During last night's season premiere of "Desperate Housewives," when Susan (Teri Hatcher) announced that she was going to help pull her husband Mike out of debt by selling the "really cool handmade jewelry she'd been making," I knew I was in for something good. Sure enough, Susan, who is an art teacher, pulls out several trays of oversized baubles to display for her Wisteria Lane cohorts in Lynette's kitchen just scenes later. Dubiously, the others examine the too-large necklaces and earrings while trading sideways glances. Bree jokes that she'll buy Gaby a pair of huge earrings because "her Latino ears can handle them," and Gaby retorts that she's buying Bree a bulky necklace to wear around her "sturdy Protestant neck." Oblivious as ever, Susan blithely regales her friends with the story of how she set up a table at the park to market her wares. Yet the climate of bitchiness hasn't reached its full pitch until Lynette's old college friend Renee (played by guest star Vanessa Williams) bursts into the room and starts sparring with Lynette. Ever the peacemaker, Susan urges them to stop before someone gets hurt. Right on cue, Renee asks Lynette if things have gotten so bad that she has to resort to wearing the earrings her kids made her at summer camp, leaving a crestfallen Susan to plaintively utter that too late, someone already did (get hurt, that is).
I know this little tableau was designed to make Susan appear as naive and dippy as ever. And I did think it was funny. Yet as a fellow jewelry creator and peddler, I also felt a little stung. Of course, I'm usually commiserating with Susan over something or other. I can't not, what with her being to "Desperate Housewives" what Betty White's Rose was to "The Golden Girls." (If that left you in the dark, then I should interject that I'm wont to spout off my enthusiasm for all things Golden Girls and Betty White at random intervals.)
It must be mentioned that Susan endures far worse than snide remarks about her handmade jewelry in this season's inaugural episode. By the end of the show Mike is talking about going off to Alaska to work on an oil rig to earn enough to repay his creditors. Understandably alarmed by this prospect, Susan abandons her jewelry enterprise in favor of the far more lucrative gig of doing housework in her lingerie on the Internet. Which is very depressing. But that's another post for another day.