Three episodes in and George Lopez is still the only actor in the family-work sitcom “George Lopez” getting the funny lines. In a guest appearance, exec producer Sandra Bullock displays her proficiency at slapstick — and the bigscreen actress outshines the cast in presence and comic timing. This is a struggling show trying to find an audience on a night that ABC can’t quite figure out.
Comedian Lopez is the patriarch at home and the newly appointed manager of the assembly area at an aviation company. His mother Benny (Belita Moreno) not only lives next door, she is also one of his employees. She seemingly deprived her son of happiness as a child, and he’s unclear as to how far he should break free from her hold in raising his children, Max (Luis Armand Garcia) and Carmen (Masiela Lopez).
Episode at hand concerns Max’s 10th birthday and whether the parents should throw an elaborate party. Lopez’s jaded attitude toward birthdays stems from mom never giving him one; show’s plot predictably ventures to the point where Lopez is in a no-win situation with his wife and mother, ending up in a spat with his wife (Constance Marie as Angie) and, because she is the wacky neighbor, an oddball exchange with mom.
Bullock plays “Accident” Amy, who has just returned from a recuperation period for her mangled fingers. She threatens Lopez’s shot at a record month of no mishaps and — surprise, surprise — she’s standing on the edge of disaster. She’s quite funny, but then again, so was Charles Sellon playing the blind Mr. Muckle in 1934’s “It’s a Gift” with W.C. Fields. Lopez and Marie are a throwback of sorts, too — straight back to the bluster of Ralph Kramden and his stern yet tolerant wife Alice. Were Marie given a little more material to work with, show could conceivably blossom into more than a drone of setups and punchlines that seem to benefit only Lopez.