Four Lessons from Last Night’s Desperate Housewives

I enjoyed last night’s Desperate Housewives episode.  Here are four items that stood out to me:

1.  Tom Sciavo decided to take that high-powered job, and he expressed excitement to Lynette that people are actually eager to know what he thinks.  That’s what many of us want: to know that our opinion is valuable, to feel as if we are movers and shakers who are taken seriously.  But many of us go through seasons (in many cases, long seasons) in which we feel invisible, or when we think that nobody is interested in what we have to say, or even when it seems as if people are jeering at our insights rather than taking them seriously.  Are these wilderness experiences designed to make us humbler when we finally do get success?  Perhaps things can work out that way.  But I think of one episode of Touched by an Angel, “The Sixteenth Minute”, which had Grant Shaud, the actor who played Miles on Murphy Brown (see here).  Shaud played Ed Gold, an under-appreciated man who received a short-lived celebrity status after rescuing a woman in a collapsing mine.  When he got fame, he became pompous, and he frantically sought to hold on to his celebrity status.  His years of feeling invisible and under-appreciated actually did not make him humbler, for he enjoyed finally being noticed, and he wanted to stay in the spotlight.  He also began to neglect his marriage, which many of us probably thought that Tom was about to do with his new-found prominence and influence.  But Tom brought flowers for his wife, Lynette, at the end, and so, hopefully, that means that he will remember the important things in life even while he’s a mover and shaker.

2.  Susan Delfino had a lucky streak.  She is a perfect match for a new kidney.  She is winning at poker.  Yet, she’s sad.  She wonders why she has good luck, whereas others have bad luck.  For example, a friend she made in the hospital—who had also needed a kidney—recently passed away.  And Susan is afraid that her good luck will not last.

But Susan has a talk with Roy, Miss McClusky’s boyfriend, who is played by Orson Bean of Dr. Quinn fame.  Roy tells Susan about when he was in the war, and a friend of his died, whereas he lived.  Roy asked his commanding officer why, and the commanded officer replied, “Why ask why?”  Roy told Susan that she shouldn’t ask “Why?” when it came to her lucky streak, but she should enjoy it while it lasted.

I’ve thought about these sorts of issues before.  Yesterday, for some reason, I was appreciating the fact that I was able to walk.  But I was reluctant to thank God for that because that would make me ask why there were people in the world who are not able to walk.  Also, I wondered how I could be secure that my current blessings would last.  But why ask why?  I can enjoy the good things that I have now, while they do last.  And, whether I thank God or not, I can tell God about my joys, not only my insecurities and concerns.

3.  Andrew has joined Alcoholics Anonymous, and so he feels a need to make amends to people whom he has harmed.  Early in the series, Andrew accidentally ran over Carlos Solis’ mother, and Andrew and his mother, Bree, have been hiding that from Carlos for years.  Andrew finally tells Carlos what he did, as part of his AA program, and Carlos is livid.  When Bree tries to intercede for Andrew—telling Carlos that Andrew got his alcoholism from her—Andrew says to his Mom that this is between him and Carlos, and that his Mom cannot bail him out forever.  As Bree watches her son and Carlos reconcile from a distance, she tells Gabby that she is proud of her son.  Andrew has come a long way from the conniving, self-centered jerk that he was in the earlier seasons.  I think that Bree expressed a sentiment held by many parents: they want to help their children, and yet they are proud of their children when they take responsibility for their own actions and achieve some measure of independence.

I need to note that not everything is rosy, for, at the end, Carlos ended his friendship with Bree—telling her that neither he, nor his wife, will ever speak to her again.  For Carlos, Andrew was a kid, but Bree was an adult, who was wrong to hide Andrew’s deed from Carlos.  It will probably be a hard road before Carlos forgives Bree, for Carlos loved his “ma-MA.”  But I think that he will eventually do so, for my impression is that he is essentially a good-natured person.

4.  After Carlos learns that Andrew ran over his mother, he tells his wife, Gabby, that she never liked his Mom in the first place—that Gabby always resented his mother’s continual interference.  And one of the episodes in the earlier seasons had a good scene about that: Before Gabby and Carlos got married, they signed a pre-nuptial agreement, as Carlos’ mother stood nearby and supervised the whole event!

But Gabby responded to Carlos that, while she indeed resented the constant interference by Carlos’ mother, she came to understand it after she herself had children (which was not the case when Carlos’ mother was still alive).  Gabby wanted the best for her kids—she desired to protect them—and she realized that this was why Carlos’ mother had interfered so often.  I think that’s part of growth: understanding where someone else is coming from, even when we may not like his or her actions.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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