To even suggest the reality franchise took down the long-running ABC drama is an insult to television — and my intelligence.
Ever since ABC announced that Desperate Housewives will end after its upcoming eighth season, there’s been a ton of speculation as to why the decision was made — but the most ridiculous theory I’ve heard yet is that the Real Housewives franchise stole viewers’ attention from the women of Wisteria Lane.
Scripted as Desperate Housewives may be, its characters (portrayed fantastically by Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria) exude more “real” emotion and humanity than any of the dime-a-dozen wack-jobs on Bravo. When Lynette lost her hair to cancer, my heart broke for her. But when Danielle Staub got her weave pulled out — an event treated with far more fanfare and outrage than Lynette’s — I laughed. And not with her.
Even at their worst, the women of Desperate Housewives can still be considered role models to an extent. They make mistakes, but they learn from them, and they grow. And the audience grows along with them. The Real Housewives, on the other hand, get more incredulous with each new season, stooping to shameless new lows and testing the boundaries of what’s entertaining… and what’s just embarrassing.
The irony of this battle is that the women of Desperate Housewives are more real than any of the Real Housewives, while the women of the latter group are more desperate than anyone you’d ever meet in Fairview.
The facts are these: Desperate Housewives has been on the air for seven successful seasons, and even as it’s being “canceled,” it will still be remembered as a series that went out on top. It’s fair to say the show’s quality wavered during its run, but it’s even more fair to say there was never any “quality” on the Real Housewives to begin with.
If it turns out I’m wrong, that viewers really did abandon the ABC sudser for common reality trash, then I won’t just lose faith in television, but in humanity as well.