What the producers of “Secrets That I Never Want to Know” (Desperate Housewives, Season 8), failed to show the audiences was what happened when Tom and Lynette Scavo divulged their secret to their two preteen children.
Imagine you’re married, fully capable of being the primary breadwinner, nonetheless you’ve bartered your 6 a.m. pantsuit and stiletto combo for a 9 a.m. housecoat, crocs and hotcakes value meal. You’re not yourself anymore–half the time feeling lost, other times at a loss for feeling anything whatsoever. Your daily mission: feeding, chauffeuring and disciplining a witty 10-year-old daughter, quarrelsome 12-year-old son and quiet toddler. Not even your stable marriage feels familiar anymore. It took a nose-dive and landed somewhere in the Rockies sometime between your husband’s male post-partum depression phase and learning he and your new neighbor/ex-best-friend/college-roommate had a steamy past. Now, you’re afraid and don’t know who or how to trust; twenty years and six kids later, you realize the marriage is in trouble. Your handsome, workaholic, six-figure winning hubby is willing to put more effort into the relationship with the help of a professional but, you’ve forgotten what it felt like to even be considered worthy. So, you’re numb. You’ve called it quits for now and your kids are tumbling down the stairs, yelling out their breakfast orders. One demanding French toast over the other’s muffled request, your husband speaks over them both announcing,
“Your mother and I need to talk to you about something.”
This is where the cliffhanger left audiences suspended. Viewers wonder if Lynette Scavo will come to her senses and wave the yellow flag. The four of them are seated at the breakfast table, poised for breakdown. While Tom Scavo and his daughter Penny wear their feelings on their sleeve. Lynette Scavo and her son Parker swallow unsettling lumps and make very little eye contact. Day after day, Tom, Lynette and the children struggle to interact with the same honesty, authenticity and openness. Integrity has grown slack as well. Tom’s evening visits with the kids become less frequent. Lynette notices that the children have grown a bit closer to each other, whispering, sighing; they’re guarded around her though. She wonders if they’re just as guarded with Tom. Days become weeks and the children are asking about their father, whom they haven’t seen in the past twenty-four hours. Weeks pass and twenty-four hours eventually become fourty-eight hours; the kids become bitter; the bitterness matures into full-blown resentment. Lynette and the kids hardly speak at dinner; she wonders what Tom has told them. Meanwhile, she’s on her sixth interview this month and has only heard back from one employer whose offer is next to nothing and requires her to work long after the kids are out of school. She finds herself struggling to agree to a schedule with her now ex-husband; who finally signed the divorce papers last week after she agreed to release alimony and retain the family home.
Bree can bake the perfect slumber party desserts, but can’t fill Lynette’s shoes on her daughter’s Sweet Sixteen. Susan can pick them up from school while Lynette’s working late but, can’t warm their souls goodnight like Lynette once could. Gabi may make her look like a better mom on most days. But, what difference does it make when they both kick rocks? Renee’s missing in action and Lynette can’t help but suspect she and Tom have found each other. Months become years and Lynette’s three children are nearly grown; they each opt for out-of-state schools and the family home soon becomes an empty nest, cats crawling and all. The years have carved her face with tear canals and she’s wondering if there’s anything she can do now to make it all better.
At the conclusion of the season premiere, the four friends are seated at a table poolside and Lynette divulges that her marriage has fallen apart. The narrator, the late-Mary Alice repeats,
“It’s only the best of friends that stay around long after the party is over to help clean up the mess.”
Gosh, that’s pathetic! If only Lynette Scavo had more pristine friends ‘cause there’s nothing spotless about her after-party…If only she could have turned to a reliable source of energy during the family breakdown…If only she and Tom had joined hands and began molding and re-shaping their lives together, the broken pieces–love, glued and cemented together, strong again, laced with patience and discipline, selflessness and trust… Where is your reliable source? Should you carry-on without one? If so, you could find yourself in a very scary place.
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