Who Are They Trying To Fool?

The George Lopez Show missing an opportunity

By Valeria Berumen
Published on LatinoLA: April 4, 2002

Who Are They Trying To Fool?

I watched "The George Lopez Show" again last night in hopes that it would get better. Unfortunately, I ended up thinking to myself: "Who is ABC trying to fool?" This sitcom is not centered on a Latino family, but rather on a very tanned non-Latino family.

Please don't get me wrong. I am happy for George Lopez and he is funny. He delivers his lines with all the wit and talent that he possesses. What I am saying is that the writing behind this show is not. Come on, we have seen the Brady Bunch reinvent itself for the past twenty-some years. Leave it to Beaver, the Brady Bunch, the Cosby Show, Eight is Enough, Who's the Boss, The Damon Wayan Show, and The George Lopez show are all the same cookie-cutter family that television executives have been feeding us for the past half century.

I was thinking to myself, if one is going to write and produce a show for the mere purpose of entertainment, then don't be so PC. Show some of the mishaps that life presents your average first or second generation American Latino family.

Being first generation American, what I perceive as funny is that dog named "Homes", or that one cholo friend that began every sentence with "I was all drunk at a party when...." Or the fact that my mom was probably the first car pursuit caught on tape back in the 70's when she first began driving here, but could not read the signs and ended up on the 101 South going northbound. Or my dad BBQing in our back yard, and lighting the pit directly from his car gas tank. It seemed like a good idea, until he caught on fire. We all cried when it happened, but "?a quien se le occure?"

Here is a funny scenario straight out of my childhood. I remember being about five years old. My mother's relatives where migrant workers that would come to Northern California every six months or so to work on the fields. They would always stay a day or two before heading north, and at least one day on their way back to Mexico to brag about how much money they had made. That summer my mom got this brilliant idea that if this one person could make $2,000 in one month (the 80's) then her and her four kids could surely make twice that much working together. So she packed up the station wagon -- "The Grand Torino" -- and went to Fresno to pick grapes. After about three days and after we kids had ruined half the crop and got kicked off the farm, she ended up having to pay for damages to the farm owner. To this day I am surprised she didn't end up in jail. Now that is funny.

I am sure there are millions stories like these and others in our American Latino community. I am not suggesting that there are no families like that portrayed on The George Lopez Show. But these are the families that have assimilated the American way, so really they probably don't want to see George Lopez on TV because they probably view shows like this one as unnecessary. After all, can't we all just get along?

About Valeria Berumen:
Valerie Berumen, Writer. Willing to contract out to ABC to advice on how to be Latino.

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