DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Doug Savant Talks About Tom and Lynette's Marriage Troubles - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Doug Savant Talks About Tom and Lynette’s Marriage Troubles

May 15, 2011 by  

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES concludes its season Sunday night, and one of the show’s most solid couples is hitting their roughest patches yet.

Tom and Lynette have struggled through a lot — a secret kid, unplanned pregnancies, the death of a child, cancer and much more — but Tom’s new job is causing major tension between the couple. She can’t handle his success and losing her control over the relationship and he’s getting annoyed with the way she’s treating him.

I talked with series star Doug Savant (Tom) about the latest battles between Tom and Lynette, if their marriage can be saved and Savant’s future with the show…

It sure seems like Tom and Lynette are gearing up for a big fight.
Doug Savant: It certainly looked that way Sunday night, that’s for sure.

They kind of resolved things a little bit, but it didn’t seem like things are quite right with them yet.
DS: Right, yeah. They resolved to try and go away and that’s where we picked them up in the season finale — it’s them going off for a weekend alone together to try and find themselves in this marriage again and to sort of begin the work of, you know, getting their marriage back together and being able to be with one another and be happy and intimate and all the positive things of marriage, not just all the fighting.

Is the trip more of them fighting or is there an understanding between them like, “Look, we love each other, we have a family together, we need to make this work”?
DS: Well, that’s certainly the objective. But they certainly travel a journey. A course, a sort of unexpected course. These are two characters that have always sort of been able to find one another and right now, they simply are not connecting and you know, that’s cause for concern. [Laughs]

Yeah, the promos did say there’s going to be a breakup –
DS: It did?

DS: God, um, well, I’ll just say this much – I’m still rooting for Tom and Lynette. Doug is still rooting for Tom and Lynette.

It’s interesting that over all these seasons, Tom and Lynette are the only ones who have basically stayed together the entire run. Carlos and Gaby got divorced, Mike and Susan were on-off earlier in the season and Bree’s gone through multiple husbands.
DS: Yeah, exactly, Bree, for such a modest character — an otherwise modest character — she’s had the most men!

And that’s one of the things I’m passionate about is that I’ve been very — I think Tom and Lynette represent, to America, a good relationship. It’s certainly not perfect, and they’ve certainly had their conflicts, and they certainly have their whatever dysfunction. But through it all, at the end of the day, there is a deep and profound and abiding love that they have for one another as well as a profound respect for one another and that gets them through and I think it’s a great representation of marriage to America and I think that most of America sees themselves in the characters of Tom and Lynette. So for all of those reasons, I’m rooting for this couple and I think that’s one of the things that, you know, it’s sort of the evidence that people do relate to this couple and they do care so deeply about them staying together.

What do you feel, as an actor, makes this fight between Tom and Lynette different than the ones they’ve had in the past? Because they’ve gone through a lot of struggles…
DS: Yes, they have, but with Tom’s recent success at work, the rules, both written and unwritten, spoken and unspoken, implied and everything have changed for this couple. The dynamic is changing and there’s a power struggle going on and it’s one that was created by Lynette.

Yeah, she wanted a change in Tom, she demanded, she manipulated the circumstances so that he would pursue this job. He now has a job, he’s successful in a job, he’s doing everything that she’s asked and wanted and the irony is it’s not making her happy. So the difference is Tom’s not willing to go backwards and become something else. There was an episode a few back where we had a confrontation in the kitchen and Lynette said to Tom, “Well look at you, you’re 46-years-old and you’re nowhere.” This is when she was trying to get him to take this job and it was in that moment that Tom turned the corner and sort of said, “Oh yeah?” And he will not back down from this position and Lynette’s position, and I don’t think she knows what to do with herself now that her role, this position of power in this relationship has been changed, has been altered.

It’s definitely been interesting because I’ve been watching the show since the pilot and it’s fascinating to see how just incredibly not well Lynette is handling this.
DS: Yeah, I agree, how not well! And I really believe that Tom is waiting for her to snap out of this. But frankly for me as the actor, I keep playing these scenes thinking she’s going to see it, she’s going to turn around and go, “Oh my gosh, I’m a fool and you’re the greatest thing and you’ve done all of this for me.” And I’m yet to get that. [Laughs]

Do you think the marriage can survive if Tom stays in this job?
DS: [Long pause] That’s a great question. I mean, look, we’re really, really exploring these issues right now on the show and in this relationship, the writers are very interested in exploring this. They’ve likened it to also to like a codependent relationship and if you’ve been in a codependent relationship there’s been an alcoholic and an enabler or a codependent party. Once that person gets clean, what role does that codependent person have now if they don’t clean them up after. You know what I mean? So they have to find and redefine their roles in this relationship as well as re-choose one another. Find a way to fall in love again.

Yeah, it’s interesting seeing Tom. It’s almost like Tom’s a new character with this newfound power. Has it felt different for you to have this new life in him after all these seasons?
DS: Well it is, but by the same token, I’ve got to tell you, it hasn’t brought Tom more happiness being in the job. It’s very interesting and Tom’s not willing to back down right now, but it’s certainly not making him any happier. I think if you were to ask him if he was happier two years ago with less success and [he and Lynette were] happy in their life together — in their silly relationship and marriage and they would laugh at the end of the day, find one another and you know, feel love toward one another and all that they had created, the family, in their world.

If the worst happens and Tom and Lynette do break up, do you see him moving on to another relationship? Is there any concern for you as an actor, like, wait a second…?
DS: There is. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but I want this marriage to work and it’s going to take some great writing to get us through this thing in a way that both the characters maintain the integrity of their choices and who they are and yet are able to find one another and good reasons to stay together and stay in the marriage. And I pray that they do because I think this is a great representation of a marriage to America. It’s not perfect, it’s not easy but at the end of the day, they have a profound love and respect for one another.

Right and they’ve got a deep history together too.
DS: Exactly. At what point do you give all that up? And I don’t know, they’re very, very, very real questions.

Are you signed on for next year?
DS: Yeah, I’m one of the only people who was and always was, frankly. The first year of the show I did as a guest star so when they made me a series regular writing up the contract, I signed on in year two for seven years which would put me one additional year so I was the lone cast member who already had a contract.

Oh, so you were in a position like, “If something happens, I’m the one staying, not you guys!”
DS: [Laughs] Well listen, I have no desire to go anywhere else. This is my favorite job as an actor in 28 plus years of being an actor. I get to do absurd comedy, slapstick and then great drama and I’m working with someone I really have profound respect for as an actress so I’m in the best position.

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