By Michelle Collins
It’s been a while since we’ve last joined America’s favorite Housewives. A refresher course: Andrew ran over Mama Solis and shows no remorse. Carlos gives his dying mother spongebaths. H.O.T. John calls it off with Gabrielle. A drug-addled Lynette is up to here (hand above head) with her kids. Widow Paul makes a “smoothie” move by killing off Mrs. Huber with a blender to the face. Two weeks have gone by without this show, and I nearly withered and died. Please, ABC, never again!The camera closes in on Gabrielle’s face at the hospital, while Mary Alice voiceover’s that Gaby is thinking of her next “great idea”.
The show casually tells us that when Gabrielle was 15, her Stepfather came to her room late one night and raped her. P.S., the actor playing her stepfather is the very same guy who plays the Vin Diesel role in the porno versions of xXx and The Chronicles of My-dick. I know because a friend told me, and also because I own them.
At 15, Gabrielle moves out of her house, rightfully so. At 20, she seduces a famous fashion photographer, and a week later, begins her career as the nation’s shortest and sluttiest runway model. Really, she’s a pretty girl — but runway model? Are we talking “Heezellay Boondchen” runway, or the “Fashion Spectacular at The Dress Barn in Peoria, Illinois” runway? Just asking.
But her modeling career takes a dive when she takes the plunge with Carlos, the man she goes on to love, honor and betray. But betrayal is oh so much more understandable when the montage cuts to John, the H.O.T. teenager who has been “tending her yard” and “plowing her field” and “having intercourse with her” these past couple of months.
Now Mama Solis’ accident has changed everything, and Gabrielle is bored again. And apparently latch hooking and scrapbook making aren’t in her near future. Gabby tells a nurse that she feels unsatisfied. The nurse replies that she derives happiness in life from helping the sick, and right on cue runs out of the room on a “Code Blue Alert” to help an old woman who appears to be strangling herself to death. Gaby senses that the hospital could use more staffers and better funding. So, with a flash of her trademarked smirk, she begins organizing a “Sacred Heart Charity Fashion Show”. Oh, also, har har.
Gaby sorts through dresses as a housewife named Betty complains that she’s too fat for the runway. Gabrielle gives her a pep talk reminiscent of Herb Brooks and his 1980 miracle hockey team: “Your ganna wear black, your ganna look great, now get out dare and model dat dare dress!”
Credits roll, music courtesy of Danny Elfman.
Edie, looking like a demented 4th grader in braids, sorts through dresses already reserved for the other ladies and finds one to her liking. The dress belongs to Mortal Frenemy Susan, and Edie rips the name tag off with a vengeance. Susan catches her in the act, takes back her dress, and marches off with a decisive “Frock Off” aimed at gr-Edie.
New Character Alert! Helen Rowland, H.O.T. John’s mom, asks for Gaby’s help adjusting her dress. She thanks Gabrielle for being so “nice” to her son by hiring him to be her gardener. Gaby says it’s been “her pleasure”, ribbed and otherwise, one can only hope. She slyly asks Helen if her son is still dating Danielle Van De Kamp, and learns that the two are on the verge of breaking up. “You remember what it was like dating teenage boys!” Helen laughs. Gabrielle lightly strokes her stigmata.
Carlos bounds down the stairs, shouting angrily on his cell phone, and drawing stares from the wives. Hey Carlos, here’s a tip: When your pubic hair grows out of your face, try not to trim it down into a manicured mouth topiary. Because your face. Looks like a crotch. He seems stressed about something. Gabrielle shrugs, and tells Susan he’s making good money, and that he just needs to relax.
Thank God Mrs. Huber is dead, or Edie would simply have nothing to wear! The girls note Mrs. Huber absence and offer Edie her dress, a long, flowing sack worthy of an old corpse. But Edie exclaims that it’s too matronly and won’t show off her plasticine figure. The girls discuss theories on Mrs. Huber’s whereabouts, no one guessing that at that very moment, Widow Paul was burying her body in a shallow grave and managing to toss the murder weapon (a.k.a. a blender) in there for good measure. How thoughtful! You never know when the deceased are gonna need a cold, strong margarita in the underworld. Hell, I need one right now.
