UltimateDisney.com | DVD Review Index | Disney / Buena Vista TV Shows Page | Search This Site

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

"Desperate Housewives" The Complete Second Season:
The Extra Juicy Edition DVD Review - Page 2

Buy Desperate Housewives: The Complete Second Season (The Extra Juicy Edition) from Amazon.com Desperate Housewives: Season Two (2005-06)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Directors: Larry Shaw, Arlene Sanford, David Grossman

Regular Cast: Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer), Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo), Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp), Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis), Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt), Alfre Woodard (Betty Applewhite), Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Carlos Solis), Mark Moses (Paul Young), Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer), Doug Savant (Tom Scavo), Cody Kasch (Zach Young), Richard Burgi (Karl Mayer), Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young), James Denton (Mike Delfino)

Recurring Characters: Mehcad Brooks (Matthew Applewhite), Nashawn Kearse (Caleb Applewhite II), Sansom Harris (Felicia Tilman), Roger Bart (George Williams), Shawn Pyfrom (Andrew Van De Kamp), Joy Lauren (Danielle Van De Kamp), Jesse Metcalfe (John Rowland), Melinda Page Hamilton (Sister Mary Bernard), Joely Fisher (Nina), Currie Graham (Ed Ferrara), Shane Kinsman (Porter Scavo), Brent Kinsman (Preston Scavo), Zane Huett (Parker Scavo), Gwendoline Yeo (Xiao Mei), Bob Gunton (Noah Taylor), Kurt Fuller (Detective Barton), Kyle MacLachlan (Orson), Lesley Ann Warren (Sophie Bremmer), Shirley Knight (Phyllis Van De Kamp), Sam Lloyd (Dr. Albert Goldfine), Kathryn Joosten (Karen McCluskey), Paul Dooley (Addison Prudy), Jay Harrington (Dr. Ron Berman), Ryan Carnes (Justin), Charlie Babcock (Stu), Pat Crawford Brown (Ida Greenberg), Jeff Doucette (Father Crowley)

Notable Guest Stars: Wallace Shawn (Lonny Moon), Bob Newhart (Morty),Larry Miller (Leonard Harper), Kathryn Harrold (Helen Rowland), Carol Burnett (Eleanor Mason), Steven Culp (Rex Van De Kamp)

Running Time: 1036 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-PG
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: August 29, 2006
Season 2 Airdates: September 25, 2005 - May 21, 2006
Six single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Eight-sided fold-out Digipak with clear slipcover

Buy from Amazon.com


Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-5, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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

Wisteria Lane's protectors congregate. Hell hath no fury like Edie Brit scorned. TV legend Carol Burnett drops by Wisteria Lane in "Don't Look At Me".

DISC 4

16. There Is No Other Way (43:10) (Originally aired March 12, 2006)
Gabrielle's former affair with John Rowland becomes an obstacle again, this time in the path of the Solis' adoption plans. At the office, Lynette comes down hard on Tom, much to his chagrin. Andrew's malicious lies prompt Bree to join AA. Noah Taylor learns more about the death of his daughter and takes action. Finally, Susan goes in for her spleen operation but spills a secret to Dr. Ron while on medication.

17. Could I Leave You? (43:15) (Originally aired March 26, 2006)
Lynette is put in an awkward position when a new employee insists on breast feeding in the office, Susan tells Dr. Ron a white lie about her history with Mike, and Gabrielle and Carlos decide to buy a baby. In the mall, Bree hits a new low in her battle against alcoholism

18. Everyone Says Don't (43:08) (Originally aired April 2, 2006)
Bree's AA sponsor reveals his own addiction -- and it's not alcohol. Lynette tries to make a judgment in the Van De Kamp v. Van De Kamp case before the time for her deposition arrives. Meanwhile, Edie discovers Susan and Karl's insurance plot before her big engagement party, which is host to a showdown.

19. Don't Look At Me (43:10) (Originally aired April 16, 2006)
Bree's father and step-mother (Carol Burnett) unexpectedly show up for her trial against Andrew, Gabriella and Carlos are granted temporary custody of their baby but it's Xio Mei who does most of the work, and tensions between Felicia and Paul intensify while Susan decides whether she wants things to heat up with Karl.

