The Media-Produced Version “One Size Fits All” Does Not Fit the Majority of Latinos

While Latinos do share culture, language and history, Latinos as a whole don’t fit any traditional category you try to place them in—from the variety of physical appearance, level of education or income and cultural traditions to the distant and diverse countries called home. This is the root cause of all failed attempts at reaching this group via televisions shows, movies, and advertising.  Media has created an unfair, unequal and unbalanced continuously duplicated stereotype.  The failure of networks getting Latinos to connect with shows like MTV’s Washington Heights or studios with movies like COLOMBIANA stem from this fact. Their failure to succeed with these stale images proves Latinos have a very strong desire and need to see themselves reflected in media.

When you hear commentary stating:

“This show isn’t Latino enough,”

What it means is:

“I haven’t seen my story told yet.”

It relates to the false idea there is only one job, one position, one show, one movie, or one success story for all Latinos.  The reality is there more than plenty of space for a larger amount of shows  representing a greater variety of viewpoints.  Verifiable statistics reveal media conglomerates haven’t made any attempts to this date at bringing a more balanced and accurate view of the contributions and impact Latinos have made in this country. Variety of voice and perspective is hugely lacking, and it is Latinos who must fill the void by writing, creating and producing their own stories (and not settling when Latinos do produce their own stories that get scrubbed and exploited by major networks).

There’s a difference between saying a show is not Latino enough and a person.

cnnlatino

Latinidad and Americaness are as unique as the individual.  To say there are levels of ethnicity is an absurd concept.  It’s comparable to the “crabs in the bucket” syndrome where one crab knocks the other one down in an attempt to get ahead or escape.  In the competition of who is more Latino, there are no winners.  Everyone participating in this negative behavior has lost an opportunity to foster advancement.  Here’s a sampling of how this is done:

Is a person who grew up in a household listening Latino music genres more Latino than someone only exposed to pop radio?
Is a person who cannot speak Spanish less Latino than a fluent European?
Is a Peruvian more Latino than an Ecuadoran?
If my skin is darker am I more Latino?
If I wear my hair curly am I more Latina?
If I watch Univision or Telemundo, am I more Latino?
Is Dominican mangú more Latino than Puerto Rican mofongo?
Is Inca Kola more Latino than Malta?
Is an empanada de pizza less Latino than an arepa?
Is a guayabera shirt more Latino than a Panama hat?
Is someone with a Nicaraguan father and a Columbian mother more Latino than both his parents?

These are rhetorical, and none of these tongue in cheek questions can be answered.

Why creating balance in the media is important:

  • Media remains a critical element in achieving equal opportunity and full participation in civic life.
  • Media shapes public views of minority communities as well as views on the causes and scope of social problems and the best solutions.
  • Studies have shown clear disparities in the treatment of people of color on local and national news and minority-oriented programming is both scarce and shallow.

    •  The great potential for misrepresentation to support and reinforce prejudice and bias.  Stories that emphasize only one side of a controversial issue, lead audiences to bias.
    • Research shows that the public is not very good at detecting the political leanings of the media that they consume.
    • Even if people are able to accurately assess differences between news and opinion at the time of exposure, it is unclear that they are able to retain these distinctions over time.

A “one-size-fits-all” version of Latinos is not good enough.  Latinos must demand more from the networks as in more content, different stories, and perspectives.  Blatantly missing from media are the Latino and Latina doctors, lawyers, educators, engineers, business owners or any Latinos portraying fruitful and successful lives.  Where are the stories about resilience, ceaseless support of one another, the highlights, successes and contributions Latinos have made to build this country?  Latinos are extremely varied and this is a wonderful thing.  Let’s tell our stories in our own words.