Susan hands daughter Julie a letter from Zack, Widow Paul’s son, who is in a mental institution with a (lightning bolt) horrible family secret. Susan wants the details of the letter, but Julie brushes it off, and tells her Mom that this is one of many letters she has received from Zack. Julie says that the boy ain’t crazy, just upset about his situation and needs a friend.
Lynette, looking healthier, sits in her kitchen as her cuuuuuuute hubby Tom holds the baby and gets ready for an outing, just him and the kids. They tiff a bit over domestic responsibilities. Lynette claims that even with his help, she can’t handle the stress of four children, paying bills, the cooking, the laundry, Lynette-cetera. She says they need to hire a nanny. And here, readers, is where I cross every appendage on my body and PRAY that Fran Drescher will make an appearance on this show. Cause lord knows she could use the work, and these women could use is a little advice from America’s Favorite Jewish Slutty Sage/Old Navy Spokeswoman.
Bree and Rex are at their bastard of a son’s swim meet. Bree is S.O. angry: Not only is Andrew showing no remorse over the drunken accident, he’s still horsing around with his friends at the meet. Her husband claims that grounding Andrew and taking his TV away is more than enough punishment for nearly killing a woman. Dude, my gut instinct here tells me that you are a bad, bad father. Like, worse-than-Bob-Saget bad. Bree wants Andrew to quit the swim team, but Rex protests. The two argue over who is a better parent. When Bree tells Rex that Andrew “lived inside of [her]“, Rex shoots back with the classic “He hung out in your womb for a few months back in the 80′s!”, which I’m pretty sure is a direct quote from the Madonna/Sean Penn divorce papers. The two parents keep arguing, when a balding father seated in front of them (who, might I add, has CLEARLY heard EVERY detail of Andrew and the elderly hit and run) tells the concerned parents that Andrew won the race. They awkwardly clap.
H.O.T. John arrives at Fashion Show Headquarters, offering to work as a volunteer. Such a big heart, he has. It takes .2 milliseconds until Gaby drops a sexual innuendo that lands like a cartoon anvil, John telling her to “knock it off” since his Mom is a bone’s throw away. The two sit down, when the ever-so-classy Gabrielle takes her shoe off and starts playing “footsies” with her boy toy. Only by “footsies”, I mean her foot and hisâ€¦ third leg. *Throat Clear*
Susan arrives to help John’s mom, who is working only a couple of seats down from the horny twosome. Susan drops some cards, and when she stoops down to grab them, catches Gabrielle’s wandering foot on John’s thigh. Confusion and disgust set in.
Post-commercial, Susan knocks on Gabrielle’s door and confronts her. Gaby asks her not to tell anyone, but Susan ain’t havin’ none of that, cause girl, you nasty! The boy is in high school, for Bod’s sake! She is doubly-angry that Gabrielle is betraying Carlos, just her like Susan’s husband had done to her. Susan, wiser than ever before (for which I sincerely thank the writers — no more dumb Susan!) tells Gabrielle to re-examine things. She has looks, money and a husband who loves her. Gabrielle says that he doesn’t love her, he loves having her. Seems this trophy wife has a mind of her own. And is it just me? Or does Teri Hatcher become a better actress week after week? I know people have always been obsessed with her, but I never knew she was this good! I’m delightfully surprised.
Lynette can’t find a good nanny. She asks Bree where to go if she wants to steal an already employed nanny from some other well-to-do mom. Bree knits a sweater with her brows, and eventually gives up the dirt. The sweater remains to be seen.
