George Lopez returns, once-estranged daughter in tow, with a textbook family sitcom and an unexpected romance
Family sitcoms are usually the kind of stuff that Hollywood hopes to make: movies of families that are happy with one another, and who happen to share a common love of football, or a common father figure. The sitcom has all too often fallen to that category, and this is part of the reason that the sitcom has struggled with finding the right kind of audience for more than a decade now.
Family sitcoms have been a relatively rare example of a genre that has never struggled to find an audience. The sitcom has always had a broad appeal among American males, who are, on average, more than twice as likely as women of the same country to say they would watch a sitcom. More often than not, the type of show that tends to be most popular is the one that shows a male family, full of men (and especially sons) who are likeable and fun to watch.
Family sitcoms have been one of the prime targets for Hollywood in recent years, with all the great successes of such shows as Seinfeld, which is the longest-running comedy and one of the most successful programmes ever on US television. But in that, as in its approach to gender and family, it has always been a target that has proved difficult to get right. Those shows that fall into this category are usually more than a little formulaic, and often end up being bogged down by that formula. And that’s where a new sitcom-centric show by the man behind How I Met Your Mother, How I Do, which is billed as “a comedy about a family where everyone is a star”, comes in.
The first episode takes its time to get going. We first meet Michael’s wife, Jenny, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who is about to go back home to California for her father’s funeral. We get to meet Michael’s estranged first wife (Kathy Griffin), his young son, Max (Jake Johnson); a young girl, Megan (Stephanie Beatriz), Michael’s stepdaughter from a previous marriage, and her new husband, Josh (Dionne Yovanovitch). We also get