Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Susan is just as bitchy as the other Housewives, yet she's the one who tends to get away with it because of how "cute" and "klutzy" she is.
Born Unlucky: Alledgely. While events tend to work against her, most of the time her troubles are solved rather easily and/or aren't as serious as some suffered by her fellow neighbors (barring her liver issues). Though she does have romantic issues in spade, and in the final season Mike is killed, leaving her to raise her son all by herself.
"She used to see herself as a career woman. And a hugely successful one at that. She was known for her power lunches, her eye-catching presentations and her ruthlessness in wiping out the competition. Lynette gave up her career to assume a new label: the incredibly satisfying role of full-time mother."
Took a Level in Jerkass: Lynette has always been kinda controlling, but nearing the end of season seven, manipulating Tom into walking out on Carlos, using increasingly manipulative and shrewish behavior crossed a few lines.
Bree Van de Kamp (Marcia Cross)
"I remember the easy confidence of her smile, the gentle elegance of her hands, the refined warmth of her voice. But what I remember most about Bree was the look of fear in her eyes. Bree had started to realize her world was unraveling. And for a woman who despised loose ends, that was unacceptable."
The Alcoholic: In season 2, plus the occasional relapse. There was her slip during the time jump, and Bree's current arc has her falling off the wagon. Hard.
Badass: When it comes to guns. Also when she kicks her son Andrew's bedroom door in when she finds out he is at a strip club.
Cartwright Curse: One surefire way to predict if a male character is going to die is judged by one question: Is he Bree's love interest? So far, the one—one—love interest she's had who didn't end up dead by the end of the affair is Orson who ends up in a wheelchair for life by the end of the relationship. In comparison to the others, he got off lucky.
Lampshaded in a season five promo, where the paper boy recaps the events of the past four seasons, and ends his recap of Bree with "I hope Orson doesn't die, too."
She even lampshades it herself during season 7:
Bree: My track record with lovers... two dead, one in a wheelchair.
Despair Event Horizon: During season 8, with her ex-boyfriend cop harassing her (and explicitly doing it in order to make her feel miserable) and the loss of her friends, Bree relapses into alcoholism, and in the 9th episode she ends up alone in a hotel room, with only a bottle of wine and a gun, speaking to an imaginary Mary Alice and contemplating the idea of suicide.
Housewife: Obviously. She's the most classic example in the series and evokes the archetypal 1950's housewife.
Lady Drunk: During season 8, the tension between the girls became so high that she ended becoming their scapegoat, and finally they abandonned her. She then relapses hard into alcoholism. She was on the verge of suicide, but is stopped just in time, thanks to the intervention of Renee. Now, she views herself as lost, not knowing anymore who she is. Slowly, she is deconstructing herself, and is becoming ''easy'', something she acknowledges. She didn't even deny when an angry spouse called her a whore (truth to be told, she was quite drunk at that time, but she doesn't seems to care at all, if the end of the 12th episode is any indication).
Love Hurts: Despite the perfect facade, she is consistantly unlucky in love.
Rex Van De Kamp: Bree, I can't live in this detergent commercial anymore!
Proper Lady: Deconstructed since the very first episode.
Really Gets Around: Yes, you read that right. During season 8, she relapses into alcoholism, and began to date a lot in bars. However, what was only a brief experience became an habit, and it becomes clear that she has a different man each night in her bed. When she is confronted by an angry spouse (because she had sex with her husband) in the middle of the church during the 12th episode, she doesn't deny it. Worse: she actually acknowledges it, and is on her way to embrace this way of life.
Stepford Smiler: The other housewives have traces of this, but Bree is the ultimate Stepford Smiler of the show. Her own son calls her out on it in the pilot, saying she acts like she's running for Mayor of Stepford.
Super OCD: There were hints of this, especially in the early seasons, but it was never explored very much. She also referred to her quirks in terms of "anal retentiveness" and not "obsessive compulsiveness".
Trauma Conga Line: If something traumatic is going to happen to one of the leading females in the cast, it is inevitably going to be Bree.
Gabrielle Solis (Eva Longoria)
"Gabrielle was a drowning woman, desperately searching for a life raft. Luckily for her, she found one. Of course, Gabrielle only saw her young gardener as a way to infuse her life with a little excitement. But now she was about to discover just how exciting her life could get."
Aesop Amnesia: How many times has she learned being a better person is more important than having material possessions or looking pretty?
Spicy Latina: A subversion believe or not. Yes Gabby is sexy and she certainly has the temper but she lacks the sterotypical accent, can't speak Spanish and as several episodes have shown is indifferent at best towards her Hispanic heritage.
The Artifact: By the end of season 2, all of her story lines had been wrapped up pretty much, and there really was no particular point to her character anymore other than simply being the narrator (of mysteries unrelated to her). Even when Paul comes back in season 7, her character is hardly referred to and she makes little-if any attempt in her narration to remind us that Paul is her husband.
Widow Woman: Her husband Gilbert died while he was watching TV. She had the idea to put his body into a chest freezer in her basement to prevent his ex-wife from inheriting his pensions.
Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany)
The Artifact: In season six, the writers didn't really know what to do with her after Mike marries Susan. So she ends up going through various hysterics that were almost completely irrelevant to the rest of the season's plot, before randomly finding out she's a lesbian and leaving for Paris with her new ex-stripper lover.
Remember the New Guy: Sorta. She moves onto Wisteria Lane in the Season 4 premiere, and it turns out she lived there some time before the show started, and was Susan's best friend. And yet, she was never mentioned in the three years prior to Season 4, not in Mary Alice's narration or by Susan. Justified in that she apparently moved away before the rest of the housewives even arrived, so there wouldn't be any need for Susan to mention her.
Villainy Discretion Shot: Was gratuitously cruel to her dying aunt and treated her daughter poorly before her secret was revealed and she joined the core group.
Flanderization: Both he and his wife suffered this a lot in season five, going from a couple that had their problems but could still work through them together, to a "couple" that argued every other episode over the smallest most insignificant problems (well, insignificant compared to a tornado, a psychopathic child from a previous relationship, and cancer).
Affably Evil: The "evil" part is subverted once it turns out that he didn't kill his wife. However, in season 8 he's clearly this.
Butt Monkey: His mother made him think he had led his father to suicide, he was institutionalized after falling into depression, he got his mistress killed by his mother and managed to save his wife from a similar death at the last moment. Not to mention that his first ex-wifedrugged and raped him. Once things seemed to be settled, he went into prison and lost his job as a dentist, his wife cheated on him and he ended up paralyzed in a plane crash.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: During season 6, when it seemed Bree was replacing Andrew with the son she always wanted.
What Happened to the Mouse?: During season 8, he comes back to his mother's house... And then nothing. He completly disappears from the radar, and isn't even present during the season finale. Please note that he should be living with his mother at this point, in her house, while she's put on trial. But he doesn't show up at all, not even for the trial. It seems that the scenarists completly forgot his existence.
Obfuscating Stupidity: It's not clear how much she pretends to be an airhead and how much she actually is.
Redemption Equals Death: When she realizes that Orson won't ever love her, she gives up the plan, but Gloria doesn't. So she tries to escape and warn Bree (the only decent act she ever does on-screen), but accidentally dies in the process.
Smug Snake: She thinks to be really smart, but she's just Gloria's pawn.