"The Art of Making Art" is the 162nd episode of Desperate Housewives.
Susan is mortified but tries her best to comply when her art teacher, Andre Zeller, asks the students to show up to class in the nude in order to help them create from a point of honesty. In the meantime, Bree serves up some delicious, homemade soup for the homeless at the local shelter, but ends up enticing the local hipsters and pushing out those in need. Gabrielle finds herself without a staff to help set up a school event when her lacadaisical approach to her new job as president of the PTA insults the parent volunteers, and Renee helps a reluctant Lynette get back into the dating pool by taking her to a singles bar. Meanwhile, Carlos finds himself hitting rock bottom when the guilt over murdering his wife's stepfather begins to engulf him.
The camera fades from white into the Scavo living room. From there, it zooms in on Tom and Lynette's wedding photograph. Mary Alice tells us that the couple had followed several simple rules to help keep their marriage afloat over the years.
Lynette is folding clothes and towels in the linen basket as Tom comes up behind her and kiss her neck passionately.
Tom is taking a steaming hot shower. The shower curtain is pulled back and Lynette steps in and the two hug and shower together.
Tom is laying in bed with a stern look on his face - he's angry. Lynette jumps on top of him and the two begin to have sex. Lynette and Tom are at a marriage counselor meeting. The two of them are sitting as far apart as possible from each other on the sofa. "Stop calling it dating," Tom says exhaustively, "it was just dinner with a friend." Lynette makes a snorting sound at his remark, and Tom angrily tells her to stop making that noise. The counselor suggests that Lynette should stop making silly noises and use words to describe how she feels. "You want words? Here's some words - lair, lair, pants on fire," Lynette shouts as she turns to Tom, "I still do our credit card bills...genius!" Lynette knows that Tom has been taking Jane to expensive restaurants and ordering lobster and other fancy meals. Tom explains to the counselor how he didn't go looking for a relationship with Jane and how she lives at the same apartment building complex as him and they got talking one day and how nice she was to him. Lynette exclaims how angry she is about the situation. "You two embarked on this separation without a clear goal in mind," the counselor concludes, "Are you trying to get back together? Or are you trying to find a graceful way to end the marriage?" Tom and Lynette remain quiet, as the two of them refuse to even look at each other. "We don't have to decide this right now. But we do need to lay down some ground rules. For example, are you dating?" the counselor asks Tom. The trio agree that Tom is actually dating. The counselor than asks about sex. "No...not yet.." Tom says sternly. Lynette throws her face into her palms out of anger and exasperation. She tells the counselor that Tom obviously wants to end the marriage but Tom quickly jumps in and explains that he is not giving up and that he hopes the two of them can overcome this. He continues to say how they don't make each other happy anymore and what if there is someone out there who can make each of them happy. "Sounds like you have a lot to consider" the counselor tells them both. "There's nothing to consider. We're cleared for sex. Let the dating begin!" Lynette shouts sarcastically as she pulls on her jacket.
Lynette turns back to Tom and says "And I can't wait to let my boyfriend do that thing I never let you do" before throwing her bag on her shoulder and storming off.
A PTA meeting is being held at the Oakridge Elementary School library. We are told by our deceased narrator that everyone is destined to play a certain role in any group.
Cindy removes a towel off a plate of chocolate cookies and hands then around the group.
The plate is passed along to Melissa, who is too busy talking on the phone to eat any of the cookies and passes them along.
Rachel takes a cookie off the plate, hands it over to another parent, and starts to whisper gossip into her friend's ear.
The camera pans across the room to an empty chair marked with a "PRESIDENT" sign. Gabrielle is the newly appointed PTA president, and she is late for the meeting. Just then, Gaby elegantly walks through the library double doors, waves her purse in the air and exclaims "Hi guys! I know, I'm a little bit late." The rest of the PTA group a stern and serious. They've been waiting for 45 minutes. Gaby explains that she got held up because she went to a spa and had a seaweed body wrap. "So, what's on the agenda here?" Gabrielle says casually, sipping some coffee out of a cardboard cup. Rachel tells her that they need to plan teacher-appreciation night. Gabrielle understands and asks Cindy if she wants to bring the food. Cindy replies with a firm "No." Gabrielle asks around the group of positions the mothers could do, but everyone refuses to do a specific task. "What's going on here?" a confused Gaby asks. "What's going on, is you wasted our time," Cindy replies, "I'm leaving. I have to pick up my kids." Cindy packs up her paperwork into a folder and begins to leave. "I have to get back to my job" Melissa adds, as she folds up her laptop. "I need to take my mother to chemo" adds a cold Rachel. The rest of the group also begins packing up and leaving. Cindy explains how she and the rest of the PTA aren't like Gaby, they have lives, so she can do the teacher-appreciation night on her own. They leave and Gabrielle turns to the only remaining mother and adds "Jeez, talk about selfish!"
