Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Desperate Housewives is an American television dramedy set on Wisteria Lane in the fictional town of Fairview and written by Marc Cherry. The series tracks the lives of four housewives, following their domestic struggles while several mysteries unfold in the background. Cherry initially pitched the series to HBO, CBS, NBC, Fox, Showtime, and Lifetime; but all turned it down for one reason or another. The series was unique in that it 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 Dr. Phil and Oprah. The show has been credited with almost single-handedly reviving the long-dormant fortunes of its parent network, ABC, whose last major (ratings) hit had been Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Its first season out, Desperate Housewives was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy. On January 16, 2005, it won that top honor, and star Teri Hatcher won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy (Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross were nominated as well). Nicolette Sheridan was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy.
Plot and characters
Tagline: Everyone has a little dirty laundry.
The show begins with the suicide of Mary Alice Young, who narrates the episodes from beyond the grave. Mary Alice's suicide left behind a puzzle involving her husband Paul, son Zack, and a mysterious toy chest. The story is unraveled through her four friends and neighbors. The show also follows the mystery of why Mary Alice took her own life and precisely who Mike Delfino really is. At least once every episode, the 'surviving' housewives (Mary Alice was one of the group before her suicide) meet and discuss over either coffee or poker the events in the current storyline.
The Mayer family
- Susan Mayer: an attractive single mother, interested in Mike Delfino, the handsome, widowed plumber who has just moved in across the street and is not quite what he seems.
- Karl Mayer: Susan's ex-husband, Susan divorced him after she found out that he was having an affair with his secretary.
- Julie Mayer: Susan's 14 year old daughter, who usually helps her deal with problems regarding her love life. She was briefly romantically involved with Zach Young.
- Sophie Bremmer: Susan's meddling mother, who came to stay with her after she had exaggerated that her husband Morty was abusing her.
The Scavo family
- Lynette Scavo: an ex-career woman who is now saddled with three rampaging children, a baby, and a husband who is always out of town.
- Tom Scavo: Lynette's husband that is frequently out of town. Tom keeps a secret from his wife that apparently only his father, Rodney Scavo, knows about.
- Preston & Porter Scavo: The twin children of the Scavo's, they are repeatedly misbehaving and continuously drive Lynette out of her mind.
- Parker Scavo: The third son of the Scavo's, Lynette shaved his head after the twins put gum in his hair, and used Parker to get into a yoga class by pretending he was afflicted with cancer.
The Van De Kamp family
- Bree Van De Kamp: described as "Martha Stewart on steroids," Bree is a deeply religious, ultra-conservative control freak who's trapped in a sterile marriage with Rex, her fed-up husband, and her rebellious children. Bree is obsessively concerned with perfection, keeping up appearances, and showing as little emotion as possible, much to the displeasure of her family. She is fiercely determined to save her marriage and would do anything to protect her family, as evidenced by her cover-up of son Andrew's hit-and-run.
- Rex Van De Kamp: the doctor husband of Bree, it was found out that he had an extra-marital affair with local homemaker/prostitute Maisy Gibbons. He also wanted to divorce Bree because he could no longer "live in this detergent commercial" and because of his inability to ask his wife to "dominate" him. Rex recently had a near-fatal heart attack, however, because his pharmacist is in love with Bree and jealous of their marriage, Rex is not receiving the proper medication to prevent further heart complications.
- Andrew Van De Kamp: the highly troubled and possibly sociopathic 16 year old son of Bree and Rex Van De Kamp. He was expelled from school for smoking marijuana on school grounds and was involved in a hit-and-run while under the influence that landed Juanita Solis in the hospital. It has also been revealed that he is gay (or bisexual) following his 'escapades' with John Rowland's roommate Justin. After using his sexuality to manipulate his way out of a juvenile delinquent bootcamp, Andrew vowed to play the perfect son for his mother until the day he gets his revenge and destroys her world.
