Jeal­ousy a- plenty as the soap froth flies

Des­per­ate House­wives 8.30pm, Seven The script is cook­ing in the fash­ion that made the se­ries so great

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

LIKE many of the vaunted Amer­i­can dra­mas of re­cent years, Des­per­ate House­wives ran off the rails in its sec­ond se­ries. It be­came im­prob­a­ble, in­con­sis­tent and just plain dippy. The third se­ries has re­claimed its for­mer as­sets, al­though it still dis­plays oc­ca­sional in­con­sis­ten­cies.

This episode, Gos­sip, is one of the bet­ter in the se­ries and re­stores one’s faith. But what would you ex­pect of an episode with such a ti­tle? Gos­sip is the show’s modus operandi and rai­son d’etre, s’il vous plait.

As the nar­ra­tor ob­serves, ‘‘ gos­sip, for most house­wives, is just a harm­less form of re­cre­ation’’. For th­ese house­wives it is so much more.

The best gos­sip, as al­ways, swirls around Gabrielle ( Eva Lon­go­ria) and Edie ( Ni­col­lette Sheri­dan). At Gaby’s en­gage­ment party, Edie de­li­ciously and ma­li­ciously con­cedes to the party hon­oree that she is deliri­ously in love with her new date, Car­los ( Ri­cardo An­to­nio Chavira).

Never mind that Car­los, Gaby’s ex, now seems to be a pil­lar of calm within this tem­pest. Gaby turns haughty, later con­fronting Edie with the school­girl taunt: ‘‘ You know the feel­ing when peo­ple hate you?’’

At that mo­ment, loyal fol­low­ers will breathe in re­lief, aware that the script is cook­ing in the fash­ion that made the se­ries so great, fo­cus­ing on petty jeal­ousy and ret­ri­bu­tion.

And it gives Lon­go­ria and Sheri­dan the sto­ry­lines to which they’re best suited: Lon­go­ria huffs and puffs like a frus­trated poo­dle, and Sheri­dan gives the bitchy soapie snarls she per­fected on Knots Land­ing.

Bet­ter, Edie is per­sona non grata again. Gaby tells Lynette ( Felicity Huff­man) and Susan ( Teri Hatcher): ‘‘ Good friends share more than just gos­sip and brunch, they share en­e­mies, too.’’

Susan has her own prob­lems, pent up with frus­tra­tion while try­ing to de­cide be­tween Mike ( James Den­ton) and Ian ( un­wanted blow- in Dougray Scott). She makes her de­ci­sion and, in the episode’s only bum note for me, it is scup­pered by cir­cum­stance. You can see it com­ing.

Per­haps Susan should shack up with the new chef at Scavo’s Pizze­ria, Rick ( Ja­son Gedrick), who looks sus­pi­ciously like her for­mer beau, Clark ( Dean Cain). Sorry, wrong se­ries. Lynette’s shame­less flirt­ing with Rick is the latest in the on­go­ing Scavo v Scavo saga, with her hus­band, Tom Scavo ( Doug Sa­vant), be­ing fore­warned by an ob­vi­ous snitch.

Else­where, the McCluskey mys­tery wraps just a lit­tle too neatly and those lament­ing the ab­sence of Bree ( Mar­cia Cross) will rel­ish a brief ref­er­ence to her bas­ket of moist muffins. A per­fect bal­ance to a bet­ter writ­ten and more en­tic­ing episode of the soap for those who don’t watch soaps.

Michael Bodey

Des­per­ate blokes: From left, Doug Sa­vant, Dougray Scott, James Den­ton, Kyle MacLach­lan and Ri­cardo Chavira

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