I saw the following dialogues in the first episode of the Desperate Housewives tv show,

Andrew: I'm just saying, do you always have to serve cuisine? Can't we ever just have food?

Bree: Are you doing drugs?

Andrew: What!?

Bree: (angry) Change in behavior is one of the warning signs, and you have been as fresh as paint for the last 6 months. (looks down) That certainly would explain why you're always locked in the bathroom.

I found that a discussion about the meaning of "as fresh as paint" here. A quotation of it,

My answer may disappoint you, though. None of the 3 American friends I asked (including a college professor and her 19 year old son), or myself, had heard the expression used this way. Similes using "as" can be liberally created, so it's no surprise to hear all kinds of new phrases. The problem is, we are not sure why it is used in this context. "(As) fresh as paint", meaning "fresh and new", is an idiom that isn't that commonly used and always implies a good thing. "Fresh" can sometimes mean "rude", but then it doesn't go with "paint".

If I "have to" make some sense of it, I'll take it as meaning, "You've been like a totally different person these last six months." But bear in mind that this sentence in question, with nobody being sure of its meaning, is really not a good one, or could be a new phrase by the writer(s) of the show. Since it's not good (or common) English, just ignore it and go on to better and more useful one.

I'm wondering if you agree with above explanations. And as stated above, could this be a new phrase by the writer(s) of the show?

1 Answer 1


I think it's fairly clear that this is a pun, playing off of the two different meanings of the word "fresh." Paint is fresh in being new, but Andrew is fresh in being rude.

TFD defines these two senses of "fresh" as:

  • Newly applied, especially to restore or enhance: a fresh coat of paint.
  • Lacking respectful restraint; impudent: Don't get fresh with me!
  • Yes, you're probably right. Aug 15, 2023 at 15:46
  • 2
    There's a long history of these things in English, going back to well before Shakespeare: You lie like a rug; She sleeps like a top; He'll fold faster than a lawn chair. Aug 15, 2023 at 17:56

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