Lifetime's Devious Maids: Did It Clean Up?

Devious Maids LifetimeLifetime’s Devious Maids drew scorn from some cultural critics based on its promos alone, but with its Sunday-night premiere in the books, the question looms: Will the sudser clean up with audiences?

From Desperate Housewives producer Marc Cherry — and based on the telenovela Ellas Son La Alegría Del Hogar (They Are the Joy of Home) — the show focuses on the lives of a quintet of Latina domestic workers in Beverly Hills, and it doesn’t hurt that the ensemble is led by Ugly Betty‘s spectacular Ana Ortiz, an actress who can deftly shift gears from outrageous comedy to high drama without breaking a sweat.

The action opens with the murder of Flora, a sexy but troubled young maid for the Powell family, moments after her affair with the family patriarch has been exposed and she begins to write a letter (to whom, we can’t be certain) that contains an accusation of rape (by whom, we can’t be certain). While a waiter at the Powell’s party is implicated in the killing, it’s pretty clear he’s not guilty — a fact of which the Powells are also certain, but unwilling to reveal, since they appear to be sitting on a large cache of secrets and aren’t eager for any more police attention.

Enter Ortiz’s Marisol, who scores a job working for the wealthy Mr. Stappord and his young second wife — while also eventually freelancing for the now housekeeper-less Powells. Turns out, Marisol is the jailed waiter’s mother, and she’s determined to prove his innocence, whether it means she has to clean up the murdered girl’s blood and gore from the Powell’s study, cozy up to her fellow Beverly Hills housekeepers, put up with Mr. Powell’s come-ons or hide her true identity from everyone around her. “You sound like you went to college,” says Mrs. Stappord, dubiously, during their interview. “Thank you,” says Marisol, offering no more details. Later, in the premiere’s best scene, Marisol almost breaks her cover — but wins over her new bosses — by ejecting Mr. Stoppard’s first wife after she causes a melodramatic scene at his birthday party. “Do not screw with me, bitch, or you will live to regret it,” she roars, before composing herself and telling the assembled guests, “I worked very hard on this dinner. I’ll be damned if I let anyone ruin it.”

Marisol is greeted warmly by her neighbors’ maids (gathered for lunch in a local park) — but they freeze up when she begins digging for intel on Flora’s murder. In a nutshell, the other “Devious Maids” include:

* Zoila and Valentina (Scrubs‘ Judy Reyes and Edy Ganem): A mother/daughter team employed by a dotty, pill-popping socialite (Susan Lucci, camping it up). Valentina, though, has her sights set on the family’s college-student son, much to Zoila’s chagrin. “Rich boys, they never fall in love with the help. Trust me on this,” says Zoila, without offering any additional backstory. (Here’s hoping Reyes gets more to do going forward, no?) Valentina certainly knows how to repurpose a maid’s costume into a little yellow fantasy romper. (Maybe she can cross over to Lifetime’s Project Runway?)

* Carmen (Without a Trace‘s Roselyn Sanchez): This aspiring singer scores a job with Latin music sensation Alejandro Rubio, but her efforts to get her tunes into his hands keep getting thwarted by Alejandro’s hard-charging assistant Odessa — at least till she’s knocked unconscious falling down a flight of stairs due to Carmen’s dropped dust rag. Might Carmen find true love with another live-in assistant, the understatedly sexy Sam?

* Rosie (Heroes‘ Dania Ramirez): This widowed mother has left her son in her homeland and come to California to earn money by working as a nanny for a rich, spoiled film actress and her soap-star hubby. When her boss won’t let her have a day off to meet with a lawyer to help get her son to the US, though, Rosie proves crafty enough to launch a scheme where a TV journalist is led to believe the actress’ son’s first word — “mama” — was directed at Rosie. Cue a sudden need for mother-son bonding time. And cue a day off for Rosie. Expertly played, girlfriend!

Yes, a lot of Devious Maids‘  plot is generated by absurd one-percenter foolery — “For God’s sake, poor people like to be pretty, too!” cries Mrs. Powell, when Mrs. Stappord expresses incredulity about the former socialite asking if Marisol had plastic surgery — but it all seems to be in the spirit of good, trashy fun.

What did you think of Devious Maids? Did you enjoy all the Desperate Housewives supporting players who wound up in the mix? Take our poll below, then hit the comments and expand on your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Charlie says:

    I liked it I’m looking forward for more

    has a desperate housewives feel to it

  2. flutiefan says:

    isn’t their name “Stafford”?

  3. Tay says:

    After the bad commets, it´s so good to see that the tv show defends by it self. I think is funny, with the Desperates Housewives vibe. Obviosly I´ll keep to watching it.

  4. DavidSask says:

    Who the hell is voting on this, this is ridic?! The show is bad but because of where it airs it won’t get axed!

  5. Alison says:

    Silly critics, this show wasn’t made to define any race or anyone. It’s entertainment and it was actually a lot of fun. Over the top and in the works of being great. I’m stoked for more.
    Loved all the maid characters.

    • BB123 says:

      Actually, Eva Longoria and Marc Cherry said, repeatedly, that they wanted to promote Latino Actresses and the life of domestic workers….

      • Evan says:

        Yeah I kept watching it going “They only want us to THINK this is a overblown sense of reality with the rich in Beverly Hills. Reality is we know its EXACTLY like this.’

  6. TV Gord says:

    I thought it dragged a little too much, but I like Judy Reyes, Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, so I’ll stick with it.

  7. Robert says:

    I loved how the dry humor of the show. It does have a desperate housewives feel to it but it also has A LOT of differences. It seems like it’s going to only get better. Especially with the huge twist at the end. I love endings that keep me wanting more! Marc once again created another great show. It is no desperate housewives but it is good quality entertainment.

    • dude says:

      I’m I the only one who saw that coming from a mile away? She wasn’t very subtle questioning everyone about the murder and when she went to clean up the crime scene, I just found that very obvious. I assumed she was an undercover cop.

      • the girl says:

        I assumed the same, an undercover cop. I kept second guessing it because she didn’t try harder to actually work for the people where the girl died, but I knew she was up to something.

      • Brandy says:

        I thought she might’ve been Floras sister

  8. Mika02 says:

    Loved it I think it has that missing desperate housewives feel. Just as I said to everyone about the Tyler Perry’s Have and Have not’s. Stereotypes are everywhere in TV especially soaps which this feels like. The whole-point is who is out there hiring Majority Minority casts not many so don’t complain especially if the show has potential.

    Can’t wait for more.

    • Brooke says:

      So don’t complain? You can simultaneously be glad that minorities are being included while still pushing for improvement in the quality of their involvement. This isn’t an “either/or” thing.

      • dude says:

        True but I take issue with this counter-point so many people are making that minorities should be playing doctors and lawyers to show progress. A character can be well written and interesting without being hyper-successful. The goal should be to have fully-formed minority characters that aren’t just “the best friend” instead of just wanting super rich latina neuro-surgeons who swim in pools filled with 100 dollar bills.

        • Brooke says:

          But the only people who seem to bring up doctors and lawyers are the ones making the same argument as you. I think anti-maid people just want them to be something, anything other than a maid. There are so many professions out there!

          • Mika02 says:

            And there are just as many Minority Maids which is why it’s a TV show every Latina is not a Maid and every rich person in LA doesn’t have to be Caucasian and self absorbed. These are characterizations true or not true it’s TV.

      • Mika02 says:

        Your view of quality and my view of quality are two different things. I don’t watch every AA show because it has a majority black cast and I don’t not watch them because they portray stereotypes it’s because it’s not my taste just as NCIS is not my taste. This just happen’s to be my taste not because I feel it depicts Latina’s as stereotypes but because it entertained me period.

  9. dude says:

    I saw potential. I liked it but I don’t think it had that guilty pleasure quality that made Desperate Housewives so addictive. The first few minutes really got me but then it kind of went downhill. Ana Ortiz is by far the best part of the show though. Can that aspiring singer storyline be over though?

  10. Tinemi says:

    I come from the land of telenovela, with its un believable plots and twists, and this was BAD. Badly acted, almost insulting for latina women and a copy of Desperate Housewifes’ ideas.

  11. Kevin says:

    This is the same show as DH, for those who gave it As do you not see the lack of originality?

    This show was BAD, it’s re-tread, shows the laziness in television production (smart for ABC to pass).

    This show also highlights the lack of representation of Latina woman in a variety of roles, defining them once again as “the help”

  12. mia says:

    I actually really liked it. Fun, guilty pleasure. Great cast of women too. I really liked the first season of DH though too, but got horrendously bored in season 2 and stopped watching. So I hope this show can avoid that.

  13. Miffy says:

    They should have Consuela from Family Guy guest star! And are any of the maids named “Rosa”? That should be a requirement.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      You’re pretty great. :) A friend and I went to see Star Trek a few weeks back and the theater was playing a preview of this show before the movie started, and we just sat there and laughed our asses off at it while other people in the audience stared at us. It could not be helped. All the women looked like such a stereotype.

  14. Jen Peikert says:

    I liked it, found the over the top dramatics of employers pretty funny. Susan Lucci was a riot under the bed, boo-hooing over losing her Armenian pool boy toy. I’m looking forward to more, while it may be unrealistic to some extent, it’s silly entertainment and fun. It’s far better than watching that Honey Boo-Boo train wreck.

  15. Parker says:

    i liked it. nothing new, nothing special but fun :D

  16. ER says:

    I was reluctant to watch it, but it’s pretty good for a summer guilty pleasure! Plus, I can get my Jason DiLaurentis fix while he’s “missing” on PLL :)

  17. Peggy says:

    It was better than I thought it would be so I will stick with it. It doesn’t have much competition right now on Sunday for me anyway. I thought Marisol was too young to be that boy’s mother so that surprised me but what do I know. LOL!

    • ER says:

      She is 42, and the boy is probably mid twenties (at most), so it works. I was surprised because he didn’t look Latino, but it makes it much more interesting.

  18. Ambrosia says:

    The show was fun. Really loved the nasty Powell’s and Genevieve is probably the real scene stealer. I had no idea Susan Lucci was still around and looking pretty darn amazing. the under the bed scene was hysterical; Reyes was perfect and Lucci was perfect camp. the line about Genevieve being called by the poolboy that she looked 40 and Zoila’s response well that’s not bad considering you’re almost 60 and then Genevieve scream in pain – hysterical – comic genius and great timing. Bravo! What’s wrong with a little fun people?