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TV Review: Desperate Housewives welcomes new characters

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ABC’s Desperate Housewives has arguably undergone more changes in the first two episodes of this season than at any other time, with the exception of the five year leap forward in time a few years ago. There are new characters arriving, old characters leaving, and some unexpectedly familiar faces popping back up in big ways. Plus, there is an air of danger and mystery that has been absent from the series for some time now. The show has still been strong and interesting for awhile, but these turn of events are refreshing, and has raised the bar once more for Housewives, which has just begun it’s seventh season.

The biggest news is that former full-time character Paul Young (Mark Moses, Mad Men), who went to jail way back near the beginning of the series for murdering Felicia Tilman (Harriet Sansom Harris) has been released, and has once more been signed to star in the show. Felicia was found alive and well, and is now serving what will likely be an eighteen month sentence for framing Paul. Meanwhile, with his large settlement check in hand, Paul has moved back to Wisteria Lane in a rental, while angling to buy his old home back. He has not come alone. While incarcerated, he met penpal Beth (Emily Bergl, Southland, Men in Trees), who now finds herself living with a man she never thought that she’s see except through the jail bars. It’s a weird dynamic to be sure, and one that is far from played out.

The second biggest change is the inclusion of Vanessa Williams, seemingly snapped up by Housewives as soon as Ugly Betty was canceled. Williams plays Renee Perry, and old college friend of Lynette’s (Felicity Huffman). After being dumped by her baseball playing husband, Renee turns to Lynette for comfort, and decides to stay. Although she and Lynette’s husband Tom (Doug Savant) has a past that they’re keeping under wraps, I don’t feel like she’s a threat to their marriage. She has moved into the late Edie’s (Nicollette Sheridan) house, though, and it’s obvious that the two have a few things in common. Her inclusion in the neighborhood won’t be a quiet one. By next week, she will already by competing with Bree (Marcia Cross) for a man.


Speaking of Bree, her husband, Orson (Kyle MacLachlan) has gotten his divorce and run off with his physical therapist, leaving her all alone. It’s a pretty sad development, and MacLachlan will definitely be missed on the show. No one else quite brings what he brought to the table. After a small mental breakdown, Bree has decided to redo her home. To accomplish this, she hired hottie handyman Keith (Brian Austin Green), and the sparks are already starting to fly. Especially after she hit him with her car. As mentioned above, Bree isn’t the only one interest in Keith, who is much younger than the ladies on the lane. Green is charming, and I hope he stays around for at least a few episodes. I don’t think he’d make a great third husband for Bree, but hopefully he will loosen her up a bit.

Susan (Teri Hatcher) and Mike (James Denton) have left Wisteria (it’s their house that Paul is renting) for smaller digs after their money problems blew up at the end of last year. Mike doesn’t see a way out of the whole, but Susan has convinced him that she can make enough money off of homemade jewelry to do some good. I’m sorry, but the fact that he buys her load of crap is pushing the boundaries of reality for me. Her jewelry is hideous, as the other characters have all indicated, and there’s no way she’d make anything off of it. What Susan has really done is taken a job cleaning her house in her underwear for a web cam. Her boss and landlady, Maxine (Lainie Kazan, My Big Fat Greek Wedding), has convinced her that it’s an honorable profession. But Susan cannot think too highly of it, since she refuses to tell Mike where the money is really coming from.

Despite all of that juicy gossip, the best story so far goes to Miss Gabrielle (Eva Longoria Parker) and Mister Carlos (Ricardo Chavira) Solis. Apparently, a nurse switched their daughter, Juanita (Madison De La Garza) with someone else’s baby when she was born. Eight years later, the nurse confessed on her death bed. The hospital first approached Carlos, who blackmailed them into keeping the secret from his wife and the public. It was a noble sentiment, done to protect his family from the emotional torment sure to follow such a revelation. It worked for one episode, until Juanita ended up in the hospital, and her blood type, inconsistent with her parents’, was pointed out to Gabrielle. At first, Gabi amusingly assumed she must have had an affair when drunk and not remembered it. But Carlos cleared it up for her, instead of leaving it hanging. Next week, Gabi will begin seeking out her biological daughter, without Carlos’s knowledge.

Surely, we have the makings for quite the season! Paul brings the threat, Renee brings the slut, Keith brings the steam, and Beth brings the mystery, while the titular housewives all do their best to make their lives as good as they can be, overcoming anything that comes their way. I’m certainly excited. Now if the writers would just get Bob (Tuc Watkins) and Lee (Kevin Rahm) back together, all would be right in their little suburb.

Desperate Housewives airs Sunday nights at 9pm on ABC.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com NancyGail

    Paul might be a threat to Beth, but I don’t get the impression he’s one to anybody else.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    Really? Because he sure seemed bitter when he was talking about how the neighbors abandoned him. I think he came back with a sinister plan.