Suds, Sydney and Devious Maids
He's from Melrose, she's from Ugly Betty. But they both love the intrigue of Devious Maids.
But while Grant Show and Anna Ortiz’s respective characters don’t share the screen on Devious Maids, it hasn’t stopped them from visiting Sydney to promote the show for Universal.
Two seasons have aired on the female-skewed Lifetime channel in the US, and the cast is quietly confident of a third season.
“I think we can pretty much say we’re getting a third season,” Grant Show told TV Tonight.
“Something extraordinary would have to happen to not get a third season. The second season did very well in the States and Lifetime is very much behind us. But we’ll know for sure in the next month or so.”
No surprises that the show has performed well, it has Desperate Housewives‘ very own Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria behind it.
Based on the Mexican TV series Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar, it centres around 5 Latino maids working for the wealthy in Beverly Hills, and is full of Cherry’s trademark mix of intrigue, sex and humour.
“He’s definitely the right person to bring camp, sex, murder, comedy, gorgeous people. It’s a lot of fun, a guilty pleasure for sure,” Ortiz agreed.
“And Eva’s incredibly hands-on and she really believes in the show. There was a lot of controversy about it in the States when it first started so she really came out and rallied for us and spoke about it to anyone who would listen. She fought for the integrity of the show.
“She’s also a really good Yin to Marc Cherry’s Yang. They’re a very good team. What he doesn’t know about Latin women, she can get in and help. She’s such an integral part.”
The controversy emerged because of fears it would stereotype Latino women.
“It was the fact that it’s the first time a show has had 5 Latin women leading a show, and the fact that it had to be maids. Our community was basically the hardest on us, and I understand it because my reaction when I saw the script was actually the same,” she recalls.
“But I knew it was Marc Cherry and Eva and when I read the scripts I realised ‘These are actually well-rounded, fabulous characters who are the moral centre of the show, holding all the power as it were.’
“I also thought ‘Why is a Maid’s story any less important than a Doctor or a Lawyer?’ My grandmother was a housekeeper and I’m honoured to be able to bring a story like hers to Television and have a go at the rich for a change.”
But while Cherry played with the balance of power between the classes, he also kept his tongue firmly in his cheek.
“Absolutely. We’re not wagging our finger at anybody or teaching anybody lessons. It’s just a lot of fun and we just happen to be really powerful women Beverly Hills, just from a different vantage point,” Ortiz insists.
“It’s a lot of fun to play that dynamic.
“As soon as the show started airing the controversy went away as we knew it would.”
Having played Jake Hanson on Melrose Place for five seasons, Grant Show is more than familiar with melodrama on the small screen, including for two of the most successful showrunners in the genre, Marc Cherry and Darren Star.
“Darren only did the first two (Melrose) seasons, so it was more Aaron Spelling than Darren,” he explains.
“Aaron was very hands-on watching everything that was shot and made comments after everything was done. But it was always after it was shot and then we did re-shoots if there was something he didn’t like.
“But Marc gives us input before we shoot. He has a very clear vision, which I appreciate, because I know what the perameters are that I’m supposed to stay in.”
Show wasn’t aware that Melrose was a monster hit in Australia when it screened on TEN.
“The first season was terrible. We were trying to be Twentysomething, you know like Thirtysomething, and took ourselves too seriously. It wasn’t until the end of the first season when we redefined ourselves,” he continues.
“We moved to Mondays and they had a whole campaign ‘Mondays Are a Bitch!’ Then we started flying.
“Season 5 was when I left, I was ready to move on. We had probably jumped the shark a few times by then. But it became ‘if we weren’t jumping the shark, we weren’t doing it right.’”
Moving on from a matinee idol role, Show later appeared in Models Inc. Swingtown, Private Practice and a host of guest roles and pilots. But he is relaxed about the fact he will always carry part of Jake with him.
“(Jake) will always be part of who I am and I will never extricate that from me. But that’s life, isn’t it? An actor’s history will always colour whatever his current role is. It’s just part of the gig and I don’t really think about it that much, anymore.”
On Devious Maids he plays a soap opera actor, Spencer Westmore, married to conceited actress Peri (Mariana Klaveno).
“Spencer is really sweet. He’s a bit of a buffoon but he is absolutely guileless and has a huge heart. He spends the entire first season trying to get it right, but I’m not sure that he ever does. He’s fun to play for that reason,” he admits.
“But she’s awful. She’s more awful than any human being could be in real life. Nobody could be as bad as this person, and yet Mariana is so terrific. She plays her in a way that you hate her, but she’s a Scorpio, what she’s she going to do?
“‘Peri’ is the poorest human being I’ve ever met in my entire life!”
Anna Ortiz played Hilda Suarez in Ugly Betty for 4 years and has had roles in Over There and Boston Legal. But she was proud of the diversity of Ugly Betty, in which she played the mother of gay teenager Justin (Mark Indelicato).
“His evolution throughout the seasons, I thought, was so well done with such love and sensitivity and humour and realness. It’s something I’m super-proud of. I loved every second of Ugly Betty,” Ortiz says.
“It was one of the first times a kiss had been done with teenage boys, so it was definitely a watershed moment. We’re still all very close. America (Ferrera) is a godmother to my son, and I spoke to Mark about 2 days ago.
“Ugly Betty made us all family.”
Currently in Australia to promote Devious Maids, Ortiz and Show have been taking in the Sydney sights including Bondi Beach, Manly, Taronga Zoo, and the Harbour Bridge Climb with hopes to visit the Blue Mountains.
“I’ve been wanting to come to Australia,” says Show, who nearly moved here when he was growing up.
“My family all moved from Detroit to California with the intent of staying long enough to get enough money to emigrate to Australia. So I’ve always felt like I have unfinished business here and I’ve been wanting to come here for years.
“Now I’m kind of pissed off with my family for not going, because it’s great here!”
Devious Maids airs in double episodes from 8:30pm Thursdays on Universal.