"Just make her a little bitchier," Burnett said she advised series creator Marc Cherry after reading a description of her icy, distant character.
"It will be fun. I just think it's so campy," Burnett told The Associated Press. She's scheduled to film her appearance as Eleanor Mason next week, with the episode tentatively set to air April 9.
is a fan of ABC's hit suburban satire — she calls a scene in which Eva Longoria's character famously did yard work in formal wear "an inspired bit of comedy" — and Cherry in turn is an admirer of the legendary actress-comedian.
Cherry had first let Burnett know he wanted her on the show when they met at an event about a year ago, then repeated his intention recently while talking to a TV entertainment news magazine.
"The interviewer asked who he would like to be a guest and he said my name, which was very sweet," Burnett said Thursday.
Viewers will learn that Eleanor became part of Bree's (Marcia Cross) life after her mother was killed. Burnett's character arrives on Wisteria Lane when Bree's son creates a risk that family secrets will be exposed.
Cherry is writing the script. Whether her character will return is up in the air, Burnett said. She's the second well-known actress to appear recently as a difficult mom on "Desperate Housewives": Maria Conchita Alonso upset Longoria's Gabrielle last month.
Although Burnett recently starred in a new TV adaptation of the Broadway musical "Once Upon a Mattress," she's focusing much of her time and attention on a project honoring the 38-year-old daughter she lost to cancer in 2002.
The Carrie Hamilton Theatre, a 90-seat experimental stage, is to be established at the Pasadena Playhouse. Martha Williamson, executive producer of "Touched by an Angel" and a theater board member, had worked with Hamilton and admired her spirit and talent as an actress and writer, Burnett said.
"Martha said if Carrie were alive today she would ask her to be artistic director of this ... new theater, because it's going to be a theater that's kind of an outreach program to young writers and directors and actors, and even kids at risk," Burnett said.
Fundraising is about halfway toward the $1 million goal on the theater proposed by the playhouse's board, she said.