There is nothing more precious for a show creator in this day and age than the trust and the full creative support of a TV network. At the Awardsline screening for Lifetime‘s Devious Maids Monday night, creator Marc Cherry revealed one kinky scene the network let him get away with.
“There was a scene where Rosie’s (Dania Ramirez) employer Lucinda spanks her son. When I pitched that to a room full of female executives they exclaimed, ‘And that’s funny, why?!'” Pin it on Cherry’s m.o. to keep his comedy storytelling dangerous. “I’m gonna pitch (a network) things that are funny and because I’m a sick, twisted bastard, you’re going to have to trust me on this,” said Cherry about his directive to TV network execs.
In conversing with panel moderator, Deadline’s Dominic Patten, Cherry further expounded about his ABC hit Desperate Housewives and Lifetime’s Devious Maids, “I want my shows to be delicious. Sometimes, I’ll get a guest star who might play a part too earnestly and I tell them that the drama should have a twinkle in its eye and the comedy, a bitter after taste. My mistakes are when I swing too far for the fences. When we play it safe — we risk more.”
The crowd last night watched the first episode of Devious Maids‘ second season, “An Ideal Husband” directed by the show’s executive producer and former Desperate Housewives alum Eva Longoria. For Cherry, Longoria played to the material and actors’ strengths, which isn’t always the case with TV directors who can vie for style over performance. One of the story arcs in the episode revolved around Carmen (Roselyn Sanchez), an ambitious pop singer who is trying to break away from her role as a maid to a Latin pop icon, Alejandro.
Said Cherry, “Eva did the best with directing Carmen, because that’s the part she would have played after all those years playing Gabrielle (on Desperate Housewives), who was vain and selfish. I told Roselyn it was my favorite episode. She had the help of someone being behind the character because Eva really understood Carmen: Often the characters who are self-absorbed are the funniest.”
“A lot of times, directors feel that we know our characters and leave you alone. It’s refreshing to be directed and have someone tell you, ‘Try something else.'” said Sanchez who was also in attendance last night with executive producer Sabrina Wind and actresses Dania Ramirez (Rosie), Edy Ganem (Valentina) and Rebecca Wisocky (Evelyn Powell).
Cherry also spoke about the differences between writing for broadcast versus cable TV. “People use to make fun of daytime dramas because they would take a hostage situation and spread it over three weeks. Now I understand why, because you go through stories so quickly,” said Cherry who prizes the shorter episode order of cable TV, “(With broadcast), we’re tap-dancing our assess off by episode 15.”