Wiksteria Lane

"Listen to the Rain on the Roof" is the 48th episode of Desperate Housewives, as well as its third season premiere.


It is raining on Wisteria Lane, six months after Mike was run over. He is now in a coma, with Susan by his side. Bree gets engaged to Orson. Gabrielle and Carlos are getting divorced, but they are briefly reunited when their 8½ months pregnant surrogate Xiao-Mei (guest star Gwendoline Yeo) runs away. While adjusting to having another child around the house, Lynette realizes that the girl's mother, Nora (guest star Kiersten Warren), is more than she can handle. While at the hospital, Susan is asked on a date by a man, Ian (guest star Dougray Scott) whose spouse is also in a coma. Meanwhile, Edie is desperately trying to sell the Young house.


Previously on Desperate Housewives[]

For some love will wither...while others will wait for love. For others, new love will bloom...that may never arrive.
Mary Alice Young
  • Tom tells Lynette that he has another child. ("Remember")
  • Gabrielle catches Carlos having an affair with the household maid, Xiao-Mei, and subsequently kicks him out. ("Remember")
  • Bree meets Orson Hodge at the Fairview Psychiatric Hospital, and he later delivers flowers to her door. ("Remember")
  • Mike is run over by Orson, just before he can propose to Susan. ("Remember")


Something awful happened on Lakeview Drive last year. To understand why, you need to know that when Alma Hodge awoke that morning, she had no idea this would be the day she'd leave her husband. Certainly, it began normally enough. She put away the groceries per his instructions. She hung his dry cleaning exactly as he had requested. She folded the towels just as he had taught her. It was just before noon, when something inside Alma broke and she decided it was time to fly away. Of course, she knew better than to say this to her husband. He thought Alma was happy. And Orson Hodge did not like to be contradicted. So she waited till he'd left for work. And then...

We meet Orson’s first wife Alma and see a glimpse of what her daily life is like. One day, Alma decides she is going to leave her husband. She waits for Orson to leave for work, and starts packing her suitcase. She grabs her pet parrot's cage and starts running, but suddenly trips. The parrot flys out of the cage up onto the stair banister. Alma begs the parrot to come down but he won't return.

Meanwhile, on his way to work, Orson notices a stain on his blazer, and being the perfectionist that he is, decides to head home and put on a clean one. He returns home, and walks in on Alma just as she is about to leave. He sees her packed bags, and menacingly closes the front door.

The next day, Carolyn Bigsby stopped by. And, like most nosy neighbors, she knew you learned more if you didn't knock.

Carolyn opens the front door of the Hodge's house, and walks in. She sees cleaning product and a brush, and then encounters Orson. Carolyn explains that Alma didn't show up for their coffee date this morning, to which Orson replies "Alma left yesterday." Intrigued, Carolyn asks what he means by "left" - he explains they got in a row and she left. Carolyn smiles, but her face suddenly turns deadly serious when Alma's pet parrot squawks "Orson, no!" Orson ushers Carolyn out of the house and looks on at the parrot, his face cold.

Yes, Orson Hodge was a man who did not like to be contradicted...by anyone.
Mary Alice Young

Orson walks out to the sidewalk, and places an empty parrot cage next to the garbage cans, and slowly walks back into his home.

Act I[]

It doesn't rain very often in the town of Fairview. But when it does, it pours. It was on just such a day that Bree Van de Kamp went on her first date with her new friend, Orson Hodge, a date that ended with a kiss in the rain. This occurred just as Gabrielle Solis was conferring with with her new divorce lawyer and describing, in vivid detail, her husband's affair with their maid, who also happened to be their surrogate. Meanwhile, Lynette Scavo was busy meeting her husband's illegitimate daughter...while resisting the urge to strangling the girl's mother. This happened just after Susan Mayer learned Mike Delfino had been badly injured in a hit-and-run accident and was now in a coma at Fairview Memorial Hospital. At that same moment, Edie Britt was putting up a for-sale sign on the lawn of the house where I once lived. Edie had also planned to spruce up the property by washing down the driveway, but she was pleased to see the rain had already taken care of that. This is what rainy days are good for. They make everything clean again...which is necessary on a street like Wisteria Lane, where everything can get so messy.
Mary Alice Young

