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Desperate Housewives - 10th Anniversary Series Review : "Every Show Has a Little Dirty Laundry"




On October 3, 2004, 21.64 million American viewers tuned in for the series premiere of Desperate Housewives on ABC. That was pretty astonishing considering ABC had been on a downward trend for years and the premiere of Lost on September 22 had already exceeded the network's expectations with 18.65 million viewers. What were the chances that ABC would strike gold twice in one television season after years and years of failed attempts to bring back the network's glory days. ABC would go on for a third strike with Grey's Anatomy in February 2005, but out of the three glorious new shows of 2004-05, Desperate Housewives was a cut above the rest.

Fast forward to October 3, 2014, the once tentpole for ABC scripted content has been dead for two years now. Back in 2004, we would have thought the show would last a minimum of 10 years. It had the ratings that showed there was no end in sight, especially with a weekly average of over 20 million viewers consistently between 2004 and 2006 (only one episode hit below 20 million for the show's first 57 episodes on October 22, 2006). It seems when the new year came around and 2007 was upon us, the show couldn't regain the 20 million reign anymore. Only one episode from 2007 to 2012 ever achieved 20 million viewers and that was for the disaster episode of season four. It seemed strange that a show that never went below 20 million for two years straight now couldn't manage that at all. The glory days of Desperate Housewives were then shattered as ratings continued to lower every season since the breakout first season, but the show remained respectable enough to warrant an eighth and final season in 2011. Though ratings may not have been impressive for the last couple of seasons, those ratings do not reflect the enjoyment I had of the show, or the audience's. Competition heated up as the show aged, as well as the ever-growing DVR and internet streaming options. Either way, Desperate Housewives is a classic in its own right and will forever be remembered as the show that changed the face of a flagging ABC forever.

Now the show reaches ten years old, I take a look back at each of the show's scandalous seasons and the all-time best episodes - this is the ultimate Desperate Housewives 10-Year Anniversary Review. Yes, the show may be over, but the legacy lives on.


Season 1 (2004-05)
"My name is Mary Alice Young. When you read this morning's paper you may come across an article about the unusual day I had last week. Normally there is never anything newsworthy about my life, but that all changed last Thursday. Of course, everything seemed quite normal at first. I made breakfast for my family, I performed my chores, I completed my projects, I ran my errands. In truth, I spent the day as I spent every other day, quietly polishing the routine of my life, until it gleamed with perfection. That's why it was so astonishing when I decided to go to my hallway closet and retrieve a revolver that had never been used." - Mary Alice Young in 'Pilot'.
Season one's very first episode is one of my favourite episodes of all-time, as well as my favourite pilot of any show ever. I had never been so taken away by a show from the get-go as much as I did with Desperate Housewives. Bare in mind, I began watching the show in December 2006 where I plowed through the first two seasons on DVD then had time to watch the third season as it aired in the United Kingdom from January 2007. So I watched the first season in a matter of days! I think every fan of the show agrees that the first season was the height of the show's fantastic writing. Would I say the show went downhill after the first season? Okay, so maybe it did. But season one is not my favourite season but I can appreciate and respect the fact that the first season is unbeatable in terms of quality. Season one highlights some fantastic episodes and storylines that rise above the majority of the seven following seasons.

Firstly though, we are introduced to Mary Alice Young who unexplainably kills herself in the first couple of minutes. Watching from above, she welcomes us to Susan Mayer, the klutz with a growing love for the new man on the street, Mike Delfino. What Susan doesn't know is that Mike has a secret agenda that ties to the main mystery of the show - why did Mary Alice kill herself? Susan isn't the only woman trying to get her claws on the fresh meat, but Edie Britt gives Susan some tough competition. As Mary Alice put it: "Susan had met the enemy and she was a slut". With some hilarious misfortunes, Susan also has to raise her only daughter, Julie Mayer. After going through a bitter divorce with her cheating ex-husband Karl Mayer, Susan focuses on the main mystery at hand while trying to bag her man. Susan also burns down Edie's house, which Edie retaliates and burns hers down later in the season. Their rivaly/friendship is hilarious and awesome to watch. During the first season, Susan was my favourite character as I loved her sillyness and adorable persona. I know a lot of people don't like Susan and consider her the worst housewife, but honestly, I love them all. I couldn't hate any of them.

