Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Farewell, Wisteria Lane

Should I have added an ellipsis in the title? You know, three dramatic periods to indicate the gasp-worthy factor of such a declaration. (My thumb is bleeding.) 'Tis be the truth, as last Sunday marked the series finale of Desperate Housewives, the icon of deceiving suburbia and the up-and-down dramedy-mystery that has viewers, such as myself, puzzled as to how to react to the end. Honestly, the fact that I will never hear a fresh "Previously on Desperate Housewives..." from the voice that is now imprinted on my mind is a bit unsettling to me. Not having anything to look forward to during the week, no more curious wonders or enjoyable torture for me to bear. It really is tragic, devastating even. Despite how I feel towards the show in its last few years, how utterly horrible it was, I am genuinely upset that I won't get to see the antics of our zany Housewives anymore, unless I watch previous seasons. But that's not the same, obviously. This is quite a momentous occasion, for those who may be wondering if it is or isn't. After eight, long years of captivating intrigue that molded into played-out, pathetic attempts at keeping the audience's interest, the show has come to an absolute end. There is absolutely no chance of another season, there was no cliffhanger and all the Housewives' futures have been described to us desperate viewers. Don't fool yourselves, if you ever enjoyed this show, up until the end as I have, you are considered to be desperate. Why else would you force that garbage upon you all the way up to last Sunday? This alleged, and confirmed, garbage has been going on since the sixth season, ladies and gentlemen, and undoubtedly has gotten worse over the years. In my case, and that of my dad's as well, it was a disturbingly good thing, but generally-speaking, not so great for the show. Now, since I have been over how awful the eighth season has been, as well as gone into intensive detail of the show overall... (A Desperate Plea. Consider reading that before getting into this lovely piece, as it will enhance the nostalgic sorrow/glee over the show's end.) this post, I will simply provide my view on the finale in question.

The final finale of a television series, especially one as culturally significant as Desperate Housewives, is perhaps the most important element of the show, aside from the fact that it was successful and genuine entertainment. The only finales I'm really familiar with are that of sitcoms, such as Seinfeld and Friends, both of which could have been better. (Especially Seinfeld, considering it is the greatest, most revolutionary sitcom of all time.) Anyway, that being said, I haven't had much experience with the endings to shows as dramatic and long as Desperate Housewives. I wasn't there when Lost or 24 ended because I wasn't into them, just as I'm not an avid viewer of such shows under the Drama category, therefore... I have not had much experience with non-sitcom, Drama series finales. I just repeated myself in different forms in this entire paragraph. What a waste.

As I said, the series finale is extremely important to a series, as it impacts one's general opinion of the show as a whole. In some cases, if the finale was inadequate in comparison to the rest of the show, people wipe away their rabid admiration for the show and replace it with bitter resentment. Of course, with a show like Desperate Housewives, where everything has basically fallen to an ultimate low in terms of quality, a disappointing finale cannot do much damage. However, I'm pleased to say that the finale, as a whole, was perfectly decent. Not to be mistaken with decently perfect. It is highly plausible that the finale was significantly better-than-expected on account of the emotional impact the show has made on me over the years. No matter how much it decayed, Desperate Housewives has an undefinable connection to me, that it is a beloved part of me. I know, that's deep. Objectively speaking, there were several questionably humorous, made humorous only because it was meant to be serious, points to shed some light on.

Thanks a lot.
This whole ridiculous season ignited after Carlos murdered Gabby's step-father. I use the brutal term "murder" as opposed to what it really was, "killing out of self-defense", because throughout the rest of the show, everyone is treating that predicament as if they had maliciously planned to kill him. Even the perpetrators themselves, who were at no fault whatsoever! Carlos rescued his wife from being raped, and possibly killed as far as he was aware. Case closed. Instead, it became the poisonous center to a putrid season. Poisonous because it put a total conclusion to the show's livelihood. (It barely had much to begin with.) In addition to Carlos's unnecessary guilt over killing a monster, the Housewives undergo lengthy guilt trips of their own, particularly Susan as she confesses to her involvement by illustrating it to the world. Yes, she painted a portrait of proof that they all had buried the man's body in the woods. "I feel better." Now, why do they feel such overwhelming guilt? Not only was the man's death justifiable in a court of law (and that's all that matters), but they had absolutely no physical involvement other than keeping it a secret and going out into the woods. Aside from Gabby, the Housewives were not even present during the actual murder, only after. This may sound like a frustrated rant, but I am merely stating the facts! One must agree when I say that this may be the worst idea the writers of this show had in years. Then again, I'd have to ponder over that, and that might take some time. And we don't have time, damn it! (Uncalled for.)

