TV Land's Lopez Starring George Lopez Is Actually Quite Good!

Lopez S01E01: "Slave for a Day"

The words "George Lopez" and "good show" do not often fall in the same sentence unless the additional words "isn't in a" are sandwiched in between. Series like ABC's family comedy George Lopez, the late-night talk show Lopez Tonight, and FX's disastrous multi-cam cash grab Saint George were all very, very bad. But say goodbye to your mind because I'm about to blow it away: George Lopez is in a good show. 

Wait, wait, wait, put down the phone. No need to call the mental institution yet. Before we even get to George Lopez, here's some background to ease you into what must be an incredibly difficult thought process to digest. The TV Land show, called Lopez because every show George Lopez stars in must contractually contain an element of his name (I'm guessing), was co-created by Lopez—WAIT!—and the team of John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, the guys who created HBO's incredibly funny Silicon Valley alongside Mike Judge. It's also directed by Troy Miller, who was the man behind the camera for such great comedies as Mr. Show, Arrested Development, and Flight of the Conchords. So before you dismiss Lopez as another George Lopez show, the support is clearly there.


Which brings us to George Lopez. Lopez's typical stage presence is a cartoonish, high-energy hurricane with an ear-to-ear toothy grin and wildly gesticulating arms. But in Lopez, in which he plays a version of himself—himself being a successful Latino comedian—he's toned down as a victim of his own circumstances. That's what makes Lopez much different than anything he's most famous for, and that's what makes Lopez fall somewhere between surprisingly watchable and actually pretty good. 

Borrowing—or maybe even a stronger word, "Mencia-ing"—from the scripts set forth by comedian-centric shows like Louie, fellow TV Land series The Jim Gaffigan Show, and most notably Curb Your EnthusiasmLopez examines the struggle this semi-fictional Lopez deals with every day, which is that he's too "brown" to fit into the white-dominated society elite but too rich to relate to the Hispanic working class he grew up in. So Lopez gets it from both ends—Lopez's white neighbor who thinks Lopez should be able to handle trimming back hedges because he's Mexican, friends from the barrio who laugh at his problems and make fun of Saint George—and this version of Lopez is a somewhat sour, exhausted man instead of the grinning monstrosity who throws himself at the camera. And it works! It's a refreshing iteration of Lopez, as he's heavily goateed, sunglassed, wearing black, but also driving an expensive SUV with a hired driver and attending his daughter's fancy high-school fundraisers. 


The stories are relatively simple, which is to the show's benefit. The first episode, "Slave for a Day," is an introduction to the series and opportunity for some famous cameos, like Snoop Dogg and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as touching on how Lopez fits into his inbetweener life as an ethnic celebrity who is trying to stay on top of things with the help of his publicist Olly (Hayley Huntley, who is very good in this). The second episode, "George Takes a Hike," settles in and is better for it, throwing George on a quest to find a date with someone who doesn't know who he is, and the result is an endearing half hour with an adorable budding relationship. Yes! George Lopez, in a relationship that's cute... I KNOW, WEIRD, RIGHT?

With a toned-down Lopez, Lopez takes us around a different version of Los Angeles, one that feels real and celebrity-adjacent instead of glitzy and opulent. The humor arises from the circumstances Lopez finds himself in rather than punchlines, but there are plenty of throwaway lines muttered under Lopez's breath that serve as the best. There's also room for sneaky sight gags; Lopez's daughter's rich high school is slyly named "Bragmoor Academy," which seems like something Altschuler and Krinsky would slip into Silicon Valley. And it works as a comfortable lived-in sitcom that feels natural, largely because Lopez has done what his Lopez character is trying to do, and that's change his public image. 

It's early in 2016, but this is one of the year's most surprising debuts—given that I figured it would be terrible—and a great fit for TV Land, which continues to redefine itself and make strides away from multi-cam comedies starring that person you remember from that old show. Maybe my affection for the show stems from such low expectations, but it didn't take long for Lopez to convince me otherwise. I know, I was very surprised, too. George Lopez in a good show? It still sounds weird to say that.

Lopez debuts Wednesday, March 30 at 10pm on TV Land.


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Apr 01, 2016

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Mar 31, 2016
Guys, you posted this too early. April Fools Day is tomorrow.
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Mar 31, 2016
ABC Family's George Lopez was a good enough show. 6.8/10. IDK if I am willing to defend it further. Haha.
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Mar 31, 2016
Jim Gaffigan's show was pretty good. Great? No, but it has its moments and hopefully the second season will be better. I've seen no mention of it by TV.com except in name only as above. Give it a shot, if not already.

I have only seen one or two of Lopez's projects in bits and pieces. Though I am not really a fan, I'll check this out, but probably won't like it. Maybe I'll be surprised.
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Mar 31, 2016
Finally it's REALLY LOPEZ TONIGHT! Sounds good, since I on occasion enjoy Curb/Louie /Seinfeld! I'll give it a try some time :)
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Mar 31, 2016
"But in Lopez, in which he plays a version of himself—himself being a successful Latino comedian—he's toned down as a victim of his own circumstances."

Did I detect a little shade? lol
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Mar 31, 2016
The writing in the first scene (all I have seen so far) was very funny and well-acted. I think this is the perfect time for a show about a "take-no-BS Latino", don't you?
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Mar 31, 2016
I actually enjoyed the George Lopez sitcom. And judging from my profile pic, I always know good shows, especially ones that aren't long, drawn-out, melodramatic, overly-generic, and ones that explore new ideas instead of going back to the same girl from Season 1.
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Mar 31, 2016
I'm not calling the mental institute I just think Tim's drunk!

For some reason I feel Tim's some how invested in the character "as he's heavily goateed, sunglassed, wearing black" and in his half passsed out state dreaming "but also driving an expensive SUV with a hired driver".
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