Marc Cherry Reveals What Lies Ahead on His Revitalized Sunday Night Hit … and What Really Went Wrong in Season Two
"One of the problems in season two was too much writing on the fly. I learned not to do that again. What everyone is seeing this year is a show that is much more thoughtful."
Los Angeles, CA - Before this season is over, there are going to be two weddings on Wisteria Lane.
"One is a quickie wedding," Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry reveals in an exclusive interview with
MediaVillage. "The other will be a big legendary soap opera wedding, the kind that folks are hopefully going to tune in for."
Cherry doesn't like to give too much away, but he does offer a few additional teases about story developments in the weeks to come. "Tom's back is going to give out and Lynette will have to run their restaurant all
by herself," he says. "Edie will have a new romance with someone on the street. And disaster will loom in the triangle between [Edie's nephew] Austin, [Bree's daughter] Danielle and [Susan's daughter] Julie."
Clearly, Cherry is enjoying the buzz that is building all over again for his Sunday night serial comedy-drama during its third season, which has included two of the best episodes in the series' history (the season
premiere, which advanced the show's many storylines by six months, and the supermarket hostage episode). Memories of the Applewhites, Edie's unfortunate turn as an arsonist, Tom eating donuts out of a toilet, Lynette eating raw meat in the office and the many other low points that sorely compromised the series in its sophomore season have been all but obliterated by the
show's renewed attention to character development and compelling storytelling and the rebuilding of the strong relationships between the four women at the center of its canvas: Susan, Bree, Gabrielle and Lynette.
In a word, Housewives is fun again. So what went wrong last year?
"I was woefully ill-prepared," Cherry says of his sophomore slump. "In the second season, basically what I learned was planning, planning, planning. You have to use your pre-production time so wisely. I
kind of had a lot of storylines and a lot of ideas already worked out when the first season started because I had been unemployed for a couple of years and I had nothing to do but think of my imaginary series and what I'd like to do with it.
"One of the problems in season two was too much writing on the fly," he continues. "I learned not to do that again. It was a very painful lesson but a valuable one. What everyone is seeing this year is a
show that is much more thoughtful. It would be even better if I could have a little bit more production time. I work 50 weeks out of the year."
Last spring, Cherry recalls, he knew that he had to jump start his troubled show. "Here's what I did. I said to the network that I thought one of the problems in season two was that we had finished everyone's storylines. Everything had built to a big conclusion. At the beginning of season two what you
saw was us slowly trying to rev up the storylines again. So [this year] I said okay, I'm going to have time go by. I'm going to pick up a few months later so that I've gotten everyone to a breaking point. It was a really effective device. I don't know if I'll use it again this year. I may or may not."
Of the acclaimed supermarket hostage crisis episode, Cherry says, "I'm so proud of that one. It really turned out well. I've had a
lot of ideas that didn't always work out. But that one really came out beautifully.
"I told the staff on the first day of season three that I had this idea for a hostage episode set in a supermarket and I wanted a housewife to take the whole place hostage. She's taking the place hostage because her
husband had an affair. That's what I walked in with. And we started building it. So much about the structure of it and who the characters were and the relationships came with the staff throwing in ideas."
With memories of that standout episode still so fresh, what will Cherry do for an encore?
"I've got a couple of really cool ideas that we're doing," he says. "The thing that [the hostage] episode had for you was the stakes were so high! It's kind of hard to have so many characters in jeopardy like
that every week. So that's almost impossible to top. What you try to do is come up with something that will be fantastic on a whole other level."
Those cool ideas include an upcoming episode focused on the men of Wisteria Lane, narrated not by the deceased Mary Alice but by Bree's late husband, Rex. "It's going to be told from all the guys' point of view," Cherry
says. "That's going to be a real fun episode. I don't know that it will have the impact of the hostage episode but I think people will get a really big kick out of it because it's different."
The idea to bring back Rex, who died at the end of season one, started with one of the housewives. "Teri Hatcher was the one
who said to me at the end of season one, 'It's a shame now that Rex has died that he can't narrate,'" Cherry says. "I thought that was interesting. Steven Culp [the actor who played Rex] and I have kept in contact so I called him and he thought it was a fun idea."
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