Desperate Housewives

Season 6 Episode 16

The Chase

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 28, 2010 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
262 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Celia comes down with the chicken pox, and having never had it herself, Gabrielle must keep her distance, so she stays with Bob and Lee for a while, and is suddenly reminded of what it feels like to be "single" again. In the meantime, Tom and Lynette forget little Penny's birthday, which leads the girl to go missing. Bree hires a promising new employee (guest star Sam Page) and Katherine makes a surprising discovery about herself. Meanwhile, Susan worries that Roy might want to cheat on Mrs. McCluskey, whereas Angie grows concerned over Danny's disappearance.moreless

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  • Housewives is having a right gay old time this week; we're everywhere, botching up previously functioning catering businesses, seducing supposedly heterosexual single ladies and spilling out of detached suburban homes in the wee hours.moreless

    Desperate Housewives is having a right gay old time this week; us h***s are quite literally everywhere, botching up previously functioning catering businesses, seducing supposedly heterosexual single ladies and spilling out of detached suburban homes in the wee hours, drunk on cocktails, gossip and super fabulous exfoliation dahling. On the one hand, such prominent visual presence is significantly encouraging; in effect, the show normalises queerness, treating it in the same off-hand, 'as is' style as its somewhat 'straighter' motifs, which egalitarianises the sexualities and avoids a sense of 'us and them'. However, this argument doesn't account for the nature of the representation, and for all 'The Chase' has some positive and healthy things to say about gay sexuality, it tends to rely far too heavily on convention and stereotype.

    While it is certainly pleasing on the eye to have Andrew back in play, albeit with a five o'clock shadow that would put Jack Bauer to shame, his storyline effectively reinforces a number of common misconceptions about both gay men and their ability to participate in functioning, loving relationships. The strand is hampered by nature of the relationship between Andrew and Alex. The first we ever saw of the two, in season five, was when they sprung their surprise coupling on Bree and Orson and then, within the space of a dinner, announced their engagement. This sudden revelation, while providing a nice momentary jolt to the narrative, prevented the viewer from ever being able to invest in their paring, from giving a tinker's cuss about whether their marriage would actually come to fruition. Subsequently, we've barely seen anything of them since the story took a decidedly different turn and their relationship turned into a springboard for the delineation of the changes to Bree's character and her difficulties with Orson. The homosexual element served only to progress the hetero, and once completed, disappeared off our screens completely.

    Now, Andrew's suddenly sleeping with the innocuous Tad and jeopardising what he has with Alex, but it's so throwaway that it barely even seems to matter. The plot doesn't afford this development any real significance; there is simply no gravitas to it as its sole purpose is to provide convenient fodder for the furtherance of a patently ridiculous narrative involving some random, woolly-jumpered creep whose mission to become Bree's surrogate son involves severely discrediting the one she actually bore. It isn't even conveyed as being particularly objectionable: for all Bree raises the issue of Alex, Andrew brushes the accusation of adultery aside, excusing his behaviour as a result of drink and, laughably, peer pressure and raising the small matter of Bree's own infidelity. Nothing is challenged here, and you can guarantee that we will see no repercussions in the weeks to come (since Shawn Pyfrom's probably fulfilled his ten minutes of screentime for the year by now), so this casts an air of superficiality over Andrew's marriage, reinforcing the idea that this is perfectly standard behaviour for us homos and even potentially acceptable. Instead of pratting about with some hopeless caricature of a character who has about as much depth as my old paddling pool, the story would prove far more rewarding if the onus was on the implications that all of this had for Andrew and Alex's relationship.

    Similar problems impact upon the success of Bob and Lee's first actual story in about three seasons. Firstly, their involvement is solely the result of an unfortunate development in the Solis household, so inevitably, the focus is on the impact for her character and how getting a taste of the 'single'/childless life has a dramatic impact on her, turning her (once more) into a selfish, self-absorbed socialite. This trope probably constitutes about 85% of the narratives into which Gabrielle has found herself entrenched in the six year duration of the show and consequently, it's about as interesting as the bacterial infection in my granddad's big toe. A far more rewarding storyline would have been to concentrate squarely on the impact that Bob and Lee's proposed lifestyle change has on their relationship, especially since we know so little about these characters that they're effectively blank slates, bursting with opportunity and potential.

