Desperate Housewives: The Complete Second Season (TV)
R1 - America - Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (12th September 2007).
The Show

In the first season of this show our four intrepid housewives dealt with the suicide of their closest friend and neighbor, Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) and the scandal that revolved around her husband Paul (Mark Moses) and son Zach (Cody Kasch). In the show's second season they dealt with numerous personal issues but mainly a new suspicious neighbor, Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) who as it turns out imprisoned her own son in a basement lock-up. The second season primarily expanded the additional storylines behind the lives of our four principle ladies these delve into their personal issues, family scandals, divorces and new loves, lost love etc. and now the third season bows on DVD for fans to eat up.
The first season introduced audiences to the 'noir-opera' style of the show; this is a show with soap opera storylines mixed with a twist of film noir sensibilities...primarily suicide, murder and suspicion. The second season took the show into even darker places, with the death of Bree's (Marcia Cross) husband, Rex Van De Kamp (Steven Culp) by crazy-love-obsessed pharmacist George Williams (Roger Bart). Gaby (Eva Longoria) and Carlos' (Ricardo Chavira) breakdown in their marriage, Lynette (Felicity Huffman) finding out her husband Tom's (Doug Savant) love child with former girlfriend Nora (Kiersten Warren) and Mike Delfino (James Denton) getting run over and that results in a coma, the third season picks up as always where the previous left off. Bree marries again, this time to another "supposedly" crazy psycho : this time an alleged wife-murdering dentists named Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan), will she ever learn?, Lynette's life gets more and more frustrating with the continuous presence of Nora, Susan (Teri Hatcher) gets in way over her head over and over again through the series and find another man in Ian (Dougray Scott) but still truly loves Mike even though he can't remember her (the coma left him with 2 years of memory wiped). Like many suburban-based comedies there are plenty of characters that people can relate to, but since the first season things started to get, well...a little over the top.
The third series introduces a few new characters, primarily Orson, Bree's new husband among others, but none more interesting. Taking a page from the 'creepy boyfriend handbook on hooking up with WASPs' Kyle MacLachlan manages to be one of the only intriguing characters of this season. However, Bree's involvement with the man is a little curious only having just gotten free from her previous fiancée George, who poisoned her husband, and surprisingly enough he too was also a creepy boyfriend...but luckily for Bree she has a bunch of nosey friends and an equally intrepid detective who dredges up incidences from Orson's past...that also connect to Mike and the stubborn equally crazy Carolyn Bigsby (Laurie Metcalf) who simply won't stop bugging Bree about her murderer husband. The writers dragged this whole scenario a little too far into the "Come on!" area of television...and while we're taking a journey into this graveyard I find myself asking the question whether this show has jumped the shark? The show has been dropping in the ratings as each season progresses...maybe in season four Orson's once though dead wife will drug him and rape him in order to get pregnant...oops, never mind that did happen.
Of all the general disappointments with where the series was going I was more disappointed with the return of Bree's son Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom), it's not much his return but how he returned. All the events of the past: the brutal rivalry between him and his mother seem to have been forgotten and swept under the carpet as he comes back home seemingly ok with the fact his mother has married on and acting like a sedated helper child doing everything for his mother. What happened? In just a few episodes it all seems to be forgiven.
Additionally Tom and Lynette seem to encounter one problem after the next, from living with the woman who had Tom's love child and also dealing with his dream of perusing his ambitions, in this case opening a pizza restaurant. Susan as always goes way over the limb juggling her feelings for two guys, and trying an insane plot to make Mike remember her and her continued on-again-off-again battles with local slut Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan). Her continued antics can be either funny or totally stupid.
Gaby and Carlos' continued bitter divorce continues in this season, which I must admit is very entertaining to watch. Their efforts to one-up each other provide some of the show's most entertaining moments and truly bring out Gaby's greedy bitch. Plus a few surprises come out in this season with the return Zach Young who seems to have undergone a 70's make-over.
Fans of the series can likely expect the same tone from previous seasons and the characters basically continue doing what they do but the situations seem to get more and more over the top. Personally I felt the third season was the weakest and get less noir and much more soap-opera as it continued to its end. Plus on a side note, throughout the series' three season the neighborhood has seen, suicide, murder, a hit and run or two, scandals that overflow into the public streets, a couple of arsons and a crazy black woman who imprisoned her murderer son, a hostage situation and more it's a wonder why property values don't plummet or people move out...I would.