What you can do:

  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try things which may or may not be perceived as “Latino.”
  • Define your own Latinidad and or Americaness.
  • Contact the networks directly.  Demand stations increase positive portrayals of Latinos in media.
  • Demand private media industries produce and distribute programming to counter messages of  hatred and prejudice, as well as to educate their audiences about the destructive impact of  intolerance.
  • Hold stations accountable for negative stereotypes by educating the stations as well as their sponsors.
  • Support stations and programming providing alternate portrayals of women and minorities.
  • Support alternative media outlets like this one.
  • Become a content creator and distributor.

RESOURCES

Media Diversity Matters:  A Media Justice Activist Toolkit

Books

Latinos Unidos: From Cultural Diversity to the Politics of Solidarity by Enrique T. Trueba

Organizations

NALIP - National Association of Latino Independent Producers: Professional membership organization that addresses the needs of Latino independent producers and promotes the advancement and development of Latinos in the industry.

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC): The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a non-partisan, non-profit, media advocacy and civil rights organization created to advance American Latino employment and programming equity throughout the entertainment industry and to advocate for telecommunications policies that benefit Latinos and other people of color.

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lettyBella Vida Letty is a regular contributor to LatinoRebels.com and one of the Original Rebeldes, having been with the group since the very beginning. Last year she was named one of the Most Powerful Latinas in Social Media by VOXXI. You can follow her on Twitter (@bellavidaletty) or read more about her on her blog, Bella Vida by Letty.

 

#NoMames Double Feature: “Rent-a-Rican” and “How to Tell If Your Dog Is Puerto Rican”

We get it. Puerto Ricans are loud and fun at parties. They like to dance. They like to be drink rum. They like to have sex (yes, please). We understand.

rentrican

Yet there is something wrong about the following two videos that are making the rounds on the Internet and on Facebook.

The first one, “Rent-a-Rican,” has already gone global thanks to HuffPost Latino Voices, with the creator telling NBC Latino that charges of racism are “absurd.” You decide for yourself.

One of the video’s creators, Sarah Morzal, was quick to lecture the world when she said the following to NBC Latino: “What we’re attempting to mock are those negative and simplistic portrayals of Latinos that are so annoyingly prevalent in popular media. By the point I’m putting Nino [actor who portrays the rented Rican] in the dishwasher…most people get it. It’s absurd.” As if that part of the patronizing attitude were not enough, Morzal added this: “To the people who think it’s racist, I would like to congratulate them. They cracked our code and really discovered that the true point of our sketch was to mock Latinos and eventually create this service for real. I will not be satisfied until I’m actually putting human beings into dishwashers.”

We are wondering if Morzal and her troupe will be coming out with comedy classics, such as Rent-a-Jew, Rent-an-Oriental, Rent-a-Homie, and Rent-a-Wetback. Granted, we might have given the group some props if the Rican piece was actually well-done, but it clearly shows that the comedy is too glossy and tries really hard to be clever and witty by focusing on obviously lazy stereotypes. Our advice to Morzal? A) Be funny, B) Try to go beyond the stale “Puerto Ricans are great at parties” motif, and C) Be funny.

The problem is that the skit never really gave you the impression that the people at the party were the ones who were being mocked. The entire skit was focused on the Rent-A-Rican and how he was saving the day. This was just another example of mediocre comedy content that doesn’t dig deeper. If the intent of the skit was to truly mock people’s stereotypical perceptions of Puerto Ricans and Latinos in general, then that should have been its goal. A perfect example of such a concept is the classic, “Spanish for Your Nanny” bit. There, the nanny knows the deal and viewers instantly know who is the object of the joke. In the Rent-a-Rican skit, the Rican (and the nod to Mexicans, because why not, add a lawnmower joke to the bit while you are at it) are the butt of the joke. Morzal’s defense also gets a #NoMames. This is not about being racist, it is about how easily your intent can misinterpreted and be told that it blows chunks all because you chose the lazy joke. Good comedy is hard. Bad comedy is easy.

