New show: Cristela
When: 8:30 p.m. Fridays on ABC
Cast: Cristela Alonzo, Carlos Ponce, Maria Canals-Barrera, Terri Hoyos, Andrew Leeds, Sam McMurray, Gabriel Iglesias
Premise: When held up beside “Jane the Virgin” (a great show coming to The CW on Oct. 13), ABC’s “Cristela” – which also features a young Latina at its center – doesn’t shine quite as brightly. But, apples and oranges, I say.
“Cristela” isn’t at all the type of sitcom I typically go for – punchline-heavy, aggressively laugh-tracked (or at least juiced) – but it’s funnier than I expected. Mexican stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo created the show based on her own experiences, and she’s really good in it. She plays a woman in her mid-20s living at home (in her sister and brother-in-law’s home, along with Cristela’s nieces and her grouchy mother) and pursuing an unpaid internship at a law firm while attending law school. In between the punchlines, Cristela’s struggle to pursue her own dreams while pleasing her family (who have much lower standards in mind for her), is touching. (And actually, the office scenes are funnier than the home stuff, to me, but this show wasn’t made with me in mind.)
It’s been a bit of a punching bag with critics early on, but I think it’ll be a hit (can’t you just picture the Season 2 crossover episodes with lead-in “Last Man Standing”?).
Also, it doesn’t hurt that popular comedian Gabriel Iglesias (aka “Fluffy”) has a recurring guest role.