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.

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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:

I know I try to stay optimistic about a great deal of shows, and I know nobody likes a complainer, but I am still just simply not feeling the new season of Desperate Housewives. The manners in which Marc Cherry and his writers “evolved” the characters just isn’t catching on in my brain, and right now everyone feels like a cipher, including my beloved Lynette. The plots should be at the whim of the characters, not the other way around. It’s very very slowly growing on me, but they’d better have something big up their sleeves in the coming months or I’m afraid DH is going to start sitting on my DVR’s backburner until next summer or, god forbid, simply wait for the DVD next fall. It’s starting to feel like s2 all over again.

Hopefully, next week’s “big episode” can make up for some of the lost charm, as it apparently deals with what happened during those missing five years. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not big on spoilers, so no info in the comments, please, other than what I gathered from the quick promo spot at episode’s end.

I am, though, still really curious about where Creepy Dave’s storyline is going to go, as not only is Neal McDonough really turning up the oily charm, but I am utterly in the dark about his sordid past (complete with rage issues that got him some time in an institution) and fascinated by what – hopefully – can become a sweet storyline. (More Mayfair, less Applewhite.) I’m still very baffled by his ultimate plan, because so far he hasn’t done much evil other than kidnapping Mrs. McClusky’s cat. Right now, he’s pretty much just trying to get on every neighbor’s good graces no matter what the cost, including buying a new bass guitar for Tom (and allowing Lynette to take credit for it), trying to rope Mike into the garage band and then secretly buying a house per Edie’s request and being a silent landlord to him. What, is his plan to make everyone indebted to him, and then is he just going to call in one big evil favor? It’s all very perplexing, and that’s just the way I like it.

Here’s the mix of stories, with decidedly mixed results.

Susan: After Mike begins to worry that M.J. doesn’t see him as much of a father figure, he decides to spoil his son and buy him a new bike, hoping to teach him how to ride once taking off the training wheels. Unfortunately, he has work to do across town, so Susan’s boyfriend Jackson relents to M.J.’s pleas and teaches him how to ride the bike instead, not knowing the amount of pain he may inflict on buddy Mike. Susan, not wanting Mike to feel left out, convinces M.J. to pretend to fall so as not to tip Mike off about what has just transpired, but this haphazard decision (as usual for Susan) only gives M.J. a trip to the hospital. Not much of a story for anybody, so I’m basically just going to count the days until Andrea Holden (Julie) returns to the show, even if it’s for a little bit. I miss her terribly, as she was definitely my favorite thing about any Mayer-based story.

You seem suspiciously capable of this . . .

You seem suspiciously capable of this . . .

Gaby: Intent on recapturing some of her former passion with Carlos, Gaby sets it up so that both of her children will be out of the house for several hours, during which they can re-explore each other’s bodies (including Gaby donning a blindfold so she can experience what blind sex must feel like for Carlos). Unfortunately, Juanita returns home feeling ill and discovers her parents “in the moment,” and since Carlos doesn’t want his daughter to think that daddy was hurting mommy, they tell their child about the birds and the bees. I appreciate an early sex education for any American child, but I think we can all agree that age five is far too early. I’d be right, since Juanita blabs all the juicy details to her playdate, leaving the playdate’s mother in a very awkward position of dealing with a child that now likes to scream “Intercourse!” and “Boys have sperm!” Gaby tries to fix the situation and gets on the playdate’s mother’s good graces, but during conversation accidentally lets slip that there is no Santa Claus, much to the eavesdropping playdate’s dismay. Oh Gaby. Five years of parenting should have taught you better than that.