On Wisteria Lane, Reverend Sikes is outside Bree's door. He rings the doorbell and waits for it to be answered. Bree promptly answers the door. "Oh thank Goodness you're alive!" Sikes calls out as he makes his way inside. "I'm sorry Reverend," Bree exclaims, "I know I haven't been to church for a few Sundays." The Reverend tells Bree she has missed 5 Sundays and then explains that Helen Johnson has been bringing the snacks to Fellowship Hour instead of Bree. Reverend Sikes takes a seat and Bree joins him, before confessing that she hasn't been feeling 'very spiritual' lately (since Alejandro's murder and the subsequent cover up) and that she doesn't think she is worthy of God's love right now. Sikes tells her to seek out the people in need and she will regain her connection with God. "It always comes back to the needy with you, doesn't it"? Bree jokes. Sikes tells Bree that Ben Faulkner does wonderful work with the homeless and suggests that Bree speak to him about helping out. Bree thanks him and heads off to fetch some freshly baked scones from the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Susan is attending her first art class at the community center being taught by Andre Zeller. Susan is talking to a classmate about how Andre doesn't seem to think that she is a serious artist but she announces that she is going to show him she is. Susan says she is going to take her misery (which turns out to be the fact that MJ didn't say 'good-bye' to her this morning) and use it in her artwork. "I'm using my father's suicide" the classmate tells Susan, as she prepares her brushes. Just then, Andre enters the room and informs the students that they will be focusing on light and shadow. He places an egg on his desk and Susan starts sketching. Andre tells her that the egg is his breakfast. Comically, Susan quickly yanks the paper off her easel and throws it behind her. "You will be drawing the male form" Andre tells the class, as he opens a side door and beckons a young man inside. The man removes his dressing gown. He is completely naked. "Wow" Susan screams excitedly. Her fellow class members all give her a dirty look and she apologizes. "As you're sketching, thing of the human form as an object. What is it that catches your eye?" Andre begins to teach the class. Susan chuckles to herself as she starts sketching. "I want you to pay close attention to which parts of the human body reflect light and which parts cast a shadow" Once again, Susan lets out a loud chuckle and holds her hand over her mouth. Andre walks over to Susan's easel and asks if she's ever seen a penis before and tells her to act professional. "Penis, penis, penis, penis!" Susan chants over and over again and tells Andre she is trying to take the meaning out of it. He moves along and she carries on sketching. Her lips curl up into a smile and she finally gives in and lets out a laugh. Andre gives her a dirty look from across the room and she turns to her neighboring classmate and says "Quick! Tell me about your father's suicide!"
Carlos is sitting on the stairs in his home, looking depressed. The front door clicks open and Gabrielle enters. She asks what's wrong and he explains how he was looking for his cell phone but couldn't go into the lounge because that's where the murder took place and his guilt is too overpowering. "Don't go in that room then. Look! There's the kitchen. No one died in there!" Gaby says, as she yanks at Carlos' arm and drags him off the stairs. Gaby says that seeing as both of them are stressed, she'll pour them a couple of drinks. Carlos declines his wife's offer. He explains that he's already drank loads of alcohol and he doesn't want it to become 'a thing.' Gabrielle tells him that she'll probably end up finishing the whole bottle herself now. And then explains about her problem with the PTA gals and how jealous they are of her. "They are jealous! I know what to do. Thanks for listening." Gaby tells Carlos, before hugging him, and walking off leaving Carlos alone with the alcohol. He picks up the bottle and holds it tightly in his hand.
