Out of the four major networks, ABC seems to be the one that is purposefully choosing to provide diverse programming. Tonight, the new comedy, Cristela will air and make TV history. Led by Cristela Alonzo, the 35-year-old comic is the first Latina to create, produce, write, and star in her own primetime comedy.
“Cristela” draws on Alonzo’s experiences as the youngest of four growing up in San Juan, Texas, a border town. Alonzo spent the first eight years of her life squatting with her siblings and mother in an abandoned diner, where she passed time watching television because she wasn’t allowed to play outside in the crime-ridden neighborhood.
On her show, she plays an aspiring lawyer who moves in with her family while she finishes law school, a goal her family does not comprehend the same way Alonzo’s real family didn’t understand her dream of becoming a performer. Relying largely on her wit and charm, “Cristela” is already being compared to early seasons of “Roseanne” — a sitcom revolving around a working class family with a female lead whose perspective is sharp and fresh.
“No one else has a deal like this,” said Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “It is very, very significant and it calls to the fact that she’s an exceptional artist.”
Kudos to ABC for adding people of color to their network without giving them the tired roles of tokens are sidekicks. It’s a major step in the right direction when people of color are not only able to star in their own show, but are also allowed some creative control over the content. Hopefully this is only the beginning.
Check out the show’s clip below. Do you plan to tune in?