A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Devious Maids, an American adaptation of a Mexican soap opera, is a dramatic comedy produced by the makers of Desperate Housewives. The content isn't as strong as Housewives, but it still contains lots of mature stuff, including some bloody violence, lots of strong sexual innuendo and some sexual content (including scenes of people cavorting in bed partially dressed), and words like "bitch" and "crap." Drinking is frequent, and pill overdose is discussed (albeit humorously). It also highlights many of the stereotypes that exist about Latina maids in the United States. Teens who like this sort of show will find it entertaining, but it's really not intended for a younger audience.
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What's the story?
DEVIOUS MAIDS is a dramatic comedy series about the lives of five tight-knit maids working in Beverly Hills, California. It stars Paula Garcés as Flora Hernandez, whose employment at the Powell household ends with a mysterious violent death. Meanwhile, Zoila Diaz (Judy Reyes) is anxious to keep her current employer, Genevieve Delatour (Susan Lucci) from going over the deep end, while keeping tabs on her daughter Valentina (Edurne Ganem), who has a crush on Delatour's son, Remi (Drew Van Acker). At the Rubio household, the sexy and rather self-absorbed Carmen (Roselyn Sanchez), is trying to get her boss, singer Alejandro Rubio (Matt Cedeño), to help her boost her own musical career, while Rosie (Dania Ramirez) is working at the dysfunctional Westmore home while struggling to find a way to bring her young son from Mexico. New maid Marisol Duarte (Ana Ortiz) has begun working for the newly married Stappords, and uses her day off to help the Powells keep their house clean, and to find out more about Flora's death. From cleaning up spills to helping their employers keep secrets, these women have the brains and the guts to use their positions to get what they want.
Is it any good?
Devious Maids, which is produced by Eva Longoria and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, is loosely adapted from the popular Mexican telenovela, Ellas Son La Alegría del Hogar, and offers a similarly dramatic-but-humorous look the world of the domestic employees and the privileged people who hire them. It underscores how frequently domestic employees are seen as invisible commodities, and successfully uses this phenomena as a vehicle to create narratives in which each character can use this to her advantage.
Like its sister show, viewers are reminded of the class distinctions that are associated with domestic workers, as well as the many attitudes that exist about both them and their employers. But these themes are offered here within a larger American context, which highlight (and sometimes reinforce) racial/ethnic stereotypes that specifically surround Latina maids in order to create some funny and/or uncomfortably tense moments. But outside of this, the overall series is both well-written and entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes. How can the media highlight aspects about specific cultures or communities without making generalizing and/or judgmental statements? Can the media be used to diffuse stereotypes?
How have domestic workers been portrayed in films and on TV over the years? How many of these portrayals have come in the form of lead characters? Do you think these portrayals are accurate? Does this show serve to challenge or reinforce stereotypes about domestic workers?
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