Tag Archives: Lifetime

Lifetime’s Lizzie Borden: Don’t ax, don’t tell

'Lizzie Borden Took an Ax' premieres tonight on Lifetime.

Christina Ricci and Clea Duvall (from left) star as sisters Lizzie and Emma Borden in ‘Lizzie Borden Took an Ax’ tonight on Lifetime.

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax, a new TV movie revisiting one of early America’s most famous murder cases, arrives on Lifetime Saturday night with the tagline “It’s Time to Bury the Hatchet.” That should be enough to tip you that this isn’t going to be a conventional retelling of a gory incident that previously inspired an Emmy-winning 1975 TV movie called The Legend of Lizzie Borden, which was anchored by an electrifying Elizabeth Montgomery in the title role.
Indie film darling Christina Ricci (The Addams Family) is Lizzie on Lifetime in a decidedly alternative take on the famous story. Here, Lizzie isn’t the frustrated spinster being abused by her father and stepmother. Instead, she’s a rebel who is seething at her town’s inclination to shoehorn her into the role of bland, wholesome Sunday School teacher. That frustration leads her to act out in several ways, blowing far too much money on sexy frocks to wear at the soirees she sneaks out at night to attend, swilling cocktails liberally and lying to her friends about her “evil” father (Stephen McHattie). In fact, Lizzie keeps saying, her dad has so many enemies that she worries someone might … do something to him.
At home, she sneers openly at her stepmother (Sara Botsford) and, when her father quietly tries to curb Lizzie’s behavior, she switches into a creepily seductive mode.
“You don’t want me to become anything, do you?” Lizzie purrs to her father. “You just want me to stay here forever … with you.”
Given that Ricci stops just short of sucking on McHattie’s fingers, and the fact that Lizzie is airing just a week after Flowers in the Attic, at this point I started to wonder whether January had been designated as Incest Month on Lifetime.
By the end of the first half hour, both parental units have been dispatched by ax blows to their faces. Lizzie claims to have been in the family barn when her father and stepmother were murdered in the Borden home, but several things don’t seem to add up. For one thing, the stepmother was murdered more than an hour before Lizzie’s father, in a completely different part of the house. (As a prosecutor will point out during the trial, if the father had been killed first, his estate ultimately would have passed to the stepmother’s family, instead of Lizzie).
Then there’s the matter of a dark red stain on the skirt of the dress Lizzie was wearing that day. She says it was stew, but before the police can admit the garment into evidence, Lizzie – oops! – burns it.
Most of the rest of the TV movie follows the events of the murder trial, and it’s here that Ricci’s performance becomes a distraction. I don’t think I’ve ever been bored watching Ricci at work, but I also don’t know that I’ve ever seen her give a performance that isn’t steeped in irony, which is true here as well. That being the case, I never was able to figure out what was going on with this Lizzie. Is her confusion all an act, or is she, against all odds, being railroaded for a crime she didn’t commit?
A further jarring note is the blaring contemporary rock music that punctuates several scenes and knocks us right out of the story’s historical context. I’m guessing the filmmakers were trying to underscore Lizzie’s pre-feminist hunger for “self-actualization” – on the eve of her verdict, she tells her older sister, Emma (Clea Duvall), that she’s confident the jury will acquit her, because “No one in this town thinks I am capable of anything.” (Especially wielding an ax, since Ricci is so tiny that she looks incapable of wielding a melon baller).
In some respects, then, this Lizzie Borden is a mess, but I have to admit, it’s an interesting mess. Production values are above average, and the large cast – which also includes Billy Campbell as Lizzie’s defense attorney and Gregg Henry as the prosecutor – digs into their roles with gusto. Nearly 40 years after its premiere, that old Elizabeth Montgomery TV movie is still a far better character-driven take on this fascinating story, but Lizzie Borden Took an Ax makes for a thoroughly painless way to kill a couple of hours.
Lizzie Borden 2

A wilted Flowers in the Attic from Lifetime

Kiernan Shipka stars in 'Flowers in the Attic.'

Kiernan Shipka (‘Mad Men’) stars as Cathy Dollanganger in Lifetime’s remake of ‘Flowers in the Attic,’ which premieres Saturday.

