Desperate Housewives

Season 1 Episode 0

Original Pilot (unaired)

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Unknown on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
176 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Original Pilot (unaired)
Looking down on her friends and family isn't a way of life for Mary Alice Young. It's a way of death. One day, in her perfect house, in the loveliest of suburbs, Mary Alice ended it all. Now she's taking us into the lives of her family, friends and neighbors, commenting from her elevated POV. Her husband's acting suspicious, the neighbors are talking, and her girlfriends are wondering why one of their own would do something so rash… and so messy. From her unique vantage point, Mary Alice sees more now than she ever did alive and she's planning to share all the delicious secrets that hide behind every neighbor's closed door in this seemingly perfect American suburb. In the end of the episode, the girls find a threatening note written to Mary Alice, while a ghost of Mary Alice is standing in her yard looking at them.moreless

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  • THe original pilot. Not bad, just a little quirky.

    I liked the original pilot. I saw it through a sneak peek at ABC's test pilot where there were dozens of terrible shows, but one stood out. I should have written this review earlier, but I have time now, so here goes. Sheryl Lee wasn't a bad Mary Alice, but I like Brenda Strong more, so that was one improvment. They did replace Rex, which didn't bother me, because the original one was just too quite, and later on we would need more of that spunk that Rex is known for. They replaced John with Jesse Metcalfe... which didn't really bother me, it's just that Jesse isn't that great of an actor, but he does represent the 'soap opera hunk' role he was hired for. Over all, this wasn't a bad episode, I actually enjoyed it. It was pretty close to the new pilot, they just smoothed out some rough edges.moreless
  • An introduction of each charcter in the show. But do not get to comfortable in knowing where this show will take you. First impression is not always the path of the show.moreless

    This episode well defines the characters of the show. They do not formally developed until a lot later in the series. However, when one watches the first episode one wants to come back for more. I would recommend this show for any working women who has a family and kids. It does resemble real life situations with a little humor.
  • I saw this episode and thank you whoever for recasting.

    While the original John looked better age wise to play the role, talent wise, he just wasn’t there. The same thing problem existed with the original Rex. He just didn’t fill the shoes of the character. The voice of Mary Alice, I could go either way on. Chances are she was chosen because of Twin Peaks. In reality, all of the scenes in the episode appear in the second pilot that we got to see. They were just reshot with the new actors or redoubled with the new voice over. The only thing that I can remember being changed was that in the original pilot John had smoke with Gabriel on the table after sex instead of just Gabriel.moreless
Sheryl Lee

Sheryl Lee

Mary Alice Young

Guest Star

Michael Reilly Burke

Michael Reilly Burke

Rex Van De Kamp

Guest Star

Nicollette Sheridan

Nicollette Sheridan

Edie Britt

Guest Star

Doug Savant

Doug Savant

Tom Scavo

Recurring Role

Christine Estabrook

Christine Estabrook

Martha Huber

Recurring Role

Joy Lauren

Joy Lauren

Danielle Van De Kamp

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Actually, 911 operators are required to obtain verbal confirmation of location/address from each caller, so if the 911 operator was doing his/her job correctly, he/she would have obtained Mary Alice's address first, then Mrs. Huber's. This "automatic computer database" obtains its information from the phone company, and it's not 100% reliable, so 911 Operaters are not permitted to rely on the information it provides unless the caller is unable to provide the location, for example with 911 hang up calls or callers that are not able to speak freely. And : If you're calling from a cell phone, there is no "automatic computer database" locator, so you should know where you are. Not true... the location setting on your cell phone allows the police to find you. That is why the only option is 911 only or allow all.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • John: So, why are we here? Why are we doing this? [having an affair]
      Gabrielle: Because I don't want to wake up one morning with the sudden urge to blow my brains out.
      John: Hey, can I have a drag?
      Gabrielle: Absolutely not. You're much to young to smoke.

    • Rex: (to Bree)I want a divorce. I just can't live in this detergent commercial anymore.

    • Lynette: (to children)Now listen to me, you are going to behave. I will not be humiliated in front of the entire neighborhood. And just so you know that I'm serious, I am. (She pulls out paper)
      Son: What's that?
      Lynette: Santa's cell phone number!
      Son: How'd you get that?
      Lynette: I know someone who knows someone, who knows an elf. And if any of you acts up, so help me I will call Santa and tell him you want socks for Christmas! All right, are you willing to risk that?

  • NOTES (13)

    • Marc Cherry has said that Bree is based on his own mother.

    • The house that Bree Van De Kamp lives in was previously used in the NBC 1999 drama Providence.

    • According to the book Desperate Networks, show creator Marc Cherry insisted every actor had to audition for a part. Several actresses up for the part of Susan declined to audition and passed on the role. Felicity Huffman also declined to audition for the role of Lynette, preferring to be offered the role instead. Her agents convinced her otherwise, and she agreed to audition. Marc Cherry was so impressed with her performance, that he offered her the part.

    • Roselyn Sanchez lost the part of Gabrielle to Eva Longoria Parker at the final auditions.

    • A fan loved the dress Gabrielle wore in the pilot so much that she wrote to the producers asking for the name of the designer and if he could design her a prom dress. The producers instead sent her the actual gown and she wore it to her prom.

    • Dana Delany auditioned for the role of Bree and was offered the part. After thinking about it, she declined the role. Her reasoning was that she had played a similar role in the soap Pasadena, and felt she would be repeating herself. Still, in season four she joined the cast of "Desperate Housewives" playing Katherine Mayfair, a character that is very similar to Bree.

    • Calista Flockhart, Heather Locklear, and Mary-Louise Parker were considered for the role of Susan. Courteney Cox Arquette was also considered for the role of Susan. Marc Cherry didn't ask her because at the time she was pregnant with her daughter Coco and had expressed interest in taking some time off to raise the baby.

    • Marcia Cross originally tried for the part of Mary Alice Young, but was cast as Bree Van De Kamp. Nicollette Sheridan tried for the part of Bree Van De Kamp, but was cast as Edie Britt.

    • Creator Marc Cherry said he got the idea to write the pilot after a conversation with his mother. She told him that raising Cherry and his siblings with their father away most of the time made her feel desperate sometimes.

    • In the unaired version of the pilot, the final scene during which the camera pulls away from the girls after they discover Mary Alice's secret paper, a ghost-like version of Mary Alice is standing in the yard behind the girls. Also, even though it is the same shot in the original pilot and the aired version, the grass in Mary Alice's yard looks to be poorly cared for, but in the aired version, it has been digitally edited to look unnaturally healthy.

    • In the original pilot episode the role of Rex Van De Kamp played in this episode was actor Michael Reilly Burke but was let go after the series was picked up by ABC.

    • In this original pilot of "Desperate Housewives" the role of gardener John was played by actor Kyle Searles. After the series was picked up by ABC he was released from the role.

    • In this original pilot of Desperate Housewives actress Sheryl Lee played the lead role (and narrator) of dead Mary Alice Scott. When the series was picked up she was released from the role. This would've been her second dead character after her famous role of Laura Palmer in Twin Peaks.


    • Bree Van De Kamp: "It's the reason why I joined the NRA."
      Bree discusses with the girls on why she joined that NRA to keep in the back of her her husbands head not to cheat on her. The NRA stands for National Rifle Association, an organization in favor of using guns.