2010's, Brenda Strong, Brian Austin Green, Desperate Housewives, Desperate Housewives Season 7, Doug Savant, Emily Bergl, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, James Denton, Jonathan Cake, Marcia Cross, Mark Moses, Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Teri Hatcher, Vanessa Williams
It may show a few signs of being a bit tired(I mean a show that has been running seven years can’t always be of the highest standard), but Season 7 of Desperate Housewives still delivers that winning mix of comedy, drama and unusual mystery to keep you entertained. While not as riveting as Season 6, Season 7 is entertaining nonetheless due to the fabulous cast and killer writing. Spoilers will be following.
As observed from her resting place, Mary Alice(Brenda Strong) continues to chart the dramas and secrets in the daily lives of the women who populate Wisteria Lane. It is a time of change for all of the ladies this time. Susan(Teri Hatcher), along with Mike(James Denton) and her son have temporarily moved out of the Lane while they contend with mounting financial woes. Susan finds from her landlady an unusual way to make ends meets, by becoming a sexy web cam star. She feels guilty about lying to Mike, but she has to make money as she does want to move back to Wisteria Lane. Yet just as she’s getting back on her feet, she is seriously injured in a protest against a plan of a returning resident. Susan them must go through the agonizing wait for a new kidney that will save her life. Lynette(Felicity Huffman) now has a fifth child and the pressure of it is becoming a little too much. Add to that the fact that Tom(Doug Savant) is diagnosed with postpartum depression and it’s an intense and difficult situation for her marriage as it reaches something of a crossroads with Tom’s career taking off and Lynette no longer being the boss. Lynette’s friend from college, the sassy, rich diva Renee Perry(Vanessa Williams) moves into the neighbourhood and ruffles feathers with her flashy and narcissistic attitude. Eventually, the other ladies warm to her. Gabrielle(Eva Longoria) and Carlos(Ricardo Antonio Chavira) must deal with the news that Juanita is not their biological daughter as the children were switched at birth and the inevitable fall out that accompanies this bombshell. While they track down the couple who have been raising their biological daughter, it leaves them with a difficult decision to make after it is revealed that the family are illegal immigrants and must flee the country. Perfect homemaker Bree(Marcia Cross) also confides in Gabrielle about the fact that years ago Andrew was the one driving the car that killed her mother-in-law. To save their friendship they stay quiet, until Carlos finds out and their friendship becomes fractured. Adding to Gabrielle’s troubles is the presence of a sinister stranger from her past that shakes her to the core. Also with Bree, with Orson divorcing her, she finds thrills in the arms of a hunky and much younger decorator named Keith(Brian Austin Green), before finding more romance with suave detective Chuck Vance(Jonathan Cake) later in the season. And the menacing return of Paul Young(Mark Moses), freshly released from prison with an unusually fragile and strange wife Beth(Emily Bergl), who also has her own agenda for being there. It is Paul who is the subject of mystery this year and his overly polite gestures to those around mask a deeper and darker purpose as revenge is dished out insidiously by him. Prepare for another venture down the uneasy and secretive Lane, that may have some hiccups but is still complete with comedy, pathos and mystery a plenty.
As I mentioned earlier, some of the formula of the show is wearing a bit thin now. There are times when the quality goes from very good to sometimes poor, but regardless of this it’s still great viewing. I just have the feeling that some of the story lines feel a but repetitive, mainly Bree’s one of having a younger man in her life that seems very similar to Gabrielle’s dalliance with the gardener in Season 1. Though it must be said, the scenes between Bree and Keith are steamy and sexy to watch as the virile young lover invigorates Bree, and then she has more romance to follow. This sort of hiccup may be a bit distracting, but Season 7 is by no means bad television. In fact it’s far from it with the blend of wit and suspense, there is just something missing from it. I have to praise the emotional parts of this season which are handled amazingly and have some real depth to them. At least, despite the sometimes up and down quality, it is redeemed by a great and very tense finale in which a monster from Gabrielle’s past returns and it ends with a death.
