Thursday, November 13, 2014

Underthinking Pilot Season: Cristela

Cat here with another short review. Cristela is very sitcom-y. I haven't watched a show like this in years and even then I was usually watching them in re-runs or late at night with nothing better to watch. This was before hulu and getting a DVR. It was a dark time. Anyway, I think the cast is totally solid and the jokes are actually pretty good. For me, the humor doesn't always land because of the format. I've never seen her stand-up but in this pilot I can clearly see how those jokes would have worked better in the context of a stand-up act. They lose something in being performed by the characters. However, Cristela is very winning and charming as a leading lady and she carries the show effortlessly. It's an ensemble but she's got a star quality as opposed to other shows where the lead just gets all the best jokes.

I would like to give a shout out to two other things in this pilot. Firstly, I appreciated that they used Spanish in a casual, natural way but didn't feel obligated to explain it to an English-speaking audience. I took French in high school but the Spanish never made the show feel inaccessible to me. Secondly, I liked the small subplot about Cristela's niece wanting to play soccer instead of being a cheerleader. Now I do think that competitive cheerleading is a dangerous sport that takes hard work and skill and many of the other positive attributes you would want to foster in children with extracurricular activities. However, the show framed it nicely in this quote.

"I can't believe it. Today my little girl's going to be a cheerleader."
"Ah, yes. The great Texas tradition where girls learn they're not quite as important as boys."

Final Conclusion: This is not a must watch. If you enjoy sitcoms or you can at least tolerate a new one, this is an enjoyable way to spend a half hour. I'm interested to hear what she has to say but the sitcom format is personally holding me back from loving this show. But I'll stick with it for a while.