ColumnsWhat A World

What A World: Desperate Same-Sex Housewives

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All we need is the girl.

By Nancy Ford

Nancy Ford

Let’s begin by saying that unless you are a loyal viewer of ABC’s Sunday night soapfest Desperate Housewives, there’s little point for you to continue through the rest of this article. You won’t get it, it’ll be a waste of your time, and we’ll both end up bitter. It’s best that you bail out now. Thanks for stopping by, though; see you next month.

 Dear ABC,

 Wow. I don’t know how to thank you for all the incredible gay-inclusive programming your network has bravely offered in the last few seasons. Instead of being front-page news, it now seems almost de rigueur for a successful television series to feature at least one homosexual character.

 Granted, it was a crushing blow to lose my favorite program, Boston Legal , after five seasons. But how glorious that you chose to end the series by having soulmates Alan Shore and Denny Crane, two men whose love for each other makes David and Jonathan look like a one-night stand, get married! And to each other! Kudos!

 Still, your remaining line-up, especially Sunday’s, is gayer than Christian Siriano at a fabric store clearance sale.

 Your Sunday night anchor, Desperate Housewives , features a delightful storyline with the rigid Bree Van De Camp’s gay son, Andrew, and his doctor partner, Alex. And the neighbors, Bob and Lee, portray gay men so objectively, so matter-of-factly, it seems almost inconceivable that just a few short years ago advertisers were pulling revenue from Roseanne because of that comedienne’s infamous kiss with Mariel Hemingway. My, how times have changed.

 The writing, familiarizing us with these non-heterosexual characters, is intelligent, sensitive, witty, and realistic. Thanks for that.

 Amid my appreciation, I have but one nagging question: where are the lesbians?

 Would it kill you to write in one— just one? —character who is a gay woman, one who isn’t played for stereotype, like the writers of Will & Grace were prone to do? And thanks, but casting Lily Tomlin in a sparsely recurring role just doesn’t cut it.

 There are myriad ways to introduce some woman-on-woman action into the mix. It could be something as bland as Susan’s daughter Julie returning home from college with a new girlfriend. Or maybe Gaby’s beautiful lesbian cousin Papi from East L.A. could move in to help the Solises with those annoying children.

 Or, whether Edie’s creepy husband, Dave, is incarcerated or re-institutionalized or simply spontaneously combusts as a result of sheer creepiness, his impending exit offers a creative way to introduce a lesbian character to your show. Maybe Edie could rebound into the arms of a lesbian plumber apprenticing with Mike.

 Or how about finding a new “friend” for Susan? After asserting her newly found independence from men, she is what some of my more jaded friends of olde might call “ripe for the pickin’.” Send her to a Pride Parade with Andrew or Alex or Bob or Lee and hook her up at a lesbian bar. What a wonderful way to end DH ‘s fifth season: with Susan speeding away on the bitch seat of a dyke’s bike.

 What with The L Word bidding us bye-bye after this season, and the teasey now-you-see-the-lesbian-now-you-don’t thing on Grey’s Anatomy , your gay female television-viewing audience desperately needs to be tossed a bone.

 It didn’t occur to me just how desperately I had been seeking a new pop culture role model until one Saturday last month when a friend and I were having lunch. My friend’s excitement spilled out onto my crab cakes like a gush of tartar sauce as she shared seeing a news report that not only revealed that hottie septuagenarian, Dame Judi Dench, had come out, she was also having an affair with a 31-year-old DJ. The story said the two had been spotted making out in an alley after the DJ had given ol’ Judes a lap dance in da cluuub, and then got into an altercation with Patrick Stewart for rubbing up on her bee-atch.

 “Yes! Tell me more!” I panted, a squeeze of lemon juice hitting me in the eye.

 My friend further shared that Lady Dench also got busted for DUI while in the car with Angela Lansbury and Maggie Smith. And then Judy flashed her nu-nu at paparazzi while getting out of her SUV.

 Yes, I believed all this to be true. Even the story’s inclusion of Lady Dench’s 112-year-old alcoholic father’s disapproval didn’t sway me.

 It wasn’t until the next day—a full 24 hours later!—that it finally occurred to me that maybe, just maybe this story was too, too juicy to be true. A quick log-on to theonion.com revealed that DJD’s lurid coming-out tale was a satirical fantasy based, of course, on the true-life exploits of Lindsey Lohan.

 Was my face red! You’d think a wizened old woman like myself would have been at least a bit skeptical at the DJ part. But no. I fell for the whole silly story, hook, line, and desperate sinker.

 So please, ABC. Please give us another reason to watch your exemplary program. Throw me a desperate bone. In exchange, I promise to give you a full hour of my undivided attention, every Sunday night.

 Until football season starts again.

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