Characters / Desperate Housewives

This is the character sheet for Desperate Housewives.

    open/close all folders 

    The Housewives 

Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher)
"It was common knowledge on Wisteria Lane that where Susan Mayer went, bad luck was sure to follow. Her misfortunes ranged from the commonplace, to the unusual, to the truly bizarre."

Lynette Scavo (Felicity Huffman)
"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."

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.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
  • Break the Haughty
  • 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? Of her seven love interests, five of them have died.
    • 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.
  • Control Freak: And how.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Averted, thanks to Renee.
  • Fiery Redhead: When she wants to be.
  • The '50s: Her look, moreso in the earlier seasons: A-line skirts and dresses, twin-sets with pearls, white gloves, her "flip" hair-do etc.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
  • Freudian Excuse: Her mother died traumatically when she was 5 and her stepmother was a distant and unloving woman.
  • Gun Nut
  • 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!
  • Mama Bear
  • Neat Freak
  • Nice Girl: In spite of her faults, she does come off a pleasant person most of the time.
  • The Perfectionist: Especially in the first season, when she couldn't even stand the sight of a loose button.
  • Preppy Name
  • Pretty in Mink: Wore a sable coat to try to win back Rex.
  • 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.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing
  • 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.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality
  • 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?
  • Book Dumb: Especially when it comes to geography (she thinks Argentina is beside Romania.)
  • Catch-Phrase: For the first four or five seasons or so, she manages to work the phrase "son of a bitch" in at least once per season. To be fair to her, it often refers to Carlos, who is the son of an actual bitch.
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Domestic Abuser
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
  • Mrs Vice Gal: Openly vain, materialistic and immature but a loyal friend and (eventually) loving wife and mother.
  • Ms. Fanservice: At times it was as if she chose to be excluded from the wardrobe budget.
  • Rich Bitch: Her "bitch" status depends on the writer.
  • Self-Serving Memory: She recalls her time as a model as being wonderful, much loved and she hated giving it up to marry Carlos. During a trip to New York, Gabby is thrown that some former model "friends" rip into her about how much they hated her. Her former agent then breaks it down that Gabby was an incredible diva whose demands were getting so bad that agencies were deciding not to use her because of the hassle. Gabby realizes that instead of "ruining" her career, marrying Carlos saved her from getting kicked out of the business.
  • 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.
  • Spoiled Brat: When it comes to material possessions.
  • Volleying Insults: She and Carlos do this a lot, and were at their most tempestuous in the early seasons.
  • Your Cheating Heart

     Other Housewives 

Mary Alice Young (Brenda Strong)
"Oh, Mary Alice, what did you do?"

Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan)

Karen McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten)

  • Cool Old Lady: After all, she's portrayed by Kathryn Joosten.
  • Deadpan Snarker
    Karen: (to Lynette) No offense, but you should be sterilized.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Subverted.
  • 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.
  • Back for the Finale
  • The Friend Nobody Likes
  • Mysterious Past
  • Put on a Bus
  • 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.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: She is force to kill her first husband Wayne due to his being a Dirty Cop with friends who will either get him off or make sure he gets very little jail so he can return to kill 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.
  • Yandere: In season 6, towards Mike.
    • She's practically a poster child. She got increasingly insane in the first half of the season, but then regained sanity later. Turned out she's much more sane in a lesbian relationship.

Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard)

Angie Bolen aka Angela DeLuca (Drea De Matteo)

    The Families 

Mike Delfino (James Denton)

Tom Scavo (Doug Savant)

  • Butt-Monkey
  • Fanservice: His thong scene.
  • 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).
  • Henpecked Husband
  • Papa Wolf
  • Promoted to Opening Credits: In season 2.

Carlos Solis (Ricardo Antonio Chavira)

  • The Atoner: In season 2.
  • Butt-Monkey
  • Deadpan Snarker: What else would you expect by Gabrielle's husband?
  • Domestic Abuser: At one point, he tampers with his wife's birth control pills in order to get her pregnant, despite her clearly expressing her aversion at the idea of becoming a mother. It works and Gabrielle becomes pregnant, but she is understandably furious at this betrayal and breach of trust. This is something that real-life abusers do, in order to either keep their partners by their side or simply because they do not have any respect for their wishes.
    • Gabrielle gives as much as she takes though, she constantly hits him (It's often Played for Laughs, but at one point it got so bad she actually pushed him out of a second-floor window), she's very manipulative and emotionally abusive towards him (Especially on matters concerning money and his mother) and spent the majority of the first two seasons cheating on him with their 17 year-old gardener; eventually they more or less decide they're even and their relationship gets considerably better.
  • "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: It turns out when the doctor said he was permanently blind, what he really meant was only for half of a season.
    • Averted in-universe, since he actually spent 6 years blind (There was a 5 year time-skip between seasons 4 and 5) and this very much affected his and Gabrielle's dynamic permanently despite being later cured.
  • Mistaken For Homophobic: Beats up two separate men he suspects Gabrielle is cheating on him with. Both of these guys happened to be gay.
  • Overprotective Uncle: To Ana.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry
    Gabrielle: Go on, go all cholo on his ass!

Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan)

Rex Van de Kamp (Steven Culp)

Paul Young (Mark Moses)

Karl Mayer (Richard Burgi)

Andrew Van De Kamp (Shawn Pyform)

  • Calling The Old Lady Out: Blames the majority of his problems on his mother.
  • Coming-Out Story
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Gayngst: Initially, though by the beginning of season 3 he seemed to become much more well adjusted.
  • Jerkass: With varying levels. In the first season he seemed to be just a teenager with attitude problems, until he ran over Carlos' mother while drunk-driving, and his only reaction was "She's already lived enough, I'm young and might go to jail for this, and that'll ruin my life". It went downhill from there until Season 3, where, after spending a long time living in the streets, he mellowed down quite a bit.
  • Straight Gay
  • "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.

Danielle Van De Kamp (Joy Lauren)

  • Brainless Beauty: As summed up by her own mother:
    Bree: When I was young, my stepmother told me that I was very lucky. I possessed beauty, wit, cunning, and insight. These were weapons all women needed to survive in the world.
    Danielle: So?
    Bree: So take good care of your looks, Danielle. You don’t have any other weapons at your disposal.
    • Also:
    Danielle: Benjamin's already reading at a third grade level.
    Bree: So what are you going to do next year when he overtakes you?
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: And how.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: She is known as Little Miss Van de Tramp. Apparently, she made it up herself, but only because it was nicer than the other things they were calling her.
  • Hot for Teacher: For two episodes in season three, done out of spite more than anything else.
  • Jerkass: Blackmailed Julie's boyfriend into continuing to sleep with her.
    • And if she hadn't, she wouldn't have gotten pregnant. (Assuming she wasn't already pregnant at the time, that is).
  • Popular Is Dumb
  • Spoiled Brat
    "I don't care as long as I have my own bathroom..."
  • Teen Pregnancy: Seasons three and four.

Julie Mayer (Andrea Bowen)

Zach Young (Cody Kasch))

Adam Mayfair (Nathan Fillion)

Ana Solis (Maiara Walsh)

Noah Taylor (Bob Gunton)

    Other Characters 

Martha Huber (Christine Estabrook)

Felicia Tillman (Harriet Sansom Harris)

Gloria Hodge (Dixie Carter)

Bob Hunter and Lee McDermott (Tuc Watkins and Kevin Rahm)

  • Faux Yay: Lee pretends to be straight in one episode in Gabrielle's scheme to catch her housemate in the act of soliciting sex.
  • Only Sane Man: There are exactly two men in this show that are sane and normal and without any drama in their lives. They are married to each other.
  • Pet Homosexual: Much to their frustration, the housewives always invite them over when they need some gay friends.
  • Straight Gay: Bob is a tad more masculine than Lee, but they both act like your average middle aged man.

Maisy Gibbons (Sharon Lawrence)

Alma Hodge (Valerie Mahaffey)

  • The Ditz
  • The Dragon: To Gloria.
  • Faking the Dead: To lure Orson in a trap so that she could rape him.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: She falls from the roof and dies while trying to warn Danielle.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She tricked Orson into marrying her by getting pregnant. Of course, she's overshadowed by Gloria.
  • Never Found the Body: Because Orson didn't murder her.
  • 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.
  • Yandere

Robin Gallagher (Julie Benz)

Nora Huntington (Kiersten Warren)

Eddie Orlofsky (Josh Zuckerman)

John Rowland (Jesse Metcalfe)

  • Ambiguously Brown
  • Dawson Casting: Metcalfe was 25 when he began playing the 17-year-old Rowland. Averted in later seasons when time skipped forward allowing John's age to catch up more with Metcalfe's real age.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He fell in love with Gabrielle, but she was mostly using him just for sex when Carlos was either not paying her enough attention or she was mad with him.
  • Hot Men At Work: Was the Solis' gardener and often did it shirtless.
  • Jail Bait: Gabrielle was threatened by John's Mother with legal action once their affair was exposed.
  • Likes Older Women: It was said that high-school girls his age bored him. In addition to Gabrielle, he also had a brief fling with an even older woman on the street named Joan.
  • Lovable Jock: He wasn't shown in his high-school setting much, but was shown to be a popular soccer player.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Partly causes Carlos' send to prison hoping to get him out of the way and begin a real relationship with Gabrielle. She wasn't impressed, and this led to her patching things up with Carlos.
  • Pretty Boy: Probably what allowed Metcalfe to get away (just) with playing a 17 year old.
  • Rags to Riches: Between seasons 2 and 3 he goes from being a neighborhood gardener to starting a successful gardening business.
  • Romantic Runner-Up
  • Sex God: Gabrielle was surprised when John revealed to her that she was his first, and later bragged about his prowess to Carlos.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: It was not known who was the father of Gabrielle's later miscarried first child out of himself and Carlos.
  • Your Cheating Heart: In season 3, he was engaged to (and later married) a hotel heiress when he slept with Gabrielle again.