- Danielle Van De Kamp: seemingly the most normal member of the family, 15 year old Danielle was the head of her school's abstinence club , but Bree discovered she had planned to give up her virginity to her ex-boyfriend, John Rowland, in order to lure him back to her.
The Solis family
- Gabrielle Solis: an ex-super model who married her husband Carlos for money, but found satisfaction with her teenage gardener John. She absolutely hates Carlos' mother.
- Carlos Solis: the husband of Gabrielle who has some trouble with the law and a very meddling mother. Carlos wants to begin a family, so much so that he secretly replaces his wife's birth control pills since Gabrielle is against the idea of getting pregnant. Due to apparent financial difficulties Carlos took a plea bargain which forces him to serve eight months in jail.
- Juanita Solis: the nosy mother of Carlos, who was convinced that Gabrielle was cheating on him with another man, she had obtained photographic evidence of the affair moments before being run over by Andrew Van De Kamp. She remained in a coma for five months before awakening, only to fall to her death down a flight of stairs at the hospital. Before dying Juanita told a nurse of Gabrielle's infidelity, however the nurse couldn't hear her because of headphones she was wearing.
The Young family
- Mary Alice Young: The deceased wife of Paul Young, who one day decided to end her life by committing suicide, narrates the show from beyond the grave. Her real name has been revealed as Angela Forrest, and she worked with Martha Huber's sister Felicia Tilman at a rehabilitation clinic in Utah.
- Paul Young: The widower of Mary Alice, he was trying to find out what exactly caused her death and who sent the note to her, when he found out it was his neighbor Martha Huber, he strangled her and dumped the body, but he also put a piece of key evidence in Mike Delfino's garage to frame him.
- Zach Young: The mentally-disturbed son of Paul, he found love in the form of Julie Mayer who he befriended and who eventually got her to agree to letting him stay in her bedroom. Early in season one Zach is disturbed with visions of him killing his younger sister, Dana, however, later it is discovered that Zach's original name was "Dana".
- Edie Britt: a serial divorcee , man-hungry real estate agent who tries to steal Mike away when not having sex with someone else.
- Mike Delfino: a man who poses as the friendly neighborhood plumber, but has a secret occupation unknown to the main characters of the show.
- Maisy Gibbons: a woman who was found to be having affairs with various men around the neighborhood including Rex Van De Kamp. She was arrested during season one and her "logbook" with all the names of her clients was publicly exposed.
- Martha Huber: a nosy neighbor who sent Mary Alice Young the blackmail note which led to her suicide. She was killed by Paul Young in the first season because of her knowledge of the Young family's past. Martha has a sister, Felicia Tillman, who coincidentally knew Mary Alice and appears to be suspicious of Paul Young.
- John Rowland: Gabrielle and Carlos' (former) gardener, he was having an affair with Gabrielle until Juanita found out about it. John was then convinced that the connection between Gabrielle and him meant a lot more then just sex. He proposed to her but Gabrielle who was threatened with jail time by his parents, talked him out of it. John also had a relationship with Danielle Van De Kamp, until Bree asked him to be brutally honest with her. However after Carlos abused Gabrielle, She came running right back into his arms.
