Aired on: ABC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                I don’t watch a lot of sitcoms anymore.  I’m more into the drama lately than the half-hour comedies.  But on Fridays, there isn’t a lot on television, so I end up watching Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen.  This fall, appearing after Last Man Standing is a hilarious comedy starring stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo.  I wanted to review this for our First Impressions section, but there were just too many Halloween articles out there.  Turns out that that’s a good thing, because I am so hooked on Cristela, I watch it every week.

                The series written and produced by Cristela Alonzo, not surprisingly she also stars as…wait for it…Cristela, a Mexican-American law school graduate chasing her dream of becoming a lawyer.  To do so, Cristela must continue to live with her sister Daniela’s (Maria Canals-Barrera) family, including her husband Felix (Carlos Ponce), her two children Izzy (Isabella Day) and Henry (Jacob Geunther) and her mother (Terri Hoyos). 

Daniela’s concerned that Cristela has no paying job and therefore will never move on in life.  Felix sees Cristela as a freeloader.  Her mother wants Cristela to find someone to settle down with and get married.  But Cristela wants to land a job as an unpaid intern at a law firm, run by a dour, chauvinistic, bigoted individual (Sam McMurray).  Somehow, despite the competition of the boss’ daughter (Justine Lupe) - no real competition thanks to her airheaded nature - and the intelligent and driven Josh (Andrew Leeds), Cristela lands the job.

That’s just the first episode.  Later episodes find Cristela attempting online dating and finding what appears to be the man of her dreams, only to end up on a date with infatuated neighbor Alberto (Gabriel Iglesias); Cristela being mistaken for Daniela’s nanny by the mother of Henry’s school friend, a mistake that Daniela is none too eager to correct; and the Halloween episode which finds Cristela in a bind trying to create a party for her boss that will outdo his wife’s office party while conquering her own issues with the holiday’s sexy costumes.

And all of this is done with Cristela’s hysterical George Lopez-like delivery.  Cristela’s an easily likeable character…an everyday girl with a desire to succeed that we are in tune with.  I found it strange that they should lighten Cristela’s hair and change the layout of the house after the pilot episode, but I suppose that these things are a result of whatever agreements were made when the show was accepted as a series.  There are those who say that the cast is lackluster, but I hardly agree.  I love the banter between Cristela and Alberto, an equally talented comedian.  Cristela’s mother Natalia is also very funny with her tales of the hardships of her youth and her deadpan delivery. 

I found Cristela to be a lot of fun to watch and a great addition to the Friday night lineup.  Cristela Alonzo is incredibly funny and I find myself looking forward to watching a half hour sitcom…yes, a sitcom…each week.


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