Generation differences are among the few sources of mainstream comedy. Done right, they create universally relatable jokes. (After all, both kids and their parents “feel seen” if it’s done well.) So it’s too bad “Lopez vs. Lopez,” a new sitcom on NBC, doesn’t clear the bar.
Here, Jorge Lopez, the star of his eponymous sitcom two decades ago, plays a struggling father, at least in two senses; His abilities are low, and he fails to understand his daughter well. The real-life Lopez’s daughter, Mayan Lopez, plays a character named Mayan, whose dialogue is filled with references to therapy and sex positivity. To wit: When George asked Maya how she knew she had depression, she said, “Oh, science!” she replied. It all has a well-thought-out sign of good values, a “We believe in this house” poster, and it’s just as funny.
Watching this scene is reminiscent of reading social media, where the backdrop of stereotypes is often expected to turn an inauthentic expression of good values into something funny or ambiguous. (Of course, the show is very social media-savvy, with TikTok serving as a frequent plot device.) Overall, Maya’s material in the first two episodes — except when she’s talking to her parents about her sex life, which is weird. – I, a thousand years old, expresses the general feelings of bitterness, partly because of the power of teaching. It’s material I’ve encountered thousands of times before.
And the family feud here is less of a stacked deck than an “all in the family” type argument: Maya tries to win the argument because George doesn’t want to get involved. During a heated conversation, George tells his daughter and calls her a name that is often used against women; It’s a moment of genuine indignation as the show struggles to post a defiant filter. There he finds his way: George’s apology, which Maya accepts, is delivered via Tik Tok. Again, the show just acknowledges the trend in our society, and leaves us to make up the joke.
“Lopez vs. Lopez” premieres Friday, November 4 at 8 pm ET on NBC.