The ”Housewives” finale: Babies and brides
A few of you feel I’ve been overly snarky this season, and maybe that’s so (but, in my defense: Ian? Travers and his puppy? Susan on the mountain?). In tonight’s season finale, however, I found surprisingly little about which to snark — with the exception of Gabrielle’s hideous wedding dress and push-up bra. The importance of family was Mary Alice’s lesson tonight, making for some damn gripping drama.
We’ll start with Edie, since she appears to be, well, dead. Yes, I found it creepy as hell that she was talking to her mom’s apparition while she had raunchy sex with Carlos. And yes, Nicollette Sheridan needs to hit Strasberg or RADA and figure out how to perform a crying scene. (The kid from Hope Floats once said she thinks about people drowning on the Titanic. Try it, Nic!) But there was nothing funny — and nothing untrue — about Mary Alice’s hanging scene voice-over, during which we actually felt the loneliness and alienation of those without family. I’ve felt sad for Edie (as when her newly loving son Travers headed out the door with his dad), but I’ve never truly identified with her as a human being or seen what makes her tick. From day one, she’s always been a genuine over-the-top caricature. My beef this season was that the writers decided that Edie needed to be an Actual Person With Feelings and Needs, which translated into a few awkwardly loving (well, more like liking) scenes with her son and the aforementioned breakdown as Carlos stormed off at Gaby’s wedding. Next season, I say bring back who-cares-about-her-soul-because-she-doesn’t-have-one Edie (after a last-minute rescue, of course) and leave all this morbidity at the door.
To those who jumped up and yelled, ”Finally!” as Susan and Mike tied the knot (to the totally mockable Enya Light streaming from that boom box), may I remind you that it’s only been three years? (In seven seasons, we Gilmore Girls fans never got a Luke-Lorelai wedding.) Though they started the episode tossing around cringe-inducing sweet nothings (get it?) about a chocolate fountain and a dove wrangler (”Well, the doves are not going to release themselves,” Susan said), they ended the night with Susan overcoming her materialism and deciding that all she really wanted to do was marry Mike, no matter where or when. Loved her slow realization (kudos, Teri) that Mike was getting up in the dark hours of the night for plumbing emergencies just for her. I liked Susan more tonight — away from the ditziness — than I have all season. Loved the wedding, loved the mushy romance (”wear me”), loved the cheesy pastel paper lanterns…
…Because as we’d seen earlier, a hugely expensive wedding does not a happy bride make. (That was me, channeling Yoda.) Gaby — whose ceremony was almost a celebration interruptus, thanks to Edie and the ex-hubby’s loud squabbling — stalked and paced the grounds, all aflutter over a conversation she’d heard between Victor and his dad which implied that he’d married her for the Latino vote. Never mind that Daddy Lang had paid his new daughter-in-law a visit before the wedding, urging her to marry his son, despite her aversion to the campaign trail and the fact that the son had just called her stupid. And never mind that a sharp people reader like Gaby could stand up to her fiancé and his father at the dinner table in one scene, then be brainwashed by the elder man’s poppycock shortly thereafter. Gaby’s general lack of backbone recently is inexplicably out of character — she almost has a glassy-eyed ”Lang has convinced me that if I leave him, even though I’m having doubts and am in like with my ex-husband, the aliens will invade Fairview, so I must stay” look. And falling into Carlos’ arms now that she’s souring on Lang? Way to face your problems, Gabbers. Next season, I hope she returns to fighting form. Anyone else want to see Lang fall off a cliff and Gaby take his place as mayoress of Fairview?
Lynette is also someone I can’t be snarky toward. Felicity Huffman’s got sizable chops, and she deserves a few awards for tonight’s performance. Lynette’s desperation when Tom told her that forgiving her mother was her penance for crushing on Rick was chilling. (My episode notes for this plot point read ”mother/rick/forgiveness and penance? WTF???”) As was her steadfast insistence on handling her cancer, financial issues, and family all by herself. Tonight we saw why family is so important to Lynette: Her own home was broken, and she doesn’t want to become her mother. (This also explains why she didn’t jump the hot chef when she had the opportunity.) Her showdown with her mother in the kitchen was the best acting Felicity’s been able to do on this show in quite some time; it’s nice to see Lynette getting something to chew on instead of this inane Tom-on-his-back garbage. As with Edie, I feel like I have an entirely different appreciation for who Lynette is as a person after this episode. Considering the watered-down plotlines both women have been subjected to this year, this statement is pretty miraculous.
Oh, and Bree was also back, but it was strangely anticlimactic. Marcia’s hair looked great, Danielle is in a nunnery until she pops out her illegitimate-teen-pregnancy spawn, and there is cooperation between Bree and Andrew for once in this lifetime. (It would appear that Tom Scavo’s orange uniforms have humbled Andrew even further.) Having united in the plan to pass off Danielle’s baby as Bree’s, the family was, unfortunately, rather boring. It’d be nice to see them involved in a massively juicy extra plot or two come autumn.
So, TV Watchers, what would you like to see for season 4? Will Bree make it all the way to November sweeps in that giant prosthetic belly? Will Gaby and Lang stay together? Is Edie really dead? If she is, will she take over Mary Alice’s job as narrator? And, ladies, were you, too, totally jealous of Marcia Cross’s post-baby cleavage?