John shows up in Gabrielle’s front yard to give her the good news, that his relationship with (fill in appropriately aged girl’s name here) is over, and they can go one with their lives together. But Gabrielle tells him that Susan knows about everything, and it’s over. He scowls dreamily.
Bree knocks on Andrew’s door. But like a PSA gone wrong, he’s smoking pot. Really. This kid. Has got. To go. I hear Riker’s Island has an awesome sleepaway program for bratty rich kids, where you do awesome stuff like make license plates and toss salads. He tries to clear the smoke out of the air by flailing his arms around, in a way that says to an invisible person off camera “I’m open! I’m open!” Which, if he’s ever seen The Cosby Show episode where Denise smokes and gets caught, he should know is futile.
Andrew opens the door all giggly and obnoxious-faced. Bree again asks him if he is sorry for the hit and run. He says he is, and tries to explain himself by channeling Timothy Leary and blurting out some nonsense, making it completely obvious that he is stoned out of his face. Seriously, the writers pulled out every stereotype in the book. I was half-expecting to see some CGI effects of tie-dyed patters swirling around Jerry Garcia’s face, just to hammer the whole “stoned” point home.
Of course, within seconds Bree smells the pot, inspects his eyes, and accuses him of being “strung out” (hilarious). She marches to the kitchen and opens her Tupperware cabinet, a cabinet so well-stocked and neat, that it’s really made the 1950′s proud. She grabs a canister and forces her son to give up a urine sample, literally by grabbing his ear and dragging him to the toilet. I’ve really only ever seen mothers grabbing their children’s ears on television, but it has always struck me as a really effective and painful way to get people to follow you places. At least on TV.
Paul tries to scrub Mrs. Huber’s blood out of some pants, when a representative from the mental ward shows up to tell him that Zack has run away. The bloody pair of pants looks up and shrugs.
John and a friend play pick-up basketball. John tell his friend that Danielle isn’t his type (probably because she’s, like, 13). John prefers Gabrielle, but confides that things are “messed up” because someone found out about their affair. It has to stay a secret, or crotch-mouthed Carlos will kill him. The friend says that people at school will freak once they find out he’s “doing a hot housewife.” The camera pans back to John’s mother Helen, who heard this last comment. She looks on, shocked. Side note time: Where exactly did John get his dark, Spanish looks from? Cause Mom is the blondest, blandest thing ever, channeling Shelley Long circa nineteen eighty-bore. Bring out Papa John this instant!
Paul wants to know how his son managed to escape the hospital. Ward-Guy blames the Paul, saying that he insisted on heavily medicating Zack without psychotherapy, a “recipe for disaster.” Ward-Guy says Zack is troubled and only getting worse. The camera then cuts to Zack’s creepy, Doogie Howser-ish face peering out of a window at Susan’s house. Julie offers him a sandwich, and one can only assume it was made using this famous “recipe for disaster” everyone keeps talking about.
We see Lynette walking through the park where all the upscale nannies hang out. She passes some rejects, but then finds one who appears to be sweet, caring, and all of 14 years old. Seriously, this girl still has some embryonic fluid on her face, THAT’S how young she looks. Zing! Her name is Claire. Lynette asks if she “comes here often” and smiles. Funny, and yet creepy.
Our most hated Rex is on the putting green, when Bree pulls up in a golf cart armed with the bad news and her son’s urine. She tells Rex he needs to get it drug tested so that Andrew will get booted from the swim team, and, God forbid, learn a lesson. Rex refuses, saying that he is not going to ruin his son’s future just because he “sparked a doobie”. A hilariously outdated drug reference, proving that he is not only a bad father, but also old. Bree thought that his moving home was in an effort to help raise their son, and not fight with her over every little thing. Rex says he doesn’t care, and that they are still getting a divorce, so case closed. And God, really, please bless this woman. Because she opens up the container and THROWS URINE ALL OVER REX! Who’s in control, Bree? Urine control. (No need to thank me for that one.)
