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And now I’m going to begin another Television review, this time of the popular Desperate Housewives. I remember hearing a lot about the show when it aired but only ever catching a few episodes. I decided to rectify this as I’d always been very curious to see if I enjoyed the show. A dark cross between comedy, drama and devious mystery that focuses on the troubled lives of the women of Wisteria Lane, Desperate Housewives just keeps you wanting more. It’s safe to say I’m now hooked on the show. So here is my take on Season 1. Be warned, spoilers will be following in my review.

The freshly mowed lawns and picture postcard image of suburban Wisteria Lane is changed when a seemingly happy housewife by the name of Mary Alice Young( Brenda Strong) shoots herself. To the outside world she appeared to have it all, but there was something lurking behind that. The show opens with Mary Alice’s suicide and focuses on the reactions of her group of female friends as they attempt to decipher why she killed herself, while also dealing with their own individual dramas. Desperate Housewives Season 1 PosterThere is Susan Mayer(Teri Hatcher), a clumsy and self-doubting woman prone to embarrassing herself who is looking for love after her divorce. Her mature teenage daughter Julie(Andrea Bowen), who often acts as a confidante to her mother and a supportive presence, helps her out in various situations. Susan sees an opportunity in the form of nice guy Mike Delfino(James Denton), who is the newest neighbour and is guarding his own personal secrets. Lynette Scavo(Felicity Huffman) is a former career women who is now looking after her troublesome kids and struggling to hold it together while her husband Tom(Doug Savant) is away regularly expanding his career. Bree Van de Kamp(Marcia Cross), the prim and perfect wife whose marriage to the dissatisfied Rex(Steven Culp) is falling apart underneath the image of domesticity she presents to the world. Despite this, after a brief break up with Rex, the two get back together only for a vindictive tragedy by an obsessive admirer to scupper the reconciliation. Former fashion model and lover of finery Gabrielle Solis(Eva Longoria), is unhappy in her marriage to the high-powered but neglectful Carlos(Ricardo Antonio Chavira). She finds comfort and excitement in the arms of her hunky teenage gardener John(Jesse Metcalfe). But this illicit relationship is complicated as deep down Gabrielle does love Carlos and has to contend with him being arrested for dodgy dealings at his work. There is also the street’s trampy serial divorcee Edie Britt(Nicollette Sheridan), who is always after a man and engages in battle with Susan for Mike’s affections.Mary Alice YoungWatching over this is Mary Alice from beyond the grave. She provides the narration to the show and observes her friend’s lives and dilemmas as they slowly unearth secrets about her life and the reasons for her suicide. And with skeletons rattling loudly in closets of the residents of Wisteria Lane, the dirty secrets and concealed facts are soon bound to spill out into the open for all eyes to see. Especially those surrounding Mary Alice herself, her past actions as well as her shifty husband Paul’s(Mark Moses) murderous ways of burying the past and the behaviour of her disturbed teenage son Zach(Cody Kasch).

What immediately struck me upon watching Desperate Housewives was the way it incorporated multiple genres and did it well, where so many others have fallen flat. Through the combination of sharp writing and great performances from the cast, it emerges victorious. We’ve got the sardonic humour that subverts the rose-tinted view of suburbia, the many eventful dramas that befall the ladies and the sinister mystery of Mary Alice’s death. Desperate Housewives LetterThere’s something very mischievous about the way the show pulls these together and takes what could be considered clichés and makes them seem very fresh and lively again.And while people often say that Desperate Housewives is about the drama and comedy, it’s the mystery that invests the show with its pull and dark foreboding as we unearth the scandal and secrecy behind the facade of niceness put forward to everyone else. This leads to some excellent cliffhangers that immediately make you want to watch the next episode as soon as possible. I liked how this season slowly but surely began to expose the past of Mary Alice, including the fact she changed her name, there is murder that she committed in her past and a secret involving the paternity of her son. I was literally questioning every possible avenue in trying to figure out what lay beneath the seemingly docile serenity of her life. A sly score, laced with humour and peppered with sinister suspense, perfectly accompanies thee unraveling stories of the women’s lives and the discovery of mystery and unusual events.