Among the main ensemble is Lynette Scavo, a stay-at-home mom of four very young kids while her husband, Tom Scavo, is usually away from home working. This puts a huge strain on Lynette's sanity as she is pushed by her kids, testing her limits. It was quite the eye-opener for me to watch how miserable and upset Lynette would become with her kids. Her frustration reminded me of my own mother who would struggle with me and my siblings as we were growing up but she still managed to look after us. I honestly have the most admiration for Lynette as she really had to put up with a lot. You really can't help but feel empathy for her. She struggles to keep things steamy with her husband and she struggles with raising her kids. It's a bleak situation for Lynette but she pulls through regardless.

Another wonderful main character is Bree Van de Kamp, the woman who puts the true meaning into "housewife". She is practically perfect in every way and everybody on Wisteria Lane thinks so, well, except her own family. They can't stand her and you can see how much that hurts Bree. Firstly, her husband, Rex Van de Kamp wants a divorce. Her daughter, Danielle, rebels frequently and her son, Andrew, runs over Carlos Solis's mother before coming out as gay. Bree's perfect world is literally falling apart around her and she really can't do anything to stop it. She meets George Williams, a pharmacist who ends up killing her husband. I have to say, one of the best scenes of the entire series was when Bree found out Rex had passed away in hospital. She just finishes cleaning the cutlery, sits down and just lets it all out. I was honestly moved by this and it reduced me to tears. At first, I thought because she was so perfect and uptight I would end up hating her. Truth is, looking back at the show, she is probably the best character of the series and might be my favourite overall. I have this struggle, you see, to really pick a favourite but Bree is definitely a contender.

Ready to meet the funniest housewife who ends up getting most of the funniest storylines? The gorgeous Gabrielle Solis rounds out the main cast to add that extra sauce to the already juicy show. She is married to Carlos Solis who doesn't seem to care much about his wife to begin with - buying her fancy things instead of paying any attention to her. Gabby retaliates by sleeping with her sexy gardener, John Rowland. The pair almost get caught a couple of times until Carlos goes on an unintentional gay-bashing crusade to find out who is sleeping with his wife. Gabby also has it tough when she finds out she is pregnant after Carlos tampered with her birth control. He goes off to jail and it leaves Gabby vulnerable. Gabby may be the less serious of the housewives but she can still sell the more dramatic storylines.

I won't be going through the main character's storylines through each season, just the important ones. It was important to introduce these characters though to give some story. I found each housewife, including Edie, absolutely wonderful. They had electric chemistry that was supported by the quality storylines they were given to compliment each actress. They played to their strengths and boy did they steam up the screen. The Mystery was fantastic. It unfolded naturally, unlike some of the following seasons, and was completely unpredictable. It was hard for the show to live up to that. Season one set the bar for the show extremely high and it was only natural that Desperate Housewives couldn't really jump that high again. In my opinion, I do have one season that I favour over the first but that's coming up.


Episode Spotlight: One Wonderful Day. The season finale was the most perfect season finale fans could have asked for to wrap up the season-long storyline. It did so in spectacular fashion with plenty of answers that felt natural and completely shocking. Everything tied up in a neat little bow while delivering some shocking developments to make sure that the second season will start with a bang. The death of Rex was spectacularly done and Bree's breakdown following the phone call was inspired. Perfect, perfect episode. A lot of season one episodes were fantastic, but the finale lived up to the season.


Season 2 (2005-06)

Season two, as described by many fans and critics, was disappointing. Fair enough, I can agree with them but only because it had to follow season one. That isn't really fair. When I look back at the show, I remember that season two still had some fantastic storylines and episodes. Looking back, season two wasn't all that bad. Yes, the writing suffered a little. Yes, season one was miles better. But now the whole series is complete, could you really say that season two was the worst? I wouldn't, at least.