Bree is having a tour of the kitchen at the homeless shelter by Ben. "What did you do?" Ben asks, "When most people want to give back it usually means they've done something they're ashamed of. You know? Embezzlement, adultery. What's your story?" Bree smiles and adds, "I suppose I could ask you the same thing." Ben smiles back and tells her that he has the good sense not to answer. The two smile as Bree explains how she's been feeling disconnected and wants to give something back. Ben is impressed, but just then his cell phone begins to ring. "I've got to take this, but I'll leave you in the good hands of Donnie here!" Ben points to a large man dressed in kitchen wear. "I am Bree, your humble sous chef!" Bree introduces herself as the pair shake hands. Bree asks what she has to do and Donnie places a large industrial-size can of soup in front of her, along with a can opener and a salt and pepper canister. Bree suggests making the soup from scratch. Donnie is against the idea, but Bree ultimately wins him over by letting him try some of her home-made soup. "Holy crap!" Donnie tells her. "Finally, a blur for my next cookbook" Bree says, smiling.
Back at art class, Andre is angry at the class (although his comments are directly aimed at Susan) for laughing at the naked body. "For our next class we're not going to have nude models... we're going to have nude painters," Andre explains, "Painting in the nude will force you to create from total honesty. If you're serious about being an artist, you shouldn't have a problem with it." Andre approaches Susan's station and she quickly tells him that she doesn't have a problem with it. As he walks away, she looks nervous.
Cindy, Melissa and Rachel (along with a few other PTA moms) all report to the library, where Gabrielle is waiting for them. She apologizes to them for blowing them off for a spa appointment when they have such busy lives. "Message received - loud and clear," Gabrielle exclaims, "To show you, that I've taken your complaint to heart, may I present, my beauty team!" The PTA gals are still not impressed. "Wow, good to know you got our message" Cindy snarls. Gabrielle walks off. Melissa and Rachel both join Cindy's side and ask if they reallyare helping her. "No, we're helping ourselves to a free spa day. Then we're going to leave her twisting in the wind."
At the Scavo's, Lynette is sitting on the sofa, eating ice-cream and on her laptop. The front door opens and Renee prances in. Lynette slams down the lid of the laptop quickly. "Busted!" Renee shouts, "That is a porn slam if I've ever seen one." Lynette is confused, but ultimately tells her best friend that she was just checking her email. "We all look at porn. What are you into?" Renee continues, "Straight, Bi, Solo, Bald guys, fuzzy whiskers, cinnamon cakes, poodling?" Lynette explains how she has joined a dating website and has taken a stab and created an introduction video. She lifts up the lid and plays the video. Once the video has finished playing, Renee closes the lid and adds "That is more disturbing than any porn I've ever seen." Lynette is angry because she told Renee not to judge. Renee says that online dating isn't useful (thanks to the commercialism of PhotoShop) and announces that she is taking her friend to a bar to meet some guys. The two agree to meet up and head for the bar on Friday. Just as Renee is about to leave, she pulls the bowl of ice-cream out of Lynette's hand. "Lay off the ice-cream. There's no photoshop in real life."
The next morning, Mike walks into the kitchen to finds Susan Making breakfast naked. "Susan," Mike starts, "You get upset when I take my socks off in the kitchen. What's going on?" Susan explains that for her next art class she has been told to paint naked and is trying to prove to her teacher that she is a real artist by trying to get used to having nothing on. Mike jokes with her, and a frustrated Susan throws on her dressing gown and sits down to eat her breakfast. Mike apologizes and explains how he was only kidding but Susan says she wouldn't be able to do it anyway because she isn't a 'naked person.' "Maybe I'm not a real artist either," Susan says, disappointingly, "I think I'm just gonna quit the class." Mike tries to encourage Susan not to quit as he thinks it's been helping her deal with the murder cover-up and he is happy that he is finally getting his 'old Susan' back. Susan agrees with him, but decides she needs to learn to be comfortable naked ready for the class. Just then, Lee McDermott knocks on her side door. "Perfect! My best gay!" she says excitingly as she pulls off her robe, revealing herself again. She opens the door and chimes in with a "Good morning, Lee!" Lee is standing on the porch with Bob's mother. Bob's mother's mouth hangs open in shock as she sees Susan, Lee shouts, and Susan shuts the door quickly in their faces. Back inside, Mike chuckles to himself about what has happened. Lee leads Bob's mother away from the door and comically adds "Gay marriage doesn't seem so freaky now, does it?"
