TRAILER: Comedienne Cristela Alonzo Stars In Primetime TV Show Coming This Fall — With the Same Tired Jokes.

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There’s a new Latino sitcom coming to primetime. This time, it stars a Latina.

I was so much more excited about the news before I actually saw the trailer. It’s been four years since Ugly Betty went off the air, and seven since George Lopez last saw big network numbers. Incidentally, the same channel responsible for the two previous shows has picked up Latina comedienne Cristela Alonzo for an eponymous sitcom.

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We’re overdue for another network show starring Latinos, and not just as the heavily-accented sidekick. The fact that we go years without one says a lot about the state of diversity in television. However, I’m worried about Cristela. Slated for ABC’s Friday fall lineup (a rough time slot where many freshman shows go to die), Cristela looks dated with its cheesy trailer, old-school static multi-camera setup, and hokie voice over. Some jokes feel uninspired as the “mistaken for housekeeping” scene. Well, it is a well-mined topic for Latino comics…

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Like a movie trailer, the best jokes were supposed to end up in the Cristela preview. I was not impressed. Perhaps this might change as the show goes into production, but the creators will have to step up their game fast to make her stand out. There’s so much to be explored in the identity politics of a college-educated Latina, let’s make it interesting. It is a novel start to have a Latina justify an unpaid internship to her family, but one laugh does not a sitcom make.

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In the meantime, I’ll keep my cautious optimism and will continue to dig the nontraditional Latino roles wherever they might appear.

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