Tuesday, October 11, 2011

OPINION: DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES Knows Where The Story Is Going But Still Focuses on Filler

Unlike most seasons of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES the writers and producers seem to know what their good story lines are. If they know the good stuff that they have why do the insist on keeping the focus squarely planted on B story lines that look like they were conceived moments before shooting was to begin , There were four story lines that played out in Sunday's episode: Lynette and her struggle with her sister, Renee helping Lee out with his daughter, Susan and Carlos's burgeoning closeness, and finally Gaby and Bree trying to stay one step ahead of Chuck. Susan, Carlos, Gaby, and Bree should have been driving the story but they felt started to feel like an after though when entire segments would pass and I hadn't seen any of their story being played.

Lynette was the most painful to watch this week. The details of why will cause rabid anger so to save the community I will just say her sister came to town with her new fiancee. Lynette thought she was coming because she had messed up another relationship but instead Lynette was the one with a screwed up relationship for once. Lynette had to start dealing with the reality of being on her own and the possibility of looking for a new relationship. I care about that plot point. I don't care about it in the context of Lynette's sister. Yes, we have seen Sarah Paulson as Lynette's sister before but that doesn't mean that I should care about her. She was in one episode in 2007.  On the flip side we had a story with Renee and Lee that while completely superfluous at least had entertaining moments. Lee comes to Renee to get help getting Jenny, his daugher, her first bra since Bob is out of town. Renee doesn't want to help but reluctantly agrees and finds herself bonding with Jenny. Jenny wants to spend tons of time with Renee which makes Lee feel jealous and inadequate because him and Bob can never be a mother to her.  Renee and Lee are sassy and sarcastic characters so it was fun to see them spar with one another but nothing really happened. They fight, makeup, and we see the softer side of Renee one more time. Hmmm....how do we take Renee and Lynette and show the softer side of Renee while Lynette is forced to deal with the many changes in her life? Oh...I KNOW.

Lynette and Tom both turn to Renee as a sounding board and while Renee's friendship with Lynette is getting strengthened the very real connection between Renee and Tom begins to re-surface. Rather then jumping into Tom's arms, we see a genuine conflict of emotion in Renee. I think I just accomplished the same thing as those two inane side plots. It doesn't rope into the main story arc of the season, but it creates an ongoing side story arc that resonates with the additional things going on in the characters lives. Hell, if they insist on adding this Ben character maybe Renee throws herself into a relationship with him as a means of getting her mind off Tom.

Carlos, Susan, and Mike were on a completely different story track then Bree, Chuck, and Gaby but both stories interconnect with the other. They are like two runaway trains about to collide. Carlos and Susan continue to confide in each other over their guilt. Mike winds up seeing them taking a late night walk and finds the whole thing suspicious as Carlos and Susan have never had more then three words to each other. It doesn't help that the she got a call about her community service that Mike picked up and found out that Carlos picked her up from jail. She spun a tail as to what happened with the cop and why she called Carlos, but Mike wasn't really convinced.  I get it, it's weird but for Mike to think Susan is cheating on him with Carlos. Sure the signs are there but it's kind of ludicrous given the information that he currently has.  Can you imagine Susan and Carlos actually together? Sure they might have some hot sex, but they aren't going to make it as a couple. It would be some deranged version of I Love Lucy. Carlos tracks Susan down at her community service and wants to chat about To Kill A Mockingbird which Susan recommended to him. When she says it's not a good idea, he stays to do the community service with her so they can talk. And now Carlos is getting a little iffy.

Running into each other on a walk is one thing but you're making me think there is something else Carlos. Of course Mike drives by and sees them so they decide to hide. Everyone is aware that they have been seen, but Susan still thinks it's a good idea to hide. Might it be more prudent to stop and talk to Mike? I don't know not act like you have something to hide. Susan and Carlos hide in a van and have an electric moment. Mike finds them and punches Carlos. I'm not sure how else they thought Mike would react . It was clear they had to come clean about the reality of what they were dealing with. They told Mike all about the murder and the cover up. He didn't say anything and left a crying Susan. We all know Mike is going to come around. He'll keep the secret and love Susan for doing it. I didn't believe his silent retreat for one minute. Mark my words.