Lynette courts her nanny. She listens to all the horrible things Claire’s current boss makes her do. Lynette says that she would treat her like gold. Not to mention hook her up with some Grade A Ritalin, I assume. When Claire’s boss arrives at the scene, the two of them say goodbye like guilty, unfaithful lovers, i.e. “I wanna see you again” and “This just isn’t right!” It’s a funny way to mirror some of the other serious story lines.
Who knew Susan could draw! She sits in her front yard sketching Wisteria Lane when John shows up, and begs her to keep quiet about his illegal affair. Susan gives it to John straight: Gabrielle is married to a man who supports her, whereas John is only 17 and still in high school — he could never replace Carlos. John refuses to listen. This entire time, John’s mother Helen watches them from her car, and assumes that it is in fact Susan that John is sleeping with. As my mother would say, “Oy Gevalt.”
Fashion Show! Tom makes an adorable announcer. Remember at the beginning when Gabrielle promised the overweight Betty that she would make her look slim? Instead, Betty has been strapped into a gold lamÃ© bustier top that I’m guessing was borrowed from Rose’s slut-den on the Golden Girls.
The ladies are befrocked and bedazzled. Edie arrives. And Mrs. Huber’s unflattering dress? Well, people. Edie has “redesigned” it into a see-through negligee, minus a bodice or a skirt. It’s tiny. She tells everyone she’s not wearing underwear. A class act, people. America has an official replacement for former Slut of the Hour “Samantha Jones.”
The curtains part backstage, and Susan glides through them, looking like the lead in Swan Lake. She wears a white dress, and looks great. Everyone praises her beauty, except Edie, of course, who instead puts on a floor length Rabbi’s jacket and storms off. They decide that Susan she should be the last to walk the runway instead of Helen, who still hasn’t arrived because she’s stewing in the juices of maternal anger. Oh, and Susan is still not speaking to Gabrielle.
Helen shows up to return her dress. She’s in no mood to “strut” any kind of “stuff.” Susan runs after her with the info about the line-up change, and Helen tells her there’s a “place in hell for people like her.” Uh oh. I sense some confusion here! Helen slaps her, and Susan stumbles backwardsâ€¦ confused. Susan screams that this “is for charity!”, but it doesn’t matter — John’s mother is on a rampage! She reaches down and tears the entire bottom half of Susan’s dress off, rendering her into a $2 hooker. And before she can protest, she is pulled onto the runway, looking like a complete wreck. Everyone is shocked. The camera pans down and we see that one of her heels has broken off, leaving her with one heeled shoe, and one tiny little elf shoe with the end curled up. Susan runs off the stage embarrassed, to Edie’s delight.
Susan orders Gabrielle to tell Helen the truth about the affair, before the whole town thinks that she is sleeping with an underage hardbody. Gaby says she can’t because Carlos will divorce her. Susan calls her “weak” and leaves.
Lynette arrives at the house where Claire works to try to nab her away. Claire protests, but Lynette promises to treat her well, and give her a raise and overtime to boot. They reach an agreement. Lynette runs to her car waiving her arms up in victory. She has a nanny! Yay! But it’s not Fran Drescher. Boo.
Julie gives Zack some funds for him to run away with. He says he has a messed up life, but that he can’t get into the details. She retrieves the famous yellow “Dana blanket” and tells him that she knows something about it. Doogie runs his hands over the blanket and quietly weeps.
Bree asks her daughter Danielle where Andrew keeps his pot stash. We then see her break into his locker at school, where she finds a small baggie with a solid amount of weed tucked into his socks. She takes it, thinks twice, and tucks it back in his hiding place. The voiceover tells us that sometimes “betrayal is good for the soul.”
