‘Desperate Housewives’ writer reveals experiencing ‘overt racism’ from series creator

‘Desperate Housewives’ writer reveals experiencing ‘overt racism’ from series creator
Michelle De Pacina
September 1, 2023
Former television screenwriter Patty Lin revealed having experienced “overt racism” from “Desperate Housewives” series creator Marc Cherry. 
“Overt racism”: In her newly released memoir “End Credits: How I Broke Up With Hollywood,” Lin details her experiences working with Cherry on the first season of the hit ABC drama. Although she contemplated leaving Hollywood in 2004, Lin says she stayed after being attracted to the show’s pilot script. 
However, she claims she encountered challenges immediately upon joining the writers’ room for the first season. As the only person of color in a staff of 10, Lin says she experienced “overt racism” from Cherry. She recalls instances where Cherry made insensitive comments about her ethnicity and suggested she create a show similar to comedian Margaret Cho’s 1994 network sitcom, “All-American Girl,” due to their shared Asian background.
“I had never encountered overt racism until I worked for him,” Lin said. “I love Margaret Cho, but please don’t lump us together just because we’re both Asian women in show business.”
Cherry’s behavior: Lin goes on to describe a tumultuous working environment plagued by uncertainty about the show’s direction, characterizing Cherry as “impossible to please.” Cherry’s obsessive tendencies and missed deadlines allegedly contributed to an inefficient system, which Lin likens to a “Lord of the Flies situation.” 
Lin also explains that while the writers were not explicitly barred from the set, they did not feel welcome there. The “Desperate Housewives” cast, including Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria, was largely seen by the writers only during table reads.
About the series: Despite Lin’s claims, “Desperate Housewives” achieved immense success, becoming a popular show that ran for eight years, won awards and generated substantial revenue. The series, which aired from 2004 to 2012, portrayed the lives of a group of women living on Wisteria Lane, exploring their dynamics and secrets through the perspective of a neighbor who had died by suicide in the show’s premiere.
About Lin: Lin, who also contributed to shows like “Friends,” “Breaking Bad” and “Freaks and Geeks,” retired from TV writing in 2008. Her experiences align with ongoing calls from writers for well-structured and fairly compensated systems in the entertainment industry.
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