May 18, 2007

First Person:

ABC TV Network Has Failed Latinos

By Al Carlos Hernandez

In an attempt to save money and improve ratings, ABC has cancelled the George Lopez show. Its new line of replacement programs include a show about the Geico Cavemen, which clearly marginalizes, mocks, insults and degrades the gay movement.

This just in for ABC News, there was no such thing as cavemen, and Chicanos are real.

The success of George Lopez ,which has gone into syndication, no thanks to Fred Flintstone or Barney Rubble the only creditable cave people I know of, lies in Lopez’s ability to bring a real life Chicano family into American living rooms. Guess what America, everybody knows one now.

His show was so on target regarding the lives of myself and people I know, it was uncanny. There is a joy and dignity in knowing that there was a TV show that actually got Chicanos right.

ABC has been messing with the George Lopez show for a while, by changing it’s time slots, then putting it up against American Idol. What they did is similar to what corporations do to working people when they want to fire them but don’t want to pay unemployment or get sued.

The company re-assigns the person they want to get rid of to another store or office 50 miles away. This forced the family supporting the employee in question to eventually fail. Given the chance, Lopez would have done a show on getting “reassigned” for big laughs, to millions of prideful fans. Working people of all ethnicities get Lopez. He sells out areas like a rock star all over the country.Do you suppose these people have TV’s?

I read a study that disturbed me, and probably a happy press release for ABC, 80% of TV writers are under 40 years old and are White. They have no idea what working Americans like, or are thinking. Come to think of it, ABC is trying to cancel the over the top numb nerd,According to Jim show. Maybe nitwit executives at ABC are hoping that more cave people will come out of the rock closet.

The Lopez Show was the first time me and my generation of second and third generation Latinos ever saw ourselves represented on primetime TV with respect. ABC pollsters should know that the George Lopez audience was primarily white, and if they didn’t mess with his time slot he could have stayed on the air clocking tens of millions in commercial time for many years to come.

What made the Lopez show different from all of the other dreck out there, was the fact that Lopez is actually funny. His humor was family based, not blue, sexual or demeaning.

Ya’ll latté drinking, BMW driving, no family having Hollywood Caveman lovers, you said it yourself, “If you say it’s funny, it’s not. If you laugh, it’s funny”.

News for you Hummer driving, boys club bar buddies, none of your shows are funny. The caveman thing will score worse than when you had Fonzie jump over the shark tank. Like you say, “buy the premise, buy the bit”. Yo CEO of ABC, the bit is going to bite.

Network TV has worked hard in trying to acclimate viewers into liking the stupidest situation comedies over the years; ABC has an amazing strike out record. Lopez’s show was based on a real life, which most people with real jobs could relate to.

Taking George Lopez unceremoniously off the air is an insult to working people who like to sit around the TV as a family and have a good laugh, while learning something about the human condition that came from a life of real pain.

ABC failed George Lopez and every second generation Latino who maintains family values.

Big respect to George Lopez, Sandra Bullock, the cast and crew, for shining some light in a very dark and humorless place. Many of us will talk about the days when one of our own represented us con ganas with no apologizes, on network TV.

The late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson said it best,

“The TV business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side”.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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