Desperate Housewives

Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Oct 03, 2004 on ABC



  • Trivia

    • Goof: When Bree waters the flowers in the bathroom of the hospital, there is the shadow of the camera man visible behind her.

    • Goof: When Susan sits on Edie's couch, just after she throws the bra behind her and knocks the candles over, a crew member in blue jeans can briefly be seen moving on the floor behind the couch to the right.

    • The envelope that Mary Alice's blackmail note came in says Secretsville, USA instead of Fairview.

    • In this episode Mary Alice says she died on a Thursday, however on her tombstone, which is seen in the episode after it says she died on September 26th 2004. This date is a Sunday.

    • Mike's door is made of brown wood, but in later episodes it is white and has a screen door.

    • You can see that the sets are not the ones used later in the show. Lynette's house is the better example, it's clearly smaller and different. Susan's kitchen is different and so is Bree's dining room.

    • When Susan life's flashback are being shown you can see Karl coming out through the stairs. Anyway, the stairs are suddenly in the other side of the room, later we will see that the stairs are not on that side.

    • Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young) is seen in this episode.

    • Notice that when John and Gabrielle are "doing it" on the table, they are in front of a very large window that you can see through perfectly.

    • When Lynette is shopping in the supermarket, right after she loses track of the twins, she is shown pushing the shopping cart down the aisle and in the seat there's only a pink blanket; however in the next shot, her daughter is sitting in the seat with the blanket and one of her sons is riding in the basket.

    • When the women are all standing in front of Edie's burning house. As Bree turns to her husband, Rex, it is actually the actor who played Rex in the unaired pilot (Michael Reilly Burke) and not the actor who replaced him (Steven Culp).

    • When Martha looks through the window and sees Mary Alice dead, Mary Alice is laying on her left side with the gun in her right hand. First, she shot herself in the right side of the head but there was no bullet hole, and secondly, if she did shoot herself in the left side which was on the floor, she should have been holding the gun in her other hand.

    • Gabrielle is mowing the lawn with an lawn Aeration machine...?

    • Where does the Scavo baby go when Lynette and Tom run into their room to have sex?

    • When Lynette comes up from the pool during the wake (getting her boys) she is still in her high heels, the shot after when she gets her baby back she is all of a sudden barefoot.

  • Quotes

    • Mary Alice: (closing voiceover) And suddenly there he was (referring to Mike). Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. And just like that, Susan was happy. Life was suddenly full of possibilities. Not to mention a few unexpected surprises. The next day my friends came together to pack away my clothes, my personal belongings and what was left of my life. Not quite, Gabrielle, not quite. How ironic to have something I tried so desperately to keep secret treated so casually. I'm so sorry, girls, I never wanted you to be burdened with this.

    • Mary Alice: (about Edie) Susan had met the enemy, and she was a slut.

    • Rex: I can't believe you tried to kill me.
      Bree: Yes, well, I feel badly about that.

    • Mary Alice: My name is Mary Alice Young. When you read this morning's paper you may come across an article about the unusual day I had last week. Normally there is never anything newsworthy about my life, but that all changed last Thursday. Of course everything seemed quite normal at first. I made breakfast for my family, I performed my chores, I completed my projects, I ran my errands. In truth, I spent the day as I spent every other day, quietly polishing the routine of my life, until it gleamed with perfection. That's why it was so astonishing when I decided to go to my hallway closet and retrieve a revolver that had never been used.

    • Gabrielle: This table is hand carved, Carlos had it imported from Italy. It cost him $22 000.
      John: So, you wanna do it on the table this time?
      Gabrielle: Absolutely.

    • Bree: First of all, your father can't eat onions. He's deathly allergic. And I won't even dignify your navy bean suggestion. (turns to Andrew) So, how's the osso buco?
      Andrew: It's okay.
      Bree: It's okay? Andrew, I spent three hours cooking this meal. How do you think it makes me feel when you say it's okay in that sullen tone?
      Andrew: Who asked you to spend three hours on dinner?
      Bree: (shocked) Excuse me?
      Andrew: Tim Harper's mom gets home from work, pops open a can of pork and beans, and boom, they're eating. Everyone's happy.
      Bree: You'd rather I serve pork and beans?
      Danielle: (turns to Andrew) Apologize now, I am begging you.

