Desperate Housewives

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Flipper: Faster Than Lightning & Smoother Than Silk

It's a tough balance, because on the one hand you've got a murder-comedy about women, it's right there in the title, but if you don't treat those women like people -- which this episode doesn't -- then what you've created is a particularly cruel joke about women. Which this episode is.

But you're saying, "Jacob, I am a woman in my late forties, and going through menopause is a very weird time and makes you question all kinds of things about your womanhood, and so I identify." Sure. But that's not what's going on here: This is about a cardboard lady having cardboard thoughts that are so pandering and familiar that they appear to be part of your narrative, because that's the narrative we've been sold by these selfsame gay Boomer writers since the '80s. But there's nothing sympathetic about it, which is the risk that you run. It took Ugly Betty two years to come back from this shit. It's the reason I stopped watching this show in the first place.

The fact that Lynette is useless and Susan is sympathetic for once is a clue. Renee still isn't deeper than her diva attitude, and Beth is just a prop. Which means it's up to Gabrielle, as usual, to act like a normal person. About that, we will see.

Anyway, Beth's now so deep undercover in Operation Fingers that she's actually gotten talked into sleeping with Paul Young by her accomplice. And he delighted in it. And then she says these things: "So I didn't disappoint you? I'm so glad. My whole life, I heard people talk about sex. They always made such a big deal about it. And don't get me wrong, it was very interesting. But lying here quietly... This is my favorite part. So would you like to do it again? I hear that men like sex in the morning."

You know, things normal women say. If you've never actually met a woman or slept with a woman or have the vaguest sense of what people are actually like, maybe this is something they would say. Of course, she's faking, so it's not technically a problem, but in context it's just bizarre. Anyway, Paul's about to get some more whoopee -- that's what they called it back then on the TV -- but then his old cellmate shows up. A hulking black man. Black people on Wisteria Lane, they are in for it, generally.

Renee shows up at Lynette's house -- Lynette, the successful businesswoman many times over, the one who raised about 50 kids without a babysitter and now has one single infant to deal with -- to start an interior design firm. Because if it's not a catering company, it's interior design. Every time. Those are literally the only companies a woman can start, regardless of their experience otherwise. There's a lot of fairly funny banter about the baby -- "Oh my God, are you doing what I think you're doing?" asks Renee, and Lynette's like, "If you think I'm trying to stuff my boob in my daughter's mouth? Then yes" -- but just imagine all of Renee's dialogue coming out of a gay man's mouth, because that's basically what's happening.

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Desperate Housewives

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