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DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
The Complete Second Season

Review by Mark Wiechman

Stars: Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Nicollette Sheridan, Teri Hatcher, Alfrie Woodard
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio:  Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Features:  See Review
Length:  24 Episodes, 6 discs
Release Date: August 28, 2006

Sister Mary: “Money can’t buy happiness.”
Gabrielle: “Of course it can.  That’s just a lie we tell poor people to keep them from rioting.”

Gabrielle:  (in confession after the nun fight) “How many Hail Mary’s is that going to set me back?”

Show ***1/2

Instead of just the usual review, let’s have a quiz.  How would you handle the following situations:

1)  The love of your life has a son who is not only criminally insane, but also fond of your daughter, and after he tries to kill you and runs away, you pretend to help find him.  Then when you find him and buy him dinner, you give him money to go away so that he won’t hit on your daughter.  Do you tell your boyfriend or keep quiet?

2)  Your ex husband is shacking up with a neighbor.  They starting dating the day he said he still loves you.  Your daughter not only likes the neighbor but also is performing with her in a church talent show.  You already apologized for running over her with your car for the rude things she said, but now do you insist on playing piano at the talent show or let the neighbor play guitar with her?

3)  Your booking agent has lied to you and embezzled all of your money, but still wants to be your friend.  He has stood by you through all of your tough times.  Do you sign with him or move on?

4) The police dig up your dead husband because they think you may have murdered him, then you find out your platonic friend actually did it, so you dress up, seduce him, and then he swallows a handful of sleeping pills to prove his love to you.  Do you call the police or let him die?

Well, see, if you don’t know how to handle these situations, you have to watch this season!  I mean, this is educational!

Susan:  (to Mike, the plumber) “I can be naked in 20 seconds.  That includes travel time!”

At the end of Season One Alfrie Woodard and her two sons come to Wisteria Lane arrive, Rex has just died under mysterious circumstances, and we learn why Mary Alice killed herself in the first episode of the series, or at least we learn why she might have.  As with most good shows and movies, we learn most of the details but not quite all of them at once so we have to come back for more. 

Lynette:  (to her husband) “I never thought I’d have to ask you this, but are you eating a donut out of the toilet?”

The best episode is definitely “There’s Something About a War” in which Eva Longoria’s Gabrielle actually has a knock-down drag-out fight with a young Sister Mary, who is doing everything she can to drag her husband Carlos away from her to go to church functions and overseas missionary jobs, even though he just got out of jail for good behavior.  This episode is discussed extensively in the Special Features of Disc Six.  Although I have been a lifetime Roman Catholic and I love the sisters, and to me the character of Gabrielle represents every bad feminine virtue rolled into one package, this nun had it coming, and I am cheering Gabrielle on the whole time.   In a secondary storyline of the same episode,  Susan brings home a young doctor who can’t cut his steak, and she is not sure if she should let him cut her even though she needs an operation:

Doctor: (unable to cut his steak) “That’s not fair.  You overcooked it, and frankly it’s not the freshest meat!”

Susan: “Well neither am I!”

My one big peeve about this season, which translates to the set, is that the first episode is called “Next”, so I assumed that it was a “next” command for the disc, and not the actual first episode, and I ended up watching them out of order.  Of course, had I bothered to read the nice little color glossy booklet that comes with the set, I would have known that.  The font is also very small and hard to read on most of the discs unless you have a widescreen television, this is the kind of little detail that sets apart the four-star sets from the three or three and one-half star sets in my obsessive little mind. 

Susan:  (after learning that her ex is moving in with Edie) “Just give me a moment, I’m asking God to kill me!”

Video ****

Perfect, wonderful color transfer in widescreen. 

Audio ****

One of the best 5.1 mixes for television I have heard, greatly benefiting Steve Jablonsky’s quirky but wonderful soundtrack (Danny Elfman only composed the main theme).  Dialogue is clear and well-mixed throughout. 

Features ****

The whole set is worth the purchase just for all of these.  Most television DVD sets are shamefully dry in this category.   

Desperate Husbands: See the men of Wisteria Lane "dish" on TV's hottest housewives. Complete unaired storyline featuring Teri Hatcher. Meet TV's most iconic housewives: Debra Jo Rupp (That '70s Show), Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family), Marion Ross (Happy Days) and more.  This featurette is very short but has the best quotes from the whole second season and the comments from TV moms of the past are priceless. 

Bree: (about her son) “I’m raising a monster is what I’m raising.  No wonder I drink!”

Marc & Mom: Interview with the series' creator and his mother, the muse, which is pretty interesting because we get to meet the witty mom behind the show’s creator.  Directing Desperate Housewives: An episode from Concept to Completion. Cherry-Picked: Creator Marc Cherry's favorite scenes;  Fashion & Couture with Costume Designer Cate Adair;  Juicy Bites: Housewives of Wisteria Lane reveal their juiciest moments;  "The Whole Story" Promo;  Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from Marc Cherry (frankly the deleted scenes were deleted for a reason, but since they feature Terri, I enjoyed them anyway!). 

Summary:

I couldn’t wait to see the entire second season since my DISH recorder crashed mid-season.  And now I have deleted scenes and other features that I have learned from.  These shiny discs won’t ever fade, and season two is as juicy as any apple.   

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