The final season of Desperate Housewives, once again, was disappointing to all. That's an understatement. From the previous season, the audience dropped a whopping three million viewers overall. The rank of the season is "to be decided" as of this moment, but based on those numbers, I'd have to say they dropped down quite a bit from its already-low twenty-six ranking for season seven. Just a bit of statistical information to satisfy your mathematical intellect.

Oh, you want me to confess? I'll confess right now!
Well, maybe I'll wait a day. But then I will!
That was the basic plot of the season, and many other ludicrous story lines have been included as well. Let's go back to the finale at hand. The first half focuses on Bree's murder trial. Who is she accused murdering? Why, Gabby's step-father, of course. Yes, she is taking all the blame for a death made by her friend's husband and that could have been made justified in front on an unsuspecting jury. (I use the term "unsuspecting" because that's what an average jury who knows nothing of the defendant, is.) Anyway, for some reason, Bree endures the condemnation for the man's death throughout the season, really. But don't go thinking that it makes Carlos a coward for not confessing because he threatened that he might possibly expose himself if it would rain that day. In other words, he is a hypocritical, foolish coward. Near the end, he advocated charity by quitting his prosperous corporate job and replacing it with counseling. Sitting in a plain office with only a desk and chair, to show just how much he doesn't care about material things, does not make him some sort of humanitarian. Or philanthropist? How amusing is it that he's bragging about his newfound morals and values, yet he indirectly refuses to assume the blame he is entitled to. And don't use Gabby as his defense, as that's just what he did.

What an engrossing trial.
At least they got sex out of it.
The trial itself had absolutely no great-finale-aura to it, and had none of that suspense or anticipation that the writers were undoubtedly aiming for. It was all very predictable, painfully so, much like the season altogether. Every season is a consistent build-up of events that leads up to the grand finale, correct? In order for a finale to be unbelievably shocking and worth the wait, the stories preceding it would have to be engrossing, henceforth. Sadly, the writers were not aware of the fact that the murder of Gabby's stepfather was completely dull and could have been resolved in an episode or two, in order to make way for a possibly more interesting plot. Then again, that would be highly doubtful considering just what kind of stories and dialogue these so-called brilliant writers are capable of. (I feel that I often cal the writers "so-called brilliant", as if suggesting that the majority of people actually thinks they are brilliant, which is very much impossible.)

Nervous, ladies?
The trial went as followed: evidence against Bree is uncovered thanks to the "devious, heartless" Renee (whose goal was not to convict Bree, but to save her own husband from incarceration); Bree's "sexy in a rugged sense" lawyer, Trip (who is much like her previous love-interest Karl), persuades her to reveal everything about the incident by kissing her; Gabby is called to the stand, which angers Bree, yet is totally logical since the victim was indeed her stepfather; yada yada yada, Mrs. McCluskey admits that she was the one who killed the man to save Carlos from prison (but he would have definitely considered maybe assuming the blame). Case closed, let's move on.

Some sparks we have here.
None at all, really.
The second half of the end focuses on tying up loose ends in the characters' story lines. (Although not all ends will be resolved, as I will explain later.) Remember how in a previous finale Gabby got married to Victor, and Susan got married to Mike? Remember how sweet of a finale that was? Well, here, we have the marriage of Renee and her Australian partner, Ben. Not as sweet. Renee unleashes a final burst of the fierce, sexy woman she so often tried to be in the show, spitting out sassy-but-disgusting lines while pursing her lips in a plastic-surgery manner and bobbing her hips from side-to-side. And the whole "bridezilla" act is really stale in sitcoms, let alone serious Dramas, of which this show is technically considered to be. Plus, it is very revolting to see her dressed in tacky wedding dresses and demanding everything she wants. It's supposed to be funny, yet turns out to be the exact opposite. Her relationship with Ben, that they are passionately in love and about to be married to prove it, is not believable at all. As Renee flaunts her crass, pseudo-glamorous self around, Ben always gazes upon her with love, only because the director told him to of course, and in effect it makes the viewers feel that they think we're dumb enough to believe it. This is the case for many other plot points. I won't bother to mention which ones, as they are all exactly like that. Did that make sense? Let's continue to the final words of our Desperate Housewives, who we have endured for the past eight years.

