“Good neighbors. They loan you cups of sugar. They tell you why your car won’t start. They even help you find your lost pets. Good neighbors also come over at the slightest hint of trouble, whether you want them there or not.”

Long after her mysterious suicide, the deceased Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) continues to narrate the events in the lives of her friends living in the suburban neighborhood of Wisteria Lane in Desperate Housewives. Added to the mix of Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher), Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), Bree Hodge (Marcia Cross), Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria Parker) and Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany) comes Angie Bolen (Drea de Matteo) and her family who become the focus of this season’s mystery. Season six saw the lowest ratings of the show’s history, particularly in the second half of the season.

“No one things about evil until it shows up on their doorstep…which it soon would.”

Season five ending with a five year jump at the end ensuring essentially a reboot of the show. Susan re-marries her true love, Mike. But soon thereafter her ex-husband Karl dies, leaving her a share in a strip club. Lynette hides her pregnancy but loses one of the unborn twins in utero. Her son Preston returns from Europe with a Russian gold-digging fiancée in tow. Bree’s affair with Karl ends, but the consequence of it leaves her ex-husband, Orson, wheelchair bound. She also has to contend with her son, Andrew, acting out as Sam, the son of her first husband, Rex, comes on the scene. Gabrielle, now mommy to two girls, also has to contend with her husband, Carlos’, niece, Ana the new neighborhood/barely legal, sexpot. Katherine probably has the most bizarre character arc as she goes from borderline insane with jealousy over Susan’s husband, to complete outcast, to marginally accepted, to lesbian. Plus there are the twin mysteries: what is the secret of the Bolen family and who is the Fairview Strangler.

The show basically asks “how much do you really want to know about your neighbors?” Everyone has things going on beneath their perfect surfaces. In a lot of ways, all the ways we’ve come to identify success, these women have everything anyone could ever want. And yet, there is still something missing: a (desperate) search to connect, to find something meaningful in their lives.

“We all know that evil exists. But we don’t pay attention because we’re worried about our marriages, concerned about our friendships, anxious about our employees. Yes, we don’t pay attention to evil because we thing it will never come to our house. But it does. And sometimes we let it in.”

The big draw of Desperate Housewives has always been its humor, soap opera drama, over-the-top action (this season features a plane crash, a serial killer, and explosions), cat fights, family feuds and mysteries. Unlike some series where you could miss whole seasons and pick up as if not much has happened (Lost says what?), Desperate Housewives packs so much into an episode a scorecard is needed. However, there was too much of a good thing going on in season six. Katherine was lost as a character. Also, not since Alfre Woodard was wasted with the mystery of her Applewhite family has a mysterious family not been very engaging. All in all, season six showed its age a bit and strained its ever tenuous credibility with its audience. It’s a short leap from engaging farce to a cartoon of a show.