Eastwick: “Mooning and Crooning”

Luna See


“Mooning and Crooning”
ABC, Wednesday, 10 PM
Written by Chris Dingess
Directed by Bill D’Elia

“Any true pleasure comes with a price. We drink too much, we wake up hung over. We eat too much, we pack on the pounds. You enjoy one moment of lust, and you live a lifetime of guilt. Yeah, what feels good comes with a cost. At the end of the day, it’s just a matter of figuring out how much you are willing to pay.” —Darryl

Last summer, I complained that the numerous orgies on True Blood were getting boring. Well, I didn’t know what boring was until the village of Eastwick suffered one during this episode. As predicted by Darryl Van Horne, the village goes nuts during a certain once-in-awhile moon. Every 93 years or so, the moon at perigee looks three times normal size, and the people of Eastwick lose control. So we get to see those wild and crazy WASPs of Eastwick toilet-papering the local courthouse. Or high school. Or something. When will the madness stop?

This was actually a pretty good episode of Eastwick, the first one that didn’t have me impatiently glancing at the clock. Kat gets a storyline that does not involve her children or her husband. Instead, Darryl encourages her to live a long-time dream—being a lounge singer, at least for one night. She buys a red dress, pimps out her shoes, and shows up to wow Darryl in her own restaurant. She turns the Classics Four classic “Spooky” into a literal torch song. She burns the place down, while Darryl applauds wildly. So stunning is she, she draws in Will, Joanna’s crush, and there is a literal spark of attraction.

Meanwhile, Roxie is caught between a moon that cranks her lust level to eleven, and a worried search for Mia, who has decided to declare her independence by breaking her house arrest. With Chad beside her, Roxie can’t even concentrate long enough on the search to get to the high school; instead, she and Chad go at it several times in an alleyway, which gets them arrested and put in jail. Who knew that the jailers of Eastwick kept a co-ed jail? Even as she and Chad regret their poor impulse control, the deputy escorts Mia into the jail. Mia has been arrested for participating in that wild and crazy toilet paper spree with her accomplice, new squeeze Josh. She’s keeping him a secret. Trouble is, Josh is Chad’s brother. Not evenDesperate Housewives gets this complicated.

The real fun is saved for my least favorite character, Joanna. No disrespect to Lindsay Price, but Joanna is easily the character I most love to hate. She’s stupid, naïve, thoughtless, and cowardly. These traits make her unintentionally cruel to those around her. Tonight she gets her comeuppance: unable to resist the pressure brought by her boss, Clyde (Steve Hytner, Hung), she decides to do a hatchet job on Darryl. Never mind that he has been nothing but a friend to her, has helped with her self-esteem issues, and in the last episode practically handed her a juicy story about a whore-chasing pastor. No, she decides to write the yellow-journalism equivalent of a whisper campaign, full of snide innuendo, unanswered questions, and outright speculation disguised as reporting. Since the office party at the newspaper has everyone blotto for the nonce, this piece of paparazzi trash gets printed. The next morning, everyone sobers up and Joanna gets fired. I think that was the high point of my enjoyment of this series. If only they could deport her, as well.

Naturally, the only person who really keeps his head during this mild freak party is Darryl. I suppose we’re supposed to think this is his natural milieu, being the Devil and all. If so, that means the Devil’s natural milieu is a lounge act out by the airport, which—come to think of it—might well be a working definition of Hell. Nevertheless, he provides the only astute observation of the show, the quote at the top of this review, which I found stunning. I mean, the Devil is warning us against too much self-indulgence? What kind of Devil is this?

Maybe my brain cells are dying off more rapidly than usual, but I found this episode more amusing than not. Chad’s assertion that he is qualified to be Yoda to Roxie’s mental powers based on his perusal of “sequential art books” (comic books) was witty. I love it that Darryl is an accomplished pianist. Kat telling off Will for giving Joanna the cut direct because “Nobody puts Joanna in a corner” was cute. I didn’t miss Jamie the Potential Murderer/Pirate of the Caribbean at all. And I got to see several people running around without pants, always comedy gold. So, for my money, this was the best ep yet.

The show could certainly use a boost from the supernatural, however. This episode drew in 4.9 million viewers, well below the free-falling Jay Leno Show. That’s almost a million viewers lost in seven days. Although ABC is calling the show “a quiet success”, I fear that the silence they’re hearing is the quiet of an early grave