Critics Slice Up Desperate Housewives

10/11/2005 at 08:00 AM EDT

Critics Slice Up Desperate Housewives
Justin Stephens/CORBIS OUTLINE
Complaining that the creators of last year's major ABC hit Desperate Housewives are "fumbling" and "clinging" to old plot threads, TV reviewers are loudly lamenting the lost freshness of the show in its still relatively new second season.

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"The writers seem to be drawing some of the characters too broadly," squawks USA Today, upset that Gaby (Eva Longoria) is now "too selfish" and Susan (Teri Hatcher) "too stupid."

"The show still doesn't seem to have any traction," complains New York's Daily News in Tuesday's editions. "Even the twists aren't as twisted as they used to be." At fault, says the paper, is this season's "tone."

Perhaps the problem, suggests both papers, is that series creator Marc Cherry has yet to write any of this season's episodes. They also complain that there has been no subplot or even scenes in which the housewives are linked.

"In three weeks we've hardly seen the four stars together," USA Today notes, citing the fact that this past Sunday night they weren't together at all.

"Splitting up the four main housewives, and giving them nothing to do" has hindered the action, says the Daily News, which even goes so far as to issue an SOS – "before Housewives goes from stalled to stagnant."

Even so, Sunday night's episode – in which Bree (Marcia Cross) was fingered as a suspect in husband Rex's death and Lynette (Felicity Huffman) felt guilt pangs for returning to work – attracted 25.69 million viewers, according to Nielsen numbers. While that's lower than the ratings of the first two episodes of the season, the showing did help ABC win the night.

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