Desperate Housewives: Bob D'Amico
Ann Hodgman
April 09, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Desperate Housewives”: Very bad parenting

”Yes, when they come, children change everything. Especially when they’re not invited.”

A fitting sign-off to tonight’s episode for several reasons. First of all, the blessed event is finally here: Gabrielle is pregnant! Of course, we won’t know for a while whether the father is Carlos or John — but we will get to see whether Gabby will retain those narrow little-boy hips when she starts to ”show” or whether the costume designers will decree that she must wear padding. It would be so delightful if she gained, like, 80 pounds in this pregnancy; maybe that can take place during DH‘s summer hiatus. Come fall, Gabrielle can waddle back onscreen — and when Carlos sees what she looks like, he’ll pay her to leave. I don’t see him as the kind of husband who’d tolerate a chubby wife, do you?

Which brings me to the second reason the show’s closing quote about kids is appropriate: By and large, all the adults on this show act worse than any child ever could. Not counting Lynette’s children, of course, who behave worse than any humans ever could. Tonight Lynette — whose babysitter has canceled at the last minute and who is desperate to meet some friends for a drink — scrapes all four of her kids off onto Bree. ”For God’s sake, Bree, I’m wearing panty hose!” she begs. For some reason, Bree gives in to this plea and ends up having such a rough time that she spanks that little monster Parker. [Correction: This should read ”Porter.” Thanks, readers!] This so riles Lynette that she swats Bree with a few home truths about her own son-rearing techniques and demands an apology. But shouldn’t Lynette herself apologize for asking a friend to babysit four children on the spur of the moment just so that Lynette can load up on margaritas?

Next comes Susan’s child — who is actually her mom, Sophie. (Susan’s real daughter is, of course, much more grown-up than Susan herself.) For starters, Sophie crashes her car into Mike’s truck. Then she announces that she’s left her boyfriend, Morty. Last, she announces that she’d like to come live with Susan. Unfortunately, she drops this bombshell while she and Susan are getting pedicures at a spa. In shock, Susan kicks the pedicurist right in the nose. Finally, a klutzy sight gag that actually works!

It’s funny how one’s sympathy switches back and forth on this show. I’ve been mad at Bree and her flaring antelope nostrils for so long, and now she’s finally gotten through to me. It’s so nice to see her crack. At first she refuses to visit son Andrew at his juvenile detention center, lamely explaining to Rex that the care package she’s sending Andrew will be enough. Then she has a change of heart and goes with Rex to see Andrew after all. Unfortunately, Andrew refuses to see her, and Bree is forced to wait outside while Rex attends Andrew’s therapy session. She overhears some truly disgusting moms trading their disgusting parenting techniques, barges in to Andrew’s session, and tells him she’s been a good mother — only to find out that the reason Andrew wanted to talk to his father first was that he suspected Rex would be better at handling Andrew’s news: He’s gay. Thank God the writers finally dropped the other shoe: It seems like forever since Susan caught Andrew making out in that swimming pool.

I used to be sorry for Gabrielle, but this week I’m mad at her. Carlos is now being so odious that there is absolutely no reason for her to stay with him except his money. (Remember, she doesn’t suspect that she’s pregnant yet — the only compelling argument against leaving him.) When Carlos violently forces her to sign a postnuptial agreement and then leans against the wall gloating, she storms out of the house and races to spend the night with John. Why doesn’t she grab the postnup and tear it up instead? I already know the answer, of course — she wants that money. What great parents she and Carlos will be, especially if the baby turns out to be John’s.

Why, they might even turn out as great as Paul! Tonight, he tells Zach that the toy chest he threw into the lake contained the body of a ”woman detective” who had tried to take Zach away ”from the only parents you had ever known.” Naturally Paul had no choice but to chop her up and stuff the pieces into a chest. Overhearing this discussion, Felicia Tilman (a.k.a. Mrs. Huber’s sister) inveigles Zach into her house and drops a bombshell of her own: She knew Zach’s mom, and she knows that Zach’s birth name was actually . . . Dana, which supposedly was the name of the baby sister whom Zach had accidentally killed. So is the body in the trunk Zach’s birth mother? That’s what I’m wondering, even though I wish the writers had chosen a unisex name that’s a little less girly than Dana. Lee, or something.

Yes, when they come, children change everything — especially when there’s a possibility that you’ve stolen them from their real mother, whom you’ve then murdered. Now, that’s parenting. Suddenly Lynette’s wimpy hand-wringing and Bree’s prissy strictness don’t look quite as bad.

What do you think? Who will turn out to be the father of Gabrielle’s baby? Who was Dana-Zach’s mother? And is that her body in the trunk?

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