    • Bree (to Rex): If you think I'm going to discuss the dissolution of my marriage in a place where the restrooms are labeled 'Chicks' and 'Dudes', you're out of your mind!

    • Bree: (at the dinner table) Rex. Seeing as you are the head of this household I would appreciate it if you said something.
      Rex: Pass the salt.

    • Gabrielle: It's like my grandmother always said: An erect penis doesn't have a conscience.
      Lynette: Even the limp ones aren't that ethical.

    • Lynette: Oh, wait, I forgot to tell you. I had some trouble with swelling so the doctor took me off the pill so you're just gonna have to put on a condom.
      Tom: Condom? What's the big deal? Let's risk it.
      Lynette: Let's risk it?
      Tom: Yeah.
      (Lynette punches him in the face)

    • Susan: How would you feel if I used your child support payments for plastic surgery?
      Julie: You look fine.
      Susan: If you could cut back to two meals a day, I could get a chemical peel.

    • John: So, why are we here? Why are we doing this? (In bed having 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 too young to smoke.

    • Rex: (to Bree) I want a divorce. I just can't live in this detergent commercial anymore. I'm sick of the bizarre way your hair doesn't move. I'm sick of you making our bed in the morning before I've even used the bathroom. You're this plastic suburban housewife with her pearls and her spatula who says things like, "We owe the Hendersons a dinner." Where's the woman I fell in love with, who used to burn the toast and drink milk out of the carton, and laugh? I need her. Not this cold, perfect thing you've become.

    • Danielle: Why can't we ever have normal soup?
      Bree: Danielle, there is nothing abnormal about basil puree.

    • Andrew: I'm saying, do you always have to serve cuisine? Can't we ever just have food?
      Bree: Are you doing drugs?
      Andrew: What?
      Bree: Change in behavior is one of the warning signs and you have been as fresh as paint for the last six months. That certainly would explain why you're always locked in the bathroom.
      Danielle: Trust me, that is not what he is doing.
      Andrew: Shut up.

    • Carlos: It's business. Tanaka expects everyone to bring their wives.
      Gabrielle: Every time I'm around that man, he tries to grab my ass.
      Carlos: I made over $200,000 doing business with him last year. If he wants to grab your ass, you let him.

    • Carlos: At the Donahue party everyone was talking mutual funds, and you found a way to mention you slept with half of the Yankee outfield.
      Gabrielle: I'm telling you, it came up in the context of the conversation.

    • Rex: Since when do you make mistakes?
      Bree: What's that supposed to mean?
      Rex: It means I'm sick of you being so damn perfect all the time. I'm sick of the bizarre way your hair doesn't move. I'm sick of you making our bed in the morning before I've even used the bathroom. You're this plastic suburban housewife with her pearls and her spatula who says things like "we owe the Hendersons a dinner." Where's the woman I fell in love with? Who used to burn the toast and drink milk out of the carton? And laugh? I need her. Not this cold perfect thing you've become.

    • Susan: I have a clog.
      Mike: Excuse me?
      Susan: And you're a plumber, right?
      Mike: Yeah.
      Susan: The clog's in the pipe.
      Mike: Yeah, that's usually where they are.

    • Susan: I just don't know how I'm going to survive this.
      Mary Alice: Listen to me. We all have moments of desperation. But if we face them head on, that's when we find out just how strong we really are.

    • Susan: (reading the blackmail note) Oh, Mary Alice, what did you do?

    • Lynette: What are you doing?! We are at a wake!
      Preston: When we got here you said we could go in the pool.
      Lynette: I said you could go by the pool. Do you have your swimsuits on?
      Preston: Yeah, we put them on under our clothes before we left.

    • Susan: Oh, I wouldn't eat that if I were you.
      Mike: Why?
      Susan: I made it, trust me. (Mike prepares to take a bite) Hey, hey, do you have a death wish?
      Mike: No, I just refuse to believe that anybody can screw up macaroni and cheese. (Mike takes a bites of the macaroni, as Susan gestures apologetically, smiling)
      Mike: Oh my God. (makes a face) How did you… it tastes like it's burnt and undercooked.
      Susan: Yeah, I get that a lot. Here you go. (Susan gets a tissue and gives it to him, as he spits his mouthful of macaroni and cheese into the tissue)

    • Julie: Ugh, you need to get back out there. Come on. How long has it been since you've had sex? (Susan's pen halts stroke. She turns to look at Julie, open-mouthed) Are you mad that I asked you that?
      Susan: No, I'm just trying to remember. (Julie tilts her head to one side, smiling at Susan, who turns back to her drawing) I don't wanna talk to you about my love life anymore, it weirds me out.

