George Lopez is back! That’s right, the comedian is making his small screen comeback with his new FX comedy ‘Saint George.’
Yesterday, TVRage joined a conference call with Lopez, where he opened up to reporters about his upcoming comedy, the characters and storylines, why he chose to film another sitcom, and what made him go back to TV.
For those unaware, ‘Saint George’ stars Lopez in the lead role of, you guessed it, George Lopez, who’s living quite the chaotic life. Not only does he share a son, Harper (Kaden Gibson) with All-American Anglo ex-wife Mackenzie (Jenn Lyon), but he’s also living with his overbearing Mexican-American mother Alma (Olga Merediz) and has to deal with his freeloading uncle, Tio (Danny Trejo), and his cousin, Junior (David Zayas).
In between figuring out his family and love life, which may or may not involve the tough and sexy Assistant Principal Concepcion (Diana Maria Riva), George is also a wealthy businessman giving back by teaching a history night class to a multicultural classroom in downtown Los Angeles.
So, just how does ‘Saint George’ differ from his other sitcom work, like ‘George Lopez’? As Lopez told TVRage, “Well, first of all, one was a network family show on ABC and this one is a cable family show on FX, so there’s no real similarity as far as, you know, we had a guy who was a standards of practice guy on ABC. He would always run down and tell us what we could say, what we couldn’t say, or to cover up a logo, and you couldn’t do this, you couldn’t do that.
“And on FX, in this show, the humor is a lot edgier…this show mirrors probably where we are in society right now. It’s a little bit edgier. It’s diverse. ‘Modern Family’ succeeded with having a very diverse group of actors, not necessarily ethnicity-wise, but also behavior and who they were in life, so I think this has a lot of the elements of that. I think people would enjoy this show. It might be a little shocking with some of the stuff, but FX their slogan is ‘Fearless.’ I wouldn’t say this is necessarily the craziest show on TV, but it is a lot different than my first one.”
Why now? It’s been seven years since ‘George Lopez’ concluded, so what made Lopez head back to the small screen? The big decision came while filming ‘The Spy Next Door’ with Jackie Chan. “It [the movie] was in New Mexico and it was freezing. And half of my trailer was warm and half of it was cold, but the cold part was the part I got dressed in,” Lopez told reporters. “So in that trailer while I was waiting for Jackie Chan to beat 15 guys up in a warehouse I decided that maybe waiting around in a trailer wasn’t particularly good for me…I always liked TV. I like the immediacy of TV. I think it’s an honor to be on TV and I’m excited about getting another opportunity with such a great group of actors.”
In addition to getting to work with this particular group of actors, Lopez also found himself wanting to do another sitcom after learning who would be running ‘Saint George’ aka “the guys who created Tim Allen’s show [‘Home Improvement’], “I had a deal at Lionsgate and then they signed David McFadzean and Matt Williams, so that sparked my interest because it all comes from the guys that I admired as showrunners.”
So, Lopez signed on to play the leading man, which meant finding a show title. Clearly, the comedy is named after the comedian, but there’s more than meets the eye, “I was born on April 23 and April 23 is Saint George Day,” Lopez revealed. “My father left when I was 2 months old and I think my grandmother knew that he wasn’t the greatest guy to be around for my mom. So he left when I was 2 months old. I don’t think they wanted to name me after him, so my grandmother was always big into the bakery calendars. You know, the bakery calendars that when you went around Christmas and you got some bread, they gave you a calendar every year and she would always have that in the kitchen where she put her makeup on.
“And all of the days, a lot of them are named after saints, so I think that the day I was born, she knew that it was Saint George Day and decided to name me George. So knowing that story growing up, I’ve always had Saint George in my head growing up…I’ve always found it to be a great title.”
Like the title, the show emulates Lopez’s life with storylines and characters paralleling events and people from his real life, as Lopez said, “I’ve succeeded in becoming very honest about my life. The first George Lopez was a lot to do with an absent father and an overbearing mother…Revisiting an overbearing mother in this show made a lot of sense to me because I don’t think we were done with anywhere near where my grandmother got to as far as our relationship went to.
I think this a great extension of that first show in the relationship. It’s a little bit edgier. A little bit harder on me. But George on the show, much like myself, has issues with a divorce that he’s trying to resolve, he has issues with his child…I believe that, for me, the more honest that I can be in the creation of it, I think the funnier the stuff is.”
You can catch the ‘Saint George’ premiere (fun fact: each episode is named after a classic rock song, because Lopez is a fan of the genre) on Thursday, March 6 at 9/8c on FX.
*With some reporting by Kelly Schremph.