The storyline highlights. Susan's on-and-off-again relationship with Mike, especially when she chases after his car in the wedding dress. Oh my God that had me crying. We also had the aftermath of Zach turning out to be Mike's son and Susan trying to deal with that the best she can, even when he was in love with Julie. Edie also started a relationship with Karl, Susan's ex-husband, so the pair continued their rivalry. Gabby continued her dilemma with being pregnant, but an incident by falling down the stairs forces her to a miscarriage - so heartbreaking. She realises she wants children and so she adopts, only to have that child taken away from her too. Compared to season one, Gabby had it so much harder in the second season. Lynette returns to work as she used to be so amazing at what she did but raising her children had become first in her life. Returning to work puts strains on her family though and you can see that through her relationship with Tom. This comes to a head when she finds out Tom had an affair years ago which resulted in the birth of a girl named Kayla. Bree hits it hard too as she becomes a widow, dates the person who murdered her husband and kicks her son out - all the while building an addiction to alcohol.

We also had new housewife, Betty Applewhite, headline the season with her new mystery involving her sons. Following the mystery of Mary Alice, the season two mystery fell flat. I think that is why season two was mainly regarded in its time to be disappointing. I watched the season in less than a week so I didn't have to wait like everybody when it first aired so it wasn't so bad for me. If you watch the season without interruption, the mystery isn't as terrible as first considered. To me, it's still much better than the season six mystery, but we'll get to that later.


Episode Spotlight: Remember, Parts One and Two. Again, the finale stole the season for me. The entire season was hit and miss, with some considerable classics within a mixture of good and not-so-good episodes, but the finale was extremely entertaining. The mystery is wrapped up (thank God) but we are also treated to wonderful flashbacks to life before the series. We see how each of the housewives landed on Wisteria Lane and how they lived. It was so amazing to see some familiar faces again that had gone from the show, such as Rex. It just felt like it was normal - the flashbacks were so well done that they were convincing. Usually flashbacks fall short on shows and you can tell their fake, but the 2-episode finale was anything but. Not as good as season one's finale but a worthy successor none-the-less.


Season 3 (2006-07)

Desperate Housewives returned to its top form when entering its third season. Seriously, following the rocky second season, I was so pleased that the third season returned the show to some glory. Not only was it so enjoyable from start to finish but it rekindles my undying love for the show every single time I rewatch it. While there are a couple of episodes that are not very favourable to me, every season is allowed those episodes and season three does have its thorns. Fortunately, the majority of the episodes and storylines are worth watching.

This is probably the season where Susan started to become less of my favourite character as others really shone. I still loved Susan but I thought her storyline with Ian wasn't as fantastic as the other ladies' storylines. It was heartbreaking to see Mike get ran over as I genuinely thought he was dead or wouldn't remember Susan ever. It was pretty horrible of Edie to manipulate him to fall for her, but I thought Edie and Carlos were actually a good little couple. I loved it when they played happy families with her son Travis. There was also more interaction between Edie and Susan as Julie began dating Austin, so there were some heated moments. Gabby had split up with Carlos, and the scenes of them trashing the house in Bang was hilarious. Gabby then meets Victor Lang who, I thought, was a pretty good addition to the cast at first as he really was a different kind of character to what we were used to.

Lynette deals with singular problems mainly this season rather than a large arc. She's forced to deal with Tom and how he wants to chase his dreams, leading to the opening of the Pizzeria. Before that though, she is put head-to-head with Tom's ex-mistress Nora and her child with Tom, Kayla. In the show's best episode ever, Nora is killed and Lynette is asked to look after Kayla which is a huge ask. Lynette also deals with a peadophile on the street. I thought that storyline was so well done as I genuinely thought Lynette had just jumped the gun, but it turned out she was right. Then finally we learn she has cancer towards the end of the season and that is quite the shock.

