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TV Series Review

There goes the neighborhood. Again.

Since 2004 the women of Wisteria Lane have been having affairs, children and breakdowns with eerie regularity. It's just like real life, right? We'd all be shocked—shocked!—if we really knew what's going on behind our neighbors' front doors, the show's makers suggest.

Still, one can only hope that the crisis-per-capita rate along this picturesque drive is a statistical anomaly. Voyeurs—I mean, viewers—have watched these protagonists deal with marriage and divorce, murder and suicide, tornadoes, fires, plane crashes and hundreds of neighborhood covenant violations during the show's run thus far. And it's just going to keep on coming, too.

Written with winking wit, Desperate Housewives can explore some fascinating territory. Through the sensationalistic misadventures of Susan, Lynette, Bree and Gabrielle, it's possible to glean a sense of what really should be precious to us: love, family, community. But let's not lead ourselves astray. From its inception, Desperate Housewives (with an enticing, Eden-style apple embedded within its logo for emphasis) has been all about sex. Who's having it with whom, who's not having it and why, and how they go about getting some or more of it.

"Seduction," begins the narrator during a 2010 episode. "Any soap opera will tell you it's an art best practiced on those who are vulnerable."

The narrator could be referring to any number of characters on Wisteria Lane—be they seducer or seduced. But she also speaks to the temptation of the show itself. For years, Desperate Housewives has been enticing us to enter its world, absorb its stories, live with its complexities. And quite a few of us, charmed perhaps by crisp writing and tempted by over-the-top storylines, have walked into a Desperate web, barely noticing what a problematic relationship we're stepping into.


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Episode Reviews

DesperateHousewives: 2282010
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