Julie Mayer (Desperate Housewives)

Julie Alexandra Mayer is a fictional character on the ABC television series Desperate Housewives. The character is played by actress Andrea Bowen, and first appeared in the pilot episode of the series in 2004. She is the daughter of Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher) and Karl Mayer (Richard Burgi). They share custody of Julie,[1] though she lives primarily with Susan.[2] Julie is characterized as "bright and self-sufficient and extremely mature for her age."[3] She often acts as the parental figure in her relationship with Susan, especially following Susan's divorce from Karl.[4][5] However, since the 6th season, Julie's personality has changed quite a bit, with her saying she was no longer the "perfect" daughter.

Julie Mayer
Andrea Bowen as Julie Mayer.jpg
Desperate Housewives character
Portrayed byAndrea Bowen
First appearance"Pilot"
1x01, October 3, 2004
Last appearance"Finishing the Hat"
8x23, May 13, 2012
Created byMarc Cherry
Medical Student

Development and castingEdit

Prior to being cast in the role, Bowen did not think she would get it, explaining, "they were looking for a 12-year-old brunette ... and I was a 13-year-old blonde."[6] As a result, Bowen was asked to dye her hair for the role.[6] Bowen was initially attracted to the series because of the amount of attention paid to the younger characters. She stated, "If you watch a lot of other television shows, the kids don't have that much [of a] part in it. On this show, the writers give us each our own individual storylines that have a lot of layers to them."[6] For the show's third season, the character's storylines began revolving around themes of teenage rebellion and angst. Bowen commented: "She’s going to have, you know, primarily one love interest, and he’s a bit of a bad boy. We’re going to see if she has a positive effect on him, or if he has a negative effect on her. I’m definitely very excited about it ... because you kind of get to see a different side to her."[7]

Andrea Bowen (pictured) portrayed Julie, daughter of Susan Delfino (Teri Hatcher).

At the beginning of the series' fourth season, Bowen commented on the possibility that her character would be leaving the show for college, stating that the writers had briefly alluded to the character's departure early in the season but removed it from the script. She continued: "Do I want my character to go off to college? No, I'm very happy where I am but I wouldn’t be too devastated if it happened because none of us feel too secure with their jobs being that people get killed left and right. I think we all live with the suspicion that we're going to be going."[8] The Julie character was written off the series for the fifth season. Hatcher expressed disappointment in the decision, but series creator Marc Cherry promised that Bowen would return to the series.[9] Bowen returned to the series for one episode during season five and rejoined the main cast as a series regular for the sixth season.[10] She appeared once in the seventh season and returned for a string of episodes in the show's eighth and final season.[11]


Season 1Edit

Julie usually helps Susan deal with problems regarding Susan's love life. She also helps to care for her mother after her divorce. She is briefly romantically involved with Zach Young (Cody Kasch), the troubled son of Susan's friend, Mary Alice (Brenda Strong). She harbors Zach in her room when he escapes from the mental institution Paul has sent him to.[12] Susan eventually finds Zach and sends him home, which Julie considers an act of betrayal.[3][5] Eventually, Susan bans Zach from seeing Julie due to his increasingly disturbing behavior, but they continue dating in secrecy.[13] Soon after, Julie breaks up with Zach because of his sadistic mentality.[14]

Season 2Edit

During the second season, Julie expressed concern over Susan's remarriage to her father Karl, but agreed to it because she wanted Susan to have her surgery to remove her wandering spleen. Julie recognizes that Zach has changed and rekindles their romance. As an act of kindness towards Zach and Mike Delfino (James Denton), she invited Zach bowling with them, to try to help Mike and Zach bond. Their friendship was ruined when Zach's father, Paul Young (Mark Moses), forbids him from speaking to Julie, fearing he will discover Mike is his biological father.[15]

Julie catches Susan in bed with Karl, and she is forced to sleep in a small van with Susan when their house is burned down by Edie Britt (Nicollette Sheridan). Karl buys them a new house, but Susan refuses, eventually moving back to their house in season 3.

Season 3Edit

In the beginning of the third season, Julie meets Edie's nephew, Austin McCann (Josh Henderson), whom she likes but does not want to admit it.[16][17] Edie soon tells Julie that Austin is bad news and that she should not get attached.

After the two are held hostage in a grocery store, they begin dating.[18] Julie loses her virginity to Austin, realising that the relationship has to move forward if she wants to keep dating him. Unfortunately, her mother and Edie catch Austin with Danielle Van de Kamp (Joy Lauren),Julie and breaks up with him.[19] Eventually Julie agrees to give him a second chance, but when Danielle learns that she is pregnant with his child, Orson Hodge (Kyle MacLachlan) insists Austin leave town.[20]

Season 4Edit

In the fourth Season premiere Julie is reunited with her childhood best friend, Dylan Mayfair (Lyndsy Fonseca), when Dylan and her family return to the street after twelve years of being absent. However Dylan does not remember Julie or ever living on Wisteria Lane. Julie becomes suspicious of Dylan.[21] Julie tells Susan that Dylan is not the same girl as she was years ago when they were best friends. It turns out that Julie's right, because the real Dylan had been crushed to death by a wardrobe and buried just before Katherine Mayfair (Dana Delany) left Fairview.

