Recapped: Desperate Housewives – Episode 1

John Duran here again, as I decided to take on a second show that airs during the weekend. Hopefully Desperate Housewives won’t have a timeslot change, because that would definitely wreak havoc on this schedule. So, in addition to seeing Lost on Inside Pulse every Thursday, expect to see a recap of this show, Desperate Housewives, every Tuesday.

I had to choose between Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal, and when it came down to it, I went with the show that got the most critical acclaim. Usually these critics are pretty wise when it comes to television, so I’ll take their word for it, because a show is always easier to recap when it’s good, right? I suppose the answer lies in the recap ahead…

Desperate Housewives – Episode 1

The scene opens on a modern-day American suburb; a bus is driving down a street, a jogger is crossing the same street, and people are walking their dogs, their babies, or just with each other. This is no typical suburb, however, as the little white box indicates: TV-PG LDSV? Holy crap. The camera zooms in on the jogger, and then on a woman stepping out of her very nice-looking home. Her name is Mary Alice Young, and she narrates this opening piece by explaining that she had a very interesting day last week, so interesting that it made the paper. She continues to speak over a series of scenes showing that it was just another ordinary day of her serving breakfast to her family, doing chores, etc.

“That’s why it was so astonishing when I decided to go to my hallway closet, and retrieve a revolver that had never been used.” Yeah, this show is already messed up. The gun goes off and Mary Alice Young drops like a ton of bricks. We then cut to another house, where Mrs. Martha Hoover, Alice’s next door neighbor, is tasting something that looks like blood when she is disturbed by a “strange popping sound.” Since Mrs. Hoover is the nosy type, she grabs a blender that belonged to Mary Alice, one that she borrowed from Mary six months before, and quickly scampers next door. Ringing the doorbell doesn’t work, seeing as how Mary Alice Young is about as dead as Ruben Studdard’s career, so Mrs. Hoover goes over to the closest window and looks inside, getting a good look at Mary with what is most definitely blood pooling around her head. Cue the extreme close-up of Mrs. Hoover screaming at the sight of Mary’s dead body, and back Mrs. Hoover goes to call 911 to get an ambulance, something so pointless that I can’t even think of a clever way to compare this with another pointless thing. Mrs. Hoover is distraught for a moment, but Mary Narrator Young notes that Mrs. Hoover has a way of making the best of a bad situation, as she rips off the sticker prominently displaying the blender as Mary’s and calling it her own as she puts it in her appliance closet.

Desperate Housewives, and opening credits play over the next scene. Mary is laid to rest on a Monday, she explains, and all the residents on her street came to the wake at her house, bringing much food. She breaks down the food choices for all of the residents, starting with Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman, Sports Night), who brought her great fried chicken recipe. Mary explains that she wasn’t cooking as she went up the corporate ladder, but once Lynette got pregnant, her husband Tom suggested that she quit her job so that the kid would be raised better by a stay-at-home child (all of this is said by Mary while mouthed by Tom). Lynette did quit, but that didn’t make her life any easier, and we cut back to the funeral as she arrives with fried chicken…from a fast-food restaurant. The camera pulls out from her pushing a baby carriage and reveals three more kids walking in front of it, all seemingly the same age. Twins, another kid and then a fourth baby. That must suck. Lynette tries to calm down her quarreling kids by saying that she has Santa’s cellphone number if the kids continue to misbehave. How’d she get that? “I know someone who knows someone who knows an elf. And if any of you acts up, so help me, I will call Santa and I will tell him you want SOCKS for Christmas? You willing to risk that?” Felicity Huffman is an outstanding actress, just in case you haven’t already seen her on Sports Night. Just saying.

