‘Housewives’ not so homely; ‘O.C’ characters wear out welcome

Robert Taylor

“Desperate Housewives”: A slippery slope

ABC, Sundays at 9 p.m.

Well, I can’t say I didn’t see any of that coming. The first episode in November was possibly the worst episode in “Desperate Housewives” history. At this point, I can’t care about or sympathize with any of the women on Wisteria Lane because they are all acting like idiots. They deserve what is coming to them.

I felt no sympathy for Susan as Mike drove away, leaving her because she lied to him about Zach. As I’ve said in previous columns, where Susan’s shortcomings used to come off as funny and inspired, they are just mean and hurtful this season.

Bree isn’t doing much better. She used to be able to see through all of Rex’s games to win her back and was portrayed as a smart woman who got what she wanted. Now she is simply a woman who needs a man to complete her. What happened to the emotional complexity we’ve come to expect from the character?

Lynette and Gabby are both acting very needy and selfish as well. Lynette needs the right clothes to compete properly in her job, and Gabby needs a certain lawyer to defend her husband.

I might be able to forgive some of this if the writing was up to the normal standard of the show, but it isn’t. I can’t remember the last quotable line from an episode or the last memorable moment that didn’t involve Bree crying. What’s the point of having a show if you are just going to dumb down the leads to the point where the audience does not care about any of them?

“The O.C.”: Fishy situation

Fox, Thursdays at 8 p.m.

You can take Marissa’s new friends at her public high school one of two ways: 1) it is inspiring that the writers can poke fun at themselves by writing clones of the leads into the series or 2) the writers have run out of ideas and are cloning characters.

I was willing to agree with number one until they began to flesh out the public school foursome in the last episode. They were once cute, little “in-jokes” floating around for the viewers to giggle at, but now, are we supposed to care about them? I don’t think so.

Oh well. The rest of the episode (the first in more than a month!) was surprisingly taut and well paced. We got a fast yet palpable payoff to the Taylor/Dean subplot, complete with Rachel Bilson’s best acting on the show ever, and an honest-to-goodness emotional conflict between Ryan and Marissa that hit home.

If producers are setting up the eventual end of “Ryissa,” they are at least doing it the right way – building up small things every episode that can snowball in the future instead of one big thing that doesn’t ring true. I think the show can function fine with both power couples together, but if they must break our hearts, it’s better than Oliver doing it.

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].