Lynette Scavo - We've had quite an adventure with this braud, haven't we? Her quasi-amazing parenting, her conniving and malicious gene, her incessant need to be right and stern belief that she is. You all know Lynette. In the past season, she has dealt with life without Tom, though he seemed to be popping up practically everyday in her house. They have been separated this entire season, and Tom gets a new girlfriend, who really would have been a nice match for him, while Lynette pathetically pines over him. Notice how I say that his new girlfriend would have been a nice match, indicating that she, indeed, left the picture, and Lynette eased her way back into a union with Tom. The two reconcile and shortly after (the same day, I think) Lynette is chasing a new dream of moving to New York to become CEO of Katherine Mayfair's French frozen food business. Oh, haven't you heard? Katherine is back on the Lane for this final episode! (At least they got someone from the past to return.) As Lynette craves being back in the "game" again, Tom is hurt to see that she is over the fact that they are back together. Yada yada yada, they make amends and move to New York. Lynette wins once again, for the final time.

Gabrielle Solis - You know she used to be a model? Back in the 1990s? Or earlier maybe? I'm just teasing on account that she mentions her past career in nearly every episode. Anyway, Gabby has grown quite a lot since her spoiled days of sleeping with her gardener. Now, in her spoiled faithful days as a nagging wife, she has a new "career" as a personal shopper (pause for laughter) and gets promoted to Senior VIP of Sales, or something like that. In other words, she becomes a CEO and starts her own company called Gabrielle's Closet. Oh, how nice. As she is moving on up the corporate ladder, Carlos starts to feel neglected, just as Gabby did in the first season, which is what lead her into the arms of her gardener. To warn Gabby of what may happen if she doesn't spend more time with him, he hires an attractive female gardener (played by Rosalyn Sanchez, in the quietest role of the show) to remind her of her cheating days. Gabby replies with a hurt expression, saying how it was the most shameful experience of her life and how dare he remind her of it. So, she was angry with Carlos because he alluded to an event that devastated him in the past and just wanted to make a point--? My head is spinning from analyzing Gabby's plot lines at this moment in time, and is additionally not needed at all. To conclude the tale of Gabrielle Solis, she and her husband, and her kids I'm assuming, moved to California where they continued their lavish lifestyle. Carlos, I'm sure, is still counseling.

Bree Van De Kamp - The ideal Housewife has had quite a journey throughout the show, more so than any of the other ladies. Her S&M husband was murdered by her boyfriend-pharmacist who later killed himself. Her next husband was accused of killing his ex-wife and then his ex-lover, while his mother attempted to drown Bree. Her friends abandoned her after she assumed authority over a crime that someone else committed, and rather impressively considering everything else that's been going on. Just now, in the final season, did she nearly reach for a pistol and end her life. She is the strongest, smartest woman on the Lane (though that has diminished in this season, like everything else), all while keeping herself pristine and proper. Not to mention painstakingly gorgeous, at her age. She's, also, had many men in her life, which is objectively uncharacteristic of her, but the writers make it so to spice it up or something. It is common knowledge that Orson was the clear perfect match for her. Unfortunately, as with everything else, the writers have disappointed by crippling him and bringing in a fleet of lesser men, such as Mr. Megan Fox and Bird-Face. Her latest inadequate encounter is with her lawyer, a pseudo-shark who is "the best", and, as I've said, appears to be a reincarnation of Karl. (This hints that viewers enjoyed that previous relationship, explaining why they created another lawyer with whom Bree canoodles with. Which brings me to ask, why kill Karl? Why kill an entirely likable character just because you think that plot is dying in interest? Nevertheless.) Bree and her new lawyer, Trip, engage in the typical "you're-so-imperfect-like-me-which-is-why-we-would-be-perfect-together" attraction. Also, Trip is a rugged, vile, and therefore irresistible, man, clearly. Sarcasm. He's rather scruffy-looking, like the type that would play a caveman in a reenactment of the prehistoric era. The progression of Bree's tragic life throughout the show ends with a happy ending with Trip as her new husband. They move to Louisville, where Bree dominates Southern-like society as the idyllic 1950s Housewife they all strive to be (think The Help), as well as becomes part of the state legislature. A mix of the idealistic homemaker of the heydays, and the modern successful female all rolled up in the mold of Bree Van De Kamp, Housewife extraordinaire.

