Following his disastrous return to the sitcom world with “St. George,” George Lopez gives the genre another shot with TvLand’s “Lopez.” Although Lopez was a standup comic for years, the actor’s main success came from the ABC show “George Lopez,” which had a nearly decade long shelf life thanks to becoming a staple of Nick at Nite’s syndication. After a foray into the late night world, a handful of HBO specials and the aforementioned failed sitcom, Lopez is giving television one more try with a new hook: self-awareness.
This time around, he doesn’t star as a character conveniently named George Lopez, but as himself. The series is intended as a fictionalized journey through his life as a recently divorced celebrity living in LA. It’s actually surprising to see the show be rather self-deprecating, treating his fall from the spotlight as a major plot point. It’s fresh to see him this self-aware. There is even some attempt to enter the same zone of racial commentary akin to “Black-ish,” — both acknowledge that success within white communities may come at the cost of abandoning his minority roots. However, the pilot episode mostly uses its meta nature to make pop culture references about using Vine and Snapchat for exposure and to have Snoop Dogg be a key player.
Yes, Snoop Dogg is in this episode. The main crux of the plot is Lopez auctioning off his services at a school fundraising event, and the bidders who want his services for personal reasons. A politician, who Lopez mistakes for a vale, wants payback, Snoop Dogg wants to parade him around to his friends, his neighbors want to use this opportunity to force Lopez to cut down some trees they don’t like and so on.
Unfortunately, outside of this humorous moment there is very little to write about. The episode is brisk to the point that it feels hollow. There aren’t too many jokes, save for the occasional racial comment. The show seems to set up some long form continuity, but it is mostly keeps to incidental moments. Lopez’s family life is barely mentioned outside his divorce, though they incorporate his daughter in the most minimum screen time possible. Most of the plot is spent with his agent on some bland and unfunny social media jokes.
It’s hard to say whether or not “Lopez” is worth watching. While the first episode was nothing particularly special, it has an interesting-enough base to make for a potentially amusing 10 episode run. And after growing up with his classic sitcom as a constant background presence, it is hard to not want at least a little bit of success for George Lopez. So, if you are in the same boat and have nostalgia for the early 2000s world of situational comedies, then it might be worth at least an episode or two.
“Lopez” airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on TV Land.
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