Desperate Housewives

Desperate Housewives is an American television Emmy award-winning popular series, created by Marc Cherry, that began airing on ABC on October 3, 2004. Set on Wisteria Lane in the fictional town of Fairview, Eagle State, the series tracks the lives of four housewives, following their domestic struggles while several mysteries involving their husbands, friends, and neighbors unfold in the background. The tone and style of the series combine elements of drama, comedy, mystery, thriller, farce, soap opera and satire.

Cherry initially pitched the series to HBO, CBS, NBC, Fox, Showtime, and Lifetime, but all turned him down. The series rocketed to the top of the ratings from the premiere episode, and immediately the term "desperate housewives" became a cultural phenomenon, warranting "the real desperate housewives" features in magazines and such TV shows as The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Dr. Phil Show. The show has been credited, along with Lost and Grey's Anatomy, with reviving the long-dormant fortunes of ABC, whose last major ratings hit had been Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

The show focuses on four housewives living in suburbia, whose friend recently took her own life and is now sharing all their juicy secrets from beyond the grave. The show has come under critical fire by religious and conservative groups due to what some consider the seeming lack of morality amongst the characters. Though it is not uncommon for soap opera characters to make ethically questionable decisions, in the first season of Housewives, almost every character arguably committed a crime.

"Wisteria Lane," the neighborhood where the show takes place, aims to shadow that of a wealthy avenue, plentiful in states like Connecticut. The show, however, only indirectly implies this fact.

The show was a big success of the 2004-2005 television season and gained much critical acclaim. All five actresses, especially Cross and Huffman, were critically praised for their roles on the show.

The show opens with the suicide of Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong), who narrates the episodes from beyond the grave. Mary Alice's suicide leaves behind a mystery involving her husband Paul Young (Mark Moses), her son Zach (Cody Kasch), and a mysterious toy chest, which Paul digs out from underneath the family's pool. Ultimately, it is revealed to have contained the skeletal remains of a dead woman's body. The story unravels through Mary Alice's four friends and neighbours. Each has her own storyline that ties into the theme of being a desperate housewife: accident-prone single-mother Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher) trying to find love; perfect housewife Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross), mother of two problematic teenagers, who struggles to save her marriage; harried Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman) tries to be super-mom to four children while longing to return to her life as a corporate executive; and materialistic, adulterous ex-runway model Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) who tries to keep her husband from finding out about her affair, and then finds out she's pregnant.

In its first season, the show reveals the mystery of why Mary Alice took her own life and the quest by a mysterious "plumber" named Mike Delfino (James Denton) to find out the fate of his former lover, drug addict Deirdre. By the end of the season, the show resolves the mystery with the revelation that 15 years ago, when Mary Alice's name was Angela Forrest, she buys the heroin-addicted Deirdre's only son Dana, and then flees with her husband Todd (now Paul) to Fairview (the town Housewives is set in) to keep the child (now named Zach) from being taken away from them. When Deirdre finds them, Mary Alice refuses to give up the child. Upon being accused of being back on drugs, Deirdre hits Paul (Mary Alice's husband) and goes to get her son. Mary Alice, shocked, murders her, checks her arm for signs of drug use (she was not), and has her horrified husband dismember the body, put it in Zach's toy-chest, and bury it where the family is building a new pool in their backyard. All this happens while a 4-year-old Zach is watching them from the staircase. What Mary Alice does not count on is that one of her neighbours, Martha Huber, learns of Mary Alice's secret from her sister, Felicia Tilman (Harriet Sansom Harris), (with whom Mary Alice had worked before coming to Fairview). After learning the secret, Martha attempts to blackmail Mary Alice. Rather than face the blackmail, Mary Alice kills herself. Later, when Paul finds this out, he kills Martha after she tells him she does not have any regrets about her blackmailing and its result. Mike (Deirdre's former lover) learns this information from Paul, whom Mike leaves in the desert (rather than killing) after Mike realizes Zach is his son. As a surprising twist, Bree's husband Rex (Steven Culp) dies of poisoning shortly after George Williams, a pharmacist in love with Bree, tampered with his heart attack medication.