    • Julie: Stop being so nervous, you're just asking him out to dinner. It's no big deal.
      Susan: You're right. (stalling) So, is that your project for school? You know in 5th grade I made the white house out of sugar cubes.
      Julie: Stop stalling and go. Before Mike figures out he can do better.
      Susan: (gapes at Julie) Tell me again why I fought for custody of you?
      Julie: You were using me to hurt dad.
      Susan: Oh, that's right.

    • Susan: I can't believe it. This can't be happening. Mike can't like Edie better than me, he just can't!
      Julie: You don't know what's going on. Maybe they're just... having dinner.
      (Susan gives her a look)
      Julie: You're right. They're doing it.

    • Julie: Mom, why would someone kill themselves?
      Susan: Well, sometimes people are so unhappy, they think that's the only way they can solve their problems.
      Julie: But Mrs. Young always seemed happy.
      Susan: Yeah. But sometimes, people pretend to be one way on the outside, when they're totally different on the inside.
      Julie:Oh, you mean like how dad's girlfriend is always smiling and says nice things, but deep down, you just know she's a bitch?
      Susan: I don't like that word, Julie. But yeah, that's a great example.

    • (Rex has asked for a divorce in a family restaurant)
      Rex: Are we gonna talk about what I said?
      Bree: If you think I'm gonna discuss the dissolution of my marriage in a place where the restrooms are labeled "Chicks" and "Dudes", you are out of your mind.

    • Lynette: 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)
      Porter: What's that?
      Lynette: Santa's cell phone number!
      Preston: 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

    • The opening credits were cut for the series premiere. They would first appear in the following episode.

    • In this episode the characters pronounce Susan's last name "Meyer". However, in the rest of the series her name is pronounced "Mayer". This is due to the fact that during the shooting of the pilot, Susan's character's last name was supposed to be Meyer. It was later changed to Mayer.

    • International Titles:
      Canada: Beautés déséspérées
      Italy: Desperate Housewives - I segreti di Wisteria Lane
      Japan: Desuparêto na tsuma tachi
      Mexico: Esposas desesperadas
      Norway: Frustrerte fruer
      Poland: Gotowe na wszystko
      Croatia: Kućanice
      Serbia: Očajne domaćice
      Estonia: Meeleheitel koduperenaised
      Spain: Mujeres desesperadas
      Portugal: Donas de Casa Desesperadas
      Greece: Noikokyres se apognosi
      Hungary: Született feleségek
      Finland: Täydelliset naiset
      Macedonia: Ocajni domakinki
      Switzerland/Austria - Schmutzige Wäsche

    • Marc Cherry received a 2005 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for his work on this episode.

    • Charles McDougall won the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series for his work on this episode.

    • This episode won the 2005 Emmy for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Comedy Series.

    • This is not the first time Felicity Huffman and Brenda Strong have been on a series together. One of Huffman's major previous roles was as Dana Whittaker on Sports Night and Brenda Strong had a recurring role as Sally, another producer on the same network. Brenda Strong is VERY tall compared to Huffman, by the way. In one shot on Sports Night Huffman only comes up to Brenda's chin.

    • Opening credits contain references to famous pieces of art, including American Gothic and The Arnolfini Portrait.

    • According to Gabrielle, the dining room table she and her gardener John used in their pilot lovemaking session was hand-carved, imported from Italy and cost her husband Carlos $23,000.

    • On its series debut, Desperate Housewives attracted the largest audience for any ABC series debut in eight years and was its most watched drama debut in 11 years - since September 17, 1996 (Spin City) and September 21, 1993 (NYPD Blue), respectively.

    • Encouraged by strong premiere numbers and hoping that word-of-mouth may bring even wider audience, ABC scheduled encore presentation of the pilot episode for Saturday, October 9, 2004, at 10/9c. The viewers got yet another chance to see "how it all began" when, having aired the first 10 episodes, ABC repeated the pilot for the second time on Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 10/9c.

