TV Article

Stepping Up

On ''Desperate Housewives,'' Orson takes a stronger role in his new family; plus, Nora makes her move on Tom, and Gaby escalates her war on Carlos

Kyle MacLachlan, Desperate Housewives | STEPFATHER KNOWS BEST Orson is starting to tell Bree and the kids how to behave
Image credit: Desperate Housewives: Ron Tom
STEPFATHER KNOWS BEST Orson is starting to tell Bree and the kids how to behave

''Desperate Housewives'': Stepfatherly advice

I never thought I'd say this before, but I am actually enjoying the closer looks inside the Van De Hodge household these days. Especially because we're now seeing that the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree: Danielle's vindictive behavior after she was dumped by Mr. Cradle Robber was classic Bree, and the blackmailing skills she revealed earlier when Bree tried to get her to stop seeing her teacher were a lot like her brother's during season 2. One thing I'm also hoping will soon rub off on Danielle: Bree's grooming techniques. Seriously, the girl's hair is getting worse and worse, particularly in the scene with the therapist. (Really, Desperate Housewives' hair stylists, we're over the Rastafarian look.)

The dinner-table discussion about Danielle's affair with her married teacher brought out the hilarious best in everyone at the table: Andrew made snarky comments (''She doesn't like spring lamb; she prefers old goat''); Orson offered his fatherly advice (''[The divorce] hardly bolsters his suitability''); and Bree remained poised even when Danielle chucked her plate at the wall (''Remind me to buy paper plates; we'll need them until a certain someone can be trusted with china again''). This all lead up to Danielle's ''dramatic'' attempt at suicide (by apparently slitting her wrist with a spoon), which is something Bree should be an expert at dealing with by now. (RIP, George.)

Suicide is not something Orson takes lightly, though. His out-of-nowhere blowup at Andrew in the hospital gave us some insight into his past (finally!). But who in his family committed suicide, and what does it have to do with his criminal personality? Was it his mom, causing Orson to hold all females in contempt? Was it his dad, leading Orson to take over as man of the house at a young age and therefore become a controlling monster? Or maybe Monique was a family member. Whatever it is, I hope we find out soon.

I also hope to find out what the heck the connection is between Monique and Mike after the police conveniently discovered she had his phone number written on her hand. What kind of autopsy did these people do that they just now discovered the digits? Shouldn't that have been one of the first things they spotted? After all, her hand was sticking out of the dirt. My theory is that Orson somehow wrote Mike's number on her hand when he came to ID the body. Hey, it's a little far-fetched, but we know Orson's out to get Mike.

At least the hit-and-run patient is starting to regain some of his memory. No thanks to Susan and her terrible rendition of the 1970s hit ''Carwash.'' Mike's vocal skills aren't any better than Susan's — is it just me, or is he sounding a lot like James Earl Jones lately? Perhaps you not only lose your acting ability when you go into a coma but also develop a deeper voice.

The war over Mike is getting a little bit old. I've had enough of watching Edie endlessly trying to sabotage Susan. Mr. Cherry, you really need to come up with a more promising story line for Nicollette, one that will let us actually root for her instead of reaching for our remotes to fast-forward through her scenes. I did like the way Susan stood up for herself at the end, though, because it's rare that she shows any backbone.

I'm also a little frustrated with the show's latest romantic story line, Julie and Austin. He just seems so cliché. He drives a motorcycle, pounds beers, fails English, and just got out of juvenile detention. What wasn't so cliché about him was his hookup with Julie's friend Sarah, or should I call her Rod Stewart? (Her clothes and her hair were absolutely hideous! She probably goes to the same salon as Danielle.) When Julie caught the odd couple getting hot and heavy in a car parked on Wisteria Lane, she seemed so put off. If she likes him, she needs to go for it or quit getting all attitudy with him.

Gabrielle also needs to make a decision about the man in her life. The Vince Vaughn-Jennifer Aniston antics in the Solis household were funny at first but are now getting too hurtful. It was predictable that when Carlos came to bring Gaby breakfast in bed, she'd have a naked man sleeping next to her, but I felt really bad for Carlos nonetheless. I still don't get why Gaby thinks she has the right to be so mad at her husband for doing the same thing she did to him. Thank God next week's previews showed them in bed together; at least it's some sort of progress.

I hope to God to never see Nora and Tom in bed together, though. Can she please leave the show? Where did this evil husband-stealing side of her come from anyway? So far, she's mainly been around to annoy the heck out of Lynette, but now she's fixing to take Tom away? Please! I just hope that Tom's vulnerability after Lynette shot down his pizza-parlor dreams doesn't cloud his judgment enough to do any real damage.

What do you think? What does Mike have to do with Monique? Will Gaby and Carlos actually get back together? Will Austin and Julie get together at all? And will Mrs. McClusky now become a regular at the ladies' gossip fests?

Originally posted Oct 23, 2006