Marc Cherry’s 2004 Desperate Housewives US TV show has a number of significant themes. Through the show, Cherry critiques the morality of Americans, showing that America is generally a nation characterized by extreme moral decadence. Specifically, the characters in the show demonstrate lack of restraint when it comes to sexual matters. Marriage mates are even depicted as having dark sexual secret against each other. The family unit is greatly affected by this utter submission to primal animal desires. Moreover parenting is shown to be a hard task, thus calling for a lot of effort’s that the show’s characters do not generally have. In effect, the Desperate Housewives TV show demonstrates that Americans generally lack moral restraint with regard to sexual matters and that marriage and parenting are challenging phenomena.
The first episode of this series begins with Wisteria Lane residents being shocked by Mary Alice’s death through suicide. It is intimated that the deceased woman’s own family contributed to her decision to commit suicide. This event shows that marriage and family life have tough challenges that require cooperative family-wide efforts to tackle, failure to which marriages disintegrate. Alice’s closest friends, who also double as the show’s main characters, namely Bree van de Kamp, Susan Mayer, Lynette Scavo and Gabrielle Solis, are then introduced. All these four characters tend to lead uneventful lives although each one has their unique problems. Susan fights with Edie Britt for a neighborhood resident who is new to Wisteria Lane as well as Mike Delfino. Bearing in mind that these ladies are married, the theme of moral decadence plays out. Lynette is troubled by her disruptive children. Gabriele is being neglected by her husband – Carlos. She thus has an affair with a teenage gardener known as John Rowland. Through such incidences, the troubled characteristics of married life are exhibited. Rex – Bree’s husband, demands for a divorce from his wife. Moreover, Susan suspects Edie’s secret affair with Mike. Through this incidence, a marriage union that is disintegrating due to the couple’s hard-line stances is shown. Cherry thus shows that marriage life is challenging in episode 1.
In the second episode, Gabrielle is anxious that Carlos will discover her secret affair. She also thinks that John could be smitten by her. Gabrielle’s sexually-loose nature is representative of the theme of moral decadence that pervades American society. While salvaging Edie’s possessions, Martha Huber discovers Huber’s measuring cup in Edie’s possessions – proof that is sufficient to implicate Edie. Edie’s apparent immorality augments Cherry’s moral debauchery theme. Susan and Edie go on to vie for Mike’s love as the 2 dine with him. The 2 ladies thus symbolize the general lack of sexual restraint in the American society. Lynette is frustrated by the behavior of her children and decides to severely discipline them but the idea eventually backfires. Parenting is thus demonstrated to be a challenging affair. In episode 2, the characters’ action thus supports the view that Americans are morally decadent and that marriage and parenting are tough tasks.
In the third episode, Gabrielle is blackmailed by a little girl after Gabrielle is caught kissing John; the girl demands for Gabrielle to purchase presents for her. Gabrielle’s action confirms that Americans are morally decadent. Zach – the son of Mary Alice, finds the revolver that his mother murdered herself with. The theme of dysfunctional marriages is thus revisited by inserting a remainder of Alice’s suicide. Through episode 3, Cherry therefore builds his twin themes of the challenges found in parenting and marriages as well as the unethical nature of Americans.
In conclusion, through the Desperate Housewives TV show, Cherry advances the argument that marriage life is challenging and that Americans generally lack moral restraint. The foregoing discussion analyses season 1’s first 3 episodes to demonstrate that Cherry’s assertions are indeed true. The various characters actions clearly confirm such claims.
Wilson, Leah. Welcome to Wisteria Lane: On America’s Favorite Desperate Housewives. Winnipeg, Canada: BenBella Books, Inc., 2006.