Though TV Land’s new series “Lopez” dons yet another variation of its star George Lopez’s name as its title, it differs from his previous shows in both format and content. The comedian’s eponymous roster of shows typically fits the mold of the traditional family sitcom, but stand apart in the diversity of their cast members. Lopez is far from the first producer and actor to represent cultural diversity on television, but he is still one of the first few to achieve success doing so.

His comedy tackles issues of ethnicity, cultural assimilation and family dynamics — topics that many American audiences can relate to but don’t often see on TV. However, with the slowly increasing diversity of network and cable television, as well as the ever-changing realm of comedy, the traditional sitcom has lost its impact as a vehicle for Lopez’s acute humor and commentary.

Following the lead of shows like “Louie” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Lopez” is a single-camera comedy that parodies the life of its creator and star. Lopez’s previous shows star him as an everyman — the head of his household who’s vexed by his family’s antics yet also serves as their linchpin. Like counterparts Louis C.K. and Larry David, Lopez pokes fun at himself, but does so in the context of being a Latino man in a predominantly white stratum of Los Angeles.

However, a well-off comedian whose life is rooted in Hollywood, Lopez doesn’t carry the same cultural currency as the average sitcom-y father figure. “Lopez” capitalizes on the comedian’s success as the factor distancing him from his roots. The show succeeds in its hyperbolic, reflexive representation of Lopez’s prosperity — that is, if its goal is to make Lopez’s character unrelatable and even unlikable. He spends most of the episode complaining about what his privilege affords him — like his daughter’s (Ashley Zamora, “Gang Related”) bourgeoisie private school and his annoying neighbors in their wealthy neighborhood.

Though Lopez’s character ultimately refers to these issues as “white man problems” — pointing out the complete lack of awareness some privileged white people have regarding inequality — he fails to explore this realization further. To make things worse, he mistakes the former mayor of Los Angeles for a valet, made even more cringeworthy by the fact that Lopez himself is mistaken for a valet at his daughter’s school (yes, the school has valet parking) earlier in the episode. Referencing stereotypes like the one in Lopez’s valet gaffe can serve as a critical tool for examining them in society. But rather than engaging with this issue, he brushes it off, opting to use the moment as a platform to satirize his relationship with his publicist instead.

His publicist, a high-strung, social media machine, acts as an indicator of how out of place Lopez feels in Hollywood, despite having assimilated to his life as a celebrity enough to lose touch with his roots. At times, Lopez and his publicist seem to be operating on different wavelengths completely. This divide serves as an apt reflection of Hollywood’s superficial reality, but again positions Lopez as the out of touch celebrity. The satirization of his celebrity status is milked even further by a Snoop Dogg cameo. In a bizarre plotline that struggles to fit in with the rest of the episode, Snoop Dogg tries to set up Lopez with his Latina maid, who’s a fan of the comedian. This thread in the plot feels like an unpleasant return to Lopez’s sitcom humor and falls flat.

Despite the show’s failure to live up to its potential in the premiere, there’s something to be said for Lopez’s attempts to make an example out of himself. The show doesn’t cast explicit blame on anyone for the social issues addressed in the series premiere. A new platform might be just what Lopez needs to articulate his experiences as a Latino sitcom star and comedian, but the first episode lacks the authenticity needed to do this. The most genuinely funny moment in the episode is when the principal at his daughter’s school asks, “Do you have anything without your name on it?”   

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