More than a quarter-century before Stephenie Meyer hit paydirt with her Twilight novels, author V.C. Andrews tapped into pretty much the same pool of mostly female high school and college-age readers with Flowers in the Attic, her 1979 gothic horror novel that became a cult smash and, like Twilight, spawned multiple sequels.
In 1987, Flowers was adapted into a feature film starring Oscar winner Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant and Kristy Swanson. That movie was commercially successful but was widely reviled by Andrews loyalists for its many deviations from the novel. Those same fans may want to tune in this Saturday night as Lifetime presents a new made-for-TV remake that is said to be far more faithful to Andrews’ book.
Frankly, I can’t imagine that anyone who doesn’t already have a sentimental attachment to Flowers in the Attic is going to find much to enjoy, however. The years have not been kind of Andrews’ twisted story about a too-closely-knit family and the crazy quilt of horrors that befall some of them.
As the TV movie opens, the impossibly good-looking Dollanganger (seriously) family is enjoying a blissful upper-middle-class lifestyle until the father, Christopher Sr., is killed in a driving accident. His widow, Corinne (Heather Graham), has no marketable skills (“I’m an ornament – the only thing I was ever good at was being pretty,” she sighs), so she uproots her four kids and moves them back to the Virginia home of their grandparents, whom the children never have met.
Corinne’s mother, Olivia Foxworth (Ellen Burstyn) greets her long-estranged daughter and the four children – Christopher Jr. (Mason Dye), Cathy (Kiernan Shipka, Mad Men), and little twins Carrie and Cory (Ava Telek, Maxwell Kovach) – with a chilling sneer, and shows them to an upstairs room in a little-used wing of the mansion. The children will be allowed to share this single room, which has an attached attic, as long as they remain out of sight and make no noise, the old woman says.
Corinne explains to her children that her father disinherited her when she married Christopher Sr., so she just needs the kids to lay low until she can charm her way back into his will. As the days turn into weeks, then months, then years, however, the young Dollangangers are subjected to increasingly horrific treatment.
There’s a controversial thread running through Flowers in the Attic pertaining to the nature of multiple relationships within this insanely dysfunctional family. It’s a theme that has gotten Andrews’ novel banned from several high school libraries and the 1987 big-screen Flowers in the Attic omitted it entirely.
Lifetime’s remake restores that element, although it does so with such timidity that it’s still barely there. I’m not complaining, exactly, but if we’re being honest, that too-hot-to-handle hook was one of the main things that drove sales of the initial novel.
Andrews’ claustrophobic and mostly static narrative may work well enough on the page, but it makes for a turgid film that is somewhat bolstered by a couple of good performances. In the role of the grandmother so evil that she does everything but hop on a broomstick and try to bake her grandkids into gingerbread, Burstyn improbably finds occasional moments to reveal the pain and grief underlying Olivia’s unforgivable actions. Shipka, who has been immersed in what must be an extended master class in acting via her role as Sally Draper on Mad Men, was only 13 or so when she made this Flowers in the Attic, yet she convincingly charts Cathy’s transformation from frightened girl into defiant young woman.
Graham, however, is a disaster. I’m not saying Corinne is an easy character to pull off – in fact, as written, she’s pretty ludicrous – but the actress clearly is completely, hopelessly over her head here. When Corinne sits Cathy and Chris down and tries to explain to them why her parents are so cold to them, Graham looks like an inexperienced Junior Miss contestant delivering a monologue during her talent competition. That’s not good, since Corinne is, in most respects, a pivotal character in the plot mechanism.
Given how many copies the Flowers in the Attic books have sold over the years, it’s just possible that all those fans will rush to relive the experience this Saturday night, even though this TV movie isn’t very satisfying. Lifetime clearly is hoping so, because the network reportedly already has committed to filming Petals on the Wind, the second book in the series.
Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham star in Lifetime's 'Flowers in the Attic.'

Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham star in Lifetime’s remake of ‘Flowers in the Attic.’

Supersized ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ feels oddly smaller

Emile Hirsch, Holliday Grainger and Sarah Hyland star in 'Bonnie & Clyde.'

Emile Hirsch, Holliday Grainger and Sarah Hyland star in ‘Bonnie & Clyde,’ a two-part TV movie premiering tonight on three cable channels.

