Desperate Housewives

Season 3 Episode 17

Dress Big

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Apr 08, 2007 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
345 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Susan meets her future in-laws and finds out some family secret. Victor is still taking his chances with Gabrielle, while she has a devastating catastrophe at her home. Lynette is encountering new problems at the pizzeria while an unexpected relationship develops on Wisteria Lane.

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  • Susan meeting Ian's parents? What could possibly go wrong?

    Just a thought, but I was born and grew up in England, and I have yet to hear anyone who actually sounds like Ian's parents in real life :P they were so typically British it was almost painful to watch, but there were some hilarious moments, such as Susan setting Ian's mother on fire and the two running around in panic in the background as Ian and his father talk calmly. Ian's father had a shocking secret...goota admit I didn't see that coming.

    I think the Edie/Carlos scenes were well written, especially the part where Edie tearfully strips off and asks Carlos for a chance. It really showed Edie's potential as a main character, instead of the man-eating slut she's usally portrayed as. Hey, harsh but true :P

    As ever, the Gabrielle parts were brilliant...Eva Longoria is a talented actress, as are the rest of the cast.

    Even though Bree wasn't shown at all in this episode, it was still good to watch.moreless
  • The ladies are back...

    ...and something's missing, like a good storyline.

    That's what I think, even if I really hope that's only a filler that preludes to something more interesting...the new relationships (Victor and Gabrielle, Carlos and Edie) aren't that attracting, at least for me: I think that Edie behavied in a quite strange way this time, at the beginning of the episode she clearly wants to seduce Carlos following her "usual" nature and in the end she makes that monologue like she is deeply in love, like she's asking a possibility to the man of her life. I think that they're trying to give her much more visibility, introducing her son, putting her together with Carlos...not a great idea, or better, not the best way to make Edie a main character, I would have chosen differently.

    Susan dealing with Ian's parents was a bit ridicoulous, very DH style, but in a negative way: I liked the start, with Susan "setting on fire" Dehlia, but discovering that Graham loves to wear women's lingerie was ridicolous, totally useless and forced: if you want to explain why Ian's mother wants Susan to sign a pre-nup just choose a different motivation...

    The whole restaurant storyline isn't that appealing, taking Tom out for some time isn't that reasonable, making things hard for Lynette all alone...

    Meh, I really can't tell where the show will be going in the next weeks, and I'm sad about it, because this third season was excellent in its first part.moreless
  • Tom got hurt.

    It was so sad, when Lynette came to Scavo's Pizzeria and found Tom on the floor.

    I thought it was a burglar who made it, or something..

    If Lynette would stayed home with the giirls he could die.

    And then when the doctor said that he can't work in 3-4 months or whateve, i thought she would change the color on the t-shirt..

    She should do it! I hate Edie, I had hope for Gabrielle and Carlos, and Edie is in the way of everything .. And why is Carlos like Taylors "manny" or something ? Shouldn't Edie take care of him ? I mean all she's doing on the days is shopping with Gabrielle, and i don't know why Gabrielle is spending time with Edie .. She's a maneater.moreless
  • I liked it.

    I liked it. Good episode. However one complaint. No one in this shows seems to be having aids. Any Aids not just HIV/AIDS but even Super Aids. I have Aids and you have no idea what it's like. I used to go around saying it will never happen to me. But then one weekend i was using a needle that i found on the floor in a bathroom at a rest stop off the Route 66 and my life was changed forever. Now i have aids and so does my wife who got it from me, our daughter who we conceived that night and my sister who i got really drunk with one time. Anyway they really need to have a new character that has aids. Or better yet give aids to an existing character one that no one really likes so it wouldn't be sad to see them go like the red head. I can't remember her name i think its Angela. Anyway please take this into consent. Thank you.moreless
  • Unstripped Written by Kevin Etten And Susan Nirah Jaffe Directed by Matthew Diamond

    Victor: “Yeah I don’t really know anything about fashion”

    Gabrielle: “Shush, they can hear you”

    As episode titles go, this is one that is pretty self explanatory. Fashion is here, there and everywhere and not only is this show a cultural icon and trend in the three years it’s dominated the screen but the ladies of Wisteria Lane also have clothes on the brain especially when it comes to choosing what to wear and what to bare. Only that was pretty shameless but at least it’s relevant.

