Picture this: It’s almost midnight on a faculty evening within the mid-aughts, and you’ll’t go to sleep. You flip on the TV and a brilliant blue gentle briefly blinds you because the distinctive sound of a cowbell fills the room. You lean towards your headboard and gaze on the display as George Lopez and his fictional tv household bounce on a trampoline to War’s “Low Rider,” and you would like you didn’t must do a mountain of homework the subsequent day. Lopez’s high-pitched catchphrase, “I received this,” replays in your thoughts as you ultimately drift off to sleep.
This was my nightly routine for nearly two years. Episode after episode of “George Lopez” ― a sitcom that most individuals known as “The George Lopez Show” ― stored me firm in the course of the loneliest hours of the day. The Lopez household didn’t mirror my very own: While I’m Mexican-American, I used to be raised by a single white mom with two sisters who’re Korean-American. Still, they turned my second household. In George, particularly, I noticed the dad I by no means had and so desperately needed.
I’m not alone on this feeling. Between 2002 and 2007, George Lopez turned a father to many younger children who noticed themselves mirrored in his on-screen kids, Carmen (Masiela Lusha) and Max (Luis Armand Garcia). Jessica Marie Garcia, an actor on Netflix’s “On My Block,” was one such one that noticed George as a stand-in for her personal father, who was hardly ever in her life.
“I felt I may have a dad in a approach watching George,” she informed HuffPost.
Garcia was 15 years previous when she first noticed her household represented on display. Half Mexican, half Cuban, Garcia remembers how related her household was to the Lopezes, particularly since her grandmother lived along with her on the time.
“I felt I may have a dad in a approach watching George.”
– Jessica Marie Garcia, actor, “On My Block”
“My mother and I might simply snicker and snicker about all of the similarities we shared, particularly when [Angie]’s father would come on the present as a result of he was similar to my Cuban grandfather,” Garcia stated, referring to Lopez’s on-screen spouse, performed by Constance Marie. “Seeing a complete Latinx household made me really feel like I used to be seen for the primary time. Like my household dynamic mattered, like we weren’t the one ones.”
For many Latinx viewers, “George Lopez” was the primary time they noticed themselves mirrored in an American sitcom in a approach that didn’t deal with hardships and trauma porn. And for 5 full seasons, that they had an nearly completely Latinx forged, one thing nearly extraordinary even by at the moment’s requirements. As co-creator, author, producer and star, Lopez leveraged his energy to make a spot for Latinx actors to inform Latin-centered tales. And the present’s legacy lives on: You can nonetheless catch reruns on cable TV and stream the total six seasons on varied platforms nearly 20 years later.
While there had been different sitcoms that targeted on Latin household items previous to 2002, “George Lopez” cemented itself in Hollywood historical past due to its sensible comedy and its genuine tackle household and life. In reality, you would argue that “George Lopez” was the start of a protracted succession of sitcoms written by and for the Latin group ― like “One Day at a Time,” “Gentefied,” “Mr. Iglesias,” and shortly “Lopez vs. Lopez,” the comic’s new sequence that includes his daughter, Mayan. “Lopez vs. Lopez” is ready to premiere in late 2022.
Some loyal viewers, like writer and editor Lauren Davila, say the present opened the doorways for different various comedies on TV like “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat.” Growing up in a Mexican-American family, Davila remembers “George Lopez” as a significant a part of her childhood.
“I watched the [show] with my mother and sister as reruns most frequently [during] early mornings or late at evening,” she stated. “There was a degree of consolation from seeing this advanced, flawed household on TV that jogged my memory in some ways of the folks I do know and grew up with.”
Davila acknowledged that she remembers the present fondly via the lens of childhood nostalgia, and that she by no means seen it with a rigorously essential eye. Still, she thinks it “proved to the tv business that audiences are clamoring for consultant media throughout the board,” particularly because the present depicted the house lifetime of a multigenerational, working-class household and managed to achieve success throughout prime time.
“I believe it was very nice to see a household that showcased all of the completely different ranges of what a Latinx household can appear like,” she stated.
Writer Sandra Proudman has been a fan of “George Lopez” since she was a young person within the early 2000s.
“There actually have been no different Latinx reveals exterior of Spanish-speaking networks [at the time],” she informed HuffPost. “I grew up watching telenovelas with my mother and sister, so seeing a Latinx present on an English-speaking community, nicely, it made me really feel like we had a seat on the desk within the United States as nicely … It felt like dwelling.”
For Proudman, “George Lopez” was revolutionary in that it forged precise Latinx folks within the roles. Some reveals have come underneath fireplace for casting white actors as Latinx characters. For instance, Netflix’s “On My Block” forged a white actor — who previously tweeted in support of Donald Trump’s politics — as a younger Latina whose dad and mom have been deported. Alex Nuñez, an notorious Latina character on “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” was portrayed by Italian-Canadian actor Deanna Casaluce. Even Ofelia Salazar, a “Fear the Walking Dead” character who’s the daughter of a Salvadorian immigrant, was performed by Persian-Swedish actor Mercedes Mason. The solely non-Latinx forged member in Lopez’s present was Lusha, who’s Albanian.
“This was a time the place casts have been very a lot nonetheless primarily white, so to have a present the place the characters spoke English, telling Latinx jokes, and the place the forged was [almost] all brown, it was one thing that was invaluable,” Proudman stated. “At the time, I won’t have realized simply how a lot, however trying again now, it’s one thing that was so uncommon and particular. Even at the moment.”
“I believe it was very nice to see a household that showcased all of the completely different ranges of what a Latinx household can appear like.”
– Lauren Davila, writer and editor
It was the jokes specifically — jokes about hard-to-please abuelitas, hallucinogenic mezcal worms, George’s huge head — that related Garcia, Davila, Proudman and so many different Latinx viewers to “George Lopez.”
“I believe that was one factor that the ‘George Lopez Show’ did in a different way and so nicely, was that it didn’t make Latinx folks the punchline,” Proudman stated. “We have been totally in on the jokes, and so they have been written to supply us laughter, to not be a supply of laughter for a non-Latinx viewers.”
The success of “George Lopez” made Lopez himself the primary Latino to guide a tv sequence of his personal into syndication — when a program runs on a distinct community than it was initially created for, an achievement that normally requires a minimal of 100 episodes. But the present’s rankings didn’t maintain up after ABC shifted its time slot to compete with the mega-popular “American Idol.” The present was in the end, and in Lopez’s phrases “unceremoniously,” canceled.
Today, it appears the networks nonetheless haven’t discovered the worth in supporting Latin-focused productions. The previous few years have seen a string of painful cancellations, together with “Diary of a Future President,” “Mr. Iglesias,” “Gentefied” and “One Day at a Time,” to call just some. Currently, there are no Latin shows left on network television, and people on streaming providers usually get canceled after only one season. (RIP, “The Baker and the Beauty” and “Gordita Chronicles.”) With over 18% of the U.S. population figuring out as Hispanic or Latino, this looks as if a significant disservice to a massively underrated market. In reality, as of 2019, Latinx actors made up solely 6.6% of leads on broadcast scripted TV shows. As Proudman notes, “nobody present could be a monolith for such a various group, so the extra the higher.”
Garcia, who’s deeply intertwined within the behind-the-scenes happenings in Hollywood, desires her business to point out Latin viewers that their household dynamics matter too.
“Our reveals can spotlight the love now we have for one another together with our dysfunction,” Garcia stated. “That we will snicker at ourselves and argue however at all times come again collectively ultimately. That after years of watching nothing however white household reveals, we will lastly get our completely happy ending after 23 minutes too.”