This Season Two DVD release of "Desperate Housewives" includes all 23 episodes from that season, the episodes featured are (synopsis of episodes from IMDB):

Episode 1: "Listen to the Rain on the Roof"
Susan is visiting Mike in the hospital, who's still in a coma. There she's invited by another man to go on a date with him. Gabrielle and Carlos are getting a divorce, but they meet again when the mother of their baby disappears.

Episode 2: "It Takes Two"
Bree marries Orson, much to the chagrin of her friends since nobody knows anything about him or his past. Orson and Bree's wedding reception is interrupted when the police arrive and tell Orson that a body believed to be his ex-wife has been found. Susan continues to investigate Orson's past and if he has any connection to anyone. Meanwhile, Lynette attempts to set Nora up with various single guys to keep her away from the house. Gabrielle and Carlos prepare for both the divorce and the baby's expectant arrival as Xiao-Mei (Gwendoline Yeo) goes into labor. Also, Edie's troublesome 18-year-old nephew, Austin (Josh Henderson), comes to visit.

Episode 3: "A Weekend in the Country"
Bree and Orson are going on their honeymoon. But at the airport, Bree sees her runaway son, Andrew, on the public TV featured as a homeless teenager in which Bree wants to cut short their honeymoon to go look for him, against Orson's protests. Meanwhile, Gabrielle and Lynette plan a weekend at a posh health spa while Tom is going on a camping trip with the wild and crazy kids. But Lynnette's quiet weekend is also cut short when Tom phones with an emergency and she has to go to him. At the spa Gabrielle runs into her former flame John. Susan is going on a quiet romantic getaway with Ian. But things don't go as planned. Plus, Susan is still insecure about if she's cheating on Mike who's still comatose.

Episode 4: "Like it Was"
Mike has woken up from his coma, but he has amnesia and has no recollection of the past two years or of who attempted to kill him. Unfortunately, the scheming Edie is there to fill in the blanks by pretending they are romantically involved. Susan is still in the country with Ian when she receives the news about Mike's revival. Bree finds her family is anything but perfect. Meanwhile, Lynette is determined not to let Parker quit baseball because he made a commitment, even though he's terrible at it. Also, Carlos moves back into the house, much to Gabrielle's displeasure.

Episode 5: "Nice She Ain't"
The divorce between Gabrielle and Carlos reaches new levels of bitterness. Meanwhile, Susan is determined to jog Mike's memory, and realizes Edie has been posing as his girlfriend since he woke up from his coma. Tom decides that his dream is to open a pizza parlor, and Lynette is not delighted. Bree tries to break up the romance between Danielle (Joy Lauren) and her history teacher, who's been having an affair with her. Also, Mike's phone number is discovered on a dead woman's body.

Episode 6: "Sweetheart I have to Confess"
Mike is questioned by the police, who are skeptical of his amnesia. Lynette is upset with Tom for making a business decision without consulting her. Susan, having second thoughts about her relationship with Ian, crashes a party at his house. Bree tries to restore her standing at the country club, and Gaby is suspicious when Carlos suddenly shows his generous side.

Episode 7: "Bang"
The day begins just as every other... Except today, there will be a deadly hostage situation in a local supermarket.

Episode 8: "Children and Art"
When Gabrielle returns to modeling, she finds it hard to go back on her terms, rather than her client's. Lynette copes with the fact that her boys heard that she was shot at the supermarket, Susan comes home to find her daughter on the couch with a boy Susan does not care for, and Bree struggles to find out why her new husband will not tell her the reasons behind his strained relationship with his mother.

Episode 9: "Beautiful Girls"
Lynnette, having learned about her new neighbor's obsession, goes to the police. Gabrielle gets young girls to learn about being a model. Susan learns her new boyfriend has a butler and Bree learns what it's like to live with her new mother-in-law and decides it time to get her a place of her own.

