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The "normal" suburban life for a group of close-knit housewives takes a dark turn when one of their closest friends mysteriously commits suicide. Now while trying to deal with their own hectic problems and romantic lives, each year brings on a new mystery and more dark and twisted events to come. Life behind closed doors is about to be revealed as suburban life takes a funny and dark turn.
Season 1 (2004-2005)
Season 1 began airing on October 3, 2004, and featured a total of 23 episodes (aside from the original, unaired pilot) and 1 clip show. The show opens with the mysterious suicide of housewife Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong) on a beautiful day in the suburbs, on a street called Wisteria Lane. Mary Alice, who narrates the show from the afterlife, had four close friends: Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross), the seemingly perfect homemaker struggling to save her marriage; Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman), the mother of four who gave up her successful career to care for them full-time; Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher), the divorced mother in search of love, who finds it in the form of her new neighbour, Mike Delfino (James Denton), who has a secret of his own; and Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria), the materialistic ex-model who cheats on her husband, Carlos (Ricardo Antonio Chavira). While trying to be good wives and/or mothers, the four friends also try to find out why their friend committed suicide. The discovery of a blackmail note among Mary Alice's belongings, a therapy session tape in which she admits her real name was Angela, and her widowed husband Paul's (Mark Moses) strange behaviour really make them wonder about the mystery surrounding their deceased friend.
Season 2 (2005-2006)
Season 2 began airing on September 25, 2005, and featured a total of 24 episodes and 2 clip shows. After discovering Mary Alice's dark secret, the housewives continue to move on with their lives. Bree, whose husband (Steven Culp) just died, is not coping well with being a widow, and is unknowingly dating the man who poisoned her husband to be with her, pharmacist George Williams (Roger Bart). Susan, still searching for love after breaking up with Mike, ends up tangled with her ex-husband, Karl (Richard Burgi), who is now dating the neighbourhood hussy, Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan). Lynette goes back to her career in advertising, as her husband Tom (Doug Savant) becomes a stay-at-home dad. And a now-pregnant Gabrielle decides to be faithful to her husband Carlos, who is in jail. While managing their busy lives, the women cannot help but notice something suspicious about the new neighbours: Betty (Alfre Woodard) and Matthew Applewhite (Mehcad Brooks), who moved in in the middle of the night, and are keeping something or someone in their basement...
Season 3 (2006-2007)
Season 3 began airing on September 24, 2006, and featured a total of 23 episodes and 1 clip show (aside from the pre-season special recap/preview show, "Time to Come Clean"). When the season premieres, six months have occurred since Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan) deliberately ran Mike over with his car. Gabrielle, who found out Carlos cheated on her with their former maid and now surrogate mother, Xiao-Mei (Gwendoline Yeo), refuses to take him back, and now they're getting divorced but both want to raise the unborn child. Bree, who has finally put Rex's death behind her, marries Orson. At their engagement party, Orson's nosy former neighbor, Carolyn Bigsby (Laurie Metcalf), accuses him of having killed his wife Alma (Valerie Mahaffey), and Bree can't help but wonder if that's true. Lynette, meanwhile, has to adjust to having another child around the house when Tom's bastard daughter, Kayla (Rachel Fox), is taken in. Susan, who had been waiting for Mike to wake up from his coma, meets a British gentleman, Ian Hainsworth (Dougray Scott), and falls for him. And Edie has her nephew Austin (Josh Henderson) move to Wisteria Lane, after she finds him trying to break into her house, and he sets his eyes on Julie Mayer (Andrea Bowen).
Season 4 (2007-2008)
Season 4 began airing on September 30, 2007, and featured a total of 17 episodes and 1 clip show. Edie survives her "attempted suicide", causing Carlos to stay with her, whilst having an affair with Gabrielle, who is married to the town's mayor, Victor Lang (John Slattery). Meanwhile, Susan and Mike enjoy their married life and the former discovers she's pregnant, but portraying the role of the "suburban dad" takes its toll on Mike. Lynette deals with cancer, a boozy mother (Polly Bergen) and a rascal stepdaughter, whereas Bree tries to fake her pregnancy so she can cover up for her own daughter's (Joy Lauren). In addition to this, Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany), who used to live on the lane, moves back, 12 years later, with a new family, new attitude, and new secrets...
Season 5 (2008-2009)
Season 5 begain airing on September 28, 2008, and featured a total of 24 episodes. The events of this season take place five years following those of the 4th season finale. Five years into the future, Bree Van de Kamp is a successful catering businesswoman and cookbook author, and her partner and friend Katherine feels overshadowed by her success. Meanwhile, Lynette deals with her rowdyruff teenage boys, as well as a rough economy that jeopardizes her business, whereas Gabrielle has become the frumpy mother of two little girls, having cared over the years for them and a blind husband, all on a limited budget. Susan and Mike have separated, following a tragic car crash, and the former's been sleeping with her painter, Jackson Braddock (Gale Harold), whereas the latter tries to adapt to being a distant father and to getting back in the market. Edie Britt moves back in with a new husband in tow, Dave Williams (Neal McDonough), who wants something out of the lane: revenge.
