The Husband:

I think Desperate Housewives is settling into its new rhythm a little better, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve accepted its rhythm. It’s more than the time-leap is stopping to feel like a gimmick and is starting to feel like the actual show. Problem is, I’m not interested in most of the goings-on, and right now it’s slumming through its plots like the lackluster second season. (You know the one, with the African-American family next-door with the “simple” child in the basement.)

What’s going on with the housewives this week?

Lynette: Wanting Tom to clear out the garage, she becomes bothered that upon finding his own bass guitar, Tom has decided to start up a garage band with Mysteriously Creepy Dave (and potentially Mike on guitar and Orson on keyboards). Lynette will not have her husband revert to his adolescence again, so she sets up a situation where she would set the bass on the garage floor and have him accidentally run it over with his car and blame it on their young daughter. I understand that Lynette doesn’t want to encourage Tom’s midlife crisis any further, but it’s simply not like her to be this mean and devious. That’s Gaby bullshit. Luckily, Mysteriously Creepy Dave wants to get on every neighbor’s good side for whatever Mysteriously Creepy way, so he buys another bass guitar and allows Lynette to give it to Tom as if it were from her.

Can I offer you some tea and a reminder about the value system whence you were raised, you ungrateful vegetarian brat?

Can I offer you some tea and a reminder about the value system whence you were raised, you ungrateful vegetarian brat?

Bree: Her daughter comes back into town (welcome back, Joy Lauren!) with young son Benjamin and lawyer husband in tow, only to piss Bree off when she discovers that they have been raising their son as a vegetarian (oh noes!) and is homeschooling him (double oh noes!).

Danielle: He’s only six and reading at a third grade level!

Bree: Well, what happens next year when he overtakes you?

This will not sit well with conservative Bree (since when is meat-eating such a political stance?), so she tricks young Benji into eating two hot dogs, which he throws up at dinner. (Yes, Bree, feeding a vegetarian so much meat when he’s not used to it means sickness. You think you’re such a good mom. Shouldn’t you know that?) Danielle leaves in a huff again (bye, Joy Lauren) and leaves Bree to her own devices. I wish they would focus more on Orson, because we saw a bit of his evil resurface last week, and it seems like so far there’s no reason for that.

Susan: Susan discovers that her young son MJ has been bullied around the neighborhood, but is shocked to find out that it is none other than Gaby’s four-year-old daughter Juanita. Susan tries to convince Juanita to not be such a bully, but instead pushes her to the ground trying to prove a point, only to be seen doing so by Gaby, resulting in a DH catfight that was neither funny nor interesting.

a hardcore ballbuster in training.

Juanita Solis: a hardcore ballbuster in training.

Gaby: The Solises sell their nice car (apparently the last remaining indicator of their former wealth) and then buy a lemon from Andrew Van De Kamp. Enraged that she must foot the bill for a new transmission for the car, Gaby threatens Andrew’s new sports car with damage until he fesses up that he’s a jerk and will refund her the money for any repairs. For once, Gaby’s was the best story this week, her juggling the car situation as well as dealing with her increasingly mean daughter. She’s starting to feel a bit more like Lynette (odd in an episode where, as mentioned, Lynette was acting like Gaby).

I’m also delighted that Mrs. McClusky is becoming such a major player this season, pairing her up with Katherine and making it their duty to find out more about Mysteriously Creepy Dave, his Mysterious Past, and his Mysterious Marriage to Edie. So far, Mysteriously Creepy Dave is the best thing about the season so far, as actor Neal McDonough is really working the quiet rage and malfeasance angle in a way he knows so well. If anything, this role should prove he doesn’t need to act in crap like Walking Tall and I Know Who Killed Me.

On Brothers & Sisters, I’m quickly going from liking the show to really loving the show for reasons I’ve brought up a few times already on this blog. I love the characters’ neuroses and their interactions, the verisimilitude of their problems and how they all tend to even out and the manner in which they are able to actually talk about their feelings.

In this episode, Ojai Foods itself is threatened, as newly appointed head-of-company Holly attempts to change the name, thus messing with the family’s legacy for good. True, she wants to change it to something like Walker Foods, so the family of her former lover would still be front-and-center, but the changes do not bode well for the brand, leaving Saul and Sarah no choice but to quit the company their own family started. It was a painful decision, but both were finally feeling like strangers to Ojai Foods, and after years of service, they left with a whimper.