In the second season, Susan found herself involved in a rather complicated and at times frustrating love-rectangle with ex-husband Karl, Mike, and neighbor/nemesis Edie, that culminated in Edie burning down Susan's house after Karl rejected her for Susan. Susan ultimately rejected Karl in order to reconcile with Mike, only to have Mike be the victim of a hit-and-run at the hands of a new friend of both Bree and Susan, a dentist named Orson.

Bree struggled with being a widow and, after learning George had murdered her husband, stood back as George committed suicide in a desperate bid to guilt Bree into loving him. The revelation that George murdered Rex drove Bree to drink, which her son Andrew used to try to become emancipated from Bree (and coincidentally get access to the trust fund Bree's parents had set up for him). Bree countered by outing her son's homosexuality to her father and step-mother, resulting in them abolishing the trust fund. At the same time, Bree and Justin (Andrew's boyfriend) met and talked, leading to Bree realizing how wrong she was to condemn her son for his homosexuality. Bree sought to bridge the gap between mother and son with the help of her AA sponsor/boyfriend, who himself was a reformed sex-addict, and whom Andrew seduced into having sex in order to spite his mother. Andrew's actions made Bree think he was a sociopath and led her to abandon him outside of town. Andrew gloated that "he won" and that his evil actions towards his mother was all part of a plan to make Bree hate her son, since in Andrew's mind it was better to make Bree hate him for being evil and cruel towards her than being hated by his mother for simply being gay. Bree responded by telling Andrew that she never stopped loving him unconditionally until that moment, at which point Bree told her son that so long as he allowed himself to be consumed by hatred for himself and his mother, that she can't give him unconditional love.

Bree's story would intertwine with the mystery of the newest addition to Wisteria Lane, Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) and her sons Matthew (Mehcad Brooks) and Caleb (NaShawn Kearse). The two had fled to Wisteria Lane when Caleb was accused of murdering Matthew's on-again/off-again girlfriend and held Caleb as a prisoner in the Applewhite family's basement. In spite of Betty's demands that the family not interact with the neighbors, this became hard when Caleb slipped out of the house and caused Gabrielle to miscarry and Matthew began dating Bree's daughter Danielle. In the end, Betty discovered that Matthew and not Caleb had murdered Matthew's ex-girlfriend. But by the time she figured out the truth, Danielle had ran off with Matthew and the bitter goodbye letter Danielle left Bree had caused Bree to check herself into a mental health facility. When Betty got hold of Bree and warned her that Danielle was in danger, she fled the facility and confronted the two. Bree told her daughter the truth about Matthew, but her daughter refused to believe her. When Bree tried to prevent the two from leaving, Matthew pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot her. Despite Danielle's shock, he attempted to but was shot by a SWAT sniper. Her murderous son dead, Betty took Caleb and left Wisteria Lane.

Lynette struggled with her fast-track career in advertising and her husband Tom's growing resentment. Tom was upset that Lynette got him fired (she was upset that she was stuck at home while he had a career). Lynette reluctantly got her husband a job at her advertising agency but when her boss forced her to help him write sexually provocative instant messages to his wife, her boss blamed Tom for the messages when his wife refused to believe her husband had written them and demanded that he fire whomever was the real writer. When their boss threatened to reveal incriminating information about Tom, Tom punched the boss and was fired. Lynette was then informed by her boss that Tom had been making regular trips to Atlantic City. Lynette thought her husband was having an affair but then found out he was actually visiting his other child, who he'd fathered during a one-night stand before he married Lynette. The child's mother demanded eleven years in back child support, which Lynette and Tom could not afford. To get her to go away, they decided to pay her a large sum of money in exchange for signing away all child support claims. The single mother instead used the money to put a deposit down on a home near Wisteria Lane, to be closer to Tom.

As for Gabrielle, the adulterous housewife fired her lover/gardnerer and sought to salvage her marriage, after a run-in with Caleb Applewhite resulted in her losing her unborn child. Meanwhile her husband Carlos was convicted and paroled with help from a fairly attractive nun, who sought to seduce Carlos away from Gabrielle. In order to make peace with Carlos over her sleeping with another man, Gabrielle agreed to allow Carlos a one-time free pass to have an affair of his own. After making a clumsy pass at Lynette, Carlos ended up carrying on an affair with the couple's maid, Xiao-Mei, who the two had convinced to be artificially inseminated with the couple's child which ensured she would not be deported. At season's end, Gabrielle finally discovered the two were sleeping with each other and kicked Carlos out of their house while insisting the maid continue to work for her until the birth of Gabrielle's child.