6 Months Ago

Huge thunder clouds hover over Wisteria Lane, as heavy rain falls. Bree and Orson are seen running down the street, covering their heads with a jacket, they stop and kiss each other passionately. Meanwhile, inside her home, Gabrielle is angrily talking to her lawyer, as Xiao-Mei brings a tray of tea to the table, and rubs her pregnant stomach. Across the street, Lynette and Tom greet Nora and Kayla - Nora takes off her rain coat and chucks it at Lynette. Next door, Susan runs through the rain towards her car. She hops in, and quickly races down the road, heading for the hospital. She passes Edie Britt, who hangs a for-sale sign on the Young house's lawn, before running away to find cover. Back at the Van de Kamp home, Orson opens the door for Bree, and the pair happily enter. Gabrielle says goodbye to her divorce lawyer and gives Xiao-Mei a dirty look as she walks past her. Tom, Kayla and Nora enter the house, leaving Lynette trailing behind, still holding Nora's coat. Lynette throws the coat on the floor, before walking inside. Lightning strikes as she slams the front door shut.


Edie is hosting an open-house event, where potential buyers of the Young property can have a look around. She is handing out flyers, but overhears Karen McCluskey scaring away customers by telling them that Paul Young murdered Felicia Tilman and that the police found her severed fingers in the garage. Edie pulls Karen aside, tells her to stop freaking out her customers, before kicking her out onto the porch.

Over at the Scavo place, Lynette and the family are getting ready to have a Christmas photograph taken. Tom thanks Lynette for being so understanding about the whole situation, while Nora gets Kayla ready for the photo. Everyone gets ready, but Lynette is surprised when Nora sits down on the sofa ready to be in the photo too. Lynette asks what she's doing, to which Nora replies "It's a family photo, right?" - Lynette is angered by this and starts asking Tom how long she has to put up with Nora for. Nora walks over, and tells them to stop fighting. Lynette tells Nora that she doesn't want her in the photograph. Nora tells Kayla that they're leaving, and that if she's not allowed in the photo, neither is Kayla. Lynette agrees to let Nora be in the photo, and tells Tom "put her at the end, and we can crop her out later." Lynette readies the camera, and everyone poses for the picture. Suddenly, Nora claims the photo is looking "a little stiff" and jumps onto the children's lap, ruining the photo.

Meanwhile, Gabrielle waits on a heavily pregnant Xiao-Mei. Xiao-Mei complains about the meal, and asks for crackers, before throwing half of her meal across the room. She angers Gabrielle when she asks her to rub her feet because they're sore. After arguing, Xiao-Mei calls Gabrielle a bitch. Gabrielle threatens to send her back to China to work in a rice paddy as soon as she has the baby. Xiao-Mei is shocked and starts shouting at Gaby, to which she replies "Tell it to my Chinese friend, Sue Me!"

At Fairview Memorial Hospital, Susan is in Mike's room, giving him a shave. Dr. Craig walks in and tells her not to be optimistic as his chances of waking up are very slim. Susan argues with Dr. Craig, as she believes he will wake up, before telling him "You keep doing your job, and I'll keep doing mine." Susan returns to shaving Mike's face, and smiles as she does so.

Later that evening, at the Van de Kamp house, Bree and Orson have just finished having a delicious dinner. Orson tidies up, and brings in a box, which is full of the dessert which he bought from a bakery downtown. He presents her with a small cake made to resemble a present. Bree says its adorable. Orson takes the lid off the cake, and inside is a beautiful engagement ring. Bree is surprised, and looks at Orson in shock. "What do you say, Bree? Will you marry me?" Orson asks her. Bree tells Orson that this is all very sudden, but after much hesitation and caution, she agrees to marry him. Orson picks up the ring, and slides it onto Bree's finger. Bree admires the ring, while Orson eats the cake looking on, eerily.

