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Desperate Housewives on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

"Desperate Housewives": The Complete Third Season:
The Dirty Laundry Edition DVD Review - Page 1

Buy Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season (The Dirty Laundry Edition) from Amazon.com Desperate Housewives: Season Three (2006-07)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Directors: Larry Shaw, David Grossman, Wendey Stanzier, David Warren

Regular Cast: Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer), Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo), Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp), Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis), Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt), Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Carlos Solis), Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer), Doug Savant (Tom Scavo), Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge), Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young), James Denton (Mike Delfino), Shawn Pyfrom (Andrew Van De Kamp), Joy Lauren (Danielle Van De Kamp), Brent Kinsman (Preston Scavo), Shane Kinsman (Porter Scavo), Zane Huett (Parker Scavo)

Recurring Characters: Laurie Metcalf (Carolyn Bigsby), Dixie Carter (Gloria Hodge), Valerie Mahaffey (Alma Hodge), Kathryn Joosten (Karen McCluskey), Rachel Fox (Kayla), Kiersten Warren (Nora Huntington), Dougray Scott (Ian Hainsworth), Josh Henderson (Austin Britt), Pat Crawford Brown (Ida Greenberg), Kathleen York (Monique), Matt Roth (Arthur Shephard), Alec Mapa (Vern), Ian Abercrombie (Rupert), Jennifer Dundas (Rebecca Shephard), Mark Moses (Paul Young), Cody Kasch (Zach Young), John Slattery (Victor Lang), Jake Cherry (Travers), Jason Gedrick (Rick Coletti), Terry Bozeman (Dr. Lee Craig), Ernie Hudson (Detective Ridley), Christine Clayburg (TV Reporter)

Notable Guest Stars: Jesse Metcalfe (John Rowland), Gwendoline Yeo (Xiao Mei), Brian Kerwin (Harvey Bigsby), Steven Culp (Rex Van De Kamp), Peri Gilpin (Maggie Gilroy), Richard Burgi (Karl Mayer), Currie Graham (Ed Ferrara)

Running Time: 993 Minutes (23 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: September 4, 2007
Season 2 Airdates: September 24, 2006 - May 20, 2007
Six single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with clear slipcover

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By Aaron Wallace

When "Desperate Housewives" returned to ABC for its third season, it faced a challenge. Though ratings remained solid, the widespread fervor that had made the first season into TV's biggest hit had waned in the second year. With the initial mystery seemingly wrapped up and a new one feeling disconnected from the show at large, many lost interest. In truth, Season 2 was much better than its reputation suggests but nevertheless, creator/writer Marc Cherry pledged improvement for Season 3.

To that end, Cherry took the head writing reigns full time. As a result, the third season is firmly rooted in Wisteria Lane, the fictional Californian street that simultaneously represents idealized suburbia and unadulterated scandal. There is renewed focus on the five women at the heart of the show, both on their individual plights and the dynamics of their interactions.
While the central mystery flows most abundantly from relative newcomers to the cast, it is always tied in with the main characters in a way that the second season intrigue was not. The series strikes a healthy balance of laughter and suspense, and character is emphasized at least as much as plot. In short, Season 3 goes a long way to successfully remedy the flaws of Season 2.

The story elements developed in the previous year are not, however, merely disposed of. In fact, while you'll hear no more than a passing reference to the Applewhite family, the surprise arrival of Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan) at the end of the second season produces the third year's juiciest drama. With Mike in a coma and Susan accordingly distracted, Orson takes Bree (Marcia Cross) as a bride. Never lucky in love, Bree's matrimonial bliss is quickly tainted by rumors and accusations about Orson's enigmatic past that include adultery, abuse, and murder. Adding to the mystery is the arrival of Orson's mother, Gloria (Dixie Carter, who once employed Marc Cherry when she starred in "Designing Women") and his former neighbor, Carolyn Bigsby (Laurie Metcalf, "Roseanne"). Both Carter and Metcalf are television legends and their extended run on "Housewives" constitutes some of the best guest-starring performances in history. In fact, they are just two of many who make this a standout season.

