Third-episode verdict: Lopez (US: TV Land)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, TV Land
In the UK: Not yet acquired

As we learned from its first episode, the latest of George Lopez’s eponymously-titled shows is a lot better than many other eponymously-titled shows that aren’t named after George Lopez. Indeed, Lopez, created by John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, who also co-created Silicon Valley and King of the Hill, is a surprisingly warm-hearted and smart look at modern celebrity from the viewpoint of someone who isn’t quite a celebrity any more, except among certain ethnic and age demographics.

After a first episode that sees Lopez having to deal with everyone from neighbours to Twitter followers, with varying degrees of social anxiety about how he should treat them, the second episode has him exploring the difficulties of modern dating as a Latino celebrity – can he use Tinder? If so, how? And can he be sure that whomever is dating him is dating him because of who he is, rather than because he’s famous? And what happens when they discover he’s a comedian?

Of course, as the show is set in LA, the answers aren’t necessarily what you’re expecting. 

Surprisingly for a show that started off as almost a set of sketches of Lopez’s life, the show’s since evolved more of a narrative, with subsequent episodes taking on various story points and expanded them. It also doesn’t try to make Lopez’s experiences more universal – not only is much of the comedy about social mores and being Latino, including how that ‘ranks’ in the US compared to black, white and asian men and women, it also frequently targets LA and Californian life, with episode three mainly concerning the reaction in LA to Lopez watering his lawn during a drought (“you grasshole”… “brown is the new green”) and what he has to do on social media to counter the adverse reaction.

Slightly problematically, that means the humour doesn’t transfer quite as well over the Atlantic, particularly – if like me – you’ve never seen Lopez in anything before (despite his first sitcom airing for six years on ABC). All the same, for a TV Land sitcom starring a not especially famous person as himself, Lopez is funnier, cleverer, more tuned in to modern culture(s) and just downright nicer than it has any right to be.

Barrometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Clearly the best comedy on TV Land at the moment, it deserves to run for at least another season, although its appeal might be too specific for its own good