Act II[]

Ian Hainsworth had been miserable ever since a tragic horseback riding accident had left his wife, Jane, in a coma. For the next three years, he shied away from all social contact because he wanted to be alone with his grief. Then one day he met Susan Mayer, who because of her own tragedy, was just as miserable as he was. And a friendship slowly blossomed, because as everyone knows, misery loves company. And Ian was loving this company more and more every day.
Mary Alice Young

We are introduced to Ian Hainsworth, a British man, whose wife is in a coma at the same hospital Mike is being cared for. Through flashbacks, we see that Ian and Susan bumped into each other one day in the hospital corridor, and they soon become friends. Later on, Ian visits Susan while she is giving Mike muscle exercisies, and brings with him some coffee. Susan asks Ian the time, he presents her with a watch he's bought for her. Susan says she can't accept it, calling it "too extravagant." Ian tells her to keep it, seeing as he bought it off some guy on the sidewalk and tells Susan to look closely as it actually says "Folex" instead of "Rolex." Susan thanks Ian, before heading out to have lunch with the girls.

At Fairview Country Club, Bree sits down at a table with Gabrielle, Lynette and Susan, and apologizes for being late. Lynette comments on Bree's clothing saying "Wow, white gloves. Are we having luncheon in the 1880s?" The girls all laugh, and Bree comments that it's a very elegant country club and that Orson has been a member for years and that it'll be so much nicer once the construction on the golf course has finished. Bree invites everyone to a dinner on Saturday that her and Orson will be hosting. The girls ask why she's having a party, and if she doesn't tell them, they aren't coming. Bree removes her white gloves, displaying her engagement ring. They all congratulate Bree on her engagement, commenting that she "moves fast!" Bree describes how wonderful Orson is and calls him the most generous man she knows. Gabrielle says that generous means he's "good in the sack." Bree interrupts Gabrielle, telling her that they haven't had sex yet and that they're waiting until they get married. Gabrielle laughs hysterically, thinking that Bree is joking. But Gabrielle is shocked to learn that Bree is dead serious. Bree asks the girls to pretend to be surprised when she and Orson officially announce their engagement on Saturday.

Later on, Tom and Lynette are blowing up balloons and getting ready for Parker's birthday party. Tom asks if Lynette invited Kayla and what she told Nora. Lynette replies that she told Nora they were picking up Kayla for a quiet afternoon at home. Tom is annoyed that Lynette lied, but Lynette defends herself saying that she doesn't want another family gathering ruined by Kayla's mother. Tom says that he's afraid Nora will "blow a gasket" if she finds out they lied. Lynette confronts Tom and asks "You're more afraid of Nora then me?" Tom replies "No, that's not what I meant. You scare the hell out of me, baby." Lynette says "Thank you" before walking off.

Back at the hospital, Susan brings smoothies to Ian's wife's room. Ian takes a vase of flowers into the bathroom to top up the water, while Susan looks around Jane's room. From inside the bathroom, Ian proposes that him and Susan go out to a restaurant sometime on a date. In shock, Susan accidentally spills her smoothie all over Jane and her bed. Susan desperately tries to tidy up the mess before Ian sees it. Susan agrees to go out with Ian, while she grabs a nearby blanket and throws it over Jane's bed, hiding the mess she has made. Ian walks back into the room, sees the blanket over Jane, and looks at Susan confused. Susan says "Jane looked cold." Susan says she is hungry, in an effort to get out of the room, before Ian spots what has happened. Ian agrees, and leaves to get food. A nurse enters and Susan tells her to "give Jane a sponge bath because she had a little...accident." The nurse nods and Susan hurries off behind Ian.

Act III[]

Back on Wisteria Lane, Parker's party is well under way, and Lynette is busy taking care of everyone. Lynette's phone rings. It's Nora. Lynette tells all the children to be quiet for a minute, just as Nora calmly asks "Are you having a party?" Lynette denies the claim and pretends that they're having a quiet afternoon at home. Nora tells Lynette to tell Kayla that she called and that they'll see each other later that evening. Lynette tells Tom that she thinks Nora will be over in 10 minutes to check on her, so she has all the kids (and a hired clown) tidy everything up. Lynette leaves an answer phone message on Gabrielle's phone asking if she can borrow her backyard for a couple of hours. Meanwhile, Tom ushers all the children, the clown, and a pony up the Lane to the Solis house.

