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So exactly how does a show that jumped the shark in its first season make it this far?

DVD Review: Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fifth Season

It’s utterly amazing how fast time can fly by sometimes. Especially with a series like Desperate Housewives. When I first discovered the show, I fell in love — although I feel as though I should clarify that my affection was for the show itself, and should not be taken in the literal sense. Granted, I was dating at the time, but I doubt one would call it love. Besides, I think she was crazy. Come to think of it, most of my ex-girlfriends were crazy.

Getting back to my original point, I originally adored Desperate Housewives when it first hit town. It was a completely outrageous and zany dark comedy that borrowed or paid homage to more than its fair share of bizarre twists and turns from the alleged “mainstream” soap operas that only helped to inspire it. It was also a show to be consumed in small quantities. Watching an entire season would either drive you crazy, or urge you to hate housewives all around. There was only so much drama, lying, cheating, conniving, stealing, etc. that I could take (especially seeing as how I tended bar in a prison town). Eventually, the “consume in small quantities” label I had assigned to Desperate Housewives had to be changed to read “poisonous — do not consume,” followed by a friendly reminder: “You might as well date one of your ex-girlfriends again.”

“How can a show,” I asked myself, “that jumped the shark in its very first season continue for very long?” But, instead of simply jumping said shark, Desperate Housewives opted to swim directly in front of it — with a gaping, bloody wound taunting the gargantuan aquatic beast every step of the way.

Okay, so it had been a long while since I had ventured to return to Wisteria Lane. I was more than surprised at the way things had changed. Every single character went through a massive transformation that would normally take a decade to arrange on a traditional soap opera. Instead, Desperate Housewives did it between seasons. Five years suddenly passed. The children from the previous seasons were fully grown (which is odd seeing as how the parents didn’t age a lick). Some characters had more children (the other kids grew tiresome quickly, I guess). Other characters were now suddenly blind, married, divorced, and even more crazier (or, desperate, it you prefer) than before.

Worse still, the drastic alteration of the timeline did nothing to help the writing of the show. The humiliation and cynicism were still there, although they had ceased to be funny. The trials and tribulations of each main character had changed, but were instead given to one of the other main characters — giving the series the “yup, seen it” feel. Now, you’d think after my being MIA from the show for two-and-a-half seasons and the writers’ leaping ahead ten years would’ve prevented that feeling from arising.

It didn’t.

And how in the hell did Gale Harold (Brian Kinney on Queer As Folk) and Kyle MacLachlan get on this show? Surely there must be better roles out there!

On DVD, Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fifth Season looks lovely. All 22 episodes are presented across six discs in a splendid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio with robust colors and contrast. Some of the darker scenes carry a fair amount of grain, but it wasn’t that big of a problem. An English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack accompanies each episode, and optional English (SDH), French and Spanish subtitles included.

For those of you (like me) who lost touch with the show (whether it be due to circumstances beyond your control of just common sense), you may be interested to know that The Complete Fifth Season contains a season one through four recap. This is just one of the many special features included on the seventh (and last) disc in the set, with other bonus materials consisting of bloopers, deleted scenes, and featurettes. As far as the other discs go, audio commentaries are available for several episodes, and of course, there are trailers and promos for other ABC shows galore.

To be honest, I never thought Desperate Housewives would make it this far. In all fairness, it probably would’ve been better if it hadn’t. On the plus side however, I know I can always check it out to remind myself why I stopped dating most of my ex-girlfriends.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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