Generational differences are among the few very predictable wellsprings of mainstream comedy; done right, they make for universally relatable humor. (After all, both kids and their parents will “feel seen” if it’s done well.) So it’s too bad “Lopez vs. Lopez,” a new sitcom on NBC, doesn’t clear the bar.

Here, George Lopez, star of his eponymous sitcom two decades ago, plays a struggling father, in at least two senses; he’s low on means, and he badly fails to understand his daughter. The real Lopez’s actual daughter, Mayan Lopez, plays a character named Mayan, whose speech is riddled with references to therapy and sex positivity. To wit: When George asks Mayan how she knows she has anxiety, she replies, “Uh, science!” It has all the well-intended signaling of good values of a “In This House We Believe” poster, and it’s every bit as funny.

Watching this show is reminiscent of reading social media, where a backspin of attitude is often expected to convert a bland statement of good values into something actually funny or trenchant. (Indeed,the show is very aware of social media, with TikTok serving as a recurring plot device.) By and large, Mayan’s material over the first two episodes — except when she’s talking to her parents about her sex life, which is just weird — expresses general sentiments to which I, a millennial, am sympathetic, in part because of the power of indoctrination. It’s material I’ve encountered literally thousands of times before.

And the intra-family conflict here reads less as “All in the Family”-style debate than a bit of a stacked deck: Mayan tends to win the argument because George isn’t interested in engaging. At one moment of heated conversation, George tells his daughter off and calls her a vulgar name often directed at women; it’s a moment of real anger onto which the show struggles to affix a flattering filter. It finds its way there, sort of: George’s apology, which Mayan accepts, is delivered via TikTok. Once again, the show merely acknowledges a trend in our society, and leaves it to us to complete the joke.

“Lopez vs. Lopez” will premiere on NBC on Friday, November 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

‘Lopez vs. Lopez’ Mines Generational Difference for Weak TikTok Jokes: TV Review

NBC. Two episodes screened for review.

  • Production: Executive producers: Debby Wolfe, Bruce Helford, Katie Newman, Michael Rotenberg, George Lopez.
  • Cast: George Lopez, Mayan Lopez , Selenis Leyva, Brice Gonzalez, Matt Shively.