Across the road, Edie is showing an older couple around the Young house. They voice their concern about the neighborhood and ask if it's quiet as they plan on living in the house when they retire. "Are you kidding?" Edie replies, "There's no place in Fairview more peaceful!" she opens the front door (planning on showing them a quiet street) but instead ends up showing them a street filled with noisy kids running with balloons and screaming as Lynette shouts "Where the hell's the pony?" Edie quickly closes the door, casually smiling, before quickly saying "Let me show you the media room."

Lynette and Tom manage to get all the children in Gaby's backyard. Tom asks where the cake is, to which Lynette replies "Oh crap." Lynette quickly makes her way back to her house, where she prepares the cake and adds candles. Just as she's about to make her way back to Gaby's, Nora opens the door and walks in. Lynette puts the cake on the floor and kicks it into the other room, before welcoming Nora. Nora asks where Kayla is and Lynette says Tom took the kids to the movies. Nora confronts Lynette saying "You said ice-cream." "Yeah, after the movies. Movies, then ice cream. An American tradition" Lynette replies. Nora starts looking around the house but eventually believes Lynette. However, a young boy suddenly runs out from the bathroom and asks "Where did everybody go?"

A furious Nora struts out of the Scavo home exclaiming "I want my daughter. Where's the damn party?" Lynette refuses to tell her. Nora gives up but spots a balloon over Gaby's house and suddenly starts dashing towards the Solis home. Lynette frantically chases after her, Lynette gets there first, and blocks the gate to the backyard. Nora screams Kayla's name and Tom emerges from the backyard asking what's wrong. Nora is angry that she wasn't invited to the party and is annoyed that they both lied to her about it. Tom apologizes and asks if Nora would like to have some cake. Lynette walks off, obviously annoyed. Tom runs over and discusses the situation with Lynette and says "I'm just thinking of Kayla." Lynette then vents how angry she is about everything and that she has to put up with having Nora around at every family event. The pair have a heart-to-heart conversation and Lynette tells him that he always comes first with her, but she needs to know if she always comes first with him. Tom says goodbye to Nora, who informs him that she's still taking Kayla. Tom tells her that he's got to go and hoist a pinata for the kids. Kayla turns to Nora and happily says "Oh Mommy, they have a pinata!" Nora says she'll be back at seven to collect Kayla after the party and walks off. Lynette thanks Tom, and he tells her that he'll be back in 20 minutes. Lynette asks if he's going to go and buy a pinata to which he replies "Sure am." before dashing to his car.

Act IV[]

Gabrielle enters Xiao-Mei's bedroom carrying a tray of food and tells her that her favorite television soap opera is on and that she's missing it. Gabrielle looks around the bedroom. There's no sign of Xiao-Mei. Gabrielle visits Carlos at his apartment and asks if he has seen Xiao-Mei. They go to Fairview's China Town and Carlos expresses his anger at Gaby for loosing their baby. Gabrielle and Carlos go into a Chinese restaurant where one of Xiao-Mei's relatives, Li Wang, works as a waitress. Li Wang is angry at Gabrielle and tells her that Xiao-Mei said that Gaby had threatened to make her work as a slave in a rice paddy. Gaby tells Carlos and Li Wang that she didn't think Xiao-Mei would take it personally. Li Wang shouts "You treat Xiao-Mei like dirt! She's just a poor girl trying to live the American dream, just like your ancestors." Gabrielle asks for the last time if she knows where Xiao-Mei is, and if not, she'll get the health department to pay the restaurant a visit and to take a closer look at what they're serving as Moo Shu Pork. The scene cuts, and we see Gabrielle and Carlos leave the restaurant. Gabrielle has a Chinese noodle dish all down her blouse and says "Boy, those people just don't have a sense of humor, do they?"

Edie is still showing people around the Young home, this time a young recently married same sex couple. The couple say they like the neighborhood, but they've heard that some odd things have happened in the house. Edie tells them that this is a complete fabrication and that it is a malicious lie spread around by jealous real estate competitors. Edie then walks over to a closet and tells them to check out the storage space. She thrusts open the door, and is shocked to see Xiao-Mei sitting inside eating the snacks Edie had put out for potential buyers. Edie turns around, faces the gay couple, and exclaims "And now the media room!"