The other video is all about a dancing dog. And to be honest with you, the video is funny. Really funny. However, you lost us at the title. Why not just say, “Funny Dog Dances Merengue?” Hell, there is a whole YouTube genre for that type of video. None of those videos felt the need to make it all ethnic and associate it with a specific group. They are just silly videos. The following video fails because of the title, “How to Tell If Your Dog Is Puerto Rican.” We are wondering if the creator of this video has the cojones to produce, “How to Tell If Your Dog Is Black,” “How to Tell If Your Dog Is Jewish,” etc. etc. Maybe Puerto Rican Dog Guy and Morzal can join forces on their next series of videos?

This is why we tend to avoid comedy on YouTube that is overreaching and forced. It is content created by amateurs. Besides, we have already found our favorite YouTube video. We can play this one all the time. Hit it, Gollum.

The Talented @FunnyLatino Offers His Video Response to NY Times Article on Latino Programming

We got the following video from @FunnyLatino today on our Facebook wall and we are glad we did.

Román Suárez is a Bronx-born comic/actor/writer. He is one of the countless of talented individuals who have connected with our online communities. Suárez offered this video response to the New York Times piece called "Networks Struggle to Appeal to Hispanics."

Now that is how you offer good solutions to networks. Can you imagine a collective of creative talent brought it to think of the next great show? We wonder if networks would even listen, but we are. LatinoRebels.com has been known for its critiques and commentary about how major net still don't "get" the US Latino population. Like our jefe @julito77 said in the the Times piece, when discussing the train wreck that was ¡ROB!:

For Julio Ricardo Varela, the founder of the Web site Latino Rebels, both the content of “Rob” and how it was marketed relied too much on stereotypes.

“ ‘Rob’ was a big running joke among our community,” Mr. Varela said. “It just felt lazy, stale and I think that mainstream television is missing the boat.” Mr. Varela noted a contest on the show’s Facebook page where viewers were invited to hit a virtual piñata to “whack and win” a trip to the show’s set. Also on the page were promotional images of Mr. Schneider and the rest of the cast in a conga line. “I thought the marketing was beyond ridiculous,” Mr. Varela said.

We would love to join @FunnyLatino and others in going beyond the weak and stereotypical content that is still being churned out by major networks. The time to change the paradigm is now, and if the networks don't want it, we don't need them.

With Telenovelas on the Rise in the United States, Latino Talent Scout Luis Balaguer Misses the Point

It was an interesting piece that you might have missed if you don't read The New York Times on a regular basis, but on March 9, stuck inside the Times' Business section, this article "Spanish-Language TV Dramas Heat Up Miami" tries to provide answers as to why Spanish-language programming is becoming more popular.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/business/media/telenovelas-popularity-brings-business-to-florida.html

Here is the context:

Five telenovelas are being shot in Miami up from only a couple a few years ago. Last year producers spent a combined $40 million in the area, up from $11.5 million in 2009, according to the Miami-Dade County Office of Film & Entertainment.

Although telenovelas were long churned out in Mexico, the two dominant Spanish-language networks in the United States, Univision and Telemundo, are increasing production in South Florida, attracted by American marketing opportunities, tax breaks and the growing Hispanic audience in the United States.

Telenovelas imported from Mexico can still bring big ratings on American networks, but increasingly Hispanics in the United States want to watch stories that resonate with their lives here, network executives said.

Actors, producers and writers from Latin America have descended on the city, turning Miami into a telenovela Tinseltown. The design district and its luxury stores and restaurants like Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink have become a hub for paparazzi from Spanish-language publications on the lookout for stars like Ms. Soto, who plays Camila on Univision’s telenovela “El Talismán.”

Granted, Latin America popular culture is indeed influencing the United States more and more. As the US becomes more Spanish-speaking, it makes sense. However, the telenovela has its history of presenting a fictional world that does not reflect what Latin America is all about. Just like the Jersey Shore and Real Housewives phenomenon, telenovelas can be just as silly and just as problematic. The dumbing down of the US can now be done in Spanish.