Bonnie & Clyde, the two-part, four-hour TV movie premiering simultaneously tonight and Monday on Lifetime, A&E Network and History Channel, covers many of the same events chronicled in Arthur Penn’s 1967 Bonnie and Clyde feature film, which earned 10 Oscar nods (including two trophies) for its electrifying depiction of the violent dual careers of gangster-lovers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Penn’s film confirmed the superstar status of its two leads, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, and also included fascinating supporting performances from Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons, Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard. More than four decades after its initial release, Bonnie and Clyde has lost none of its power, and if you’ve never seen it, by all means seek it out.
This new cable production, which casts Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) and Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) in the title roles, runs about an hour longer (not counting commercials) than Penn’s film, yet its objective, as well as its overall impact, feels much more modest. While Penn and his team told the story with all its doomed romantic aura intact, Bonnie & Clyde seeks to strip away most of the hype surrounding this true-crime saga to look at the real characters at the heart of it.
That’s certainly a valid approach, even a sensible one, since it would be nuts to try competing with Penn’s masterpiece on its own terms. Unfortunately, this Bonnie & Clyde simply doesn’t bring much new to the party.
It doesn’t help that the teleplay by John Rice and Joe Batteer, is fairly workmanlike, moving from event A to event B and so on as it makes its way to the carnage we know is coming eventually. For those who don’t, this TV movie opens on May 23, 1934, as a macabre mini-parade of police cars and a tow-truck rolls into rural Gibsland, La., bearing the bullet-riddled “murder car” that holds the sheet-covered corpses of Clyde, 25, and Bonnie, 24. At this point, the film, narrated by Hirsch’s Clyde, flashes back to his Texas childhood, when a near-fatal fever at age 9 left him – his grandmother would swear – with the gift of second sight.
That dubious bit of trivia might be worth a mention in passing, yet Rice and Batteer seem determined to make it a dramatic hook for their script. The young Clyde, still a boy, has a dreamy vision of the seductive adult Bonnie walking slowly towards him across a field and, while he and his older brother, Buck, are fleeing the scene of a petty larceny, Clyde is shocked by a brief flash of the bloody future fate awaiting his sibling. Premonitions like these keep recurring through the TV movie, and they’re never less than jarring.
At 28 and 25 respectively, Hirsch and Grainger are closer to the ages of their characters than were Beatty (30) and Dunaway (26), but they have to work harder to register with us. That they eventually manage to turn in praiseworthy turns is kind of remarkable, given that, even with its additional running time, this Bonnie & Clyde doesn’t seem to have a clear, convincing notion of who its characters were and why they did what they did.
Oh, the broad strokes are there. This account wants us to buy into the notion that Clyde was an easily manipulated, somewhat dim boy who kept wanting to go straight and settle down (those pesky premonitions, remember?), but Bonnie was so obsessively driven to seek fame and attention that she bought into their own press-driven myth and kept pushing Clyde to bigger and bigger crimes.
That’s certainly a way to go, I guess, but it’s not a theory that is very well supported by the historical record and, frankly, it seems more like the premise of … well … a Lifetime Original Movie.
Academy Award winners Holly Hunter (as Bonnie’s mom) and William Hurt (as a Texas Ranger who comes out of retirement to pursue the duo) make the most of their limited screen time and Sarah Hyland, best known as ditsy Haley Dunphy on Modern Family, has some very affecting moments as Clyde’s sister-in-law, Blanche (the role that won Parsons her Oscar).
Don’t get me wrong, with two-time Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies) at the helm, this made-for-cable Bonnie & Clyde isn’t terrible by any means. But it just feels a little irrelevant up against Penn’s absolutely essential feature film, which, by the way, is scheduled to be available later this week in a budget-priced two-DVD special edition set from Amazon.com.
Holliday Grainger and Holly Hunter play daughter and mother in 'Bonnie & Clyde.'

Oscar winner Holly Hunter (right) plays Bonnie’s (Holliday Grainger) concerned mother, Emma Parker, in ‘Bonnie & Clyde.’