Now we move right along to Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria, L.A. Dragnet), who brought a spicy dish. Her past involves modeling in New York, where she “acquired a taste for rich food…and rich men.” The rich man, Carlos, proposed to Gabrielle on their third date, and was taken aback when Carlos started crying–even though he does that every time he closes a big deal. Nice. Back to Monday, and Carlos wants Gabrielle to mention to another husband of another wife how much Carlos paid for Gabrielle’s necklace–casually. Gabrielle is skeptical about how to proceed, but Carlos is insistent. “At the Donahue party, everyone was talking mutual funds, and you found a way to mention you slept with half the Yankee outfield.” Unfortunately, there are only three players in an outfield, which means that Gabrielle managed to have sex with only half of either Hideki Matsui, Kenny Lofton or Gary Sheffield. But I’m overanalyzing, let’s continue. Gabrielle insists that sleeping with the Yankees was in the context of the conversation, but Carlos wants to avoid stares when she begins to raise her voice.

Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross, Melrose Place) brought two baskets full of made-from-scratch muffins. Bree is a renaissance housewife, who does many tasks including reupholstering her own furniture. We learn that everyone on the street thinks that Bree is the perfect wife and mother…except to her own family. Now, if this was J.J. Abrams show, Bree would have a very dark secret that only her family knows. But this seems a little bit more upbeat, so…doubt it. Bree hands the baskets over to Mary’s family, father Paul and son Zachary, but after acknowledging their grief, reminds them that she’ll need the baskets back. Of course.

Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher, Lois & Clark) brings macaroni and cheese to the food party, but we learn that her husband thinks that it’s the only thing she knows how to cook…and she doesn’t do it very well. There were many defects in the macaroni and cheese during various stages in their time together–too salty when they moved in, too watery when Carl was found with lipstick on him, and burnt to a crisp when Carl told her she was leaving her for his secretary. Macaroni and cheese speaks a thousand words…but Kraft is only one word. Anyway, a year has passed since the fateful divorce, and it’s apparent that Susan is looking for a new man, even one who doesn’t like her mac and cheese. Susan’s daughter asks why someone would commit suicide, and she explains that some people are so unhappy they think it’s the only way out. Her daughter thinks that Mary Alice didn’t seem unhappy, but Susan explains that people also like to pretend that they’re something they’re not. The daughter draws a comparison between Mary Alice and Carl’s girlfriend, saying that she acts nice but is really a bitch. “I don’t like that word, Julie. But yeah, that’s a great example.” Susan drops off her macarrones y queso at the table and then walks over to a table where the other three previously introduced housewives are sitting.

They greet Susan and then Susan looks over at the now empty chair where Mary Alice used to sit, and then begins to pour some coffee. This triggers a flashback, as Mary Alice pours Susan some coffee and then takes a seat at the table. The Five Wives talk about an argument that Susan and Carl had about Carl banging the secretary, basically talking about how Carl is a dirty pig for cheating on Susan with the secretary, despite him claiming that it didn’t mean anything…it was just sex. Bree then mentions that part of the reason why she joined the NRA is so that when Rex went off on business trips, that he knew in the back of his mind there was a wife at home with a loaded Smith and Wesson. Doesn’t mean that he still can’t cheat on her…so long as he never comes back. The girls giggle at this very creepy statement as Mary Alice asks Lynette if she ever gets suspicious, but Tom has knocked up Lynette three times in four years, so she wishes that she was having sex with somebody else. Susan doesn’t know if Carl is going to stop seeing that woman, and she doesn’t know how she’s going to survive it. Mary Alice reassures Susan that she can face this problem head-on and be strong about it…

…and then Susan is snapped out of her flashback and back to reality, where Mary Alice is now the proud owner of a gunshot wound to the head. Thanks, National Rifle Association. Susan is frustrated that Mary Alice didn’t tell anyone about her problems, since she didn’t seem to be having any problems by just looking at her. Gabrielle wonders what kinds of problems she could have, since her life is admittingly the same life that the rest of these wives lead. Susan is the voice of reason and rationalizes that since Mary Alice decided to put a revolver to her head, there must have been SOMETHING wrong with her. Meanwhile, the newly single Paul creepily listens in on the ladies and then takes a creepy drink of creepy alcohol.

