I’m going to admit from the beginning that I had a lot of trepidation going into watching Desperate Housewives. I’ve never seen the show on broadcast television, and frankly don’t know anybody who’s a big fan. The closest I ever got to any of this was the famous T.O. Monday Night Football towel incident that featured the woman from the show lusting after Owens while he was with the Philadelphia Eagles. And like Owens’ tenure with the team, Desperate Housewives was just one of those things I figured we just didn’t talk about. Certainly I’ve seen the hype, and believe, me I’m well aware of the show’s popularity. But I admit to dismissing it as something of a trendy phenomenon and more or less a “chick” show. Now that I’ve finally seen the show I guess I can see what the hype is all about, but my opinion hasn’t changed much. I still think it’s a “chick” show. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The residents of
The plot is pretty much standard soap opera fare. There are love triangles, diseases, and the typical complications you can find on any given weekday during the networks’ afternoon programs. Of course, here we have primetime production values and a decidedly A cast of actors. It’s very likely that Desperate Housewives might have actually benefited from the writer’s strike, which reduced the run of episodes down to 17. The writers spent more time dealing with the characters and less trying to pretend they were creating compelling drama. Where the show works is in these quirky, almost black comedy moments between the characters. Since there is no “story” to really speak of, I guess it’s more important that you meet the residents of
Each episode of Desperate Housewives is presented in a sweet 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Again, I can’t compare to broadcast versions of the series, but these DVD transfers are quite nice. The sharpness is excellent. Black levels are well above average for television, even in the HD age. Colors aren’t necessarily bright at all, but remain constant and solid throughout. Flesh tones are dead on reference. These women often dress flashy, and the transfer does its job to try and make them look good.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is more aggressive than I expected going in. There are not a lot of dynamic opportunities for an audio track to particularly shine here, but it does a wonderful job of immersing the viewer in the show. The plentiful musical numbers are well placed, usually not interfering with the action. Dialog is always easy to hear, and placement is spot on. Not much for the subs here, but who cares?
The episodes contain something called Couples Commentary. It’s actually a clever version of the old audio commentary idea. Couples from the show hook up to provide often humorous comments during the episodes. The couples are often linked to the characters getting the heavy story time in that episode. If you’re a fan, these will likely be your favorite extra.
Getting Desperate – From Beginning To End: This nearly half hour feature centers on the Tornado that rips up
Spare Time – Hanging Out With The Men Of
Cherry Picked: Creator Mark Cherry picks out his favorite scenes from season 4. Of course you’ve already seen them, but you get an optional commentary so he can tell you why he likes them so much. You can see them individually or use the handy dandy play all option.
Deleted Scenes: I’m not sure any of these added anything. They are mostly extra character moments and pretty much more of the same. Again you get an optional commentary by Mark Cherry and a convenient play all option.
Bloopers: You know what these are, right?
It figures that just when I get to watch Desperate Housewives, they decided to blow it up. The tornado stuff was actually pretty cool. It was well done and might have earned some respect for the show from me. There’s no question the production values are high, and the costume department must be busier than they were on Lord Of The Rings. The girls have some good chemistry and, of course, aren’t all that bad to look at. Still, with most episodes I found myself wanting more out of 40 minutes of my time. For four years I avoided the trendy show, maybe for no other reason than it was so popular. Like death and taxes, some things are unavoidable if you chose to become a reviewer. Like rains in the summer the UPS man cometh, and just last week he was totin’ Desperate Housewives. He rang the door bell. He knocked on the door. The wind slowly rustled some palm fronds out on the street. From the corner of my eye I saw a lizard dart around the corner of the house. The sun was just reaching its zenith, and somewhere I swear I heard an Ennio Morricone whistle coming through the trees. “I knew this day was coming.”