Bree becomes involved with the season's mystery, though it only lasts just over half of the season. Thankfully, this worked. Having a dragged-out season-long mystery worked in the first season but didn't in the second, so the third season had the mystery of Orson Hodge last around 14 episodes. The mystery involved Mike too and introduced us to the crazy mother and ex-wife of Orson - both were excellent additions to the cast. They really tested Bree's patience but seeing Bree happy with Orson was amazing. I genuinely thought Bree and Orson were meant to be (until that all went to pot later in the series). Orson ran Mike over as it turned out, and Orson's mother killed Monique (the woman Orson was married to) and she tries to kill Bree in spectacular fashion. It was so exciting. Then Bree had to leave Wisteria Lane as Marcia Cross was ready to pop out a baby until she returned for the finale.

The mystery worked in season three. It just clicked. There was so much excitement involved in the season including Bree's near death at the hands of Gloria Hodge and the supermarket hostage. When looking back at season three, I think of it fondly. Characterisation was fantastic and the show was still at its peak.


Episode Spotlight: Bang. I think 9 out of 10 fans would say this episode was their favourite in the entire series. It's mine. I keep debating whether this is my favourite, or the following season's disaster episode, but I think Bang just beats it. What was not to love about this episode? The hostage was edge-of-your-seat exciting and so unexpected. It unfolded beautifully and it felt real. How could I forget that scene where Carolyn Bigsby just decides to shoot and kill Nora, just because Lynette revealed Nora had slept with her husband, leading to potentially Felicity Huffman's best performance in the series. I can literally quote the sequence without having to look it up.

Lynette: "Who cares? Who cares? We all have pain, every one of us in here has pain, but we deal with it. We swallow it and get going with our lives, what we don't do is go around shooting strangers!"
Carolyn: "She deserved it!"
Lynette: "Well maybe you deserved to be cheated on!"

Chills, absolute chills.


Season 4 (2007-08)

Yay! Now onto my favourite season of the series. Yes, that's right, season four is my all-time favourite season. Season one is better in terms of quality and writing and whatnot, but I just find season four so much more enjoyable than the first. I remember watching the episodes online after they aired in America and being absolutely amazed by each and every episode. Well, maybe not one or two, but to me, this season had the least bad episodes out of every other season. I just felt that this season was perfect, from start to finish.

Firstly, Susan and Mike are expecting a child and are now living life together as a married couple. Finally! It took three seasons but they are together and happy and it's just as we pictured them to be. It made me so happy to see them be happy. Lynette's story isn't as happy. She has to battle cancer and initially she didn't tell the girls. The scene in the premiere where they see her without the wig on for the first time and they realise is so heartbreaking. Two seasons in a row Felicity Huffman steals the spotlight. Not just that though, she has her alcoholic mother to contend to and her very scheming stepdaughter Kayla. The conflict between them two were interesting to watch as it was horrible to see Kayla act out, but at the same time you can understand the young girl's frustrations.

Bree tries to hide a fake pregnancy from everyone as she covers for her daughter Danielle being pregnant. The birth leads to some funny shenanigans in the Halloween episode, but Bree's and Orson's relationship continues to blossom and they couldn't have been more perfect for each other. They seriously complimented each other's traits and things couldn't have been better. Until Mike finds out Orson was the one who ran him over which meant Bree found out. That's when everything changed between the couple and things were never the same again, which was a huge shame as Orson went off to prison.

Gabrielle returns to her first season roots by having an affair behind her husband's back... with her ex-husband. It was really sweet to see Gabby realise she is meant to be with Carlos, but that meant Edie would be dumped. Edie went to extreme measures to secure Carlos by faking a suicide attempt which almost works. I felt so bad for her. She was finally finding happiness with a guy but the guy loves his ex-wife too much to commit to Edie. Gabby's husband Victor is killed in the tornado and later Edie is iced out by the girls following a dispute with Bree, leading to her departure from the lane (temporarily). I thought it was a pretty shitty thing of Bree to do by enlisting Susan, Lynette and Gabby to confront Edie to shut her out. I mean, Edie did some terrible things, sure, but they shouldn't throw stones in glass houses. Edie couldn't have helped who she fell in love with, but the other stuff they said was accurate. It was still horrible to see the confrontation as it felt like bullying.

