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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lifestyles of the Desperate Rich and their Devious Maids

I can understand why ABC passed on Devious Maids, the soapy new comedy/drama from Desperate Housewives' creator Marc Cherry. If you replaced four Wisteria Lane housewives with five Beverly Hills maids and substituted an annoying narrator with incessant Latin music, you would easily transform Cherry's successful ABC series into his new Lifetime show, which even begins with a mysterious death - but a murder instead of a suicide. Obviously Cherry is playing it extremely safe by not tampering very much with a proven hit formula. And just like with those Desperate dames, I found myself enjoying only about half the show - two out of four storylines - which isn't terrible or great.

The two storylines that I didn't care much for were those with aspiring singer/maid Carmen, who spent most of the episode trying to get her CD into the hands of her pop star employer, and maid Rosie, a single mother who works for two self-absorbed actors. I found these stories to be irritating (Carmen) and dull (Rosie) - and I was disappointed that actor Grant Show (Melrose Place) barely had anything to do as one of the egocentric thespians.

Fortunately, the other two dramatic narratives of the show were more interesting. Maids Zoila and her teenage daughter Valentina work for Genevieve, an emotionally unstable woman (played by All My Children's Susan Lucci), and Valentina has her predatory eye on Genevieve's cute son. Meanwhile, the new maid in town, Marisol (played by Ugly Betty's Ana Ortiz), began cleaning the house of a rich couple while secretly investigating the recent murder of another maid. I'm curious to see if Valentina lands her man, Marisol solves the mystery and Ms. Lucci gets some scenery worth chewing on. And while many of the characters are broadly played for laughs, it's the more down-to-earth performances - especially by the wonderful Ms. Ortiz - that make me care enough to tune in again.

So I'm planning to watch a second episode - but, Mr. Cherry, please stop the music (or at least use it more sparingly). I don't need to be reminded every second that these maids are all lovely Latina ladies.

My grade (so far) for Devious Maids is a C+ (it airs Sundays at 10/9c). For more information on the series, go to

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