Sometimes, Dead is Better. What Would Desperate Housewives Be If it Returned for a 14th Season This Month?

Written Grateful The Housewives Moved On by Bridger Bunningham

The ominous title of this article pays tribute to a wrought but true statement made by Fred Gywnne in 1989's Pet Sematary regarding leaving beings who have passed at rest.  Desperate Housewives, like so many beloved shows in TV History, passed in 2012.  Mourners still binge wherever the show is on display, and wishful speculation of a reboot never ceases to rest 5 years later.  But which is more tragic?  Letting go of the ones we love all too soon, or watching them overstay their welcome and decay into an unrecognizable form?  In the case of Desperate Housewives, its ratings would have grown uglier by the season had it never been cancelled.  Had Desperate Housewives remained on the air, it is speculated this is what the show would have become.

The Show Would Still Air On Sundays at 9:00

Back in 2011-12 during the 8th season, ratings deteriorated rapidly.  Up and coming Once Upon a Time carried the evening at 8:00, followed by Desperate Housewives withering on the vine, dipping as low as mid-2's in demographics in live viewing.  The 10:00 hour tanked with period piece Pan Am and GCB both failing to pick up a second season.  Had DH stayed on the air, ABC would have focused on the 10:00 timeslot.  Vanessa Williams would have never left the series for 666 Park Avenue, so ABC would have elected to move up and coming Revenge to 10:00 and hand its timeslot over to Nashville at the start of 2012.  Ratings would have continued in the same downward trajectory, and the network would have little choice but to keep both shows intact for the 2013-14 season.  Live viewing would be down, but delayed viewing would have justified DH's position.  Revenge would have continued to erode, and ABC, out of desperation, would move Revenge to the cursed Tuesday 10:00 timeslot to make way for surprise hit Resurrection.

DH's 11th season would receive a bump in ratings due to OUAT's Frozen arc, and the cycle would continue.  After Resurrection tanks, Revenge moves back to Sunday at 10:00 to die.  Failed sitcoms Selfie and Manhattan Love Story may have never happened, as Marvel's Agents of Shield would have been housed Tuesdays at 8:00.  Forever and Revenge would air in the remainder of the evening, and Revenge would move once Resurrection declines.  AOS moves to 9:00, and the 8:00 hour is opened for sitcom helpings.

2015-16 would see both OUAT and DH declining, and a rotation of failed shows such as Blood and Oil hemorrhage in the 10:00 slot.  DH's ratings would grow into a shell of their former self with live ratings in the low 1's, but ABC has no option but to hang onto DH due to a lack of options.  The 13th season in 2016-17 would be ghastly with DH going sub-1's, and perhaps ABC may see a move fit as they retool Sunday nights for reality TV.

Ratings Would Continue Downward

Given Ratings trends for the last half of the series's ratings from 2008-12, the show began massive hemorrhages after the series did a 5-year time jump.  Check out the series' actual ratings with the green seasons, and projected seasons in red.  This red data shall be known as "Zombie Housewives" as the show lived on long after its appropriate ending.  It fell out of the coveted top 10 in season 7, and season 8 saw numbers lost their top-20 membership.  Zombie Housewives would have likely dropped to a 3.1 L+7 rating and stayed in the Top 30, then dropped to 54th Place by the 10th season with a 2.8.  A brief reprieve in season 10 due to OUAT Frozen's success, then dropped yet again in early 2015 pushing the show back into the Top 30.  Downward drops from ABC's 2016 downturn would initiate another dramatic plunge for Season 12 falling below the 2.0 mark, and continued erosion in Season 13 would see the show fall as low as 78th Place.  Drops would have continued in the upcoming season as this zombie's shell deteriorated.

Multiple Cast Changes Would Avalanche

Image result for desperate housewives - susan riotTeri Hatcher declared she was pleased the series ended in the 8th season, as she would have likely stayed no longer than the 9th season.  Given Marc Cherry never cared for the character Susan Delfino and did not know what to do with her, she would have likely perished in one of the season's trite mid-season disasters or season finales.  James Denton may have continued for some time as there was nary a shortage of single ladies on screen.  Felicity Huffman has demonstrated she is devoted to the art of acting and would have likely exited sometime during Season 10 or 11.  After ABC unceremoniously axed Dana Delany's Body of Proof, they hand her an offer she cannot refuse as she fills the void of the 4th housewife.  Vanessa Williams would have likely left sometime during this era as there was only so far Renee could go, and a slew of forgettable characters would have populated continually less-engaging mysteries.

Drastic deaths would claim beloved characters, likely Danielle Van De Camp or one of Lynette's twins, Porter or Preston.  As Zombie Housewives kicks off, the tone changes to a college soap with Porter, Preston, Parker and whatever character the writers could scrape up or age.  The younger rash of children born in the series, MJ, Evan, Benjamin, Juanita and Celia, would have all taken the center stage by Season 13 like newly aged teens on a soap.  As ratings decline, ABC makes a maneuver to "reinvent" the tired show, axing nearly everyone over 40.  Out would be Doug Savant's Tom Scavo, Delaney, Ricardo Chavira's Tom and Eva Longoria's Gabrielle.  Marcia Cross would be left as the tentpole in the series, and a younger rash of forgettable "housewives" would populate the block.  Of course, the younger cast seasoned fans loathed would remain so the network could attract new viewers.

The Show Would Have Morphed Into a Watered Down Melrose Place

Had the series continued, Tom and Lynette were destined to divorce.  This would open both up to date, and Carlos and Gabi's second marriage would also implode.  Tom would briefly dally with Renee then break up.  After Gabi comes onto the market, he would have been paired sometime during the 10th or 11th season as Tom and Gabi always had a common bond.  Lynette and Carlos' power struggle would have turned into a lackluster pairing, and after they break apart, Carlos takes his revenge by marrying her hated (and newly aged) stepdaughter, Kayla.  Pepper in loathed and unlikable teens, and the drama magnifies.  Mike and Katherine marry, and Bree and Renee continue to spar over men.

More unlikable, the characters frequently slip in and out of their addictions.  Bree has two more alcohol benders, Mike dabbles in drugs yet again, Carlos takes another bender, and viewers endure at least one addiction story a season on Zombie Housewives.  The characters we love would come apart at the seams with plot-driven tales moving against defined character traits.  Bree would be the latest loose cougar on the block and would have likely rallied against Donald Trump.  Gabi would suddenly be business savvy, and Lynette would have morphed into a spineless mess.  Sound appetizing?

Better Off Dead

Desperate Housewives ended on a bittersweet note as our beloved neighbors moved away and ended their dynamic bond.  Creator Marc Cherry deliberately ended the show in this manner as he wished never to see a revival series or movie dilute the magic which captivated us in the 2000's.  The writing grew tattered as seasons progressed and would have disintegrated further as seasons stacked up.  The actors began to tire of their respective roles which came full circle, and all wanted to move on.  Marc Cherry did fans a favor by ending the series before it morphed into something viewers no longer recognized.  Let's count our blessings DH didn't overstay its welcome similar to never-ending and continually declining franchises like The Simpsons and South Park.

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