DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON
MOVIE: *1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
Teri Hatcher as SUSAN MAYER
Felicity Huffman as LYNETTE SCAVO
Marcia Cross as BREE VAN DE CAMP
Eva Longoria as GABRIELLE SOLIS
Nicolette Sheridan as EDIE BRITT
Created by: Marc Cherry
Studio: ABC Studios
BY KEVIN CARR
Four years ago, “Desperate Housewives” started as a somewhat clever, quirky look at American suburbia. In an effort to keep itself fresh over its first four seasons, it has jumped the shark, introducing (and ultimately killing off) too many characters and suffering from lazy writing.
Season Four, while as popular as ever with television audiences, is a mess of stories. It opens with the attempted suicide of Edie Britt (Nicolette Sheridan) and the arrival of a new housewife on the block (Katherine Mayfair, played by Dana Delaney). Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Bree (Marcia Cross) are pregnant, and Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) has come to the realization that her marriage to the town mayor is a sham.
Like many shows from the 2007-2008 season, “Desperate Housewives” was a casualty of the writers’ strike. Season Four has only seventeen episodes, which helps it out a bit in an odd way. In previous seasons, it seemed that showrunner Marc Cherry fumbled around with too much time and not enough stories. In this season, things feel a little more compact, which gives a slight advantage to dramatic tension.
However, even with the truncated season, the show is falling apart. I cannot figure out if we’re supposed to care for the characters or resent them for being such awful human beings. Marc Cherry shows his hand in a commentary track about the deus ex machina resolve of Lynette’s cancer, though. I suppose Cherry loves these characters, but I find them more annoying year-to-year.
The introduction of Dana Delaney will make her fans giddy, but someone like me (who thinks she’s wildly overrated) will find her character to be a yawner. Like other new additions to the cast, she brings her own secrets with her, dealing with her daughter who can’t remember her past and an abusive ex-husband. Yet even the cap to this story is far-fetched and only paints her as a terrible parent.
The only thing I found more infuriating than the actual season itself was the cop-out of a season finale, which plays with the chronology worse than it did at the beginning of Season Three.
Bonus material includes a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the November sweeps tornado episode, deleted scenes and bloopers. There’s also a spotlight on the men of Wisteria Lane, which seems a little forced but gives some nice attention to genre series veterans like Kyle McLaughlin and Nathan Fillion. And if you’re interested in what the cast has to say, you can check out the Couples Commentary, which features commentary tracks on select episodes with the housewives and their men.
Ultimately, fans of “Desperate Housewives” will eat this DVD up. But if you’re tired of the show, you’d be better off watching Season One again.