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Cristela

October 11, 2014

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One of the less promoted new sitcoms this fall is Cristela, which has the unfortunate time slot of Fridays at 8:30, after Last Man Standing, a show that I was surprised was still on the air. It stars Cristela Alonzo, a Hispanic stand up comedian. It is her first sitcom, and it shows.

While the show had a lot of funny moments, it is very clear that this is Alonzo’s first time leading a series (a problem comic Brent Morin had on Undateable as well), and she’s just a tad too hammy for the camera. The jokes are funny, but Alonzo is very broad with them and there is no subtlety to be found. However, that doesn’t just apply to her. Her mother, Natalia (Terri Hoyos), her sister, Daniela (Maria Canals-Barrera), Daniela’s husband Felix (Carlos Ponce), and her new boss, Trent (Sam McMurray), are all very big with their comedy, and it comes across very amateurish.

For the moment, the characters are all stereotypes and the dialogue has little substance. And racism abounds as the Hispanic jokes fly and not just from the Latino cast members. While it is great to see a Hispanic family on TV, they are not very representative as a whole in the way that Ugly Betty was, or the upcoming Jane the Virgin looks to be.

All that aside, I really enjoyed the pilot. Alonzo is funny, guest star Gabriel Iglesias is a delight to watch as always, and I enjoy some broad humor sometimes. The show will likely not make it past a first season, but until it gets canceled, I’ll be watching.

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