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Short Review: Cristela (S1/E3)

The 3rd episode of CRISTELA just solidifies my disappointment in what could have, would have, should have been.

Here’s all you need to know about Cristela, the new sitcom from ABC on Friday nights: It’s not worth it. I could give you a ton of reasons why, many of which would include the poor character development, the lack of plotlines not involving Cristela, and the overall cheesiness the show brings to everyone, among others. But the most important reason: it’s just boring.

It’s like every line is meant as a set-up joke for Cristela, and to pack in as many jokes as possible into a 30-minute show. Instead of a few clever jokes, we get tons of rapid-fire easy jokes instead. Take Frasier for example. When I watch Frasier, I usually can not tell when a joke is coming. The dialogue was styled so well and the jokes were so quick-witted and creative, one could understand why the show won 37 Emmys, 2nd of all-time behind Saturday Night Live.

Episode 3 was about how a friend of Daniela (Cristela’s sister) mistakes Cristela as a maid. But Daniela doesn’t correct the friend, due to Daniela’s large desire to become friends with the friend with connections to a good private school. Seriously? Right off the bat, half the ABC viewership changed the channel. Seriously, who does that? I would expect this behavior in a high school setting. Heck, this plotline is probably straight out of a Disney Channel show. But really?

The B story wasn’t any better. The interns are given a challenge to make the best coffee for their boss. Or better yet, the closest resemblance to a previous employee’s coffee. The winner would get a new career opportunity. Every single person in the world knew the new career was the new office coffee maker. Everyone except the three interns who are supposed to be the smartest young people in Texas. The situation was completely unrealistic and unfunny, it’s not even worth mentioning. This was just to prove there was a B story.

I’m not angry. I’m just disappointed. I was hoping the show would be better (Source: ABC).

Oh, you know what, there was a C story. Alberto (played by Gabriel Iglesias….how many episodes is this guy in?) helps make Cristela’s bed (which then makes me wonder where she was sleeping this whole time she was at the house). The only time I ever laughed in this episode was when Cristela slowly opened the door and Alberto was lying in bed waiting for her. I mean, the actual act was predictable, but I’ll admit my laughter came from the “Gabriel Iglesias”-like way it was done. I think they tried to have the Grandma and Alberto work together on the bed, but we could have taken out that scene and nothing would have changed. Which is not a great thing to realize, when you can delete whole scenes from a show and have it not even matter.

Look, Seinfeld wasn’t in every storyline of Seinfeld. Homer Simpson isn’t in every storyline of The Simpsons, Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation, Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, etcetera, etcetera. They are (or were) great and amazing, but they aren’t (weren’t) in every single scene. But perhaps it’s all a good thing. The supporting cast was easily the weakest part of the show. But now the concept of “playing to your strength” (which in this case is Cristela herself) is suffocating the viewers. Cristela might be funny, but not in a main role. All the characters are only their stereotypes. And we know every single punchline will come from Cristela. Not from the kids. Not from Daniela or Felix. Not for grandma. No one. Well, Alberto does for obvious reasons. No? He’s Gabriel Iglesias. He’s earned that right.

What’s most fascinating to me is this show is a sitcom, but I find the new Hispanic drama Jane the Virgin not only better overall, but way funnier than Cristela. It’s a shame, I was hoping Cristela could be the new George Lopez, and I was cheering for creator and comedian Cristela Alonzo to succeed. But when a show is doing worse than its previous timeslot holder The Neighbors, that’s saying something.

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