How The 'George Lopez' Show Brilliantly Captured Family Life

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Picture this: It’s astir midnight connected a schoolhouse nighttime successful the mid-aughts, and you can’t autumn asleep. You flip connected the TV and a agleam bluish airy temporarily blinds you arsenic the distinctive dependable of a cowbell fills the room. You thin against your headboard and regard astatine the surface arsenic George Lopez and his fictional tv household leap connected a trampoline to War’s “Low Rider,” and you privation you didn’t person to bash a upland of homework the adjacent day. Lopez’s high-pitched catchphrase, “I got this,” replays successful your caput arsenic you yet drift disconnected to sleep.

This was my nightly regular for astir 2 years. Episode aft occurrence of “George Lopez” ― a sitcom that astir radical referred to arsenic “The George Lopez Show” ― kept maine institution during the loneliest hours of the day. The Lopez household didn’t bespeak my own: While I americium Mexican-American, I was raised by a azygous achromatic parent with 2 sisters who are Korean-American. Still, they became my 2nd family. In George, specifically, I saw the dada I ne'er had and truthful desperately wanted.

I’m not unsocial successful this feeling. Between 2002 and 2007, George Lopez became a begetter to galore young kids who saw themselves reflected successful his on-screen children, Carmen (Masiela Lusha) and Max (Luis Armand Garcia). Jessica Marie Garcia, an histrion connected Netflix’s “On My Block,” was 1 specified idiosyncratic who saw George arsenic a stand-in for her ain father, who was seldom successful her life.

“I felt I could person a dada successful a mode watching George,” she told HuffPost.

Garcia was 15 years aged erstwhile she archetypal saw her household represented connected screen. Half Mexican, fractional Cuban, Garcia remembers however akin her household was to the Lopezes, particularly since her grandma lived with her astatine the time.

“I felt I could person a dada successful a mode watching George.”

- Jessica Marie Garcia, actor, "On My Block"

“My ma and I would conscionable laughter and laughter astir each the similarities we shared, particularly erstwhile [Angie]’s begetter would travel connected the amusement due to the fact that helium was conscionable similar my Cuban grandfather,” Garcia said, referring to Lopez’s on-screen wife, played by Constance Marie. “Seeing a full Latinx household made maine consciousness similar I was seen for the archetypal time. Like my household dynamic mattered, similar we weren’t the lone ones.”

For galore Latinx viewers, “George Lopez” was the archetypal clip they saw themselves reflected successful an American sitcom successful a mode that didn’t absorption connected hardships and trauma porn. And for 5 afloat seasons, they had an astir wholly Latinx cast, thing astir unheard of adjacent by today’s standards. As co-creator, writer, shaper and star, Lopez leveraged his powerfulness to marque a spot for Latinx actors to archer Latin-centered stories. And the show’s bequest lives on: You tin inactive drawback reruns connected cablegram TV and watercourse the afloat six seasons connected assorted platforms astir 20 years later.

A promotional representation  from "George Lopez" connected  ABC.
A promotional representation from "George Lopez" connected ABC.

ABC/Everett Collection

While determination had been different sitcoms that focused connected Latin household units anterior to 2002, “George Lopez” cemented itself successful Hollywood past acknowledgment to its astute drama and its authentic instrumentality connected household and life. In fact, you could reason that “George Lopez” was the opening of a agelong succession of sitcoms written by and for the Latin assemblage ― similar “One Day astatine a Time,” “Gentefied,” “Mr. Iglesias,” and soon “Lopez vs. Lopez,” the comedian’s caller bid featuring his daughter, Mayan. “Lopez vs. Lopez” is acceptable to premiere successful precocious 2022.

Some loyal viewers, similar writer and exertion Lauren Davila, accidental the amusement opened the doors for different divers comedies connected TV similar “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” Growing up successful a Mexican-American household, Davila recalls “George Lopez” arsenic a large portion of her childhood.

“I watched the [show] with my ma and sister arsenic reruns astir often [during] aboriginal mornings oregon precocious astatine night,” she said. “There was a level of comfortableness from seeing this complex, flawed household connected TV that reminded maine successful galore ways of the radical I cognize and grew up with.”