    Sadly, however, the Housewives writing staff choose to let them remain ciphers for the vast majority of their narrative, exhibiting all the hallmarks traits of a conventional, heteronormative perception of gay life. Bob and Lee are super fabulous party animals, whose house is brimming with opulence (because, you know, all h***s have so much disposable income that they just don't know what to do with it other than splurge on excess), overflowing with alcohol (seriously... how much cocktail-concocting material do these boys have?) and is a constant port of call for any and all rampantly queeny, effete and gossip-mongering homos. Lee 'has ten h***s on speed dial' at any given time and can get them to turn up within minutes of suggesting that there might be a social gathering, looking like catwalk models, every one. They have names like Frederico, drive ludicrously posh cars, wear fedoras and gather round their ex-model f*ghag as she's gossipping about her torrid sex life, soaking up every detail like it's the most interesting thing since Angelina split up with Brad. They're hopeless archetypes, the sort of characters that the straight world believes to be indicative of homosexuality and frankly, I expected a whole hell of a lot more from a showrunner who is actually that way inclined himself. Perhaps Marc Cherry's life is more like this, who knows... it doesn't really matter anyhow. What matters is that it's hardly empathetic or welcoming; if anything, it propagates the perceived difference between gay and straight, setting us apart as entirely different creatures altogether. When the story does come round to providing something of substance - the revelation that Bob and Lee wish to adopt - it's far too little, far too late.

    And then, of course, we have the big one. The one that's got all the tongues wagging. Katherine Mayfair's new-found confusion regarding her attraction to Robyn. Credit where it's due, at least the unusual nature of all of this is actually addressed. It's good to see Katherine approaching her psychiatrist on the issue and being open and up-front with him, and the advice he gives is actually quite pertinent, suggesting tat she is simply distracting herself from her recovery. Unfortunately, sense finds itself shoved out of the nearest window as the narrative progresses and ratings-grabbing takes priority, so instead of simply having moderately amusing, but a little cringe worthy, sexual dreams about Robyn, Katherine actually goes to bed with her instead. Yes, you read that right, Ms Mayfair is actually willing to skip the starter and go straight for the main course, so to speak, diving in (hur hur) with both feet without even the slightest objection. Not for Katherine a kiss, cuddle and romantic meal, oh no, she wants to get down to business, so we end the episode in post-coital bliss (or indeed, regret). There is insufficient of a journey here: essentially, as Robyn starts taking her top because she's spilled wine all over it, Katherine gets all hot under the collar and starts acting like a cat on heat. Well, sort of. It doesn't feel logical enough; it reads more like an attempt to provide shock value, to get the message boards buzzing, and sadly, we've had so little time to invest in the development that it's hard to have any faith that it will amount to little more than a passing curiosity.

    There are other storylines in 'The Chase', ones that don't concern themselves with queer issues, but they certainly don't have the same level of impact. In fact, they're fairly dull by comparison; Angie and Nick's proposed trip to New York is a rather predictable twist, while Susan's incessant pestering of poor Roy to propose to Karen is just about the most useless storyline that she's ever had, full of ludicrous dialogue and unbelievable character decisions (Roy kisses Susan because he 'feels trapped'? Huh? That's just an excuse to give us all a 'memorable' gross out moment). No, the main meat of the hour is everything to do with us gays but sadly, the writers drop the ball in more ways than one. Instead of challenging the viewer and providing valuable insight into our lives, the storylines use their queer motifs in throwaway fashion, perpetrating ridiculous narratives and illustrating a series of distinctly outmoded conventions and stereotypes. There is such potential within all of Housewives' non-hetero characters that this comes as a massive disappointment and sadly, the episode suffers greatly as a result.moreless
  • What was up with that Soap Opera running gag?

    Another enjoyable entry, I really thought 'The Chase' did a good job of connecting the seduction theme of the week. Nothing revolutionary, mind you, but the stories moved well, and everything was consistently 'cute'.