The Bride to "Bree" (Marcia Cross) has to include an interrogation in her vows. The Scavo family portrait... plus one.

Kiersten Warren ("Saved by the Bell: The College Years") plays the delightfully annoying Nora, who moved to Fairview in order to antagonize the Scavo family, the patriarch of which she shares an illegitimate child with. Though Lynette (Felicity Huffman) has found it within herself to forgive Tom (Doug Savant) and accept his child into their family, the girl's overbearing and territorial mother is more than she can stand. The tension between the two moms fuels drama in the Scavo household, intensified when Tom tires of his career and Lynette grows dissatisfied with her home life.

Susan (Teri Hatcher) finds herself in yet another love triangle, with the comatose Mike (James Denton) still occupying one point but a newcomer, a dashing British gent named Ian Hainsworth (Dougray Scott, Ever After, Mission: Impossible 2), occupying the other. Of course, wherever Susan Mayer goes, awkwardness is sure to follow, and it arrives in abundance with Susan's precarious new love life. More than any other, Susan's character provides the show with comic relief, though a stroke of writing brilliance intertwines her romance with Mike and Bree's efforts to clear Orson's name.

With Susan distracted by Ian, Edie (Nicolette Sheridan) sees opportunity to pursue her long-unrequited attraction to Mike. Her deception makes all the more bitter her feud with Susan, intensified by the arrival of Edie's bad boy nephew, Austin (Josh Henderson), who takes a keen interest in Susan's daughter, Julie (Andrea Bowen, getting even more screentime this season). As time goes on, Edie's layers are peeled away and the character is developed on a deeper level than has been previously explored. The introduction of her son, Travers (Jake Cherry, Night at the Museum), reveals a side of Edie never before seen.

The best guest star of the season award must go to Dixie Carter ("Designing Women"), whose recurring role is unforgettable. Good fences make good neighbors, but bad memories and hit and runs do not.

Gabrielle (Eva Longoria), too, is given a chance to grow in the third season, as her divorce from Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira) forces her to reevaluate life, seek new employment, and look anew for love.
Her efforts lead to a blast from the past when one of the first season's key characters returns in a most unexpected way. Perhaps most surprising of all, though, is Gabby's indirect entrance into the world of politics and the life changes that accompany it.

The end result is yet another season's worth of episodes that exhibit masterful storytelling that evoke suspended, unshakeable interest in the personalities and lives of a rich cast of characters. The third season's only real pitfall is an unavoidable one, as the Bree-centric mystery is forced to wrap up a few episodes early, as Marcia Cross attended to her real-life pregnancy and the reported complications that ensued. The transition in storylines is less apparent on DVD, when the episodes aren't separated by the two-month gap that saw only one new episode aired last spring. Fortunately, the writers manage to tie all the season's contents together into one stunningly unforgettable, cliffhanging finale.

"Desperate Housewives": The Complete Third Season was released to DVD just weeks before the Season 4 premiere, bearing the silly "Dirty Laundry Edition" subtitle. Rest assured, there is but one release available and fortunately, it's a pretty good one. The slate of bonuses is the lightest yet for the series, but there's still a large handful of goodies, all of which are detailed in the remainder of this review.

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

Poor Alma Hodge (Valerie Mahaffey) lived life in a prison of unloved loneliness. Julie Mayer (Andrea Bowen) finds a challenge to her 'good girl' status in the form of Austin Britt (Josh Henderson).


1. Listen to the Rain on the Roof (43:13) (Originally aired September 24, 2006)
The season premiere picks up six months after the Season 2 finale, with Mike still in a coma but Susan growing restless when she meets Ian at the hospital. Gaby's patience with Xiao Mei (Gwendoline Yeo) runs thin, as does Lynette's with Nora. Orson pops the question to Bree just as a season-long story arc is founded on a mystery from his shady past.