- Teri Hatcher - Susan Mayer
- Felicity Huffman - Lynette Scavo
- Marcia Cross - Bree Van De Kamp
- Eva Longoria - Gabrielle Solis
- Nicolette Sheridan - Edie Britt
- Steven Culp - Rex Van De Kamp
- Ricardo Chavira - Carlos Solis
- Mark Moses - Paul Young
- Andrea Bowen - Julie Mayer
- Jesse Metcalfe - John Rowland
- Cody Kasch - Zack Young
- Brenda Strong - Mary Alice Young
- James Denton - Mike Delfino
- Joy Lauren - Danielle Van De Kamp
- Shawn Pyfrom - Andrew Van De Kamp
- Doug Savant - Tom Scavo
- Zane Huett - Parker Scavo
- Shane Kinsman - Porter Scavo
- Brent Kinsman - Preston Scavo
- Ryan O'Neal - Rodney Scavo
- Emily Christine - Ashley Bukowski
- Christine Estabrook - Martha Huber
- Harriet Sansom Harris - Felicia Tillman
- Richard Roundtree - Jerry Shaw
- Lesley Ann Warren - Sophie Bremmer
- Bob Newhart - Morty
- Lupe Ontiveros - Juanita Solis
- Lucille Soong - Yao Lin
- Sharon Lawrence - Maisy Gibbons
- Ryan Carnes - Justin
- Sam Lloyd - Dr. Albert Goldfine
- Richard Burgi - Karl Mayer
- Marla Sokoloff - Claire
- Roger Bart - George Williams
- Marlee Matlin - Alisha Stevens
- Rick Ravanello - Bill Cunningham
For a detailed summary of each episode go to Desperate Housewives Episode Guide
Season 1 (2004-2005)
|2||Ah, But Underneath||October 10|
|3||Pretty Little Picture||October 17|
|4||Who's that Woman?||October 24|
|5||Come in, Stranger||October 31|
|6||Running to Stand Still||November 7|
|7||Anything You Can Do||November 21|
|9||Suspicious Minds||December 12|
|10||Come Back to Me||December 19|
|11||Move On||January 9|
|12||Every Day a Little Death||January 16|
|13||Your Fault||January 23|
|14||Love Is in the Air (a.k.a. What I Did for Love)||February 13|
|16||The Ladies Who Lunch||March 27|
|17||There Won't Be Trumpets||April 3|
|18||Children Will Listen||April 10|
|19||Live Alone & Like It||April 17|
|20||Fear No More||May 1|
|21||Sunday In The Park With George||May 8|
|22||Goodbye For Now||May 15|
|23||Season Finale||May 22|
On April 24, 2005 a special episode will air called "Desperate Housewives: Sorting Out the Dirty Laundry". The episode will be narrated by Mary Alice Young and will replay memorable moments from season one as well as give viewers a preview of the season finale.
- In the original pilot, Mary Alice Young was played by Sheryl Lee; Gardener John Rowland by Kyle Searles ; and Rex Van De Kamp by Michael Reilly Burke . Lee was replaced, of course, by Brenda Strong for the series; both had played regular roles as dead people before, Strong on Everwood and Lee on Twin Peaks.
- Opening credits contain references to famous pieces of art, including American Gothic and The Arnolfini Portrait
- Every episode title in the first season references a song title, many of them by Stephen Sondheim: they include Every Day a Little Death and The Ladies Who Lunch.
- Various sources on the internet and in the press have stated that the likes of Madonna, Britney Spears, Oprah Winfrey and Miranda Richardson have expressed interest in guest starring on the show, however, it is unlikely they will ever get the opportunity as the producers do not want big names to distract the viewer from the plot.
- On April 13, 2005, Touchstone Television announced Alfre Woodard would join the Desperate Housewives cast starting from the second season as the first African-American 'wife' on the street.
International first broadcasts by order of date
- United States and Canada: October 3, 2004 on ABC (US) and CTV (Canada)
- Germany: October 14, 2004 on Premiere (German pay TV).
- Ireland: January 4, 2005 on RTE2.
- United Kingdom: January 5, 2005 on Channel 4 (each episode followed by a première of the next on E4 - which therefore did not initially screen episode 1, but re-ran episodes 1 and 2 later in the first week).
- Belgium: January 21, 2005 on één .
- Australia: January 31, 2005 on the Seven Network. This registered 2.5 million viewers, one of the highest for a premiere in Australian history.
- Italy: February 22, 2005 on FOX Life.
- Turkey: February 28, 2005 on CNBC-é.
- The Netherlands: March 1, 2005 on Net 5 .
- Spain: March 3, 2005 on FOX.
- Sweden: March 29, 2005 on Kanal 5 .
- Switzerland: April 11, 2005 on SF DRS
- ABC: Desperate Housewives
- Get Desperate! - unofficial news site
- Desperate Housewives Forum
- Television Without Pity
- Desperate Days
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