When I first read about the upcoming Lifetime TV series, Devious Maids, I wasn't very excited. I thought "Why do the Latinas have to be maids? Why can't they be the powerful Hollywood wives like in the Jackie Collins novels or the top Hollywood agents on a show like Entourage?" Then I saw the premiere episode of Devious Maids that airs tonight at 10:00 (check your listings). It's a glossy delight, very entertaining, funny and deliciously subversive thanks to executive producer Eva Longoria and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. It's good Sunday night fun. I was pleasantly surprised.
I got interested in watching the show when I read that Judy Reyes was in it. I love me some Judy Reyes. I loved her as Nurse Carla on Scrubs. I loved her in this episode.
Don't think these maids are devious in the sense that they're seeking sex with the men of the house and plotting to do away with their wives. They're devious in ways to be treated equally and to get equal opportunities. They're devious in ways to battle the class barriers and distinguish themselves. In that sense, they reminded me of my mother. Not that she's a Latina but, after my parents divorced, she was a working and single black woman in South Central L.A. with three kids to raise. She was not getting alimony. Mom is college-educated and worked as a registered nurse. In order to makes ends meet when we were kids, she did domestic work briefly for a Hollywood wife. My mother obscured her educational background so she could get the job. She wanted to fit the image the upscale folks may have had of a domestic employee. She was, in her way, auditioning to play the part. Also, I have seen women like these maids when I was growing up and working part-time jobs in Los Angeles. We all stood at the same RTD bus stops, waiting for mass transit to take us back home. I felt a connection to the characters.
And what is the privileged white woman talking about? The stress of being a Mommy. She either blogs and/or has written a book about the importance of taking Mommy "Me" Time. That means meeting your girlfriends for Cobb Salads while the kids are at home -- with the brown nanny/assistant/maid. The episode plays on that kind of thing. The interview scene was a devious highlight.
To repeat, this is a deliciously subversive show. It has ethnic actors in lead roles and -- are you sitting down? -- good roles for actresses over 50. ¡Viva, Diversity! If you liked the early episodes of Desperate Housewives, I think you'll dig Devious Maids.
Thank you, Eva Longoria.