2. It Takes Two (43:06) (Originally aired October 1, 2006)
Trouble moves to Wisteria Lane (again) when Edie's nephew, Austin, shows up and takes an interest in Julie. Meanwhile, Susan and Ian go on a date and run into unwelcome guests. Bree and Orson are finally married after overcoming a series of obstacles. Everything comes together at their reception in one of television's most brilliantly choreographed scenes.

3. A Weekend in the Country (43:09) (Originally aired October 8, 2006)
Bree scraps her honeymoon when she learns of her son Andrew's (Shawn Pyfrom) fate and Lynette has to back out of her vacation and spend it with Nora instead. Gabby and Susan fare better, as the former encounters a past lover at a romantic resort while the latter spends a few days in the country with Ian.

4. Like It Was (43:09) (Originally aired October 15, 2006)
Susan and Ian extend their weekend getaway and, of course, when the cat's away, the mice will play. Edie takes that strategy all the way to the bank... or at least the hospital, where Mike is wide awake. Meanwhile, Carlos arrives at Gaby's house with an announcement.

Tom's former lover, Nora (Kiersten Warren), tries to wreak havoc on his marriage. Laurie Metcalf's turn as Carolyn Bigsby is one of Season 3's highlights. Here, she's seen holding a grocery store hostage in "Bang."


5. Nice She Ain't (43:10) (Originally aired October 22, 2006)
Bree applies aggressive parenting to steer her daughter's life while Susan's daughter falls for the bad boy next door.

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Speaking of aggressive, Gaby and Carlos successfully redefine a "messy divorce." Right on cue, the police turn up to throw Wisteria Lane for another loop.

6. Sweetheart, I Have to Confess (43:10) (Originally aired October 29, 2006)
Susan reevaluates her relationship with Ian while the police scrutinize the veracity of Mike's coma.

7. Bang (43:09) (Originally aired November 5, 2006)
After receiving disturbing news, Carolyn (Laurie Metcalf) goes on a supermarket rampage against her husband, holding Lynette, Nora, Julie, and Austin hostage. This is an episode you'll always remember, the incredible performances from Metcalf and Huffman in particular.

8. Children and Art (43:12) (Originally aired November 12, 2006)
Gaby looks for more meaning in her life while Lynette gains greater appreciation for her own. The latter welcomes her newest neighbor but soon makes an unsettling discovery in his basement. There's a new arrival at the Hodge home, too: Orson's mother, a most unwelcome guest for her son.

Edie Britt (Nicolette Sheridan) is a Ho Ho Ho'in it up in "The Miracle Song." Off of the street and gainfully employed, Andrew Van De Kamp (Shawn Pyfrom) spends time with the Scavo family this season.


9. Beautiful Girls (43:12) (Originally aired November 19, 2006)
Gaby takes on a new calling in life while Susan deals with a new enemy in hers. Lynette seeks the aid of the police while Mike tries to avoid them. Orson's mother moves into the Hodge home.

10. The Miracle Song (42:59) (Originally aired November 26, 2006)
Police suspicions pit Mike against Orson and, accordingly, Susan against Bree. While they are divided, the rest of the neighborhood unites against their newest neighbor, a suspected pedophile.

11. No Fits, No Fights, No Feuds (43:13) (Originally aired January 7, 2007)
Gaby has a new admirer, Lynette has a new daughter, Bree has a new houseguest, and all three are causing them problems. Meanwhile, a relic from the past meets Mike in prison.

12. Not While I'm Around (43:12) (Originally aired January 14, 2007)
Edie and Susan are at odds again, this time over Julie and Austin's budding relationship. Lynette gets proactive in Tom's restaurant enterprise, Bree makes a shocking discovery at Alma's house, and Gaby learns her admirer's identity.

Susan learns that hospital visiting rules are no laughing matter. Gabrielle is schooled on the hard knock life of professional modeling.

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Continue to Page 2 >>

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-6, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Desperate Housewives on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5

Reviewed September 29, 2007.

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