Fast forward for time warp on Wisteria Lane
Five-year plan: Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher and Nicollette Sheridan MANY fans of this satire-cum-soap will be aware that the latest series has jumped forward by five years. Is this a desperate measure for a show that has passed its use-by date or a creative breakthrough? Judging by tonight’s episode, it’s a bit of both.
First, an update. As the fifth series opened several weeks back, Bree ( Marcia Cross), whose domestic perfectionism contrasts with her messedup emotions, has morphed into Wisteria Lane’s answer to Martha Stewart. Former careerist Lynette ( Felicity Huffman) is still ambivalent about being a housewife, partly because her monstrous twin boys have grown into monstrous teenagers.
Susan ( Teri Hatcher) and Mike ( James Denton) have split up in the aftermath of a tragic car accident and have had a late-in-life son, while Edie ( Nicollette Sheridan), the neighbourhood harlot, has a new husband who skulks about like a villain from a Christmas panto. Although time has moved on, Wisteria Lane’s hotties haven’t aged, except for Gabrielle ( Eva Longoria), the former model who is now a washed-out mother of two obese daughters.
Tonight’s episode sees Bree achieve overnight success as a celebrity cook. But as the soothingly familiar voice-over by the all-seeing narrator Mary Alice insinuates, the green-eyed monster is stalking the ruthlessly clipped lawns of Wisteria Lane. ( Mary Alice kick-started the whole Wisteria Lane psychodrama by topping herself.)
It seems Bree’s neighbourly girlfriends and husband are proud but bitterly envious of her good fortune ( stereotype, anyone?). Bree discovers, meanwhile, that outward success does not always equate to inner happiness.
In part, tonight’s show achieves what this dramedy has always done best: set up familiar archetypes ( women who are inherently envious and insecure), only to subvert them through sly humour. Still, it lacks the unpredictability and jet-black humour of Desperate Housewives ’ ratingsbusting debut season.
It seems to me that tonight’s show has more to do with the quiet desperation of the suburbs than with jealousy: Lynette is in mourning for the high-flying career she gave up for family reasons, and Mike is mourning the close relationship he enjoyed with his son while he was still with Susan.
Gabrielle worries her looks have faded and grieves for her old life in which she drove flash sports cars, wore couture outfits to the local shops and was a round-the-clock sexpot.
Still, we know they will survive. Wisteria Lane’s motley crew has seen it all: suicide, a murder cover-up, cancer, jail terms, secret children, fake pregnancy, upper-middle-class prostitution. By these standards, fasttracking the characters into irreversible middle age seems tame.
Everything old is new again. The resurrection of this news-based satirical program with Paul McDermott, Mikey Robins and Claire Hooper must give programmers hope. How long can it be before crashes back into our lives? Or how about
or an all new ? Why create something new when an old jalopy gets mileage like this? If you were of the mild suspicion that Sally Field, pictured, could still be a - style pain in the neck, even in her advancing years, her irksome performance tonight as Nora Walker enlisting her loaded family to help her facilitate a garage sale will cement your opinion. Blame the writers. Do people this rich really have garage sales? Don’t they just phone someone when they need junk cleared out? Speaking of clearing out, Kitty has to help find a replacement for herself in the senator’s office. It started in prime time over summer, then it disappeared, then it suffered the television equivalent of a long, painful death. Hour by hour, moved further into the night until now it’s actually on the next day. This is the season one finale, poignantly titled
. If there is anyone left who could care less, the post is put on high alert when a terrorist attack is suspected. Somehow I doubt we’ll see series two anytime soon.