Julie also adjusts to having Mike as her stepfather. In the second episode of Season 4 "Smiles of a Summer Night" Julie asks Susan if she can go to a party. Mike tells her he would rather she did not go as he has seen some crazy parties at the house where Julie was going. Even though Susan had previously given Julie permission to go to the party, she sides with Mike and Julie is forbidden to go. However, without telling Mike, Susan changes her mind again and, telling Julie she just wanted Mike to feel as if he were part of the decision making process, she allows Julie to attend the party. Mike later finds out and tells Susan that he respects her decisions on how to raise Julie how she wants, since Julie is her child and not Mike's.[22]

Julie then began dating a questionable boy named Derek, who has many piercings, which freaked Susan out, so she tried to fix her up with a young man who had showed up at the house looking for Mike. However, Susan quickly broke the relationship up when she found out that the young man was in fact, Mike's drug dealer.

In the fourth-season finale, Julie is accepted to Princeton University.[23] One of the professors at Princeton was so impressed by her senior thesis that she was offered a summer internship. She left to attend college.

Season 5Edit

After the five-year time jump, Julie reappears in the episode "City on Fire" and introduces Susan to her boyfriend, her college professor, Lloyd (Steven Weber), a 40-year-old man who has been married 3 times. Lloyd proposes to Julie but she rejects him, stating that she does not believe in marriage, following her mother's string of bad luck. Susan explains to Julie how much she believes in marriage and the two share a hug.[24]

Season 6Edit

Julie returns to Wisteria Lane for the summer to help her mother with her upcoming wedding. During this time, she forms a relationship with Danny Bolen (Beau Mirchoff), who has moved in across the street with his parents. The relationship is turbulent and short-lived. When Julie is found, strangled outside her house and comatose, Danny is the prime suspect.[25][26] As the other characters work to reveal the identity of Julie's attacker, her affair with Danny's father, Nick (Jeffrey Nordling), and a pregnancy scare prior to the attack are exposed.[27] Several months after waking up from her coma, Julie decides to visit relatives on the East Coast until her attacker is caught.[28] In the episode "Epiphany", Julie's attacker is revealed to be Eddie Orlofsky (Josh Zuckerman), who mistook her for Susan and was planning to attack her for rejecting him.[29]

Season 7Edit

Julie is not seen again until the seventh season episode "Where Do I Belong" when she visits Susan in hospital after her kidney has been removed.[30]

Season 8Edit

Julie, who is working toward a Ph.D., reveals that she is six months pregnant. She plans to give her daughter up for adoption, hoping to spare herself and her child the drama that she experienced while being raised by a single mother.[31] Later, Susan learns that the baby's father is Porter Scavo (Charlie Carver), son of her friend Lynette (Felicity Huffman). Despite Julie's insistence, Porter refuses to let her put their daughter up for adoption, planning to raise her himself.[32] Eventually, Julie decides to keep the baby.[33] Julie's baby is born in the same day of Renee Perry's wedding and Karen McCluskey's death, in the series finale.


Bowen's performance throughout the course of the series has received mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly's Annie Barrett identified Julie as a TV character she irrationally hates. She criticized the character as being one-note and inconsequential and opined that Bowen "started off the series in an awkward phase and then we realized the awkward phase was going to last her entire life."[34] Following the announcement that Bowen would be rejoining the cast for the sixth season, Michael Slezak of Entertainment Weekly wrote that Bowen's performance is "so deeply unconvincing [that she risks] getting upstaged if there's so much as a house plant in a scene with [her]."[35] He also criticized the performances of other young actresses on the series and raised the question, "how come Desperate Housewives has such a dreadful track record with younger actresses?"[35] Following the character's attack in the sixth-season premiere, Entertainment Weekly's Tanner Stransky wrote: "What I love about having Julie in peril in the first episode is that it's shocking and totally unexpected. She's a big enough character that I care about her and know a decent amount about her, but it's not like [a more important character] was knocked off the show."[36]