Mary Alice's widowed husband Paul, meanwhile rode to Wisteria Lane to find his son Zach and deal with the possibility that Zach was Mike's biological son. Complicating things was the return of Felicia Tilman (Harriet Sansom Harris), Martha Huber's sister. Felicia alerted the frail Noah Taylor (Deirdre's father) of the existence of Zach and Noah decided to leave his entire empire to Zach. Felicia was angry that Mike had not murdered Paul and began a harassment campaign that culminated in her severing several of her fingers and draining enough blood from her body to create a bloody murder scene and frame Paul for "killing" Felicia. From jail, Paul asked Zach to ask Noah to provide money for Paul's defense. Noah refused, and chided Zach for being a weakling, saying he no longer thought Zach deserved his empire and planned to change his will. With Noah egging him on, Zach turned off the respirator keeping Noah alive and inherited the entire estate. Realizing his newfound wealth, Zach ended the season by telling his increasingly agitated "father" that he wouldn't be able to visit him in jail for some time and coolly requesting Noah's assistant get him a new cell phone and number so his father could not contact him, apparently having adopted the requisite attitude for running the empire.

Creator Marc Cherry has stated that in the third season, there will be more interaction between housewives and stories. This effort is in response to criticism that several of the characters became "islanded" last year and did not interact with others, which slowed the momentum and impact of their storylines.

There was also criticism that stories in season 2 were slow to start and gain momentum because of setup and exposition, especially with the Applewhite story, so season 3 stories are all starting six months after the second season ends, all at crucial points.

Susan has moved on from Karl, her ex-husband, who is no longer a regular, but a recurring character. Mike is in a coma after being run over by Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan), and Susan has been dutifully attending to him. Susan finds out that he's been switched with another patient, and the man she's been caring for wasn't Mike. James Denton revealed in an interview that Mike will be in a coma for two episodes. When Mike wakes up from his coma, he is a peculiar man and he has a darker personality, thinking that this was not an accident. In the hallway of the hospital, Susan meets a man named Ian Kavanaugh whose wife is in a coma. They have coffee together, and then begin to date. He will be played by Dougray Scott, and casting is for six to eight episodes. When Mike wakes up, Susan finds out that he has amnesia, and not only that, but Edie has been visiting Mike and pretending to be his girlfriend. Mike has amnesia, and Edie is trying to convince him that she was always his girlfriend. The only nurse that knows the truth is on her honeymoon.

Lynette will have a hard time integrating yet another kid, Kayla Huntington (Rachel Fox), into the family. Kayla and her mother, Nora Huntington (Kiersten Warren) will both be causing problems between Tom and Lynette. Nora and Kayla try to get Lynette hooked up with a tempting new neighbor. In return, Lynette will try to hook Nora up with Carlos, since Carlos kissed her at the reception after Orson and Bree's wedding. Lynette will get a divorce lawyer in the season premiere, and will also begin to reach the breaking point with Nora. Kiersten Warren, who plays Nora, says that she will be around for at least six or seven episodes to drive the Scavos insane. Nora and Kayla will decide to sell their house on Arden Drive and move in with the Scavos full time. Also, Lynette will quit her job to help Tom run a pizzeria.

Bree and Orson will be getting engaged in the season premiere. They will get married on the second episode of the season. The early episodes will be dealing with their marriage. Andrew will return in the early episodes, and shortly after Bree dumped him off on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, Andrew became a hustler. Also, Marcia Cross just found out she's pregnant. Marc Cherry is planning to work the pregnancy into the storyline.

The writers have announced that they will enter Carlos and Gabrielle into a "War of the Roses" style plot. They will get divorced early in the season. Their surrogate maid, Xiao-Mei (Gwendoline Yeo) will be on the verge of giving birth in the early episodes. She will be confined to bedrest and Gabrielle will reluctantly be her caretaker. She will have the baby on the second episode of the season. Jesse Metcalfe will return as John, (Gabrielle's former gardener/lover), and will more than likely factor into this storyline.

