It may have taken them eight seasons, but the Desperate Housewives managed to sew everything up in a matter of hours, and in a tidy manner to boot.
Hour one is all Law and Order. Bree is still on trial for murdering Gabby's stepfather, a crime Carlos committed in self defense against a man who used to abuse Gabby. Karen McCluskey is on her way out thanks to terminal lung cancer. Susan is secretly moving out of the neighborhood with her pregnant, unwed daughter. Lynette and Tom are split with almost no hope of reconciliation. Through a series of small miracles, the terminally ill McCluskey does her final, most important round of snooping and confesses to the murder of Gabby's stepfather to save Carlos or Gabby from having to confess the truth. Everyone we care about is off the hook, including McCluskey because the prosecutor sees no point in filing charges against a woman who's got mere days to live. McCluskey's affliction also pushes Tom back towards Lynette when Roy instills in Tom the notion of expressing one's feelings before time runs out. While celebrating Bree's freedom, Lynette and Tom reconcile and all is well on Wisteria Lane.
Hour two is the epilogue to the tidy cleanup of the first. Now that Gabby and Carlos are free, she's got a promotion at work and he's driving her crazy as the bored househusband. Role reversal! Susan is still trying to hide the fact that she's moving while also trying to teach her daughter how to not be a single mother forever. She's carrying on the Susan Mayer curse...er, way of life. Bree's lawyer is in the doghouse after making Gabby testify against Bree's wishes, but he earns his way back in with a sweet gesture for Mrs. McCluskey. Renee is being her usual high maintenance self in preparation for her wedding. And Lynette is weighing the age old question of career versus family when Katherine returns with an offer for Lynette to run the U.S. branch of her food company.
It all comes together when Julie's water breaks in the limo on the way to the wedding. She and Susan split off to come to terms with losing Mike and raising Julie's baby together. Bree dances wistfully with Trip the lawyer; Gabby and Carlos find happiness in their new lifestyle and vow to steer clear of any more John the gardener situations; Renee weds happily; and Tom and Lynette decide that their love is more important than everything else. Of course, all of this is set to Mrs. McCluskey's favorite song, "Wonderful, Wonderful" by Johnny Mathis, signalling her peaceful passage into the afterlife and the ladies and Julie's baby embark on their new lives. It's "The Circle of Life" for suburban housewives.
Of course, eight seasons is too much seal up with just one epilogue, so Desperate Housewives gives itself two. In the second "And then they all lived happily ever after" we witness the ladies' last poker game before they all end up rich and married, except of course Susan who we can assume will be single forevermore. Lynette took that job in New York and moved her family into a penthouse overlooking Central Park. Gabby turned her online personal shopper into a Home Shopping Network goldmine. Bree moved to Kentucky with Trip and became a successful conservative politician. And Susan got to drive away from Wisteria Lane while every minor and major character who ever died on the series come back as ghosts to watch her drive away, including our series long narrator, Mary Alice.
Finally, we're left with the promise that Wisteria Lane will continue to unleash sinister stories for generations to come as the woman who takes over Susan's house hides a suspicious box in her garage. The finale delivers closure for longtime fans and promise all at once. And it certainly taught us one very important lesson: Never trust smiling faces in the suburbs. You never know when they're covering some deep, dastardly secret. I'd start paying more attention to the Joneses next door if I were you.
Were you happy with the finale? What was missing for you?
Desperate Housewives: 12 Most Desperate (and Dirty) Deeds Ever
Real Housewives Thank the Desperate Housewives - EXCLUSIVE
Desperate Housewives Finale: Where Are They Headed Now?
We may have been drawn in by these Desperate Housewives'' desperation, but we stayed because of their debauchery. Lies, sex, crabs, you name it. These ladies have gotten wrapped up in the muck and the mire. Now that the series finale is upon us, it's only right that we take a trip down (dirty, dirty) memory lane to see all the naughty antics of ABC's domestic bunch.
12. Susan gets locked out of her house naked (Season 1)
What's more scandalous than a divorce running naked through the streets of the suburbs? Not much... until you see the rest of this list.
11. Lynette accidentally gets high on pot brownies (Season 4)
When Lynette was diagnosed with cancer, none of expected for anything hilarious to come out of it. But when her mother came for a visit and made a special treat to help her daughter ease her pain, stoner Lynette made quite a splash at the housewife-laden dinner party at Susan's. Laughter really is the best medicine.
10. Gabby has an affair with her gardener... who's still in high school. (Season 1)
This was the scandal that brought us into the housewives' world, and the one that made us feel a little dirty for getting so much enjoyment out of the story line.