  1. ^ "You'll Never Get Away from Me". Arlene Sanford (director), Tom Spezialy (writer), Ellie Herman (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 9, 2004. Season 2, no. 3.
  2. ^ "Who's That Woman?". Jeff Melman (director), Marc Cherry (writer), Tom Spezialy (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 24, 2004. Season 1, no. 4.
  3. ^ a b Touchstone Television, p. 70.
  4. ^ "Susan Mayer (Teri Hatcher): Official Character Biography" Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine. ABC. Retrieved May 15, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Come Back to Me". Fred Gerber (director), Patty Lin (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. December 19, 2004. Season 1, no. 10.
  6. ^ a b c Touchstone Television, p. 71.
  7. ^ "Andrea Bowen Exclusive Interview". The Star Scoop. October 15, 2006. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  8. ^ Topel, Fred (August 11, 2007). "Andrea Bowen to Kink the Return of Desperate Housewives". CanMag. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  9. ^ De Leon, Kris (May 29, 2008). "'Desperate Housewives' Star Devastated Over Her On-screen Daughter's Storyline". BuddyTV. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  10. ^ Ausillo, Michael (July 7, 2009). "'Housewives' scoop: Julie's coming home". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  11. ^ Ausiello, Michael (November 23, 2011). "[Desperate Housewives Exclusive: Dana Delany, Kyle MacLachlan Book Final Season Comebacks". TVLine. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  12. ^ "Suspicious Minds". Larry Shaw (director), Jenna Bans (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. December 12, 2004. Season 1, no. 9.
  13. ^ "Your Fault". Arlene Sanford (director), Kevin Etten (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. January 24, 2005. Season 1, no. 13.
  14. ^ "Impossible". Larry Shaw (director), Marc Cherry (writer), Tom Spezialy (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. February 20, 2005. Season 1, no. 15.
  15. ^ "One More Kiss". Wendey Stanzler (director), John Pardee (writer), Joey Murphy (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. January 8, 2006. Season 2, no. 11.
  16. ^ "It Takes Two". David Grossman (director), Kevin Murphy (writer), Jenna Bans (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 1, 2006. Season 3, no. 2.
  17. ^ "Nice She Ain't". David Warren (director), Alexandra Cunningham (writer), Susan Nirah Jaffee (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 22, 2006. Season 3, no. 5.
  18. ^ "Bang". David Grossman (director), Joe Keenan (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. November 5, 2006. Season 3, no. 7.
  19. ^ "Not While I'm Around". David Grossman (director), Kevin Murphy (writer), Kevin Etten (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. January 14, 2007. Season 3, no. 12.
  20. ^ "My Husband, the Pig". Larry Shaw (director), Brian A. Alexander (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. March 4, 2007. Season 3, no. 16.
  21. ^ "Now You Know". Larry Shaw (director), Marc Cherry (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. September 30, 2007. Season 4, no. 1.
  22. ^ "Smiles of a Summer Night". David Grossman (director), Bob Daily (writer), Matt Berry (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 7, 2007. Season 4, no. 2.
  23. ^ "Free". David Grossman (director), Jeff Greenstein (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. May 18, 2008. Season 4, no. 17.
  24. ^ "City on Fire". David Grossman (director), Bob Daily (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. November 16, 2008. Season 5, no. 8.
  25. ^ "Nice is Different Than Good". Larry Shaw, Marc Cherry (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. September 27, 2009. Season 6, no. 1.
  26. ^ "Being Alive". David Grossman (director), Matt Berry (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 4, 2009. Season 6, no. 2.
  27. ^ "The God-Why-Don't-You-Love-Me Blues". David Warren (director), Alexandra Cunningham (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. October 18, 2009. Season 6, no. 4.
  28. ^ "You Gotta Get a Gimmick". David Grossman (director), Joe Keenan (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. January 10, 2010. Season 6, no. 12.
  29. ^ "Epiphany". David Grossman (director), Marc Cherry (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. April 25, 2010. Season 6, no. 20.
  30. ^ "Where Do I Belong". David Grossman (director). David Schladweiler (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. January 9, 2011. Season 7, no. 12.
  31. ^ "Is This What You Call Love?". David Grossman (director), David Schladweiler (writer), Valérie A. Brotski (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. February 12, 2012. Season 8, no. 13.
  32. ^ "Get Out of My Life". James Hayman (director), Cindy Appel (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. February 19, 2012. Season 8, no. 14.
  33. ^ "With So Little to Be Sure Of". Marco Pennette (director), Tara Nicole Weyr (writer). Desperate Housewives. ABC. April 1, 2012. Season 8, no. 19.
  34. ^ Barrett, Annie (October 6, 2008). "The TV characters you irrationally hate". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  35. ^ a b Slezak, Michael (July 9, 2009). "'Desperate Housewives': How come its younger actresses aren't up to par?". Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  36. ^ Stransky, Tanner (September 27, 2009). "'Desperate Housewives' season premiere recap: Wedding Crasher". Entertainment Weekly". Retrieved March 21, 2012.