Lifetime’s campy coven: ‘Witches of East End’

Witches of East End

Madchen Amick, Rachel Boston, Julia Ormond and Jenna Dewan-Tatum (from left) in “Witches of East End”

The previews for Lifetime’s heavily promoted Witches of East End, which premieres tonight, emphasize the mystery and spookiness, but conceal one of this new series’ biggest selling points: It’s a big, juicy hoot.
Loosely based on a novel by Melissa de la Cruz, Witches stars Emmy winner Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin) as Joanna Beauchamp, an art teacher who lives quietly in the titular seaside village with her young adult daughters, bohemian bartender Freya (Jenna Dewan-Tatum, American Horror Story), and shy, down-to-Earth librarian Ingrid (Rachel Boston, In Plain Sight).
The story opens on the night of a party celebrating Freya’s engagement to local rich hunk Dash Gardiner (Eric Winter, GCB), who is both devoted and noble (he works for Doctors Without Borders). Freya is happy but a little distracted at the soiree, chiefly because she’s been having erotically charged dreams involving a dark, seductive stranger (Daniel DiTomasso). You don’t need a crystal ball to know this rates a very big “uh-oh.”
The real drama, however, is going on outside the gates to the Gardiner mansion, where a menacing doppelganger of Joanna violently attacks two of her neighbors. Joanna knows nothing of the incident until the next day when, without warning, her long-estranged sister, Wendy (Madchen Amick), shows up on her front porch to warn her that she has received visions of a terrible danger surrounding Joanna and the girls. Finally convinced, Joanna reluctantly realizes she has to tell Freya and Ingrid the truth: They are witches who have lived and died many times over the centuries. Unfortunately, that revelation may come too late to save one of the Beauchamp girls.
Witches of East End navigates its way deftly through these treacherous soapy waters very impressively during tonight’s first hour, thanks in no small part to a very well-cast ensemble. Ormond is charming yet suggests Joanna’s hidden strengths, and Amick very obviously relishes this chance to play the kooky but concerned aunt. As the younger generation, Dewan-Tatum and Boston do such a good job of making their characters grounded and specific that it becomes easier for us to ignore the fact that Freya and Ingrid are a little too transparently designed to be foils for each other. In fact, strictly on the basis of tonight’s pilot episode, I’m ready to declare Boston the show’s MVP. She has a lovely, accessible girl-next-door quality that keeps pulling us back in when the plot starts tilting toward the wildly improbable.
Witches of East End may not be high art, but it’s terrific entertainment, especially for this time of year. The Beauchamps probably are going to need a heap of magic to draw an audience on one of the most hotly competitive nights in primetime television, but I’m hoping Witches of East End will be around for a spell.
Witches of East End

Daniel DiTomasso, Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Eric Winter in “Witches of East End”

A passion for fashion

"House of Versace" Day 09Photo: Jan Thijs 2013
Enrico Colantoni and Gina Gershon
House of Versace, a new Lifetime Original Movie premiering Saturday night, takes off like gangbusters, opening in 1996 in the fashion capital of Milan. Designer Gianni Versace (Enrico Colantoni) is sitting pretty, his vibrant, sexy styles in strong demand for both red-carpet events and high-profile artistic projects such as operas and movies. If Gianni is the driving force behind his family’s empire, however, his sister, Donatella (Gina Gershon), has begun to capture her share of press attention thanks to her dynamic personality and a flair for being outstpoken and compulsively quotable.
Gianni, who is given to saying things like “the woman who wears this gown must feel like a sexy warrior,” is mostly proud of his sister’s elevated profile, but he turns snappish when she starts wanting to launch a line of her own designs.
“I am the designer. You are a stylist. Don’t confuse the two,” he tells her peevishly at one point.
The first third of the TV movie fairly bursts with energy and color. Clearly, this is a very big world populated by big talents and comparably sized egos, and House of Versace captures that world in all its high-stakes excitement.
Flash-forward, now, to the summer of 1997. Gianni is in Miami to meet with some American clients, but he phones a stressed-out Donatella, who is struggling to coordinate a high-profile Versace show in Italy. Tired and irritable, she yells at her brother when he tries to micromanage via long distance, then hangs up on him. Later that day, in one of that summer’s most shocking incidents, Gianni is murdered outside his home by serial killer Andrew Cunanan.
Naturally, the family is completely devastated, but with a major show coming up in just a few weeks, someone has to step in to complete Gianni’s collection or turn it over to another high-profile name and risk the collection being claimed by another brand. From a creative standpoint, Donatella isn’t nearly ready for this kind of exposure, but as she is the second best-known among the Versaces, she gamely takes a shot at it.
It’s a mistake. The other members of the Versace fashion team, many of whom had worked with Gianni for many years, look on with ill-concealed disapproval as she tries to impose her own taste on the garments instead of doing “what Gianni would have wanted.” Already insecure, Donatella starts to take legitimate criticism as signs of disloyalty and she begins firing long-time Versace loyalists and associates, causing even deeper dissention within the ranks. She is aghast when her first collection is greeted with derision by the fashion press, who slam her designs for being sad and lackluster, lacking Gianni’s cheerful buoyancy and sexiness.
At about this juncture in the TV movie, I had to admit, I was seeing their point. I never would have thought of Colantoni for the role of the flamboyant Gianni Versace, but he’s absolutely brilliant, filling his scenes with energy, ego and a hint of madness. That’s not to suggest Gershon isn’t very good. She is, but she seems to be somewhat locked into sustaining Donatella’s signature vocal patterns and intonations even when it starts to make her line readings sound a bit monotone after awhile.
After Gianni’s death, House of Versace, like the business of the same title, suffers a real slump in creative energy, as Donatella goes from one professional low to another, compounded by the personal hurt when she learns that Gianni has cut her and most of the rest of his immediate family out of his will. All of this sends Donatella into a drug- and alcohol-fueled depression spiral that lasts seven years – and occasionally I felt as if those years were playing out in real time in this film.
Thankfully, Donatella’s family eventually sends her to rehab and she pulls herself together for a stunning comeback that we see in the final moments of the TV movie. I just wish the screenwriter had cut some of the depressing (and repetitive) middle third of the film and allowed us to enjoy more of the triumphant, post-rehab Donatella.
House of Versace may be imperfect, but it has moments of near-perfection, however, and it’s worth seeing for those. In addition to the compelling performances of Gershon and Colantoni, the cast also includes good work by Colm Feore as Santo, Gianni and Donatella’s brother; Broadway’s Donna Murphy as Maria, a key member of the Versace creative team; and Raquel Welch, looking supernaturally stunning at 73 as Aunt Lucia, who acts as a surrogate mother and grandmother to the Versaces.
Raquel Welch