Season 6 (2009-2010)
Season 6 began airing on September 27, 2009, and featured a total of 23 episodes. Julie Mayer returns to town to attend her mother's second wedding to Mike Delfino - a wedding that drives Katherine Mayfair to have a nervous breakdown - and winds up being strangled by an unknown attacker. Meanwhile, Lynette tries to keep her unwanted pregnancy a secret, and Bree starts up an affair with Karl Mayer, one that brings tragic repercussions to all involved. Gabrielle takes in a spoiled, bratty teenage niece (Maiara Walsh), who is a lot like she was growing up, and must portray the role of home-schooler to her daughter Juanita (Madison De La Garza). A new family moves in, headed by Italian-American housewife Angie Bolen (Drea de Matteo), who is a tough, candid lady on the run from something.
Season 7 (2010-2011)
Season 7 began airing on September 26, 2010, and featured a total of 23 episodes. With the shady Paul Young, Mary Alice's widower, back in town, the ladies have her hands full. Paul brings with him not only a new wife, the quirky Beth (Emily Bergl), but a vengeance scheme as well, whilst at the same time falling victim to a bigger plan concocted by his nemesis, Felicia Tilman (Harriet Sansom Harris). In the meantime, the Delfinos move to an apartment outside of the suburbs, and struggle to make ends meet and to make it possible for them to move back onto the lane. Bree gets divorced from Orson, and starts up the process of rebuilding her life after losing her business and her husband, mainly by hooking up with a much younger contractor (Brian Austin Green). Gabrielle finds out that her daughter was switched at birth, and this puts a toll on the whole Solis clan, and Lynette welcomes to the street her old college roommate and best friend, Renee Perry (Vanessa Williams), a New York City diva who decides to settle for life in the suburbs.
Season 8 (2011-2012)
Template:Main Season 8, the final season of the series, began airing on September 25, 2011, and featured a total of 23 episodes. When the women all cover up the murder of Gabrielle's evil stepfather, Alejandro (Tony Plana), their friendships become strained and endangered, especially after Bree receives a note much like the one Mary Alice got years before, and after she breaks up with Detective Vance (Jonathan Cake), who then sets out to take revenge and discover the girls' secret. Meanwhile, Carlos develops a drinking problem, and so does Bree, who falls off the wagon due to all the stress. Susan feels incredibly guilty and worries that she'll be the one ratting everyone else out, and Lynette has her head full as her marriage to Tom quickly dissipates and her children act out on it. Meanwhile, Renee becomes infatuated with the shady new neighbor, aussie Ben Faulkner (Charles Mesure).
Cherry initially had pitched the series to HBO, CBS, NBC, Fox, Showtime, and Lifetime. ABC was the only network to accept Cherry's offer, although they initially weren't satisfied with the name, suggesting titles like Wisteria Lane and The Secret Lives of Housewives instead.
Before Touchstone offered Desperate Housewives to ABC, in the original pilot, Mary Alice Young was played by Sheryl Lee; John Rowland 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.
One of the biggest inspirations for the show was the film American Beauty. The series has also been likened to other TV shows such as Knots Landing, Twin Peaks, and Sex and the City. In relation to its comparison with Sex and the City, Eva Longoria on Oprah's shows mentioned that she hopes Desperate Housewives can do for married women what Sex and the City did for single women.
The show's 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).
The show's theme is composed by Danny Elfman.
Since its US premiere, Desperate Housewives has been broadcasted by the ABC network, with reruns on Lifetime Television. In addition it has been sold to over fifty countries worldwide.
Cast and Characters
Desperate Housewives features a large ensemble cast that is headed by four protagonists and a series' narrator: Teri Hatcher plays Susan Mayer, a klutzy romantic, always searching for the happy ending but never quite getting there; Felicity Huffman portrays the role of Lynette Scavo, a harried super-mom, always trying to balance her careers and family life; Marcia Cross gives life to Bree Van de Kamp, a neurotic and perfectionist home fairy, who becomes more loose as the series goes along; Eva Longoria embodies Gabrielle Solis, a former top-model turned trophy wife, who eventually becomes a more selfless person who gets used to life in suburbia; and Brenda Strong rounds out the core cast as omniscient narrator Mary Alice Young, who shares with us the juicy details of life on Wisteria Lane, from her elevated point of view.