Bree and Orson have just finished eating dessert and are cleaning up. Bree asks if she can get Orson anything else, to which he replies "You tell me." The two romantically kiss and hug. Orson starts to undress Bree, but Bree stops him. He says "I just assumed, now we're engaged..." to which Bree replies, "Does that change our core values?" Orson denies this, but says he is finding it difficult to resist. Bree tells him that they want their wedding night to be perfect. "Now, can I get you some more ice cream?" Bree says. "Not in that dress." Orson suggestively mentions, before he walks away smiling.

Meanwhile, Susan enters Mike's room at the hospital and lies down on the bed next to him. She tells him that Ian has asked her out on a date, and that she could use someone to talk to, who always talks back. Susan then sits up, saying "The thing is, I'm sort of lonely, and the past six months have been really hard on me. So, what I need is..I need to know if it's OK with you if I got out with him." She says she'd like nothing better than for Mike to just wake up from his coma right now and tell her not to go out with him. Of course, Mike lays there unresponsive and Susan hugs him lovingly before telling him that she'll see him tomorrow. Before she leaves she quietly whispers "It really is just dinner."

Act V[]

Gabrielle pulls up at Carlos' apartment. She's dropping him off after they spent all day looking for Xiao-Mei. She talks to Edie on the phone who presumably tells her that she's found her at the Young house. Gabrielle tells Carlos everything is fine and Xiao-Mei is safe. Carlos is still angry at Gaby because she endangered the life of their baby. Gabrielle explains that she's been through hell looking after his mistress. She then tells him "Imagine if the day after you found out about John Rowland, you had to make his lunch and rub his feet." Carlos gets out the car and "apologizes" for being concerned about their surrogate. Gabrielle shouts at him that Xiao-Mei is going to be fine, but once the baby comes, she's going to be stuck; a single mother raising a child alone, haggling with lawyers on who gets the kid at Christmas. She reluctantly accepts that her American Dream is dead. Carlos apologizes. Gabrielle thanks him. Carlos starts talking about his American Dream, but Gabrielle quickly drives off before he has time to speak.

Bree is on the phone speaking to a friend while Orson is at the sink washing wine glasses. Bree tells her friend to act surprised at the party on Saturday. Orson and Bree joke about how she is telling everyone before the party and Bree says she can't help it. Bree and Orson share a kiss before he returns to washing up. Bree tells him that she's already washed all the glasses. But Orson insists on re-washing them all as he found streaks, so he's wiping them down with undiluted red wine vinegar. Bree is unaware of this technique. Orson continues to inform her of different washing up techniques: "But for tougher spots, I use a fifty-fifty mix of denatured alcohol and water. Bree starts to become aroused by Orson's knowledge, and she quickly jumps on him and they begin to make out. She grabs his arm, leading him upstairs to her bedroom. The tap at the sink is still running. They fall onto the bed and kiss and undress. Orson then tries to perform oral sex on Bree. Bree says she "doesn't do that" and Orson asks "Why not?" "I'm a Republican" she replies. "I'm a Libertarian." Orson says, "I believe in minimizing the role of the state and maximizing individual rights." Bree is still reluctant, but Orson assures her that he knows what he's doing. Orson continues, while downstairs the kitchen sink is quickly becoming full, and eventually spills over the counter onto the floor. "Oh no!" Bree exclaims and she quickly rushes away, leaving Orson alone on the bed. Later on, Bree is being checked out by a nurse at Fairview Memorial Hospital. "Then it was like something inside ruptured. Well, not so much a rupture as a spasm. Waves of this hot, clutching...I think I might have had a small stroke." Bree tells the nurse. The nurse asks what she was doing at the time and Bree tries to avoid telling her that she was having sex. The nurse understands that she was having sex with her fiance and tells Bree that she was having an orgasm. Bree is shocked and simply replies with "Oh. Well, I'll be darned."