A man is gathering up some macaroni and cheese as Susan walks in on this scene, and tries to convince him to not eat that. The man is convinced that no one can screw up macaroni and cheese…but somehow, Susan is able to make it taste like burnt and yet undercooked at the same time. Is that not talent in itself? Mike Delfino is his name, renting the house next door is his game. We learn that Susan illustrates children books…and Mike works on clogged toilets. There’s sexual tension between them so fast that you may think that you’re watching a very short porn movie, but alas, Susan is able to sneak out the back door with the ol’ “this macaroni is shit” trick. Julie notices It’s-A-Me, Delfino! and Susan hitting it off for a split second.

While Lynette tries to ease the baby off her nipple while breast feeding, Blender Hoover enters the room and asks Lynette if she knows that their sons are doing. We find out that they’re in the pool…in the middle of a wake. There are plenty of people gathered around watching this as the boys explain that they thought they could go in the pool when Lynette allowed them to go by the pool. They have their swimsuits on, however; they came prepared as they wore them under their regular clothes. Lynette can’t get the stubborn kids out of the pool, folding their arms in protest. So Lynette hands off the baby and steps in the pool, high heels and all, chasing down the kids. She rounds them all up and takes the baby before making the least graceful exit ever, saying goodbye to Paul. But creepy Paul has some other things to worry about…”below the surface,” explains our dead narrator.

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…and now, the funeral is over and the remaining four housewives are back to their hectic lives. Lynette cooked, Bree cleaned (as if she were on crack and the toilet bowl was mocking her with its untidyness), and Bridgette did her yoga. Meanwhile, a soccer ball goes flying over a roof. Julie arrives at the door of Delfino and explains Julie’s soccer ball dilemma. Julie manages to learn a lot about Delfino, and relays it all back to Susan, who is so very obviously interested in this plumber. His wife died a year ago, and he’s renting for tax purposes, with hopes of buying soon. Susan reveals that she did not support Julie finding all of this out, but Julie knows that they were flirting at the wake. Susan doesn’t know if she’s ready to start dating yet, but Julie thinks that Susan needs to get back out there: “Come on, how long has it been since you’ve had sex?” Susan’s random drawing comes to a complete halt, and Julie wonders out loud if she shouldn’t have asked that…but Susan is just trying to remember. Julie only brings it up because the Carl Infidel’s secretary asked if Carl thought Susan had dated anyone since the divorce, and Carl said that he doubted it. And then they laughed. Susan is steamed at this, and immediately brings a plant over to Delfino’s place. Careful, Susan, this man’s a plumber. He might mistake the plant for the turnips in Super Mario Bros. 2. Susan is the first one to come by and welcome Delfino to the neighborhood, but it doesn’t take long before Susan’s bright mood and sense that she’s already in Delfino’s pants is interrupted by a sixth (and the fifth alive) housewife.

Her name is Edie Britt (Nicolette Sheridan, Knots Landing) and she is the most desperate of the housewives when it comes to find herself a new man. She’s found plenty of men–a repairman, a tennis teacher, and even a minister–but the problem is that she can’t hang on to them. Edie welcomes Delfino to the street as Susan knows she’s in for trouble. “Susan had met the enemy, and she was a slut,” says Dead Mary. Delfino would invite them both in, but he has work to do, and the two women dismiss themselves clumsily. Edie gets in one parting shot to take the lead in the race for Mike Delfino, “do you think you could come by later and…check my pipes?” Whattaslut.

Back to Gabrielle and Carlos, and Gabrielle is yelling that she can’t be ordered around like a child. Carlos wants her to go with him on a business trip, even though the man Carlos is dealing with has a tendency to grab Gabrielle’s ass. Since Carlos earned $200,000 from this man last year, however, grabbing Gabrielle’s ass is a fine transaction. And I’d tend to agree. Any penetration will result in decapation, of course. But that’s the sinister side of me talking. Carlos leaves the house, but not before yelling at John to dig up a bush that he was supposed to dig up awhile ago. Gabrielle really hates being talked to in such a demeaning way, but Carlos really hates that he bought the $15,000 necklace that Gabrielle supposedly couldn’t live without. Before answering Carlos’ question regarding whether or not Gabrielle will be there for the business trip, she looks over and tells John that bandages are inside (since John pricked himself on the bush as Carlos startled him initially leaving the house). Gabrielle agrees to go, but her back will be against the wall the entire time. Carlos thinks that’s the foundation of all marriages: compromise. And $15,000.

