After a mediocre second season of Desperate Housewives, I was pleased to see that when Season 3 began airing, the show was finally getting back on track. If there was one thing that surpassed the wedding count (three weddings in one season!) it was definitely the body count. Characters died left and right in the third season of the soapy dramedy. The fatalities included two characters being shot to death, one character falling off a roof and one suicide. Needless to say, despite the misleading look of Wisteria Lane, life isn’t easy for upper-middle class suburbanites in this series.
Desperate Housewives is a drama/comedy about a group of women living on Wisteria Lane, an upper-middle-class cul-de-sac in the suburbs. Life is far from ordinary for these Fairview housewives. In addition to whatever romantic issues they're going through, there's usually some kind of crime-related mystery going on with one or more of the characters. With all of the drama that goes on in the show, the writers have a way of adding a fair amount of humor into the mix which not only serves to lighten up the mood with a bit of comic relief, but it also gives the series a fresh twist, setting it apart from many other primetime soap-drama series.
The housewives of Desperate Housewives include Bree, Susan, Gaby and Lynette. Bree (Marcia Cross) is the neat freak, etiquette loving "perfect" woman who values appearances above anything else. Susan (Teri Hatcher) is the clumsy single mom who also happens to be a drama-magnet. Nothing ever goes according to plan with this woman. While Bree and Susan also have kids, Lynette (Felicity Huffman) is the quintessential mom on the block. Her children are unruly and always getting into trouble. Somehow she manages to chase after her kids while also holding down a fulltime job. Of all of the women on Wisteria Lane, it's likely that female viewers would be able to relate to Lynette the most.
And finally, there's Gaby (Eva Longoria), the youngest of the housewives. She's a former model who married into suburban life but hasn't lost much of the glamour she once embraced in her days on the runway. The side-member of the group is Edie (Nicolette Sheridan), the slutty real estate agent who is occasionally friends with the other four women but just as often at odds with one or more of them.
As in the previous seasons, the third season dives back into these womens' lives, picking up where they left off at the end of season two. Murder mysteries, coma victims, rich suitors, and lots of weddings all play a part in the story arcs within season three. Unlike in season 2 though, in which we all had to sit through the weird Betty Applewhite arc, season three is broken up quite a bit, overlapping arcs but not allowing them to drag on for two long.
For example, the mystery involving Bree's new husband Orson and his missing ex-wife gets wrapped up just in time for Lynette's almost-affair with the new chef of her husband's restaurant to begin. I much preferred these mini-arcs as opposed to one arc which takes 23 episodes to get resolved. With the shorter story arcs, the writers were able to captivate the audience with new and exciting twists without keeping us hanging on for too long. It is for this reason that I preferred season three to the nearly forgettable second season.
Of the other story arcs – While each of the characters had their own personal issues to sort through (Gaby and Carlos’ War of the Roses-style divorce, Susan’s confusion over her feelings for Mike and Ian, Edie’s loveless relationship with Carlos, Lynette’s conflicts with Nora, etc) I think I enjoyed Lynettes’ brief almost-affair with Rick, the new chef at her husband’s restaurant, the most. Lynette, who so often puts her family’s needs before her own, came dangerously close to crossing a line by getting too close with Rick while Tom was bed-ridden due to a back injury. It was nice to see Lynette testing the boundaries of her fidelity to her husband and family and equally great to see how she dealt with it when it came time to make a decision.
There weren’t really any weak story arcs in this season. I know many of us were happy to see the Nora story arc finally end, as her character (who once had a relationship with Tom which brought about a child) was so obnoxiously trashy, but the way that plot ended was so explosive that I cant really complain about the character’s presence in the season. In fact, I thought the episode that ended Nora’s character; titled “Bang” was one of the best episodes of the entire season.
The finale for the third season does a fine job of setting things up for the fourth season. While the major story arcs were mostly wrapped up by the end of the season, just enough was left open or twisted around in a way that the writers have more than enough set up to get the new season going when Desperate Housewives resumes this fall.
The Desperate Housewives - The Complete Third Season - The Dirty Laundry Edition DVD set is nicely packaged with a partially transparent plastic slipcover over the DVD casing. On the cover you’ll see all five Desperate Housewives looking sexy, as they appear to be standing inside a giant front-loading washing machine.