The main draw of the season was the introduction of new housewife, Katherine Mayfair, played beautifully by Dana Delaney. She was the perfect new character to introduce and by rivalling Bree, she made quite a splash instantly. Her storylines with Bree were often comedic but always with a lesson to be learned, and with new characters comes new mysteries. Season four's mystery was, again, well done and one of my favourites. It was definitely an unexpected one like seasons one and three and it led to a pretty epic 2-episode finale. The 5-year time jump in the end was brilliant too - seeing Gabrielle a mother and overweight, Bree a successful cookbook writer, Lynette now having to deal with teenagers, and then Susan kisses a man who is not her husband. Scandalous!


Episode Spotlight: Something's Coming. After season three's Bang, season four's disaster episode went all out. And oh, how it delivered. In terms of entertainment, this episode is the best for it. The tornado was exciting and brought devastating destruction to the Lane. There were some comedic moments with Gabby and Edie as well as Lynette, Tom and Karen McCluskey that led to more serious matters. It was touching too to see Bree and Katherine finally become friends in a time of crisis, as well as Gabby and Edie who had been fighting previously. Sylvia's death was so silly - her flying out from the door was just hilarious really. The fight between Victor and Carlos was nail-biting, for sure. I just adored this episode. And when Lynette sees Mrs. McCluskey's house has crumbled to the ground with her entire family inside? Words can't describe. I could re-watch it time and again and never get bored, and again this episode delivered chills, especially with Mary Alice Young's opening line.

"It was supposed to be a beautiful day."


Season 5 (2008-09)

Season five at first glance was much like season two - an initial disappointment. The show had just delivered two of its best seasons and there had to be a point where the quality would dip. The five year time jump worked initially and I enjoyed it immensely but it became strained after a few episodes. It seemed the show didn't know what direction to take and it became a little jumbled. Now all is said and done with the show, I don't think season five was as bad as it was originally perceived to be. I remember on message boards and on some of my favourite Desperate Housewives forums about how much people were disliking the season - especially the mystery - so when you hear something enough times it starts to stick in your own head and you tend to agree. I can still understand why people disliked it but I thought the season pulled things around mid-way through.

Susan's new man is a younger guy, known as Jackson. I didn't hate him but I hated that, after three years of chasing Mike to finally marrying him, Susan wasn't with him anymore. That love story had abruptly ended although it provided some drama and interest. At the time I hated it, but now I can look back and know that the divorce didn't work out and they got back together. Susan has to watch Mike be happy with Katherine. I adored Katherine in season four - not so much in season five. I feel the writers ruined her character by side-lining her basically and her only use was to be Mike's temporary girlfriend. Her character wasn't completely ruined in season five though, no, that happens in season six. Katherine is still enjoyable in the season and I still liked her for the most part. She just didn't have that season four spark that I loved so much.

It was such a joy to watch Gabby as a frumpy mother of two - something we would never have expected from her and it was hilarious to see how she coped with it. In the disaster episode, City on Fire, Carlos becomes blind and that's when we see the serious storylines come from Gabby as it becomes increasingly difficult for her and to see her frustrations reminded me of Lynette in season one. Gabrielle had come a long way since her model days and it shines in season five - this was a really good season for Gabby. I wasn't very fond of Lynette's stories in this season as she succumbs to the economy and she has to deal with the financial stuff. Those things don't really interest me and I found myself zoning out at these times. She also has to deal with her rebellious teenagers but it didn't feel like anything really new for Lynette. Bree comes out on top with her successful catering business, one she eventually shares with Katherine. Their friendship is always pleasant to watch but you can tell how much the success makes a strain on Bree's friendships with the others. It has the biggest effect on Orson and that's where you see for the first time since he comes back that their marriage just isn't working anymore. They've turned into different people.

And Edie. Edie, Edie, Edie. I love Edie. She had some of the funniest one-liners in the series and I love Nicollette Sheridan. I was so happy she returned for the premiere episode and that she got to be deeply involved with the season's new mystery involving her husband and the Delfinos. The mystery wasn't terrible, it provided some great scenes of Karen and her sister as they don't trust him. But I do hate something. I hate the fact that Edie was killed off. I hate that she crashed into an electrical pole, survived that only to step in a puddle and be electrocuted to death. I mean, it was a good scene brilliantly acted and it was heartbreaking. I just hate that it happened. I felt some of the other characters in Edie's farewell episode that she narrated were a little insensitive, especially Gabby. I found that surprising. We don't see any of the housewives shed a tear really and they act like saying goodbye to Edie is a chore. Edie was a huge part of the show and I loved her dearly and I don't think she got the send-off she deserved.


