So, I probably love ‘Desperate Housewives’ just as much as I do working out and staying fit. It’s a show that I’ve watched from the beginning, one that really reminds me of television of yesteryear: you know, when prime time soaps like ‘Dallas’, ‘Knots Landing’, ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Falcon Crest’ ruled the ratings and t.v. in general. I know, many ‘Housewives’ fans over the seasons have either grown tired of the show or have given up on it. It’s one of those shows that seems to hit a creative slump for a while and by the time it recovers, it’s suffered in the ratings or have lost some of its fans. Yesterday’s season finale, aptly titled “I Guess This Is Goodbye”, shows why this show is still around and has it. For those who’ve lost faith in the show or have gone astray, I say you need to give season 6 a try.
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t crazy about season 5. Season 5 featured the now notorious five-year jump. You’d think with such a leap in time that the show’s producers would have taken the characters and show into interesting new territories and situations. Instead, you had mainstay homewrecker Edie Britt meeting her untimely electrifying death, Bree-wannabe Katherine Mayfair just … well, hanging around and losing her edge, Susan whining over having lost Mike and a guy moving onto the lane who spent the entire season plotting how to get back at those who wronged him. Yes, sounds like it could have been fun but instead it was just dull and the finale, ending in a not-so-shocking wedding, just made the entire season feel wasted and boring.
Enter season 6. Whatever the reviewers and critics say, I think this now past season was probably one of the show’s best. It was, in many ways, everything season 5 should have been. Katherine spent half of the season losing her mind over having lost Mike to Susan; then Katherine went lesbian. A serial killer nearly took Julie (Susan’s daughter) down. Bree went from Miss Perfect and Morals to sleeping around with Susan’s ex-husband. Lynette gave up her job in Carlos’ company as she dealt with being pregnant again. The list of things the housewives got involved with goes on and the list of memorable scenes and moments from this season far out match those of the past few seasons.
People complain that the housewives hardly hang out together like they did in the first season. Well, in real life, do you know of groups of housewives who honestly have the time to hang out with one another all day? To me, the season felt realistic and we still had the wives crossing paths and having together moments. Katherine and Susan spent many episodes sparring with one another; Lynette and Gabrielle seemed to interact more than in previous seasons. The only housewife who felt ‘out’ was Bree who was either working on her cooking empire or trying to keep her relationship with Karl under wraps.Whenever all of the wives got together it felt like a big occasion and made the moment stand out: remember when they all visited crazy Katherine in the asylum? Or when they all got together to lecture Susan about bringing a stripper into the neighborhood? Or when Katherine was just starting to lose it and interrupted the ladies’ tea/bitch fest early on in the season in an attempt to get at Susan? I liked the interactions between the housewives: it offered more insight into their characters by pairing them off in interesting situations. Having Bree and Susan quarrel over Karl; Gabrielle angry over Lynette lying to Carlos; Katherine striking out at Susan and anybody else who wasn’t on her side.
Speaking of which, another high point of season 6 was the ‘mystery’ housewife of the season. Usually, the guest star of the year starts off really promising and falls flat. You had Alfre Woodard’s Betty Applewhite starting off as really intriguing but then the writers completely fumbled her plot and seemed to write out her character quickly. There was the whole mystery surrounding Orson that even included a guest appearance by Dixie Carter as a mother-in-law from hell … but Marcia Cross’ pregnancy seemed to prematurely end that plot line long before the season ended. Then there was Edie Britt’s husband Dave … let’s just not even go there. Katherine Mayfair was one of the few guest stars that seemed to rise above the others but the writers seemed to run out of ideas of how to use her following her season’s debut. So what about season 6? We had Angie Bolen, played my Drea de Matteo – she was not as prim and proper as the other ladies; was street smart, pushy, tough and on the run.
I liked Angie Bolen, even if her mystery was a bit of a bore. Her interaction with the other housewives would have made her a great addition to the cast as a regular. She seemed to add back in the conflict and bitch factor that left with Edie Britt’s character. Remember how she confronted and dressed down Bree, found out about Bree’s affair before everyone else and then went on to actually be Bree’s replacement friend when Katherine went crazy? Or how she threatened Susan with a baseball bat? Let’s not forget how she later on seemed to allow herself to become friends with Gabrielle after her son and Gabrielle’s niece ran off together. Though her environmental freak past wasn’t all that thrilling, she really brought the action and drama back to the lane after a lackluster fifth season and I was sad to see her leave in last night’s episode. I’m hoping the writers will find a way to either bring her back in the future or finally settle on a suitable Edie Britt replacement.
I have to say that the finale for this season was just as good as season three’s twists in the final scenes. Something that’s always bothered me about this show’s season finales is how the writers drop the ball at the wrong moment. They build up all this action and yet the final minute of the show usually is a bore and in no way entices the viewer to want more. Remember season 3 though? You had Edie Britt in such distress over losing Carlos that she appeared to hang herself, you had Bree returning from her honeymoon and revealing she was pregnant … then the next moment she was unstuffing herself to reveal that it was all a hoax? Well, that’s the kind of stuff that leaves you wanting to know more. Season 4 ending with the five year jump was okay but the most interesting thing from that was seeing Gabrielle looking frumpy and haggard. Season 5? The ‘who is Mike marrying?!’ question that everyone seemed to answer for themselves before the premiere. But this seasons finale? Oh, now that was good: Susan and Mike move off Wisteria Lane because they can’t afford their house (but somehow renting an apartment and renting their house seems to be a wise option); Bree is shown walking with Gabrielle and is in the middle of telling her all about Andrew running over Mama Solis back in season 1. Bree also is yet again without a husband, and without a business so back to square one; someone is coming with news that a child was switched at birth and the last scene? Mary Alice’s husband Paul is back and is renting Susan’s house! One can only hope this means Felicia, Mrs. Huber’s crazy and amusing sister, is heading back to the lane as well. Now that, ‘Desperate Housewives’, is how you end a season and leave people wanting more.
Someone mentioned online that despite some questionable moments (plane crash, Karl being killed, the whole Orson vs. Bree thing, annoying Anna trying to be Gabrielle’s foil, Tom trying to go back to school) this season both started and ended in a manner that created perfect symmetry. It began with Lee moving in a mysterious family into a well-known residence on the lane; Susan/Mike moving in together; Bree/Orson on the outs … how’d it end? With Lee moving a mysterious man (back) onto the lane into a well-known residence; Bree and Orson, after making amends, being in shambles; Susan/Mike moving but moving off the lane. It’s moments like this that have me thinking the writers are actually paying attention and with them reaching back to the earlier seasons and past characters for the next season’s mystery, I’m all for it.
Creatively, I think it’s time the show go back to its roots for its storytelling. We’ve had enough seasons of adding in new characters who fizzle out and leave by season’s end, of seeing Susan in angst over Mike, of Lynette dealing with kids … it’s time we get some resolution with Paul and (hopefully) Felicia Tillman since their plots just seemed to end without being properly wrapped; we need to see that whole plot with Andrew running over Mama Solis being dealt with; of seeing Bree the the Solis’ cross paths (it seems like Gabrielle and Bree hardly interact). It’ll be interesting to see one of the main housewives actually living off the lane (perhaps we’ll see desperate apartment-wives with Susan’s new neighbors), or what will become of Bree now that she seems to have lost everything she’s worked for, seeing Lynette hopefully get back to work considering she and Tom are going to need the money (hey, why not have them work together at Carlos’ company?). I’m even hoping for a new housewife to fill the void on Wisteria Lane now that Angie, Katherine and Susan are all out of the way. Here’s to hoping September will bring forth an interesting and entertaining seventh season of this show.