9. Maisy Gibbons: Neighborhood Dominatrix (Season 1)
It's just one cog in the wheel of problems between Bree and her husband Rex, but it was oh-so scandalous when we found out that not only was Rex cheating, but he was spending time with the neighborhood's secret leather-clad torturess.
8. Bree watches her pharmacist die when she learns he helped kill her husband. (Season 2)
This was just the first of many indications that Bree was a sick, sick lady. Still, George did slowly kill her husband. He deserved watching the woman he loved doing nothing to save him.
7. Gabby turns crabs medication into a sexy game so John Slattery doesn't find out she's sleeping with her ex. (Season 4)
Oh, the perils of cheating on your husband with your ex-husband. Gabby is the elicit affair master.
Next: Edie's rage reaches its fiery height.
6. Edie burns down Susan's house. (Season 1)
And this was only the first real spark of jealousy between these ladies. This rivalry was one to start with a bang... or a flame.
5. Caroline Bigsby holds up an entire grocery store. (Season 3)
Being a housewife isn't all pot brownies and sleeping with the gardener. Sometimes, it's downright maddening. Just ask this crazy lady with a gun.
4. Betty Applewhite keeps her son locked in the basement. (Season 2)
Sure, this turned out to have an explanation in the end, but the real shock was the initial one that had most of us scratching our heads and asking, "Is this medieval times?"
3. Susan makes extra money by doing household chores in lingerie on a webcam. (Season 7)
Need we say more?
2. Felicia Tillman cuts off her own fingers to frame Paul Young. (Season 2)
Best, most desperate frame job. Ever. That, my friends, is dedication.
1. Edie fakes suicide when Carlos leaves her for Gabby. (Season 3/4)
This goes beyond hopping on a drugged up Mike Delfino in the hospital, burning down Susan's house, and wearing high heels with hot pants in the middle of the day. This is the absolute most desperate move in the history of housewiving.
What's your favorite desperate moment? Are you tuning into the finale?
Desperate Housewives Finale: Where Are They Headed When It's Over?
Real Housewives Thank the Desperate Housewives - EXCLUSIVE
It's the end of an era. The wildly successful scripted series, Desperate Housewives, is coming to a finish with Sunday night's season eight finale. But, while one series ends, The Real Housewives franchise lives on. The Real Housewives tell Hollywood.com exclusively about what this season finale means — and the reality stars can't help but remember how special Desperate has been to each of them.
"[I'm a] huge fan," Orange County star Gretchen Rossi tells us. "It inspired the Real Housewives franchise — and honestly, I feel I owe a lot to Marc Cherry for creating a show that inspired a real life version of housewives!" Ramona Singer from the New York City cast feels that the reality stars from her franchise actually emulate the Desperate Housewives in many ways. "It's all about women who are friends and live in a near vicinity, and bond," she explains. "And some have husbands, some have children, some have boyfriends, so yes that's very similar. And like everyone in life, we all have problems." Singer's costar Sonja Morgan couldn't agree more. "They’re the hottest housewives anyone had ever seen," she says. "That dynasty — we all aspire to dressing like them and having beautiful homes like them. And who the hell gets away with screwing around with the pool boy like that?" Personally, Morgan feels that she relates closely to Teri Hatcher's character. "I’m definitely Susan Delfino," Morgan gushes. "She’s a sweet, beautiful, nice girl. Everything she ever wanted. Dream house, adorable daughter, perfect man. Then, she discovered that her husband was cheating with the secretary. Life turned into a nightmare. Then she had to kick Carl out. Then she had to raise her teenage daughter. And then the hunky plumber comes, and all the women were after him. That’s my life. Perfect marriage, family, and then the bottom falls out, and my life is relegated to plumbers." But, Teresa Giudice from the New Jersey cast seems to think that her show "is even more over-the-top and crazy than Desperate Housewives." "Could you imagine Susan's brother and sister in-law moving to Wisteria Lane without Susan's knowledge?" she reasons. "I couldn't imagine watching each episode of Desperate Housewives where all they did was get together without Susan and spend the entire time talking badly about her. I also don't think Lynette Scavo would ever sink to the level of telling Susan's family to cut her out of [their lives] for their own health. You have to laugh though because truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. My co-stars are such drama queens and take themselves so seriously that it is absolutely ridiculous not to mention hilarious." But, the reality stars are still thankful for the Desperate Housewives. "It was a phenomenal show," Singer says. "Everybody who first watched the show became addicted."
Are you going to miss Desperate Housewives?
It seemed like this day would never come, even though Desperate Housewives fans have had almost a year to prepare. After May 13's two-hour, two-part finale, the streetlights on Wisteria Lane will go dim and the housewives will roll up their welcome mats.
Stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, and Eva Longoria will finish out the series without the original “fifth Housewife” Nicollette Sheridan, whose character was killed off in Season 5 and whose beef with creator Marc Cherry and ABC continued to be the subject of a very public lawsuit until recently. The main four women have seen their careers blossom thanks to the show and new fifth housewife Vanessa Williams saw a notch added to already well established career when she joined the cast in 2010. But the big question is: What now? None of these ladies are in as high demand as when Housewives was a pop culture phenomenon, watched by over 20 million people a week. So are they suddenly jobless? Not quite. The lead actresses have shrewdly been lining up post-Housewives gigs for some time now. Well, at least some of them have…
Teri Hatcher (Susan Delfino, nee Mayer)
Aside from being name-dropped (as “the meanest woman in the world”) in the aforementioned Sheridan vs.Cherry/ABC lawsuit, Hatcher hasn’t really been in the headlines at all — even her love life, or lack thereof, hasn’t surfaced much. And then, just a couple weeks ago, wouldn’t you know it, she finally booked her first post-Housewives job: A four-episode arc on ABC Family’s fashion-y dramedy series Jane by Design, on which she’ll also make her directorial debut. The premiere is June 5, and the Hatcher episode airs June 19 — meaning fans will only be Hatcherless for about a month after Housewives ends. Although, such fans might be in for in for a lengthy period without the actress after that, as she hasn’t announced any further plans. Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo)
The only Oscar-nominated (for her amazing performance in 2005’s Transamerica) full-time resident of Wisteria Lane has just one concrete post-Housewives project currently lined up, but it’s quite a special one: her husband (and recent co-Hollywood Walk of Fame honoree) William H. Macy's feature directorial debut, Rudderless. Although the movie isn’t their first together — they both starred in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia — Rudderless does mark the couple’s debut as co-leads, which is a testament to just how far Huffman's star power has risen. Of course, she's always possessed great talent, no matter how much fame accompanied it. Aside from Rudderless, Huffman is said to be developing a TNT series and was once attached to David Mamet’s next big-screen adaptation, but both projects appear dormant at the moment. Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp)
After her second TV megahit (the early ‘90s Fox soap Melrose Place being the first), Cross seems the most content to take some substantial time off and plot her next move — if there is one. And who could blame her? Cross has literally been on a TV show or in a movie every year since 1984! While we doubt she’ll completely put an end to that streak and take off all of 2013, it’ll likely be a while before we see Cross again. Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis)
The least-known Housewife pre-2004 is unquestionably the most famous of the bunch today (she was also the highest-paid TV actress last year) — and the one we’d have to vote Most Likely to Succeed After Desperate Housewives. While we’ll still be seeing plenty of Longoria on the covers of magazines, we’ll also see a lot of her in character on the big screen: In 2012 alone, she’ll appear in the drama Long Time Gone, the action comedy The Baytown Disco, and the thriller The Truth, alongside Forest Whitaker and Andy Garcia. Separately (i.e., without firm release dates), there’s the canine comedy Who Gets the Dog, the Brendan Fraser-starring historical drama Four Kings, and the animated Hulu series Child Support, on which she’ll voice the “female Peter Griffin”-like lead. So, forget Most Likely to Succeed; if showbiz is measured by the amount of projects you have at any given moment — which, by the way, it is! — then she’s already the most successful post-Housewives Housewife. Vanessa Williams (Renee Perry)
Williams joined the series fresh off a major gig on Ugly Betty, adding her established star power to Wisteria Lane when she became a regular last season. We could wager that Housewives needed her even more than she needed it. Regardless, Williams's career has benefited from her sufficiently catty, vixen-y performance, and no doubt served as a showcase to help score a pair of major upcoming projects: Another potential TV hit in the adaptation 666 Park Ave. on ABC and a prime spot in Tyler Perry's next box office sure thing, 2013's The Marriage Counselor. [Image: ABC] More: 'Desperate Housewives' Shocking Death: Other surprises in Store for Finale? 'Desperate Housewives' Cast Signs On for Season 8 Eva Longoria Lines Up Three Projects
In the last seven years Denzel Washington has paired with director Tony Scott on four hyperkinetic ultra-saturated feature films: Man on Fire Deja Vu The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Unstoppable. When he strays from the time-honored action collaboration you'd think the man would take a break from the format. Not so—as Washington's new film Safe House clearly demonstrates.
