Synopses & Reviews
The darkly comic series about the secret lives of Bree, Gabrielle, Lynette, Susan and the other ladies living on Wisteria Lane became an instant breakthrough hit when it premiered in the fall of 2004. Reading Desperate Housewives
offers a wide-ranging critical assessment of one of the most talked about shows on American television, dissecting its appeal and tapping into early responses to the show and the controversy surrounding it. Essays consider such diverse issues as its representation of the war of the sexes and how it illuminates contemporary feminism, Republican politics and the rise of the Right, gender and femininity, motherhood and marriage--as well as the rumors surrounding that notorious Vanity Fair
cover shoot. Also including an episode guide, this enjoyable companion asks: Has this show done for suburban women what Sex and the City
did for the single girl?
'Everyone has a little dirty laundry.' The darkly comic series about the secret lives of the ladies living on Wisteria Lane became an instant breakthrough hit for ABC. 21 million viewers tuned in for the first episode and this figure has steadily grown as audiences from around the globe have switched on to the shenanigans in suburbia. Desperate Housewives was subject to a backlash in America, where advertisers on the ABC network were lobbied by Christian groups and Parents' Associations. But the sponsorship withdrawal that resulted did little to dampen the enthusiasm of its legions of fans. Recipient of several awards including the People's Choice Award and Golden Globe for Best Television - Musical or Comedy, Desperate Housewives is a hit. Reading Desperate Housewives offers a critical response to one of the most talked about shows on contemporary television. Leading scholars and writers dissect the appeal of Desperate Housewives, tapping into early reactions and controversy. They consider the American sex wars, contemporary feminism, Republican politics and the rise of the Right, gender and femininity, motherhood and marriage - and that Vanity Fair shoot.
The book includes an episode guide tracing all those goings-on beyond that white picket fence.
About the Author
is Lecturer in Film Studies at London Metropolitan University. Janet McCabe
is Lecturer in Film Studies at Trinity College, Dublin.
Both are editors of Reading Sex & the City
(I.B.Tauris, 2004) and Reading Six Feet Under
(I.B.Tauris, 2005) and Reading the L-Word
Table of Contents
Regular cast list
Introduction, Janet McCabe and Kim Akass
Part 1: Culture
1. W Stands for Women, or is it Wisteria?: Watching Desperate Housewives with Bush, David Lavery
2. Still Desperate: Popular Television and the Female Zeitgeist, Rosalind Coward
3. Having It All: Desperate Housewives' Flimsy Feminism, Ashley Sayeau
4. Still Desperate After All These Years: The Post-Feminist Mystique and Maternal Dilemmas, Kim Akass
Part 2: Sexual Politics 5. Desperately Straight: The Subversive Sexual Politics of Desperate Housewives, Samuel A Chambers6. What Is It With That Hair? Bree Van de Kamp and Policing Contemporary Femininity, Janet McCabe
7. As Kamp as Bree: Postfeminist Camp in Desperate Housewives, Niall Richardson
8. The 'Right' Ideology and Homosexual Representation in Desperate Housewives, Kristian T. Kahn
9. Hunters, heroes and the hegemonically masculine fantasies of Desperate Housewives, Brian Singleton
Part 3: Genre, Gender and Cultural Myths
10. Disciplining the Housewife in Desperate Housewives and Domestic Reality Television, Sharon Sharp
11. Murder and Mayhem on Wisteria Lane: a Study of Genre and Cultural Context in Desperate Housewives, Judith Lancioni
12. White Picket Fences, Domestic Containment and Female Subjectivity: Romantic Love in Desperate Housewives, Sherryl Wilson
13. 'Desperation and Domesticity': Reconfiguring the 'Happy Housewife' in Desperate Housewives, Anna Marie Bautista
Part 4: Narrative, Confession and Intimacy14. Dying To Tell You Something: Posthumous Narration and Female Omniscience in Desperate Housewives, Deborah Jermyn15. Desperation Loves Company: Female Friendship and the Façade of Female Intimacy in Desperate Housewives, Sherianne Shuler, Chad McBride and Erika Kirby
16. 'Mother, Home and Heaven': Nostalgia, Confession and Motherhood in Desperate Housewives, Stacy Gillis and Melanie Waters
Film and TV Guide