After an eight year run, E4 tonight screened the last ever Desperate Housewives. The programme began as a vaguely Lynchian type dark drama with generous helpings of black comedy chucked in. The whole notion of “what lies beneath the outwardly serene veneer of suburban respectability?” was a step forward from say blighty’s own Terry and June if not quite as sinister/ sci-fi as say the 1970s flick Stepford Wives. The show did descend into ridiculousness at times – like hitting the reset button by killing unwanted characters in a freak hurricane or fast-forwarding the action by five years at one point when things got stale. In tonight’s final installment creator Marc Cherry was spotted 10 minutes before the end as a removal man and some poignant moments were witnessed as neighbourhood angy old grouch Karen McLuskey was seen passing her final breath to the sound of an old 45 – all the sadder given that actress Kathryn Joosten (previously Mrs Landingham in the West Wing) in real life died last week, having allowed her own cancerous condition to be written into the script.
As for the ending with the projections of the future when current characters get grandchildren, the ghosts of Wisteria Lane look upon comings and goings and then very final scene with a new inhabitant remarking “the suburbs… I’m a little bit worried it’ll be boring” before furtively hiding away a box of ashes in the house she’s taking possession of, it was a tad corny.
At the start of the UK screening of its 6th series in 2010 the Guardian’s tv listing commented: “Dear Wisteria Lane resident, sorry you were out, but your order of 1 x family-with-a-dark-secret has been left with your neighbour… had begun by being genuinely ground-breaking at its start. They’re still furiously pumping the plot dispenser, but there’s hardly anything left.” Admittedly the best moments were in the first series but in the meantime the final word will go to the aforementioned Marc Cherry: “I love the values of the suburbs, loved my family, our neighbours. It’s just that stuff happens. I don’t romanticize that life at all… I remember the husbands leaving with their suitcases and my parents saying, ‘You’re not allowed to ask them what’s going on.’ I remember the custody battles. The full range of human experience was there.”
Sunday nights will not the same round here any road.