There are no guarantees in the entertainment biz. Today you might be on top of the world with, say, your own sitcom, then tomorrow you’re hosting The Price is Right and moonlighting at comedy clubs to pay down that multimillion dollar mortgage you splurged on. And indeed, with all the infinite, unknowable factors involved in the ratings game — everything ranging from publicity strategy to time slots to the show’s actual content — the odds for long-term success seem to be stacked against first-time show creators. Now, sadly, we can add another one-season primetime dud to a list that includes forgettable flops like The Mike O’Malley Show and Greg the Bunny — but in this case the show also happens to be a historical milestone in Latino representation.
Cristela was an ABC sitcom created, produced, and starred-in by Mexican-American stand-up comedienne and writer Cristela Alonzo, who made television history by becoming the first Latina to create a network sitcom. Unapologetically autobiographical, Cristela was based on a difficult time that found Alonzo leaving graduate school to care for a sick mother and the children of her unemployed sister. Despite its many detractors, Cristela was a dose of multi-generational reality that hit close to home for many Latinos, but apparently it wasn’t enough to woo a broader network audience.
In an emotional blog post, Alonzo spoke about the personal importance of her show, pursuing your dreams, and the strange relief she felt upon getting the news. We can imagine it’s not easy to fall from the mountaintop, but as Alonzo herself mentioned in the closing sentence of her blog, she’s just getting started. We can be sure it’s not the last we hear from the multitalented Tejana, and whatever he future may hold, she’ll have our infinite gratitude for single-handedly shattering the proverbial glass ceiling and ushering in a new era of Latinas in prime-time.