The episodes are distributed four to a disc, with three episodes topping off the sixth disc. When you hit play on each disc, you’ll get the same pre-menu montage consisting of a semi-animated video with images of the main characters. The show’s score plays in a loop in the background. This little video is cute but if you’re doing a Desperate DVD marathon, you’ll get sick of sitting through the little video, in which case you can just hit the menu button on your DVD remote to jump to the actual menu.
The look of the menu is pretty and colorful and portrays painting-like scenes of Wisteria Lane and other locations on the show. You have the option to Play All or choose from the episode selection. For some reason, they decided not to list all four episodes on one screen so you have to jump to “more” to get to the final two episodes on every disc. The background images are lovely to look at but, honestly, I’m lazy when it comes to DVD navigation so it would’ve been nice if they’d condensed the episodes a bit more on each disc.
In terms of the special features that you’ll find on the sixth disc of the set, here is what “The Dirty Laundry Edition” has to offer:
On Set With Eva
Eva Longoria proves that in addition to being one of the hottest actresses in current television, she also has a fun side. While some of the actors talk about how awesome Eva is, we get to see footage of her goofing off, being picked up and tossed around by Cherry and some of her co-stars, as well as a high-speed golf cart chase scene involving herself and onscreen ex-hubby, Ricardo Antonio Chavira.
Here Comes The Bride
As this season was full of engagements and weddings, it was only fitting that they throw a wedding-centered featurette on the DVD set. Clips from Bree, Gaby and Susan’s weddings are shown while the actors, costume designer and series creator, Marc Cherry discuss their ideas for each of the weddings. Each wedding had its own unique setting and circumstance surrounding it, so it was surprisingly interesting to see how these weddings were arranged and executed on the show.
Amas de Casa Desesperadas
Marc Cherry talks about seeing the Spanish version of the series for the first time. When this feature first started playing, I assumed he was talking about the show, as it would appear with Spanish dubbing. Not quite. Desesperadas is an actual recreation of the series, complete with Spanish speaking actors.
From the clips we were shown in this featurette, Desesperadas reminded me of the type of overly dramatic telenovela we might see playing on the television in the Suarez home on Ugly Betty. I couldn’t tell if my feelings of amusement were due to not understanding a word they said or if this version is actually a sillier take on the original series. Perhaps when I’m bored I’ll have to put on an episode of Desperate Housewives with the Spanish language track playing and see if it makes a difference in how I view the show.
One of the things that really brought season three of Desperate Housewives back to the greatness of the first season was the seemingly unlimited number of great one-liners and over-the-top ridiculous moments. This feature focuses on these moments, which included Marcia Cross’ “desperate” attempt to hide her growing belly while shooting the later episodes in the season. Other moments shown were the seemingly random friendship between Edie and Gaby, Susan’s concern over Julie becoming sexually active, Bree becoming sexually aroused by Orson’s ability to remove spots from wine glasses and Lynette and Tom’s bed-fight.
Cherry Picked: Creator Marc Cherry’s Favorite Scenes
The show’s creator and executive producer, Marc Cherry revisits some of his favorite scenes in the season. I was pleased to see that one of these scenes was the Bree-orgasm sequence, which lead her to head to the emergency room to get checked out, believing that the explosive sensation that she experienced with Orson was a small stroke. This was easily one of the funniest moments in the entire series.
Another moment, Cherry included was actually one of my least favorite scenes from the season. Susan spills her smoothie all over Ian’s comatose wife. Marc says, “It seems like a Susan thing to do” and he’s definitely right but for me, the scene, like so many other Susan-moments was just over-the-top silly. Some of Marc’s other favorite moments included Gaby and Carlos’ fight, Lynette and Rick’s dinner-dates, and Susan’s wedding cake meltdown.
Deleted Scenes Normally I’m not all that interested in deleted scenes. I figure if they cut the scenes out, they probably weren’t worth watching all that much to begin with. But Marc Cherry’s commentary throughout the deleted scenes actually added some interesting insight, not only to the scenes that were cut but also his reasons for leaving them out. There are eight deleted scenes on the set.
Bloopers If you’re a fan of bloopers, you’ll like the selection this DVD set offers. There are numerous clips of the actors goofing off, laughing through scenes and screwing up their lines. Typical blooper stuff.
All in all, if you’re a Desperate Housewives fan, this set is a must-buy. It was a great season and I think I may have actually enjoyed it more watching multiple episodes in a row than I did waiting for each new episode to air throughout the season.