SAN DIEGO -- Eva Longoria actually tried to defend a series she had agreed to co-produce about Latinas cast as housekeepers. But in the process, the Mexican-American television star came across as, well, desperate.
The program - "Devious Maids, which was set to debut this fall on ABC -- was, if you'll excuse the expression, the brainchild of Marc Cherry. One would expect more from the creator of the hit show "Desperate Housewives," which starred Longoria and recently wrapped up its final season.
Casting Latinas as maids isn't much of a stretch creatively. In fact, Lupe Ontiveros, a Mexican-American actress from an earlier generation, estimates that she has played a maid on screen as many as 300 times.
Fortunately, in a burst of good taste and common sense, ABC decided not to pick up the series.
Based on the popular Mexican telenovela "The Disorderly Maids of the Neighborhood," it would have revolved around four women who worked as maids in Beverly Hills. The maids were to have been played by actresses Judy Reyes, Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramirez and Roselyn Sanchez. Susan Lucci of "All My Children" was slated to play one of the rich employers.
When critics sounded off, Longoria got defensive.
"They are the leads of the show, and they are playing maids, which is a realistic reflection of our society today in America," she told the Huffington Post. "When we get any sort of backlash for -- 'Oh, they're playing the stereotypical maids' -- my immediate response is, 'So you're telling me those stories aren't worth telling, that those people are lesser than, that their stories aren't worth exploring, that they have no complexity in their life because they're a maid?'"
A realistic reflection? Seriously?
Longoria needs a new mirror. I don't know what society she lives in. But in the one I'm familiar with, Latinas are reflected in the medical and legal professions, run major corporations and huge nonprofit organizations, and excel in a variety of fields ranging from education to academia to media to law enforcement.
This gives me an idea. Listen up, ABC. You want to feature Latinas in lead roles? Glad to hear it. I'd like to propose a new television series about the adventures of four Latinas. One is a Supreme Court justice (Sonia Sotomayor). One is the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA (Anna Maria Chavez). One is the governor of New Mexico (Susana Martinez). And one is the co-owner of the Colorado Rockies, a major league baseball team (Linda Alvarado).
Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group