The Regularly Scheduled TV Show Blog

Monday, October 03, 2005

The West Wing 7.02, Desperate Housewive 2.02: The "Mommy Problem" and Issues Actually Involving Woman.

With the season premieres over with, it's now time to focus on the meat of this season's story lines for the Sunday shows.

The West Wing starts off from the continuing plot line about the White House leak about a non-civilian space shuttle, aka a military space shuttle. President Bartlet announces that the internal investigation being done by the White House will cease and cooperate with Congress' investigation per the request by the White House counsel's office. This announcement will be the driving force of the actions done throughout the episode and become the primary focus of the Santos(D) campaign for President. This story line is a straight mirror of the current White House CIA leak investigation that is occurring in Washington at the moment. This is just another example of The West Wing and its ability to steal whatever really happens in real life and copy it for its own story lines.

With the new focus of the campaign on national security, Josh Lyman tries to restrain Santos from making a comment on the issue because of the "mommy problem". The "mommy problem" is when an issue is about national security or the military that they will more likely vote for Republicans, or the daddy. On the other hand, if the issue is about job employment, Medicare, and the economy they will be more likely to vote Democrats, or the mommy. In this case, Santos will have a "mommy problem" about the issue even though he has a military service record of over 25 years, while his opponent, Vinick(R), has no military background. This will push Josh into forcing policy issues out to the reporters in an attempt to kill the national security issues. Unfortunately, the story about a White House leak is too strong of a story and the issue remains as the primary focus of both the reporters and the episode.

This is when the Santos campaign is given a gift in the form of a letter, a letter from the Army Reserve to report for his annual two day training exercise. Santos graduated from Annapolis, joined the Marine Corps as a pilot for 25 years, and is still in the Army Reserve, but this record still isn't enough for the "mommy problem" he has being a Democratic nominee. Luckily, this training will give him great press in respect to his polling in national security and the military. Unluckily, it is learned by the campaign that Santos has a tendency to postpone or skip his annual training, oh about 41% of the time, and making his current training exercises a press day will become a negative to the campaign instead of a positive. Their early Christmas ends even earlier and their "mommy problem" continues.

While these events of the issue play out, Josh is found rather lacking in a top-tier staff to help during the campaign. At a Democratic media meeting, a feisty media consultant, Louise "Lou" Thornton (Janeane Garofalo), impresses Josh in her ability to stand up to him. Josh wants her fresh ideas and media savvy on his campaign, but she doesn't want what he's selling and is quick to shut him down. It isn't until Josh says "I'm just asking you to meet with the future President of the United States" is she convinced to have a meeting with Santos. At the meeting, Santos is impressed by Lou's honesty when she tells him that his appearance to the public is non-existent because although he is likeable they just don't know what he stands for. This pushes Santos to finally make a statement to the press in support of the White House closing its investigation and to attend his Reserve training instead of canceling it.

Oh my how this episode of Desperate Housewives had me actually exclaim vocally twice from surprise and/or from extreme hilarity. The show starts off with the revelation that Susan's ex-husband, Karl, is Edie's boyfriend when Susan goes to get the newspaper in the morning and sees Karl down the street doing the same at Edie's house. This is the primary story of the episode, but in the usual case of Desperate Housewives, there generally many, many more in any given episode. In the case of the Stepford wife, Bree, she continues her life post-death of her husband, Rex, and living an unbearable life with his crazy mother-in-law. In Lynette's case, she being the bread winner now means her husband is now the stay-at-home dad that has a two day cleaning system. This means every two days he cleans, and just lets things slide until then. In Gabrielle's life, her husband is being extorted in prison after Gabrielle says in one of their visits how rich he was. Finally, there is more revealed information about the person chained in the basement of the new neighbors, the Applewhites.

