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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mr. Iglesias is a sitcom about a beloved history teacher named Gabe (comedian Gabriel Iglesias) who's now working at the school he grew up attending. Positive messages about education and educators are strong and clear: Teachers care about their students and go the extra mile to help them succeed, demonstrating teamwork and communication. And both students and teachers are treated with respect and dignity. That said, some jokes may border on iffy topics or send mixed messages about drugs, alcohol, sex, and gender roles. The principal is an older woman whose lack of romantic success is depicted as being funny to others; there are lots of jokes about her dating profile and prospects. Other jokes circle around alcohol (it's said that the principal will be in a better mood with a "pitcher of appletinis in her"), pot (Gabe jokes that he'll eat "not real Mexican food" Chipotle because he's "high"), or sex (Gabe tells another teacher interested in a colleague not to put his "fry in her ketchup"). A few characters, such as the principal and her officious second-in-command, are somewhat stereotyped, but the cast is diverse in terms of age, race, ethnicity, class, and body type. Language is infrequent, but expect to hear "hell," "goddamn," "damn," and "dumbass."
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What's the story?
It's not that the students in MR. IGLESIAS' classroom are bored in class -- it's just that history seems to have little to do with their lives today. But as their good-natured teacher (Gabriel Iglesias) says, no one teaches history like him. He's beloved by students, colleagues, and his boss and pal Principal Paula Madison (Sherri Shepherd) -- if only that solved all the problems a high school teacher runs across.
Is it any good?
With endearing characters and sharply written jokes, this throwback series will remind viewers of classic high school sitcoms like Welcome Back, Kotter and Saved by the Bell. The rhythms are the same (line, line, joke, pause for live-studio laughs, topper with even bigger laughs) and so is the structure, with one big dilemma per show introduced in the first few minutes tidily wrapped up at the end, with everyone smiling, or hugging, or both. But like those hoary sitcoms of yesterday, Mr. Iglesias goes down easily because you quickly grow fond of the quirky characters saying funny stuff.
Importing the same gentle self-deprecating humor he employs in his standup, Gabriel Iglesias is chief amongst said lovable characters. "Dedicated teacher" is an easy hero to get behind, and Iglesias makes it feel natural. The other teachers on staff are fun, too: charming goofus Tony (Jacob Vargas), overachieving Abby (Maggie Geha), grumbling almost-retiree Ray (Richard Gant). Even back-of-the-classroom students may want to show up for this class.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between the school experience portrayed on the show and kids' own experience. What are the differences between TV version and real-life? Does the relationship between teacher and student seem realistic? Do teens have a teacher like Mr. Iglesias?
Schools are a classic setting for TV sitcoms. What others can you name? How is Mr. Iglesias like or different from these shows? What dramatic or comedic possibilities does a school offer?
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