After the end of the hilarious American drama Desperate Housewives, my TV obsessed self was feeling a little empty. A very funny, clever, and original TV series which had run for an impressive eight seasons had ended and I wasn’t sure if another show as addictive even existed.
But alas, as if the TV gods had heard my lamentations a new show had been created; Devious Maids.
Created and produced by Marc Cherry and executively produced by ex-Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria, Devious Maids was created as a sort of spin-off to Desperate Housewives. However, instead of focusing on the lives of four suburban housewives, it details the lives of four Latina maids in Beverly Hills.
After casting four Latina actresses in the roles of the four maids some people expressed a dislike of the portrayal of the stereotype that ‘Latina women can only be maids.’
The editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan for Latinas said that it was an ‘insulting disgrace’ and novelist Alisa Valdes expressed her opinion that there is ‘something wrong with an American entertainment industry that continually tells Latinas that maids are all they are or ever can be.’
But on the other hand, as Eva Longoria expressed in her response to these opinions, the only way to challenge a stereotype is to not ignore it. By representing Latina maids on a show where minority actresses are given the major roles, the stereotype of ‘Latinas are maids’ can be addressed and squashed as these characters are not just shown as maids. They are a lot more than that.
Following the same formula as its predecessor, each season of Devious Maids has a season-long mystery which the main characters become entangled in and ultimately attempt to solve. All the while each character is struggling with their own minor storylines and problems concurrently throughout. It’s this same formula of storytelling from Desperate Housewives which keeps me hooked as in the beginning you are presented with a mind-boggling mystery and, as humans, we naturally want to know the conclusion.
Season one introduced viewers to the four main maids and the struggles they face as working women with little money in a place as rich and extravagant as Beverly Hills. The first season also had a long-running story in the form of a classic ‘whodunnit’ murder mystery. A murder mystery storyline with various shocking twists and turns forced viewers to stay gripped by the show, which is important for the debut season of any show, as it fleshed out the characters and their backgrounds.
Devious Maids‘ script is very strong, just as Desperate Housewives‘ was, full of wit, sass, and satire, but when you aren’t distracted by the inappropriate yet hilarious jokes, the below par acting comes to the forefront. Don’t get me wrong; most of the acting is great, with some scenes causing you to tear up whether from laughter or feels. It’s just some of the bog standard scenes involving Susan Tucci, who you can totally tell was an actress from the world of soaps, or Edy Ganem where you don’t totally believe you’re not watching an amateur high school production.
Unfortunately, Devious Maids was recently cancelled by its network due to its less than ideal viewing figures, so it is nowhere near as successful as Desperate Housewives was but it was still good enough to run for four seasons. So that’s four seasons worth of binge-watching that can be done.
With its dark humour, glamorous cast, and outrageous attention-grabbing storylines, I anticipate that Devious Maids will be remembered as fondly as Desperate Housewives. And now I can only hope that Marc Cherry has another satirical drama in the pipeline bursting with a strong and diverse female cast.