Episode Spotlight: Look Into Their Eyes and You See What They Know. Having said that she didn't get the send-off she deserved, I do think the flashbacks were touching. They opened us up to this whole new Edie as revealed through each housewife. I especially loved the Gabby flashback when they are both competing for men's affections by getting their straws. Gabby wins by a long shot which leads to a touching scene on a pair of swings where Edie confesses she won't make it to 50. We get a deep understanding to why Edie has acted the way she has and it all makes sense to us. Edie was a terrific character and she left a gaping hole in the show following her departure.


Season 6 (2009-10)

I dislike season six so much. I really, really didn't like season six. If I had to pick my least-favourite season, the sixth is it. I mean, the season had its moments though. Throughout here and there, it had moments of brilliance. The disaster episode with the plane crash was good, not great. The season started out strong with the mysterious strangler who attacks Julie - I thought that was exciting. I was really excited by the season to begin with actually. I thought it would be a good one. It ended up disappointing me. When looking back at season six, I can't remember half of it.

Bree starts an affair with Karl Mayer, Susan's ex-husband who eventually bites the bullet in the plane crash. They did have some great chemistry and their "break-in" to Bree's house was so funny. Bree also makes up with Orson, but he's not the same. Neither of them are so I ended up feeling that their relationship was forced and unneccesary. Orson, as a character, had gone completely flaccid when he used to be such a force in his early days. Speaking of flaccid characters, Katherine hit rock bottom. Again, I love the character, but season six ruined her completely. Her obsession with Mike and her need to ruin Susan's life just made Katherine look like a crazy, bitter woman. I understand her reasons, well mostly. Katherine ended up taking it too far, even though it lead to her meeting Robin and temporarily becoming a lesbian. I mean, no other show has ever made a character go lesbian for a season, right? I hate that season six just destroyed the integrity of Katherine's character and Orson's. Two completely good and valuable characters gone to pot.

To be honest, I can't very well remember anything Lynette did this season. I remember she fell pregnant again ("are you sure it's not the cancer?") and she tries to hide it, and that she becomes involved with Eddie who turns out to be the strangler. That storyline could have really been something exciting but it ended up flopping hard in the finale. Susan marries Mike again and they try to live happily ever after but Katherine's insistant jealousy causes fights and conflict between them. Later, Susan comes to some financial difficulty. Gabby and Carlos have to look after their teenage niece Ana who was supposed to add something to the season's mystery but didn't by the end. In fact, she didn't really add anything.

The Bolens were a nice addition and I did like Angie, she was fiesty and somewhat different to Edie. Her family was okay too and it would have been nice to have Angie remain on the Lane following season six, even just as a background character to just add something. 

Wow. I really struggled to remember anything there. I really can't look back at season six and think of it fondly. It's such a shame and I don't know why the quality had to dip for the second season in a row. Things looked ugly at this point. Up to now, all of the finales had been exciting and among my favourite episodes of the season. Not this time. The finale was flat. There was little to no excitement and the mystery just, well really I couldn't have called it a mystery. It had its moments, but that was all they were.


Episode Spotlight: Nice is Different Than Good. The premiere was probably my favourite of the season. I remember the ending where Julie gets strangled by an unknown assailant and I was left with "okay, this is really exciting". By season's end, the excitement vanished and that storyline was sucked dry. Premieres are usually the show's strong point too so it did something right here.


