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YMMV: Desperate Housewives
Character Tropes
  • Complete Monster: The show generally has Sympathetic Murderers and Anti Villains, but not always:
    • By the end of season 3, Gloria Hodge, has really come across as this. Here's a woman so insanely determined that her son will marry Alma, a woman he doesn't love, that she's completely willing to kill any other woman who gets close to him. She’s also quite ready to frame other, innocent people for the crimes and emotionally blackmail her vulnerable son into becoming an accomplice in the murder of a woman he loved. She continues her mad efforts to force her son back into this miserable marriage for so long, even after Alma herself has told him to give it up, that you have to wonder just who she's trying to please. This is all before you find out that she infiltrated Bree's house and gained her trust solely for the sake of polishing her off too. That's before you find out that, when Orson was a teenager, she murdered her husband, set it up to look like a suicide, and allowed the young Orson to blame himself for this.
    • Patrick Logan from season 6, an environmental terrorist who probably has devolved into Terrorist Without A Cause and is bent on destroying Angie and Nick's lives. He kills in cold blood the neighbor who tells him where Angie is hiding, and later threatens Angie into making a bomb that he plans to blow up into her house to kill her son Danny.
  • Creator's Pet: Susan, Susan, Susan. Marc Cherry has made it clear that she's his favourite character. A lot of fans retaliated by speculating that her clumsiness finally killed her soon after the end of the series, given her strangely being left out of the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The characters act so unsympatheticaly that it's hard to pick one side in their conflicts. Bree cannot accept her son Andrew's homosexuality and tries to cure him but Andrew is also a big jerkass who would do anything to piss off his mother and that's only one early example. The neighbourhood goes through so much craps that there's no hope of getting a happy life.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Orson Hodge, who went from being a one-off character, to a short-term villain, to one of the main characters on the show.
    • Edie Britt's role was increased when she proved popular with the fans.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Katherine and Susan suffers a bad on-and off one-sided rivalry for two seasons over Mike. In the 1996 film Fly Away Home, Katherine's actor, Dana Delany, played a character named Susan.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In season 3, Nora's Death Equals Redemption by telling Lynette that her daughter was the "only good thing" she did in her whole life, only for Lynette to take care of Kayla on her request and discover that she's an Enfant Terrible.
    • A season 5 episode deals with Juanita wearing make up to school in order to look more like her mother Gabby. On being asked why she did it, Juanita claims that a couple of girls at school told her she couldn't possibly be related to Gabby as she wasn't pretty enough. Two seasons later, and it's revealed that Juanita isn't related to Gabby or Carlos; she was accidentally switched at birth.
    • Mrs. McCluskey dying of cancer in the finale is even sadder now that Kathryn Joosten herself died of cancer shortly after the show ended.
  • Hollywood Homely: Gabrielle supposedly loses her beauty after becoming a mom, but c'mon—this is Eva Longoria we're talking about. Not even sweats can make her look bad. It gets even more ridiculous when other characters comment that she's out of shape.
    • One episode of season six had Tom wanting to get plastic surgery to remove the large amount of wrinkles on his face. Coincidentally, that was the only episode that season where Tom's actor wore fake wrinkle makeup. Even though he chose against the surgery, he still looks ten years younger again the next episode.
  • Iron Woobie: Bree. More like adamant woobie. She lost 3 husbands and 2 boyfriends, her son hated her with passion for several seasons, her daughter doesn't like her much either, and she succumbed to alcoholism. She managed to get back on her feet each time, despite the odds, the people, and the universe working against her. That is, until season 8, when she finally snaps, and is on the verge of suicide a la Mary Alice by the end of the 9th episode.
  • Love It or Hate It: Edie.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Paul Young, as of Season 7.
    • Orson is defintively this in season 8.
  • The Scrappy: Renee Parker is considered this by some. The fact that the promotional posters all featured Vanessa Williams in the front and center did not go done well amongst those who felt her character stole much of the spotlight.
    • Susan for much of the fandom due to her frequent clumsiness, childishness and stupidity, particularly during the final season.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Paul Young. Granted he killed the woman who drove his wife to suicide but it is difficult not to feel at least a little sorry for him given the estrangement of his son, his long stay in prison and the constant hostility and distrust of the people who were supposedly his friends and neighbours. In fact, read that back. His most unsympathetic trait is that he killed the woman who blackmailed his wife into shooting herself.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Katherine Mayfair in Season 5, who, after being rejected by Mike, goes insane. She generally acts like a bitch to Bree, who then fires her, but she's treated as a nutcase. Later, however, she is shown framing Mike for attempted murder, complete with her pointing to him as the ambulance drives off. He is arrested. Later, after Susan reveals her at a nutcase, all of the major women show up to forgive her for going crazy. Susan is reluctant, but does so. The show goes to great lengths to show that Katherine was desperately lonely and in need of affection, and, in fact, Mike is criticized when he doesn't want anything to do with her, when she framed him for assault and didn't even apologize.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Eva Longoria playing a former catwalk model. She is an extremely beautiful woman, yes, but she is also 5' 2".

Episode-Specific Tropes
  • Angst? What Angst?: So the sweet Woobie everyone's known for years turns out to be the town serial killer, who holds Lynette hostage, delivers her baby, and turns himself in. Meanwhile, the new neighbor blows up a guy in a car right in front of your house and takes off. Yet the next day, all anyone cares to talk about is that Susan is moving ten blocks away. Just another week on Wisteria Lane...
  • Ass Pull: Mike's death, as heartbreaking as it may be, was still dealt with in a rather ridiculous way. First, he needlessly puts himself in danger by walking into a house that's being robbed instead of just calling the police, and proceeds to piss off the intruder he knows is from the mafia. The crowner however is when members of that mafia decides to kill him by driving through the street in broad daylight and shoot him for anyone to see on the off chance that he's out on his porch at that moment. What kind of mafia were we talking about here?
  • Fridge Brilliance: Season 6 finale: Why did Angie spill one of her precious seconds by throwing the car door shut? To keep Patrick in the car.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The shooter in 'Bang' played Debbie Salt aka Mrs. Loomis, one of the main killers in Scream 2.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The riot against the ex-convicts home which Paul Young set up. Including having Susan trampled, Lee and Bob trapped in a car which is being beat up, Juanita, a child screaming in terror whilst in the car, and the good old fashioned claustrophobia of being pushed along by masses of people. For parents, there is also Juanita being lost in the mob. This was surprisingly scary stuff for a normally comedy and drama driven show.
    • The reveal that Karen has been keeping her dead husband in the freezer for years in order to keep recieving his pension checks.
  • Wangst: The first half of Season 8. Oh so much. Especially considering how they handled everything else they've been through for the past seven seasons.

Show-Wide Tropes
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Mike and Susan to the point where in the opening of season 6, the writers changed the story so that Mike marries Susan solely because of fan backlash.
  • Jumping the Shark: The plane crash midway season 6 is loathed as an egregious and narmful attempt to create more drama.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Mike and Susan in the fifth season.
  • Seasonal Rot: Some fans have noted a decline in quality in season five, although the Paul Young storyline was praised in Season 7
  • Testosterone Brigade: Just read the first sentence on the main page. At the height of its popularity, ABC even ran an ad with a guy admitting he watched it... and (unconvincingly) claiming that it was for the story. Riiiiiight.

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