I’ve gotta admit, I didn’t know what to think in the run-up to the premiere of Cristela, the new ABC show about the trials and tribulations of a Texas Mexican American woman who wants to be a lawyer–in comedic format, of course.
Everytime we’ve had a show about Chicanos or other Latinos, our hearts have either been broken by the TV execs or by a show’s lack of funny. I still remember my first heartbreak when AKA Pablo starring Paul Rodriguez was cancelled a few episodes in. Ultimately, while Chicanos ate it up, the big bad gringo execs and audiences didn’t catch on; if anything, they were offended by it. Whodathunk it was produced by the great and legendary Norman Lear, right?
Well, enter Cristela, in what is considered a history-making show by Mexican American, Texan comedian Cristela Alonzo. The synopsis:
The series will chronicle the life of a Mexican-American law school graduate who must balance her chance to live the American Dream by working as an unpaid intern at a law firm, with the concerns of her family, including her sister (a call center operator at a cable TV company who wants her to get a real job), her brother-in-law (who sees her as a freeloader and wants her to find another place to live), and her mother (who wants her to settle down).
The show has everything Chicanos and other Latinos might experience: Extended families, judgmental old-school mom, politically incorrect gringo boss, and above all, everyday struggle. In other words, it is like the beginnings of Roseanne, except with a mostly Latino cast, backed up by some zany gabachos.
One episode in, I’m sold (click link to watch it online). I can identify with a lot of what the show offers that the Huxtables, Seinfeld, and Friends never attempted to offer (I still liked those shows, though). I’m pretty sure a lot of Chicanos and Latinos of my generation can identify with it and will enjoy it. Mostly, I’m glad that a bunch of Latinos are employed in Hollywood because of Alonzo’s efforts.
Let’s face it, we don’t have a lot of Latino programming on TV, especially quality programming. Cristela has a lot of potential to gain a wide audience. And that’s what it needs. Latinos are just part of the equation for this show’s future success. The viewership needs to be diverse; and not just because it is a good show, but because it really is an opportunity to learn. But mostly, to laugh. There aren’t a lot of new shows out there that make us laugh.
As funny as Alonzo is, there’s also Fluffy (Gabriel Iglesias) to add to the laughs.
So, if you missed it last night, you can still watch it online.