Monday, March 10, 2014

Pilot Review: Saint George

Saint George (FX)
Premiered March 6 at 9pm

I don’t think I ever saw an episode of George Lopez’s long-running ABC comedy. It started before I really got into watching television on such an extreme basis, and never really interested me much. Now, Lopez is back seven years after the cancellation of his previous show following its sixth season. This show joins “Anger Management” and “Louie,” the only two comedies remaining on FX’s slate after the network transferred a handful of its sitcoms to its new channel, FX. Like Charlie Sheen’s series, this one’s success is based entirely on the performance of its first ten episodes, which, if strong, will guarantee an additional ninety episodes. This show is actually a lot like “Anger Management,” putting a familiar face in an excessively familiar setting, allowing him to be the center of most jokes without trying too hard. The difference between Sheen and Lopez is that the latter is actually relatively likeable, and even smiles along to most of the jokes made at his expense (whether that’s more a sign of bad acting is up for debate). The show’s humor is far from high-brow, however, and much of it is reserved for Latino jokes and comments about Lopez being old and fat. Two actors often seen in drama, David Zayas of “Dexter” and Danny Trejo of “Sons of Anarchy” and many films, are trapped in hopelessly awful supporting roles, and Jenn Lyon, who had a strong recurring turn on “Justified” as bartender Lindsey, doesn’t seem to have the first idea how to play George’s ex-wife Mackenzie. This show is best described as uncomplex, occasionally entertaining but far from a crowning artistic achievement.

How will it work as a series? In the first episode alone, George has died his hair (successfully, somewhat disappointingly) and jumped back into the dating pool. From here, he’ll still have to resist the absurd advances of his boss at work and contend with the family dynamics of his extended household. Sitcoms have tackled these tropes forever, so there are plenty of places to go.
How long will it last? It’s not looking too great based on the first episode’s numbers, which were on par with the evening’s showing of “Anger Management,” but way down from where that show got started in 2012. It could still happen, but this one doesn’t seem to be the same kind of hit that the network needs.

Pilot grade: C-

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