Monday, 22 February 2016


“I never do anything fun, because I'm a housewife. I hate that word ‘housewife’. I prefer to be called ‘domestic goddess’.’ - Roseanne Barr

We have just finished watching the first season of the 2004 soapie “Desperate Housewives” on DVD, which I must say I was dragged in to watch kicking and screaming. Reading the blurb on the cover and seeing the cover photo, I must say that I groaned. This was a typical chick-flick type of soapie that I was just going to hate and I was going to watch a few episodes and then politely make up excuses and desist from watching the remaining episodes of this mammoth eight-season series…

Never heard of this series, like me before watching it? Well you must have been living on the same planet as me (which is not earth) as every other person on earth has apparently seen this! The show is about suburban life for a group of close-knit housewives who have become good friends and apparently live a “normal” suburban life. However, this is no ordinary suburb as one of their closest friends mysteriously commits suicide. So not only do they have to deal with their own hectic problems and romantic lives, but they have to work out why on earth would a happy housewife suddenly take her own life. Each season of the series brings on a new mystery and more twisted events in the dark and complex lives of the residents of Fairview…

Well, having watched the first season, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The show is not boring and furthermore it had me hooked. What really sucked me in was that it deals with some serious issues, but it has humour! And that’s the winner for me and that is what kept me watching it. The other winner is that the characters, although anything but normal, do resonate and viewers can immediately recognise them as people they know or have met. Also despite the understandable exaggeration that a soapie plotline indulges in, there are so many situations and dialogue that rings remarkably real. Hats off to the creator of the series, Marc Cherry for getting the mix right.

The other strength of the show is the fantastic cast, especially the female leads who play the housewives of the title desperately well! Terri Hatcher as the insecure and slightly inept Susan Mayer, Felicity Huffman as the efficient and erstwhile successful businesswoman Lynette Scavo (I have a lot of time for this common sense lady!), Marcia Cross as the neurotic perfectionist Bree Van De Kamp, Eva Longoria as the narcissistic, shallow ex-model Gabrielle Solis, and finally  Nicollette Sheridan as the predatory sexpot Edie Britt. The supporting actors are excellent also, as they have to be, I guess, in the cutthroat world of soapie TV…

Overall, an enjoyable, entertaining, funny (although often sensitive and poignant) series. I’m grateful that I was made to watch it and look forward to seeing Season 2! Oh, and by the way I enjoyed the introduction and credits as the idea of using a send-up of famous artworks was fantastic. There is reference to “Adam and Eve” by Lucas Cranach the Elder, “The Arnolfini Portrait” by Jan van Eyck, “American Gothic” by Grant Wood, and Andy Warhol's “Campbell's soup can”. Also alluded to are the lesser known “Couple Arguing” and “Romantic Couple” by Robert Dale (drawn in a comic book style similar to that of Roy Liechtenstein) and a 1940s “Am I Proud!” poster by Dick Williams (showing a woman holding cans).

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