Act VI[]

It is the night of Bree and Orson's party. And outside their house, a mysterious woman walks down the street towards the Van de Kamp house. Inside, the party is well underway. Guests are drinking, talking, and enjoying the night. Bree is showing off her engagement ring to Julie and Karen McCluskey. The doorbell rings, and Bree excuses herself to open it. Carolyn Bigsby, Orson's nosy ex-neighbor, is standing at the door, and asks Bree if she is indeed Bree Van de Kamp. Bree responds "Yes. And you are?" Carolyn introduces herself to Bree, and she is invited inside. Carolyn announces in front of all the party guests that she didn't come to the party to celebrate. Orson is unpleasantly shocked to see Carolyn. "Engaged again? That was quick work" Carolyn tells Orson. The guests all look around, oblivious to what is going on. "Does she know you killed your wife?" Carolyn sternly asks Orson. Orson explains that Alma left him and Carolyn quickly adds "And no one ever heard from her again. Not me, not her family. Just dropped off the face of the Earth." Susan, Gabrielle, and Lynette all look at each other. Bree asks Orson what Carolyn is talking about. Orson tries to get Carolyn to leave but she isn't leaving until she's made her point. "Don't let him fool you. Get away from him now while you can." Carolyn tells Bree. Bree opens the front door and tells Carolyn to leave her house. "Fine, be a fool, marry him. Just don't be surprised when you go missing too." Carolyn adds before exiting the Van de Kamp home.

Bree walks into the utility room, away from the guests who are shaken about the mysterious events. Orson apologizes for Carolyn ruining the party. Bree then asks Orson about his first wife and that she disappeared. Orson explains that he tried to find her and that her family had claimed not to have heard from her, but deep down Orson thought she was just trying to punish him. Bree is confused and asks if he is still married. Orson goes on to describe what happened; he was granted a divorce on grounds of abandonment. Orson grabs Bree's hand fearing that she doesn't believe him and that she thinks that he did indeed kill Alma. "No, of course not" Bree replies. They announce their love for each other, although Bree is uneasy. Bree polity asks Orson to stop gripping her hand so tightly. He releases her, she smiles, and quickly moves away from him.

Back in the lounge, the guests are all gossiping about the party's events. Bree returns and stands in front of them all and announces that the buffet is open. Susan steps forward to try to comfort a clearly distressed Bree. Bree puts her hand up at Susan and she backs away. The other guests step forward and enter the dining room to eat the food displayed on the table.


Every storm brings with it hope that somehow by morning everything will be made clean again and even the most troubling stains will have disappeared. Like the doubts over his innocence. Or the consequence of his mistake. Like the scars of his betrayal. Or the memory of his kiss. So we wait for the storm to pass, hoping for the best...even though we know in our hearts some stains are so indelible nothing can wash them away.
Mary Alice Young

We see Bree carrying a bag of trash outside into the rain and she stand over a garbage can as Orson looks on from the doorway. The other housewives return home; Lynette finds Tom and Kayla playing a board game; Gabrielle sees Xiao-Mei with her feet up eating and reading a magazine; and Susan smiles at a beautiful photograph of herself and Mike. And then we see the Fairview Country Club. The heavy rain has washed away most of the mud in the construction area, revealing a dead body.


"Listen to the Rain on the Roof" was written by series creator Marc Cherry and series writer Jeff Greenstein and directed by Larry Shaw. Cherry's decision to advance the storylines by six months for the third season premiere came as a response to the series' problematic second season. Cherry stated that he regretted "most of Season 2," as scheduling problems made it difficult to plan the season's storylines. "One of the problems I had with Season 2 was that I had to keep going with the previous year's stuff," he explained. "I learned you have to go back to square one to build up the tension again."

