TV Article

Lois Common Denominator

Teri Hatcher's ''Desperate Housewives'' character is everywoman, and this time, suddenly, Susan came out on top.

Teri Hatcher | SUPERWOMAN Susan got her man, at least temporarily
Image credit: Desperate Housewives: Bob D'Amico
SUPERWOMAN Susan got her man, at least temporarily

''Desperate Housewives'': Suddenly, Susan succeeds

Poor Susan. Nobody knows the trouble she's seen. Except we do. All too well. She was dumped by her husband for some pretty young thing. She's been locked out of her house in the nude. A neighbor tried to blackmail her. In this one episode, we saw her tumble headfirst onto a table and end up with cake on her face. Her romantic interest gave her the brush-off. Then after a cop lied to her — twice! — she was stranded in a sketchy neighborhood and mistaken for a hooker.

If Desperate Housewives were Sex and the City, she'd be long-suffering Carrie Bradshaw hands down. The others are basically SATC–style archetypes: Lynette is no-nonsense Miranda (having her remind her husband that pre-kids she made more money than he did was a priceless touch); Gabrielle is man-eating Samantha, with a similar flair for the fashionable and fabulous; and Bree, of course, is happy homemaker Charlotte — only with a dangerous glint in her eyes.

Oh, but our girl Susan, like Carrie, is everywoman. No wonder Hatcher gets top billing. Her Susan is the one you're supposed to relate to. When people around the watercooler eventually start asking women, ''Which Desperate Housewife are you?'' they'll all reply, ''Susan,'' without missing a beat. And at the end of tonight's episode, Susan, like Carrie, finally got the guy — at least until next week, when the writers will no doubt stick some obstacle between her and Mike, who may be up to no good.

My guess is that he's investigating Mary Alice's ''suicide.'' Looks like this previously unnecessary-seeming plot might be going somewhere after all. In fact, the tender scenes between Bree and Mary Alice's increasingly creepy son were possibly the most affecting in tonight's episode. Still, I'm not buying it that the runt could possibly be strong enough to knock his strapping dad to the ground. I mean, he's about as physically intimidating as Gabrielle's dragon-lady mother-in-law — without her knitting needles, that is. (Which reminds me: Is Carlos' bushy goatee seriously out of control?)

But I digress. God bless Teri Hatcher for allowing herself to occasionally look like a fool on TV. Watching tonight's episode, I kept thinking about a recent interview in which the actress — like Susan, a divorced single mom — said that before she landed her current TV gig, her career had cooled to the point that she would sit on the floor and cry because she didn't know how she'd be able to pay her mortgage. Now I'll never look at Susan the same way. Every time she's in a scene, I think about everything she and Hatcher have been through, and I pray that things will go well.

And for a while tonight, I was worried. Very worried. Once again, she seemed to be striking out with Mike. But watching her play him perfectly in the car after her aborted date with the lying cop, I started to cheer, because she was finally doing everything right. She was being direct without being desperate. When it comes to romance, there's a thin line between the two, and she was walking it with perfect balance. How could Mike resist?

It must suck to be Edie right about now.

What do you think? Has Susan made a breakthrough? And what is Mike up to?

Originally posted Nov 01, 2004