ABC's hit anti-suburbia series, "Desperate Housewives," continued its winning ways on Jan. 16 at the Golden Globes, where it picked up an award for best comedy, and star Teri Hatcher was named best actress in a comedy. Since its premiere in October, "Desperate Housewives" has hit the 24.6 million viewer mark in a single night and provoked national controversy with its Nicollette Sheridan/Terrell Owens sex ad.
It has also triggered massive conservative consternation. American Decency Association president Bill Johnson calls the show "nasty and destructive to the American family ... cultural-rotting programming." Parents Television Council founder L. Brent Bozell III says that "'Desperate Housewives' really should have an even more obvious title, like 'Cynical Suburban Sluts.'"
Portraying suburbia as a morally hypocritical, empty, sick place is nothing new for Hollywood elites. As Roberto Rivera writes in Chuck Colson's BreakPoint Online, "'Desperate Housewives' follows in a 50-year-old tradition of depicting suburban life, especially the lives of suburban women, as a barren wasteland." "American Beauty," winner of the 1999 Best Picture Oscar, depicted suburbia as the home of closet homosexuals, pedophiles, druggies, adulterers and adulteresses -- in short, the heartland of repression and hypocrisy. "The Stepford Wives" (1975) and its subsequent 2004 remake turn suburbia into a location where independent women become conformist robots. Suburbia by design in 1998's "The Truman Show" is menacing in its fraudulent friendliness.
But are the suburbs truly a place where women are suppressed and men are robots, where soulless people live soulless lives, where money is king and morality is hypocrisy? Of course not. I've lived the vast majority of my life in suburbia. Some women work, and some men work. There are religious people and atheists. There are good kids and bad kids. Suburbia is a diverse place.