Episode 10: "The Miracle Song"
With her new boyfriend's parents impending visit, Susan dumps the news to him that she's not a good cook. Gabrielle is willing to dump the worst child in her modeling consulting. Bree is having misgivings about dumping her husband at the curb. Edie dumps Mike when he gets arrested for murder. And everyone dumps on the new neighbor when Lynette spreads the word that she thinks he's a pedophile.

Episode 11: "No Fits, No Fights, No Feuds"
Alma reveals to the world she wasn't dead, and Bree ends her friendship with Susan. Lynette has a hard time making Kayla (Rachel G. Fox) feel she is part of the family.

Episode 12: "Not While I'm Around"
Bree freaks about the security of her home life when she learns Orson's ex-wife is moving in down the street, Gaby freaks about home security when she learns she has a stalker, and goes even further when she learns the identity of her secret admirer, Tom freaks when he learns Lynette helped him secure the liquor license, and Susan freaks when she learns her daughter has secured birth control pills.

Episode 13: "Come Play Wiz Me"
Susan and Gaby hatch a plan to bail Mike out of jail, which means Gaby has to spend more time with her secret admirer, while Orson becomes victim to a plot between his mother Gloria (Dixie Carter) and ex-wife Alma (Valerie Mahaffey). Lynnette gets pressured to skip another day of work and Tom uses the street fair for some additional advertisement.

Episode 14: "I Remember That"
Mike begins to remember parts of his past. Susan tells everyone at Jane's (Cecily Gambrell) funeral about her relationship with Ian to throw them off his course. Lynnette crosses swords with Tom over who has the last word as to who's hired/who's fired. Bree finds out about her husband's past and Zach interferes in Gaby's date.

Episode 15: "The Little Things You Do Together"
In a moment of letting her guard down, Gaby finds herself the morning after with Zach. Orson is confronted by Mike about Monique (Kathleen York) and her strange death. Bree wakes in the hospital in a hurry to return home and deal with Monique's death, herself. And on the night of the Scavo's pizzeria grand opening, proposals fly left and right.

Episode 16: "My Husband the Pig"
In narration, Bree's deceased husband gives his own account of what's going on in the neighborhood and how he feels about it.

Episode 17: "Dress Big"
Lynette's unhappy with the new uniforms for the wait staff at Scavo Pizzeria. Gabrielle meets Victor's ex-wife. Ian's parents come for a visit.

Episode 18: "Liaisons"
When a new employee at the pizzeria takes an unexpected interest in Lynette, Tom feels threatened, and Susan considers moving away from Wisteria Lane.

Episode 19: "God, That's Good"
Incriminating, indiscreet photos of Gaby and her new boyfriend Victor surface, causing problems with his mayoral campaign. And two residents of Wisteria Lane share an unexpected moment of passion.

Episode 20: "Gossip"
With the entire neighborhood abuzz with gossip about the dead body found at the party, a new bombshell is dropped at Gaby's engagement party. Susan sees a therapist after an altercation over a parking space and finds having to make an important decision.

Episode 21: "Into the Woods"
Gabrielle is led to believe she has a new-found power, while Lynnette and Rick (Jason Gedrick) find out just how powerless they are when the pizzeria is robbed and they're forced to spend the night together trying to stay warm in a locked cooler. Tom, on the other hand, figures there's something going on between the two of them when he sees the surveillance tape from the robbery and, therefore, threatens Rick and his job. Susan, having lost Ian, turns to Mike and gets lost in the woods.

Episode 22: "What Would We Do Without You"
After both flipping out over Gaby "stealing" Susan's wedding, they make up by offering a double ceremony, but Susan has second thoughts and Victor won't stand for it, so plans still remain up in the air. Lynnette reveals she had feelings for Rick, after Tom tries to con her into it. Edie tries to convince Carlos that they should be living together.

Episode 23: - "Getting Married Today"
Bree returns from her honeymoon with Orson. Lynette's mother comes to town, as Lynette faces the possibility of cancer. Gabrielle's and Susan's weddings both take place.

Video

Presented in 1.78:1 widescreen anamorphic the image is mostly sharp and detailed however I found that occasional close-ups appeared a bit soft, I'm guessing the producers added some filters to hide some of the lead actresses' wrinkles. Colors are vibrant and well rendered; black levels are deep and I found no noise amid them with shadow detail remaining consistent. Like previous season sets, I did notice some very minor edge-enhancement and some moire effect around some hard lines but otherwise this is a clean and solid transfer.

Audio

An English Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track are included, I chose to view these episodes with their English soundtrack. The dialogue is clear and distortion free, surround activity wasn't incredible but does provide some depth to the environment. The show's score, ambient sound and directional effects are rendered well throughout the sound space.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired, French and Spanish.

Extras

All the extras for this DVD set can be found on the 6th disc.

First up we've got "On Set with Eva" a featurette that runs for 5 minutes 36 seconds, this features the cast and crew telling us what fun it is working with Eva on set and how crazy and cool she is. It seems like she's the life of the party, there's nothing special about this clip, but it certainly shows us how much fun the cast have while working.

Next up is "Here Comes the Bride" a featurette which runs for 7 minutes 40 seconds, this clip takes a closer look at the three weddings that take place during the course of the season and how each one is very character specific in the style of the wedding, the dresses etc.

Following that is an amusing clip entitled "Amas De Casa Desesperadas", a featurette that runs for 6 minutes 19 seconds and sees creator Cherry watching clips from the Latin version of the show as it compares scenes to the American series, the Latin version seems like a cheap soap opera knock off but was actually licensed by Touchstone.

"Desperate Moments" is another featurette that runs for 7 minutes 57 seconds, in this clip the key cast and crew look back on the season and reflect as well as dish out their favorite scenes and storylines, one interesting thing to note is that Marcia Cross was pregnant during the season and takes a look at how the series producers found interesting ways to hide her bulging belly in her many scenes.

If you've got the first two seasons on DVD then you'll know what this is about, "Cherry Picked: Creator Marc Cherry's Favorite Scenes", in previous sets this extra included the scene separately with commentary by the creator, but for release it's been turned into as featurette that runs for 7 minutes 52 seconds as he comments on his favorite moments from the season which include Bree's orgasm, Carlos being pushed out the window, Susan spilling a smoothie all over a comatose Jane, Lynette falling for Rick, plus he seems to be fond of most of Susan quirky accidents and comedic moments including having to choose between Ian and Mike among others.

Also included are a series of 8 deleted scenes w/ optional commentary by creator Marc Cherry, he talks about why the scenes were cut and they can be viewed individually or with a 'play all' function, the scenes included are:
- "We're Just Coma Buddies" runs for 51 seconds, Julie support's Susan's budding romance with Ian.
- "Ground Rules" runs for 1 minute 1 second, Edie lays down the ground rules for Austin.
- "This Is My Job Now" runs for 28 seconds, Edie helps Mike recover, including shaving him.
- "Two Forks In The Road" runs for 43 seconds, a drunk Susan rationalizes her choice of being with Ian to a cab driver.
- "Spilt Milk" runs for 54 seconds, Orson dumps the milk providing an excuse to leave the house.
- "Behind The Curtain" runs for 35 seconds, Bree grills Orson about why he hasn't called the police about the discovered teeth of Monique.
- "See You In The Morning" runs for 41 seconds, Zach Young sets up the deception of having slept with her.
- "Edie's Priorities" runs for 51 seconds, Edie decides to leave her son for a party.

A blooper reel is included and runs for 2 minutes 33 seconds, this includes the usual stuff, cast member dancing, flubbing lines, laughing in the middle of a take, nothing all that funny unfortunately.

Also included are a series of bonus trailers for:
- "Wild Hogs" which runs for 2 minutes 32 seconds.
- "Ratatouille" which runs for 2 minutes 31 seconds.
- "Grey's Anatomy: Season Three" which runs for 58 seconds.
- "Ugly Betty: Season One" which runs for 42 seconds.
- "Enchanted" which runs for 2 minutes 33 seconds.
- "Brothers and Sisters: Season One" which runs for 1 minute 3 seconds.
- "Lost: Season Three" which runs for 42 seconds.
- "Desperate Housewives" New Season Preview which runs for 32 seconds.

Rounding out the extras is a booklet is also included that features an episode guide.

Packaging

This DVD box set is packaged in a 6-Disc Digi-Pack which is housed inside a plastic sleeve.

Overall

The Show: C+ Video: A Audio: A Extras: C+ Overall: B

 


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