On this day, 10 years ago, Desperate Housewives made it’s UK debut – on Channel 4. To commemorate this “event”, I’ve decided to do a short synopsis of what could very well be my favorite show. If, by some bizarre twist of fate, you’ve managed to avoid it all this time, I highly recommend you give Desperate Housewives a quick watch. It truly is one of the smartest and most addictive shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing.
Set in the fictional America town of Fairview, on a street called Wisteria Lane, Desperate Housewives followed the dramatic lives of four women, and their families, through the eyes of their recently deceased neighbor – who commits suicide in the series premiere.
During it’s eight-year run, the show featured an incredibly wide variety of plots, ranging from everyday domestic struggles to murder mysteries, and even a tornado – during a disastrous (for the people of Wisteria Lane) Season 4 storyline. Over the course of it’s 8 seasons (and 180 episodes), it managed to stay fresh and intriguing throughout, with plenty of laughs, tears, and scares to keep it’s viewership entertained.
Starring Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria (as Susan Mayer, Lynette Scavo, Bree Van de Kamp and Gabrielle Solis, respectively), the show started off strong and, after a slightly less than well-received second season, continued to garner acclaim and a positive critical response – which it maintained well into it’s final seasons.
Cast additions, such as Kyle MacLachlan as Orson Hodge, and Dana Delany as Katherine Mayfair, were also incredibly well-handled by the writers (for the most part), meaning that even though the cast constantly grew and evolved over the course of the series, the important characters never lost the appropriate focus, and every character received a day in the limelight at some point – with some, such as Karen McCluskey (played by the late Kathryn Joosten), slowly evolving from background characters purely there for the benefit of other characters to fully-developed characters, interesting on their own.
I think a large part of the show’s appeal came from the fact that the main housewives, while totally unique, each had familiar traits that we could both relate to and empathize with. Besides the typically “dramatic” storylines that drew us in with the promise of intrigue and excitement, we also got to see the cast simply living their lives. Dealing with unruly kids, stressing over a dinner party, arguing with co-workers, etc – normal everyday stories that helped make Desperate Housewives more than it seemed on paper alone. Episodes contained numerous plot threads, which often managed to be both self-contained and continuous, and helped to created a very involving viewing experience. Even when characters were introduced solely for one episode, the writers made sure to integrate them into both the past and present of the cast – well enough that by the end of the episode, we felt almost familiar with them as we did the stars.
In summation, Desperate Housewives is a remarkable well-crafted series that deserves to be seen and appreciated. It may not have non-stop action, or supernatural elements, but it has something that few other shows do. As cliched as it sounds, it has heart.
Every episode can leave you feeling like you’ve “grown” from the experience – having learned something, or thought about something in a new way. Everyone can enjoy this show on some level, and as such you deserve to find out for yourself what you can take away from it – and this faux-anniversary could be the best time to do it…