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Desperation for bingeworthy show leads to Wisteria Lane

For as long as I can remember, women-led television shows are something I’ve always been drawn to, and Desperate Housewives is no exception. The lives of four housewives in suburban Wisteria Lane might seem mundane and uninteresting. However, the lives of the four main characters exhibit the resilience and chaos they live through. Two years ago, someone recommended that I should watch Desperate Housewives. I had heard of it in the past, but thought it was more of an old-money Dynasty type show. Nevertheless, I decided to watch the pilot episode, and my initial bias was quickly proven wrong.

The show begins with the suicide of Mary Alice on the quiet Wisteria Lane, where her friends, the homemaker, Bree Van De Kamp, the overwhelmed mother Lynette Scavo, the clumsy recently divorced Susan Mayer, and the elegant Gabrielle Solis, all live.

The first episode showcases the sudden death of Mary Alice, shocking her quiet cul-de-sac. However, every single main character is going through their own struggles, a rough patch with her spouse, wanting to start a new relationship after a divorce, disenchantment about being a stay-at-home mom, and having an affair with her teenage gardener. A part of me loves the show because of the way Mary Alice ominously narrates every episode, in which she gives a small recap at the end.

During the first season, viewers are entangled in the love story as recently divorced Susan begins a relationship with Mike, a new neighbor on the lane. From the start, it is clear that it won’t be an easy-going relationship. I have to admit that in the beginning, Mike bored me with his attempt at a persona depicting him as mysterious and rigid. However, as the show progresses, I need them to be together despite them separating a few times every season.

Bree gets married three times throughout the series. Rex is her first husband, and while he exits in the show there is not much to be sad about.

Gabrielle and her husband Carlos’ relationship experiences the most significant growth but every episode for the eight-year run contains an argument between the two. 

Arguably the worst relationship in the series is between Lynette and Tom. I have never disliked a character more than Tom Scavo, as he remains insufferable and acts like a man-child throughout the show. I would argue that I am a Lynette apologist since many argue that she is a controlling person, but how else would you react if your husband was spoiled, selfish, and insecure about every aspect of his life?

One of my favorite aspects of Desperate Housewives is the disaster episodes, in which something life-altering happens, and the characters realize their miniscule problems are not that bad after all. 

I know that some of the episodes are incredibly cheesy, but they remain so riveting that I rewatch all of them every couple of months. Some of my favorites include: “Bang,” where Carolyn Bigsby starts shooting inside her husband’s grocery store after she finds out he was having an affair, and Another favorite is “Something’s Coming,” since unlike the previous disaster episodes, there are no preludes that anything bad is going to happen, and it comes as a shock when a tornado heads straight for Wisteria Lane. 

The episode also has chaos outside the tornado; Gabrielle fleeing, Susan confronting Mike on his addiction, Bree meddling in a married couple’s relationship, and Lynette hiding in her neighbor’s basement. All the chaos just makes the episode more enjoyable.

“Down the Block There’s a Riot” is an honorable mention episode because despite being the only disaster episode without a death, the anxiety that viewers feel when a violent protest and riot happens in Wisteria, captures audiences.

I have had an adoration for Desperate Housewives since the show’s creator wrote the 80’s sitcom Golden Girls also depicts strong, independent women. Golden Girls is one of my favorite shows so I was pleasantly surprised to find this show.

One aspect of the show I can never justify is the persistent theme of emasculation. Throughout the entire series, nearly every single woman is accused of emasculating their husband, but the women just play an active role in their household and are not submissive to every ignorant thing their husbands have done.

Despite the disturbing topics, this show portrays typical suburban life while questioning how much we really know about our neighbors.

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Christian Alvarado
Christian Alvarado, Staff Writer
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