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“Devious Maids” skewers the one percent

I was recently having a conversation about working class people and television, and how it has become nearly impossible to find the former on the latter. Sitcoms used to have a blue-collar tradition, from “All in the Family” to “Roseanne,” but in recent years that's been all but abandoned. People on television are usually rich, nearly so, or becoming so. They are typically untroubled by financial practicalities or only marginally bothered by them. Into this desert of class diversity comes Lifetime’s cheeky new melodrama “Devious Maids,” premiering Sunday, which features five working class Latina women, but still just flickers in and out of class consciousness.

“Devious Maids” comes from Marc Cherry, the creator of “Desperate Housewives” and a man who clearly believes in sticking to certain naming conventions. Tonally, the shows are very similar: comedic super-soaps about a group of women with a central murder mystery, crazy plot turns, and a knowing, winking tone. The stars of “Devious Maids” are not housewives but Latina domestic servants, all working for crazy rich people in Beverly Hills. In the first minutes of the pilot, a maid, Flora, is murdered by a person unknown. When her employer, a camp character on the order of Cruella De Vil, breaks down, it’s not because of the death, but the mess: “My maid was murdered! Who is going to clean all this up?” she screeches.

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