Meanwhile, Justin starts working at the local Army recruitment center, where a former soldier finds him and invites him over to a party. Turns out that Justin heroically saved this man’s life in the field, but Justin cannot accept his status as hero, instead focusing on the friend he lost that very same day, a friend whose life he would trade for this survivor’s at the drop of a hat. Angered at his own feelings, Justin leaves the party and nearly falls off the wagon (you know, the alcohol and addiction wagon) and has a brutal fight with girlfriend (and former assumed half-sister) Rebecca.

In the best story of the week, Kevin has a choice to make at work: if he is to land a big sporting goods client (one that deals mostly in sneakers, it seems), he is to attend a dinner with his boss (Mitch Pileggi from The X-Files) and keep quiet that he is, in fact, gay. He gets through the dinner just fine, but not without cutting out a piece of his soul, and after being confronted by his partner Scotty, decides that client or not, he cannot pretend to be something he isn’t and deny his own lifestyle. Entertainment Weekly columnist Mark Harris may have complained that he “couldn’t stand sour, self-absorbed Kevin Walker,” but he is right to point out that it’s great and bold for the show to focus equally on his plots as any other Walker sibling. I think it’s great that there’s a gay character on TV that is not flamboyant or queeny, but dark and brooding and confused, just like anybody else in this world. Kevin’s final scene with Scotty, as they watched TiVo-backlogged Olympics highlights, was also incredibly sweet, a nice respite from the seriousness of Justin’s story.

Following the model of our relationship, Kevin and Scotty snuggle and watch TV together.

Following the model of our relationship, Kevin and Scotty snuggle and watch TV together.

The Wife:

The thing that really struck me about this week’s Bones was not the Intern of the Week, Hodgin’s breakthrough with Sweets, Booth’s relationship with his son or even really the truly horrifying subject matter that arose from finding a human finger in a crow’s nest. What struck me this week was how much some of the actors truly delivered a look at themselves through their characters.

There was a brief moment where John Francis Daley’s Dr. Sweets discusses why Parker has been acting out at school with his father, Agent Booth. Parker, who discovered he titular finger in the nest, was not traumatized by his experience with human dismemberment, but rather was being traumatized by a bully at school, a corpulent girl who likes to carry Parker around like a monkey. Booth finds this extremely odd, as he was never bullied by anyone as a child. Sweets, on the other hand, posits that “We all had our Stephanie Clydes.” That comment made me smile, not because Sweets was demonstrating something that was true for Daley’s life, but for Daley’s career. My reply to his comment was, “Yes, that you did, Sam Weir.” Since creating that role on Freaks & Geeks, Daley has made a career of playing guys who are bumbling, adorable and geeky. I have no evidence to corroborate that Daley is himself any of these things, but I doubt he’d choose to accept those roles if he didn’t feel some affinity for them.

Booth’s scenes with his son, especially the opening sequence, I like to imagine are exactly how star and executive producer David Boreanaz interacts with his own son. Seeley teaching Parker how to throw the perfect football is reminiscent of Boreanaz teaching his own son how to play his favorite sport, hockey. In a recent Entertainment Weekly interview, Boreanaz talked about how he and his son love to sing “Low” because it annoys the hell out of Mrs. Boreanaz, and I was reminded of that every time I saw Booth with Parker. Boreanaz lives for his son, and Seeley Booth does too.

Bones' extensive knowledge of human anatomy also extends to chew toys.

Bones' extensive knowledge of human anatomy also extends to chew toys.

As for Brennan, it is no secret that actress and executive producer Emily Deschanel is a vegan and animal rights advocate (she was edged out for World’s Sexiest Vegetarian 2008 by Leona Lewis ), and I felt that a large part of this episode came straight from her heart. The mystery at the core of this episode involved an illegal dogfighting ring run by a corrupt veterinary student (played by Veronica Mars‘ Adam Rose) who set his dog, Ripley, to kill a veterinarian who opposed the animal abuse and was about to expose the illegal activities. The episode was filled with horrible pictures of dogfights and far too many sad-eyed creatures. Bones herself does not misunderstand that within every domesticated dog is the ability to kill, as she compares the “killer dog” Ripley, whom she befriends, to her partner:

Temperance and Ripley Brennan, the Turner and Hooch of forensic anthropology.

Temperance and Ripley Brennan, the Turner and Hooch of forensic anthropology.

“This dog reminds me of you. He has warm and reassuring eyes and he is capable of great violence.”

But when Ripley is put to death – as by law any animal who harms a human must be – Bones is heartbroken. I, too, was heartbroken, as was guest star and Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan, who calmed the dog by saying, “I’m so sorry, boy,” after Ripley was identified as the murder weapon. Bones had wanted to give the dog a second chance. Or, more accurately, a third chance: Ripley had been turned in at the dead vet’s clinic because it’s owners “were too stupid to realize that he would grow up to be a big dog,” and then adopted by corrupt veterinarian Andrew Hopp and forced to fight. I knew from the minute the vet tech began to tell Ripley’s story that Deschanel’s heart was in this episode, and that was certainly made clear in Bones’ eulogy for her dead almost-pet.

