There’s no way around it: Devious Maids is a poor man’s Desperate Housewives. That’s made even more unfortunate since Maids hails from the same creator. You’d think Marc Cherry would know how to rip himself off, but even that seems like a difficult task.
The show’s biggest flaw is that it feels like Cherry isn’t even trying. He simply took Desperate Housewives and its enormously successful template, and applied it to another soapy dramedy revolving around a group of women. And yet it still doesn’t feel like it works. Where Housewives was bold, fresh, and daring, Maids feels clunky, insipid, and so very cheap.
Bare in mind, the production values aren’t bad at all. ABC obviously funded this pilot with high hopes before opting not to pick it up. Now that the show’s been picked up by Lifetime, I almost feel like sticking it just to see if the production values can be maintained or if it will look vastly different next week. And that darn Latin music blaring over every single scene? Ridiculously imposing.
The cast doesn’t fare much better. Ana Oritz of Ugly Betty fame is surprisingly charming, but the rest of the women barely leave much of an impression. Roselyn Sanchez is relegated to sparring with a pop star’s limping assistant (seriously?), while Egy Ganem pines over her boss’ son, and Dania Ramirez mopes over her distant son. Yes the women’s various machinations (especially when they’re trying to one-up their employers) are somewhat diverting, but it’s all fluff with no real substance.
Admittedly, the pilot’s final twist is actually quite effective as it’s revealed that Marisol inserted herself into this dangerous world because her imprisoned son is the bartender who was framed in the teaser. The twist at least flips the show’s premise on its head (somewhat) and gives us a protagonist worth rooting for with a tangible goal. Sadly, I don’t think it’s enough to ensure my commitment to the show when there’s much more capable television on the airwaves.
It’s a pity Marc Cherry’s followup to Housewives is such a disappointment. It’s even sadder to note that Eva Longoria is one of the show’s producers. She was such a comedic highlight on Housewives, but she obviously doesn’t know what makes a good show either.
While it’s mildly amusing, the Devious Maids pilot still feels like a forced Desperate Housewives knockoff.