Friday, June 03, 2005

Now who's desperate?

MY NAME is Lola and I'm a desperate housewife. Now, this is no reflection on my lovely husband; simply on my addiction to a certain American drama which sadly had it's season finale this week .

For the cold winter months, the desperate housewives with all their quirky habits and engaging personalities have been my companion. It had reached such a critical level with me that on a Tuesday afternoon when I inevitably realised it was "Desperate Housewives" night I would come over all giddy and start planning my 'Desperate Housewives' viewing experience.
The night starts with me staggering in from my aerobics class and quickly putting the wee man to bed at the speed of light (quick bottle and then literally dumping him in his cot) before jumping into the bath for a long soak using only the finest Sanctuary products.
Then it was on with my favourite jammies before climbing into my sumptuous king size bed just in time to switch on the telly and find out about the latest goings on in Wisteria Lane. (Depending on how good the scales had been at my weigh in, I may also have treated myself to chocolate!)
Maybe it is a little sad to find myself swept up in the hysteria that surrounds this programme, but I find such popular series hard to resist. Typically I am one of those people who has to watch the latest American import and falls for the hype. (With the exception of 'The Sopranos' and 'Lost' which are in turn too violent and too scary for my delicate sensibilities).
First there was my obsession with 'Lois and Clarke, the New Adventures of Superman', which funnily enough also starred Teri Hatcher who appears among the housewives! I was 16 and just making my decision to follow a career in journalism. Watching Lois Lane swan about in her lovely suits, her gorgeous shoes (yep, I was shoe obsessed even then) and, of course, her superman willing to save her at a moment's notice- I became convinced this could be the right job for me.
Yes, I had my hair cut into the same bobbed style as Teri's and I carried a Superman folder to and from school each day. I even bought some stunning cream shoes just because I thought they were "so Lois Lane" and I arranged some work experience at the Derry Journal (How they must rue the day they ever let me in the door of the building!).
And then I was one of those sad people who got madly caught up in the 'Friends' phenomenon too. I was 18 when the show first hit our screens and it seemed so glamorous to watch these six twenty-somethings living a life that was definitely more glamorous than my existence in the Halls of Residence at Jordanstown.
I had the Rachel haircut, the Monica haircut and all the episodes on video. I even had a huge purple cup just like the one's they had in Central Perk. My cousin and I would enter into mammoth debates about who loved Ross more; which culminated in her painstaking attempt to spell out "Ross in Mine" using literally thousands of letters cut out of magazines.
Yes, we were sad. But there was no harm in it. We too had our 'Friends' nights where it seemed everyone would rush home from work to sit down in front of the TV with a can of coke, or a glass of West Coast Cooler (I was not yet a hardened drinker at that stage) and a bar of chocolate and enjoy some deep belly laughs.
Everyone who was everyone was talking about 'Friends' and it seemed if you didn't know who Ross, Rachel and co. were you were considered to be some sort of televisual freak of nature.
To be honest, I thought my obsessive days were over. As a mature(ish) woman in her late 20s, surely I would have had a bit more gumption about me? But then Susan, Bree, Lynette and Gabrielle appeared on the scene and it all changed.
You see I could empathise with all the characters (with the possible exception of Gabrielle who is a spoiled rich crier who needs a kick up the bum). I could see why Bree had become obsessed with a perfect life. I certainly sympathised with Susan's bad luck and clumsiness due to my own habit of doing or saying the wrong thing; and as for Lynette- the harassed mum- well she made me realise I was not alone in my insanity.
The central story-line of their neighbour Mary Alice's big secret became just a distraction to me and watching how they got with their lives was much more interesting. Perhaps because I'm a wife myself (though not house-bound!), or perhaps because this is one of the first times that television producers have made drama just for women without painting us as trollops or neurotics (Think 'Sex and the City').
This was intelligent and witty tv, for intelligent and (hopefully) witty women and I was happy to welcome it into my home. I'm delighted to report though that I showed a certain sense of maturity by not getting my hair cut into the style of any of the leading characters. (Most often though it does seem to take on the appearance of Lynette's bird's nest- but that is merely a bad hair day coincidence).
And now, with Tuesday's season finale (or Wednesday if you were watching on Channel 4) I'm facing a summer of cold turkey from my favourite programme. Somehow Big Brother just doesn't have the same appeal!

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