And that brings us to what Luis Balaguer said to the Times when discussing why telenovelas are gaining traction. Balaguer is a major talent player and producer for this type of programming, and since he has access to decision-makers who green light projects, we feel his intentions are skewed and miss the mark. This is what he says in the article:

“I tell network executives, if you love an actress, but your nanny doesn’t know who she is, that’s a problem,” Mr. Balaguer said.

Balaguer disappoints us with a quote like this. By suggesting to major network executives that the "nanny" audience is a demographic for them, he is only perpetuating the stereotypes that many US Latinos are trying to crush. Balaguer just becomes an enabler of the fluff many US Latino viewers are telling networks to cease. Balaguer falls into the trap of the 4HS of Hollywood that Esai Morales has so eloquently stated. We hope that people like Balaguer can demand better. Why just give people what they think they want. What not give them something that they don't know they want, but once they get it, they know they had always wanted it in the first place? That is all we ask.

FYI, here is a history of what Balaguer's company (co-founded by Sofía Vergara) and how they market themselves:

Latin World Entertainment (LWE) is the premier Hispanic talent management and entertainment marketing firm in the United States. Founded in 1998 by Luis Balaguer and Sofía Vergara, LWE has grown from a management agency for top Hispanic talent to a multi-service company offering a 360° approach that includes public relations, endorsements, promotions, brand integration, production, content development, and licensing. LWE represents the biggest stars, opinion makers and trendsetters in the Spanish-speaking entertainment world and leverages that star power to take brands and products directly into the burgeoning Hispanic market. In addition, the firm has successfully marketed over 500 major Hollywood studio films to U.S. Hispanics, promoted top Spanish-language music tours for the largest live entertainment companies in the U.S., and created and produced branded entertainment programs featuring LWE talent for various Fortune 500 companies.

The Guzman Show: Your Stereotypical Family

Last week, the Latino Rebels were presented with the opportunity to write about a new web series called "The Guzman Show," which is the story about a stereotypical Mexican family that includes a cholo baby, pregnant teen and a goat, described as “a Latin-American Family Guy drenched in Tapatío hot sauce and created by a group of very sick and twisted minds.”

The Guzman Show will premiere online in April.

Sounds appealing, doesn't it? As hard as we are to satisfy with just a website, trailer and press release, we asked a few more questions about something so played out.

"There are Latino characters in most shows, but there was nothing specifically for us and showcasing a full Latino cast of characters," said Erica Menjivar, executive producer for the cartoon, via an email interview. She is the co-creator of the show, along with her sister Claudia.

You mean, there aren't enough stereotypical characters out in mainstream media for your taste? What have we been fighting all these years, then? I'm wondering where the drug-dealer Guzman cousin is at this point, because he didn't make his way into the trailer, surprisingly.

However stereotypical they want to be, Menjivar claims their effort is to get their audiences to laugh at themselves, their target audiences being Latinos. But, aren't there enough negative and stereotypical characters out there to learn from and see ourselves mirrored in over and over again?

"We do not identify ourselves with these stereotypes, we can laugh at them. It’s only a problem when we can’t laugh at it. But we're also being ironic, while shedding light on the fact that it is STILL happening and unfortunately growing," explained Menjivar. "With economic issues being what they are in this country, there is a lot of scapegoating going on. We're seeing a lot of hate being thrown at Latinos, Mexicans especially. But if we hate them back, then it becomes a never ending cycle of hate. So, instead, let’s transform that ugly into laughter."

So we're taking a hit and laughing at ourselves. But what if Latinos don't watch the webisodes which are set to begin April of this year? Mainstream USA has seen stereotypical shows like Mind of Mencia, who threw words like "wetback" and "beaner" back into the vocabulary mix, saying it was OK for everyone else to use it, when the Latino community was trying to combat it. I wondered, would this be the same thing? Menjivar says it's not educational programming even though she does compare it to Family Guy, which I think, takes a bit of intelligence to understand, no matter how sick and twisted it may be.

