Tune in, switch off - They're desperate and fruity

15th May 2009 at 01:00

I can't believe the thought police let Desperate Housewives through. Even the title puts the cause of women's liberation back a century. I mean, what is a housewife, for feminism's sake?

Gabrielle certainly has some ideas. In the episode called "A Spark. To Pierce the Dark" she rips off her clothes the moment weary husband, Carlos, returns from work, enticing him into the bedroom for some action. Only he tells her that "little Carlos" isn't ready. This is the wrong answer.

Big Carlos, desperate for a way out, pretends he wants "the spicy menu" after all and ties her to the bed. Once secured, he leaves, taking his shy little friend with him. Marriage counselling or murder have to follow.

Edie's death is even more dramatic. Half strangled by husband Dave, she drives off into the night, only to hit the proverbial tree. But strangulation and a major car crash aren't enough to knock out a Wisteria Lane resident.

As she steps out of the wreckage of the car into a flash flood, she's electrocuted by a fallen power cable. Cue lightning and dramatic music.

But you still can't put a desperate housewife down. In the next episodes, Dave has only his gun to cuddle and Edie appears larger than death as her five friends each recall a story from her life to fill in the time on the four-hour journey to scatter her ashes. Well, it's original. Actually, it's not - Chaucer used the technique more than 600 years ago in The Canterbury Tales. The only difference is that his plots were incredible. On reflection, make that no difference.

But Desperate Housewives is at least worth watching for the jibes. Even the Vicky Pollards in my school would find it hard to beat these taunts: "When you jump up and down the room moves more than your boobs." Ouch! And friend to apparent friend: "The upside of small boobs is that they're real." I'm making no comment.

Teachers of PSHE will find more moral issues here than in any set of curriculum guidelines. For example: "He's committing adultery; I'm getting laid." That's an ethical dilemma for an RS class. As is: "I love him enough to let him hate me." Discuss.

In assembly, you could look at the fact there are friends with a little f and friends with a big F. But they all screw you up in the end. That's screw with a big F by the way.

After three episodes, it was a relief to turn to something normal. In My Life as an Animal (BBC3), a group of intrepid volunteers learns more about animals by living as they do. This episode it was dogs.

Ed, on all fours, tucks into his meal, complaining that there is too much jelly on the meat that he has to eat to get to the biscuits. That's dog biscuits, not custard creams.

In his final day as a dog, his challenge is to sleep with the dogs. It's not what you think. Watch out for when they turn this surreal reality TV on its head, with My Life as a Human or even Desperate Dogs.

Ray Tarleton is principal at South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton, Devon.

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