Gaby and Bree are attempting to figure out what Chuck knows. Part of what I find so humorous about these two is that they are running around like they are Nancy Drew solving a mystery rather then covering up a murder. They sure know how to suppress guilt! Bree confides in Gaby what Paul told her about the note and his confession to Chuck about it. Gaby sends Bree off to start immediately snooping.  She finds a picture of her hand and an envelope with her name on it in Chuck's briefcase. She assumes that he knows what is going on. I'm not quite sure why. These are weird things but I assumed that he was going to ask her to marry him. Can you guess which one of us was right? Chuck decides to take Bree out for a special dinner where he has something to tell her. Again, she thinks its the murder, I think its a marriage proposal. Gaby follows them and manages to take the envelope with Bree's name on it in one of the most ridiculous pick pocketing scenes ever to take place on screen. A.) Gaby was so close to Chuck's chair that he must have no feeling in his body not to realize that she was there. B.) How was no one in that restaurant laughing at Bree forcing Chuck's gaze straight ahead as Gaby tried to get in his coat on the chair. And yet, she got it and they went to the bathroom, opened up the envelope, and found an engagement ring. Oh the shock! Last week Bree didn't want to break up with Chuck because he made her feel safe, but this week she can't see herself spending the rest of her life with him. What the hell are you doing then? You should have dropped him right away if that's the case. Did you really need this fling? Bree goes back to the table and breaks things off with Chuck. He loses his shit. He thinks there is another guy. Chuck is livid and becomes a much darker version of himself in a matter of seconds. He claims to protect the ones that he loves which Bree is no longer counted among. He thinks that she is sure to find herself in trouble sometime soon and he won't protect her. It was a threat. It's an interesting new problem for them to have. Not only are they covering up a murder but they now have a cop with an axe to grind against Bree to worry about. I think that he knows something. And we've seen what happens when I think something...I'm usually right.

Now that Chuck has been introduced as a potential new threat to the secret there is a whole new wrinkle to this story that is going to be really fascinating. Plus, Mike having to come to terms with the secret that has been kept from him spins the murder cover up into multiple directions. They just need to focus their B story lines more and find out how they can either contribute to the greater story or tell a story in it of itself that is not completely filler.


  1. I feel like I'm in the minority but I have loved every minute (OK maybe not EVERY minute) of the first three eps of the new season. I stopped watching early last year - it was just too stupid for words. But I'm fascinated where the show is going - I'm sure that all of Wisteria Lane will eventually know what Carlos did and it seems that the show is writing itself into a corner here... and as it's the final season, it feels intentional. Characters aren't as dumb as they have been during the run of this show and although Vanessa Williams just seems out of place now (more than she even did last year) I actually have some hope that there's some reason she's still on the street/on the show.
    I think I'm as excited by the show as I was when it first started. And that's saying something. Glued to my TV every Sunday night because I can't even think about not seeing it live.

  2. This blog continues to harp on and on about filler eps and we are only 3 episodes in.

    You are aware that they have 23 episodes to stretch this mystery through right?

    Also it is their final Season and they have said they want to bring back as much old cast characters as possible. Obviously these people won’t be connected with the mystery directly, but REAL LONGTIME fans of the show will appreciate seeing certain characters for a final time.

    While agree to some extent about the filler, it’s not like the entire eps have been that way, certain characters advance the plot (albeit slowly) while others go about their normal routine.

    Obviously we can’t have the 4 women constantly focusing on the mystery and ignoring all else, without it becoming stupid, annoying and tedious.

    In episode 2 , Bree’s story involved the mystery and in Episode 3 Bree, Gaby, as well as Mike,Carlos and Susan also concerned the mystery element.

    Also, I’m glad they are doing the filler a bit early so hopefully when the mystery really starts to unravel they can hopefully stay with it consistently and not have a disjointed mess with filler episodes.

    As far as this Season goes, 3 episodes in they have done quite well. They are trying to find a balance and getting there, till they are ready to focus heavily on the mystery.

    I particularly liked this episode, least of all Lynette’s, but I did love seeing her realize and admitting her problem, that was a long time coming. I loved all the rest of it, it makes for a very interesting setup.

    We can’t expect them to rush into everything, so constantly whining about every little thing or side story is dumb.

    Have some patience with the show and enjoy the final journey.