At the soup kitchen, Bree is busy serving the homeless her soup, along with Donnie. Bree is happy because everyone seems to love her recipe. Donnie agrees, but points out that she is also attracting the wrong crowd. He nods his head over in the direction of a young man sitting at a table typing away on his laptop. Bree glides over and politely tells him, "Excuse me, but you don't exactly look homeless to me" The man pretends that he is homeless, despite him owning a $2000 laptop. "I live in the box it came in" the man pretends, "Okay, I'm a college student." Bree tells him that he has to leave and she picks up his bowl of soup. He explains that he has written about how much he enjoyed the soup on his blog and how it has been liked and re-tweeted several times on Facebook and Twitter. Bree is happy when she reads his review and heads off to get him a refill. "Oh, and its 'Van de Kamp' with a 'K'"
Mike is busy sorting through his tools in the garage. He struggles to put a big storage box on a shelf. Carlos appears and asks if he can help out. Carlos asks if Susan is around and Mike explains how she is attending a painting class. After a pause, Carlos says he'll drop by later but Mike is against the idea. "Do you need to say something to me, Mike?" Carlos replies. "Yeah, I do," Mike continues, "If things were different, if it were me who killed somebody, and my wife walked in, I would've gone to the cops. I wouldn't have dragged Gaby into it." Carlos says he wishes he could've done things differently that night. "Yeah, well you can't," Mike argues, "But here's what you can do - leave Susan alone. Just let her find a way to deal with what you put her through." Apologetically, Carlos says it's helping his guilt by talking to her. Mike says that it doesn't help Susan and Carlos agrees not to speak to her about his guilt anymore. Carlos walks away, as a frustrated Mike looks on.
Susan is waiting outside the door to her art class. Dressed in a small shirt (It is possbile she is not wearing underwear) and nothing else, she looks dreadfully nervous. She ponders as the door, before pulling off the cardigan and walking to the class naked. She turns around after closing the door to see everyone wearing clothes. She is the only one naked. "Oh my God!" Susan whispers as she grabs a sketchbook off a nearby easel and covers herself. Andre explains that the school didn't think it was suitable for everyone in the class to be naked, and so he subsequently sent an email to all students telling them to wear clothes to the lesson. Susan is angry because she doesn't remember ever being sent an email from her teacher. Andre is confused. Susan explains that he is obviously punishing her for laughing at the naked model last lesson and that he is singling her out from the rest of the class. Susan is getting angry. Andre tells Susan to get dressed and sit down. "No," Susan says firmly, "I signed up for this class to learn something. Not to be a punching bag for an ego maniac with a paint-brush." She announces that she has quit and leaves.
Bree welcomes two students into the soup kitchen. By the looks of things, the soup kitchen has transformed from a place for the needy into a cool place for college students to hang out. Reverend Sikes makes his way through the crowded waiting area into the restaurant, where he is obviously displeased with how Bree has been running the kitchen. He explains that the purpose of charity isn't to make one feel more important, but to help those in need. Bree seems to understand. Sikes continues to explain that since she has turned the kitchen into a trendy place for students, the homeless no longer feel welcome. Bree looks around the room and realizes what she has done. She heads over to a large table, starts clearing up soup bowls and asks the students if they could leave. The students are angry that they're being kicked out and tell Bree that they were the ones who made the kitchen a success. "No, this place is supposed to feed homeless people," Bree explains, "This food isn't for you. Its for the hungry and the poor - the people we walk past everyday." As she makes an emotional speech about how she has ruined the only place the homeless had to go, Ben walks in and overhears. She convinces the students and young people to leave. She turns around and bumps into Ben. She asks for his forgiveness for what she has done. Ben doesn't care. But he is interested in having Bree come to do a speech for him at the city council to help him with a development deal. Bree agrees.
We hear a knock on the door at Susan's. She opens the door - it's Andre. Andre cracks a joke and asks if he can come in. Susan beckons him inside. "I checked my email and you never sent me one" Susan adds. Andre reveals that Susan (like all the other class members) was given a campus email when she signed up for the class. Andre begs Susan to rejoin his class. "Why? So you can abuse me more?" Susan says. Andre explains that he only shouts and yells and makes her paint naked to stop her from being so scared. Susan laughs and reminds him that she showed up naked to his class. "Then you ran away," Andre continues, "Seems to me you do a lot of running away. And nervous giggling. You act like someone whose...you're hiding something." Andre continues, and tells her that he is going to take what she is hiding, and make her use it to better her artwork. Susan is somewhat complimented. Andre then excuses himself and adds "This is about as long as I can last in a room surrounded by ceramic elephants." - He leaves. Susan picks up the elephant and holds it in her arms, embarrassed.
