Susan married divorce attorney Karl Mayer. The couple moved with their daughter to Wisteria Lane, a peaceful suburban neighborhood. Susan and Karl shared a blissful marriage until the fateful time when she found out he’d been cheating on her with his secretary, for whom he then left Susan. The couple divorced, and Susan spent her time feeling depressed and hoping for a man to come and sweep her off her feet. Susan’s only companion then became her precocious and smart teenage daughter, Julie, with whom she shared an amazingly tight relationship.
Tom and Lynette Scavo are middle class white Americans. Their religious background is not revealed, and does not seem important. Lynette was a successful career woman, but she gave up her career when she got pregnant. Although the general idea is that the life of a housewife should be fulfilling, this woman says that she does not like her job all that much. She confesses it is tough, and she cannot always cope with the problems she has. She often tries to use strategies from work when raising the children, with variable success. Tom is a business man who is always away, and he has no idea of the problems Lynette faces. He is ignorant of how unhappy Lynette is, living the life of a housewife. This only adds to the frustrations that she feels.
Gabrielle and Carlos Solis are Latinos, but this fact is not emphasized. Both come from rather poor backgrounds, but now they are the richest couple in the neighborhood. They even have a white gardener, which is, according to both the director and the actors, something uncommon in the States. They are Catholics, but they are not very religious. Carlos represents the stereotypical Latino macho guy, who is very possessive towards his wife. Gabrielle is a selfish woman, who does not seem to realize that her husband really does love her. She has an affair to escape the boredom of her life as a suburban housewife.
The Van de Kamp’s are a Protestant family. As Marc Cherry comments, emotions are not allowed to surface in this family, and everyone should always be pleasant and nice. Bree’s life is idyllic and artificially perfect. Bree is the kind of housewife every other woman is jealous of, because, on the surface, everything in her life seems perfect, and whatever she tries to do, she succeeds. Under that surface, however, she has to live with children who disdain her, and a husband who wants to leave her. Bree is very religious and moralistic. Rex is a respectable middle class doctor with a dark side: he has a fondness for S M.(Sadomasochism = Sadism & Masochism)
As the series concentrates mostly on the women and their place in life, I have found many comments which refer to different femininities. Many of these reflect the way the characters think about the life of a parent. There were some general comments about manhood and womanhood, and some comments specifically on the life of a housewife. All of these will be discussed. As the sociological background of the couples is so different, I will analyze the comments per couple, and compare the outcomes.