Is 'Desperate Housewives' Ripping Off 'One Tree Hill'?
Is 'Desperate Housewives' Ripping Off 'One Tree Hill'?
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
Last night's season 4 finale of Desperate Housewives ended with the show jumping forward five years into the future. It's a tricky move for a TV show to make, but by now, enough shows have done it that there is a precedent. Though it's impossible to tell whether the move will be good or bad based on the few seconds we saw last night, Desperate Housewives would be wise to look at how other shows have made this jump for research.

While the one year leap at the end of Battlestar Galactica's second season or the two missing years from the end of the second season of Alias are comparable, the fact is that Desperate Housewives is essentially copying exactly what One Tree Hill just did this season.

At the start of One Tree Hill's fifth season, the show jumped 4 years, 6 months and 2 days into the future. Not only is this close to the five years of Desperate Housewives, but many of the apparent storylines will be similar.

On Desperate Housewives, we saw that in five years, Bree (Marcia Cross) is a successful businesswoman with a burgeoning empire. This past season on One Tree Hill, Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) jumped forward to become the president of her own successful fashion line and magazine.

Susan and Mike fans may have been disappointed to see that in five years on Wisteria Lane, Susan is married to some new guy. On One Tree Hill, Leyton fans (Lucas and Peyton, for those of you who aren't OTH 'shippers) were disappointed to see Lucas (Chad Michael Murray) dating and engaged to Lindsey, a new girl.

The jump also helped age Nathan and Haley's son Jamie on One Tree Hill so that they could skip over that boring baby stuff, and apparently Desperate Housewives has done the same for Gabi (Eva Longoria), giving her two tots of her own in the future.

I hope I've made my point, and if One Tree Hill creator Mark Schwahn is reading this, I give you permission to use this article as Exhibit A in any copyright infringement lawsuits you plan to bring against Marc Cherry. Unfortunately, the similarities stop there, and the apparent rationale behind each move is completely different, possibly pointing to Desperate Housewives' inevitable failure.

First of all, the One Tree Hill jump was made primarily to make the actors age appropriate for their roles. Heck, even after the nearly five year time jump, most of the leads are still older than the characters they play. On Desperate Housewives, this was not a problem, and if that finale was any indication, season 5 will rely heavily on really bad aging make-up.

Second, and most importantly, One Tree Hill wanted to skip college and move forward in the characters lives, to see them start adulthood. The show could not have survived four seasons of college with resorting to more random romantic pairings and extraneous new recurring guest stars. For Desperate Housewives, the jump seems like a last ditch effort to inject some life into a dying show that hit the TV landscape with plenty of buzz and has quickly fizzled into a disorganized series that fades more and more with every passing week.

The fact is that One Tree Hill's decision to jump nearly five years into the future made complete dramatic sense from a storytelling perspective. The same can not be said for Desperate Housewives, where it seems the writers were simply too burnt out to come up with any better way to shake things up.

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Desperate Housewives Season 4 Finalem Part 2 Recap
Desperate Housewives Season 4 Finale, Part 1 Recap
Video: Desperate Housewives, Five Years Later

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of ABC)

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