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Running to Stand Still (Desperate Housewives)

"Running to Stand Still" is the sixth episode of the ABC television series, Desperate Housewives. The episode was the sixth episode for the show's first season. The episode was written by Tracey Stern and was directed by Fred Gerber. It originally aired on Sunday November 5, 2004.

Guest Starring



Lynette meets a new rival, Maisy Gibbons while pitching in to help with a theater rendition of Little Red Riding Hood at the twins' new school. Lynette soon discovers that Maisy Gibbons runs the play committee to her own liking, including neutralizing the ending of the play and shooting down Lynette's suggestion to keep the true ending, as Lynette is not assuming any "heavy lifting". Lynette decides to take on the task of making costumes for the play in order to have the right to comment on the play's new politically correct ending. The other mothers timidly agree; however, now Lynette is swamped by Maisy Gibbons' demanding expectations for the costumes. If she does not want her boys to be taken out of the play, the costumes have to be perfect. Lynette soon converses with another hard-working mom about taking her child's ADD medicine, which gives her all the energy she needs, and succeeds in finishing in time, as well as putting Maisy Gibbons in her place on opening night.

During group therapy with Dr. Goldfine, Rex recommends that he and Bree seek the advice of a sex surrogate in order to keep their relationship alive. Bree is horrified at this request and talks privately about it with Dr. Goldfine unexpectedly at a restaurant, embarrassing him with her sensual description of what she likes about sex. Shortly after, Bree surprises Rex at his hotel room where she arrives in a fur coat with only a bra and lingerie underneath. As Bree and Rex kiss, Bree stumbles upon a burrito on the edge of the night stand. Bree asks Rex to stop for a moment but he tells her to leave it alone. Bree then abruptly stops and pushes the burrito aside which annoys Rex who asks her to leave.

Gabrielle begins to tire of Mama Solis as she continues to follow her around. After Juanita cleans the girls out while playing poker, Carlos reveals that his mother has a gambling addiction, and Gabrielle slyly uses it so she can secretly see John at a motel who is losing interest in her. Meanwhile, Juanita has maxed out the $15,000 limit by gambling with Carlos' credit card. Gabrielle turns this to her advantage, offering to cover the loss. Juanita changes her suspicions of Gabrielle's infidelity after her sudden friendship and kindness to her mother-in-law. Carlos then tells her that he revealed to Gabrielle that she knows Juanita had a gambling addiction. As Gabrielle leaves the house, she does not associate with John Rowland signaling to Juanita that he may be the person sleeping with Gabrielle.

Susan learns more about the mystery surrounding the Young family, when she and Julie discover Zach at a mental institution. Julie and Zach then begin to discuss his purpose for being there and about what happened to "Dana". Julie later tells her mother about their conversation and begins to search around for clues about Dana. Susan finds no trace of Dana in any school yearbook or documents and is curious to learn what really happened since Mary Alice was such a warm and kind friend to her. Little does Susan know that an item she had purchased at Paul Young's garage sale was wrapped in a baby blanket with the name "DANA" embroidered on the sides.


  • Bree: (after telling her marriage counselor how much she loves sex) The only thing I don't like about sex is the scrotum. I know it has its practical applications but I'm just not a fan.
  • Bree: (to Rex) Well, it's obvious you've never had to remove a cheese stain!
  • Bree: (to Rex) When is your midlife crisis going to end, because it's really starting to tick me off!
  • Lynette: Next spring when we do bambi, the mother's going to take a slug to the heart, and you're going to like it.


  • Although credited, Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan) and Mike Delfino (James Denton) do not appear in this episode.
  • It is mentioned in this episode that Gabrielle signed a pre-nup, reluctantly as Juanita forced her to - yet later in the season, Gabrielle and Carlos argue about her signing a post-nup in case Gabrielle cheats on Carlos whilst he is in prison. This backs up the claim made in this episode.

Title reference

The episode title Running to Stand Still comes from a U2 song of the same name.

International Titles

  • French: Mes fils, ma bataille (My Sons, My Battle)
  • German: Schlachtfelder (Battlegrounds)
  • Hungarian: Egy helyben toporogva (To make no progress)
  • Italian: Inutile affannarsi (Useless Alarms)
  • Spanish: Correr y no avanzar (To run and not to advance)

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