20. It Wasn't Meant To Happen (43:13) (Originally aired April 30, 2006)
Susan feels awkward when Edie seeks her for comfort over her break-up with Karl, Lynette plays the part of a love therapist for her boss and his wife and lives to regret it, Danielle and Matthew try to prolong the Applewhites' residency on Wisteria Lane, Bree puts Peter's sponsor in her cross-hairs, and Gabrielle takes a stand for Christian education in order to keep her baby.

Chuck Norris, is that you? Edie makes a confession to Susan. All of Wisteria Lane comes out for a good scandal.

DISC 5

21. I Know Things Now (43:12) (Originally aired May 7, 2006)
Xiao Mei's residency status is threatened, Edie hires a private investigator, Susan decides to confess her one-night stand with Karl, Andrew sets his sight on Peter for the next stage of his plot against Bree, and Lynette learns of suspicious activity on Tom's part that leads her to fear the worst.

22. No One Is Alone (43:13) (Originally aired May 14, 2006)
Susan learns who burned down her home and she and Julie move in with Bree, who is throwing a forgotten birthday party for Danielle. Thanks to Xiao Mei, Gabrielle and Carlos come one step closer to having their baby, Michael and Danielle take things too far, Felicia really ups the ante with Paul, and Lynette follows Tom and sees exactly what she feared she might.

23-24. Remember (Parts One and Two) (84:48) (Originally aired May 21, 2006)
In the explosive season finale, the Mike-Susan-Karl love triangle comes to a head, Bree checks herself in for psychiatric evaluation but soon gets news from home that makes her regret it, Zach sorts out his feelings for the man he once believed to be his father, Lynette and Tom deal with a new addition to the family, Gabrielle begins to spy on Carlos and Xiao Mei, and the Applewhite mystery is finally resolved. The episode originally aired as a two-parter, which the two hour-long installments airing back-to-back. In the DVD booklet, it's listed as two episodes (thus bringing the total number up to 24), but it's presented as one single, continuous episode on the DVD itself. Either presentation is probably acceptable (and neither makes much of a difference), but it's a bit of a shame to not see it as it originally aired.

Desperate Housewives

VIDEO and AUDIO

Each episode is thankfully presented in the 1.78:1 aspect ration in which it was originally created and enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Outside some very light and occasional edge enhancement and a couple of instances of the moiré effect, the video quality is near-perfect. The show's up to cinematic quality and quite pleasing to look at. The extra episode on each disc (there are five each here as opposed to the first season's four) doesn't seem to have had any negative effects. A lot of work already goes into the series' visual presence during production and it's a beautiful thing on DVD.

The audio is equally pleasing. It's presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and makes full use of the available channels. Dialogue of course comes from the front but it's accompanied by beautiful scoring that emanates from all around and amazingly detailed sound effects that arrive from the rear. The sound is delivered with wonderful tone thanks to a rich and sensible bass track that allows the viewer to not only hear the music, but feel it too. Watching "Desperate Housewives" on DVD is truly a surround sound experience and as with the video quality, is on par with feature films.

Marc Cherry chats with his mother and muse on Disc 6. Felicity Huffman praises (and jokingly critiques) director Larry Shaw. Joanna Kerns, best known as Maggie Seaver on "Growing Pains," reflects on her time as a TV housewife in "Desperate Role Models."

BONUS FEATURES

I was fully prepared to give this release UD's highly coveted 5-star award before realizing that the full-length episode audio commentaries -- you know, the ones that appeared on the first season's DVD and were advertised for the second's in its press release -- are nowhere to be found. Generally speaking, audio commentaries are the most valuable and substantive bonus features that TV-on-DVD can see and those produced for the first season of "Desperate Housewives" were particularly enjoyable. Whether Marc Cherry or Buena Vista were less enthused about the second season following its mixed reception with critics and fans or whether the new five episodes-per-disc organization prevented their inclusion, the studio clearly changed its mind (or else just lied) in between the initial DVD announcement and the actual release. That's a real shame but it's fortunate that missing commentaries aside, there's a whole slew of great bonuses and this time they're all easily accessible from one location: Disc 6.

First up is an interview with Marc Cherry and his mother, Martha Cherry, aptly titled "Marc & Mom" (8:47). It's no secret that "Desperate Housewives" is in no small part based on Marc's childhood experiences and his mother's personality in particular. Therefore, it's extremely interesting not only to get her perspective on what is not always a flattering portrayal, but to hear the two of them chat about the life that inspired the series and the specific elements that have found their way into storylines.

