Desperate Housewives first aired back in 2004 and went on to air for eight seasons until its series finale in 2012. Despite being off the air for a long time, the series is still immensely popular and finding new audiences all the time thanks to the age of digital streaming. The show focused on four housewives living on Wisteria Lane in a seemingly idyllic suburb.
But everyone living on Wisteria had at least one dark secret or more to tell and everything began to come out after one housewife shot herself, shocking everyone and kickstarting the series' plot. We're taking a look back at some of the most timeless elements from the series and a few that didn't age as well.
10 Timeless: A predominantly female main cast
Even though it has been over a decade since Desperate Housewives first aired on television, there is still not a huge amount of television series with primarily female main casts.
Desperate Housewives was revolutionary for that along with other huge shows like Sex and the City. Since then, things have begun to change and a lot of Desperate Housewives copycats litter the air or have come and gone over the last few years.
9 Aged Poorly: Gaby's affair with John
When Gaby had an affair with the Solis's house gardener, John, it wasn't seen as a big deal at the time. But looking back on it, John was still technically a teenager. When their affair started, he was only 17-years-old. No matter which way you look at it, Gaby committed a crime and it's uncomfortable to view now.
It was understandable why she wanted to cheat given how horrible of a husband Carlos was back then, but it definitely shouldn't have been with someone as young as John. If that same storyline aired now, it would receive more backlash and be handled much differently most likely.
8 Timeless: Dark comedy
One of the reasons Desperate Housewives has stood the test of time is for its deft ability to effortlessly interweave dark circumstances with campiness and comedy. There was a lot of murder, drugs, blackmail, bribery, cheating, and manipulation going on down Wisteria Lane.
Yet anyone who has watched the show would never consider it an intense drama along the lines of This Is Us. Desperate Housewives was always easily able to juggle different genres and tones. Marc Cherry, the series creator, has used a similar style in his other series like Devious Maids and Why Women Kill.
7 Aged Poorly: Life Imitating Art
One of the biggest celebrity scandals this year was the college admissions scandal, also known as "Operation Varsity Blues". The scandal was not cordoned off to celebrities only and turned out to be a wide-scale ring of bribery between various adults and universities trying to scam kids into college. It did, however, take down at least two high-profile celebrities: Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Ironically, darkly so, Huffman's Desperate Housewives character Lynette Scavo tried to bribe her kids' way into an elite preschool in the show's first season. Lynette even tried to donate the same amount of money as Huffman allegedly did in real life.
6 Timeless: Secrets in a small town
The common storytelling trope that a small town has tons of secrets is not a new thing, but Desperate Housewives certainly helped popularize the idea in comedy-dramas.
The idea that your traditional Americana suburb could have tons of bored housewives doing something seedy and nefarious took root after this show was created and helped launch Bravo's flagship franchise, The Real Housewives. The first edition, Real Housewives of Orange County, was directly inspired by the ABC drama and has now become a mega-franchise for the network.
5 Aged Poorly: Gaby's choice to have kids
In the early seasons of Desperate Housewives, Gaby was the only housewife who didn't have children, and she was adamant about keeping it that way. Fast forward a few years later after the show introduced a time jump, and, suddenly, Gaby had kids. Not to mention, she was living a totally different lifestyle.
It's unfortunate the series thought that this was the right way to go because it implied that the only way a woman can be happy and fulfilled is if she has children. It would have been nice for them to allow Gaby to stick to her guns.
4 Timeless: The core housewives
The show might have wrapped up a long time ago, but a lot of people still remember the individual housewives by name. They have cemented their place in pop culture, particularly Bree Van de Kamp who may have been the most popular housewife out of all of them.
It's funny to see them pop up in conversations all these years later, and to hear the occasional reference to the show in other series that are airing today. Plus, as we mentioned before, it's very apparent how much this series influenced every drama series that came after it. If you rewatch it, you'll certainly notice the way it has changed the drama television landscape.
3 Aged Poorly: Everything behind the scenes
Unfortunately, even though the series was extremely popular all over the world, not everything was great behind the scenes. The show is famous for the amount of discord that went on between the cast members and even the show creator, Marc Cherry. It has been rumored that Teri Hatcher did not get along with the other women on set for years.
There are multiple stories about Hatcher being left out of cast gatherings, or drama breaking out at events like the infamous Vanity Fair photoshoot. Nicolette Sheridan sued show creator Marc Cherry for assault, and the two were embroiled in a legal battle for several years. Even more than that, after Felicity Huffman's recent arrest, show star Ricardo Antonio Chavira tweeted a scathing comment about her short sentence implying even more issues on set.
2 Timeless: The shocks and twists
We've already discussed how the tone of the series and the unique plot have served as inspiration for many shows to come afterward, but another thing that has clearly inspired other series is the many shocks and twists.
The show was known for including over-the-top plotlines and pulling the rug out from audiences with last-minute twists. The series covered everything from shootings to murderous cover-ups to tornadoes and beyond. No stone was left unturned.
1 Aged Poorly: The Betty Applewhite storyline
One of the big criticisms of Desperate Housewives in the early years was its lack of diversity. There were virtually no characters of color on the show. The creators attempted to fix this by introducing Alfre Woodard to play a new housewife in the second season, Betty Applewhite.
The problem is, the storyline they wrote for Betty and her family was horrible and came across as racist. There have been several pieces written about the many issues with the storyline and its perpetuation of stereotypes. Needless to say, it has not aged well at all.