We’re back to Doogie and Julie. He spills the dirt. When he was 4, he overheard a parental argument involving both his name and Dana’s. He went downstairs to find his parents cleaning up Dana’s blood. He had all but forgotten about the incident until after his Mom’s suicide, when he started having dreams. He can’t see Dana in them, but he sees the blood and his Mom putting him to bed whispering “It’s not your fault.” Then he drops the bomb, Shock and Awe style: He killed his baby sister. Julie is shocked. Theyâ€¦ hug. Hmm, that’s weird. The hug. Then they look at each other. And he plants one right on her mouth! A kiss! Here is where the camera should zoom in and out really fast while the words “INAPPROPRIATE MOMENT!” flash across the bottom of the screen. Sadly, that only happens in my mind.
Gabrielle approaches Helen in front of her house. Helen apologizes for not doing the show because of something personal with Susan Mayer. Gabrielle confesses that it is she who is sleeping with John, and apologizes. Helen asks how for long, and Gaby says for almost a year. Helen confirms that Gaby must have had sex with John when he was only 16, but Gaby says it’s OK, because now “it’s over.” C’mon, Gaby, you can do better than that! Helen tells her that “it’s not even close to being over.” My fingers hurt from the amount of snap on that one.
Andrew gets busted by the swim coach for the locker pot. A bell rings on his swimming career. Bree, arranging flowers at home, picks up the phone to “learn” of the find. She expresses faux-shock, hangs up, and calmly continues arranging her flowers. Best TV mom ever? I think, maybe, yes.
Confusing plot twist time. We see an older man named Mr. Linder in a woodcutting shop sanding down some pine — the first time we see any sort of non-sexual grinding on this show. The voiceover tells us that elsewhere, there are “darker secrets.” The authorities arrive to take Mr. Linder in for questioning.
Paul confronts Julie about his son’s letters, when Susan, unaware of Doogie’s whereabouts (i.e. her house) arrives. Paul wants to see those letters, but Julie refuses to give them up. Susan makes Paul leave her house empty-handed.
The woodcutting Mr. Linder sits in a police station sorting through pictures of a popular style of chest he used to sell ten years back. Turns out, police pulled one of those chests out of a lake and discovered the remains of an adult female inside, whose body had been chopped up to fit. An adult body? Up until this point, we were under the impression that Paul had buried a baby in that box. That Paul — he’s a crack-up! The camera then pans across pictures of skeletal remains, most notably a skull with a large hole on the top.
Andrew tells his Dad he was set up, and that he was holding the pot for a friend. Rex tells him he’s not only a bad person, he’s also a bad liar. And no son of Rex’s is gonna be a bad liar! I think he’s still pretty angry about the piss throwing incident. Bree, arranging the dinner table, looks on repulsed by her own flesh and blood.
Gabrielle, meanwhile, sits in fear that Helen will call the police, or worse, her husband, and reveal her extra-marital secret. She approaches Carlos to spill the teen beans, but wimps out and says she’s going to bed. Just then, the police show up. Hearts sink. She panics. She runs to Carlos and apologizes, on her knees, telling her she loves him. The police come in and — what the hell! — arrest Carlos! He tells Gabrielle to call their lawyer, and that he is innocent and was set up by some mysterious figure named Tenaka. The police drive away, Carlos in tow, leaving Gaby shocked and confused.
Mary Alice tells us that people are “complicated.” They can be charitable, and yet completely untrustworthy. We see Carlos in jail. Andrew slams the door in his poor Mother’s face. I restrain myself from slapping my TV. Zack is asleep on Julie’s floor, as she looks down lovingly at him. Aww, her first kiss. From a murderer. Or is he?
Susan joins Gabrielle on her porch and quietly comforts her. The camera pulls back while Gaby cries, ending what I’m going to say is the best episode of the season. But I say that each week, so what can you do?
Next week, Susan gets antsy and booty calls the all but forgotten Mike, Lynette gets a NannyCamÂ®, Gabrielle becomes poor, and Bree continues kicking ass, accusing Rex of sleeping with someone else. Hello, Bree! You are so much better than that! Can’t wait to see her figure that out for herself.