Daniel Espinosa director of the acclaimed Swedish crime drama Snabba Cash shoots his espionage thriller with Scott-ian flair complete with rapid camera movement a palette of eye-scorchingly bright colors and fragmented editing. If Safe House was emotionally compelling the stylistic approach might make the narrative sizzle—but the script is as simple and familiar as they come: Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent with a monotonous gig. He's a safe housekeeper tasked with maintaining a stronghold in South Africa in case the feds need to stop by for some…interrogating. After a year of begging for field work and keeping the joint tidy Weston finds himself embroiled in the investigation of Tobin Bell (Denzel Washington) an ex-CIA notorious for selling information on the black market. A group of agents bring Bell in to Weston's safe house for a routine waterboarding but everything is thrown into chaos when the lockdown is infiltrated by machine-wielding baddies looking to put a bullet in Bell's head. To keep the captor alive Weston goes on the run with Bell in hand…never knowing exactly why everyone wants the guy dead.
The setup for Safe House provides Washington and Reynolds two fully capable action stars to do their thing and to do it well. The two characters have their own defining characteristics that each actor bites off with ferocity: Reynolds' Weston is a man drowning in circumstance built to kick ass but still out of his league and just hoping to get back to his gal in one piece. Bell has years of experience boring into the heads of his opponents and Washington plays him with the necessary charisma and confidence that make even his most despicable characters a treat to watch.
But the duo fight a losing battle in Safe House contending with the script's meandering action and ambiguous stakes that turn the Bourne-esque thriller into a grueling experience. Much of the movie is an extended chase scene where the object of the bad guys' desire is never identified. It's a mystery!—but the lack of info comes off as confusing. Safe House cuts back and forth between the compelling relationship between Weston and Bell and a war room full of exceptional actors (Vera Farmiga Brendan Gleeson and Sam Shepherd) given nothing to do but spurt straightforward backstory and typical "there's no time Mr. ______!" exclamatory statements. Caking it is Espinosa's direction which lacks any sense of coherent geography. The action is never intense because you have no idea who is going where and when and why.
Safe House is a competently made movie with enough talent to keep it afloat but without any definable hook or dramatic emphasis it plays out like an undercooked version of the Denzel Washington/Tony Scott formula. Which is unfortunate as four solid ones already exist.
Luke (Steven Strait) and Brier (Pell James) first cross paths on a New York City subway before the doors shut on their instant attraction to one another. Of course it is immediately and abundantly clear that they will naturally meet up again before long but where and how? The answers: L.A. and well it's complicated. Each having forgotten about the other Brier a top model in NYC decides she needs a change of scenery and tells her agent (Carrie Fisher clearly in it for the paycheck) she's heading out to L.A. to pursue acting while Luke and his brother Euan (Kip Pardue) decide to move to the West Coast as well. Once there Brier befriends Clea (Ashlee Simpson) and on her first night in town takes Brier to a local dive bar where Luke works as a struggling "musician." Wow that's some coincidence. There is an instant re-connection between Luke and Brier but she refuses to get involved with musicians since her rock-star ex mistreated her. Instead she shifts her focus on generating buzz for Luke. Eventually Luke gets the big recording contract becomes the rock-star jerk he'd swore he'd never become and loses it all. But all is well when Brier decides she can no longer resist Luke's ballads and Metallica-guitarist-circa-'85 hair.
The theme of Undiscovered could apply to its cast. Each of the four leads are on the cusp of being on the cusp and certainly they hope this movie will take them one step closer. For James that might happen. She is a natural on screen and gives a breakthrough performance as the comely Brier. Strait is also a relative newcomer. After turning his debut performance in this summer's Sky High he holds his own in Undiscovered but seems to be relegated to taking his shirt off to make the teenyboppers swoon. Finally there's Simpson who is also making her major-role debut. It's awkward to see her on-screen and yes subconsciously you wait for her to make a noticeable mistake (or butcher a voice-over due to acid reflux). Of course it doesn't happen; she moves along pretty smoothly but is at times subjected to dialogue that seems beyond her especially when she has to words big words such as "banter." And certainly it's not her fault when she describes Luke--a musician best left struggling--as "a cross between Jeff Buckley and Elvis Costello." That's just someone else's words she reciting.
Prolific music-video director Meiert Avis is making his feature film directorial debut with Undiscovered--and his obvious greenness shows. At times the film is more like a music video surrounded by a weak storyline than a cohesive film. His expertise in the rather linear realm of music videos doesn't exactly qualify him for the complexities of a 90-minute film contrived and straightforward as his debut may be. Avis tries to employ every possible clichéd obstacle for the characters to overcome--which reeks of inexperience but could also be the screenwriter's fault. No doubt Avis feels at home with newcomers such as Strait and Simpson who--for all intents and purposes--sing and act but the plethora of singing scenes feel forced. That is forced into the script to showcase the soundtrack when the movie goes undiscovered at the box office.