Thursday, March 06, 2014

'Saint George'

The business model for the so-called 10/90 shows (with a 10-episode first season followed by 90 more episodes over the course of about two years) like Tyler Perry's TBS sitcoms and FX's Anger Management emphasizes quantity over quality, so it's not surprising that FX's George Lopez vehicle Saint George, another 10/90 project, comes off like an assembly-line product. With its ugly, flat visual style, cheap-looking sets, abrasive laugh track, broad acting and hackneyed jokes, Saint George is as generic as sitcoms get, a little like the prefab reruns on TV Land, only not quite as appealing.

Lopez stars as what is basically a fictionalized version of himself (named George Lopez), of course, a semi-retired energy-drink mogul who's taken up teaching for reasons that are not explained in the pilot. He's recently divorced but still close with his ex-wife, who's a key member of the supporting cast along with his preteen son, his mother, his uncle and his cousin. They all exist pretty much solely to make jokes at George's expense, but it's not like George is much more of a well-rounded character than they are. He doesn't spend any time running his business and barely spends any time teaching, his relationship with his ex-wife seems friendly, and the worst he has to deal with are some harsh but loving words from his mother.

Although the supporting cast includes hardest-working man in straight-to-video movies Danny Trejo and veteran character actor David Zayas, the performances are all aimed at the cheap seats, augmented by an overbearing laugh track. The jokes are lame and obvious, and frequently sexist as well (a whole storyline in the first episode involves George's cousin texting random women pictures of his penis as some sort of dating strategy), especially when they focus on George's sexually voracious colleague. Lopez is more likable than Charlie Sheen, so Saint George isn't as painful to watch as Anger Management, but there's the same sense that everyone involved is just trying to churn out as much product as they can as quickly as possible so that they can get it over with.

Premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on FX.

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