Here's a provocative thought: We are Latinas and don't find "Devious Maids" offensive. Nor do we think it should be hailed as a source of pride for a community ( looking at you, MALDEF) or as an excellent piece of television. If you were a fan of "Desperate Housewives" then you'll probably like "Devious Maids". If you weren't, then you probably won't.
The show is true to creator Marc Cherry's form: It's ridiculous, it's over the top, it's unbelievable -- but it's also pretty fun to watch as far as melodramas go.
Like "Ugly Betty" before it, "Devious Maids" is a remake of a Latin American soap opera, and like most soap operas, by definition they're exaggerated to the point of no return. So don't tune into "Devious Maids" expecting the struggling-immigrant story -- unless that immigrant is wearing heels to clean the blood from the murder scene that acts as the show's "through-line." Yes, it's like that – not real life -- so let go and laugh it off.
What is refreshing about "Devious Maids" is this: we get the point of view of characters (Latina maids) who usually only get one line in an entire season, but here they are the protagonists and they're actually less cartoonish than the non-Latino characters. Undoubtedly, it's a sad state of affairs that in the United States of America in the year 2013, a Lifetime show "about maids" is the only one that has a cast of Latina women as its main characters. Not surprising then, that the stars of "Devious Maids" – Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez, Roselyn Sanchez, Judy Reyes, and Edy Ganem – are thrilled to be part of this project. They are having a blast promoting the show too, as evidenced by our interview with Sanchez and Ramirez (watch above.)
Television, and the entertainment industry in general, is not going to single-handedly change racism, inequality or injustice. What the Hollywood machinery can do is help create awareness, fight stereotypes and open minds (hence why Latino civil rights organizations and Latino media were too quick to dismiss this show.) But in a twisted way, "Devious Maids" achieves this because you might not expect it to be as funny, as over-the-top or as nonchalant about race as it is. For the record: the show has white European and African American domestic workers too, and one of the employers is a rich pop star who happens to be afro-Latino (again, this is not real life. Most Latin American pop stars are still beyond white).
So are we (Latinos) taking ourselves too seriously? Do we have to all raise our arms in unison, offended every time a Latino is cast on television or film? It's getting old, and if you watch, portrayal of Latinos on "Devious Maids" is actually new.