Next up is "Directing Desperate Housewives" (16:33), a making-of featurette for the episode "There's Something About A War" that focuses on multiple aspects of production with an emphasis on direction. It's a well-made and revealing piece, the kind one would like to see more of and at greater length.

"Desperate Role Models" (7:31) is an example of a creative bonus feature for a show like this, which has been lauded by many critics as revolutionary (or at least a little less than conventional). Famous housewives from classic TV series of the past share their thoughts on the series and how the depiction of women differs from their own experiences in television.

This sanctuary showdown gets the most attention in "Cherry-Picked", a collection of Marc Cherry's favorite (fullscreen) scenes. Gabrielle and Carlos settle down for a prayer in one of the set's deleted scenes. Costume designer Catherine Adair gets a tribute in "Fashion & Couture".

"Cherry-Picked" is a section filled with various scenes from the second season (inexplicably presented in fullscreen) that Marc Cherry has personally selected as his favorites. They can be viewed with or without commentary from Cherry (so at least some commentary made it to the DVD) and a "Play All" option has thankfully been made available. There are 11 scenes in total, which run 27:47 together.

"Unaired Story Lines" is another very exciting inclusion. Here, two complete storylines -- that is, a sequence of scenes shot with the intention of running throughout a particular episode -- that were later deleted for either creative reasons or time constraints are presented in their entirety. Talk about your deleted scenes! It's just too bad that they're presented in fullscreen, when they were surely also framed for widescreen along with the rest of the series. One involves Susan's plans to vent her frustration by writing an adult novel (10:52) and another involves a troublesome incident for a frantic Lynette aboard an airplane (4:05). Though there are only two of them, they're available with a "Play All" option and once again, optional audio commentary from Marc Cherry. The deleted scenes don't stop there, though, as 11 conventional ones from various episodes are included as well (with -- you guessed it! -- a "Play All" feature and Cherry's commentary), running 15:45 altogether.

"Fashion & Couture" (10:46) is a featurette about (read: "virtual shrine to") the series' costume designer, Catherine Adair. It's actually an informative piece about the thought and development that goes into the selection and creation of the vast "Desperate Housewives" wardrobe and includes plenty of interviews from cast and crew.

A kiss with Lynette's husband, Tom, is one of Gabrielle's juiciest moments in Season Two according to her performer, Eva Longoria. Season One kicked off with a bang, as recapped here in "The Whole Story." Do you wish Wisteria Lane was real and that you lived on it? If so, you're in luck, or at least you will be soon thanks to the upcoming "Desperate Housewives" video game!

In "Juicy Bites" (2:38), each of the main housewives (save Alfre Woodard and Brenda Strong) recall the moments in the second season that they consider to be their character's "juiciest." It's something of a fluff piece, but still fun and interesting. After all, it's always nice to hear an actor or actress share their own experiences with the characters the audience knows and loves.

"The Whole Story" (1:04) is a brief TV spot that ABC ran in the weeks leading up to the premiere of the second season. In it, the multitude of revelations and plot twists that developed in the first season are reviewed at break-neck speed
and partially in rhyme. It's a great treat for fans and one of the best parts of the sixth disc despite its brevity. It may have been nice to see additional TV spots included but if only one is to be presented, this should probably be it.

It hardly counts as a bonus feature, but there's also a commercial (0:56) for the upcoming "Desperate Housewives" computer game that doesn't provide much information but does show off some of the graphics. Aside from that, there's the standard platter of Buena Vista sneak previews, atypically presented on the sixth disc on this set. The disc openers: a new promo for Apocalypto that includes the commentary of Mel Gibson, Kinky Boots, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Keeping Up With the Steins, "Lost": The Complete Second Season, and "Grey's Anatomy": The Complete Second Season (Uncut). Additional previews for "Scrubs": The Complete Fourth Season, "The Golden Girls": The Complete Sixth Season, "Alias": The Complete Fifth (and Final) Season, the Disney-owned SoapNet network, and the upcoming third season of "Desperate Housewives" on ABC can be accessed from the main menu.

Disc 1's 16x9 main menu should look familiar; it's recycled from Season 1. As you can see, the season finale is presented as one episode on Disc 5's episode selection menu.

