DEVIOUS MAIDS

I tried to watch three episodes and made it through two and ten minutes of the third.  Melodramatic soap operas are a tough sell for me.

Marc Cherry (best known for creating Desperate Housewives) created this series for ABC, too, but when the network passed Lifetime picked it up.  Eva Longoria is among the producers, and I suspect that is one reason I gave it a look:  to see how a politically savvy entertainer would influence a show that centers on a group of Latina maids working in Beverly Hills homes of its most elite denizens.

I get that Devious Maids is supposed to be subversive, at least on some levels, with the maids depicted as hardworking, smarter, and fundamentally more decent than their employers, but broad comedy, one-dimensional characters, and melodrama are not the tools needed for a meaningful examination of race, social class, and social justice.

Maybe I should say that those limitations minimize the effectiveness of the show unless the series is enormously entertaining, smart and crafted so that it works on multiple levels, and has a bit of magic.

Even popular show can meet that standard from time-to-time.  Think about how Will & Grace has played a role in preparing mainstream America for gay rights, but that show meets the standard articulated above and is well-written around characters played by actors who have a lot of chemistry.

And, of course, sitcoms have a long history of cultural relevancy, something that is not true of soap operas and true of only select dramas.

Still, some people love their soaps.  With so many of the daytime soap operas off the airwaves now, this may be just the series to fill what fans may feel is a void.

I also tried to watch a primetime series ABC did pick up, Mistresses, and stopped after ten minutes.  When I can’t keep up with the good stuff, I’m not going to waste time on dreck.

Maybe that was harsh.  Let’s call it pabulum instead.

 

 

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