The excellent cast, particularly the main ladies, brings even more of a reason to watch the show with their impressive performances. Teri Hatcher has splendid comic timing and emotional depth as Susan, and really makes you root for her as a character, especially in her search for love. Desperate Housewives Susan Locked OutHer many instances of humiliation, such as her locking herself out the house and losing her towel get you to feel for her and make her very human. This is a role that fits Teri Hatcher like a glove and is a joy to watch. Felicity Huffman is on spectacular form as the frazzled Lynette, who is clearly at the end of her tether with her young children running rings around her. Huffman successfully delineates the loving side of Lynette with the slowly neurotic half that is close to cracking up completely by combining humour, stressed out emotion and a look of indignation. Marcia Cross steals all of her scenes as the model housewife Bree, whose icy and imperious facade hides that her life and marriage are really a lie. Bree and RexBree is a woman on a mission to ignore the hurt in her life by busying herself with work, but who can’t deny that there is significant trouble in paradise. All of these conflicted emotions and traits are embodied with full force by the talented Marcia Cross who peppers Bree with humour, supreme need for control and fraught worry. Desperate Housewives Gabrielle and JohnThe stunning Eva Longoria is feisty, selfish but hurting underneath as Gabrielle, who is conducting a dangerous affair with her gardener and fears what fearsome Carlos will do if it is discovered. Longoria adds significant sex appeal to the show and brings a whole lot of sassy personality to the discontented Gabrielle. Nicollette Sheridan adds spice to the already heady mix of sexy scandal and outrageous events with her performance as the queen bitch and tart Edie, who will go with anything that has a pulse and is more than willing to cause controversy.

The other members of the cast are no slouches either. Brenda Strong provides the wise voice of Mary Alice, observing life from beyond the grave with acute insight. Strong has such an engaging voice that you could listen to for days and gives Desperate Housewives a somewhat mordant theme of beyond the grave. James Denton brings the necessary charm and secrecy to new guy Mike, while Steven Culp is suitably frustrated as Bree’s husband Rex, who can’t stand her strive for perfection all the time and is ultimately ill-fated just as they decide to give it another go. Mark Moses is excellent as the enigmZach Youngatic Paul, who will do just about anything to stop the truth about Mary Alice being unearthed. Cody Kasch as the troubled and very disturbed son Zach is riveting to watch as you don’t know what you’re going to get from him. One minute he seems to be calm and collected, then the next he is full of deep anger and haunted expression. Andrea Bowen provides amusingly mature charm as Susan’s daughter and in many ways best friend Julie. Jesse Metcalfe as the hunky gardener John who falls into lust with Gabrielle, Ricardo Antonio Chavira as Gabrielle’s fearsome husband Carlos in trouble with the law and Doug Savant as Lynette’s businessman husband Tom all fill their roles with considerable presence.

  1. Pilot – A+
  2. Ah, But Underneath – A
  3. Pretty Little Picture – B+
  4. Who’s That Woman? – B+
  5. Come In, Stranger – B
  6. Running to Stand Still – C
  7. Anything You Can Do – A
  8. Guilty – B+
  9. Suspicious Minds – B
  10. Come Back to Me – B-
  11. Move On – B
  12. Every Day a Little Death – A
  13. Your Fault – B
  14. Love Is in the Air – B+
  15. Impossible – B+
  16. The Ladies Who Lunch – A
  17. There Won’t Be Trumpets – C
  18. Children Will Listen – B+
  19. Live Alone and Like It – A-
  20. Fear No More – B
  21. Sunday in the Park with George – B
  22. Goodbye for Now – A
  23. One Wonderful Day – A+

Sardonic, devilish and oh so entertaining, Season 1 of Desperate Housewives is well-crafted television that is wholly addictive. And below is a promo for this season which is very tempting indeed.

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