Bones talked about the dog’s abuse by humans, how he was adopted by people who only wanted him when he was a cute little puppy, and that he would never have killed anyone if his owner hadn’t told him to, because, ultimately, dogs love and serve their masters. They implicitly trust them. Trusting a bad person was Ripley’s only crime, because dogs, as Brennan tells us, “only see the good in people.” They’re just like that.

I have never openly cried at an episode of Bones before, but I did tonight. Those who know me know that I love dogs, and movies about them. A favorite from my childhood is Iron Will, and I fucking weep rivers when Gus dies. Every time. I love all animals. I’ve been a vegetarian for 10 years, and will be for the rest of my life. I support the humane society and don’t support animal breeders. I believe every shelter animal deserves a good home. They trust us, companion animals. And we owe them the courtesy of respecting their trust, and repaying their loyalty with our own. The idea that someone would abuse an animals’ trust does not sit well with me, and it shouldn’t sit well with anyone.

If Emily Deschanel can use her show as a soapbox from time to time, I feel moved enough to get up on mine for a minute. Please, please, please support your local animal shelters. Spay and neuter your pets to prevent pet overpopulation. Don’t support breeders. I can’t and won’t ask you to be vegetarian, but I will ask that you please make informed decisions about where your meat comes from. Don’t support animal abuse. They trust us, and we need to respect that.

With that said, please go do something nice for an animal, even if it’s just giving your dog a hug or letting your cat sleep on your head at night. I definitely owe my cat for letting me cry on him during this episode. It started off all fun and games with human fingers in nests and opossums eating dead people, and then I ended up drying my tears on a cat.

The Husband:

I think my wife said just enough for this episode, showing that even goofy FBI shows on Fox can still bring about some very deep-seeded emotions. Bones does proselytize sometimes, but it’s in well planned doses such as this episode. Hell, even last season when the show had an episode that centered entirely on horseplay fetishes, it treated it with just about the right amount of judgment. Here, Emily Deschanel did have a major purpose and moral to the episode, but I admire the restraint, using her own veganism and animal rights activism to spread the word without doing something insane like throwing paint on fur coats or doing performance art pieces involving Native American chants and a lot of crying.

What I can add, however, is the fact that I got a great deal of amusement and, ultimately, sadness out of the fact that the killer dog’s name was Ripley. Ripley is also the name of my family’s younger dog, an Australian Shepherd mini. Nicknamed “The Rippers,” this little scamp is a delightful menace, a cute dog with way too much fucking energy for my mom and dad to handle sometimes. Ferocious and small, Rippers will chill you to the bone.

This is her patented move. Tremble in fear.

I can haz belly rub of doom?

I can haz belly rub of doom?

And this is her face of victory.

Tremble in fear, tiny hooman!

Tremble in fear, tiny hooman!

And this is her own personal dogfighting ring, going up against the almighty Raja for domination of the bed.

Tonight, I dine in hell!

Tonight, I dine in hell!

And regarding Bones as a show itself, I continue my desire that every single episode this season has a brand new intern, as Michael Badalucco’s character of Scott Starret this week, too, is out the door after merely a few episodes. Too bad, because he was a very loving, very smart character with a past connecting to Hodgins – Starret once worked as a used car salesman and swindled Hodgins out of some money over a decade earlier – but hey, his exit is a small price to pay for the appearance of yet another talented character actor.

In fact, I shall start up a rating system of each new intern this season. I’ll include the first two this time.

INTERNS (out of a possible 10 points):

Dr. Clark Edison (Eugene Byrd): 5.5

Pros: A mouthpiece for all the show’s naysayers who claim that it focuses too much on relationships.
Cons: Not in the episode much. Void of personality. Too grumpy for the world of Bones.

Daisy Wick (Carla Gallo): 6.5

Pros: Was a cooch dancer on Carnivale. Very knowledgeable about Dr. Brennan. Good date material for Dr. Sweets.
Cons: Obnoxious and overeager. She was too big for her britches.

Scott Starret (Michael Badalucco): 9

Pros: Aforementioned past relation to a major character. Sensitive and wise. Willing to give credit to coworkers.
Cons: Maybe a little too mushy for the Jeffersonian. Was a bankrobber in the 1930s that went by the name of George “Babyface” Nelson.