When last seen on Desperate Housewives, Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) was in the midst of another horrible night, though this was really worse than most. She and estranged husband Tom (Doug Savant) were putting on a happy front at a neighborhood dinner party that culminated with the Wisteria Lane ladies hiding a dead body in a trunk.
Felicity tells me that the September 25 season premiere will look a lot like the memorable 9 to 5 sequence when Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton comically conspired to hide a corpse, as Lynette, Susan (Teri Hatcher), Bree (Marcia Cross) and Gaby (Eva Longoria) come together to cover up Carlos' murder of Gaby's sexually abusive stepfather.
"The whole first episode is about them being accomplices in this murder and actually burying this body," previews Felicity. "We had night shoots until three o'clock in the morning out at the Disney ranch with the fog moving in. It was heavy, horrifying and disturbing carrying this fake dead body wrapped up in a table cloth."
While Felicity says the new season's mystery "adds a deep, dark element and shifts the ground upon which the women walk," it also provides Teri and Eva with some prime comedic bits. "And Eva by far got the dirtiest."
For the first time in the series' run, Lynette will be a single woman, as Tom transitions to a new apartment and entertains the thought of romancing a woman from work. "What we're shooting now for Episode Two is the first week since he's moved off the Lane," says Felicity. "She's still dealing with the loss."
The actress admits it has been challenging at times to play a shrew who never seems content. She's hoping this storyline will change the character before Housewives ends its run. "Lynette has been the kind of wife who has been chronically dissatisfied with her husband. She doesn't like Tom's job, she doesn't like that he doesn't have a job," she says. "She doesn't like that he started school, she doesn't like that he quit school. Doesn't like that he's not taking the job with Carlos and then when he does, she doesn't like that either. That has been hard for me as an actress to swallow because I know that's no way to be in a marriage." (Felicity has enjoyed a happy marriage to Shameless actor William H. Macy for fourteen years.)
"What's great about this year," she says, "is that Tom rises up and says, 'No more.' I respect his decision, and I think it will finally force Lynette to truly change how she is in the world and in her marriage. Lynette has to be brought to the brink of losing Tom and her family before she changes."
Now entering her eighth season as long-suffering Lynette, Felicity will take her place alongside such other iconic television women as Candice Bergen, Roseanne Barr and Mary Tyler Moore in PBS's 4-part special series, American in Primetime, which examines shows and characters that have reflected and changed the American fabric. The series airs Sundays, 8/7c from October 30 to November 20.
"I feel really proud," Felicity says of her representation of an unconventional mother who overcame pills, cancer and a miscarriage. "Lynette, as did Roseanne, got to speak about the kinds of things that aren't said everyday. It's told the truth."
As for rumors that Desperate Housewives is entering its final season, Felicity says she's still holding out hope for a little more. "I hope it's not the last, but maybe it is," she says. "I think everybody hopes we go two more years."
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