The last time I paid a visit to Wisteria Lane to see what the gorgeous ladies were up to on ABC’s Desperate Housewives was when a young serial killer known as “The Fairview Strangler” was terrorizing the neighborhood. That was during Season 6. I have been out of the loop ever since.
As the countdown to the May series finale approaches I have been paying a weekly visit to Wisteria Lane this season, courtesy of free episodes on Hulu.com, to see the latest soap opera entanglements that Republican cooking perfectionist, not to mention my favorite character, Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross), emotional basket case Susan Meyer (Teri Hatcher), self absorbed unfaithful wife, Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), and Miss “I am always right” – stay-at-home mom, Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) have gotten themselves into.
When I started watching Desperate Housewives upon its debut in Fall 2004, I saw the series as the “I am Woman! Hear Me Roar Hour!” As a guy, I took personal offense at how Bree, Gabby, Lynette and Susan were seen as the pure white angels who can do no wrong despite their engaging in extramarital affairs and in some cases, even murder and cover-ups while practically all the male characters were depicted as jealous jerks lacking any moral decency. As if the ladies should talk.
When the women’s husbands or boyfriends played by Ricardo Chavira, Steven Culp, James Denton and Doug Savant weren’t trying to either run from their criminal pasts or visiting the neighborhood dominatrix for a weekly spanking session the guy can’t get from the wife at home, or have their wandering eyes on the sexy young nanny, most of their kids either rebelled against their parents or had trouble coming to grips with their homosexuality. Every Sunday night the score was Women: 5 (when you count neighborhood sex-siren Edie Britt (Nicollete Sheridan) who got killed off in 2009) and for the Men: a big fat ZERO.
When CBS President Leslie Moonves commented about how the show back then beat out CBS’ Survivor in the April 2005 issue of Playboy, Moonves didn’t just say it was because Desperate Housewives is a good show.
“I know a lot of guys who watch the program – it has beautiful, sexy women,” Moonves was quoted saying.
Ironically it’s not the four actresses, as attractive as they are, or the sleazy storylines chock filled with unexpected twists and turns that was the reason I got hooked on the show. What I liked most about Desperate Housewives was how it presented a picture of community companionship where everyone knew everyone else on Wisteria Lane.
That’s what Desperate Housewives never lost sight of. This season in particular, for example, I took note during the Halloween episode how everyone on Wisteria Lane dressed up in costumes and took their kids trick or treating. I can’t remember when the last time was where I saw kids with their parents walk down my street on Halloween knocking on doors for candy. Today, the kids wear their costumes to school where they get all their goodies to bring home simply because it’s safer.
So thank you Bree, Gabby, Lynette, Susan and last but not least, you too Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) for your brief Rod Serling-Twilight Zone-esque commentaries at the beginning and end of every episode from beyond the grave for taking me on a weekly entertaining, gossip mongering hour long stroll down memory lane, excuse me, “Wisteria Lane” these past few years. You gals briefly reminded me of the kind of street and neighborhood I once lived on minus all the soap opera drama and occasional run-ins with devious former residents harboring personal vendettas.
Your weekly adventures made me wonder if we all should take a moment to get to know who our neighbors are, or maybe not.
“It’s the age old question isn’t it,” to quote Bree Van De Kamp. “How much do we really want to know about our neighbors?”