Season 7 (2010-11)

Season seven didn't have to do much to be better than its predecessing season. The show can't seem to return to the heights of seasons one, three and four but season seven tried its hardest to at least be more enjoyable than the show's last two outings. It was very enjoyable and it felt a little like the old Desperate Housewives again. The return of Paul Young and the mystery involving him became interesting and watchable, especially when Felicia Tilman returns too. It's like a clash of the Titans and it was exciting to watch. There's no Katherine anymore which was for the best as the writers just couldn't do her any justice anymore and thankfully, the arrival of Vanessa Williams as Renee Perry was a very big plus.

Lynette welcomes her old friend Renee onto the Lane who seems to have had a thing with Tom in the past. Not only that but Lynette ends up facing extreme marital problems with Tom which ends in them splitting up, which was shocking and sad but completely understandable. Bree gets her divorce and starts up a relationship with a much younger man, Keith, whose father seems to fall for Bree too. Later, Bree ends up romantically involved with a detective. Bree also tells Gabrielle the secret of Andrew running over Carlos's mother, which forces Gabby to tell Carlos. More importantly, Gabby finds out Juanita was swapped at birth and Gabby finds her biological daughter which causes straints with Juanita until her biological daughter ends up leaving. Gabby's creepy stepfather also shows up.

Susan's financial problems causes her to move off the lane and put her house up for rent as Mike goes away to work so he can help the family with money. Susan has to do odd jobs to make ends meet, including a funny cleaning-live-online gig. Susan ends up renting the house, unknowingly, to Paul Young and his new wife. Paul seeks vengeance on the Lane and the mystery of why he wants to buy all of the houses on Wisteria Lane climaxes with a street riot as he wants to open a halfway house for ex-criminals. Beth, Paul's wife, kills herself so Susan can live - something that ends up changing Paul but Felicia continues her revenge against Paul for killing Martha Huber, her sister.

Paul's return was a welcome storyline for the show after feeling a little stale. He added some much-needed excitement that developed the story along much better than season six's. A direction became clear and the season as a whole felt much more smooth. Even when the Paul Young mystery was resolved in the disaster episode, there was enough storyline to see the season through to the end, culminating in one of the most exciting season cliffhangers ever - the girls covering up the murder of Gabby's stepfather. After years of not actually putting the "desperate" in "housewives", now we had a storyline going into the final season that was worthy of the show's title.


Episode Spotlight: Down the Block There's a Riot. I recently re-watched this episode... and I was crying by the end of it. I have always loved this episode - the street riot was so fantastic to watch. Public panic has always been an exciting plot point in shows and films and it was magnified in this episode as several storylines came to a climax. What started off with Bree firing a gun to stop a fight, she ends up setting the entire street into panic mode. It started off with an innocent mistake but it escalated into this stampede. I was scared for all of the housewives who were involved, including Susan who started to be tramped on, Gabby who is looking for Juanita and Lynette who tries to stop it all after seeing that this was not what she wanted to stop Paul. The housewives were not in control. The part I was crying at was when Lynette stopped the guys from beating up Lee after he sold his house that sealed their fate. When she shouted for them to stop and tells them "he's my neighbour", it was just so sweet and sad after the hatred she felt for him for doing what he did. I just loved this episode, it was so fun and amazing.


Season 8 (2011-12)

Ahh, final seasons. I was expecting the show to last a little longer to be honest. When season eight was announced as the final one, I was surprised. I mean, ratings were stinking but Desperate Housewives just felt like a staple on Sunday night television for ABC. I realised it was time for the show to end but I wasn't really ready to let go. Following season seven, I thought the show was returning to top form so season eight actually was the perfect note to end on. It would have been a shame for the show to expire and start to really stink so ABC did fans a favour by announcing it as the final season so things could be wrapped up. As far as final seasons go, Desperate Housewives did a great job at wrapping things up.

The main plot of the season was the fact that the girls covered up the murder of Alejandro with the help of Carlos, who actually killed him. You could see this was tearing them up inside, especially Susan, who ended up confiding in Carlos. The fear of being caught makes season eight one of the most exciting ones of the show, especially as Detective Chuck closes in on them. Susan becomes distant with the others and returns to school. The main issue I had this season with Susan was Mike. I loved Mike, but the fact that the writers killed him off just episodes before the finale tore me up. Their love story ended in a tragedy. As the other girls get to live happily ever after with their husbands, Susan ends up alone. Eight years of chasing, marrying, divorcing, re-marrying and becoming the mother of his child, Mike and Susan ended up apart. What a waste of time. His death was good and Susan's cries of help were heartbreaking, but it wasn't necessary to kill Mike off. That really peeved me. It was nice to see Julie come back from mid-way through the season to the finale and knowing that Susan will become a grandmother. I just find it horrible and tragic that Susan will grow old without Mike. Sucks so bad.

