Finally! Desperate Housewives producers and TPTB at ABC have come to their senses. Richard Burgi is back - as Karl The Cad (so named by the fans) for one episode at least - tomorrow night (Sunday) at 9p.
(Here’s Burgi, guest starring in ABC’s Big Shots, and upstaging Dylan McDermott.)
Karl, Susan’s (Teri Hatcher) philandering ex-husband was dropped from the DH storyline after season two. I thought the producers made a bone-headed decision at the time and I said so, forcefully.
Still, I was grateful that the writers didn’t kill him off. Desperate Housewives is to male spouses and boyfriends what the luckless, red-shirted security guards are to Star Trek/The Original Series.
The maddening, complicated Karl kept us off balance. The multi-faceted Burgi played him with glee - alternately tough, self-absorbed, vulnerable, smug, and generous. Karl swaggered onto Wisteria Lane in his bathrobe, and heads swiveled.
The most fun I’ve had watching Desperate Housewives has often involved Susan and Karl antics. I still laugh out loud when I screen an early season one scene in which Karl tries to sugar coat his philandering with New Age speak. “The heart wants what it wants,” says Karl, all doe-eyed and insincere.
Karl finally lures Susan to bed near the conclusion of season two. But a phone call from Edie interrupts their post-coital bliss. Karl’s dissembling, as he struggles to explain that he – ooops! – hasn’t quite gotten around to cutting his ties to Edie, is classic.
Since Karl’s departure, Susan has been paired with a parade of interminably dull love interests including Mike, the unlikable, dour, drug-addled plumber. (See my assessment of the state of DH, December ’07)
Burgi and Hatcher have chemistry and Burgi seems to bring out her playfulness. The series just hasn’t been quite the same without him.
Sources says they don’t know if Burgi has been optioned for season five DH. There is chatter about the series leaping-frogging five years into the future. Word to creator Marc Cherry: make room for Karl. I’ll be reserving precious DVR space for Desperate Housewives if you do.
P.S. Click here for all things Richard Burgi, an extensive fan site which is updated frequently. This is also the officially sanctioned website, so info is reliable.
A sneak peek at tomorrow night’s episode: