Written by John Shea
Monday, 25 October 2004 19:42
This wasn't the funniest episode to date but it was still a very satisfying one.  This was all about putting characters in awkward positions and making them squirm their way out.

Episode 1.04, "Who's That Woman"
Directed by Jeff Melman
Written by: Tom Spezialy, Marc Cherry
Guest Starring: Christine Estabrook, Shawn Pyfrom, Richard Roundtree, Mary Pat Gleason, John Haymes Newton, Joy Lauren, Lucille Soong

Lynette is being pressured by her sons' school to put them on medication for ADD.  They have brought trouble making to the level of performance art when they successfully paint a young girl in their class blue.  The little monsters are creative, you have to give them that.  Lynette spends most of the episode struggling to find a solution that doesn't involve drugging her kids.  Much to her credit, she never medicates them.  To the show's credit, she doesn't find a solution either.  This will be an ongoing problem she has to deal with, not something that can be tidied up quickly.

Gabrielle continues to play with her boy toy but is getting closer to being caught.  While taking a bath together, they are interrupted by the cable guy.  John bolts, splashing water all over and leaving behind one sock.  The cable guy slips on the water and gets a concussion.  Carlos comes home when the paramedics are hauling the cable guy away.  When he later finds the sock, he becomes immediately suspicious.  Gabrielle tries to cover but succeeds only in throwing Carlos off of John's scent.  Carlos thinks she's sleeping with the cable guy and goes to his house to beat him up.  Too late he discovers the cable guy plays for the other team.  Carlos may have some trouble with the police in the future.

Edie takes the hunt for Mike Delfino to a new level by re-enacting a scene from Cool Hand Luke.  It does her no good though; Mike has clearly taken a liking to Susan and keeps trying to talk her into joining him at a film festival.  The trouble in setting up a date stems from interference from Mrs. Hooper.  Tired of feeding and lodging Edie, Mrs. Huber has decided to play her trump card and bring out the measuring cup Susan dropped in Edie's house before it burned down.  She's using it to blackmail Susan into picking up the costs of housing Edie.  Susan is unwilling to either admit her attraction to Mike in front of Mrs. Huber or go along with the blackmail.  In a stunning moment of tacky parenting, she gets her daughter to sneak into Mrs. Huber's house and steal back the cup.

Bree is solidifying her position as my favorite character.  I love the way she is written and the way Marcia Cross brings out all the subtleties of the character.  This week she faces a rebellion at home as her kids learn their father has moved out.  Andrew blames his mother for this and storms out.  She tries to talk to him, but he isn't interested and leaves again.  Rather than wait for him to come home, she breaks down his door like a SWAT officer and tosses the room until she comes up with a matchbook for a strip club.  In a spectacular display of militant parenting, Bree goes to the club, chases out Andrew's friends and then goes to work on him.  He refuses to leave and so she sits down to join him, dropping a guilt trip so severe that other patrons of the club beg him to get her out before she completely ruins it for all of them.  It's a great scene because she doesn't go for a screaming hissy fit in the club but instead goes for emotional manipulation that would probably be considered a bit severe at Abu Ghraib prison.  It works though.  Her son learns to respect his mother a bit more and blame her a bit less.

I like the extremes this show is willing go to when playing out a storyline.  It isn't plot driven so much as character driven.  Like I said, they put the characters in awkward moments and then stand back to watch them work their way out.  It can be subtle, such as Lynette drinking a bit of wine to calm down or extreme like Carlos accidentally committing a hate crime to defend his honor.  If they factor that in down the road, all the better.

The Mary Alice storyline didn't make huge progress this week.  The housewives listen to the tape Bree swiped from her therapist.  On it, they hear Mary Alice tell him about a nightmare she has repeatedly that features a young woman screaming the name Angela.  That is apparently Mary Alice's real name.  After listening to it, the housewives decide to give her husband the note and he takes it very badly.  He later explains to them that Mary Alice was mentally ill and sent herself the note.  They don't buy it.  Later he hires Shaft to find out who did send the note.  That's right, I'm just talking about Shaft.  I still say Mrs. Huber sent it.  She's clearly pretty hateful and manipulative.  If she's capable of blackmail, she's probably capable of more.  As for Mary Alice's narration, it was pretty mild this week.  Long stretches of the show go by with out it at all.  That's okay with me. 

Finally, one quick complaint.  What kind of idiots do they have running the door at the strip club?  Only a blind person would buy Andrew as old enough to drink.

 - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it has been known to clean with socks.  Or whatever else that is close at hand when the time comes.

 

 

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