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Drama, comedy, soap fueled ‘Desperate Housewives’

The more self-involved Gabby (EvLongoriright) became “funnier she became” says show creator Marc Cherry.

The more self-involved Gabby (Eva Longoria, right) became “the funnier she became,” says show creator Marc Cherry.

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Updated: May 30, 2012 8:10AM

After eight seasons of murder, a tornado, shootings, an airplane crash and numerous car accidents, the mayhem on Wisteria Lane will come to an end in just a few weeks. A new “Desperate Housewives” episode airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on WLS-Channel 7, and the two-hour series finale begins at 8 p.m. May 13.

For viewers who drifted away from “Desperate Housewives,” the final season has offered good reason to tune in. The writing is sharper than it’s been for several years, with plenty of reminders about why viewers made the show a habit when it debuted.

The April episode with Mike’s (James Denton) death included winning comic moments with cancer-stricken Mrs. McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten) trying to persuade Bree (Marcia Cross) to help her commit suicide.

The episode about Mike’s funeral showed each of the women having flashbacks to moments with the significant others in their lives.

Characters from the past have returned, including Bree’s gay son, Andrew (Shawn Pyfrom), who introduced his mother to his new heiress girlfriend. Bree accused him of getting involved with the young woman only for her money and even showed how far she’s come in accepting her son’s sexual identity: “You love Italian shoes, you love mid-century modern furniture, and according to your Internet history, you love Army doctors giving elaborate physicals to young recruits, but you do not love girls! . . . Honey, you’re here, you’re queer, I’m used to it!”

As TV shows age and their popularity wanes, we sometimes forget about their impact. At an ABC press conference in January, “Desperate Housewives” cast members recalled all the programs that sprang up in the wake of their show’s success, including the Lifetime drama “Army Wives” and the entire Bravo franchise that began with “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

“I think people will look back on (‘Desperate Housewives’) really fondly as a very interesting hybrid,” Denton said. “The fact that we’re not a comedy; we’re not a drama; we’re not a soap. . . . [show creator Marc Cherry] brought something to TV nobody had ever seen before, and I think that’s why it took off the way it did — and part of the reason is that it’s really hard to put a label on it.”

Cherry said the characters he had the least ideas for at the start of the series were Gabby (Eva Longoria) and Carlos (Ricardo Chavira), but they evolved into the show’s go-to couple for comedy.

“I’d written on ‘The Golden Girls,’ and one of the tricks on ‘The Golden Girls’ that the writers on that show used to say is how brilliant Rue McClanahan was because no matter how selfish or vain her (Blanche) character acted, you still loved her,” Cherry said. “And seeing the more self-involved and vain and selfish and egotistical (Gabby) became, the funnier she became.”

Scripps Howard

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