Desperate Housewives – Episode 5-11 Review

Meet the Parent…
Alex’s mom Melina (guest star Joanna Cassidy) is in town to meet the Hodges, and she’s a pistol! She’s a blowsy “mature cocktail waitress” who immediately throws down the gauntlet with Bree when she annoyingly “calls” Christmas with the boys. This makes Bree clutch her pearls. “Nobody’s better at plastering on a fake smile and pretending to like someone than Bree Hodge,” says a reassuring Orson when Bree complains about her uncouth new in-law.

Though I liked Cassidy in this role, I couldn’t help but think how much sharper she was as Brenda’s blowsy, feral mom on Six Feet Under. And while the mothers’ rivalry is cute, the whole escalation (where the boys will celebrate holidays, where Alex will work, where they’ll live) is kind of annoying in that it completely precludes “the boys” from anything resembling free will. What kind of spineless jerk lets his mother make these kind of decisions for him? (Hi, Mom!)

Ultimately, Bree staves off Melina’s attempts to get Andrew and Alex to move to Oakdale by buying them a house on Wisteria Lane. (I bet Danielle is pissed she settled for community college and a convertible now!) Speaking of trashy (wait, were we?), I have a friend who is always saying that blush wine is making a comeback, and I guess now that “Mrs. Van de Kamp” is serving it at her dinner party I have to believe her. Either that or it just looks better on camera than Chianti.

For Love or Money…
Carlos quit his job at the country club because, now that he has his sight back, he has realized that massaging naked people is gross. Heh. He wants to go work with the blind at the community center, do something fulfilling, help people. Gaby, on the other hand, wants to be rich again, so she’s in favor of the six-figure offer on the table with “kind-of-an-ass” Bradley Scott. Even though dinner with Bradley and his drunkity-drunk wife, Maria, is tense and fraught with ethical slipperiness (“That’ll be a good story to tell the other CEOs in hell,” Carlos snarks of his corporate-raider escapades), he decides to take the job anyway at Gaby’s behest. It’s sort of sweet actually.

Blond on Blonde…
So finally Edie catches on to Dave’s erratic behavior, but is it too late? His meds have run out, and he actually killed his prescribing physician. (I hate when that happens.) Is it bad that I find this character hilarious rather than menacing? Neal McDonough’s sweaty-faced shuffling through his briefcase o’ pills had me reaching for the laughing gas. Scraping the prescription containers for residue was a nice touch. But when Edie catches him chatting with his dead family, she has had enough. “I don’t need an apology,” she reports. “I need an explanation.” But before Dave can stammer out anything resembling the truth (because, how could he explain really?), Edie throws him out. As he’s doing the Wisteria Lane Walk of Shame, he crosses paths with one Mrs. McCluskey (more on her later), who has just returned from a bad storyline in Boston.

He Kissed a Girl…
Forget Mike and Jackson; my new favorite sidekick for Susan is Lee! M.J. is with Mike, Jackson is out of town, and Susan’s bored, so she wants to go clubbing with Lee. (Kevin Rahm, who plays Lee, is the MVP of this week’s episode.) “Gays love me,” Susan reports. “Pile on the makeup; drag queens get their first drink free,” replies Lee. While drowning their respective sorrows at the bar, Lee asks if Susan loves Jackson or if he’s her “closing time” guy. Susan says she loves Jackson, and to prove it, she’s going to move to Riverton with him.

Then, to dissuade his own “closing time” guy who’s moving in for the kill, Lee asks Susan to pretend that they’re a couple… in a gay bar, which seems plausible. “I have to throw him off the scent. Mind if I grab one of your boobs?” he asks. Cut to a hungover Susan waking up next to Lee. Uh-oh! As she attempts to piece together what exactly transpired after closing timing, the evidence is damning. Two empty bottles of red and one smooth jazz CD later, Susan concludes that she slept with a gay guy. Lee’s morning-after behavior does nothing to disabuse her of this notion. “That was fun last night — different, but fun,” he says with a smirk as he buttons up his shirt.

Susan calls in the troops (in this case, Gaby) for reinforcements when she realizes she doesn’t remember sleeping with Lee. She keeps things anonymous, which encourages Gaby to guess who the lucky guy (er, gay) is. Is it Lou, Susan’s mechanic? “Let’s face it. You like your service providers,” Gaby says. Heh. As luck would have it, Bob shows up at this very moment to verify Lee’s story that he crashed at Susan’s place the night before, since “when he’s got a few drinks in him, he’ll bang anything with a pulse and facial hair.” Eva Longoria Parker’s belly laughs in this scene were contagious, right? Naturally, Susan has come to the incorrect conclusion, which Lee eventually corrects. “Ye gods no, are you insane?” Lee answers when she asks if they did the deed. “Hello? Listening to opera in a kimono? What more do you need to know?”

[Aside: Did anyone else wish those Carnival Cruise Line ads with the giant beach balls and piñata were a smidge cooler? They were edited funny. Unlike this Sony Bravia ad, which makes me want to run out and buy 10,000 televisions it’s so artful.]

Double Lack of Vision…
While Lee is off not sleeping with Susan, Lee’s partner, Lawyer Bob, is stuck with the worst clients ever: the Scavos. Bob figures out their identical-twin courtroom switcheroo pretty quickly (thanks, Penny!), and rightly scolds them for being such a bunch of boneheads who could get him disbarred.

Here’s an observation: One of the twins — Charles Carver, who is currently playing Porter pretending to be Preston — can’t act. I’m not saying that his brother Max, who plays Preston, is a young Brando or anything, but he’s much better at conveying teen angst than the seemingly made-of-wood Charles. Anyhow, Porter’s hiding out with his grandmother, Stella, which is an idea made in Bad Idea Heaven, so naturally a Scavo came up with it.

Sisters of Mercy…
The poorly used McCluskey sisters (I bet Lily Tomlin’s agent is pissed right now) sat in Dr. Heller’s waiting room in Boston for the whole episode. Seriously. That’s all they did. Well, Karen cracked a tallboy. But that isn’t exactly noteworthy. Now that they’re back, one has to wonder: Why did they go? And why was Roberta so hellbent on giving up the fight? Something doesn’t add up there, and I’m hoping it’s not just the scriptwriting.

Edie slaps Susan! Juanita loves Daddy more! Bree and Orson “make a little love”! Lynette appears to be in some sort of car accident!