    This might have been the most we've seen of Bob and Lee in one episode in I think maybe ever. Cute lil Celia got the dreaded Chicken Pox, a plot devise in itself, that, in spite of the nature of the illness, was actually kinda cute. Gabrielle having never had it, was shooed out of the house by Carlos. While I admit I was eager to actually see Carlos do some housework on this show (and maybe some parenting), no less entertaining was Gaby's excursions with the gay couple. As fun as it is seeing Gaby adjust to parenthood, this little glimmer back into her old lifestyle was a welcome foray. "Why did she bring 3 suitcases?" "Some of her dresses haven't had chicken pox either"

    Despite the wacky home tutoring, I think we have seen Gaby be a good, sometimes great parent, and so this little vacation from motherhood felt a little earned, frankly. I never worried the story would turn to Gaby maybe not wanting to return home ever (impossible)- in fact, I expected maybe an accident with one of the daughters would send her into 'super-mom' mode and she would rush to their side where she belonged. But the resolution was much more muted: Discovering that party boys Bob and Lee are yearning for the richness of parenthood, Gabrielle was motivated to return home on her own. A nice 'grass is greener' moment for both the guys and for Gaby, who continues to show how much she's grown since season one. The nursery? Munchkin's soccer goal story? Cute and cute. Done and done.

    *Burning question: Does anyone really buy that shallow, self-involved Ana would really make decent breakfast for Gaby's kids?*

    I don't think anything is cuter than McClusky and Roy right now. The most un-boring senior couple I've seen on TV since classic sitcoms of yesteryear. Teri Hatcher didn't really have much to do this episode, but I figure kissing an 80 year old man, is more than enough work for one week's paycheck! Susan pressing Roy into proposing to Karen comes out of nowhere at the top of the episode, and I'm sure won't do much to improve her image to Susan-haters, but it was a cute and funny scene nonetheless- I loved the hearing aid bit, and the high-five was priceless. The plot overall leaves me feeling bittersweet; McClusky has cancer. I'm amazed at how attached I've gotten with her (if this were back in S1, or 2, I wouldn't have cared nearly as much) I'm glad Roy got over his single-swinger issues, and look forward to the wedding with great anticipation.

    Lynette and Tom forgot cute lil Penny's birthday. Like the Solis story, the idea alone was cute enough to make me giggle as I write this. I can't help though but wish they went further with this one. Watching Lynette try to concoct some sort of super-party or gift to make up for it would have been great 'classic sitcom' territory. A missed opportunity, as Lynette is so busy being a b*, she doesn't get to play comedy near as much as she ought to. The wrong name on the birthday cake was the great highlight here. (*for the record, I vote 'Patricia' over 'Polly' for baby names)

    Penny running away was another plot turn I felt came out of nowhere, and seemed a bit rushed to boot. But as usual, Lynette saves the story with a great resolution in the hotel with her daughter. Seeing them laugh and play together (have we EVER actually seen this?) was so cu- sweet. I feel like a broken record gushing over Felicity Huffman week after week, but there it is. I'll make a deal: I'll stop singing her praises, if she stops being awesome.

    I got a kick out of Katherine and Robin's girl time last week, and we got even more of that tonight. Confession: I was never really a fan of Darla on Buffy/Angel. Her softy lofty-voice and vacant expressions just didn't hold up opposite actors with much better screen presence. She showed improvement in the recent Rambo movie. But on DH, she is quite good. She seems genuinely sweet and appears to be smarter than she looks. It doesn't hurt that her body is ridiculous. Like, Jessica Biel ridiculous. A million thank yous to the DH team for continuing to let her run around with as little clothes as possible! I 'bout died with that syrup moment

    ...I digress...sorry. Katherine's sexual confusion is an interesting new direction for the character. But at this point, I'm starting to feel like the creators are having a hard time writing for Dana Delany. It seems like every few weeks they're cooking up something new for her. The daughter, Mike, working with Bree, the nuthouse...her plotlines are all over the place and nothing is consistent. Or she'll be completely absent from episodes. Is nothing really taking? Anyway, delving into lesbianism is something I might have saved for my buddy Julie. Either way, at least this feels like 'controversial Housewives' again.