John is bandaging his finger as Gabrielle returns sans Carlos. Gabrielle checks John’s cut and wastes no time in kissing it and making it better…and then kissing it some more…very seductively. The finger turns into lips, and hey, the gardening boy and the yoga girl are making out. John has second thoughts: He doesn’t want to lose his job, but Gabrielle removes her top, leaving her in a bra, and then describes a hand-carved table that cost Carlos $23,000. She wants to do “it” on the table, and John knows that Gabrielle isn’t referring to the book-turned-movie by Stephen King. The ironclad will of John crumbles like so many broken crackers and the show earns it’s “S”.

Fancy camera work as we slowly pan down out of that scene and pan up to another table, one without two people having relations on it, and replaced by a family eating dinner: The Van De Kamps. Bree’s daughter wants to have regular soup sometime, but Bree refuses to serve something as undignified as navy beans. Bree’s son Andrew describes the meal that took her three hours to cook as “Okay,” pissing Bree off. Andrew wants to know who asked her to spend three hours on dinner, Andrew Van De Kamp describes that many other families do not have cuisine every day. Bree immediately drills Andrew by asking if he’s doing drugs, because he has been “fresh as paint” for the last six months. Bree assumes that Andrew is doing drugs locked in the bathroom, but daughter knows best, and daughter knows that Andrew is flogging the dolphin in the bathroom. Andrew continues to complain about Bree’s perfectionism, and Bree looks to Rex to reprimand Andrew, seeing as he is the head of the household. “Pass the salt?” Excellent. Fortunately, the daughter does so…before Bree hauls off and throws the salt into Rex’s rectum.

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…and now, more fun with Lynette and the four kids. While Lynette leaves a message threatening Tom that she and the kids will join him on his business trip if he doesn’t return her calls, two of the boys leave in one of two shopping carts. Lynette tries to track down the two getaway kids, but runs into an old friend and reluctantly strikes up a conversation. The old friend asks “Don’t you just loving be a mother?” This is a heavy question for Lynette, of course, and she has to lie: “It’s the best job I ever had.” …Right as the getaway kids slam into an old lady, knocking her and her groceries down to the floor. Fatality. Flawless victory.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle and John are now in a bed, apparently feeling guilty for screwing on a very expensive table, and John wonders why Gabrielle even married Carlos. Gabrielle says that Carlos promised to give her everything she ever wanted, and she did get that. So why isn’t she happy, John asks? Gabrielle wanted all the wrong things. Gabrielle does love Carlos, but she also loves being alive, and she thinks that not cheating on his husband with the gardener boy will keep her from blowing her brains out. Shit, I wish that was the logic some of the hot girls I’ve come across had. Life would be a lot easier. And sexier. On hand-carved tables. From Italy. SWERVE~! comes when John asks for a drag of her cigarette (which is lamer than lame), but Gabrielle explains that he is far too young to smoke, and it’s at this point that I begin to wonder what state they’re in. I know the age of consent laws, so there’s a good chance that this could be taboo, but extremely legal. John and Gabrielle begin to kiss again…

…as Susan asks if she can use Julie’s child support payments for plastic surgery. Julie tries to calm her nerves, but Susan is stalling for time when she should be asking out the plumber on a date. Julie encourages her to go before Mike finds out that he can do better, and Susan takes offense and wonders out loud why she fought for custody of Julie: “You needed a reason to hurt Dad.” Susan remembers that that’s right, and walks out the door. Now at Delfino’s and Susan tries to spit it out but stumbles over the question of asking if Delfino wanted to go on a date, stumbling just long enough to allow Edie (complete with beer) to walk into the doorway. Susan can’t ask him for a date in front of Edie, so she changes her story to a clog. Delfino offers to go over now, and Edie doesn’t mind. So Susan has a couple of minutes to cause a clog. Susan tries everything–hair from a hairbrush, peanut butter, cooking oil…and then uses Julie’s project to clog up the pipe. Delfino arrives and discovers the remainders of the project–popsickle sticks–in the drain. Susan blames it on Julie, which gets a sour look from Julie as she watches from the staircase.

