Robin, the stripper from Karl's gentlemen's club, is now living with Susan and Mike, and she's managed to shake things up in a major way on Wisteria Lane. In an episode devoted to Robin and the different ways she's affected all the women on the street, we see once again that most of the "Desperate Housewives" are pretty horrible people, and you're glad you don't live on their cul-de-sac.
But it's a difficult thing to take five -- six if you count Karen McCluskey -- different women, bring them into contact with another, and somehow advance their plotlines or draw out their character. "Desperate Housewives" fell flat in all but one of the plots. Instead the writers simply ended up cranking out the same old cliches -- Susan is jealous of Mike's interactions with women! Lynette needs to be in control of her family! -- and mostly spinning their wheels.
We all know Lynette has issues, with sex, control, and raising sons. Robin brought those out in public even though she was the innocent party. Lynette and Tom's son Parker apparently offered Robin money to take his virginity, claiming that he was the last of his friends un-deflowered. (Says Lynette: "We've seen your friends. Trust me, Pimples, Braces, and Beam-Me-Up Scotty are not getting any.") As further proof of how different Lynette and Tom are, when they confront Parker, Lynette hands him a lecture, while Tom hands him more money to up the offer to Robin. And of course, it all ties back to Lynette and Tom's own sex life, with Tom claiming that Lynette too needs monetary reimbursement -- an anniversary ring -- to get excited about sex.
Naturally, Susan's plot revolves around her insecurity about Mike. She finds out Robin can give him physical things that she can't -- massages and other offerings -- and throws a fit. Of course it's not Mike she takes her anger out on, but Robin. We get it. Susan is a jealous harridan who hates women, and only took Robin in because she thought it would make her look good.
Gaby's plotline with Robin also showed Gaby's insecurities, this time about Carlos' niece, sexy Ana. Gaby wants to separate Ana from Danny Bolen, and the only way she knows how is to get Ana a modeling job in New York. But Ana won't go without Danny, so when Gaby finds out Robin has her own sob story of how she fell on the road to success and ended up stripping, she has Robin share the tale. It works, in that Ana heads off to New York without Danny, but then it fails, when Robin finds out she was used, and spills the beans to Danny.
Hey, remember Katherine? She's back, and the writers still don't know what to do with her. Robin ends up moving in with Katherine and they share a girls' night out and some bonding over being the two most-whispered-about women on Wisteria Lane. But when Robin plants a kiss on Katherine to dissuade two dorky guys in a bar, you knew it wasn't just for dramatic effect. And sure enough, later, Robin confesses that she dates women, and Katherine finds herself just a little bit interested. Oh, because lesbian storylines have worked so well on this show in the past, except, never.
The only housewife whose interaction with Robin didn't feel stilted and sad was Bree. When the wound-too-tight caterer has a heart-to-heart with Robin, the stripper reminds her that even if Orson is paralyzed, there are plenty of ways to become intimate. And in an almost touching scene, Bree performs a clumsy striptease for the paralyzed husband she used to hate to the rich strains of Tschaikovsky. She'll never get a job at the Double D club, but in the end, Bree and Orson seemed to have moved closer to each other, advancing their storyline, which is more than you can say for the other women on the Lane.