    When it comes to clothing, the most fashion savvy character of the bunch was always going to be ex-model Gabrielle, who throughout her years has paid more to getting the latest design that most parents pay tuition for their kids but getting a whole trip in her closet isn’t necessarily the best way of starting the episode post-Opening Credits.

    Due to shoddy plumbing and the fact that half a season ago, both her and Carlos took great delight in demolishing their place, Gabby’s wardrobe suffers the major misfortune of getting soaked to death and to say that Gabby is pissed would be a succinct guess.

    I share her pain and not because I’m fashion conscience but mainly because if my CD, DVD or book collection suffered the same, I would be pretty livid myself. Gabby discovered her clothes in ruins after a day’s shopping with Edie, which to me is a lot more interesting than anything else.

    It’s interesting because Gabby and Edie have hardly interacted and also because these two are so much alike, except for the fact I usually find Edie more likeable. Of course one thing these two shares is a love of sexual exploits so it’s funny hearing them talk of their frustration, especially given that Gabby is oblivious to Edie’s attraction to Carlos. Would she care if Edie and Carlos got together? I don’t see why as she seems pretty much over Carlos anyway.

    Also Gabby has latched herself the very wealthy Mayor candidate Victor and despite her lame ass attempts of spurning his advances, she’s very quick to point out her clothing woes in no space of time and being the wealthy man he is, Victor has a solution which can only come with problems later on.

    The solution being his ex-wife Samantha’s clothing in a wardrobe the size of an apartment which he still has in him home but like giving addict a whiff of coke, trying to refuse Gabby borrowing one of Samantha’s dresses is hopeless and soon enough she returns to Victor’s to nick a few of them.

    The brilliant thing about this is for once, Gabrielle gets to pay for her defiance and not because Victor is unhappy that she went behind his back but at a social gathering, Gabby has the misfortune to meet Samantha in the bathroom, who no only flips out about Gabby wearing one of her favourite dresses but forces her to remove it and then punches Victor for good measure. Okay, by any chance did Samantha not think for a second she was overreacting just a tad? I know Gabby can take liberties but it’s only a dress for crying out loud.

    Still though and this might be contrary to most viewers I actually like the dynamic between Gabby and Victor. The chemistry between Eva Longoria and John Slattery may not be steaming the screen but they’ve got a fun rapport and although Victor is a little skeevy, he’s also the kind of bloke who is suited to Gabrielle and seeing as I can’t emphasise this enough, virtually anything is better than that pointless Zach debacle we had to endure this season.

    Victor’s view on his and Gabby’s relationship is a little shaky though. We learn because he treated Samantha more like a mistress instead of a wife was the reason they broke up and he doesn’t want to do the same with Gabby. Seeing as Gabby behaves like a trophy wife half the time that might actually be a bit hard for them to have a relationship with substance, which I would prefer they had.

    Gabby is far from the only housewife out to get what she wants and spending most of her time not even noticing him, Edie has suddenly developed the majors hots for Carlos and because him and Travers have developed a nice friendship, she uses her kid as “sex-bait” in a tasteless bid to get nailed by Carlos.

    Is she successful? Well not at first. Carlos doesn’t take too kindly to being used and responses to her seduction techniques by once again laying into her questionable parenting skills and her hedonistic lifestyle and while Carlos may have a valid point or two, it shouldn’t be pointed out that he isn’t exactly whiter than white himself. Don’t get me wrong, I side with Carlos completely and while Edie deserved a smackdown for using Travers to get laid, his own past has been pretty sketchy as well and instead of constantly chastising her, he could try being a little more understanding without alluding to her being a slut.

