Since its premiere on ABC on 3 October 2004, the Desperate Housewives has been well received by viewers and critics alike. The show is a multiple Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award winner.
In a television world where reality series and crime procedurals can be found at the top of the popularity charts, Desperate Housewives has broken the modern rules for television success. Rather than starting out as a slow-burner that gradually pulls in it's audience by word-of-mouth, this comedy-drama about a group of women in a fictional American suburb has become an instant major hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Wisteria Lane is a perfect upper-middle-class American suburb, with beautiful homes, neat lawns, minivans and sport-utility vehicles in the driveways, and an occasional baseball game in the street for the youngsters. But there are troubles beneath the surface.
Lynette Scavo is a former businesswoman who decided to get off the career track to raise four children. An attractive woman, Lynette is harried, anxious, frustrated at her three sons who misbehave at the drop of a hat, while getting little or no help from her always traveling husband (Doug Savant). Her neighbour Gabrielle Solis is a former model who married wealthy Carlos. He gives her all the possessions she desires, but not the physical relationship she craves. So while Carlos is out making his latest deal, Gabrielle turns to her buff teenage gardener John. John not only keeps Carlos’ beloved roses in full bloom, he pays particular attention to Gabrielle’s personal garden.
Book illustrator Susan Mayer is divorced with a bright teenage daughter. Getting back into the dating scene is the furthest thing from her mind-until she meets her new neighbor, the good looking plumber Mike. Unfortunately for Susan, she must compete for Mike’s affections with fellow Wisteria Lane resident Edie Britt, the town tramp with more Botox and silicone than most of Hollywood could ever dream of.
Then there’s dedicated housewife Bree Van De Kamp. Played to the hilt by former Melrose Place vixen Marsha Cross, Bree is Martha Stewart in overdrive-too perfect when it comes to running her household, which drives her husband Rex to seek a divorce. At one point, Rex and Bree go to marriage counseling. Always prim and proper, Bree showed her true colors during a dinner party on the third episode, after Rex made the fatal mistake of telling his neighbors that he and Bree are having marital problems and visiting the doctor once a week. After the neighbors tried to lighten the situation by talking about their most embarrassing moments, Bree-with eerie calm and a knife poised to Rex’s back-blurted out to the other residents of Wisteria Lane that her hubby "cries" after the two have sex.
And it should be noted the “Housewives” women are not young things. They’re older, still darn good looking females with healthy sexual desires-a far cry from the confusing virgin/vamp persona of younger personalities such as Britney Spears. Middle age has never looked so attractive.
"Desperate Housewives" currently stars Brenda Strong as Mary Alice Young, Teri Hatcher as Susan Delfino, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Marcia Cross as Bree Van de Kamp, Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis, Vanessa Williams as Renee Perry, James Denton as Mike Delfino, Ricardo Antonio Chavira as Carlos Solis, Doug Savant as Tom Scavo, Charles Mesure as Ben Faulkner and Madison De La Garza as Juanita Solis.
The character development interests me the most. The actors seemed to have grown into their role. This isn't like any other show where everything remains flat. For example, if Carlos went blind three seasons ago, Gabriel would have left him long ago. The series chugs along as if it were real life.
Which brings me to my final point: real life. Each situation and disaster alludes to a real life problem te audience can relate to. It takes a sharp viewer to catch observations like these, but you can sense it. The episode about the tornado can be related to even the smallest disasters. The episode shows that while we may be down, we can still have hope. And that is why I love the series so much -- it teaches the viewer.
My favorite scene was the one at the art gallery. I loved how rattled Bree, Gaby and Susan were as Chuck the creeper showed up to share his interpretations of Susan's showcase. Chuck was very much catching on and connecting all of the dots, including Alejandro's car and the Oklahoma City Redhawks cap.
All good things eventually come to an end, and in the eighth and final season, the stakes for everyone on Wisteria Lane are at an all-time high.