Edie's 18-year-old nephew, Austin Britt (Josh Henderson), will move in with her at the beginning of the season. Casting is for 15 episodes. It has been revealed that we will see Edie in a more parental context this season. We will see more of a protective side of her. Julie Mayer will be annoyed at the loud music he plays while cleaning his bike. They will get into a fight, but Julie is attracted to his rudeness, so the two begin a relationship. Austin's rudeness rubs off on Julie, resulting in the beginning of her rebellion phase.

There will be another big mystery this season. It will revolve around Bree's new husband, Orson, and his mental hospital friend, Amanda (Julie White). James Denton (Mike Delfino) has revealed that this mystery will involve several characters on Wisteria Lane that we are very familiar with. The mystery will bring all the housewives together, as they're all concerned about Bree's freaky new husband, Orson. He is an odd character, but he cares about Bree a lot and wants to have a good marriage with her. Orson was married once before to a woman named Alma, who planned on leaving Orson. However, how their marriage truly ended is a mystery. Bree is suspicious Orson killed her. Also, when Orson and Alma were married, they had a nosy neighbor, Carolyn Bigsby (played by Laurie Metcalf) who will be a continous guest star this season.

Also, one of the leading characters will be killed in a storyline starting in November. There will be a hostage situation at a supermarket. Lynette, Nora, Edie, Austin, Julie, and others are there. The shooter will be Laurie Metcalf's character, Carolyn Bigsby, because she found out her husband, the store owner, is having an affair. Susan, who isn't in the store, tricks the hostage negotiator into giving her a phone and begs Carolyn to trade places with Julie. The story will be featured on the news, much to Bree's horror. Bree feels guilty because she was the one who told Carolyn about the affair. Lynette will be wounded, but not badly, and another character will be killed. The character that will die will be a woman who will be prominently featured this season up until her death, but she won't be one of the four leads.

As for the Youngs, little has been revealed other than the stories of Mary Alice killing Zach's birthmother and Paul killing Mrs. Huber hit the news. Mary Alice will continue to narrate the show from beyond the grave. Paul Young will not be returning this season.


* Teri Hatcher - Susan Mayer
* Felicity Huffman - Lynette Scavo
* Marcia Cross - Bree Van De Kamp
* Eva Longoria - Gabrielle Solis
* Nicollette Sheridan - Edie Britt
* Kyle MacLachlan - Orson Hodge
* Ricardo Antonio Chavira - Carlos Solis
* Doug Savant - Tom Scavo
* Kiersten Warren - Nora Huntington
* Cody Kasch - Zach Young
* Andrea Bowen - Julie Mayer
* Brenda Strong - Mary Alice Young
* James Denton - Mike Delfino

* Before Touchstone offered Desperate Housewives to ABC, in the original pilot, Mary Alice Young was played by Sheryl Lee; Gardener John by Kyle Searles; and Rex Van De Kamp by Michael Reilly Burke. Lee was replaced by Brenda Strong; both had played regular roles as dead people before, Strong on Everwood and Lee on Twin Peaks. Strong also guest starred in two Twin Peaks episodes during their second season. Also, in the original pilot, when the camera is pulling away from the housewives after they found the note, there is a ghost of Mary Alice standing on her lawn looking at them.

* Opening credits contain references to famous pieces of art, including Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck, American Gothic by Grant Wood, and Andy Warhol's Campbell's soup can. Also alluded to are the lesser known Couple Arguing and Romantic Couple by Robert Dale (drawn in a comic book style similar to that of Roy Lichtenstein) and a 1940s "Am I Proud!" poster by Dick Williams (showing a woman holding cans).

* A majority of the episode titles are derived from songs by Stephen Sondheim: they include Every Day a Little Death, You Could Drive A Person Crazy, The Ladies Who Lunch, Your Fault, Don't Look At Me, It Wasn't Meant To Happen, No One Is Alone, and Children Will Listen.

* Oscar-nominated British actress Miranda Richardson turned down a year-long stint in the second season of the show because "it snowballed into something that would be so disruptive", after producer Marc Cherry created a character for her, weeks after meeting her at the 2005 Golden Globe Awards. The character she was set to play was Bree's sister, inspired because of the visual resemblance between Richardson and Marcia Cross.

* The show's set is on the Universal Studios backlot and has been used for decades in many TV and movie productions to represent a typical American suburban neighborhood. It includes the houses used in The Munsters and the 1989 film The Burbs. A photograph of the set (prior to production or filming on the show *picture believed to be taken late 2003-2004 seeing as the set does not match the set of Wysteria Lane) is available from Microsoft Corporation's Windows Live Local service.