Onto the more positive side, and the mystery and drama are still some of the best in terms of writing and execution. The drama is best shown in the episode when Paul puts his plan to turn his neighbours against one another into motion. Buying his old house, he makes it a place for ex-cons to live, which causes the neighbourhood to panic. And what starts as a protest soon leads to a terrifying riot, which is rife with tension and shock. And all the while Paul stands back and watches the chaos unfold much to his wolfish delight. The way that the civility of the Lane is destroyed by this is both devastating and emotional, exemplifying the show’s excellence when it comes to drama. Gabrielle’s emotional story line of her daughter being switched at birth and how she deals with it is movingly portrayed, as she must deal with letting her daughter go, but still having Juanita, the girl she raised as her own to contend with after the young girl finds out about what happened. In fact there is more drama than usual this season with Gabrielle and Susan standing out, but at least there is some of the carry comedy to fall back on. Most of it is provided by the new arrival of Renee. She is given so many juicy and bitchy lines that she breathes life into and owns it. When the season lags, you can rely on Renee for comic lines and dive behaviour to keep you entertained.
Despite some of the hiccups within the season, the lovely cast contribute some stunning work once more, especially when it comes to the drama. Eva Longoria really impressed me this season as she made us see Gabrielle at her most vulnerable. Behind that veneer of glamour and bravado, there is a wounded and very frightened girl there and Longoria plays it beautifully with her emotional resonance and strength. This is the main season in which we see the reasons why Gabrielle behaves how she does, with references to her past and the way she has to say goodbye to her biological daughter just as she is becoming closer to her. Teri Hatcher contributes touches of humour to the usually jovial Susan, who now must contend with waiting for a kidney and money troubles. And while she still has some really funny lines, I liked how Hatcher fleshed out Susan’s fears and sadness at the state of affairs that has come her way almost all at once. Felicity Huffman’s blend of sharp humour and pathos is perfect for her role as Lynette, whose mounting problems seem to increase daily and difficult decision have to be made. Huffman’s knack for supplying her character with a deep core and a sense of blinded judgement is on full effortless display here as Lynette comes to see that her need to be in charge is shoving Tom away and that their relationship is clearly on the rocks. Marcia Cross injects more warmth into Bree this season and it is nice to see her not be as icy and proper as she has been in the past. There is still that controlling streak, but Cross makes Bree a lot more loving and sensitive this time.
Joining the cast is the lovely and very gorgeous Vanessa Williams as the outrageous and supremely glamorous Renee. A comedic highlight of this season, she portrays this fabulous woman of finery with barbed one liners and scandalous behaviour that is really fun to view and often lulls some of the imperfections during this season. Returning once more, Mark Moses provides the menace as Paul Young, who wants to take his revenge out on those around him. As creepy as he is though, we see flickers of regret and the need for redemption that help to make him not so much evil but hurt and taking his rage out through nefarious ways. Emily Bergl makes her mark as the strange and used Beth, whose marriage to Paul hides the fact that she’s a pawn for something bigger and darker. With a quiet voice, a fawning expression and sense of sadness because she is so manipulated, Bergl makes sure Beth is a character who we remember. James Denton, Doug Savant and Ricardo Antonio Chavira bring their experience as the husbands of the wives, and all are very effective in the roles they have fully grown into over the years. Brian Austin Green provides almost constantly shirtless eye candy as the decorator Keith who romances Bree, and then we have Jonathan Cake as the detective Chuck who warms to Bree as the season draws to a close. And the ever-reliable voice of Brenda Strong continues to be a delight, detailing the many incidents that occur on the street as the deceased Mary Alice.
- Remember Paul? – A
- You Must Meet My Wife – A
- Truly Content – C
- The Thing That Counts Is What’s Inside – B-
- Let Me Entertain You – B+
- Excited and Scared – C
- A Humiliating Business – B
- Sorry Grateful – C+
- Pleasant Little Kingdom – B
- Down the Block There’s a Riot – A+
- Assassins – C+
- Where Do I Belong – B
- I’m Still Here – D
- Flashback – C-
- Farewell Letter – B+
- Searching – B+
- Everything’s Different, Nothing’s Changed – C
- Moments in the Woods – B+
- The Lies Ill-Conceived – C+
- I’ll Swallow Poison on Sunday – B
- Then I Really Got Scared – A
- And Lots of Security – A
- Come on Over for Dinner – A+
So while there are signs of quality slipping, Season 7 happens to emerge as a dramatic season with a killer ending that really has me excited for the last season.