Not Particularly Desperate Housewife

"Not Particularly Desperate Housewife" is an episode of the animated series American Dad!. The title is a reference to Desperate Housewives, a popular television series. The episode features guest stars Molly Shannon as Kristy White, Paget Brewster as Casey, and Sandra Oh, as Katie.


Francine wants to escape her routine. Stan refuses to eat lasagna which Francine prepared on a day other than Thursday, while neighbor Linda Memari insists on doing jigsaw puzzles with her every Wednesday night. Shopping with Linda at Red State Grocery, Francine sees "the Ladybugs," a group of women with "a fast lane lifestyle and slow motion walk." These women all wear ladybug brooches. At the supermarket's parking lot, Francine sees a woman who was crushed to death by a train of shopping carts, and takes in the dead woman's dog, Fussy. When she brings it home, Stan wants it out of the house because he think's Fussy is too effeminate, until Fussy mauls Roger.

Francine skips puzzle night with Linda to go to an art opening with the Ladybugs at the nightclub . The Ladybugs still refuse to admit Francine, until a misunderstanding causes them to believe Francine is having an affair with the valet. They reveal to Francine the true nature of their organization: they cheat on their husbands. Francine receives a ladybug brooch and tries to maintain the fiction of her affair with the valet.

However, Francine does not want to cheat on Stan, nor does she involve the valet in her charade. When Francine refuses to show her lover to the Ladybugs, she asks to leave the organization. The Ladybugs refuse, because they fear Francine could betray their secrets, and they have no secrets on her with which to counter-blackmail her. They tell her they wouldn't want her to wind up like Anne Flemming. Francine does some research, and learns that Anne Flemming was the woman who was crushed by the shopping carts in the beginning. The Ladybugs make it apparent that they are able to get to Francine at any time since practically every woman in Langley Falls (except perhaps, Linda) is a Ladybug. They prepare to kill Francine at the supermarket parking lot the same way they killed Anne, but she is saved in the nick of time by Linda, who passionately kisses her so that the Ladybugs think that Francine's affair is with a woman. Believing that they have a good enough counter-blackmail they leave her alone with a warning. Francine thanks Linda for faking that kiss, though Linda awkwardly hints that it may not have been fake after all, and runs off.

Meanwhile, after mauling Roger many times, Stan takes a liking to Fussy and begins acting rather effeminate himself. While Roger eats a dog biscuit for food, Fussy stops to lick him instead of attack him; Roger decides to use this feature to make Stan jealous. Stan, who has grown more concerned about Fussy rather than Francine's problems, sees Fussy "cheating" on him with Roger. Fearing that Fussy will leave him, Stan tries to establish his authority as "alpha male" by attacking Roger (and, in the process, reveals Steve and Klaus living in Hayley's closet, whom Hayley locked there as punishment for reading her diary). By this time, however, Fussy runs away and goes to live with a hobo in an alley. Stan grows depressed, but he decides to put it all behind him. He and Francine meet up in the end, both eager to return to their daily routines.

Cultural references

  • When Francine talks to Kristy and says "I wish I could peel off your skin and put it on me and be you.", this is a reference to Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
  • When the Ladybugs are introduced in the grocery store, they walk in slow motion and in time to "Connection" by Elastica. This is a possible reference to Mean Girls and Jawbreaker.
  • Stan wonders whether Francine is all dressed up is because "the chicks from The View" are going to burst in and give him a makeover. He is upset when he finds out the true reason why she is all dressed up.
  • The title of this episode is a reference to the drama series Desperate Housewives.
  • A man in the library is using a rating website that allows one to rate various people based on an uploaded photo. The site is very similar to Hot or Not, an example of one such website.
  • Stan makes a reference to the heightened state of alert following 9/11 when Francine admits to pretending to have an affair to impress the Ladybugs. "A cult of murderous housewives? Before 9/11 I wouldn't have believed it."
  • The scene where Francine walks to escape the Ladybugs and begins walking faster as more of them approach is reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
  • Stan decides to give Fussy a warrior's death by killing him with a bat'leth (a Klingon sword). He then chooses not to and instead chooses to kill the enemies he made on eBay (at first it is implied he will sell it on eBay).
  • When Stans runs into the pet store looking for Fussy, the employee is putting prices on the pets in the store with a price gun. This is a reference to one of the first scenes in Johnny Dangerously.
  • "Red State Grocery" is a reference to the Red states used by much of the news media to represent states won by Republicans during election years. The store's frontage displays the tagline "The choice of a slim majority of shoppers".
  • Steve says "I can't make it on the outside. I'm an institutional man now". Morgan Freeman says the same in The Shawshank Redemption.


  • Apparently Francine's best friend, Linda Memari, has romantic feelings for her. Although in Homeland Insecurity she is married to Bob Memari and knows Stan is Francine's husband, in this episode she doesn't seem to know Stan is Francine's husband and doesn't seem to be married to Bob, possibly pretending she has a husband who she is sexually attracted to.
  • On the FOX version of this episode, Francine's use of the word "cock" (as a double entendre for "rooster") is censored out.
  • Hayley makes a self-referential joke about her outfit in this episode. After locking Steve and Klaus in her closet, Steve threatened to ruin her clothes if she didn't let them out. She does not care and responds by saying: "In case you haven't noticed, I only wear this one outfit." This is common on many animated shows.
  • When Terry says Fussy "Don't use your teeth, he hates that!", he possibly refers to Greg's oral sex preferences.
  • When Francine is in the library searching for information about Anne Flemming she finds a newspaper article, on which is written:

Local woman crushed by shopping carts
By Howard "Scoop" Yang, Gardening Desk
A local woman was crushed to death yesterday by a row of runaway shopping carts in the parking lot of Red State Grocery, a humorously named hangout of both bored housewives and the posh socialite they envy. Police report that Anne Flemming (see obituary in previous freeze-frame joke) was crushed by the carts as she exited the store.
And when I say crushed, whoo-eh, do I mean it. Far too violent to show on Fox, even in cartoon form. We're talking blood, guts, bones sticking out of skin, the works.
I wasn't there, but I heard her neck was ripped open (the "article" interrupts here).

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