Marcia Cross, Dana Delany and Eva Longoria, <EM>Desperate Housewives</EM> Marcia Cross, Dana Delany and Eva Longoria, Desperate Housewives
1) Katherine Versus Bree These two badass Martha Stewart wannabes had a near smackdown over who made the best lemon meringue pie. Katherine won hands down, and it was the per­fect recipe for disaster. Bree’s not gonna take it anymore.

2) Same-sex Appeal New neighbors Bob and Lee caused chaos on Wisteria Lane — not because they’re lovers, but because they put a loud, tacky, blindingly metallic fountain on their front lawn. Oddly, this gay-friendly show tends to keep its gays boorish (Bree’s sulky son Andrew) or benign (Gaby’s swishy pal Vern). But Bob and Lee are uppity, snoopy and lethal. On this street, that’s called survival.

3) The Parent Trap What would Housewives be without those ghastly buttinsky parents? There’s Mike Farrell as Victor’s conniving, Joe Kennedy-esque dad Milton, Shirley Knight as Bree’s ex-monster-in-law Phyllis and, best of all, Polly Bergen as Lynette’s moocher mom Stella, a rowdy pain in the ass who brings men home, puts weed in the brownies and teaches the kids how to mix a proper whiskey sour. As long as she’s not living with us, we hope she never leaves.

4) Carlos & Gaby Forever Divorce be damned, these two randy opportunists are back where they belong — together! But this season, Gaby and Carlos aren’t just joined at the groin, they’re joined at the soul. They get each other. They need each other. Sure, we could have done without that eeewy pubic-lice infestation that went from Edie to Carlos to Gaby to Victor, but hey, at least it was proof that this jalapeño-hot duo can overcome anything.

5) Female Bonding The show lost much of its magic last season when the wives’ lives splintered — Lynette peddled pizza, Gaby trolled after Victor, Susan dallied with Ian, and Bree vanished due to Marcia Cross’ real-life pregnancy. Now they’re back to being a team, having gloriously rebonded over a common enemy (that blasted Katherine) and the tragedies and triumphs of their sudsy lives (Susan’s having a baby! Lynette is cancer-free!). This series has never been about its men. It’s about fantastic female friends who genuinely adore and support one another.

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