"It is meant to make you laugh. That is the purpose of it. But also, we are telling our stories as Latino people. The show will not be shallow. Often, it will force people to think about their stance on issues for Latinos and even non-Latinos," said the producer based out of San Francisco.

The story for this project came out of being stereotyped and degraded by hateful people. But in an odd way, Menjivar feels that this cartoon will bring people together; taking these stereotypes and publicly laughing at them, determining our own images, right?

"We are sure many Latinos have dealt with hateful people in this country, and perhaps they’ll find comfort because they are not alone," she said. "Hopefully they can laugh all the hate off. My mom always said, 'It is better to laugh than cry.'"

It made sense. Because you cannot determine or change the way people think or look at you, for that matter, the only thing you can determine is your own personal reaction. Therefore, making a cartoon of what Latinos can publicly laugh at curbs our anger, dismissing any sense of being controlled or labeled in a stereotypical manner.

Although the characters may be stereotypical and the risk of laughter walking a thin line, Menjivar says the story lines and insight into the episodes serve a fairly larger purpose.

"We are making fun of all stereotypes from all walks of life. We hope it makes people think more deeply about stereotypes," says Menjivar. "But we do plan to not be hateful for the sake of being hateful, but rather, to put a comedic light on the ridiculousness of bigotry."

Dear @milbank: Is It That Hard to Say “Sorry, My Bad” About ChimichangaGate?

We are now convinced that ChimigangaGate has entered the realm of social media silliness, and in the case of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, we would suggest he go to his local Mexican restaurant and ask for a plate of humildad.

Milbank, who was the one who wrote the following line:

"The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos."

This was a reference to what Senator John McCain said during a Senate session about the confirmation of a Cuban American judge to the federal court system, in response what Senator Rand Paul was doing to stall the vote. The line then became the tweet of the day from Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina and chimichanga silliness ensued.

We have pretty much stated our case about the social media gaffe from Messina, and we were giving Milbank the benefit of the doubt because we actually thought his column was a good one. But after reading his "response" today in The Washington Post, we are just asking: "Dude, really? You just can't say, hey, it was a line that didn't work for some? I am a columnist, I have opinions. My bad." Is it that hard to do?

Here are snippets of what Milbank had to say (the whole column can be read here and you can see that Milbank is taking umbrage with the Republican's demands for an apology, which, as we said, was perfectly legitimate in this case, especially since it is clear that Milbank truly has no clue about what he is working so hard to try and defend). This is what caught our eye today:

Holy mole sauce! The flap spread, to CNN, the Drudge Report, the New York Times,Comedy Central. “Chimichanga is the New Macaca,” said Michelle Malkin. Eventually, calls came from the blogosphere that “both Jim Messina and Dana Milbank should apologize.”

To those demanding my apology, I say: That’s nacho place. I flauta your demands. In the chimichanga wars, I will taco no prisoners — and that’s for churro.

His column ends like this:

As for the chimichanga apology, I’m pleased to report that Messina had a good answer to those demanding his contrition: Not so fajitas. A follow-up tweet said: “Tweeting someone else’s words caused a stir, but the GOP is on the wrong side of every Hispanic voter priority.”

In fact, I hereby demand that the RNC and conservative critics end this sorry episode by apologizing for demanding apologies. If they do, I would consider making an apology of my own: to the chimichanga, for bringing the innocent entree into this cauldron.

You are kidding us, right? Really, Dana, this is a joke, correct? You are missing the point: why are you stooping to tired stereotypical puns about Latinos? Because you are clever? Because we Latinos love a great Tex-Mex menu? Because you don't have a little decency to just admit you goofed?

Really? Saying, hey, I got the message (Republicans were not the only ones who called this whole affair dumb and stereotypical), my bad, is so difficult? Swallow your pride a bit. Focus on the real issues, which was your column that had done until a silly little ending throwaway and stereotypical line ruined it.

