Wisteria Lane is like the Gotham City of the American suburbs, where you ask why on earth do these people keep living here with these constant threats and turmoil’s? Though here, unlike on Batman’s turf, the threats come in the form of passive aggressive neighbours, suspicious spouses and… the eerie narration of a dead neighbour?
Yep, this show is ridiculous. Properly silly, soapy drama, with plotlines plucked from thin air and unravelling the length of Wisteria Lane itself. Yet it became one of the most iconic bits of telly to come out of the noughties. And even Must TV, with all our TV acumen and love of fancy camera angles and good story telling, can absolutely understand the appeal (if you were a fly the wall of Must Towers, you may even find one of us sneaking an episode in over lunch). And if you ask us, there’s nothing wrong with a guilty pleasure or two, especially when they’re this good.
The series follows five women who are all neighbours in the same suburb in the fictional town of Fairview. When we meet them, the street has just been rocked by the news of their neighbour’s suicide, who maintains a close watch over her gal pals via her narration which follows the series. Over eight seasons we follow these women, through their (dysfunctional) family lives as it becomes increasingly clear that their houses may be big, but their secrets are bigger.
And as much as the ample drama is enough to keep you watching, there are other things on offer here, too. For one, these women are frequently hilarious. Brie – who it often appears has a broom stuck up her arse – is painfully proper, whilst sharp-tongued Lynette regularly drops cracking one liners. And the fashion is so typically 2000s that it’s now come back again. Plus, if you want a show that’s going to keep you on your toes, this is it. The plot twists never cease. And, as much as their relationships are as turbulent as 2020s politics, the friendship these women share is inspiring – despite their differences, they’re always armed with a casserole and a coleslaw, ready to cheer each other up when another neighbour is revealed to be a murderer. Oops, was that a spoiler?
Waving farewell to Wisteria Lane in 2012, The Times grieved the end of this “addictive cocktail of crime, comedy and melodrama,” saying “It’s been one hell of a ride.” And not always a good one, according to Jonathan Wright in The Guardian. He says that whilst the first season “was the hottest show on television,” come 2010, “it’s become shorthand for the kind of glossy, big-budget drama that’s not as smart as it thinks it is.” Luckily, he thinks the series redeems itself in later seasons, saying, “there’s no better show on earth to tackle such a hoary story and spin it in unexpected ways while still wringing real emotion from the scenario.”
First shown October 2004.