Last night, my DVR went into overtime. With True Blood in full swing, Mad Men’s season finale and, OWN’s television premiere of Dark Girls, I was overwhelmed by my options.
But, after all of the hype and controversy surrounding Lifetime’s new scripted series Devious Maids, I had to check out the premiere and leave my shows in the queue.
In a world where maids are treated like assets in a divorce settlement, scandals of the rich and semi-famous are unveiled. Who knows the elite’s dirty laundry better than “the help?” Before the premiere of Devious Maids, the show was scrutinized for its stereotypical casting of Latinas as maids. Luckily, no character is named Maria and I haven’t heard an “Aye yi yi,” yet.
Hyper-aware of the misconception the show was likely to get, the writers did a great job of acknowledging the elephant in the grand foyer. After the brutal murder of a maid, the lady of the house frets over her ruined party and wonders who will clean up the blood stains. When a prospective employer questions why a maid doesn’t have an accent, we get to laugh at her ignorance. Themes include seduction, social-climbing, and pill popping. There were a few sentimental moments in the pilot (Rosie’s call to her son in Guadalajara, where she promises to bring him to America and Zoila’s warning to love-struck Valentina about rich boys) but all around, the show is fun, and zany. Some punchlines fell a bit flat and I am hoping that the bosses will prove to be less one-dimensional in future episodes.
Produced by Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, the show definitely plays off of ABC’s Desperate Housewives. The pilot begins with the mysterious death of Flora, a maid accused of having an affair with her boss, Adrian. Threatened with deportation, the enraged Flora sits down to write a letter, where she declares that she was raped! She places the letter in an old book and is killed by an unknown person. The only people who may have a clue about the circumstances surrounding her death or who did it, are her friends, and fellow maids, Valentina, Zoila, Carmen, and Rosie. Marisol is the new maid on the block and (SPOILER ALERT) she is definitely not there to clean house. Will this summer show’s buzz last? I’m not totally sold but the storyline seems promising and I'm excited about the lineup of talented Latina actors.
Watch Devious Maids Sundays on Lifetime at 10 PM (EST).