In other words, #NoMames.

A Sundance Darling, Actress Gina Rodríguez of “Filly Brown” Keeps It Real

We have a new favorite actress and her name is Gina Rodríguez, star of the Sundance hit, Filly Brown. Rodríguez, who grew up in Chicago and is of Puerto Rican descent, is getting some indie buzz for her lead role in the movie. For us, she gets MAJOR PROPS for what she told Anthem Magazine about what it means to be Latina actor in Hollywood these days.

What does it mean to be a Latina actress in the film industry these days?

When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a performer. I was captivated by cinema and television, but I remember thinking, “These people don’t look like me.” I never saw anyone who didn’t weigh 100 pounds or didn’t have blue eyes. I didn’t see myself onscreen. I just thought, “I guess we didn’t exist back then.” While watching stuff like CasablancaGone with the Wind andThe Sound of Music, I would ask my mom, “We didn’t exist then. When did Puerto Ricans come into play?” She was like, ‘What are you talking about, baby? We’ve always been around.’ And when I did start seeing our faces out there, it was always the pregnant teen, the hooker, the drunk girlfriend and the featured extra. I would love to be able to count the number of Latino actors with more than two hands. It doesn’t matter what the color of our skin is.

That’s a huge motivational force for you then. It’s about breaking stereotypes.

Yes! To be able to hit that platform where my voice is able to reach as many people as possible and putting a positive voice out there for Latinos. For young girls, I want them to know that they don’t have to starve themselves. You can look like a normal girl because it’s beautiful. You’ll be so beautiful on the inside that it’ll leak out onto the outside and people won’t be able to stop you. To be confident, motivated, strong, inspired and wanting to do good. My boyfriend and I are abstinent and that’s a very big part of our lives. There’s just more to life than, ‘Bang bang bang. Skeet skeet skeet.’ That’s something I want to project to the youth. It has been such a long journey fighting stereotypes. I’m not going to play the third chola to the left. I’m not doing it! If I have to pass on a day rate of $795, I’ll just have to miss out on that. I’ve been eating ramen noodles for the past 20 years of my life, so why not keep going? It has been very difficult, but I’ve gotten to a point where I’m seeing the doors open and I’m seeing the industry change. Now I just need to push it even harder. I have to break through that last screen door that Hollywood is afraid to break through.

ABC Cancels “Work It” Due to Poor Ratings

Yesterday, ABC pulled the plug on the Bosom Buddies ripoff show, 'Work It," after the second episode of the show garnered a pathetic 4.9 million viewers and just a 1.5 rating from the coveted 18-49 crowd, as reported by ZapIt!.

The show, which has been the target of the LGBT community as well as a grassroots Puerto Rican movement that is demanding an apology from ABC for its controversial Puerto Rican Drug Dealer Joe, really never had a chance. The writing was poor, the jokes were lame, and to quote Bart Simpson, it just sucked.

In the meantime, ABC has yet to issue any apology to both the LGBT and Puerto Rican groups, but it is clear that the show had no future and TV is better for it.

 

As New CBS Show “¡ROB!” Gets Panned for Stereotypical Humor, @DoloresHuerta Tweets Support for Show

Tonight the new CBS sitcom ¡ROB! premieres and already major publications like TIME and The Los Angeles Times are trashing it for its stereotypical, one-dimensional and insensitive humor, especially towards portrayals of Mexican Americans (you know, we are all gardeners, illegals, etc. etc.).

Just this afternoon on Twitter, Latina Icon Dolores Huerta tweeted out to the Twitterverse, asking for support of the show and actor Lupe Ontiveros.

"please support Lupe Ontiveros in the new show Rob! on CBS"

"Show is at 830 on CBS."

