Monday, June 24, 2013

Defending Devious Maids (for now)

Last night my Twitter feed was on fire. First it was tweets about that crazy tightrope stunt across the Grand Canyon and then it was filled with posts about the new Lifetime show Devious Maids.

I'd say the response was about 50/50 when it came to opinions about this controversial series. There were those who seemed to like it and were happy to support their favorite actresses like Ana Ortiz and Roselyn Sanchez. But there were also those who boycotted the premiere because of the fact that the Latina characters are all maids.

I decided to watch the show for myself and I agree that the camp and clichés were over the top. But it wasn't horrendous and it didn't make me so angry that I wanted to throw something at my TV. So, I'm going to watch a few more episodes to see if it gets better for me. If it doesn't, then I'll stop watching. Until then, I think Devious Maids deserves a chance. And here's why.

Yes, it makes me sad that "Hollywood" would prefer to greenlight a TV show featuring Latinas as maids rather than doctors or lawyers. But I think it's important to put this disappointment into perspective. Rather than slamming it because of what is ISN'T, maybe we should give it a chance because of what it IS: a show produced by a Latina and starring an all-Latina lead cast.

I think that's kind of cool.

Shows with all-female leads are few and far between anyway. I can only think of ABC's Mistresses and HBO's Girls as current examples. And both have had their fair share of criticism about stereotyping and unbelievability as well. Even the iconic Sex and the City received some flack for its questionable plots (newspaper columnist Carrie's expensive, high-fashion wardrobe or Samantha's multiple sex exploits). But what it and all of these shows really comes down to is one major storyline: the bonds of friendship between the female characters.

I'm not saying Devious Maids is the best show I've ever seen and that everyone needs to watch it. All I'm saying is that it shouldn't be dismissed based solely on one episode or because of third-party comments about that one episode. I'd hate for Devious Maids to fail just because of the controversy alone. If it's a bad show, then it's a bad show and it should be canceled. But if there's a chance it can be successful then it deserves as much support from the Latino community as possible. Perhaps then the next show pitched to Hollywood featuring Latinos as leads won't be rejected so easily.

Someone has to open the door. Why does it matter if that someone is wearing a suit or a uniform?

Maybe because of what I do, I'm more hesitant to throw stones at the creators of Devious Maids for not developing a show that could be more enriching or groundbreaking.

After all, I write stories about sexy Latinas too.

My characters are in search of someone who can give them multiple orgasms and, if possible, a happily ever after. In other words, my books aren't going to change the world or cause people to have important discussions about foreign policy. What they do (or what I hope they do) is give readers a good love story and an escape from reality for a few hours.

Because I'm Latina, does that mean I should feel guilty that my writing doesn't promote Latin culture or history in the world of literary fiction? Should I feel bad that I'd rather make a bestseller list than win a Pulitzer Prize? I don't think so.

As an author, I'm committed to bringing more Latina heroines into contemporary and erotic romance novels because I definitely believe there is a lack of diversity in this industry. And giving them a presence in the romance world is more important to me than whatever I end up writing as their profession.

Now, you still may have an issue with the fact that Devious Maids promotes a negative Latina stereotype and that it's vital to show young girls more positive role models on television. I agree with you that our daughters, nieces and granddaughters need more positive role models in their lives, but we shouldn't be expecting television shows to create them for us.

Instead, we should focus on becoming those role models ourselves. I highly doubt that if my 15-year-old daughter ever watched Devious Maids that she would think that as a Latina her future was limited to being a housekeeper. This is because I've always told her that if she works hard and goes to college that she can be whatever she wants to be.

Just like me.

And guess what? She wants to be an actress. So, actually, Devious Maids is showing her that it is possible for a Latina actress to get a lead role in Hollywood. How about that?

Sure it would be nice that by the time she's ready to pursue her dream that she's auditioning for roles like President of the United States or a scientist who cures cancer. But I'd be just as excited if she got a part in a romantic comedy or "chick flick."

Who knows? Maybe one of my books will someday be turned into a movie and she could play one of my characters!

On second thought, given the types of books I write, I don't think her dad could handle that.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you think about the new show Devious Maids?


  1. I haven't seen the show, but my 10-year-old told me she wanted to major in ceramics in college. *blink.blink* My dad never put me down for wanting to be a "writer."

    I'll have to check out the show now.

    1. Hi Louisa! Judging by the drawings you share on FB, I can definitely tell your daughter is going to be creative -- whatever career she chooses. After all, look at her mom! ;-)

  2. Sabrina,
    Great topic for discussion!

    I didn't watch "Devious Maids," because the whole "maids" thing has been death, and I would rather support something, almost anything, different. I would rather see Eva Longoria use her power for "good," by bringing us something we haven't seen before.

    I think the reason "Sex and the City," and "Girls" have hit a core, that "Devious Maids" misses, is that they offered something new. There weren't any dramas or sitcoms that featured women, like "The Facts of Life," "Golden Girls," or "Living Single," on air. They found, and filled a void. "Devious Maids," doesn't.

    So, I am supporting Alisa Valdes as she brings her "Dirty Girls Social Club" to the big screen, via a Kickstarter/grassroots effort. I would do the same for you. Alisa and you write about women I know and can relate to!


    1. Hi Michelle! Thanks for joining in the discussion today. I totally see your point about wanting to see something "different." I do think there is an audience for the over-the-top, soap opera dramas but the quality has to be there for the audience to stick with it. If Devious Maids fails to deliver on quality after the next episode or two then I won't hesitate to change the channel.

      And I would LOVE to see "Dirty Girls Social Club" find a home on the big or small screen. I've read and re-read both books and consider the first one to be one of my all time favorites. I definitely wish Ms. Valdes all the success in the world and offer her my support n this important project.

      For anyone interested in learning more about the Kickstarter project, here's the link:

  3. I didn't watch the show so I can't stay how good or bad it is...But I agree with your defense of Devious Maids...Yay!! Latina Women.....Definitely on my list to watch...

  4. Here is something else to consider:


    1. Hi again,

      Thank you for sharing, Michelle. This is very interesting indeed and definitely puts the show under a different light!

      -- Sabrina