    However Carlos and Edie do make it up after Carlos sends Edie some flowers and Edie decides to reveal all her foibles by stripping off in a scene that maybe the writers were hoping would have the intensity of Angels In America when Harper helped Joe admit who he was by undressing. Sadly there is some pretty naff dialogue during the scene which is just about saved by Nicolette Sheridan’s performance.

    Another positive is that Carlos and Edie get the sex out of the way which means we can speculate whether or not this is a fling or the start of something serious. A part of me does want to ship them as a couple but seeing as Edie is something that should’ve been saved for a few episodes down the line and that both of them may have different expectations of each other and what they want, I’ll have to remain undecided.

    Speaking of remaining undecided, it seems that Susan seems to be finally having second thoughts on her speedy engagement to Ian and if she didn’t beforehand, then assisting Mike and the arrival of Ian’s parents are certainly getting Susan to question what most viewers think is a bad decision anyway.

    Dealing with Ian’s family first, I thought Dougray Scott’s accent was being stretched but the arrival of his parents was like watching a horrible sketch with every Brit stereotype on offer. I thought Lost was atrocious with the Brit characters but Desperate Housewives sank to a new low that I can close to muting the opening scene and on second viewing, I actually did. Anyways it seems that Ian’s parents kind of liked Susan to start, despite the fact that Susan’s clumsiness resulted in Daria being set alight but as soon as they became privy to Susan being a divorcee instead of a widow, their attitudes took a change that Ian ended up having to get his wife to be to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.

    It might be a romance killer and not the biggest advocator of an impending marriage but I have to admit that I can see why Ian’s parents are keen to look after their assets. It’s fair and it makes sense and Susan does love Ian, she wouldn’t care too much about signing one either.

    Not that Susan could ever be accused of being a gold digger, after all that’s Gabby’s territory but she was pretty annoyed when Ian did force her hand into signing the agreement and she then used Graham’s cross dressing antics as a means of getting out of signing it which was kind of clever but pre-nup or not, Susan and Ian’s nuptials is already doomed and they haven’t even said “I do”.

    The reason why this marriage will never last is down to an amnesiac plumber whose feelings for Susan have clearly resurfaced and when Susan jogged Mike memory about a time they had, Ian threw the pre-nup thing at her, although to Susan’s credit, her encounter with Mike was innocent and she was upfront about that to Ian.

    If Ian is so insecure of Mike, then why did he think that a speedy proposal would quell his fears and if Susan loves Ian as much as she says she does, then why go out of her way to get out of signing the pre-nuptial agreement? In both cases both parties are deceiving each other emotionally and they know it too. The writing surrounding this triangle won’t wins awards for subtlety but it’s nice to see Susan in a somewhat more sympathetic position again. As for Mike, he’s also sympathetic but ditching therapy because of one hurdle isn’t his smartest move, even though most of his memory seems to be back anyway.

    Bottom of the barrel for another is the Scavo plot which in recent episodes seems to have become a pissing contest of sorts. We all knew that Tom and Lynette working together wasn’t a great idea and if they aren’t rowing about employees, chairs or ways to spend their anniversary, then this week their latest petty quarrel over the colour of uniforms does neither party any favour.

    To scorn Tom first, seeing as Lynette is a business partner who has sacrificed her own career once again for him, why didn’t he ask or consult her about the uniforms before they arrived? Isn’t that the kind of thing that they should be deciding together? Isn’t that what a partnership is all about –making decisions together and keeping the other informed?

    However while I do understand Lynette’s annoyance over not being consulted over the uniform in question, you have to admit she went a bit too far this week. For God sake’s its orange which I think I’ve seen Lynette wear before despite her claims to the contrary and secondly if she and Tom are going to have disagreements, shouldn’t they do it away from the rest of the staff?

    Also Lynette took her disdain too far this week by trying to start a coup with the employees and by storming out like a child as well when Tom wouldn’t back down to her. I like Lynette the best of all the housewives but this storyline did her no favours until Tom put out his back and she put her grievances aside and decided to manage the place while Tom recuperates. Also in “Dress Big”

    Husband of the week: Ian getting accidentally assaulted by Susan in a variety of ways, which makes you wonder how good his health insurance is.

