Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Charmed: Desperate Housewitches (8.4)

I've talked a lot this season about the general lack of effort that is radiating off this show like expired meat, and Desperate Housewitches is one of the more obvious examples of the show coasting on old stories and pre-existing characterization, as well as cribbing themes from far more popular series. There are a ton of problems with this episode, the largest being a general sense of futility to everything on screen. Whole minutes of time pass by with people just sniping at each other for no discernible reason, while demons just hover around glowering at folks. It's ridiculously vacuous.

Piper's storyline is an empty Desperate Housewives pastiche lifted straight from one of that show's stories in season one, bar all the demon hijinks. The dialogue is painfully self-aware, while the demon angle is hilariously half-assed. The Source was an intriguingly grand and gothic antagonist back in season four, yet his return is a resounding fail. He stands around, yells a little, and is casually destroyed by proxy when Piper blows up the demon that summoned him. He's on-screen for probably four minutes in total, and I still have no idea why this storyline was considered strong enough to run with.

Elsewhere, there's an annoying subplot involving Dex's ex-girlfriend, who is seemingly fine with discussing her sex life with random women she knows for all of ten seconds. The entire Dex arc feels entirely redundant at this point. Even if we didn't know that Jason Lewis is only contracted for two more episodes, the entire story hinges on a premonition that probably won't come true based on past experience with similar visions of the future, leaving Phoebe to pine over some guy she barely knows. That's before you can address the fact that Phoebe is still under the guise of a Bennet sister, and the whole story stinks.

Paige's presence in the story is terrible, and Rose looked tired as hell. Her eyes are all sunken this week, like her latest chemical peel has gone terribly awry. Color me insane because I'm actually missing Alyssa Milano, who barely appears in this episode. There's also some junk involving a vacant Billie Jenkins and a set of flying nunchunks, but let's not go there.

Desperate Housewitches is weak all round, with a shocking lack of new ideas and performances that seem even more stilted than usual. Alana De La Garza was mighty fine, though. F

Crimes of Fashion I love how this show's rapidly dwindling budget ensures that demons are identified as such by wearing chainmail and metal chokers. Remember the good ol' days of make-up and prosthetics? Gah.

Guest stars Michelle Stafford (Mandi); Peter Woodward (The Source); Alana De La Garza (Sylvia); Elizabeth Greer (Possessor); Antonio Jaramillo (Dillon); Philipp Karner (Bob); Jason Lewis (Dex Lawson)
Writer Jeannine Renshaw Director Jon Paré


  1. Great comment about the prosthetics. The whole leather and chainmail thing is ridiculous.

    We're agreed on pretty much all fronts here, especially the whole exploitation of it all. I read a review a while ago about the Source being a good choice for a big bad this season, and I can't say the idea didn't get me wondering, but then again, I seriously doubt the writers could have handled to story with any bit of intelligence at this point. He really shouldn't have come back for this at all. A wasted opportunity. Again.

    Great review of course.

  2. For the first time ever, even Panda and I don't agree. I love this episode I'm ashamed to admit. I don't know if it's because I love Desperate Housewives but I always thought this was a light, fluffy, well done episode and probably my favorite of the season. I really can't explain it but I enjoy the vibe of it all. Yes The Source was defeated in a pathetic manner and I always wished they kept him around longer but I still really like this episode. Go figure.

  3. I contemplated suicide after watching this episode.

  4. Season eight is the year for wacky favorite episodes, if people even have a favorite. Most people say Vaya Con Leos, but... eh. My favorite is towards the end of the year, the one episode that I felt really, really worked. That's all you're getting for now. Heh.

  5. This is the episode that features Paige's infamous line:

    "How did you vanquish him the last time?" referring to The Source.

    One of the more blatant examples that the writer's had no regard for the show or continuity. Even Rose herself failed to correct them that she was actually there the last time.

  6. You're right I can't even process the fact that Brad Kern, a whole crew, and three lead stars, couldn't catch this HUGE mistake! It's really unacceptable! It just goes to show how they all stopped caring about the show by the eight season! A pity.