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'Desperate Housewives': One baby of a crisis

January 4, 2010 |  8:12 am
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We here at Show Tracker admit we haven’t followed “Desperate Housewives” since Nicollette Sheridan departed. Sorry, but we just couldn’t quite forgive killing off Edie, and we took it personally. But it’s a new year, and we hope you embrace a Tracker that’s a familiar name – and an unabashed fanatic of the housewives.

And then tragedy struck.

Months ago, fans were told of a plane that would destroy Wisteria Lane and take lives with it. And there were those awkward murmurings that the plane would be from Oceanic Airlines (see “Lost” if you’re, well, lost).

Thankfully, we weren't subjected to a heinous crossover episode that might have killed both shows – more than their respective show-runners already have.

But what we were subjected to was what I like to call the "Marc Cherry special No. 1”: the flashback/flash forward. Ahh a new year, with old flashbacks. This time, the housewives played the "what if" game.

Now being an avid fan of the show, I’m always prepared for a flashback and/or flash forward. Frankly, Cherry probably writes them in his sleep. But come on. The whole point of a midseason cliffhanger is to start fresh. And what better way to right the wrongs of bad storytelling than with a little terror in the skies. Given recent developments (the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet), Cherry must be glad he didn’t go with crashing a commercial flight or any bomb-related escapades.

Before the plane destroyed the Christmas joy on the lane – Susan was dealing with Katherine’s bizarre antics (she’d gone all ‘Single White Female’ on Susan and Mike). Bree had two Beyonce moments of inspiration: She told Orson to put “everything he owns in the box to the left,” and Karl decided he wanted to “put a ring on it,” the latter of which killed him. Gabby was being good ol' Gabby and hating Lynette, who had to sue Carlos because he fired her for lying about her millionth pregnancy. Sorry if that’s in poor taste, but I’m really tired of seeing Lynette pregnant each season, but I forgot that’s the "Marc Cherry special No. 8.”

Once the wreckage was cleared and sorted (and we celebrated two holidays),  it was time to deal with the aftermath. The opening scene of the Lane’s residents sitting and waiting, and praying, is much of what I’ve felt for the show.

As a longtime fan of the show, I’ve realized that much of “Desperate Housewives” is like playing the waiting game. It’s only appropriate that I watched the first episode – albeit weeks late – from the waiting room of a hospital as I waited to become an uncle. Fast forward five years (actually 10 if you include that surprisingly effective five-year leap), and I still find myself waiting. While waiting for Cherry & Co. to knock my socks off --  by going back to the basics with a tangled web of sex, lies and drama that made Season 1 so delicious -- and waiting for Edie’s death to be revealed as one of the greatest punks of all time, I sometimes feel the show slipping from greatness.

And to further confuse – and irritate – we sat through an hour of "what if."

What if Susan stayed with Karl? Umm, he’d still cheat on her and eventually leave on his own. But not before he destroyed Susan’s self-worth so much that she turned to food and gained weight and missed out on Mike. Wait, Karl did destroy Susan’s self-worth enough to make her a total walking time bomb when it comes to love and men. She didn’t need to add more pounds to see that Karl was always her baggage.

What if Bree and Karl married? We could have saved Bree a wasted daydream, and she could have used her friendship with Susan as research to know her future. Doesn’t matter since Karl is no longer with us, which is truly sad. Wisteria Lane lost their handsome-yet-dastardly charmer. Instead of life with or without Karl, I’m sure guilt will cause her to care for Orson. (Why, exactly, didn’t he die?)

What if the new Scavo baby were physically challenged? Those who’ve followed the show knew there would be no way Cherry & Co. would add two to the Scavo gang. It didn’t take much of a brain to know that both babies wouldn’t make it out alive.

Although there are a lot of unreliable moments in the land of the housewives, one thing I can count on is Felicity Huffman’s ability to take me places that her peers can’t. Her  tough-love moment with the surviving son who just wanted a sandwich tore my heart out. Huffman always has those moments and then I remember: This is why I watch.

Although I never was a fan of her pregnancy storyline (it’s just run its course in the show), I was disheartened to see that the physically challenged baby didn’t survive and the baby that was in no danger did. I felt that Cherry set viewers up for a potential reward for sticking through another pregnancy, but instead they will have another kid to add to the already-utilized Scavo brood.

What if Gabby became a stage mom? Really, we needed to go there? At least Eva Longoria Parker took one for the team and donned some hideous old-woman hair and make-up all for the sake of laughs.

Watching all these "what if’s" only reminded me just how much I hated playing the waiting game, unless it gave me a season full of stomach-twisting suspense (Angie’s [Drea de Matteo] possible Italian mob connection is doing NOTHING for me).

So it’s a new year on Wisteria Lane, Marc Cherry. Let’s not play the "what if" game anymore. It won’t be long before fans stop waiting.

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy (Follow me on Twitter)

Related:
'Desperate Housewives': Neal McDonough says filming Edie's death was horrible

Photo: Eva Longoria Parker imagines an unpleasant future. Credit: ABC

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