    Edie: “I’m this close to seducing my gardener”

    Gabrielle: “Been there, done that”.

    Gabby got a little jealous when Edie thought of romping with John. Maybe she won’t be so pleased that Edie has nailed her ex-husband after all.

    Lynette: “You speaking as my husband or my boss?”

    Tom: “Definitely as your boss”.

    Susan (to Daria): “With Karl I was more ‘divorce the ass, seize the assets’”.

    Just to confirm but Daria did know that Graham was into cross-dressing, right? Because the way Susan threw hints later, I didn’t know if she threatening to expose Graham’s fetish to Ian or Daria.

    Ian: “I’m not like my father”

    Susan: “Trust me he’s not”.

    Is there any chance that if Susan and Ian do get married can we meet Ian’s gay brother Nigel? Andrew could bag himself a hot older man if Justin doesn’t appear anytime soon.

    Tom: “You’re walking out on me?”

    Lynette: “I told you orange meant something bad was gonna happen”.

    Victor: “It looks like it cost a bundle”

    Gabrielle: “Trust me it was a steal”.

    Given that Tom has a ruptured disk, it seems that bed rest is more harmful than helpful. With any luck Tom’s five months will fly.

    Lynette: “I’m an idiot, would you mind?”

    Susan: “We’ve got it, just go”.

    Both Travers and Kayla respond to forms of blackmail if they are allowed to watch a certain show in the evening. Given the ages, you can only wonder what it is.

    Gabrielle: “Look who’s back, Mr Cocky”

    Victor: “He never leaves for long, that guy”.

    Lynette (to Tom): “If you leave me with a mortgage and a restaurant and five kids I swear I will track you in the deepest pits of hell and make you pay. Do you hear me?”

    No Bree, Orson, Danielle, Julie or Austin this week but all of their departures are explained bar Austin’s.

    Edie (to Carlos): “I might not be the woman you thought under that but I’m real and I’m here and I’m asking for a chance”.

    Chronology: Two weeks since “My Husband The Pig”

    “Dress Big” has the feeling of think less, drink more (yes I’m a TWOP poster) and while it’s a clear filler episode that doesn’t really advance much plots, there are some great character moments for both Susan and Edie that make the episode enjoyable if disjointed a bit.moreless
Challen Cates

Challen Cates

Samantha Lang

Guest Star

Miriam Flynn

Miriam Flynn

Dr. Maggie Berman

Guest Star

Paxton Whitehead

Paxton Whitehead

Graham Hainsworth

Guest Star

Jake Cherry

Jake Cherry

Travers McLain

Recurring Role

Dougray Scott

Dougray Scott

Ian Hainsworth

Recurring Role

John Slattery

John Slattery

Victor Lang

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Dr. Berman: Hi Mike. So, tell me, I've been dying to know. Did you talk to Susan? Could she remember what the movie was?
      Mike: Actually, no.
      Dr. Berman: Oh, well, hang in there. We'll figure it out. It's just a matter of time before everything starts coming back. Here, have a seat.
      Mike: Uh, listen, you've been really helpful the last few months but I, I think I'm done here.
      Dr. Berman: Mike, I know this can be a frustrating process but if you give up now there are so many memories that could be lost to you.
      Mike: (resigned) Yeah, I'm okay with that.

    • Mike: Hey, you got a minute? I need your help with something.
      Susan: (holding her groceries) Ahm, I should probably get these inside.
      Mike: Please, I- I need to ask you about a movie. ...And so, the last part I remember, the girl is putting these raw pancakes in front of him and then something else funny happened. (Susan is smiling) . I don't remember, it was just a stupid chick flick.
      Susan: Mike, it wasn't a movie, that was us.
      Mike: What?
      Susan: Yeah, ahm, that was the first night we spent together. I wanted to surprise you.
      Mike: With raw pancakes?
      Mike: They weren't all raw. I was trying to spell MIKE and the M was goopy but the IKE was delicious, you loved it.
      Mike: I did, huh?
      Susan: Actually no, it was gross. You were really sweet, you just gave me a lot of kisses and said not to worry, I'd get a lot of chances to make you pancakes cause-
      Mike: Cause I was planning on spending the rest of my mornings with you.
      Susan: You remember.
      Mike: Yeah.

