In a plot twist typical of this season’s DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, Edie Britt’s death was treated much the same as her life: as an afterthought.
From the beginning, the character — played by KNOTS LANDING vixen Nicollette Sheridan — was written as a one-note character who existed mainly to vamp it up when needed. It says a lot that the character’s best friend was another secondary character, Mrs. McCluskey. The two women shared an odd bond that was, of course, never fully played or examined.
Ironically, it wasn’t until this week’s episode, as the women of Wisteria Lane mourned their frienemy, that the show finally seemed to realize just how wonderful and complex a character they had in Edie. “As far back as I can remember, a voice in the back of my head said, ‘Live it up today, because you’re not going to have a lot of tomorrows.’” And in that one, poignant scene, the show exposed the very essence of Edie Britt.
Of course, it was too little, too late.
Imagine how much more touching Edie’s death would have been if each and every one of the scenes which played out in last night’s episode had actually played out at some point over the past five seasons, allowing us to see the character as something other than a cartoon? And let’s face it: Even in death, Edie was given the short shrift, seeing as the “special” episode in which the other ladies reflected on her was nothing but a rehash of the same script which had been used when the neighborhood handyman Eli Scruggs (Beau Bridges) bit the dust.
This, however, is what passes for storytelling on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES these days. Those who still think the show is in great shape should go back and watch the stunning pilot to see that what was once — if only briefly — one of the most brilliant shows on television has become an empty, sad exercise in what might have been… much like the late Miss Edie Williams McLain Roswell Britt.