20 Years Later, “The George Lopez Show” Still Matters: Culture and Memories
The George Lopez Show has established itself as a cultural classic in the 20 years since its debut, and for good cause. It is now a well-known item of pop culture that evokes pride and memories of the past. For a show with a primarily Latinx cast dealing with Latinx concerns, it drew millions of viewers over the course of six seasons on network television, which is still nearly unheard of. After all, we were the ones that generated the cancellation.
Around 14% of that viewership was Latinx at the time, which was a considerable amount. With inside jokes derived through intercultural teasing, the occasional Spanish, and tributes to la culture, such as our passion for baseball, “The George Lopez Show” is undoubtedly for us. It also touches on some of the real challenges faced by Latinx people who live in the United States.
But it also has ambitions to be a widely watched programme. With their wonderful suburban home, a mom who doesn’t (usually) work, two kids, a dog, and upwardly mobile economic prospects, the Lopez family breaks all the stereotypes of white, US comedy families. This approach undoubtedly made them more relatable to their Anglo audience members, attracting viewers of different ethnic backgrounds.
However, the Lopez family members aren’t all white (although some of the actors are). They are a Latinx American family, and the sitcom takes care to treat each of its members and their Latinidad with respect. Max, George, Angie, and Carmen are all likeable, silly, and flawed individuals. Their main concerns are those of the family, including how to effectively raise the children while supporting one another and growing as a couple and individuals.
There have been instances where “The George Lopez Show” has fallen victim to stereotypes. I think of “George’s Extreme Makeover: Holmes Edition” from season four. In order to repair his garage, George recruits some old buddies, one of which being Danny Trejo, pays them in beer, and makes jokes about how “lazy” they are. The writers’ room gets in on the “joke,” claiming that the Chicanos’ work is so subpar that it is condemned. Given that 13 per cent of Latinos in the US work in construction and do an outstanding job at it, that is obviously not representative of who we are.
Aside from the occasional slip-up, “The George Lopez Show” consistently makes us proud. It’s simply so amazing, to start. Even after all these years, I couldn’t stop laughing as I watched it on Peacock. It also manages to mine complex problems with heart and sensitivity, making it surprisingly poignant. I consider George’s conflicted emotions and his efforts to get back together with his father. For a sitcom, especially one that spans an entire season, that is a rather serious issue.
But “The George Lopez Show” does it correctly, finding both the heart and the humour in the circumstance. Imagine Constance Marie’s Angie calling every “Manny Lopez” in the phone book (this was before Facebook) and learning about their unique interests and jobs. In addition, George’s character is dealing with his emotions, and his mother has been lying to him about his father for years.
This example of a sitcom character’s humanity is a potent combo. Putting people of colour in the centre and allowing them to be full, complex, and hilarious humans is the recipe we see in the successful offspring of “The George Lopez Show,” like “Abbott Elementary.”
The family’s Los Angeles home, George’s identification as a Mexican-American, and Angie’s Cuban heritage are all major selling points for “The George Lopez Show.” It’s important to be specific because it demonstrates that we don’t exist as a single entity and that our culture is just as varied and fascinating as everyone else’s.
In “Lopez vs. Lopez,” George Lopez and his actual daughter Mayan Lopez will appear in a brand-new Lopez programme this year. It’s my hope that it upholds the tradition of recognising the humanity of its characters and the commercial success of the film. Hopefully, we’ll be remembering it fondly in another 20 years the same way we do “The George Lopez Show.”
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