Monday, May 14, 2012

Farewell To Wisteria Lane

Was it really eight long years ago that I sat down to High Tea at Toronto's Windsor Arms hotel  with the three gals from the fledgling series Desperate Housewives --Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria?
All were in town to tub thump for their new ABC show which CTV had picked up as its extra for the season meaning it was not originally simulcast but shown Sunday afternoons at 4.
Also present in the hotel was Teri Hatcher but she refused to be part of any mass interview.
And later that afternoon I also interviewed Ricardo Antonio Chavira who played Eva's long suffering husband Carlos.
If that wasn't enough weeks later I was in Los Angeles on the TV Critics' tour and bussed along with dozens of other TV scribes to the actual set on the Universal backlot.
I immediately noticed the street in question had also served as the main street in the short lived NBC soap Providence.
Dressed up and repainted it became an entirely different venue for a series that was a roaring hit at least for its first few seasons.
Promoting the farewell the other night on David Letterman and Longoria was all sweetness and light assuring TV viewers that rumors of feuds were just that.
Yeah, right.
One of the gals who decidedly did not return to bid adieu was Nicollete Sheridan who even launched a lawsuit against creator Marc Cherry alleging he'd whacked her on set. The lawsuit was dismissed for want of evidence.
In fact it was Sheridan's presence that made me realize the whole thing was a comedic take off on Sheridan's old series Knots Landing.
Nobody I ever spoke to on the show ever disputed my contention this was the gayest series ever permitted on prime time U.S. television.
And at first I enjoyed watching the series but after a few seasons my ardor cooled somewhat. As happens with all ground breaking shows it started stealing from itself, becoming common place and very tired looking.
Sunday night's two-parter had no oomph as it tied up neatly all sorts of plot convolutions. For the first time the girls seemed fairly bored by the proceedings. I'm not giving away much plot but all the girls had moved awaty by the end of the show.
At first it was just plain crazy wonderful to have a buried body --that of suicide Mary Alice (Brenda Strong) --guide us through the weekly episodes as narrator.
ABC hyped the show relentlessly --there even were laundry bags with the name of the show plus the motto "Everyone has a little dirty laundry."
And don't forget the 2005 Vanity Fair cover with the girls fighting over who would be front and center!
At first 25 million Americans were turning in but this season the figure hovers at 8.5 million, an indication the show had run its course.
ABC announced the series' cancellation a full nine months ago to give creator Cherry enough time to plot an intricate last season.
Real Housewives is another unfortunate example of Reality TV aping a scripted series but hey let's not think of that right now.
And who knows painted over and refurbished the studio street of Wisteria Lane may rise again in yet another new series.

No comments: