“Desperate Housewives” tries desperately to stay relevant

By Tom Comi

ABC’s Desperate Housewives wrapped up its seventh season Sunday night with a 2-hour finale, and fans of the show were greeted with the good news yesterday that it will be returning for an eighth season in the fall. The big questions moving forward, however, revolve around the fact that the show has lost its buzz and whether creator Marc Cherry can once again make the show relevant.

Cherry has been brilliant over the years in making the unrealistic lives of several women believable enough for us to watch. The more absurd the show was, the more people tuned in to see how the housewives on Wisteria Lane would survive. Unfortunately, there are only so many outrageous plots even a genius like Cherry can concoct. and one has to wonder if his dramedy is running out of steam.

With that in mind, here are some developments that took place in this week’s finale (SPOILER ALERT), and our analysis on what might/should take place in the forthcoming season.

Development: Susan (Teri Hatcher) is accused of poisoning Paul Young with antifreeze and is temporarily put in jail. She is cleared once it is determined that she was set up by Felicia (Harriet Sansom Harris).

Analysis: Enough already with putting the meek Susan in these ridiculous situations. It was bad enough she had to resort to a soft-porn job on the Internet to make ends meet and then had to endure a liver transplant to live. Throwing a murder allegation on top of it was salt in the wound. It’s time to give Teri Hatcher a semi-realistic plot to work with.

Development: Paul Young (Mark Moses) is almost killed by Felicia and is then arrested after coming clean about killing her sister. Felicia escapes, only to be killed (apparently) in a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler.

Analysis: Moses is to be commended for his brilliant acting in portraying the ruthless Paul Young, but the plots with Paul and Felicia have more than run their course. Here’s to hoping neither character surfaces in season 8.

Development: Tom (Doug Savant) and Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) are having marital problems due to his new job, and going away together for a romantic weekend doesn’t help. Despite Lynette’s willingness to work things out, Tom says he wants to move out and end the marriage.

Analysis: The apparent demise of this marriage is probably one of the most heart-wrenching developments in the show’s history, because the Scavos always seemed to be the epitome of a solid marriage. We’re intrigued where Cherry takes this next, especially since there are children involved.

Development: After breaking up with boy-toy Keith Watson (Brian Austin Green), Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross) is dating a police detective named Chuck (who is in the midst of an ugly divorce).

Analysis: Not sure where this relationship is going, nor do I really care. Hopefully, Cherry has something creative up his sleeve, because fans can only endure so many uninteresting Bree romances.

Development: Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) is stalked by her thought-to-be dead stepfather, who raped her when she was 15. When he enters her house in an attempt to attack her again, he is killed by Gabrielle’s husband Carlos (Ricardo Chavira). Fearing that it will not be perceived as self defense due to the man not being armed, they hide the body.

Analysis: Not that reality has ever been a prerequisite on this program, but it’s silly that they decided to hide the body instead of calling the police. The man entered the house and attacked Gabrielle, so he was a threat whether armed or not. That said, the topic of child rape is very serious, and it has given Longoria a wonderful opportunity to show her acting chops. Let’s hope Cherry doesn’t allow the lunacy of the hidden body to detract from what is a very emotional subject.

Development: Renee Perry (Vanessa Williams) bounces from house to house on Wisteria Lane with no real purpose whatsoever. She is supposedly good friends with Lynette, yet she rarely plays a pivotal role in her life.

Analysis: Cherry really has his work cut out for him with Renee’s character. It was rumored that Nicollette Sheridan’s character Edie Britt was killed off due to budget cuts, so it makes no sense to add a new character who to this point has been useless. Vanessa Williams deserves better, and so do we.


Credit: Matthew Rolston/ABC