The teacher-parent appreciation night is only a few hours away. The PTA parents have not done any of the work, despite telling Gaby they would. "What are you guys doing? Nothing has been set up!" a flustered Gaby exclaims. The parents all stare at her blankly. "Oh, well, I'm just so relaxed from that massage I'd hate to lift something and tense up again" Cindy chimes, while sipping a cup of coffee. Gaby is angry because she went out of her way to help them. Cindy is exasperated by how out-of-touch Gabrielle clearly is and how a hot stone massage can't sort out her problems. Melissa says that Gaby lives a perfect fairy tale and that she doesn't realize the problems real women go through. Gabrielle gives up, pulls out her cell phone, and begins to phone Carlos. She brags to the girls how she doesn't need their help as her capable husband will come to her rescue. Carlos picks up and Gabrielle explains the situation. Carlos agrees to come and help her out. "Thanks, you're a life saver!" Gabrielle shouts, and looks back at Cindy, Rachel and Melissa deviously. Back at the Solis home, the camera pulls back and reveals that Carlos has drunk the whole bottle of alcohol he was eying up earlier. He is clearly drunk. He puts the phone down and takes a huge swig of the remaining alcohol.
Lynette and Renee are at a local singles bar. The pair walk to the bar and Renee orders two drinks. Lynette feels uncomfortable and says she is going home, but Renee tells her to relax and to pretend as if she's in a candy-store. The bartender passes over the drinks, as Lynette explains how she thought she was done with dating. "It's depressing" Lynette adds, as she takes a sip of her drink. Renee puts down her glass and realizes that it is depressing - especially seeing how she is dating Ben. She has no reason to be at the bar and walks off, leaving Lynette alone.
Back at the school, Gabrielle is trying her best to get the hall ready for the appreciation night. She is reading a manual to the sound system and plugging in different color cables. The system makes a horrible squeaking sound and Gaby yanks the cables out of the sockets. Cindy cracks a snarky joke and the other PTA moms all laugh. "That's hilarious, Cindy!" Gabrielle replies, "You know you should've been a comic instead of a pint-size pain-in-the-ass!" Cindy looks at Melissa's watch and talks about how late it's getting and how Gaby's "perfect husband" hasn't showed up yet. Just at that moment, Carlos enters through the hall's double doors. Carlos is drunk and walks over to Gaby, but trips over some nearby chairs and collapses onto the floor. Cindy and the others stand up, anxiously. Gaby walks over to comfort her husband, but smells the alcohol on his breath and takes a step back. "Oh Carlos, you can't be here like this - you've gotta go!" Gaby whispers, as she looks back at the PTA moms. Carlos insists on helping, as Gabrielle desperately pulls at his arm and pleads and begs for him to leave. Carlos takes a seat on one of the chairs and Gaby looks back at Cindy, clearly shaken and frightened. "Rachel, help Gaby set the sound board up," Cindy orders, "Melissa, Megan, start putting out the food." Melissa originally refuses to help, but after another order, she quickly gets up and dashes off to help. Gaby looks around as Cindy walks over. "It's okay Gaby - we've got it" she says. Gabrielle doesn't know what to say and she shrugs. Cindy takes Gaby's arm and tells her to take care of her husband.
"Hello, I'm Phil," says a dark haired man, "And you're beautiful." Phil takes a seat next to Lynette, who is sitting alone at the bar. Lynette is bashful, but then mentions that she has kids. This puts Phil off, who quickly leaves. Time passes, and we see Lynette building a house of cards at the bar. She is approached by another man. He makes a cheesy joke and his tie lights up. "Can I buy you a drink?", the man asks, "Or are you already lit?" Lynette is put off. He hands her the remote to his tie, and she places it into her drink. The remote sizzles and his tie switches off. Even more time has passed, and Lynette has completed her house of cards. A handsome young man joins her at the bar and asks if they know each other. "Okay, not the most original line, but you're cute," Lynette says quickly as she holds out her hand, "Lynette." The man shakes her hand and finally realizes that she is Porter and Preston's mom. Lynette quickly takes her hand away. The young man turns to the bartender and tells him how Lynette was 'the coolest mom' and how she used to make grilled cheese sandwiches in the shapes of dinosaurs. The man asks what she is doing here, and Lynette lets out a quiet "I have no idea" and retreats outside.