    • Lynette: (to Tom on the phone) I know, you're still mad, I am too, so why don't you come home, we can be mad together.

    • Edie: (to Carlos, undressing) Don't say anything. Just stop seeing the person that I've been and start seeing the person I could be. Look at me, not the Edie that I show the world. In fact... let's lose her. Forget the blouse that she wears because she knows it shows off her cleavage. And the skirt that's so short, because she knows that guys love long legs. And the heels, the ones that make her legs look even longer. Forget the bra that holds her breasts a little higher than they are on their own these days. And the panties, the ones that hide the scar from my c-section. This is it. Hi, Carlos. I'm Edie. I might not be the woman that you thought I was under all of that but I'm real, and I'm here. And I'm asking for a chance.

    • Gabrielle: You can't force me to take off this dress!
      Samantha: This is pepper spray. In three seconds your eyeballs will be on fire.
      Gabrielle: Could you help me with the clasp?

    • Mary Alice: (narrating) In every housewife's closet there's an article of clothing that tells you more about its owner than she would want you to know. It might be a shirt that she despises, but wears without complaint. Perhaps, it's some lingerie, she knows isn't hers, but refuses to discuss. Or a dress she once loved, that she can no longer bare to look at. Yes, you can learn a lot about women from what they choose to wear. You can learn even more by what they choose to take off, and who they take it off for.

    • Dahlia: Punish the sin, love the sinner.
      Susan: Yeah, well, with Karl I was more, divorce the ass and seize the assets.

    • Gabrielle: What kind of orange is this shirt? Like a salmon, or a coral... (Lynette shows her the shirt) Oh...cheese doodle.

    • (Gabrielle finds a room closet filled with couture clothes.)
      Victor: Yea, I don't really know much about fashion.
      Gabrielle: Shhh.. They can hear you.

    • (Lynette finds an unconscious Tom lying on the floor of the Pizzeria.)
      Lynette: (crying) Listen to me. I forbid you to die. If you leave me.. with a mortgage, and a restaurant, and five kids I swear I will track you into the deepest pit of hell and make you pay. Do you hear me?

    • Gabrielle: (In Victor's wive's closet, to Victor) A dress this gorgeous is meant to be seen. Every day it hangs in the closet an angel loses its wings.

  • NOTES (7)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Šaty dělají člověka (Clothes Make the Man)
      Slovakia: Šaty robia človeka (Clothes Make the Man)

    • Nicollette Sheridan chose this episode for consideration in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series" at the 2007 Emmy Awards.

    • Josh Henderson (Austin McCann) was a regular since the beginning of the season but is no longer credited.

    • John Slattery received the "with" credit. Lynn Redgrave received the "and" credit.

    • Lynn Redgrave has lived in USA for ages but is English - she would surely pronounce "Dahlia" the English way.

    • On its original airing, this episode hit a series low with 15.7 million viewers. The first half of the episode had 15.3 million viewers and by 9:30 PM it raised to 16 million viewers.

    • Although credited, Marcia Cross (Bree Hodge), Kyle MacLachlan (Orson Hodge), Andrea Bowen (Julie Mayer), Joy Lauren (Danielle Van De Kamp), Brent Kinsman (Preston Scavo), Shane Kinsman (Porter Scavo) and Zane Huett (Parker Scavo) do not appear in this episode.


    • Episode Title: "Dress Big" is a song from the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical "The Frogs". However, it's a not a song from the original show that took place in the Yale University swimming pool. It's one of the few new songs that Sondheim wrote for the 2004 Susan Stroman/Nathan Lane Broadway production.