‘Ah, But Underneath...’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Desperate Housewives



The pilot episode of Marc Cherry’s immensely successful television show Desperate Housewives (2004–) begins with a literal bang and with an opening sequence which immediately gives the viewer a strong indication of the direction which will be taken by the rest of the first season.1 ‘My name is Mary Alice Young’, our initially unseen narrator tells us, as the roving camera comes to a halt outside a picture-perfect suburban home, complete with mandatory white picket fence. ‘When you read this morning’s paper, you may come across an article about the unusual day I had last week.’ There follows a brief montage in which we see Mary Alice, a serene-looking and immaculately groomed housewife in her late thirties, carry out a number of everyday tasks. It is, it seems, a day much like every other day for our narrator, one which she spends ‘quietly polishing the routine of my life until it gleamed with perfection’.2 Her next act does deviate from the normal routine: she takes a gun out of a closet and shoots herself.


Television Show Soap Opera Twin Peak Extramarital Affair American Popular Culture 
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© Bernice M. Murphy 2009

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