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This street is a lot of things. Boring is not one of them.
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Susan Delfino

Wisteria Lane is a street found in the town of Fairview in Eagle State. It is the main setting for Desperate Housewives, with the majority of storylines primarily centred around its residents.

History

The houses on Wisteria Lane were built sometime before 1980, due to the fact that Karen McKlusky moved onto the lane during the early 80's. Most likely they were built between the 1940's or 1950's due to the architectuture of many of the houses.

Since then, the street has seen many changes, including the home of Edie Britt which used to be a yellow traditional home with brick accents. After it burned down in 2004, it was rebuilt in 2005 as a pink cape cod with brown-stone accents. Also, the home of Susan Mayer caught fire 2 times, once in 2005 and then again in 2006, both times only resulting in minor changes. The most major change came after the tornado of 2008, in which Karen McCluskey's home was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt soon after with a whole new layout and design.

Some neighbouring streets in the area include Hibiscus Circle, Hydrangea Circle, Cypress Lane, Freshview Drive.

Wisteria Lane is referred to as one of, if not the, best, most idillic streets in Fairview, boasting its pictureque scenery, quiet roads and hosting wealthy residents (Bree, Gabrielle, Renee etc). However, Wisteria Lane has been the site of numerous crimes, incidents and destruction since the pilot, and even in years set before the pilot (2004).

Flashbacks show Mary-Alice killing Deidre in 1993 and burying her body under her swimming pool. In 1995, Katherine's daughter died accidently and was buried in the back yard.

In the first season alone, Wisteria Lane is rocked by Mary-Alice's suicide, Martha Huber's murder, Edie's house burning down and Susan's kitchen exploding. 

Huber's murder gains media attention from across the state, but her killer is not caught. Whilst the neighbors know it to be Mary-Alice's widower, Paul Young, they do not have the evidence to convict him.

In the second season, a private investigator dies in the Applewhite house and his body is disposed of in the car out front.

Paul Young is charged with the murder of Felicia Tilman after her butchered remains are found. However, Felicia faked her own death to avenge her sister's murder at Paul's hands.

In the season finale, a SWAT Team arrives on the lane and takes out Mathew Applewhite. 

In the third season, Caroyln Bigsby, whilst not from Wisteria Lane but from the local vicinity, held people hostage in the supermarket which resulted in two deaths, including her own.

In the fourth season, a tornado rips through Wisteria Lane and kills some of the residents.

In the fifth season, Edie's husband Dave burns down a local bar, killing several people. He is not caught and charged with the crime. 

In the sixth season, a serial killer begins murdering women, his first attack being on Julie Myers, though she survives. He goes on to kill at least four people.

During the same year, a small plane crashes onto the neighborhood Christmas party, killing at least four people. 

In the seventh season, a vengeful Paul returns and opens a half way house in his old home to tarnish Wisteria Lane and make the residents feel uncomfortable and in danger. The situation quickly deteriorates when a riot breaks out on the street and Paul is shot.

In the eight season, Bree is arrested for murder and sent to court, stirring up a media circus in the process.

Wisteria Lane is a perfect post card neighbourhood, which is home to dozens of unsolved murders, and residents who end up creating more crime for Fairview than the people outside the neighbourhood. 

Addresses

For a complete list of the houses during the show, see Wisteria Lane Houses.

Trivia

  • Wisteria Lane is filmed on Colonial Street in Universal Studios.
    • Nelly's song, Dilemma, is filmed on the same street and several houses are noticeable during the song.
    • Michael Bublé's song, It's a Beautiful Day  is also filmed on Colonial Street and several houses are noticeable during that musicvideo too. 
  • There is no house on 4359 Wisteria Lane, it is a blank lot between 4358 (Karen McCluskey's) and 4360.
    • For some reason in Season 8, two episodes have 4362 listed as 4359.
  • On all maps of Wisteria Lane (in and out of the show), the lane starts at 4346 Wisteria Lane, meaning there are no houses from numbers 1-4345 Wisteria Lane.
  • Wisteria Lane receives it name from the climbing vines of the same name, which blooms with masses of hanging flowers, a number of houses on the lane have wisteria vines growing on them.

Behind The Scenes

Finding Wisteria Lane

In preparing for the pilot, the Desperate Housewives production team searched a 30-minute radius of Hollywood for a suburb in which to film the show, but nothing was quite right. The production team initially looked into purchasing a block of actual houses for filming, however they felt the houses looked too similar and lacked character. So they went with Plan B - a studio backlot.

Only two studios in Hollywood have significant backlots, Warner Brothers and Universal. Warner Brothers had half a street, with houses on one side and a park on the other, but there was no sense of community, but Universal had Colonial Street - a collection of rundown house fronts that lined both sides of the street, and were close enough together to look good on camera.

The only problem was that the houses are only three-quarter scale. The team had to deal with the challenges of the unnatural - the houses being too small and too close and the sidewalks not as wide as the real thing, but the show is a parable and a slightly less-than-real look became an advantage, and added to the suburban perfection on film.

Assigning The Houses

The production team submitted a list of questions about the characters to executive producer Marc Cherry before assigning the housewives their houses.

  • The first characters to be assigned a home were Mary Alice and Paul Young who were assigned the Colonial Ranch-style house.
  • Susan Mayer received a barn-style cottage home, chosen because it reflected her artistic side.
  • The large classic colonial fits the character of Bree Van De Kamp, reflecting the prim and proper American values.
  • Mike Delfino's Craftsman house, was simply chosen for its location - with a diagonal view to Susan's house.
  • Gabrielle and Carlos Solis's house was given as the lumbering Victorian, set where the street curves. It is meant to reflect its nouveau-riche owners, with lots of money and no taste.
  • Lynette and Tom Scavo's house, was selected for its size and family feel, with a backyard for the kids..
  • Edie's new house took 20 days to build from the ground up, and was added between the first and second seasons, along with a cul-de-sac that includes a nanny's park and one "filler" house.

Creating Wisteria Lane

The Colonial Street backlot has a long history in film and television spanning over 60 years. With many changes happening over the years, but the transformation into Wisteria Lane as its biggest change to date.To unify the mish-mash of rundown houses on the lot, the art team used common elements in landscaping, colour and paint. All of the houses incorporate the same colour paint for the trims and the fences, and the wisteria flower can be seen in full bloom on many houses down the street.

At first, the houses were just facades, with interiors built on a sound stage, but once Housewives was picked up, something unique was done for the show, interiors were created, including Susan's kitchen and Mary Alice's living room, and Gabrielle could go in the front door and into the main floor of her house. This created a unique filming style which allowed viewers to watch a scene inside a house and look out through the windows into the street - creating a real sense of community.

To help audiences identify the different characters quickly, the team devised a colour palette system based on the characters personality and traits. They looked for colours that were intriguing, and then matched them up, these colour palettes are carried out in each character's house exterior and interior. For example Gabrielle Solis was set with warm orange-yellow tones to hint at her spicy Latino nature. Whereas Susan Mayer's character has more feminine sensibilities, demonstrated by the use of pastel colours.

Lane Map3
Wisteria-0

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