This Gay Week in Television

Dana Delany and Marcia Cross have put the spark back into Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty keeps getting more and more gay (Victoria Beckham guest starred … hello!) and Dirty Sexy Money benefits from trans actress Candis Cayne and the smoldering hot Eddie Cibrian.

As Hollywood writers continue to strike and the fate of our favorite TV shows hangs in the balance — ladies longing for Bonnie Sommerville’s long touted lesbian affair on Cashmere Mafia will have to wait longer now as the strike as forced that show into a holding pattern — we begin the fast moving wind down into what will ultimately be an indefinite rut of reruns.

While picketing writers slam Ellen DeGeneres for crossing the lines — though recent reports suggest she’s not performing any scripted material — and actors do their best to support the writers, the networks begin to burn off what shows they have in the can. And I can honestly say that, for the first time in years, it’s a particularly bad time for much of anything on television to be put on hiatus because television — yes folks, I’ll say it — is good. Really good.

Take Desperate Housewives for starters. This time last year I had all but kissed this show goodbye. Marcia Cross was the size of a balloon with twins and when the at-risk pregnancy forced her to vacate the show early and take to her bed, we were forced to stare at the back of some drag queen’s head for two episodes while they explained Bree’s disappearance. Tres gay Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom) was all but shoved back into the closet so he could play good boy while mom ran amuck. And as much as I loved Dixie Carter’s multi-episode turns as the mother in law from hell, the idea that she’d render her own so comatose, slip him a Viagra and force him to impregnate his ex wife was far fetched — even on Passions I’m not sure I could have swallowed that storyline.

But this season they are cranking out the hit storylines like fireworks. Bree is back to her sadistic best. This past episode, the devout Catholic wasp crashed a Bris to have the daughter she’s raising as her own (it’s really her grandkid) circumcised behind her hubby’s back while Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) has been handed the keys to the kingdom, getting to camp it up as she sneaks around with ex-hubby Carlos behind new hubby’s back … and for those of you who watched this week, you know that doesn’t end well.

Andrew’s back to being good and gay. To cover up a lie, Bree made him spend Halloween as Cher and we’re told in the coming weeks she attempts to fix him up with her gay contractor. And with two gay neighbors moving on to the street, things on Wisteria Lane are suddenly a whole lot bitchier (and, as a side note, Tuc Watkins looked damn hot on Halloween as Aladdin).

The most solid addition this season is Dana Delany. The actress Marc Cherry originally courted to play Bree has sent Wisteria Lane into a tailspin as the new neighbor on the block. Brilliant as Cross is, I can totally see why Cherry thought of Delany for Bree. Truth be told though, her Katherine Mayfair is a damn nice consolation prize. Shrouded in mystery, this is one bitch I wouldn’t cross.

Ugly Betty continues to deliver the goods, and this week’s wedding spectacular was about as gay as the show could possibly get (well, save for last week’s Wicked musical extravaganza). Posh Spice as the maid of honor, daring to out diva Wilhelmina (Vanessa Williams). Unfortunately for Posh, such wicked behavior got her locked in a broom closet.

Mucking it up with the guests, Marc (Michael Urie) tried on a cloak of jealousy in XL while his new boyfriend Cliff (David Blue) shaved, showered and slapped on a Prada suit only to get caught up in convo with a gorgeous straight waiter. Marc, refusing to see reason, dumps Cliff only to get talked into his arms by none other than Amanda (Becki Newton). On the subject of her, in the episode’s splashiest moment, Amanda — still trying to milk whatever 15 minutes of fame being Faye Sommers’ daughter gets her — entertains a bored wedding crowd by busting out her best moves with a rendition of “Milkshake”.

But the evening’s gayest moment of all, Wilhelmina, lamenting that Mode may just pull itself out of the gutter, thus dashing any hope she had for her own magazine, offering a shout out to “Danny and the tranny,” never would have flown on network TV five years ago. I guess we really do have Will & Grace to thank.

Likewise, new shows are really stropping up to the plate. First and foremost, Dirty Sexy Money. I’d passed on tuning into this show until I found out Candis Cayne had a recurring role as presidential hopeful Patrick Darling’s (William Baldwin) dirty little secret. Maybe not the most flattering role for the only trans actress currently on network TV, but Candis’ Carmelita really seems to have it together. She takes shit from no one, looks fierce in some stylish frocks and, even in the face of paparazzi attention, seems to hold it together.

Fans of the male physique got a real treat this week when Eddie Cibrian dropped by for what’s expected to be an extended cameo. He looks every inch as abalicious as he did in But I’m a Cheerleader and, this time around, given how his character was introduced — as the loves to be naked, soon-to-be ex of the show’s resident Blanche, Karen (Natalie Zea) — I think we’re going to be getting lots more.

Folks who, like me, were waiting on pins and needles to see if Damages would be picked up for another season can breathe a huge sigh of relief: It’s been picked up for not one, but two. Glenn Close will go on fucking with the minds of her colleagues and clients for 26 more glorious episodes. And given the surprise twist near the end of this season, something tells me the show will continue to have a gay sensibility. And if not, the feline way in which Glenn eyes her female pray can continue to get us hot and bothered.

Just a few highlights for those of you trying to figure out what to sink your teeth into as sweeps month gets underway. More highlights next week as I’m sure I’ll stumble on something else good and filthy to enjoy.

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