Lynette: Frustrated by her lack of her former career in advertising, Lynette takes it upon herself to completely redesign the marketing for Bree’s upcoming cookbook release, much to Bree’s chagrin. Upon discovering that Bree’s preferred advertising method had been designed by Lynette’s former assistant years earlier – a man who owns his own ad business now – Lynette gets drunk and ruins Bree’s big celebration of being selected as Businesswoman of the Year (something Lynette had won years earlier). Once again, I feel that Lynette isn’t feeling like Lynette much anymore, but some kind of shell of her former self. I get that it’s sort of an evolution – or more specifically a devolution – for her character, but she has almost always been the voice of reason of the show, and the one person who didn’t feel like a caricature. Now as aforementioned she’s acting like more of a Gaby than a Lynette. I love Felicity Huffman, and I’d hate to see her saddled with something so beneath her.

Bree: In the night’s best story (aside from Bree’s nonsense with Lynette), she and Orson are on the outs after she discovers that he has been lying about having a job for the last three weeks. It seems his jail time has prevented him from getting a new dentistry job, so he has been struggling for quite some time. But he has an idea: why not become involved as a partner in Bree’s burgeoning Martha Stewart career? Bree initially refuses, leading Orson to continue his quiet rage and begin sleeping in the guest bedroom (remember, this is the guy who once intentionally ran Mike over with his car), but after some soul-searching and a desire to patch up their suffering marriage, Bree lets Orson into the company. Who’s not happy about this? Her own business partner Katherine, who is starting to feel pushed aside. I’m glad that Marcia Cross has something to play other than Ice Queen this season, and the more Kyle MacLachlan the better in my opinion.

On Brothers & Sisters, Nora decides that she wants to make more room in the house for her impending charity work, so she sucks it up and decides to sell the majority of her dead husband’s stuff, along with several of the Walker children’s favorite family mementos, at a yard sale. Justin, speaking as the part of Nora’s brain she has to ignore, asks whether or not it’s healthy to completely rid herself of her husband’s items after 40 years of marriage (and, of course, his multiple affairs), so he tries everything in his power to stop the yard sale for the sake of the family’s sanity. But Nora gets what Nora wants, and when she finally freaks out about this ideological purge, he is there for her like the good son he always was despite any of his former transgressions.

Seriously? Youre offering me 5 bucks for framed art? I think not, kiddo.

Seriously? You're offering me 5 bucks for framed art? I think not, kiddo.

Meanwhile, the Walkers begin to feel the pressure of both Saul and Sarah resigning from Ojai Foods as well as Kitty’s impending career as a published writer. For Sarah, it’s butting heads with brother Tommy about their falling out during the company’s major losses and the subsequent business decisions that led to their ideological and familial separations. I’m happy to see more of Tommy whenever I can, because Balthazar Getty has too long been a supporting character in his own family on the show and has yet to find a really great plot since getting back together with his estranged wife. At the end, the two bond over a discovered time capsule they buried almost 30 years prior and decide to plant a new one, complete with pictures of their own respective children this time around.

In the world of the Harpers, Holly tricks daughter Rebecca into temping at Ojai Foods, despite the fact that Rebecca is sick of her mother’s lies and malfeasance (such as…oh, you know…lying about who Rebecca’s actual father was). Rebecca finally relents emotionally, but at episode’s end discovers that Holly has been doing research on the true missing Walker family member and illegitimate child, Ryan. Oh noes!

In McCallister world, Kitty finally resigns as Robert’s communications director, but is faced with many problems when helping Robert find her replacement. No matter what she digs up with however many favors, he rejects all of her potential applicants, causing a rift in their relationship. He wants somebody like her, and nothing else. Surprising everyone, he brings Kitty’s brother Kevin in and offers him the position, as he needs somebody to kick his ass and argue with him. (Don’t forget, Kevin is a self-described “gay liberal Democrat” to Robert’s staunch Republicanism who thinks that Robert’s entire party should be wiped off the face of the Earth.) I’d love for Kevin to take the position, since he wouldn’t have to hide his homosexuality (it was exposed during Robert’s failed bid for the presidency, including his past torrid affair with Robert’s gay minister brother) and it would help unite the McCallister storylines better with the family, as Kitty is now set on returning to her career as a political pundit. This could become great, as I love Kevin and always want more.