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'Housewives' says farewell with grace and humor

Associated Press Modified: May 14, 2012 at 7:46 am •  Published: May 14, 2012

But Sunday's two-hour finale (whose second hour was written by series creator Marc Cherry) was a reminder of why "Desperate Housewives" struck such a chord with its arrival in fall 2004.

It burst on the scene as a lighthearted souffle of blackmail, lust, adultery and sisterhood; as TV's go-to address for sexy suburban angst. It hooked America from its first-place premiere airing when, among many twists, its series-long narrator (neighbor Mary Alice Young, portrayed by Brenda Strong) gave a play-by-play of her own suicide.

Then, as now, at the heart of this throbbing universe are the four titular housewives: overwrought career woman and weary mom Lynette; sexy, spoiled spitfire Gabrielle; goodhearted bubble-head Susan; and wired-too-tight homemaker Bree.

All of them have gone through so much, yet managed to stay rooted, as hordes of other characters came and went through the years. (Accelerating things, the time frame skipped forward by five years midway through the series' eight-season run.)

But that's all over. All four women (we are told) will soon scatter, living out their lives elsewhere, but happily.

The first to exit: Susan, the only member of the foursome who leaves without a partner by her side.

"Do I have one last torrid romance in me? Maybe," she tells daughter Julie wistfully. "But I know if I am ever old and lonely, I can wrap myself up in all those memories (of life on Wisteria Lane), and I will be content."

She has sold her home to a young married couple. But the wife, named Jennifer, confides misgivings at moving to the suburbs.

"I'm a little worried it's going to be boring," she tells Susan.

"Oh, I wouldn't worry about that," replies Susan with a knowing smile.

And, indeed, new housewife Jennifer seems to be bringing her own secrets and woes to the block — at least, if the series' final shot of her stricken expression and a mysterious box are any indication.

What a relief as the show comes to a close! Just because viewers won't be privy to future happenings on Wisteria Lane doesn't mean there's any danger of things settling down.