This final season of Desperate Housewives — and I still can’t live with the knowledge that this is the absolute final season — has had me grinding my teeth in frustration, or at least something bordering on outrage. It seems like the creators are determined to bring out the best and worst in the characters for the big throw-down. Susan’s usual airheaded, trying-too-hard, hangdog demeanor turned into outright brainlessness; Gabrielle’s lack of moral compass became a full-on refusal to accept responsibility for her actions, and Lynette’s overbearing pushiness still failed to teach her anything at all.
But perhaps the most outrageous shift of all has been Bree’s total meltdown — literally. It’s as though she’s sunk into a vat of boiling Oil of Olay and reemerged as the neighborhood bicycle, falling back into her old alcohol addiction, picking up bizarre men in dive bars and — quel horreur! (only to her neighbors) — giving them fond farewells on her front stoop.
Thank God it’s all come to blows in the latest episode, when Gabrielle, Susan and Lynette are forced to see that their self-absorbed, self-serving ways that had made them throw away a friendship aren’t going to win them back that friendship just because they feel guilty about shutting Bree out.
Gabrielle: How the hell could Renee take her out drinking?
Susan: Doesn’t she know Bree’s an alcoholic?
Lynette: I have known Renee a long time, and she’s not exactly what you’d call a detail person.
Susan: Well, at least this helps explain the way Bree’s been acting lately.
Gabrielle: I don’t know. There’s not enough booze in the world to justify the skeazes coming out of that house!
Lynette: How could we not know this?
Gabrielle: Because we’re not speaking to her. You know, because of what she did.
Lynette: I was so mad, I thought I’d stay mad a long time. But now, knowing that she’s hurting —
Gabrielle: Just seems mean.
Susan: I miss her. I miss us being us. So whatever happened, we need to put it behind us and go help Bree.
And finally, after seven and a half seasons, Bree had her finest hour (or two minutes).
Gabrielle: Wow. Booze, loose morals, and now swearing? Too late, there’s no Bree left.
Bree: Why are you in my house?
Susan: This is an intervention, Bree.
Bree: An intervention? You’ve got to be kidding me!
Lynette: We’re your friends. We want to help.
Gabrielle: Talk to us, sweetie. Why are you behaving like this?
Bree: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Lynette: It’s not like we can’t see what’s going on.
Susan: We know you’re drinking again.
Gabrielle: And what about all those men? We know about that too.
Bree: Wow, can’t hide anything from you girls, huh? Did you also know that I tried to kill myself?
Bree: Oh, my God! How did that little nugget of information slip past my nearest and dearest friends?
Susan: If this is a joke, it’s not funny.
Bree: It’s not a joke. I checked into a motel room with nothing but a bottle and a gun. And you’re wrong, Susan: it is funny — funny — that the women standing here before me, professing to be my supportive friends, are one of the reasons I was in that motel room.
Gabrielle: Bree, stop.
Bree: No! Don’t give me this friends nonsense! All I ever was to you was the organizer, the problem-solver, the leader, when you needed one. Which is exactly what I was that horrible night, when we buried your stepfather.
Gabrielle: And I was so grateful for that.
Bree: Liar! All of you — liars! Because as soon as it got rough, as soon as there was any trouble, it all became my fault, and off you went!
Lynette: We had no idea. I wish you had told us.
Bree: Oh, I tried. But even when I came to you to apologize, you slammed your doors in my face.
Gabrielle: OK, fine, you’re right. We did, we screwed up. We let this pull us apart, but that’s not going to happen again.
Susan: Because no matter what you think, we love you, Bree.
Lynette: We’ll do whatever it takes. We just want things to be back the way they were.
Bree: Well, I don’t.
Now I know why I love Bree so much.