Outside, Lynette approaches a smartly dressed man who is standing by the valet desk. She hands over her card and asks for her car keys. "I don't work here" the man informs a confused Lynette. The man tells her that a gay guy at his office told him vests were back and Lynette laughs and jokes. The two start a conversation about how they haven't been out for so long and how much things have changed. He introduces himself as Scott. The pair discuss their personal lives as the valet worker returns to his post. Scott tells Lynette that she is the first decent woman he has met all night and asks if she'd like to return inside to continue talking. She agrees.
Lynette and Scott are at the latter's apartment. The pair of them have a drink, before Lynette takes a seat on his sofa. "Now what do we do?" Scott asks her bashfully. Scott talks about all the things the pair could do (listen to music, light candles etc.) - but Lynette suddenly jumps on an unsuspecting Scott and the two start to make out. Lynette leans back and Scott begins kissing her chest and working his way down to her breasts. "I have another room I would love to show you" Scott whispers in between kisses. Scott pulls of his vest and dashes off into his bedroom and Lynette waits behind momentarily on the sofa. She spots her wedding ring on her finger tries to take it off. The ring gets stuck and she frantically tries to remove it. She pulls hard, and it eventually flies off and lands on Scott's rug. It gets buried in the rug as Lynette falls to the floor and searches for it desperately. Lynette puts her rear in the air as she searches for the ring and Scott asks if she wants to have sex here. Lynette explains that she has lost her ring and Scott tries to assist her. Scott eventually finds it and hands it over to Lynette. "So," Scott beckons, "Where were we?" He holds out his hand to let Lynette up to continue love making. She glances down at her ringed finger and announces that she can't have sex with him. She explains how he is a great guy but she is hoping to work things out with Tom and doesn't want to do anything she'll regret. Scott understands and he helps her up. She excuses herself and leaves.
The next day, Bree is giving her speech to the city council. Once her speech is finished, the council members erupt into applause. Once the members begin to leave and disperse from the room, Ben approaches Bree and congratulates her and personally thanks her for doing that speech for him. He offers to take her out to see the land he is planning to build on first thing tomorrow morning.
Bree packs up her folder, coat and handbag and leaves the council room along with Ben.
Susan dips her paintbrush into a palette of paint and starts to create a portrait on her canvas. Andre is leaning against the wall behind her, watching carefully.
A stern looking Lynette grabs her and Tom's wedding photo off a side cabinet and holds it tightly in her hands.
Gabrielle is standing over her kitchen sink, coldly pouring bottles of alcohol down the drain. Bree takes several small steps forward. She is standing in a luscious woodland. Her face is serious, yet grief-stricken. Ben walks over and explains how he has finally found the perfect spot for his development. He asks Bree if she's ever visited these woods before and she takes a deep breath. We are shown flashbacks to the night of Alejandro's murder and how the girls disposed of the body in the woods. "Once" she replies eerily. He announces that his men are going to break ground on Tuesday and it's all thanks to her. She turns to him with a fake smile and whispers, "Glad I could help." The camera pans out up high into the trees, looking down on the two and the screen cuts to black.
"The Art of Making Art" was written by Dave Flebotte and directed by Lonny Price. Jonathan Cake (Chuck Vance) and Madison De La Garza (Juanita Solis) are absent from this episode and are therefore not credited, marking the first time in the season "starring" castmembers don't get billed, even if they are indeed absent.
Desperate Housewives scored a 3.0 A18-49 in the key demographic and 9.17 million viewers, the best numbers since the premiere episode this season. The show seemingly benefited from ABC's new pilot, "Once Upon A Time" which aired before Desperate Housewives to a large viewership.The episode received mixed-to-positive praise from both critics and fans. Many complimented Gaby's storyline, but critics disliked Susan's storyline.
Gallery of photographic stills released to promote the episode.
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