Diversity, but at what cost?

Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives) and the Lifetime network have teamed up to give us another serving of salacious Sunday night scandal in a new show called Devious Maids. The show stars some very recognizable Latinas of primetime, including Ana Ortiz (Ugly Betty) and Roselyn Sanchez (Without A Trace).

When I first heard about this show I was shocked. A show about sneaky, sexy, Latina maids is a stereotype circus. It perpetuates the image of Latinas as crabs in a barrel always clawing from the bottom and having no real power. This has the potential to be the Madea of the Mexican-American world, where people subscribe to the stereotypes, because five Latinas playing maids on television are better than none. A black man in mammy drag is better than no black people at all…right? (sigh) What is most dangerous about this show, just like Tyler Perry’s shows, is that it is written by a Latina, so it gives non-Latinos permission to think that everything they see is an accurate depiction of Latin women. (deeper sigh)

But, I must say, the cast features actresses that I love, especially Ana Ortiz, who played America Ferrera’s sassy sister Hilda on ABC’s Ugly Betty. And I was a huge fan of Desperate Housewives, so I hope Marc Cherry doesn’t let me down. I hope these scantily clad maids have some substance. Before I write it off completely, I will wait until I watch the premier on Sunday, June 23rd at 1opm on Lifetime (after The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Food Network Star, of course).

Read this interview with the show’s creator, Tanya Saracho.


UPDATE: So I watched the pilot episode of Devious Maids on Lifetime last Sunday. It’s essentially a primetime telenovela. The only issue is that in telenovelas Latina maids work for wealthy Latino families, and in this show Latina maids work for white families. However, for the sake of accuracy, if you’re setting a telenovela in Los Angeles that’s the way it is. I don’t think this show is really doing anything to set Latinos back, so to speak, but I do think that they could have come up with a better title for the show. I mean the maids are the least devious of the crazy people on this show. I’ll watch it again.

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