* Charles Pratt, Jr., former head writer of ABC's successful daytime soap General Hospital, is a consulting producer on the series.

* Before the start of season 2, Eva Longoria and Jesse Metcalfe were Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher and his crew members.

* In the middle of the first season, there was a special on CBS, which showed families that lived on the real Wisteria Lane, in Wantagh, Long Island. The "desperate housewives" appeared on the cover of Newsday, and on the cover of a newspaper in England. These people stated that "some people take drugs, some people aren't always sane, and that's very different than what you see on the TV show." Another person stated that "it's a funny show, but I don't want their problems."

* By the end of the first season, all the housewives were nominated for both a Golden Globe and Emmy with the exception of Eva Longoria. Longoria responded with a skit in the Emmys with Ellen DeGeneres mocking her situation. The following year all four were nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy. None took it home, though, with the quartet losing to Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds.

* At a 2005 dinner for White House correspondents First Lady Laura Bush famously quipped "I am married to the President of the United States, and here's our typical evening: Nine o'clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep, and I'm watching Desperate Housewives — with Lynne Cheney."

* Page Kennedy was fired from Desperate Housewives in November of 2005, because, as he understood, the writers "wanted to go in a different direction." It transpired in fact that Kennedy had flashed his genitals intentionally to two female cast members. Kennedy was replaced by NaShawn Kearse who took over the role of Caleb. During the broadcast of episode 30 "Color and Light", Kennedy was blurred out during his scenes. Whether this was a last minute change by the producers or how it was originally conceived, the episode marked the final appearance of Kennedy. Scenes from episodes 31 "The Sun Won't Set" and 33 "Coming Home" were reshot with Kearse. Reshot scenes from episode 33 "Coming Home" were originally planned for episode 32 "That's Good, That's Bad". Kennedy told TV Guide in April 2006 that "Caleb looks like he is more creepy now as opposed to how Kennedy was trying to play him."

* The entire first season appeared for the first time on China's state-run CCTV8 in 7 days with 3 episodes being shown per night. Episodes were cut down and toned down to be less racy, by order of the Communist Party of China.

* An Argentine version of the show is currently being filmed. This version of the show will air in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, while casts from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Chile will start filming in the same Argentine set in the next months. The season premiere in Argentina was on August 30, 2006, on Canal 13.

* Marcia Cross originally auditioned for the role of Mary Alice Young, but instead got the role of Bree Van de Kamp. Nicollette Sheridan (Edie) originally auditioned for the role of Bree, but as Marc Cherry noted, "She's a terrible Bree."

* Calista Flockhart, Heather Locklear, and Mary-Louise Parker were considered for the role of Susan. Courteney Cox was also considered for the role of Susan but Marc Cherry didn't ask her because she was at the time pregnant with her daughter Coco. Teri Hatcher auditioned for Susan and won the role.

* When Susan fell into the cake in episode 1-5 Come In, Stranger, actress Teri Hatcher broke two ribs.

* Buena Vista Games announced a computer game based on Desperate Housewives, in which Brenda Strong reprises the role of the disembodied voice of Mary Alice Young. The game is due in October 2006 for Windows (XP or higher) computers, and conveniently deals with murder, blackmail, stealing, love and even husband-stealing. The game also includes mini-activities such as cooking, gardening, sneaking into neighbors' houses and Texas hold'em poker.

* In a reversal of the previous season, in the 2005-2006 season, none of the leading housewives nor the show itself was nominated for an Emmy award, although Alfre Woodard received a nomination for best supporting actress in a comedy.

* Nora Huntington was originally going to be played by Laura Dern. Laura passed on the role and it went to Kiersten Warren instead.

* Josh Henderson has been announced as the latest addition to the cast of Desperate Housewives. The actor will play the nephew of Edie Britt. Henderson, 24, previously played Pfc. Bo Rider in the Iraq war drama series Over There.

* In season 3, when Lynette quits her job to help Tom run a pizzeria, is exactly what Marc Cherry's mother did for his father.

* In season 1, when Bree tells Andrew, "I'd love you even if you were a murderer", is exactly what Marc Cherry's mother said to him when he came out.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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