"Desperate Housewives: The Complete Second Season"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    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

    Rated TV-PG
    Studio: ABC

    Created by: Marc Cherry
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Last season, “Desperate Housewives” was the most buzz-worthy show out there. In fact, in the wake of a decade of reality television, “Desperate Housewives” was touted by industry pundits as being one of the shows that helped save the hour drama. (I guess we all forget about shows like “Law & Order,” which is still going strong after 16 seasons.)

However, the second season was met with a lot less buzz. When you’ve got new shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “America’s Got Talent” and the apocalyptic “Dancing with the Stars,” the housewives on Wisteria Lane were greatly left in the dust. Even Eva Longoria’s big-screen debut, “The Sentinel” with Michael Douglas, was met with a lukewarm reaction.

I don’t think “Desperate Housewives” is going to become the new “Friends” – or even the new “Sex in the City,” for that matter. Instead, I predict it will survive into its fourth season but be canceled after its first wave of shows due to skyrocketing costs and dwindling ratings.

After watching the first season, I predicted that the second one was going to be rough. This was because creator and showrunner Marc Cherry seemed to only have thought through the end of the first season. Once the question of “Why did Mary Alice kill herself?” was answered, things fizzled.

Yes, there was a season finale where we learn the truth of Mike and his son Zach. We learn why Mary Alice killed herself and why Paul Young has been acting so weird. We were also introduced to the new neighbors, the Applewhites, who have a secret locked in their basement.

The first half of season two reminded me of how “Twin Peaks” floundered after answered the question, “Who killed Laura Palmer?” Cherry and company just didn’t know quite where to got. There were several storylines attempted, including Susan finding her real father, Gabrielle dealing with a pregnancy that could be from Carlos or John the sexy gardener, Lynette going back to work while her husband Tom stayed home and Bree dealing with the recent death of her husband Rex.

Ultimately, many of these storylines really had no legs and ended abruptly. By mid-season, it was clear that the writers didn’t know exactly what to do to keep the show titillating.

The biggest hurdle is the character of Lynette, who is presented as the grounded, realistic housewife. However, she’s as much of a creep as the rest of them – more so, really. Lynette is presented as a self-righteous nag who in reality is a completely lousy mother. Whenever the other housewives are presented in their dysfunction, there’s a wink and a nod to the audience saying that we all know they’re crazy. However, this never happens with Lynette.

Cherry, who like his east coast counterpart John Waters, relishes in the behind-the-door scandals of the suburbs. However, what really makes these things thrilling is that they’re larger than life. Cherry tries to put too much of his own childhood and memories into the show.

Fortunately, things ramp up a little bit in the end of the season. We leave the alcoholic housewife and pining daughter storylines for something with a little more bite. There’s still the murky cloud of murder on Wisteria Lane (which cranks out more dead bodies in the course of two years than your average street in the ghetto), and that helps things look up towards season three.

The six-disc second season DVD set is labeled “The Extra Juicy Edition,” which basically means it has a nice assortment of special features. There are a bunch of deleted scenes, including full storylines for Susan and Lynette that have been cleaved from the series.

The sixth disc contains most of them, which is a relief considering that Marc Cherry blew all the surprises with his giddy appearances on the first five discs of season one. There are several featurettes, including the directors of the shows, famous TV moms weighing in on the show, the housewives’ fashions, favorite moments from the actors, Marc Cherry’s favorite scenes and a spotlight on his mom, who provided much of the inspiration for the show.

Ultimately, “Desperate Housewives” is still a decent show. It’s worth a look if you’re a fan, and the DVD set gives you a good opportunity to watch the season uninterrupted and in proper order.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.78:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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