By Lynette Rice
Updated January 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST

Desperate Housewives

The beginning of the end for Desperate Housewives officially began today in Pasadena, as the five female stars — and three of their men — met with the nation’s critics for the last time.

No one gave up many set secrets; in fact, it took Teri Hatcher (Susan) at least 30 minutes before she chimed in on the conversation. But then, it turned out to be rather hard to reflect on a series that is still on the air.

“It’s like having the funeral before you die!” exclaimed Felicity Huffman (Lynette), who was joined on the panel by creator Marc Cherry, executive producer Bob Daily, Marcia Cross (Bree), Eva Longoria (Gabriel), James Denton (Mike), Vanessa Williams (Renee), Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Carlos), Doug Savant (Tom), and Hatcher.

It was easier for Cherry. “People ask me if it’s bittersweet. No, it’s sweet. There is no such thing as a job that goes on forever. I was so f—ed. I was $100,000 in debt to my mother, I went three years without an interview. No one thought I was anything. I write this script, and all hell broke loose. I knew it was going to be a roller coaster. I’m smart enough, humane enough to know it’s all good. Even the bad stuff was good. Even the days when I was exhausted. It was fantastic. We are grateful.”

In fact, he’s so grateful that he has this promise for fans: Don’t go looking for Desperate Housewives: the Movie. “I’m never sending these gals to Dubai,” he said, referencing the second Sex and the City movie, which finds Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda in the Middle East. “I think we’re done. I’m happy about it. I feel very satisfied with where we are.”

Though he and Daily didn’t offer many hints about the final few episodes, he did say he’ll pull an “Alfred Hitchcock” and make an appearance. But don’t expect a surprise return from Edie, a.k.a. Nicollette Sheridan (at least, we think). “I hoped to do something that would pay homage to characters who had been there before, but I have not mentioned her per se,” Cherry said when asked if the notorious blonde will come back to Wisteria Lane. “I’m so not revealing what the end is going to be.”

One thing’s for sure: Some things will stay messy in the finale that Cherry admits to having planned seven and a half years ago. “We don’t want to tie up every loose end,” admitted Daily. “We want it to look like life goes on, on Wisteria Lane.”

Hatcher did finally speak up when someone asked her about a favorite memory. She referenced her infamous nude-in-a-bush scene that required a wardrobe gal to apply duct tape to her breasts and crotch. “It was one of the most fun, vulnerable, exciting, well-written moments in Susan’s personal journey,” said Hatcher. “I’ll never forget it.”

Huffman even had positive things to say about the good and bad publicity the show generated over its storied run. “All press is good press,” she admitted. “It meant people were interested. If it was salacious, it didn’t matter. People were watching.”

Longoria was by the far the most sentimental. She held Chavira’s hand through half of the panel. (Cross, meanwhile, ended up kicking off her high heels to sit cross-legged in her chair). “When we started eight years ago, TV changed so much,” Longoria said. “We got 25 million viewers, the critics loved it. But then we got some knocks. But kudos to Marc for pushing the envelope.”

Episode Recaps

Desperate Housewives

Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, and Felicity Huffman star in the soap set on the dangerous Wisteria Lane

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