    I talk about acting/performances/chemistry in my reviews all the time. I'm sorry, but the scenes with Bree and Andrew really made me cringe. They were playing awkwardly against each other, a fault I'm going to rest on Andrew, since I think he's been the worst actor on this show for years. (My Bree is flawless) Whatever the case, these scenes had no heat, nor were they funny (if they were supposed to be). So there's this Tad guy that needs to be fired (cause he's a dolt), but Drew doesn't wanna cause they're F-buddies. Cue Sam, a new and young business-savvy hotshot who is ready to help Bree take her business to the next level. Now THIS is interesting. Stalker? Could he have some sort of psychotic disorder? I got the impression he thinks he could be a better "son" to Bree than Andrew. But ya know what? Based on what I've seen, I say why not? lol. Who is he really? What is he up to? This kid has provided more intrigue in 3 scenes than the Bolens have all season. Speaking of which...

    Angie and Nick discover Danny jetted off to NY. Angie freaks, and we get an idea that Danny is now 'exposed' and could be in danger of being found by whoever the hell is after these crazy folks. Look. I like Angie. And as slow as this plot is going, it's still more interesting than the 'nothing ever happened' plot with Dave last year. But this 'one piece of info a week' strategy needs to be squashed. I demand something significant happen. Right now. And...go:moreless
  • The Chase

    Not a classic by any means, but a funny episode of Desperate Housewives tonight. We finally saw the show venture into lesbian territory and while it is not as bad as Grey's Anatomy's two lesbian affairs, this is still so far beneath this show. This is the best they could come up with for Katherine?

    I'm not sure if I like Bree's new employee either. We have already seen the Bree/Andrew drama from every angle imaginable and I just do not know how much more life there is to that.

    As for Gaby, her storyline was enjoyable tonight, and gave us a feel good moment when she decided to return home to see her family of her own volition. Nice, harmless, one done storyline there.

    As for Roy and Karen, this is actually the most entertaining relationship on the show right now. Marc Cherry already said Karen will never be killed off, so I am not sure what the point of this cancer is, especially since they just did it with Lynette two years ago.moreless
  • Some interesting connections make this an episode that pushes the season along.

    After some "filler" eps, we get one that really pushes things along. First, the Gabby plotline was unique, showing once more her independent spirit as she enjoys "single" life again. But the stuff on Bob and Lee wanting a kid was really moving and great how it shows that, despite herself, Gabby is a good mother at heart. The Lynette/Penny plot was unique as well with her forgetting her own daughter's birthday but I liked how she told Penny how the women would have the power in the household for the first time. On the Bree storyline...geez, you'd think by now Bree would have a radar for sinister people getting into her life but the revelation of Andrew's affair was a twist I didn't see coming. The Mrs.McClusky plot was funny with Susan urging the proposal on but then serious with Karen's diagnosis and good to see it paving the way for a true engagement. And then we have the Katherine/Robin stuff which was really moving and I truly see these two as a fun couple. So it looks like the season is kicking up more (such as the Bolen plotline) so we hopefully can get more amazing twists to come.moreless
Richard Gilliland

Richard Gilliland

Dr. Brent Avedon

Guest Star

Laura McLauchlin

Laura McLauchlin


Guest Star

Les Brandt

Les Brandt


Guest Star

Julie Benz

Julie Benz

Robin Gallagher

Recurring Role

Sam Page

Sam Page

Sam Allen

Recurring Role

Tuc Watkins

Tuc Watkins

Bob Hunter

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When Detective Aguilar receives a phone call informing her of Penny's whereabouts, the length of the call is too short, and her responses are sequential and not too far apart, there wouldn't have been enough time for the information to get through to her.

    • During Penny's birthday party, after Lynette has screwed up her daughter's name in the cake, she offers to give her a puppy. However, Tom had revealed, earlier on in this season, that Penny is alergic to dog fur. It is unknown whether this was on purpose, to reveal even more of Lynette's forgetful nature as a pregnant woman, or a continuity error.

    • When Gabrielle first moves in with Bob and Lee, Bob wonders why she is bringing three suitcases. When she gets ready to leave, however, we see her carrying only one.

    • Continuity: When Tom and Lynette are discussing names for their new baby, Lynette mentions she wants to name her Polly. During a flashback in the second season finale, however, Lynette said she hated the name Polly while they were naming a newborn Penny.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Bob: So Gaby is just stayin' a couple of days, why did she bring three suitcases?
      Lee: She said most of her dresses haven't had chicken pox either.

  • NOTES (3)


    • Episode Title: The title of this episode comes from a song that was cut from the Stephen Sondheim musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.