The time has come to say goodbye to four women with whom I have spent many Sundays since the fall of 2004 and who have seen me through two moves and the births of three children. I’ve seen them through cancer, a natural disaster, a late in life baby, alcoholism, a murder trial and the deaths of spouses. I never even met them in person, but I feel like I might as well have, for how much I know about them. I'm definitely going to miss Bree, Lynnette, Susan and Gabby. I also forgot about Mary Alice, the glue who holds everyone together, even though she’s been dead for almost eight years. She’s the one who took me through everyone’s lives and taught a lesson in the end. Yes, life will be different without a weekly trip to Wisteria Lane, but I’ll always have the memories.
Warning...this contains spoilers. Please read at your own risk.
“Desperate Housewives” when a co-worker told me it would be right up my alley. She was right and I became hooked. There was a lot of sex, scandal and a good old fashioned mystery. The first mystery in this series was why Mary Alice chose to end her life after receiving a threatening note. As the story began to unfold, we learned more about Mary Alice, her husband Paul and their son Zach. Somehow Mike Delfino, the sexy plumber and Susan’s new crush, was involved in this mystery. In the meantime, we followed Gabby through her affair with her hot teenage gardener, we watched Lynnette try to balance work and motherhood and we saw Bree’s marriage unfold when her husband demanded a divorce and later got caught with a prostitute. And that was only season one!
As the years went by, there were other mysteries to solve and new characters kept joining the show. Season two had a somewhat dull mystery about a woman hiding someone in her house. There was also Gabby’s attempts to get pregnant with the help of a surrogate, who turned out to be actually sleeping with Carlos. However, it picked up steam when Orson moved to the street and realized Mike knew a secret about him. He tried to kill Mike, but instead gave him amnesia. Season three had us trying to figure out why Orson would try to kill Mike, what crazy secret he was hiding and how Bree got herself involved. Then Katherine joined in season four and had secrets to hide, as well. In the meantime, Gabby was dating a politician and Carlos went blind after a tornado. Susan got married to Mike in a private outdoor ceremony, once he had his memory back and later had a baby with him. There was also the illegitimate daughter of Tom Scavo, who tried to ruin Lynnette’s life after her real mother was shot in a grocery store. I know Lynnette’s whole cancer scare fell somewhere in these first few seasons, as well. Bree also forced Orson to go to jail for the hit-and-run with Mike. After Tom’s daughter was sent packing when she confessed to lying about Lynnette abusing her and Katherine’s ex-husband was shot after he tried to kill her over what...and who...she was hiding, we suddenly moved forward FIVE years.
Gabby suddenly had young children, Lynnette suddenly had teenagers--the oldest two being big troublemakers, Bree is reunited with Orson and is now a successful chef with a cookbook in the works and Susan was kissing someone other than Mike! We soon learned that Susan and Mike were divorced after a fatal car accident involving another man’s family, and that other man was out to avenge his wife and daughter’s deaths, believing Mike to be responsible. That season also saw the end of Edie Britt, frenemy of all the women on Wisteria Lane. In season six, Lynnette is pregnant again, but a plane crash proves to be fatal to one of the twins she's carrying. There's yet another new neighbor, Angie, whose story is the main mystery focus of the season, aside from the strangler mystery (and how Susan's daughter Julie is a victim). Then there's Katherine's insanity after Mike and Susan get remarried, and when she gets her life back together, she runs off with another woman. Season seven gave us Renee, a college friend of Lynnette's who once had a fling with Tom. There was also a nice cougar match between Bree and Keith, until she found out about his child. A lot of that season focused on Lynnette leaving her job and trying to control Tom's life now that he was the breadwinner again. It ended in their separation. There was also a lot to do with Paul Young being back and makign Susan's life miserable. He was married to another woman who had her own secrets, and eventually her life ended the same way Mary Alice's did. Gabby was being stalked by her stepfather, who had molested her when she was a child. The season ends with his murder, which was technically self-defense, even though Carlos was the one doing the "defending."
Now we're in the final season and so much has happened, leading up to the season--and series--finale. It started with the women harboring a secret and hiding a body, Bree getting blackmailed with a letter, Chuck, a cop, trying to get to the bottom of things after Bree ends their relationship (which was going strong at the end of season seven), which eventually leads to his own demise. There was a friendship fall-out, which came back together when times were tough. Carlos went to rehab for alcoholism, which had helped him deal with the guilt over the murder, even though he was trying to protect someone. And we can't forget about Mike being fatally shot in front of his own home and the aftermath that ensued. Now Bree is on trial for the murder of Gabby's stepfather. Bree is trying to protect Carlos from going to jail, but that could mean she goes to jail instead. She also has a crush on her lawyer, which doesn't help matters all that much. Then there's Lynnette, who has realized that she really should be back together with Tom. Now that Tom is starting to realize it too, is there hope for their relationship?
So much has happened over the past eight years and I feel I've just skimmed the surface. I was reading over old episode descriptions and realizing just how much I forgot. Then there are times when a small flashback from an episode will get into my head because of something else in another episode. There have also been so many characters to follow (aside from the main characters and their husbands). Some have been there since the beginning and stayed the whole way through. Others have reappeared from time to time. Some of my favorites are:
Mrs. McCluskey: She's old and cranky, but has a good heart. I felt so bad for her when she got her cancer diagnosis and realized it wasn't going away. She's been there for all the women on Wisteria Lane at one point or another.
Bob and Lee: The gay couple on the lane. They're great together and also add some comic relief to the show.
Andrew Van De Kamp: Bree's son, who is also gay. He was a jerk for a while and then he became really nice after he came out.
Renee Perry: She's hard not to like. She has her selfish moments, but no worse than Gabby. She also has a vulnerable side. And she really came through for Bree this past season.
Penny Scavo: Lynnette's daughter. She's so level-headed and keeps Lynnette sane. I love how she was helping to get Tom and Lynnette back together.
There are also so many villainous characters from one season to the next, such as Felicia Tillman, who cut off her fingers to frame Paul for murder; Orson Hodge, Bree's ex-husband who has been more evil than good, especially now; Gabby's stepfather and also her mother-in-law; Sam, Rex's illegitimate son who blackmailed Bree into selling her business; George, the phamacist who had a crush on Bree and killed Rex as a result and then later killed himself and tried to get Bree in trouble for it; Eddie, the Fairview strangler, but he eventually came through for Lynnette; Dave Williams, who tried to kill MJ to punish Mike and Susan; and we musn't forget the horrible and scary loan shark who killed Mike. And there are so many others, as well.
I know "Desperate Housewives" probably jumped the shark a few times, but I still couldn't tear my eyes away. It was like a guilty pleasure, except my husband was in on it too. I don't think the show was ever capable of getting boring, as there was always something new, crazy, dramatic or funny happening each week. I even got the soundtrack, which had a great song by SheDaisy (and a "Desperate Housewives" themed video to go along with it), "G-d Bless the American Housewife." I had a nice time with the ladies of Wisteria Lane and was able to relate to each of them in different ways. I'll miss them all, but I hope they'll send some new "friends" in my direction this fall.