Off to the Saddle Ranch Chop House, as the Van De Kamps are going out to eat. Andrew suggests that they play video games until the food arrives, but Bree says that this is family time. Rex overrules Bree, however, allowing Andrew to go play, as well as the daughter. Bree explains to Rex that she understands that they wanted to try something fun for a change and begins planning dinner for tomorrow, but Rex interrupts her:

“I want a divorce.” Well, well, well. I can see Bree passing for a psychotic murderer of Rex soon enough. “I just can’t live in this…this detergent commercial anymore.” Bree will hear none of it, and takes Rex’s plate to the salad bar. There’s Mrs. Hoover, and she wants to know how Bree is doing. Bree wants to admit that Rex has been a son of a bitch, but Bree says that everything is just great. Bree returns with the salad, but Rex wants to talk about the divorce. Bree refuses to discuss this in a restaurant with bathrooms marked for “Chicks” and “Dudes”, however. Of course, Bree was dumb enough while talking with Mrs. Hoover to put onions in Rex’s salad, something that seemed very inadvertant. However, the allergy is very real and Rex collapses out of the booth at the Chop House, taking the tablecloth with him.

Zachary, the dead narrator’s son awakens with a start as he hears noises outside. Zachary has heard the noise before, and looks at creepy Dad chipping a hole into the pool that was once populated with Lynette’s little devils. “It was the sound of family secret,” Dead Narrator explains.

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…and now, it’s been a week since Mary Alice Young’s funeral. Life has returned to normal for the housewives, starting with Lynette, who has Tom return from the business trip. Tom gives the kids a football as a present, as long as they all go outside right now. Uh-oh. The three kids leave, leaving Tom to have sex with an exhausted Lynette, who just wants to lie there. Unfortunately, she doesn’t lie there when she realizes that Tom has to put on a condom and Tom just wants to risk it; Tom catches a left hook.

“I can’t believe you tried to kill me.”
“Yes, well I feel badly about that.”

Bree tries to dig her way out of a bad situation with Rex after nearly killing him with the onions. Rex wonders why she made that mistake when she hardly ever makes mistakes. Bree doesn’t comprehend, and Rex explains that she’s sick of her being so damn perfect all the time. Rex is basically sick of Bree being a carbon copy of someone from The Stepford Wives. Rex wants the woman that she married, but Bree walks off to water the flowers at the foot of his bed. While she does that, she sobs for five minutes without Rex knowing. And when she emerges…she’s perfect.

Cut to Carlos inspecting his yard, as Gabrielle walks out, ready to go out for a night on the town. Carlos mentions that even though John was here today, the lawn wasn’t mowed. Carlos is fed up with John and wants to get a real gardener, but Gabrielle tries to tell Carlos that it’s too dark to see if a lawn was mowed or not. Out to the social party with well-dressed Carlos and Gabrielle, and Butt-Grabbing Tanaka is waiting for Carlos. Gabrielle makes sure that the waiter puts a drink in Carlos’ hand all night long, and then swiftly takes off. She arrives back at her house and whips out the lawnmower, trying to cover for the gardener’s shortcomings due to his coming. Gabrielle finishes the lawn, dress and all, and returns to the party, getting the last piece of evidence out of her hair. The next day, Carlos is off to work, and he notices that the lawn was, in fact, mowed. As he was getting sloshed. Not while Gabrielle was having hot monkey sex with John. As Carlos walks away, Gabrielle arches up to the balcony on the second floor, looking intensely sexy…and content.

