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More twists, turns on Wisteria Lane

BURBANK, Calif. - Fall has come early to Wisteria Lane on the Universal stage set where Desperate Housewives is filmed, but Eva Longoria Parker is looking resplendent as always, dressed to the nines, even if her boss, creator, executive producer and showrunner Marc Cherry, is dressed like a slob. Desperate Housewives has just broken ground on its seventh season - Cherry says to expect more paternity surprises, more maternity suits and recurring guest turns by Vanessa Williams and Lainie Kazan when Desperate Housewives returns in September - but no one, it seems, has caught the seven-year itch just yet.

Parker, flanked by her boss and a relaxed, demure Marcia Cross - as serene and removed from her character Bree as Desperate Housewives is from reality - shepherds a small group of visitors around the house that Felicity Huffman's character Lynette calls home. In actuality, the house is one of several on a wide, tree-lined boulevard, formerly known as Leave It To Beaver Lane, or Beaver Lane, nestled just beneath the top of a hill on a remote corner of the sprawling Universal lot, far from the tourist trams.

Parker, who plays flighty Gabrielle Solis, isn't quite sure what she can divulge about the new season: Cherry has warned her, and the others, that loose lips sink payslips.

"I love Gaby's evolution as a character," Parker said, with appropriate deference and diplomacy to the Boss. "I love that Gaby was so much fun, but I can't imagine being that person for seven seasons. I liked that she did go from being this selfish, single model to a bad wife to funky to having kids. This year, what Marc's making me do - God! You told me what I could say," Parker said, turning to Cherry. "And I forgot it."

"And here's where I jump in," Cherry continued, in a sing-song lilt. "This is what I'm making her do. The very first scene, and what we start to deal with in the very first episode, is the ramifications of her friendship with Bree, because she finds out something that we've been holding back for six seasons: She finally finds out that Andrew, Bree's son, has run over her mother-in-law."

Oh, dear.

"That comes out. And that starts to affect their friendship in a major way."

But wait, there's more.

"In the second episode, the two families are again put into conflict because there's another hit-and-run."

"Oops," Parker said, giggling a mad giggle.

But wait, there's even more.

"Marcia will have a new love interest," Cherry continued, "in the form of Brian Austin Green."

"He's making me do it!" Cross shrieked.

"You're welcome, Marcia."

Desperate Housewives had a bit of a creative come-down last season, judging from the reaction of some Housewives fans, but Cherry insists it's part of the evolutionary process of any long-running TV drama.

"It's a trick every year," Cherry said. "One of the things I learned over the evolution of the show is that a lot of different talents are required to be on Desperate Housewives. You have to be able to do both drama and comedy. The drama has to have a twinkle in the eye and the comedy has to be rooted in reality. So, yes, some of the auditions have been more successful than the others."

Desperate Housewives may not be the watercooler sensation it once was, but it still cooks. Wisteria Lane still has a touch of Hysteria Lane to it.

"I can't really walk into a party in Beverly Hills without women of a certain age assaulting me for work," Cherry said, deadpan. "I try my best."

Kazan, for example.

"I met Lainie at an Oscar party for Flicka, a few years back. Lainie walks up to me at this party and she says, 'You know what you need on Wisteria Lane? A Jew!'

"It took me a few years, but I got her aboard."

Vancouver Sun


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