Ron Tom/ABC
Tanner Stransky
January 11, 2010 AT 04:44 PM EST

Last night’s Desperate Housewives was the show’s first Angie Bolen-free episode of the season. Did you all notice there was no Drea de Matteo when you were watching? Her cutie-pie son Danny Bolen was there, however, finally taking up with Gaby and Carlos’ voracious and mostly annoying niece Ana. (Which caused me to ask: Why?) The funniest thing about Angie Bolen’s absence from the hour of television was the realization that the great Bolen mystery of the 2009-10 television season — oh, the irony of that! — moved along just as much as it normally does. Which is to say, not at all.

Katherine Mayfair, too, was in absentia. Which is becoming a concern — I like Ms. Mayfair’s regular presence on the Lane! (Isn’t she out of the sanitarium or whatever yet?) But I suppose I should talk about who was present and what did, indeed, happen in last night’s episode. An hour that — yes, I’m gonna say it again, like I did last week — I did actually enjoy!

Let’s start with Gaby’s story line, which was actually rather touching and issues-based for a change. In the midst of trying to get Juanita into private school, Gaby and Carlos learned that Juanita didn’t even realize that she was of Mexican descent because she’d always lived in a neighborhood full of white people, went to school with white kids, and so on. (This seems unlikely, but this is Desperate, so I’m only going to mention that thought in this here parenthetical.) The whole thing led the two to examine a little bit about themselves and where they came from, before finally realizing that they do, indeed, want their daughter to understand their heritage. Awww. I didn’t realize this until the story was unfolding last night, but this is a topic that Desperate hasn’t really gotten into before. Sure, we’ve seen Carlos’ family, but I thought this was a nice, relevant angle that didn’t take Gaby and Carlos down their typical — and honestly, tired — Lucy-and-Desi road.

The best part of the story line, though, was Madison De La Garza, the little actress who plays Juanita Solis. She’s been a hoot all season, especially through the home schooling scenes with Gaby, but tonight she was particularly downright side-splitting. ”I’m Mexican?!?” she screamed when the administrator at Oakridge mentioned her ethnicity. ”Since when? I thought we were American!” And she was right. But no matter, the bluntness with which she said this was too amusing. But that instance was just one in many funny moments for Juanita. I about died when — at the behest of Gaby and Carlos, in a bid to showcase Juanita’s desirable ”diversity” — the little girl creeped back to the administrator’s door after leaving to give him a begrudging, ”Adios, señor!” That’s good stuff. And later, after Gaby fumed that Juanita should know she’s Mexican because ”we eat Mexican food all the time,” the sassy Juanita replied curtly: ”We eat Chinese food, too. Does that mean I’m Chinese?” I love love love Juanita’s character.

NEXT: Mike sees a show

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