Susan Mayer - She would be the last Housewife to be said goodbye to, a sort of fond nod by Marc Cherry, who obviously preferred her throughout the entire show's run. We all know Susan Mayer. Even if you've never seen the show in-depth as I've had, you know. That desperate woman, lying naked in her bushes in the middle of the neighborhood as her love-interest just happens to walk by. That love-interest was Mike, by the way. He's the one who died. Susan will always be remembered as that ditzy, clueless klutz who's naively stirring up a storm of trouble. The one whom everyone loved at first, then grew tired of, as I am now discovering. It's true, people began to dislike Susan around the time when Mike went into a coma and British Ian swept her off her feet, and that love triangle ensued. (How did I not realize that I was watching a soap opera all this time?) Anyway, not much is said about her future, other than that she would be helping Julie with her new bastard child, along with watching her own son grow. After Mike died, I never thought she would be happy again. Really, that's what I thought. And perhaps I am right in my supposition, and she will be that aged woman who grieves to strangers on the street. Maybe she will reunite with past flames, or perhaps meet a new beau, and even get married again. Of course, we will never know. Because the show just ended. Obviously.

Remember I mentioned some loose ends that were unexplained?

The writers may not realize this, as they have overlooked many things in the past when it comes to writing well, but they have left more than a few loose ends. Note that just because it is a loose end, does not make me sore on the fact that they did not tie it up in the finale. In other words, I am not particularly upset by some of these unexplained variables. They are as followed, in short-sentenced bullet form:

Andrew Van De Kamp - There was no mystery surrounding Bree's sweet son, but it would have been nice to include him in the find episode of a show he was such a major part of. The blossoming of his relationship with his mother was one of the most touching parts of the show's entire run, as he transformed himself from a nasty delinquent to a witty gentlemen who adores his mother. Not to involve him in the finale festivities, as well as his own mother's trial for murder, was just plain upsetting.

Paul Young - Whatever happened to him? He was around during the Mary Alice-mystery, then disappeared in prison, then returned to the Lane to buy Susan's house where he would shelter ex-convicts, and finally ran off. It would have been nice for the audience to at least be aware of his whereabouts, as he was a prime character in the show. He was married to the dead narrator.

Orson Hodge - I am very infuriated with what the writers have turned this wonderful character into: a creepy cripple with good intentions that were masked as being mentally-unstable. When he returned in the eighth season, I was thrilled as he and Bree rekindled their adorable, intimate banter. They are the absolute ideal couple. But what did Marc Cherry decide to do instead? Make him out to be some villain who was stealing Bree from her "friends", who really did abandon her as he said. Truthfully, he had potential of reviving this show from its disgraceful slump. And if he was not that powerful, he would have at least been my preferred character in a show where I hate absolutely everyone. Yes, everyone.

Chuck Vance - The writers kind of forgot about him. They centered so much heat and suspense around him, then they just killed him and that was the end of it. No intense investigation? Wasn't he a beloved officer? In case you didn't know, as the police surely didn't, but Orson was the one who killed him.

Kayla Scavo - It is likely that many do not recall this young lady. She was Tom's illegitimate daughter, whom he had with that white-trash Nora, and when she died, he assumed custody over her. After Lynette sneaked around getting her sent away, as she always gets what she wants, Kayla was completely forgotten. I figured she might have returned sometime after the five-year jump, but she was nowhere to be seen. I found that to be a bit curious, to say the least.

I include her picture out of admiration.
Edie Britt - There is nothing unexplained about her, no loose ends to be resolved I mean. I am including her in this post as a general expression of my disapproval over Marc Cherry's antagonistic decision of removing her from the show. And to cremate her after electrocuting her and having her insane husband strangle her a little? That is just cruel. It's a shame that her lawsuit against him proved to be mistrial because it would have been simply dandy for Marc Cherry to pay reparations and attain bad publicity just after the only prolific show in his career has ended. Oh, how wickedly scrumptious. Why I mention her, also, is that she was not among the ghosts of Wisteria Lane at the end of the finale, which is understandable yet would have been pleasing to see her standing by in the memorable neighborhood.

Their last poker game.
Apparently it was their thing.
At the conclusive moment of the finale, the final hurrah one would say, it shows Susan driving around Wisteria Lane one last time. As she drives, she passes the ghosts of the Lane, all those who have died throughout the show's run, all dressed in white for obvious reasons. This was a very nice, intimate touch for the show's end, bringing back all those who have left the show. This is the reason why I consider this to be a decent finale, despite all the usual rubbish the show is composed of. It was a heartfelt farewell to Desperate Housewives, for all those desperate viewers, such as myself, who depend on the show for a sort of sick nourishment. Even toward the end, I craved each episode's arrival. Desperate Housewives will remain an iconic landmark in television history, as the humorous dramedy that has moments of joy, tragedy, and plain stupidity. Unlike the wonderful show about nothing, this show was a brilliant piece of something, whether it be a work of mastery or one of recycled soap-opera material.

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