Just Your Everyday 'Housewives' Show

Bree, back with Orson, is a self-made Martha Stewart type. Lynette's kids are in trouble with the law. Gaby, now frumpy, has kids. And Susan has a new beau.

It wasn't all a dream: The two-minute scene that flashed forward five years, ending "Desperate Housewives'" fourth season, sets up this fall's new one. It marks an effort to jump-start the ABC soap, which is TV's top drama but has lost some of its early fizz.

"The thing that made the first year so easy is the women's lives were very simple and their problems were very small," says creator Marc Cherry. "But as the years go on with a serialized show, the soap begins to build up. And I kind of wanted to get back to that relatable jumping-off point, you know, just women with everyday problems."

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The choice left most of the actors who play the kids unemployed, though some will return in flashbacks. So will Jamie Denton's Mike Delfino, as the series fills in the blanks of what happened in the intervening years.

How did the rest of the cast react to Cherry's plan? "Most of my actors kind of got over the five-years-older thing really quickly when I said, 'Don't worry, I'm not going to make you look jowly,' " he says. "Only Eva was really OK with us trashing her appearance." But "we have a very funny reason why she gets her appearance back together, about seven or eight episodes in."

Nicollette Sheridan (Edie) remains in the cast, to be joined by two newcomers: Neal McDonough as Dave, a new neighbor who introduces the season's mystery arc; and Gale Harold as Jackson, Susan's new beau, who kissed her in last season's finale.

"We're going into their lives and we're going to see why each of these women, much like in the pilot, are desperate and unhappy," Cherry says, "for all sorts of different reasons."

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