Friday, March 8, 2013

20 Things You Didn't Know About Desperate Housewives

Everybody has a little dirty laundry.
  1. Marc Cherry conceived the idea for Desperate Housewives while watching coverage of the Andrea Yates trials. Shocked that a woman could kill her own children, he discussed the issue with his mother, who told him about all her moments of desperation as a housewife.
  2. The series was originally written as a half-hour comedy, but Cherry's talent agent suggested turning it into a soap opera.
  3. ABC wanted to retitle the series Wisteria Lane or The Secret Lives of Housewives, but Cherry insisted on keeping its current title. Upon its announcement, the title was criticized by various feminist groups and organizations.
  4. Eva Longoria was the first actor cast in the series as Gabrielle Solis, a character that Cherry had never intended on being likable. According to Cherry, Longoria arrived to her audition having only read the scenes involving Gabrielle, which he considered to be in sync with the character.
  5. Teri Hatcher was cast as Susan Mayer after auditioning for ABC executives in what Cherry later called the best network audition he's ever seen. Many notable actresses were considered for the role, including Heather Locklear, Courteney Cox, and Mary-Louise Parker.
  6. Dana Delany turned down the role of Bree Van de Kamp three times, as she considered it too similar to her character on Pasadena. She later joined the series in the fourth season as Katherine Mayfair, who was somewhat of a Bree clone.
  7. Nicollette Sheridan originally auditioned for Bree but was cast as Edie Britt instead. The character was originally only going to recurring; however, producers were so fond of Nicollette, that they kept her around for five seasons.
  8. Desperate Housewives was filmed on a back lot set at Universal Studios. The set, which is officially called Colonial Street, was built in 1946 and has been used for various productions in the past, including Leave It to Beaver, The Munsters, and The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. Desperate Housewives, however, was the first production to utilize the entire street at once. All the houses, which varied in architectural style, were refurbished to create a unified look.
  9. Almost all episodes of the show are named after songs or lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim.
  10. The character of Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan) was initially going to be a con artist who was after Bree's money, but this idea was scrapped entirely between the second and third seasons.
  11. Tom Scavo (Doug Savant) was originally supposed to cheat on Lynette (Felicity Huffman) in the first season until the writers decided that Wisteria Lane needed at least one stable marriage.
  12. Because of the Writers Guild strike in 2007-08, the fourth season's episode count was reduced by seven, forcing the writers to cut certain storylines. Of these lost plot lines, at least two eventually made their way into later seasons in one way or another: Danielle taking back her baby from Bree and Gabrielle confronting her abusive stepfather.
  13. Rumors of on-set squabbling plagued the show since the beginning. Rumors that the other women were jealous of Teri receiving preferential treatment were fueled by their infamous 2005 Vanity Fair cover shoot, during which the women allegedly objected to Teri's red swimsuit and center placement. Reports of Teri and her co-stars not getting along continued throughout the show's run. Additionally, when Nicollette sued Marc Cherry for wrongful termination, she opined that the Desperate Housewives set was a hostile working environment, and claimed that there was animosity not only amongst the women, but between Cherry and certain cast members as well.
  14. Mike Delfino's (James Denton) death was leaked to the press when Marc mentioned it while in court for the aforementioned trial. Sources claim that he hoped the decision to kill off such an important character for creative reasons would debase Nicollette's wrongful termination lawsuit.
  15. Vanessa Williams joined the cast in season seven as Renee Perry. The actress was contracted to ABC for an additional two years following the cancellation of Ugly Betty, so the network insisted that Desperate Housewives take her in.
  16. Over the course of eight years, the Penny Scavo character was portrayed by six different actors, including two infant twin boys who split the role during the first season.
  17. The producers claim to have killed off at least 52 characters on the show. I'd count myself to double check, but I don't want to.
  18. Kathryn Joosten, who played Karen McCluskey, had a history of having her characters killed off television series, so Marc promised that he would not kill off Karen. However, the actress agreed to let Karen die of lung cancer in the series finale, so long as it was done realistically. Kathryn herself had been struggling with the disease and died just a few weeks after her on-screen death aired.
  19. Desperate Housewives is the longest-running one-hour American series with an all-female principal cast. (Jesus, could they get a little more specific please?) With 180 episodes, it surpassed Charmed by only 2 episodes.
  20. Marc Cherry intended to create a spin-off of the series entitled Vicious Cheerleaders, which would have been set at Fairview High, but it ultimately fell through. Additionally, ABC reportedly greenlit a spin-off revolving around Mrs. McCluskey, but nothing ever materialized.


Madeleine Wills said...

this is fascinating! especially #18 - I had no idea!
but, #17: how?

Taylor Tanton said...

I wish Penny was killed off...

MKlass said...

Hahah. #17. Such good fact-checking from the Tommy I know.

Anonymous said...

For the 17th one :

Anonymous said...

My Fiance was watching it on netflix and it occurred to me in the title credit s they show them eat the forbidden fruit and I watched a few episodes it seems like they are in HELL AND THEY REPEAT ALL THE BAD IN THEIR LIFE OVER AND OVER


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