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 this late-night talk/comedy show hosted by comedian George Lopez supposedly celebrates diversity and cultural unity -- but Lopez frequently uses crude humor and racial/ethnic stereotyping to garner laughs. Expect frequent strong language (words like “s--t” are fully bleeped, while those like "bitch" -- and the wide variety of Spanish curses Lopez uses -- aren't) and jokes that refer to a variety of sexual acts, drinking, drug use, guns, and other violent activity. Women are shown in sexy outfits dancing during musical numbers.
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What's the story?
Hosted by actor/comedian George Lopez, alk/variety/comedy show LOPEZ TONIGHT earns the distinction of being the first American late-night show to be hosted by a Latino performer. The series serves up a glitzy, party-like atmosphere highlighted by female dancers and music performed by the show’s in-house band. Lopez delivers his trademark edgy humor during his opening monologues and throughout various comedy segments that incorporate street interviews and audience participation; celebrity interviews and live musical sets round out each episode.
Is it any good?
LOPEZ TONIGHT offers all of the traditional trappings of late-night entertainment but also attempts to offer messages about diversity, unity, and change inspired by Lopez’s Chicano heritage. The comedian pays homage to multiculturalism by frequently referring to family-inspired racial/ethnic jokes and relying on crude cultural stereotypes (including jokes about the size of Asian genitalia and the racist nature of "white people") for laughs.
Lopez's place in the late-night roster is certainly groundbreaking and may even be inspiring for some. But his overuse of racial/ethnic humor leads to more cheap laughs than empowered moments. And sometimes he just isn't very funny. As a result, he seems to be undermining the very messages about change and cultural unity that he's trying to promote.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media represents different races and ethnicities. Do you think that someone from a specific racial/ethnic background automatically represents his/her community? Should that person automatically consider her/himself a role model for that community?
What exactly does “reclaiming” a stereotype mean? Do you think using stereotypes is ever necessary and/or appropriate to make a point?
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