A Lifetime ‘Cheat’ sheet

cheating foursome
Max Carver, Laura Samuels, Daniela Bobadilla and Laura Slade Wiggins (from left)
A scheme by some Southern California teenagers to finesse their College Entrance Test goes horribly awry in The Cheating Pact, an uneven but unusually well acted TV movie premiering tonight on Lifetime.
Doug Campbell, who both co-wrote and directed the film, opens the story with the four principal characters taking the test for the first time. Whiz-kid misfit Meredith (Laura Slade Wiggins) zips through the exam with 25 minutes to spare, but the other three – Heather, Kylie and Jordan – tank the test pretty badly.
Kylie (Laura Samuels), a classic Mean Girl who transferred to the school the previous year and immediately supplanted Meredith as weak-willed Heather’s (Daniela Bobadilla) best friend, rejects the radical idea of, you know, actually studying for a makeover test in favor of urging Heather to cozy up to Meredith and persuade her to re-take the test for them, using false identification cards. After all, Meredith desperately needs money to help her unemployed father pay medical bills for his other child, a special-needs student (hey, I warned you this movie was uneven).
Meredith, who is miserably lonely, warily accepts Heather’s offer and aces the test for her, but when Kylie – who has made life a living hell for Meredith since her transfer – tries to hire Meredith to take the test for her, Meredith understandably balks. This doesn’t sit well with Kylie, especially after Meredith also takes the test for Kylie’s boyfriend, Jordan (Max Carver, Teen Wolf), whose unisex first name makes it possible for Meredith to fake his identity, too.
Kylie’s fury drives her to blackmail Meredith, who retaliates with her own little prank on her nemesis, until finally The Cheating Pact spins off from a fairly interesting look at a genuinely troubling social issue and turns into a melodramatic “cautionary tale” that can be taken about as seriously as Reefer Madness.
Even under these less than ideal circumstances, the young stars give improbably strong performances. Among the best is Samuels, whose character’s nastiness is rooted in the pressures of growing up with an overachieving sister and a chilly mother (Paula Trickey) who firmly believes in winning at all costs. Wiggins also is very good as Meredith, conveying an inner feistiness that helps mitigate the cloying sweetness of that unfortunate subplot involving her disabled sibling. Carver, who used to play one of Lynette Scavo’s mischievous twins on Desperate Housewives, may be playing a lunkhead here, but he also shows us Jordan’s innate decency that, ultimately, plays a key role in the story’s resolution.
Ironically, Bobadilla, who gets top billing as Heather, has by far the least interesting character, but she’s still quite affecting as a teenager who grows to realize she has behaved shamefully toward a childhood friend she once loved, while Cynthia Gibb co-stars as her divorced mom who can’t afford to send Heather to a good college unless she gets superior test scores.
The Cheating Pact would be better if it had stayed focused on the very real rising epidemic of high school and college cheating, often with the full participation of the students’ parents, but even with its unfortunate detour into camp in its latter scenes, this TV movie is rarely less than entertaining.