Bree takes charge of the cover-up which literally makes the world around her crash down. She becomes quite different as she starts sleeping around and falling out with the other girls. This leads to her contemplating suicide like Mary Alice did in the Pilot. The scenes with Marcia Cross breaking down over losing everything including her friends reduced me to tears. I felt so bad for her. She became the target of the police investigation, especially when her relationship with Chuck falters. Gabby struggles with Carlos as his guilt consumes him for killing somebody and he decides to help the needy so Gabby gets a job as a personal shopper. Lynette deals with her separation from Tom and the heartbreak she feels when Tom meets a new woman, Jane. Lynette tries all she can to win him back and, in the end, they reunite. It's so beautiful and touching and I was genuinely happy the couple got back together. Renee also falls for the new hunky neighbour Ben and Karen finds out she has cancer and later dies.

Season eight wasn't exactly perfect, but it was as close to perfection as we could have gotten. By series end, Desperate Housewives turned itself around and put itself back on track. I was worried about whether the show would end on a good note, but it somehow managed to defy the odds. Most of the storylines from season's past was wrapped up, almost all of the characters lived happily ever after and the series ended in a poignant fashion, ending with a new neighbour bringing a mystery to the Lane, much like how the show began, proving that the cycle really does continue.


Episode Spotlight: Finishing the Hat. The series finale was pretty much all I could have asked for in a series finale. The episode features the return of Katherine Mayfair who appears to be back on top and offers Lynette a very good job out of town. Julie also goes into labour at the most inopportune time which provided the light humour that the show was so famous for. But to add to the drama, Karen McClusky takes her final breath with the girls respecting her wishes to die with dignity. It touched my heart to see Karen die this way. She had been in the show since season one and as the show died, she died. And it added salt to the wound when the actress, Kathryn Joosten, passed away in real life several months after the finale aired. We're treated to some flash-forwards at the end to see how the housewives ended up. They all led great lives which was nice to see, but they were now all separated which was pretty sad. I always imagined the girls staying close forever and growing old on Wisteria Lane. It was sad that Susan was the only one without the love of her life, but hey, it wasn't the first time the show screwed a character over.


Closing Thoughts


I wish SpoilerTV began in 2004 so I could have reviewed every single episode because my thoughts and the opinions on the show could not be condensed in a 10-year anniversary article. I wasn't able to go over everything unfortunately though I think I ran through the main points. I would have loved to go through best storylines, best characters, best quotes, best everything. I loved this show. So, so much and I still love it. I still find myself re-watching episodes from time to time and I can consider this show one of my all-time favourites.

I can't believe this show started 10 years ago today - it's crazy! Where did the time go? One thing I do know is that this show will forever be cherished as one of the best shows to come out of the 2000s. It defied television in 2004 when it premiered and continued to light the blaze in every desperate fan's hearts until the end. While the show hit rough patches, it's forgiveable as every show isn't perfect. Fortunately, the highs came a lot more frequently than the lows, remaining juicy for an extraordinary 180 episodes in eight glorious seasons. I'm satisfied with everything the show accomplished and how it ended. I only wish certain things had been different but I can't change anything about it. For the most part, I wouldn't change a thing anyway. I can't express my love for this show. It will remain in my heart forever.

The show lived. Oh, how it lived.


Questions for the Fans

1. What was your favourite season of the show?
2. What was your favourite episode of the show?
3. Who was your favourite character? Did it change during the course of the show?
4. Looking back at the series as a whole, where do you stand on your feelings towards it?
5. Are you satisfied with how the show ended?

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black and Salem in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact Gavin at gavin@spoilertv.com.
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