The group of titular "housewives" has also included several supporting regular women who provided aid to the main ladies in telling the stories: Nicollette Sheridan played Edie Britt in seasons 1-5, the quintessential neighborhood vixen; Dana Delany played Katherine Mayfair in seasons 4-6, a Bree-like homemaker and scheming foible; Vanessa Williams plays Renee Perry in seasons 7-8, Lynette's best friend from her college days and a New York City diva; Drea de Matteo played Angie Bolen in season 6, an Italian-American eco-terrorist with lots of "candure"; and Alfre Woodard played Betty Applewhite in season 2, an African-American concert pianist who literally was hiding something in her basement.
The men provide an important part in the show: James Denton is Mike Delfino, Susan's "Prince Charming", a charismatic plumber; Ricardo Antonio Chavira is Carlos Solis, Gabrielle's wealthy husband; Doug Savant is Tom Scavo, Lynette's adorable, bubbly husband; Kyle MacLachlan is Orson Hodge, Bree's second husband, who is a lot like her; Mark Moses is Paul Young, Mary Alice's widower, a shady man; and several others.
Then there are the kids, the most notable of which being: Andrea Bowen as Julie Mayer, Susan's precocious and smart daughter, and Mason Vale Cotton as MJ Delfino, her and Mike's cute son, as well as Cody Kasch as Zach Young, Mike's biological son, and Paul and Mary Alice's creepy adopted kid; Shawn Pyfrom and Joy Lauren as Andrew and Danielle Van de Kamp, Bree's self-centered, spoiled children; Madison De La Garza and Daniella Baltodano as Juanita and Celia Solis, Gabrielle's chubby, spit-fire daughters; and several supporting actors as the Scavo kids, Tom and Lynette's vast offspring.
The neighbors include Kathryn Joosten as Karen McCluskey, the local elderly busybody, and Kevin Rahm and Tuc Watkins as Lee McDermott and Bob Hunter, a real estate agent and lawyer, as well as the resident gay couple.
The set for the street, comprising facades of houses, is located on the Universal Studios backlot. It is referred to by film crews as Colonial Street, and before Desperate Housewives it was used in several motion pictures and televisions shows, starting in the 1950s.
For the first 14 episodes of season one, scenes set in Bree's living room were filmed inside the Young house on the street. To cover up the similarities between the rooms, most of the Youngs' scenes took place in a fictional area of the house, which only existed on a sound stage.
From the outside, Bree's home has a set of windows either side of the front porch. However indoors, windows can only be seen on one side of the front door. This is because the inside of Bree's house is actually shot on a soundstage. On the street, Lynette's green house is simply a facade, and Bree's house functions solely as restrooms for the production crew.
At the end of Wisteria Lane, by Edie's house, there is a cul-de-sac. However, cars are seen both entering and leaving the neighborhood from there.
The former home of the Applewhites' was also used as the exterior of Herman and Lily Munster in The Munsters. Late in the first season the house underwent a facelift to become less recognisable as the home from The Munsters.
One of the main reasons for Susan burning down Edie's home was that it could be opened up inside, making filming easier for the production crew.
Reception and critical reactions
The show was the big success of the 2004-2005 television season, and gained much critical acclaim. Its pilot episode which aired in October 2004, gained a stunning 21.3 million viewers making it the best new drama for the year, the highest rated show of the week, and also the best performance by a pilot for ABC, since Spin City in 1996.
In the footsteps of the show, the term "desperate housewives" became a cultural phenomenon. This warranted "real" desperate housewives features in magazines and TV shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Dr. Phil Show. The show, along with Lost, has been credited with reviving ABC's ratings. Later on, Grey's Anatomy, and more recently, Ugly Betty have helped further this revival. Prominent names like Oprah Winfrey and Michele Lee have stated that they are fans of the show.
