‘Desperate’ for material?

- ABC -

The Desperate Housewives season finale was this past Sunday. The first hour pretty much just wrapped up this season’s mystery, and the second hour introduced a new scandal to look forward to next season.

I couldn’t give away too much even if I wanted to seeing as the very first scene of the episode tells us that a murder will happen. The ladies of Wisteria Lane have a progressive dinner party to welcome Susan back to the neighborhood. They serve one course at each house ending with dessert at Gaby’s.

- "Come on over for dinner" ABC -

Right before all the guests arrive at Gaby’s house, including Bree’s new detective boyfriend, the housewives walk in to find Gaby and Carlos standing over a dead body (I won’t say whose). In true housewife fashion, instead of calling the cops, which would surely land Carlos in jail again, the women cover up the murder scene in the few minutes before everyone shows up.

As the episode is coming to a close and everyone is enjoying their cheesecake, the camera focuses in on a chest being used as a coffee table – coyly implying that the body is in the chest.

So scandalous, right? Unsuspecting neighbors and friends enjoying a party and eating off of a makeshift coffin. Sexy, right? The only people who know are 5 gorgeous and dangerous women (and one Latino husband).

Sure, but it’s been done before – in the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film noir, Rope. In this movie, two friends plan a social experiment in which they murder an old classmate, put his body in a chest, cover the chest with a table cloth, serve food on it, and invite people over for a dinner party.

Rope‘s plot is a lot more sick and twisted because the characters commit the murder for fun – just to see if they can pull it off and trick everyone. Still, it’s exactly the same premise! I’m sure the writers of Desperate Housewives are aware of this. Just due to the nature of their job, they probably know a lot about film and TV. So why did they do it? Are they paying homage to a classic or are they just running out of ideas?

I have a feeling it’s a little of both. Desperate Housewives has always been full of black comedy and irony. I think the writers are having a little fun by paying tribute to the classic movie but giving it a little bit of the slap-stick feel that Desperate Housewives has. At the same time, it must be fun to see if anyone will even notice. I would never have picked up on it had it not been for a film class I took in college.

So, who knows, maybe Desperate Housewives isn’t just a guilty pleasure show; maybe it’s full of other classic film allusions that I have never noticed.

Regardless, I am looking forward to next season because for the first time in a while, all of the women are in on the same scandal and will be sticking together. I think the show was starting stray from its original appeal – the feeling of loyalty between female friends – brought on, of course, by sex, scandal and murder.

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