Davila acknowledged that she remembers the amusement fondly done the lens of puerility nostalgia, and that she ne'er viewed it with a rigorously captious eye. Still, she thinks it “proved to the tv manufacture that audiences are clamoring for typical media crossed the board,” particularly since the amusement depicted the location beingness of a multigenerational, working-class household and managed to beryllium palmy during premier time.

“I deliberation it was truly bully to spot a household that showcased each the antithetic ranges of what a Latinx household tin look like,” she said.

Writer Sandra Proudman has been a instrumentality of “George Lopez” since she was a teen successful the aboriginal 2000s.

“There truly were nary different Latinx shows extracurricular of Spanish-speaking networks [at the time],” she told HuffPost. “I grew up watching telenovelas with my ma and sister, truthful seeing a Latinx amusement connected an English-speaking network, well, it made maine consciousness similar we had a spot astatine the array successful the United States arsenic good ... It felt similar home.”

For Proudman, “George Lopez” was revolutionary successful that it formed existent Latinx radical successful the roles. Some shows person travel nether occurrence for casting achromatic actors arsenic Latinx characters. For example, Netflix’s “On My Block” formed a achromatic histrion — who antecedently tweeted successful enactment of Donald Trump’s politics — arsenic a young Latina whose parents were deported. Alex Nuñez, an infamous Latina quality connected “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” was portrayed by Italian-Canadian histrion Deanna Casaluce. Even Ofelia Salazar, a “Fear the Walking Dead” quality who is the girl of a Salvadorian immigrant, was played by Persian-Swedish histrion Mercedes Mason. The lone non-Latinx formed subordinate successful Lopez’s amusement was Lusha, who is Albanian.

“This was a clip wherever casts were precise overmuch inactive chiefly white, truthful to person a amusement wherever the characters spoke English, telling Latinx jokes, and wherever the formed was [almost] each brown, it was thing that was invaluable,” Proudman said. “At the time, I mightiness not person realized conscionable however much, but looking backmost now, it’s thing that was truthful uncommon and special. Even today.”

“I deliberation it was truly bully to spot a household that showcased each the antithetic ranges of what a Latinx household tin look like.”

- Lauren Davila, writer and editor

It was the jokes successful peculiar — jokes astir hard-to-please abuelitas, hallucinogenic mezcal worms, George’s monolithic caput — that connected Garcia, Davila, Proudman and truthful galore different Latinx viewers to “George Lopez.”

“I deliberation that was 1 happening that the ‘George Lopez Show’ did otherwise and truthful well, was that it didn’t marque Latinx radical the punchline,” Proudman said. “We were afloat successful connected the jokes, and they were written to connection us laughter, not to beryllium a root of laughter for a non-Latinx audience.”

The occurrence of “George Lopez” made Lopez himself the archetypal Latino to pb a tv bid of his ain into syndication — erstwhile a programme runs connected a antithetic web than it was initially created for, an accomplishment that usually requires a minimum of 100 episodes. But the show’s ratings didn’t clasp up aft ABC shifted its clip slot to vie with the mega-popular “American Idol.” The amusement was ultimately, and successful Lopez’s words “unceremoniously,” canceled.

Today, it seems the networks inactive haven’t recovered the worth successful supporting Latin-focused productions. The past fewer years person seen a drawstring of achy cancellations, including “Diary of a Future President,” “Mr. Iglesias,” “Gentefied” and “One Day astatine a Time,” to sanction conscionable a few. Currently, determination are no Latin shows near connected web television, and those connected streaming services often get canceled aft conscionable 1 season. (RIP, “The Baker and the Beauty” and “Gordita Chronicles.”) With over 18% of the U.S. population identifying arsenic Hispanic oregon Latino, this seems similar a large disservice to a massively underrated market. In fact, arsenic of 2019, Latinx actors made up lone 6.6% of leads connected broadcast scripted TV shows. As Proudman notes, “no 1 amusement tin beryllium a monolith for specified a divers group, truthful the much the better.”

Garcia, who is profoundly intertwined successful the behind-the-scenes happenings successful Hollywood, wants her manufacture to amusement Latin viewers that their household dynamics substance too.

“Our shows tin item the emotion we person for each different on with our dysfunction,” Garcia said. “That we tin laughter astatine ourselves and reason but ever travel backmost unneurotic successful the end. That aft years of watching thing but achromatic household shows, we tin yet get our blessed ending aft 23 minutes too.”

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