By Tom Gliatto
Updated August 23, 1999 12:00 PM

Showtime (Sun., Aug. 22, 8 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

A once-affluent, middle-aged woman, left without resources after a divorce, swallows her pride and takes a job as maid to an imperious, far more affluent, likewise middle-aged woman. Naturally, Sally Field, with her scrappiness and adorable pout, plays the humbled new servant willing to take her lumps. Judy Davis—so dangerously brittle she might as well be made of crystal and perched on the edge of a wobbly coffee table—is the rhymes-with-rich who keeps pummeling her.

They play off each other beautifully and make this silly melodrama directed by Susan Seidelman (Desperately Seeking Susan) a highly enjoyable waste of time. Davis totters around unhappily in expensive clothes. Field falls for a local artist with a Hemingway beard (he eventually shaves). Davis’s spoiled, neglected daughter comes home and causes trouble. After endless ups and downs—wouldn’t you know?—the women wind up as close as sisters. Climate leaves us with the interesting notion that the best therapy for a rich, unhappy lady is to hire a rich, unhappy domestic.

Bottom Line: Thanks to its stars, a well-maid soap