And witty little ‘Maids’ in a row

From left, Ana Ortiz, Edy Ganem, Judy Reyes, Dania Ramirez and Roselyn Sanchez
Starting tonight, Lifetime starts serving up a bracing glass of summer sangria in the form of Devious Maids, a featherweight but entertaining new dramedy from two former Desperate Housewives collaborators, actress Eva Longoria and series creator Marc Cherry. Adapted from a Mexican TV series called Ellas son la Alegria del Hogar (which means “they are the joy of the household”), the series revolves around four Latina maids working for (usually) demanding and insensitive wealthy families in some of the most fabulous mansions in Beverly Hills.
Devious Maids opens with the fatal stabbing of another maid, Flora, during a party at the home of her employer, Evelyn Powell (Rebecca Wisocky), shortly after the latter has upbraided her for allegedly seducing Evelyn’s husband, Adrian (Tom Irwin). Adrian and the party guests are horrified by the murder, but Evelyn is primarily preoccupied with the fact that she can’t find anyone to clean up the gore from the murder scene.
“(The agency) gave me attitude because Flora was murdered,” she complains to a friend. “I’d understand if I had had a few maids slaughtered, but I’ve only lost the one. It’s not fair.”
Meanwhile, Marisol Duarte (Ana Ortiz, Ugly Betty) has landed a job cleaning the home of the Powells’ neighbors, Michael Stappord (Brett Cullen) and his new trophy wife, Taylor (Brianna Brown), although Taylor is uneasy that Marisol has no accent and speaks as if she had gone to college (translation: “She has an attitude”).
Marisol soon begins to win over Taylor by listening to her frustration about living with Michael in a home that had been extensively decorated by his first wife (guest star Valerie Mahaffey), an insecure shrew given to dropping by at inopportune moments. Marisol also offers to help Evelyn by filling in at her home as well until a replacement for Flora can be found, and we begin to see that Marisol is more than idly curious about the murder.
In another mansion, Zoila Del Barrio (Judy Reyes, Scrubs) has her hands full keeping her aging and deeply neurotic mistress, Genevieve Delatour (Susan Lucci), from having a nervous breakdown, but she’s not too busy to notice that Zoila’s daughter, Valentina (Edy Ganem), has set her cap for Genevieve’s handsome son, Remi (Drew Van Acker), an infatuation that Zoila recognizes is a fast ticket to catastrophe.
At the home of soap star Spence Westmore (Grant Show, Melrose Place) and his B-list movie actress wife, Peri (Mariana Klaveno, True Blood), Rosie Falta (Dania Ramirez) picks up most of the slack when it comes to nurturing their little boy while struggling to find a way to bring her own young son from Guadalajara to be with her in Los Angeles.
Finally, relentlessly ambitious Carmen Luna (Roselyn Sanchez) keeps flirting with disaster – and her new superstar employer, Alejandro Rubio (Matt Cendeno) – in hopes that he will help her launch her own singing career.
Since Cherry created both Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids, it’s no surprise that the two shows share some creative DNA (a dark mystery at the heart of the story, a somewhat camp sensibility, strong female characters and even similar musical underscoring). I’m a little surprised that Maids has ruffled some feathers in terms of handling its ethnic characters since, by and large, the Anglo characters are far less appealing and sympathetic than the principal maids are. The ensemble cast is very strong, led by Ortiz on the domestic side and, on the other, the gloriously over-the-top Wisocky, who once guest starred as Bree’s mother on Desperate Housewives.
Devious Maids isn’t out to make any truly subversive sociopolitical points – or, if it is, it fails notably on that account. It is, however, an entertaining way to spend an hour on a summer night, and on that score, I suggest that you check it out.
Rebecca Wisocky