The cast also expressed disappointment in the second season. James Denton considered leaving the show, while Marcia Cross confessed: "I've been at Marc's door plenty of times [with script complaints] going, 'You've got to be kidding.'" Cherry stated that the six-month time jump would help the storylines develop quicker, as the second season's storylines lagged. He added: "And I'm going to work much harder to criss-cross all the women's stories so that their lives bump up against each other." To help refresh the show, several new writers were hired, including Greenstein, Joe Keenan, who also served as an executive producer, and Bob Daily, who was also a producer. Daily commented, "When we came on in season three, the mandate was to bring the show back to its roots. That meant having plotlines spring from relatable experiences, no matter how operatic or convoluted." For the season's main mystery, Cherry and the writers wanted to incorporate more of the series' regular characters rather than bringing in various new ones, like they had done in the second season with Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) and her family. They developed the Orson plot line around the "idea that one of our women marries a guy who has dark secrets and possibly a violent streak." Cherry opined: "I thought there was something exciting about that, but real and relatable." The cast responded positively to the new material for the season.

The episode is the first to feature Kyle MacLachlan as a series regular. He originally appeared as Orson Hodge in a string of episodes at the end of the second season. The Orson character was originally planned as a romantic interest for Susan, according to executive producer Tom Spezialy, until Cherry decided to pair Orson with Bree. Additionally, when Orson was introduced toward the end of the second season, he was originally intended to be a con artist. A character portrayed by Julie White appeared in the second season finale and was planned to be Orson's accomplice until the entire storyline was discarded in favor of the mysterious disappearance of Orson's wife. MacLachlan called his character "desperate to make this relationship with Bree work. Anything that tries to knock that apart becomes a threat." Cherry called Orson Bree's perfect match, but added that their similarities "will ultimately prove to be the downfall of the relationship." Kiersten Warren also returned to the series as Nora Huntington after being introduced at the end of the second season. On her storyline, Warren commented, "There’s a lot of families who are going through this. Not quite the surprise ooh, boo, child, but children from other marriages and trying to meld these families. I think a lot of people have to deal with it. I think it’s fantastic that they’re doing this on the show."

Dougray Scott made his debut in this episode as Ian Hainsworth, Susan's romantic interest. Cherry opined that the character "can legitimately rival Mike for [Susan's] affections." Daily commented on the storyline, saying: "Talk about dark comedy — we're trying to find the humor in these two people bonding over the fact that they each have a partner in a coma." Scott called his character "bumbling at times," adding, "He kind of blossoms after he rediscovers his romantic juices with Susan."


According to ABC, "Listen to the Rain on the Roof" was watched by 24.090 million viewers, placing it as the second-most watched program of the week, behind ABC's Grey's Anatomy. According to Nielsen ratings, the episode received a 14.6 rating/21 share. The episode was watched by four million less viewers than the second season premiere a year earlier but managed to outperform the second season finale in May.

Entertainment Weekly's Lindsay Soll identified Eva Longoria as the episode's star performer, declaring that she "definitely looks like the one to watch this season." Soll was glad to see that the Susan character was "a little more toned down and less accident-prone than usual," and called the scenes with Susan and Mike "touching." Additionally, she opined that Laurie Metcalf "did a brilliant job of playing the classic TV nosy neighbor," and expressed her confusion over the Orson storyline. Dave Anderson of TV Guide called the episode "first-rate," while praising the comedic Bree storyline and declaring the set-up for the Orson mystery storyline "ingenious." He commended Marcia Cross' performance but opined that Longoria provided the best comedic relief. He also complimented Teri Hatcher's acting, commenting that she "was awesome in the poignant scene where she asks the comatose Mike permission to go on the (almost) date with Ian." Anderson identified the Scavo storyline as "the weakest link" in the episode and hoped that the Nora and Kayla characters would not remain on the show for too long. Andy Dehnart of MSNBC wrote that despite the six-month time jump, "most of the housewives are stuck in their second-season ruts." However, he acknowledged that the new storylines improved upon the quality of the previous season, citing the fast-paced Orson mystery plot as a welcomed change from the slow-moving Betty Applewhite (Alfre Woodard) mystery from the second season. Overall, Dehnart approved of the episode and felt that the show "may be on track to finally pleasuring its audience in new, albeit familiar ways."

