Housewives React to Final Season News with Tears, Hope, and Thoughts on Show's Legacy

For once, the tears caught esteemed actress Felicity Huffman by surprise.

Having often produced waterworks throughout her Emmy-winning seven-year run as Desperate Housewives‘ Lynette, Huffman tried to put on her game face when apprised that the coming season would be the ABC drama’s last. But ultimately, the weight of the loss crept up on her.

“I did that thing where when you hear big news, you kind of distance yourself from it,” Huffman shared at ABC’s Television Critics Association cocktail reception, just hours after Housewives‘ fate had been announced. “I was with my friend Sarah Paulson (Studio 60), and she kept going, ‘How are you doing? Are you alright?'” After bravely waving off such concern, Huffman says, “I went home … and I cried at the kitchen table with [husband/Shameless star] Bill [Macy].”

The moment of mourning was interrupted by one of the couple’s daughters, Georgia. “She came in, asking, ‘What’s going on?'” Huffman relates. Once updated, the pre-teen reassured, “Oh, mama, you’re going to work again!'” The actress laughs, “She was like a 9-year-old agent.”

Huffman had heard the sad news from one of the other Housewives, not unlike the gossip-rich grapevine of Wisteria Lane. “I guess I was the one who let Flicka know, which I didn’t realize!” Marcia Cross shares. “I texted her about coming [to the ABC party], while Eva [Longoria] was on her way to Spain.”

“I don’t know how [series boss] Marc [Cherry] got a hold of Eva, but he’s tenacious!” Huffman reports. “When I finally talked to her, she said, ‘Oh my God, if it is [the end] I’m going to cry!'”

Like Longoria, Teri Hatcher was not on hand for the ABC reception either. But Brenda Strong (aka our wise if dearly departed narrator, Mary Alice) was, and she, like Cross and Huffman, assuaged some of the sting by looking forward to the chance to end things properly, with an end date firmly set.

“I’m glad that we get to go out feeling great, that we won’t wither and die on the vine but do what Lost did,” Strong offered. “It was so beautiful the way ABC celebrated Lost and its series finale. I hope that’s how it’s going to be for us.”

Concurs Huffman, “I think it’s going to be lovely to have nine months to appreciate something that’s ending. When you know that something is finite, you taste it more.”

Everyone we talked to also agreed that it will be especially fulfilling to end the series with the same five original Housewives in the mix, with a dose of Vanessa Williams thrown in for good measure. “It gives the audience a sense of completion,” says Strong. “It will be nice to go back and look at all eight seasons and go, ‘Wow, that was an amazing ride,’ and see it all tied up with a red bow and an apple on top.”

And when May 2012 rolls around and the last bit of Wisteria hysteria plays out, what might Desperate Housewives‘ legacy be? “I think it changed the landscape of television in terms of [showcasing] strong women, late 30s into their 40s, [and demonstrating that] female characters are not ancillary, not just on someone’s arm,” Huffman told us.

Cross echoed that belief, saying that while only “time will tell” how and for what Housewives is remembered, “I hope the legacy — aside from Marc’s genius as a writer and producer — will be that it opened up more roles for women, and that that continues.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Raisa says:

    DH is totally my guilty pleasure! I admit, I don’t watch it for the good television, I watch it for the fun.

  2. Will says:

    Same five original housewives? I’m going to assume Edie/Nicolette Sheridan is not included in that..

    • Lyndsey says:

      Nope! If you haven’t noticed, she was never in the opening credits final shot with the four main housewives & the apple tree. Plus all of their flashbacks with Mary Alice never had Edie with them (including the finale where Mary Alice remembers how she met each of them). Edie wasn’t included in most of what they did.

      • Captain says:

        But she was always in the promotional photos. She was considered a housewife.

        • AN says:

          Just like the “Housewife of the Season” has always been featured in the promos – Alfie Woodard, Dana Delaney, Vanessa Williams. Yes, a Housewive, but not the core four, or main five, which includes Mary Alice.

  3. Geo says:

    Felicity Huffman should be crying tears of joy, as now she has the time to do a project that’s actually worthy of her ability, rather than doing what she can with mediocre, repetitive scripts for another six years on this piece of fluff. DH made her money, sure, but Lynette is not a role that best displays Huffman’s many talents.

    • Tarc says:

      I have to agree here. Steady work is always a great thing but you’re completely correct. DH is a total waste of an actress of Huffman’s caliber. She’s one of the best we’ve got.

  4. shuayb says:

    Correct me if I am wrong somewhere in Season 4 or 5, marc cherry said that he would end things after a season 8. Am I wrong? I pretty sure I read it on the now defunct If that is the truth, then why are they shocked? Oh Well.

    • Damon says:

      Because, if I’m not wrong, the series cast were signed on for two more seasons just a few months ago after undergoing thorough negotations.. which would be redundant if they never had a plan to do a ninth one

  5. Till says:

    Off topic but these Modern Family’s ads for Emmys on the front page are very disturbing, it looks like tombstone epitaphs!

  6. Danny says:

    “Desperate Housewives” has been pure, escapist fun. I have looked forward to the show on Sunday nights for seven years. From the first-season murder of Martha Huber to the 2006 “Bang” episode to the 2007 tornado, I’ve loved my Sundays with the ladies of Wisteria Lane. It’d be great if Marc Cherry did one, final grand “disaster” episode in late fall (I love those episodes; some more than others) … but it’s probably time. Eight seasons is a good, even number to end.

  7. Jay says:

    Not quite sure about their view of how the show has impacted on women. The reality is that, while most movies are geared towards men and male roles, most television shows are geared towards women since its mainly women who watch TV…

  8. Anjali says:

    I only hope that this series ender is better than Lost. Please don’t pull a ‘Lost’ Marc Cherry!

  9. Drew says:

    Why does everything have to be a cause in that industry? It opened up roles for women? I’m pretty sure that there have been great roles for women in TV for as long as TV has been around. It showed strong women? Pretty sure that’s been done too. I’m tired of Hollywood types always thinking that what they do is making a major difference of some kind. If you want to call it art, call it art, but you’re not exactly putting an end to terrorism. If you think it’s solid material, that’s great… but stop acting like you’re a genuine hero for doing it. (I’m a writer, so I believe in the arts. I just prefer some perspective, which is where art should come from… not arrogance)

  10. 8daysaweek says:

    I am kind of bummed only because I thought the season finale last year had some promise. The idea of these people binding together over their new secret, how that impacts their relationships and how they deal with it is very intriguing to me. Hopefully it will set up a good season 8 for them to sign off on a high note compared to the last couple years.

  11. Robert says:

    I totally agree. I’m sad to see such an iconic hit end, but I’d rather they end on a high note. This show is my favorite and has given many actresses exposure. It has also addressed many issues women go through that other shows haven’t.

  12. ronnie says:

    The show’s impact will be reflected by how its success (as well as the success of Lost and later Grey’s Anatomy), helped bring back popular scripted television in a period where it was in danger of being overrun by reality shows. Before the show premiered, there were a lot of scripted series (drama and comedy) getting cancelled and replaced by reality shows. After it’s huge premiere, the networks realized the public still had an interest in nighttime dramas.

    • miles silverberg says:

      Exactly. Desperate Housewives and Lost were ABC’s answer to CBS when it decided for the industry that non-serialized procedurals were the only way to go with scripted television. These two shows helped rebrand ABC as a cut above the ordinary TV network, and wedged a foot in the door that was quickly being closed on creative scripted drama in broadcast programming. That’s a pretty good legacy.

  13. Diane smith says:

    What a shame,but all good things must come to an end.