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Marc Cherry on Desperate Housewives

Published February 6, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of ABC.
Desperate Housewives Desperate Housewives

In the drama of Desperate Housewives, the characters always have some major problems, be it amnesiac lovers arrested for murder or husbands with secret pasts or a teenage stalker. Things seem to be going well for Edie Brit though. She got her guy this year and dumped him when things got hairy, and even sold the suicide house. Thanks to Marcia Cross’s pregnancy, she’ll be getting even more screen time at the end of this season.

Marc Cherry Delivers Desperate Housewives

“Nicollette's about to have a really fun time,” said Marc Cherry. “With Marcia now on bedrest, she's going to be promoted and be front and center for the remainder of the season. She's going to have a fascinating romance with someone who already lives on the street, and we're going to be meeting her son that was mentioned in the pilot. I'm finally bringing that character in. We're going to find out why he hasn't been around. I've been really excited about the fact we're going to have the page space to give Nicollette what she so sorely deserves because she's fantastic.”

The bed rest thing came up a tad sooner than Cherry had planned for, but he was able to shoot the remainder of her required scenes. “We just shot two days at Marcia’s house. Our set guys went to her house, painted her bedroom the color of Brie’s bedroom, they brought in some furniture and we had always designed her last episode of the season for her to be in bed because I thought oh, I’m really smart, I’m going to prepare for this. What I hadn’t counted on was that she would actually be put on bed rest an episode before that. So I actually had to do some rewriting in the 14th episode, but we were actually a little bit prepared for it and so Marcia, she’s kind of bored out of her mind because she’s just laying in bed, so she’s like, ‘Bring the cameras here. I wanna act.’ So all the actors trooped over to her house and we got everything we needed. And she’s going to leave in episode 15 and she’ll be back I think for the final episode of the season.”

The good news for fans is that we won’t have to wait until May to find out what Orson’s big secret really is. “And the biggest thing is we’re wrapping up the mystery at the end of February sweeps because she’s tied into it because of Kyle MacLachlan’s character. So that was both helpful because I didn’t have to stretch it out as much, so the last few episodes are going to get really exciting. But then also there’s now okay, what gets me to the end of the season? And we’ve been working on it and we have some ideas and I think it will be fine, but with a little notice, almost anything is accomplishable.”

With Season Two almost universally derided, Cherry has gotten back into the flow of Desperate Housewives. “Mostly it was about the planning that requires to set up for the season. I think we kind of just woke up and then we had to get stuff done and we didn’t have enough time to plan. So I just didn’t have the whole year planned out. Like this year, you’re seeing just a lot more planning. So it was literally how I managed my time, how do I use that preproduction time to the best of its ability to set me up for the entire year? I think I wasted too much time or just didn’t use it efficiently so that’s what I think I learned most the second year.”

Cherry does hope to explore smaller character stories in season four, but that won’t detract from any mystery he brings in. “The mystery is different from the personal story of the women’s lives. It’s a mish mash because you want big things to happen in people’s lives but how you decide to tell the tales is everything. Do you focus on the most soap operatic ingredient? One thing that we did this year that was interesting was in the episode we did our big hostage episode, but then Felicity comes home and she’s dealing with this guy who was a hero and she finds out a little secret in him. And so we went and did this big episode but then just the dawning realization of a neighbor might have a secret, it was in a sense we kind of went small with it and then built to a big conclusion. It’s kind of finding the waves. That’s kind of the trick of it all. It’s kind of ephemeral. It’s hard to actually put in words sometimes.”

Desperate Housewives airs Sundays at 9PM on ABC.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of ABC.

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