TV Guide writer Matt Roush shared similar sentiments regarding the Scavo storyline, stating that while the premiere overall was good, "Lynette is trapped in a story line so desperately unamusing, one that makes her and everyone around her act so idiotic, that you have to pray that we'll soon see the last of the obnoxious Nora, mother of Tom's surprise daughter." He described the storyline as "painfully unpleasant and unfunny." However, Roush praised the performances of Metcalf and Valerie Mahaffey, while concluding that Desperate Housewives "shows encouraging signs of getting its act together." In a separate review, Roush unfavorably compared the Orson character to Bree's former love interest, George Williams (Roger Bart), while also admitting to being "a bit weary" of the Gabrielle storyline. Jen Creer of TV Squad was mixed in her review. She criticized the lack of originality in the storylines, writing that the episode was similar to Sex and the City. Nevertheless, Creer complimented the main actresses, concluding, "I'll be tuning in next week -- for all of its camp and unoriginality, the show does continue to have that certain something, those little twists of genius that make it worth watching."


  • When Bree reveals that she and Orson are waiting until after they are married before they have sex, Gabrielle makes a reference to taking a car for a test drive before buying it. Kyle MacLachlan who plays Orson, also played Charlotte York's first husband, Trey McDougal in "Sex and the City". In that show both he and Charlotte were also waiting until after they were married before having sex, and Samantha made the same joke as Gabrielle upon hearing this.
  • It is revealed that Bree is a republican, while Orson is a libertarian.
  • We learn in this episode from the "for sale" sign Edie is putting up at Mary Alice's house that her cell phone number is 555-0199.
  • This is the first time we see the room on the right side of Lynette's house.
  • Although Tom uses a helium voice with the balloons, it is not real helium, as the balloon he drops does not then float.
  • This is the second time a woman has warned Bree not to get married. First, with George and now Orson.
  • Kathryn Joosten, Laurie Metcalf, Kiersten Warren and Gwendoline Yeo submitted this episode for consideration in the category of "Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series" on their own respective behalves for the 2007 Emmy Awards. Dougray Scott also submitted this episode for consideration on his own behalf in the category of "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series" for the same awards.
  • Marcia Cross submitted this episode in consideration for her work in the category of Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards.
  • Although credited, Josh Henderson (Austin McCann) does not appear in this episode.
  • Cody Kasch and Mark Moses are no longer listed as regulars in the cast and do not appear in this episode. Shawn Pyfrom and Joy Lauren are, but do not appear in this episode.
  • Due to time constraints, the opening credits sequence was completely cut.
  • At the beginning of this episode when Carolyn walks in on Orson cleaning up, and asks where Alma is, the parrot says 'Orson no, Orson no!'. This is a reference to Kyle McLachlan's past role in Twin Peaks when during a murder investigation, a clue is given by a bird named Waldo screeching 'Leo no, Leo no!'.
  • "Listen to the Rain on the Roof" alludes to the song "Rain on the Roof" from the 1971 Broadway musical Follies by Stephen Sondheim.

Bloopers and continuity errors[]

  • When Orson is washing the wine glasses at Bree's house, he finishes washing the last glass and puts it on the counter beside the other glasses. When they walk away to the bedroom, we can see the glasses all lined up at the counter and no glasses in the sink, only dishes and bowls where the water is still on. Then goes the scene in the bedroom. When it goes back to the kitchen when we see the water coming up in the sink, there is a glass sitting on top of the bowls in the sink filling up with water.
  • Nora knows that there is a party because a kid gets into the room from the bathroom. He comes out from the wrong place, we have seen several times that the bathroom is on the other side (on the left side of the little room near the kitchen).
  • When Lynette fights with Tom about Nora being in the photo, you can see behind them that Nora is not in the sofa despite the fact that she should be there.
  • Before Nora comes inside Lynette's home and she throws the cake away, you can see Lynette putting some candles in the cake. If they are trying to hide the party quickly, why is she bothering to put candles in it?
  • When Carolyn comes over to tell Bree about Orson killing his wife, Bree is holding a tray in her hands as Carolyn walks in the house, when she starts telling Bree about Orson's past, the tray is gone.


Gabrielle: Tell it to my Chinese friend, Sue Me!

Gabrielle, Listen to the Rain on the Roof

Xiao-Mei: You are meanest person I know!
Gabrielle: I am THE meanest person you know. You've been in this country a year, modify your nouns, dammit.

External links[]