Desperate Housewives focuses on marriage as a bewildering experience. What kinds of surprises do women encounter?
I read this great book called Marriage Shock, because I was terrified of getting married. It said that there’s a cultural phenomenon where, when women marry, their past life sort of ceases to exist. You know, men still talk about old girlfriends and stuff like that, but women somehow don’t.
Your character seems to challenge the concept that motherhood is endlessly rewarding.
Oh, my God. I really believe that motherhood is the last icon in America. I remember I was sitting at a tea with a bunch of women, and they go, “So, do you just love being a mother?” and I had two kids in a year and a half, and it was out of my mouth before I could stop myself. I said, “No, I don’t like being a mother! I love my child, but this is the hardest fucking job I’ve ever had.” They were aghast.
That line is in the pilot!
Yeah. That’s exactly what I said in the audition. Motherhood can be a prison.
In some ways, none of the characters seem like housewives or even that desperate.
There’s a silent desperation, I think, in everyone’s lives. Marc Cherry [the show’s executive producer] tells a great story of the show’s genesis. He and his mother were watching the trial of that woman who drowned her children, with their mouths open, just shocked, and he finally turned to his mother and said, “God, could you imagine doing that?,” and she took a drag off her cigarette and said, “Yeah, I’ve been there.”
Desperate Housewives, ABC; premieres October 3, 9 p.m.