TCA: NBC’s ‘Welcome to the Family’ Raises Latino Questions

Ricardo Chavira acknowledges 'a couple of issues' with 'Devious Maids'

The question of Latino representation on network TV came up quickly at the start of NBC’s Television Critics Assn. press tour on Saturday, which opened with a sesh on sitcom “Welcome to the Family,” about the culture clash between an Anglo and Latino family brought together by a pregnancy.

Latinos have a responsibility to speak up about the lack of Latino characters in primetime, “Family” thesp Justina Machado asserted.

“We as Latinos have to speak up more,” she said. “We don’t exist as much as we’d like to see each other.” Noting the growing clout of Latinos in many aspects of American culture, she observed: “I always like to say, ‘We put Obama over’ ” in the 2012 presidential election.

“Family” co-star Ricardo Chavira said the focus needs to be on getting more rounded Latino characters, such as the father he plays in the multi-generational loafers. “When we exist we often exist in the realm of specific stereotypes,” he said. The biz needs to make an effort to “get away from them.”

Chavira was pressed by journos for his opinion on the new LIfetime drama “Devious Maids,” produced by two of his former colleagues on “Desparate Housewives,” Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria. He demurred at first, saying that the show revolving around maids working for wealthy families has some “absolutely wonderful elements.” He acknowledged the accomplishment of his former colleagues but said “myself personally I have a couple of issues with it, that’s all.”

“Family” creator Mike Sikowitz emphasized that his intention was not to create another Archie Bunker type with the character played by Mike O’Malley but to mine the universal humor of family relationships.

O’Malley joked: “I want to talk about how Irish-Americans are portrayed on TV.”

 

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