Holly on whether or not she’d come clean about her interest in The Case of the Missing Walker. Luckily, Holly spills the beans without any prodding. Unfortunately, Rebecca begins to feel the weight of her mother’s secrets and takes it out on Justin, calling him out on his Holly hatred. (Well, Holly did have a secret decades-long affair with Justin’s father, so he still has a right to feel this way.) The fight turns into fight sex, and both are left to wonder why the hell they were so stupid to wait.

In the show’s final minutes, Justin and Rebecca trick Holly and Nora into meeting a restaurant to discuss The Case of the Missing Walker, that the problem is between the two elder ladies of B&S and not the young couple who just want to succeed in life and have hot, attractive sex with each other. Nora and Holly have the same fight they always do (Nora is “selfish,” Holly is morally bankrupt), until Holly finally realizes that it’s not her place to contact the Missing Walker no matter how much she wants to shake things up, and leaves the information, and the decision, for Nora to deal with.

Ahhh…people dealing with their problems intelligently and eloquently. Why can’t more shows do this? And now that Kevin has a brand new story as being the sole Democrat in a Republican office, we’re going to be witness to some very interesting and appropriate political ruminations, all involving Matthew Rhys who is now one of my favorite actors currently working on television. It also brings Kitty back into a few stories, so that’s just an added bonus. (Yes, I was a big fan of Ally McBeal until it lost its mind after season four.)