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Martha Cherry took a cigarette out of her mouth, murmured, "I've been there," and resumed smoking. Marc was in shock (which, let's face it, is a pretty healthy response when you realize your own mother may or may not have had thoughts of murdering you while you bathed). He realized for the first time how desperate and lonely it could be to be a housewife. He realized then and there that he was upon a very good idea for a TV show. This conversation was the birth of Desperate Housewives.
His parents only realised what was going on when the bank called them to let them know about the charges.