“Devious Maids” is the new show from “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry, which premieres Sunday, June 23 at 10/9c on Lifetime. The premise is similar: a dark comedy about four friends working together to solve a murder. This time, instead of satirizing suburbia, Cherry takes on Beverly Hills. The twist is that the focus is on the housekeepers, not the rich and famous. But their selfish, clueless employers provide much of the comedy.
Grant Show plays Spence, the show’s most sympathetic boss. In an exclusive interview with xfinityTV, the TV fave previewed the show’s soap within the soap, revealed why Cherry keeps hiring former “Melrose Place” stars and crafted a “Devious Maids” drinking game.
How would you describe your character?
Poor Spence. Spence is a little bit of a buffoon. He’s very sweet but doesn’t quite get it right all the time. He’s trying really hard. He’s a family man. He loves his kid. He really wants his family to work out. But he’s an actor, a daytime soap actor, and his wife is becoming a movie star. She’s not the sweetest person in the world and kind of makes fun of him and belittles him and he’s just trying to get along.
As a viewer, you’re rooting for Spence to take the baby and leave his wife Peri. Will their marriage fall apart, or will he keep putting up with her?
I think both. Spence is a really good guy and he wants it to work. He believes in family and he made the commitment to Peri (Mariana Klaveno). How long that will go on, I don’t know. But he’s going to try. He may make a few mistakes and get distracted along the way.
Are their career trajectories going to continue going in opposite directions?
Yes. They will continue diverging. She gets nothing but more famous and more nasty.
Is his storyline going to mirror real soaps, with his show getting cancelled, then revived online?
Maybe next season. She becomes a movie star. He becomes a webisode actor. “Honey, this is the wave of the future!”
In future episodes, are we going to see him at work on the soap opera?
Yeah. He plays Dr. Lance Dupree on “Love Affairs.” Dr. Lance DuPree is not a buffoon. Dr. Lance Dupree is probably the opposite of Spence. He’s his alter ego. It’s who Spence probably wishes he could be.
There’s been some criticism of the show in that it’s the first series to feature all Latina protagonists, but the characters are maids, which some people perceive as stereotypical. What would you say to that?
I’m not Latino, so I can’t speak to it on an emotional level, but I don’t see the [heroines] as maids. I see them as people. Their job is that their maids, but the show is from their point of view. So they’re very rounded, real people. They’re not just maids.
Having seen the show, it’s also clear that they are by far the smartest, most competent characters in this universe.
Oh yeah. They run it. We’ve seen this story since Shakespeare where the help is actually who’s in charge. The help sees everything.
Can you tease some of the upcoming twists and turns in the murder mystery?
It’s so delicious, what happens. I can’t really say other than that there’s a murder and we don’t know who it is and it just gets deeper and deeper and more twisted and more twisted and more twisted. Marc Cherry is so good at writing himself into a corner, then writing himself out of that corner. It’s really fun to watch that. It’s so much fun to go to work every day.
By the end of the season, will the audience know who did it?
I believe so, but I haven’t seen the beginning of the next season, so maybe we’re wrong.
The pilot establishes two parallel worlds of the maids and the employers. Will there be more interaction between the two groups as the season goes on?
Definitely. From my household’s perspective, we get very much intertwined [Spence's maid] Rosie [Dania Ramierz] and Spence become more and more involved with each other over time. I feel like that separation goes away a little bit. It’s always the maids story, though. So you will always see it from their perspective.
There are so many shows that are told from the point of view of the wealthy. In a way, this series reflects the lives of the vast majority of Americans who have to live on a budget.
There are times when I look at it and I see that Rosie needs something and Spence has the money to give it to her, but for some reason he just doesn’t see that he can. For some reason, he just blissfully goes along as if everyone lives [like him.]
I do like Marc. Marc had done a pilot the year before called “Hallelujah” that I really just thought was terrific and I read for a character on that. When you read for someone, you get to know someone quite well in a very short period of time. I liked him and I wanted to work with him. My character changed as I was cast in it. He started out just as nasty as the rest of the characters on the show. I don’t know if it was because I was cast in the role or because they wanted to develop the characters out a little more, but he just became nicer and sweeter as we went along. Maybe that’s because of me.
What would Jake from “Melrose Place” think if he found himself amongst the “Devious Maids”?
I think he might say, “Oh, this is what happens to these people when they grow up.” In some ways a lot of them are the same people. I don’t think Tom Irwin’s character is any worse than Michael was.
Do you think people who liked “Melrose Place” will also enjoy this show?
I do. It’s kind of the closest character I’ve played to Jake in a long time. He’s not cool like Jake. But, even though everyone said Jake was the bad boy, Jake was the only guy on that show that was good. Spence, in a similar way, is one of the good people on this.
“Ðesperate Housewives” starred “Melrose Place” alumni Marcia Cross and Doug Savant. Do you think that having a “Melrose Place” actor on a Marc Cherry show is the secret formula for a hit?
That’s why I was hired. I’m the “Melrose Place” good-luck charm. I’m the rabbit’s foot. He rubs my head every day before we go to work.
Can you preview some goofy, fun Spence moments over the rest of the season?
Spence has a tendency to get knocked out. He has a tendency to find himself unconscious. It happens more than once, at the worst possible time. I think that’s the drink part. If Spence gets knocked out, drink.
What else would be in the “Devious Maids” drinking game?
Any time you see a maid with a cleaning implement in their hands. Any time one of the maids makes a face behind someone’s back. Anytime anyone makes a face behind someone’s back.
“Devious Maids” premieres Sunday, June 23 at 10/9c on Lifetime.