MENUS, PACKAGING, and DESIGN

The DVD packaging for "Desperate Housewives" is as creative the second time around as it was the first. Once again, it comes in eight-paneled Digipak case inside which six single-sided discs can be found. The Digipak itself is housed inside a clear plastic slipcover that, when in place, creates the cover design that can be seen at the top of this review. When removed, however, the lovely ladies that grace the cover "disappear" and an entirely new design is found on the back cover. They don't appear to lose their clothing this time, but it's still a nice touch. The entire Digipak and slipcover are designed with the series' opening credits sequence's apple motif in mind. I guess the fruit and the "Extra Juicy Edition" title are supposed to go together too.

Inside the case, one can find an eight page booklet that outlines the discs' contents in detail, several ads for products from the show and its sponsors, a flyer for select Buena Vista TV series on DVD, and a peel-able sample of the new "Desperate Housewives" perfume, "Forbidden Fruit." The six discs continue the apples-and-seductive-poses theme. Disc 1 features Lynette, Disc 2 - Susan, Disc 3 - Bree, Disc 4 - Edie, Disc 5 - Gabrielle, and Disc 6 - Betty (who takes the place of Mary Alice Young on the disc art just like she did in the series). Behind the discs, one finds a montage of interesting stills from the second season. When placed upside down, two of the panels bear a very appealing photo spread of the central housewives (again save Brenda Strong and Alfre Woodard).

As previously noted, all the bonus features and sneak previews have been reserved for the sixth disc, on which there are no full episodes. That leaves five episodes per disc for all but the last, which has four (well, really just three but one is presented as double-length... more on that in the episode descriptions above). That's a huge improvement over the scattered and hard-to-find bonus features of the first season's release.

The main menu from the first season, in which the theme song sequence is re-imagined with animation of the housewives, is repeated here on all six discs. That shows a general lack of effort, especially when given that Bree's can of soup no longer labels the disc number as it did with the first season set, but at least the menus are creative to begin with. The sub-menus are all identical to the last release as well, still frames set to music. For some reason, in my player, once an episode is selected, it takes a particularly long time to begin playing. Naturally, each disc's episodes feature a "Play All" option. As with the last time, the font used for the menu is thematically appropriate but a little hard to read and navigate.

Gabby and Carlos fall in love... with a baby. Betty and Matthew Applewhite do some suburban damage control.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The second season of "Desperate Housewives" is much stronger than its reputation suggests. Watching an entire season of television in the span of a week is an entirely different experience than watching it over the course of a year. My experience with this particular series lies only in the former but as far as it is concerned, I can vouch for its remarkable entertainment value. There are certainly problems to be found but when all is said and done, the series is able to take great strides in its second year and thrill the audience nearly as much as it did in its first.

Though the "Extra Juicy Edition" DVD lacks complete episode-length audio commentaries and is packaged under a ridiculous title, it otherwise boasts a full platter of worthwhile supplements and spectacular audio/video quality. This is by no means the kind of series that one can launch into without having already seen the first season but to those who have, the Complete Second Season of "Desperate Housewives" is heartily recommended without hesitation.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Page 1: Show Discussion, Discs 1-3
Page 2: Discs 4-5, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Related Reviews:
Desperate Housewives: The Complete First Season
Commander in Chief: Part 1 • Commander in Chief: Part 2
Grey's Anatomy: Season One | Lost: The Complete First Season
Scrubs: The Complete Second Season | The Golden Girls: The Complete Second Season
Home Improvement: The Complete Second Season | Ellen: The Complete Season Two
Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons | Boy Meets World: The Complete Second Season
The Muppet Show: Season One | The Tick vs. Season 1

"Desperate Housewives" Cast Members in Other Disney Films:
Alfre Woodard: A Wrinkle in Time • Dinosaur
Mark Moses: The Golden Girls: The Complete Fifth Season
Andrea Bowen: Bambi II | Shawn Pyfrom: The Shaggy Dog (2006)
Mehcad Brooks: Glory Road | Roger Bart: Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure
Joely Fisher: Inspector Gadget | Sam Lloyd: Scrubs: The Complete Third Season
Kurt Fuller: Angels in the Infield | Paul Dooley: Angels in the Endzone | Carol Burnett: Once Upon a Mattress
Lesley Ann Warren: The Happiest Millionaire | Bob Newhart: The Rescuers

UltimateDisney.com | DVD Review Index | Disney / Buena Vista TV Shows Page | Search This Site

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

Reviewed September 17, 2006.

UltimateDisney.com Top Stories: