Felicity Huffman (Lynette) links her choices to Marc Cherry’s comic vision.
“There’s that iconic moment in the pilot, of Lynette going into the pool for her boys, but also when Bree goes to the emergency room when she thinks she’s had some kind of attack, and then she realizes that no, she’s finally had an orgasm. … I loved when Mrs. McCluskey and Lynette were out on the baseball diamond to scatter Ida’s ashes, and security came and they ended up chased around the bases.
“Marc takes those American family moments and then pushes them just that extra bit, but not in order to destroy them. Just to be fun and a little wicked.”
Doug Savant (Tom) can’t stop talking about the ladies.
“There was Teri (Hatcher) naked in the bushes, or Nicollette Sheridan washing the car in that homage to ‘Cool Hand Luke.’ And of course when Marcia Cross’ Bree, at dinner, announces, to spite her husband Rex, that he cries when he ejaculates. That line was daring, and it was audacious, and I said that if we could do that three times a year we’d have a hit.”
And for himself?
“I’m proudest of the connection audiences felt with Tom and Lynette as a couple. Every day of my life people mention it. They cared.”
For Eva Longoria (Gabrielle), the signature moments were forged early.
“For Gaby, it’s mowing the lawn in that evening gown. It’s a beautiful outfit and I think they’ve archived it because it’s so iconic to the tone of the show early on. She’s so desperate to cover up that she needs to do this.
“The pilot is my favorite, because I remember thinking, I’ve never seen anything like this on TV before. The innocence and naivete of shooting this, and everyone in the world embracing it with open arms, this worldwide phenomenon, is something I’ll never forget.”
Narrator Brenda Strong (Mary Alice) cites Cherry’s “wickedly wonderful” writing in three key episodes.
“The pilot, obviously; it got the whole mystery and the ball rolling. And the last episode because I think it will tie everything together extremely well.”
She also points to episode 100, in which Beau Bridges guested as a Wisteria Lane handyman whose death prompted flashback reflections on all the housewives’ lives.
“It’s so incredibly heart-centric. Beau and Marc did such a great job in tying together all the ladies on the lane in such a heartfelt way.”
Marcia Cross (Bree) calls the show “a wonderful mix, not just a sitcom or a hospital drama but a combination of forms that made its own template and had something to offer for everyone.”
Bree’s reaction to husband Rex’s death illustrates that mix: “I’m holding it together polishing the silver, and then break down and cry. That’s about her shell, her veneer. I think about his funeral: the absolute grief of that, but also fighting with the stepmother about which tie he should be buried in and actually trying to fix his outfit in the casket. It’s those extreme things that bring out the character comedy for me.
“People would go to Marc and ask for more jokes. I would always ask for it to be rooted in something real. I don’t think anything’s funny unless it resonates from some place of truth.”
Show left no tone unturned