Monday , May 20 2024
New shows are coming. Don't fall into the Susan Mayer trap after reliving old disasters.

New Year, New TV Show Choices

I am, on this, the first Monday of January 2010, filled with hope for the future. I am filled with fondness for the past as well, but more so with hope for the future. After suffering through weeks of repeat after repeat (and unlike the summer with very few reality shows to break up the monotony), television is returning. And, if I am right, it will be good. Next week, the third season of Chuck begins, American Idol (which I don't watch) is about to start, and Jack Bauer is about to live the longest day in his life… again. I'm not so much in love with 24 anymore, but I imagine that I'll stick with it long enough this season to feel foolish for having done so.

Last night, we actually started to get some new episodes again as Desperate Housewives did a weird, different, sometimes fun, "what if" episode. Prompted by the plane crash that took place during the holiday episode, some of our housewives last night contemplated how their lives could have turned out differently if they'd only changed one event from it along the way. It's actually an interesting question and one that I think we all ask from time to time (and that we asked even before we saw Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors).

While on the whole I found the episode enjoyable enough, I did have a problem with the way Housewives tackled Susan's what-if. With Karl in the hospital, Susan wondered what would have happened if she had stayed with him through his cheating over and over and over again. The show's basic answer to the question is that she would have eaten herself fat, gotten in shape, and then he would have left her anyway because he knew he was a bad guy.

Some of the moments in the episode veered into the humorous, but the Karl stuff didn't particularly — or, if it did, it didn't work very successfully. Susan in a barely fat suit making eyes at Mike didn't work as funny because she wasn't Monica Geller fat. I found it a little tough to figure out where the show was coming from with that. We got the picture that Susan was eating way too many home-baked sweets (odd because Susan can't cook, but perhaps she learned to try and keep Karl), but that was all we got as her coping mechanism, and with the quantity of cheating Karl was doing, one has to imagine that Susan's caloric intake would be mighty high.

In her ruminations about her possible life Susan came to the conclusion that Karl was a bad guy, was always going to be a bad guy, and that her sticking with him would have been a mistake. Didn't we already know that? Was that actually any kind of shocker? Couldn't we all have told her that before?

As for Bree's contemplating Karl in her what-if, she came to same conclusion as Susan. While that's great – Karl was a bad guy – shouldn't she too have known that? Didn't she watch what it did to Susan when Karl repeatedly cheated? I never bought the Bree-Karl relationship storyline, and consequently am quite happy to see it disappear.

And that sort of brings us back to where we entered this idea – a time for new beginnings. Many of the folks on Desperate Housewives last night realized that they now have a second chance, a new opening in their life and an opportunity to take a different direction. With the coming of a whole bunch of new and returning mid-season shows, we too have that sort of opportunity. It's a powerful thing, and not to be taken lightly. Choose what shows you're going to watch this winter well, because you don't want to end up having to shed those extra pounds like Susan did.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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