Love it or Leave it: Cristela


Welcome back! We all have that show. The show that you adore and can quote at the drop of a hat. You love it, but you are the only one.  Everyone has one of those shows that just didn’t take off with the masses. We are left with a very limited series that you watch over and over again as they write an analysis on the internet. Probably on a blog.

Ahem…moving on.

This is what this Saturday series is about.  Taking those shows that had a very limited run and deciding if the show deserved better. After all, you may love a show, but after you analyze it, you can understand why it didn’t take off.

What are we looking at this week?

The ABC show Cristela.


Cristela Alonzo was a standup comedian that got her start in 2003 after getting an office job at the Addison Improv in Texas. A job she got after her mother passed away. According to an audio interview with Latino USA, she started doing stand up to deal with her grief and talk about her family. She moved to Los Angeles where she found success on the road doing college comedy shows. Since then she has appeared on Comedy Central’s The Half Hour and numerous talk shows.

In 2013 she created her semi-autobiographical comedy pilot for ABC. After not being picked up for the 2013-2014 season, the show decided to shoot a pilot presentation and try again. It got a strong testing response from the test audience, and the show was picked up for the 2014-2015 season on ABC.

The series follows Cristela Hernandez, a Mexican-American law school student in Texas.  She works as an unpaid intern at a law firm while living with her sister, her husband, niece/nephew and her mother.  At work, she has her boss who is unintentionally racist, his daughter who seems to be the typical dumb rich blonde and a fellow intern who has a thing for Cristela (and vice versa).

Due to low ratings, the show was canceled after the first season aired.

Rank in Pop Culture History

The show was revolutionary. Cristela Alonzo was the first Latina to create, produce, write and star in a primetime comedy.

The show was met with mixed reviews. As the series went on the reviews of the show improved, some stating that the show has found its footing. When the show was being considered for renewal, many websites called it the model for what modern sitcoms should be.

Being put behind Last Man Standing didn’t help its chances considering the Last Man Standing audience was much different from what Cristela needed to succeed. The show was preempted quite a bit.

In fact, Cristela herself said:

“It was a multi-cam sitcom that SOMETIMES aired on Friday nights,” Alonzo wrote. “I say sometimes because a lot of times we were pre-empted for more important things like an Easter egg hunt happening in real time. Kidding. In reality, we were preempted for other things like a documentary on a parade and some other things I can’t remember. I think one night was a show about Christmas lights?”

The show wasn’t treated well.

Did Cristela Deserve Better?

I watched this show live. I LOVED it. However, as time passed, my memory got fuzzy. So, before I wrote this, I re-watched the series.

Yup. Still love this show. If anything it made me angry the show didn’t get a second season.

This show deserved better than it got. A million times better.  Trillion times better. Not only did the show have great characters and funny stories; it also had lessons that they didn’t beat you over the head.  Cristela had characters that I loved. The plots were funny, and it left you laughing and wanting to see more.

A lot of articles have said it better than me but I love the relationships Cristela has with her family and at the office.  They are not saccharine or downright mean spirited. The way she interacts with her family reminds me of how I interact with my family.  We love each other, but we don’t mind needling each other from time to time. It is how we show love. Yeah, you see that in sitcoms now, but the way Cristela did it felt more natural than the others.

Same with the people she worked with at the law office. They started out stereotypical.  The racist boss. The rich-bitch party blonde and the overachiever law student that will do anything to get to the top.  As time goes on, you find that the boss isn’t trying to be racist and actual believes and trusts in Cristela (I always thought that if the show went on he might have gone from boss to mentor). The boss’s daughter turned out to be smart but was afraid to try. She was starting to become good friends with Cristela. The other law student intern proved to be a great friend and her love interest (never got to see them truly shine).  Every character started out one way until we got to know them and realize there is much more going on under the surface. Much like life.

I honestly believe that the show should have been on Wednesday or Tuesday nights on ABC. The other diverse shows got their shot there but for some reason, ABC didn’t let Cristela shine. Putting it after a show a show that is quite conservative in their views would make it hard to gain viewership. Being on a Friday didn’t help either.

I’m hoping this show can find a new life on a different network or even online. I haven’t heard anything but a fan can hope.

Check the full season of Cristela out on Netflix. I HIGHLY recommend it.


Until next time, have a great weekend.

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