George Lopez returns, once-estranged daughter in tow, with a textbook family sitcom
In an industry built on “It’s complicated,” “You’re So Vain” has been a little too complicated for its own good: You’d expect a comedian’s comedy to be light and breezy, but the tone is so dark that you’re wondering if The Office’s writers are watching this show during their lunch hour.
The story of three generations of an Irish Catholic family that has lived in the same home since the Civil War has an absurdist twist on the standard melodrama, and you can expect a lot of jokes that don’t go over well on the comedy circuit. Even if you ignore its shortcomings, you’ll be amazed at how funny a family sitcom is, as long as it maintains the essential elements: There’s a patriarch who is not the center of the family, a mother who can’t or won’t help her children, a daughter who is not the center of the show’s focus, an over-the-top father who can’t control his temper, a very rich father who is not happy with his life or his job, a daughter who is a very rich girl who is not happy with her life in particular, a mother who may be a lesbian, a sister who is a lesbian, a father who might be gay and a son who might be gay. The only character that has any development is the oldest daughter.
For a show focused on three generations of the same family, that’s a strong setup: All of the main characters have grown up in the same house, so there’s an almost constant familiarity to them. Each has a set of quirks and traits: The youngest son is a complete brat who lives to cause trouble for his family, the oldest daughter is a womanizer who has no one to call her own, the middle daughter is a sweet, but emotionally withdrawn, sweet girl who lives to annoy her mom, and the mother has a severe mental illness that is occasionally alluded to.
And yet, it’s a sitcom about a family, and