TROUBLE CITY

DVD REVIEW: GEORGE LOPEZ - SEASONS 1 & 2

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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
MSRP: $39.98
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 584 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Inside the Comedic Mind featurette
• Gag reel

The Pitch

Finalmente, un sitcom de Latino en la TV a ir con el resto que no miro.

The Humans

George Lopez, Constance Marie, Luis Armand Garcia, Masiela Lusha, Belita Moreno, Valente Rodriguez.


Is that a border fence he's peering over?

The Nutshell

George Lopez is a regular Joe (or in this case, Jose) who works at an airplane parts factory and deals with married life, fatherhood and his disaffected mother in the confines of the sitcom model.


"Hey Chica, want to see my juevos?"

The Lowdown

Becoming only the fourth Latino to headline his own sitcom, George Lopez stars as a guy named... George Lopez.... However, rather than being a comedian, he’s a manager at an airplane parts factory and loving husband and father of two. And from there, the setup is pretty much the same as a thousand other sitcoms: life lessons are taught, he gets into embarrassing situations, his wife has his balls in her pocket, and the laugh track is constantly on overdrive. Now normally this would make me just classify this sitcom with all of the others – especially family sitcoms - that I don’t watch, am trying to forget, or refuse to acknowledge. But this one actually isn’t bad at all, which is surprising because it has all of the aforementioned ingredients that I despise about sitcoms.


Okay, this is pretty much the most disturbing thing I've ever seen in any language...

First of all, Lopez is very likable in the role and the writing is usually pretty funny without being so sickeningly condescending as other family sitcoms. Lopez also has a good rapport with Constance Marie, who plays his wife (and is delectable in her own right). Another thing that is different than many sitcoms is that Lopez’ mother, Benny (Moreno), is a trash talking, bingo playing, chain smoking (although apparently offscreen), hard-assed matriarch who doesn’t hesitate to put George in his place. The show uses a lot of the same storylines as the umpteen trillion sitcoms before it. It also distinguishes that this is indeed a Latino sitcom, even though at its heart, it’s still cut from pretty much the same cloth as all of the others. Generally, aside from the Latino angle, this would be enough to make me discount George Lopez from all the others and toss it on my sitcom scrapheap. But this show is pretty well written, and Lopez and company just make it work. Don’t ask me how.


Muy caliente.

Normally, I don’t get caught up in all of the “first Black this” or “first Latino that” on TV, but I do think it’s pretty ridiculous that this is the first Latino sitcom to come down the pike since Paul Rodriguez’ a.k.a Pablo some 18 years prior. And that show only lasted one season. That being said, Lopez does successfully blend the Latino influences with the tried and true sitcom formula, and normally I just wouldn’t think that it would be successful. But five plus season on the air so far would have proved me wrong. I think it’s that possibly the Latino influences, however prominent or subtle, do set it apart, however so slightly. But mostly it’s the undeniable appeal of Lopez himself as the lead character. He’s likeable, funny, and I don’t feel like I’m watching a cookie cutter TV dad whenever I see him. And that’s cool with me.


He's wearing a Raiders jersey. Now that's comedy...

I don’t pretend to have an answer to the Latino immigration problems currently plaguing this country, but I think that if there’s a good first step (at least a baby step) to helping to try to bridge the gap, and to show that Latinos can be and are just like the rest of us, while still maintaining their own distinct identity, this show has taken it. I’m actually shocked that I would be able to watch this show as easily as I did, because if you’ve read three words on any sitcom review I’ve ever done, you know that I don’t suffer stupid sitcoms at all (check out my love fest for Full House here). George Lopez is a pretty fun 22 minutes and is very watchable, despite the fact that it falls into all of the sitcom traps there are out there. But it manages to crawl out of the majority of them. Who woulda thunk it? Ciertamente no yo, esse.


"Great, the lawnmower broke. Now where am I gonna find someone to do the yardwork?"

The Package

The show looks pretty good, at least the same two or three sets they always use do. There’s a behind-the-scenes, "Inside the Comedic Mind" where Lopez and the cast and producers, including Sandra Bullock, discuss how the show came about. There's also a gag reel. But the biggest gag I found was that on the Spanish language track, some other Latino actor dubbed George's lines. Dios mio.

7.2 out of 10