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The ''Desperate Housewives'' cast made our 2004 Entertainers of the Year list

Desperate Housewives

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Desperate Housewives
Desperate Housewives photograph by Martin Schoeller

The ”Desperate Housewives” cast made our 2004 Entertainers of the Year list

There must be something in the water on the set of Desperate Housewives that makes its stars really, really modest. Just listen to them:

”I was having a dream that we didn’t get any Golden Globe nominations and I was telling the cast not to worry,” says Marcia Cross, who was awakened shortly thereafter to news that the series received five nods.

Or how about Teri Hatcher: ”I’m this When is the other shoe going to drop? kind of person. When is the week going to come when everybody will stop watching?”

Forgive ABC’s Desperate Housewives for being a bit wary of their success. After all, this is a collection of women — Cross, Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, and Nicollette Sheridan — who seemed more likely to headline a hit TV show in 1994 than in 2004.

But back where the water is just fine, Housewives is averaging 23 million viewers a week, making it TV’s No. 2 program. Aside from the Globe nods, its stars have nabbed sundry magazine covers (including yours truly) and a coveted spot on Oprah. The accolades are well-deserved. Not since Time magazine proclaimed Ally McBeal the death of feminism in 1998 has a show produced so much cultural chatter (are desperate housewives the new soccer moms?). It has redefined the soap genre by blending equal parts mystery, comedy, and drama (Cross’ recent I’m going to divorce you so bad it’s gonna hurt hospital scene is Emmy-worthy) and will affect the kinds of series that networks develop for years to come. And if the on-screen twists aren’t screwy enough, Housewives flows from the pen of a gay (!) conservative (!!) who wrote it as a testament (!!!) to his mother (!!!!).

”What makes this show different from a Six Feet Under is that there’s no cynical detachment,” creator Marc Cherry told EW in July. ”I love the values the suburbs represent. Family, community, God, and service to others — I think those are terrific values.” And terrific TV viewing — especially with weekly helpings of dead bodies and adultery.