…And now, a word from our sponsors, hopefully for KY jelly because the 18-49ers are going to be needing it after Gabrielle’s scene. For all of you guys out there who get off watching girls mow lawns in dresses, this is the show for you…

…and now, we’re back in the supermarket, this time with Susan, who runs into Mrs. Hoover. Great job by the writing team…I hate seeing this bitch on my screen whenever she arrives. Mrs. Hoover complains about her stomach, since she had the worst macaroni and cheese at the wake, and it’s been running through her all week. Very nice. Mrs. Hoover is babysitting Edie’s son while Delfino is over at her house, “and I think she is planning on entertaining into the wee hours…if you know what I mean.” Very sly words from Hoover. Susan is off before Mrs. Hoover can say “antacid,” and ranting to Julie as she paces around the kitchen. Julie tries to make Susan feel better by saying they might just be having dinner, but knowing Edie…

So, with incredibly hard nipples, Susan makes her way to Edie’s house. It should be noted that I’d bag Susan long before Edie even got a chance to touch me if I were Delfino. Edie is so deliciously white trash it makes you wonder how she got on this block. Susan is looking for the ol’ “gimme a cup of sugar” move, an old favorite among women who are desperate for lovin’. No response at the door from Edie, however, so Susan investigates. She sneaks in the back fence, and eventually we hear “Let’s Get It On” playing somewhere inside the house. All of the curtains are drawn…but the back door is unlocked. Edie has already dropped her clothes when Susan enters the room. And then Susan hears Edie and Delfino moaning somewhere in the house. Susan drops her measuring cup, and then discards Edie’s panties behind her…knocking a candle over in the process and starting a fire. As she “mourns her loss,” a fire starts behind her. Susan sees a fire and immediately thinks that pouring wine on it will not make it worse. Susan probably doesn’t deserve Delfino if she’s that dumb. If I were Susan, I would have definitely gotten out of there as soon as possible. Susan unfortunately rushes out when she hears Edie asking if there’s anyone down there, leaving her measuring cup behind. If Susan had just gotten out of there right away, there’s not much that can be said. Edie, being a stupid slut that she is, probably shouldn’t have had the candles so close to the damn curtains anyway.

Cut to the firemen unraveling hoses to put out the fire that has engulfed Edie’s house, likely fixing to leave it a total wreck. Mrs. Hoover mentions the candles being left unattended, and Lynette mentions that Edie was having sex with “some guy” when the fire started. Delfino actually got smoke inhalation and is in the hospital. Susan overhears this and is shocked, getting the attention of Bree who worries that Susan looks awful. Susan feels bad for Edie, but no one else does, since they think she’ll survive. The housewives all walk away, all except for Susan…

…right as Delfino walks up. SWERVE~! I had a feeling that was coming once Susan stuck around, but it was still a solid swerve. Delfino had just gotten back from the movies, and Susan explains that everything is fine now.

Unfortunately, Delfino goes home and makes a mysterious phone call to someone. Delfino has no new information…but he’s getting closer…? Great. Delfino’s the one with the dark secret. Good stuff. Delfino takes the gun out from behind his jacket and places it near the phone.

Now it’s the next day and the housewives have gathered to gather Mary Alice’s clothes, etc…basically everything left of her life. The four wives have a toast to Mary Alice, and then Gabrielle lifts up a dress, assuming that her size 6 actually being a size 8 was her big secret. The dead narrator knows what’s happening, however, and says that Gabrielle isn’t on the right track. A letter addressed to Mary Alice falls out when she whips out the dress, and Bree picks it up. Gabrielle opens the letter immediately and reads it:

“I KNOW WHAT YOU DID
IT MAKES ME SICK
I’M GOING TO TELL”

She got the letter the day she died, which makes things even more weird. The girls wonder what Mary Alice did that forced her to kill herself, and the dead narrator is sad that they were able to find that letter since she was trying to hide it. No such luck. Zoom out of the four wives and end show.

Roll credits!

Parting Thoughts:

This show was very hard to recap with the Dead Narrator basically interjecting through everything in the first fifteen minutes. Once the narrator kinda stepped aside and let the action speak for itself, it started to carry a little more. The idea of the Dead Narrator is interesting, but not from a recapper’s standpoint.

That being said… ABC has a hit on their hands, and this got some great ratings, so everyone should be expecting big things from this show and Lost in the near future. I’m glad I picked this show, because there’s plenty of intrigue to keep things going, even though it feels like I’m watching an unrated version of the Joy Luck Club. A good pilot episode, and it sets things in motion. I hope the Dead Narrator doesn’t get too excessive next week, however, as that is my main problem, and yet one of my favorite things about this show at the same time.