|Season||Timeslot (EDT)||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Rank||Viewers|
|1||Sunday 9:00 P.M.||October 3, 2004||May 22, 2005||2004-05||#4||23.69||10.66|
|2||September 25, 2005||May 21, 2006||2005-06||#4||21.70||10.09|
|3||September 24, 2006||May 20, 2007||2006-07||#12||16.70||7.57|
|4||September 30, 2007||May 18, 2008||2007-08||#8||17.52||6.71|
|5||September 28, 2008||May 17, 2009||2008-09||#9||15.66||5.29|
|6||September 27, 2009||May 16, 2010||2009-10||#20||12.83||4.25|
|7||September 26, 2010||May 15, 2011||2010-11||#26||11.85||3.46|
|8||September 25, 2011||May 13, 2012||2011-12||#37||10.60||2.74|
The series saw its strongest ratings in its first 2 seasons. It ranked #4 in both the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 television seasons, with an overall average of over 22 million viwers. However, the sophomore slump of season 2 led to a decrease in ratings in season 3. Critics agreed on the improved quality of the third season, but the series lost 22% of its audience, slipping to #10 in the 2006-2007 television season with an average of about 17 million viewers. The series proved to have staying power in season 4, where it saw an increase in ratings from season 3, rising to #6 in the 2007-2008 television season with an average of 18 million viewers. The economic recession of 2008 led to many cable cancellations, leading to a decrease in viewers for all scripted television shows. Season 5 ranked #9 in the 2008-2009 television season with an average of over 15 million viwers. Sadly, this would mark the last time the series would remain in the top 10. The ratings during the first half of season 6 resembled those of season 5, but as the season progressed its ratings dwindled, landing at #20 in the 2009-2010 television season with an average of 13 millon viewers. A similar pattern happened with season 7, with the first half of the season bringing in strong numbers, but the ratings declined in the second half of the season, with an average of 12 million viwers. Season 8 has seen its lowest ratings yet, with no episodes reaching the 10 million viewers mark. This will be the final season of the show, set to end in May 2012.
In its first public release of online individual TV program rankings, The Nielsen Company announced that the series had 723,000 unique viewers in December 2008. Desperate Housewives was the seventh most-pirated television show of 2009.
By the end of the first season, all the housewives except Eva Longoria were nominated for both a Golden Globe and Emmy. 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.
This is a list of the Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Awards that the show has won.
Golden Globe Awards
- Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series: Musical or Comedy: Teri Hatcher
- Best TV Series: Musical or Comedy
- Best TV Series: Musical or Comedy
- Outstanding Guest Actress in A Comedy Series: Kathryn Joosten
- Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Felicity Huffman
- Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, Charles McDougall for "Pilot"
- Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Main Title Theme Music
- Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series "Pilot"
- Outstanding Guest Actress in A Comedy Series: Kathryn Joosten
Screen Actors Guild Awards
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Teri Hatcher
- Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
- Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Felicity Huffman
- Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Amas de casa desesperadas
In Argentina an adaptation has been made involving popular Argentinian actors and actresses, filmed in this country and aired by Canal 13. The original screenplay has been translated to Spanish as well as many names in order to be as true to the original as possible. Most of the Argentinians who had watched Desperate Housewives before are not satisfied with this adaptation. Episodes aired between August 30, 2006 and January 24, 2007 covered the series' first season. There has not yet been announced if there will be a second season of this adaptation.
The soundstage will also be used to adaptations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.
|DVD Name||Reg. 1||Reg. 2||Reg. 3||Reg. 4||Reg. 5||No of discs||No of episodes|
|The Complete First Season||September 20, 2005||October 10, 2005||November 28, 2005||July 18, 2006||6||23|
|The Complete Second Season||August 30, 2006||November 13, 2006||October 4, 2006||June 28, 2007||6 (Reg. 1 & 4)|
7 (Reg. 2 & 3)
|The Complete Third Season||September 4, 2007||November 5, 2007||Ocober 31, 2007||December 13, 2007||6||23|
|The Complete Fourth Season||September 2, 2008||November 3, 2008||October 29, 2008||TBA||5||17|
|The Complete Fifth Season||September 1st, 2009||November 9, 2009||October 21, 2009||TBA||7||24|
|The Complete Sixth Season||September 21, 2010||October 4, 2010||October 20, 2010||TBA||6||23|
|The Complete Seventh Season||August 30, 2011||October 31, 2011||November 30, 2011||TBA||5 (Reg. 1 & 4)|
6 (Reg. 2 & 3)
|The Complete Eighth and Final Season||September 25th, 2012||5 (Reg. 1 & 4)|
6 (Reg. 2 & 3)
Note: In Belgium and the Netherlands (Region 2), the DVD for season 2 was released on September 06.
In 2005, British company Re:creation published Desperate Housewives Dirty Laundry Game, a board game based on season one of Desperate Housewives. Players attempt to guess their opponents' secrets while keeping clues to their own secrets concealed by answering trivia questions.
Buena Vista Games released the sim computer game Desperate Housewives: The Game in 2006. The game is set in Wisteria Lane and features an original storyline spanning 12 episodes. You do not play as one of the housewives, but meet them frequently in the game. They are not voiced by the original cast, however, only by sound-alikes.
Gameloft released the Puzzle/mind game called Desperate Housewives in 2006, twenty four exclusive episodes were written by one of the writers to the show. You play as the housewives, a few others and a new character on a board with dices to reach for three clues before the computer gets them. Including trivia pop-quizzes and puzzels once in a while on certain spots.
In September 2005, Universal Music released Music from and Inspired by Desperate Housewives.
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