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Desperate Housewives: Season 2 DVD Review

Desperate Housewives: Season 2

August 26, 2006

Director: Robert Duncan McNeill, David Grossman, Larry Shaw, Randall Zisk,
Starring: Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Nicollette Sheridan, Ricardo Antonio Chavira, Doug Savant, Alfre Woodard, Mark Moses, Richard Burgi,

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DVD Review

After the phenomenonal success of the first season of Desperate Housewives, would the creative powers behind the popular scenes be able to maintain the momentum for the next season? For the most part, yes, as the writers do little to alter their tried and true formula while introducing a few new characters into the mix. There are still lots of juicy secrets that are revealed over the course of the season as the show continues to celebrate and satirize suburban life.

When we last left our colourful cast of housewives, Bree (Cross) was dealing with the funeral arrangements for her recently deceased husband. Lynette (Huffman) has re-entered the workforce while her husband (Savant) stays at home to take care of the kids (with varying degrees of success). Gabrielle’s husband (Chavira) finally found out about his wife’s (Longoria) affair…on his way to prison. Susan (Hatcher) is held hostage at gunpoint by Mike’s son in order to get revenge on his father (Denton). Meanwhile, Edie (Sheridan) is having her house rebuilt, again, with Mike’s help.

This time around, Wisteria Lane sees the arrival of a new neighbour, Betty Applewhite (Woodard), who is not what she appears to be (big surprise) and, we soon find out, is keeping someone chained up in her basement. However, it is the same old status quo with most of the other characters. Bree is still wound tighter than a clock; Susan is still a slapsticky mess; Gabrielle is still a stuck-up ice queen; and Lynette has swapped her chaotic home life for an equally chaotic workplace. This season ends up tracing the arc of Susan and Mike’s on again off again relationship; Bree dealing with the investigation into her husband’s death of which she might be implicated; Gabrielle dealing with her husband being in prison; and Lynette’s adjustment to having a boss and the nine to five grind.

Of all the main characters Lynette probably has the most interesting arc as her job allows her (and us) to get out of Wisteria Lane and introduces several new characters and the cutthroat advertising agency business (including NYPD Blue’s Currie Graham as her new boss). Felicity Huffman looks like she’s having a blast with this new twist to her character and does a great job juggling her home life with her inept husband and the ruthless politics of her work. Often, the two bleed together and this is when the show is at its best. The writers flesh out more of Susan’s backstory (including having Lesley Ann Warren as her wonderfully memorable mother, aptly demonstrating that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree) and let Bree cut loose a little bit while Gabrielle’s storyline gets wilder (if that’s possible). All in all, if you’re a fan of Desperate Housewives, season two features plenty more of the same and the extras on this DVD set happily capture the flavour and tone of the show.

Special Features:

“Marc and Mom” features series creator Marc Cherry talking to his mother, his muse and primary inspiration for the women on the show. She recounts stories of disciplining him as a child and how these incidents inspired scenes on the show. For example, Lynette was his mom when he was a kid and Bree when he was a teenager. Cherry grew up in the heart of suburbia and this informs everything he writes for the show.

“Directing Desperate Housewives” profiles one of the show’s directors Larry Shaw who talks about his approach to working on an episode. Cast and crew speak about how one is put together – it takes eight to nine days to make one. This featurette provides a quick look at how it all comes together.

“Desperate Role Models” examines the stereotype of the 1950s housewife and how that has been turned on its head in the show with actresses who played classic T.V. moms (from Happy Days, Growing Pains and The Partridge Family among others) commenting on the housewives on the show in one of the most entertaining extras on this set.

“Cherry-Picked: Creator Marc Cherry’s Favorite Scenes” sees the man pick 11 scenes from this season and talk over each one about what he likes about them and telling some amusing filming anecdotes. This is a good idea as there are very little lulls and Cherry speaks eloquently about the footage.

“Unaired Story Lines” includes two story lines with optional commentary by Cherry that provides more backstory for Susan but it lacked the sexiness that they wanted and was cut. The other focuses on Lynette’s emotional crisis dealing with her husband cheating on her.

Also included are 11 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Cherry who talks about why these scenes were cut from the show and what he likes about them.

“Fashion and Couture” profiles the show’s costume designer with cast and crew gushing about her skill to create the best outfits for their characters.

“Juicy Bits” has the cast pick their favourite moments of the season.

Finally, “The Whole Story” recaps season one in one minute.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance

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Rating: 80%

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