Susan's story line brings one of the vocal moments previously mentioned. After Susan learned of her ex-husband's, Karl, relationship to her local adversary, Edie, she further learns that her daughter has known of the relationship all along. It gets worse when her daughter informs her that she's known for all along, which also happens to be all six months and not the one night stand that she thought it was. Luckily, a silver lining gives Susan something else to think about as the relationship only happened after Susan refused to take Karl back after her proclaimed that he made a mistake cheating on Susan and that he still loves her. The conflict between Susan and Edie come at a tipping point when Edie confronts Susan about her relationship with Karl in an attempt to get a rise out of Susan. In response to this, Susan tells how Karl only went to Edie after she refused him and that Karl still loves her and drives away. This infuriates Edie as she skates; yea she was dressed like a 70's disco queen on skates, after Susan and catches up to her during a stop. Edie says she won't let go of the car until Susan takes back what she said. Susan refuses and starts to drive off, when Edie makes a statement that pushes the wrong button on Susan and lets go of the car. In an attempt to continue the argument she didn't want in the first place, puts the car in reverse in order to get back to Edie. Instead, Susan backs INTO Edie and the visual of Edie being run over by Susan's car was just too good.

In Bree's story line about surviving her crazy mother-in-law, Phyllis, we learn about her always needing to be in the limelight by using the grief from Rex's death. In any occasion, Phyllis finds a way to start crying about her son's death and get all the attention on her. This hits a climax, when Phyllis and Bree are out to lunch and Lynette comes by to give her condolences to Bree about Rex's death. Phyllis in her usual form starts her tear factory and gets Lynette's attention, when Lynette asks if she will be alright? Bree stands up, walks over to Phyllis, slaps her, sits back down again and says "She'll be fine". My goodness how that played out, it was pure funny goodness, and made me laugh out loud in real life, or in internet terms "lol irl".

Lynette's story line is far shorter, but provides an equal punch. Her husband's two day cleaning system gets a monkey wrench in its mix when he skips a day and says he'll do it tomorrow. They have a very sad/funny fight when she wants to change the bed sheets that has baby spit on them, but he refuses because the only reason she wants to do it was for the power. They have an angry pillow fight and she concedes by going to sleep on the couch, this is where she finds the solution to her problem when she watches a movie involving rats on TV. The next day she gets a rat from the pet store and lets it lose in the house. When she comes home from work that day, the house is clean as a whistle and the rat did its job in scaring her husband, Peter, into becoming proactive in his approach to cleaning. Unfortunately, she learns that the rat met a rather gruesome death by multiple blows from a blunt instrument and feels slightly guilty about it all. When she takes the trash out that night, she gives a little monologue to the rat about how it served its purpose and saved her marriage and that is much more than any other rat could ever do.

Gabrielle's section of the episode involves her husband, Carlos, being threatened by another inmate unless her girlfriend receives $7000. Gabrielle does as Carlos tells her in order to escape a beating and visits the white trash home of the girlfriend. Once there, she learns that the $7000 is for a breast implant operation that her boyfriend wants her to do, but she doesn't. Gabrielle convinces her not to listen to her inmate boyfriend and takes the $7000 back. On her next visit to Carlos in prison, Gabrielle sees a beaten Carlos. Gabrielle tells Carlos that the girlfriend didn't even want to do the operation and extorts Carlos for control over their bank funds if he wants her to help him. Gabrielle regains control of their money and Carlos saves himself any additional beatings, the girlfriend gets the implants, and her boyfriend is happy, all is well in the life of Gabrielle.

The final information revealed in this episode is about the man in the closet of the basement of the new neighbors. Betty Applewhite, Alfre Woodard, is in a psychiatrist's office taking about her nightmare that prevents her from getting sleep at night. It involves her husband's physical abuse and the time her husband killed her son in a fit of rage. The psychiatrist gives her a prescription for sleeping pills and asks if her husband was ever punished for what he did. She informs him that he got everything he deserved. This may or may not be the same man in the basement, but it does seem like this is the most likely case and that Betty and her son have crafted a personal punishment for their husband/father for the killing of their son/brother. Further episodes should prove to either confirm this or that Betty was just lying to the psychiatrist in order to get sleeping pills and that the true cause of her nightmares is something else.


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