Wow. Take out the usual fag jokes and racist asides, and you have probably the best episode I've seen since this assignment started. People that act like actual people! Renee convincingly becoming slightly human! Bree getting actual good advice from her pastor! Gabi finding her child satisfactory! Susan being... Not so bad! I hope they continue to use real people writers in future, instead of those nasty old gay robots that usually write this show.
So you've got Gabrielle in a face-off with the Gays over their children's extracurriculars: Their Jenny is learning the violin, whereas Juanita is still on the armpit-music stage of the comedy career that will eventually deliver her from her mother and into the loving arms of drug addiction. Realizing moments before the Big Show that Juanita can't tap-dance for shit, Gabi sabotages her... Only to realize, thanks to the Magical Fags, that parenting consists of actually encouraging your child and permitting mistakes and generally acting like a person. So at the last second she sits everybody back down, "finds" Juanita's shoes, and experiences actual joy, finally, at the total awesomeness of Juanita. It's lovely.
Lynette's Empty Nest issues in the wake of the Twins' exit leaves Renee feeling a child-sized hole in her heart, so before she can adopt a kid ("Preferably a boy, in brown") all willy-nilly, Lynette saddles her with Paige for the night. A few Scavo-type humiliations later, Renee has learned her lesson. But again, Lynette shows compassion for once and inducts Renee officially into her family.
Susan learns she is going to die in about five minutes, but instead of making this everybody else's problem like you might assume, she very gracefully and poignantly resolves to A) Fight fight fight and B) Live every day &c. This involves taking Mike to the woods for an early anniversary celebration, which is of course interrupted by the usual Susan mishaps: Lost picnic baskets, Civil War re-enactors, dead alternators, etc. She accepts all of this with a good humor and only a little guilt-tripping of Mike, who is a champ as usual.
Back home, though, Susan's deformed kidney is causing all kinds of trouble. After some beautiful counsel from her pastor, Bree realizes that she should stop crying over spilt tadpoles and actually give back. She organizes a streetwide donor-testing center and fools everybody into getting tested. In the end, there are only two matches: Bree herself, and Beth Young
See, Beth got tested on her own after being spectacularly dressed down by both Paul and her mother*, both of whom firmly block her from their lives forever, leaving her on her own with no friends, no family, and no clue how to live like a normal person. All she knows is that she is worthless and couldn't even manage to coerce a murder confession out of the man she loves, who now hates her -- so why not donate a kidney and make something of herself?
*(It is devastating. Her mommy, Harriet Sansom Harris, didn't win all those Tony and Drama Desk awards for nothing.)
But no, Bree tracks Beth down at the Sadness Motel and cockblocks her with this whole gross thing about how maybe Beth wants to be of use -- but she couldn't possibly know the pain of having dated a gardener for a couple months and then losing him to his mulatto bastard -- so could she please step off and let Bree do this one thing, specifically so God will stop punishing her. Not Bree's finest hour, but at least she half-gets it at this point.
Beth agrees, but then heads directly to the hospital with her signed donation paperwork, stands in the middle of the ER... And blows her own fucking head off.
Well done, Beth. Well done, show. Let's stay this good when we come back next month, yeah?
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Previously, Susan wasn't feeling well. But with her Gollum arms and needy eyeballs, she did still cling to life. Eyes bugging out in a similar fashion, Beth realized she was a sister-wife on the lam with no mail-order husband and no chance but to return to the Juniper Creek she'd abandoned, only to find it burnt to the ground. Gabi had yet another life-changing experience that failed to change her life in any way, and Lynette saw every thought and experience of those around her as Teachable chances to enact just a little bit of her seething rage on a world that never gave quite as strongly as it took. They were all desperately terrible, just despicable people. Just like you and me.
...Or so the smug asshole ghost we call Mary Alice would have you believe. In the first of her usual hellish indictments on us as a society, MAVO would like to call your attention, Andy Rooney-style, to just what the fuck is going on with parents these days.
"Each parent has their own style: There's the Disciplinarian, the Smotherer, and the Negotiator. But the one thing they all have in common is: They love to judge the parents next door."
Just despicable people, all around us. Nasty neighbors and fucked-up friends. Oh my God, Mary Alice, shit is not that bad. But try explaining goodness to somebody like this show and you'll get a blank look, because we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are, and what we learn from that little bit of Nin is that this show is created entirely from the worst and most hateful thoughts of the worst and most hateful people currently working in entertainment.
On a completely unrelated note: Still in the top three of Republicans' favorite shows.
So Gabrielle walks her fat daughters through town -- in their matching tie-dyed peace-sign T-shirts, note -- just clucking her tongue and shaking her head and being generally insufferable toward all these different parenting types Mary Alice has identified. But, see, once she gets to Chez Gay Fags, she's just got to say something. She has got to take all that judginess and voice it at the nearest person, like the small-town Catholic nuns she left behind.
(Standard homophobic throat-clearing about whatever gay stuff that makes no sense in 2011.)
Gabi: "Stop making your daughter practice the violin!"
Gay: "Get out of my yard!"
Gabi: "Gay men cannot raise children without my help!"
Gay: "Your children are a federal disaster area!"