TV Review: ‘Saint George’

Saint George

George Lopez goes for gold in FX's latest laugh-free 10/90 sitcom

Returning for another sitcom that features his first name in the title, George Lopez and everyone else, including the producers of “Home Improvement,” sleepwalks through “Saint George,” a numbingly awful multicamera sitcom that plays like something conjured in a lab once the presumably magical ingredient “George Lopez” was acquired. There’s obviously a business model in the 10-90 approach to comedy development – otherwise FX and distributor Debmar-Mercury/Lionsgate TV wouldn’t keep doing it. But they have once again put the deal ahead of the show, conjuring 21 minutes of rim shots that felt about three times that long, viewing-wise.

Like Charlie Sheen before him, Lopez must need the gig, but there’s virtually no other reason why he’d bank the equity built up with loyal fans on such a slapdash product. Why “Improvement’s” Matt Williams and David McFadzean would get involved is equally confounding, but the show is rather surprisingly naughty – an indication, perhaps, of the desperation to find anything funny around this premise and these characters.

Lopez plays a successful businessman (he markets a sports energy drink) who is raising a young son along with his seemingly always-around ex-wife (Jenn Lyon). She, like George’s mother (Olga Merediz), delights in insulting him, although the put-downs are stunningly on the nose, such as mom calling him “fat, boring and stupid.” (Lopez actually looks pretty trim, but it’s hard to argue with the other points as packaged here.)

The other key players are George’s cousin (“Dexter’s” David Zayas) and uncle (Danny Trejo, of every tough-guy role imaginable), who in the premiere drag him to a bar to try reentering the dating world. Never mind that an actual 21st-century guy like George would probably go online for such a mission, this is a sitcom firmly rooted in the 1980s, including the man-hungry assistant principal (Diana Maria Riva) who works in the school where George moonlights as a teacher, presumably to prevent any possible demographic stone from being unturned.

Under the 10/90 structure, if the first batch of episodes meet certain ratings criteria, the network commits to bring the show to 100 – once the magic number for syndication. While it’s hard to fault “Saint George” for aiming at a potentially fat payoff by resorting to a low common denominator, there’s still something oddly numbing about a project that goes about being bad so cynically, and in the process muddies the edgy brand FX has labored to build.

By that measure, “Saint George” isn’t so much a new show as simply a repackaging of Lopez’s ABC sitcom with a new modifier. It might work well enough to merit the full run, but grading strictly in terms of comedy, there aren’t enough laughs here to overpower a kitten, much less slay a dragon.

TV Review: 'Saint George'

(Series; FX, Thur. March 6, 9 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Los Angeles by Wind Dancer Films, Travieso Prods. and 3 Arts Entertainment in association with Lionsgate Television.

Crew

Executive producers, Matt Williams, David McFadzean, George Lopez, Michael Rotenberg, Dete Meserve, Judd Payne; co-executive producers, Michael Davidoff, Bill Rosenthal, Linda Figueiredo, Ian Gurvitz, Denise Moss; director, Joe Regalbuto; writers, Lopez, McFadzean, Williams; camera, Mikel Neiers; production designer, Jerry Dunn; editor, Peter Beyt; music, Dan Foliart; casting, Deb Barylski. 30 MIN.

Cast

George Lopez, Jenn Lyon, Olga Merediz, Diana Maria Riva, Kaden Gibson, David Zayas, Danny Trejo

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  1. Leryn says:

    To anyone that can help- my brother LOVES one of the paintings that’s in Georges house on the show. It’s a day of the dead skull (he’s in a tuxedo) wearing a sombrero, holding a guitar. I’ve been searching everywhere but if anyone knows and could help me, I’d really appreciate it. I’m not sure if the show painted it themselves or bought it, but I’m trying to find a screen print of it. If anyone can help thank you!

  2. Chris says:

    Totally disagree with this writer

    They sounded like a hater.

    Calling George Lopez stupid?

    Variety is so professional

    I will never visit this whole website again.

  3. ann says:

    K I agree with you 100%. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  4. Will “Saint George” make it?

    George Lopez new show Saint George gives mixed reviews. Cheap and cheesy some say. Loved it!!! Others. The point is, it’s George Lopez. Whether you like the show or not, he is funny. The first show does have its moments. The only disturbing thing is what looked to be a George Hamilton tan. Plus, he could do without the jet black hair. Mature and successful, spotting a little wing tip gray. Whether the show makes it’s, it’s a tossup for the new culture of fans. Not like the old America when a few big networks ruled the world. Saint George has a multicultural net worth now. With Spanish riding high on the coattail of minority, Nielsen rating doesn’t care where the signal is coming from. I think if George lose the tan and the stupid “deer caught in the headlights” look he had on his face throughout the show, he could stop being a stand in to his co-stars, and give us a little of the old grounded George who would have never been caught drunk on a casino floor.

    Fiction Writer Anthony Darden

  5. That's why critics suck says:

    Loved it!!!! Screw you variety :)

  6. Francine Jaurigi says:

    I enjoyed the first episode. I enjoyed the dynamic of the 3 men, the don’t principal and the mother, although she’s a lot harsh. But what I don’t feel flows in the show is the ex wife, I just seem to understand that chemistry. Especially on relation to the latino culture. I really think that need to be reworked.

    • RCB says:

      A little surprised with the women on the show considering how culturally aware George Lopez is. The wife simply DOES NOT WORK!!! And the super smart Latina principal is sterotyped in a way that is both offensive and degrading. Really expected more from him.

      • K says:

        Absolutely disappointed….I am a huge George Lopez fan and this show makes me rethink how big a fan I am. I understand the poking fun at the quirks of one’s own family and culture but as a Latina, I feel this show crosses the line on poking fun and goes straight into degrading Mexicans entirely. I have watched two episodes so far and not only have they not been funny, but both have been full of offensive stereotypes. I love the fact that George’s character is successful, however, with that success should come some responsibility on building up your heritage not turn your back on it for the sake of ratings. Very sad. If this show does not get cancelled, I hope the execs behind it realize that you can add humor without completely demeaning a culture.

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