"gracias"

Quite frankly, upon reading the reviews and already skeptical of the show's premise, we respectfully decline to support this show. Sorry, Ms. Huerta. And with say that will all the respect in the world and understand that you are using Twitter to support a friend. We do that all the time. We know you have done a lot for Latinos, but a new generation of younger Latinos are respectfull disagreeing. We MUST fight these stereotypes and demand for better programming for Latino actors and writers in Hollywood. Sorry.

The Reviews Are In: New CBS Show ¡Rob! Sucks, Too

So, do television executives sit around a big room and brainstorm stereotypes about Latinos? Because from the looks of it, the latest crop of mainstream sitcoms that are either Latino-themed or feature Latino actors are not having a good month.

Yes, everyone by now knows about ABC's "Work It" Puerto Rican Drug Dealer Joke fiasco, the silence of ABC even as a grassroots group called Boricuas for a Positive Image is preparing for a Thursday afternoon demonstration in New York City, and the-tweet-that-was-an-apology-but-not-everyone-agrees-apology by Puerto Rican actor Amaury Nolasco.

Tonight, the new Rob Schneider comedy ¡Rob! premieres and from the looks of it, the show is already dead on arrival. From the looks of the reviews, Nolasco's troubles might soon transfer over to Latino legend Cheech Marin, and fellow cast members Diana María Riva, Claudia Bassols, Eugenio Derbez, and Lupe Ontiveros.

Here is what the press is saying: 

TIME MAGAZINE

"Then [CBS] presented its newest sitcom, ¡Rob!, starring Rob Schneider, who plays a man who marries into a Mexican American family, upon which “hilarity”—which is to say a bunch of leaf-blower and illegal-immigrant jokes—ensues. The network spin on this one: Schneider’s character is the new Archie Bunker. It’s true, in the sense that both characters are or were on CBS sitcoms. It’s true, that is, in the same sense that Julie Chen is the new Walter Cronkite…

When a show like ¡Rob! makes gardener jokes or 2 Broke Girls makes its Asian manager a nerd who mangles English, on the other hand, they’re not drawing on any real experience of life as it exists today. In fact, they’re going out of their way not to: the whole point of this kind of easy, hack-y joke is that you write them so that a viewer can get the jokes without knowing anything about another culture beyond decades-old clichés, based on other TV shows. You don’t have to know anything about what’s changed in America since All in the Family; you don’t have to have any awareness of Latinos since Chico and the Man."

 

The Los Angeles Times

No doubt there is a grain of truth in the absurd tensions that fuel "Rob" — the overwhelming and sometimes invasive tendencies of a large family, the real cultural differences "mixed" couples encounter, the revelations of early marriage — but Schneider clearly does not think his audience is sophisticated enough to deal with anything more nuanced than Frito-Bandito slapstick.

What with Maggie's henpecked father (a shamefully wasted Cheech Marin), her absurdly controlling mother (a shamefully wasted Diana Maria Riva), her larcenous uncle Hector, (a shamefully wasted Eugenio Derbez, who is actually the funniest thing in the pilot), "Rob" plays like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" after seven or eight tequila shots.

Maybe someone should do a show about an Anglo man who must face his Mexican American in-laws after he's done a terrible show about them. That might be funny.

The Salt Lake Tribune:

The show revels in racial stereotypes – it's filled with jokes about guacamole and illegal immigration – and makes no excuses for it.

"I don't think you want to stay away from the stereotypes," [Cheech] Marin said. "I think you want to confront them and deal with them."

The show is based on Schneider's real life, and – despite the racial jokes – Schneider insists no offense is intended.

"My wife is not going to let me do anything overly offensive,I guarantee you," he said. "I have to go home to my wife. She'll let me know.

"Nobody here is going to do anything disrespectful," Schneider continued. "I think we want to do things that are funny, and I think, if we could shed some light on it in a way that could be fun and people can relate to it, it's fine."

It's probably time that US Latinos audiences just start walking away from the big networks and move to more original authentic web shows that are wittier and more entertaining.

Turn Off the TV, ¡Coño!