A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the hard-working Lopez family is generally respectful (the teen daughter is much less whiny and defiant than teens on other shows, and the family is supportive toward the son with dyslexia). But innuendos are common, and some of the humor relies on put-downs ("she's not like you when you were getting married -- she's not a minor, not pregnant, and knows the name of the guy she's marrying"). The ethnic humor doesn't sink as low as it could, but it is there, and sometimes it's more stereotypical than it has to be.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Comedian George Lopez plays the titular character of this sitcom. A husband and father of two, George has risen through the factory-worker ranks to manage the plant, but he finds managing his friends and even his mother (who works at the factory) a constant challenge. His marriage to Angie (Constance Marie) has both rocky and tender moments while Angie's father, Vic (Emiliano Díez), offers mixed-bag guidance. Best friend Ernie (Valente Rodriguez) occasionally teases George, but is there for him when trouble comes up. That's a good thing, because surprises lurk around every corner. His kids Carmen (Masiela Lusha) and Max (Luis Garcia) are in the throes of teenage rebellion and his wisecracking mother, Benny (Belita Moreno), who enjoys tormenting her son with shocking exaggerations about his family.
Is it any good?
The show uses humor and hard work to deal with the challenges and adversity faced by all working families, and that's the through line in this standard-fare sitcom. What sets this sitcom apart from the pack is that it broke ground by focusing on a Latino family, and its success paved the way for other Latino-focused shows. Still, some aspects ring true but unfortunately, some of the humor draws on eye-rolling, "wouldn't-you-know-it" Mexican jokes.
Perhaps George Lopez will turn out to be an early forerunner of a less over-done show, just as The Jeffersons preceded The Cosby Show. In the meanwhile, like The Jeffersons, George Lopez will go down in sitcom history as a step forward -- even if it's never a classic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about parenting styles. How does George's approach to parenting differ from his mother's? How do George's wife and kids support him and each other? What do these characters value, and how do they express that? Another topic could be George's work situation. What does it take to succeed when you aren't offered a lot of advantages in life? Also, what's easy and hard for George about supervising his friends and his mother at work? Would you want to manage your friends or family? Why or why not?