    • Doug Savant (Tom Scavo) and Nicollette Sheridan (Edie Britt) have previously worked together on the primetime soap Knots Landing during the 1986-1987 season. Savant played a young Mack Mackenzie in flashbacks. Sheridan, who was already appearing as Paige Matheson also appeared in the flashbacks as her characters mother Anne.

    • In Australia on channel 7 The show drew an audience of 2.5 million people for the premier.

    • This episode drew in 4.4 million viewers in the UK, beating the Sex and the City finale, and only having less viewers than BBC News, which got 5.2 million viewers.

    • Music featured in this episode was from Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You." Also, "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye is playing when Susan walks into Edie's home.

    • Doug Savant (Tom Scavo) and Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp) have previously worked together on the Fox hit primetime soap Melrose Place.

    • There were a few minor shots that were added to the aired pilot. Besides the scenes with different actors, a few new shots were added, mainly in the "pool" scene. Where Rex Van De Camp (Steven Culp) "falls" onto the ground in the restaurant, the original pilot featured the table also falling to the ground.

    • Not only was it the highest rated show of the week, but it was the highest rated series premiere of the 2004-2005 season, besting highly anticipated shows "CSI: NY" and "Joey."

    • Kyle Searles who played the original gardener John Rowland is actually in the pilot. He has no speaking role and can be briefly seen twice during Mary Alice Young's wake (Once when Susan Mayer [Teri Hatcher] 'joins' the girls at the table; and twice where Lynette Scavo [Felicity Huffman] gets into the pool).

    • Networks NBC, CBS, Lifetime and even HBO passed on "Desperate Housewives."

    • In the pilot episode the character Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria) is smoking a cigarette after having sex with gardener John Rowland (Kyle Searles), but creator Marc Cherry was asked to cut it out, but kept it in anyway.

    • The character Bree Van De Kamp (played by Marcia Cross) is based on series creator Marc Cherrys' mother in real life.

    • Just like actress Sheryl Lee (the original Mary Alice Young), Brenda Strong (now Mary Alice Young) will play a dead character for a second series. She already plays one on a recurring basis on the WB's Everwood. Sheryl Lee played one for the first time in Twin Peaks.

    • Before Desperate Housewives actresses Brenda Strong (Mary Alice Young) and Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp) both had recurring roles on the WB's Everwood. They never had any scenes together, but both had a relationship with lead character Andy Brown (Treat Williams).

    • In the original pilot of "Desperate Housewives" the role of Rex Van De Kamp was originally played by actor Michael Reilly Burke, but left the role when the series was picked up by ABC and was replaced by actor Steve Culp.

    • In the original pilot episode of "Desperate Housewives" the role of the gardener John Rowland was played by actor Kyle Searles. He was let go after the series was picked up by the network and replaced by actor Jesse Metcalfe.

    • The neighborhood block (studio set) that the neighbors live on in this episode is also the same block used in the 1989 Tom Hanks movie The Burbs.

    • In the original pilot episode of "Desperate Housewives" actress Sheryl Lee played the title role of Mary Alice Young. After the pilot was picked up she was dropped from the series and was replaced by actress Brenda Strong. The show's creators replaced Sheryl Lee because they felt her voice-over narration needed "more of a comic lift" and "somebody more present and less ethereal". However, they still hope to bring Lee back to the show in a future guest spot.

    • In the screening pilot, Mary Alice's full name is given (both in conversation and in print) as Mary Alice YOUNG. The surname Scott (as it appears in all the early synopses, etc.) is never mentioned.

  • Allusions

    • Edie's welcome gift is a dish of Sausage Puttenesca. Puttenesca is an Italian word that resembles 'prostitute'. Folklore has it that in Naples prostitutes used to make a pasta sauce that required little or no cooking and used their dishes as one more way of appealing to potential customers. The fact that Edie is bringing this dish is an allusion to her reputation.

    • Andrew: "You're the one with the problem, all right. You're the one who's acting she's running for mayor of Stepford."
      Bree Van De Kamp is described as "the perfect mother." Her son then makes a remark about Stepford. This is most likely a reference to the movie(s), The Stepford Wives (1975) (starring Katharine Ross) or the recent remake, The Stepford Wives (2004) (starring Nicole Kidman). The women living in the town of Stepford are too perfect à la Bree, and turn out to be robots.

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