25 June 2005 | gross-12
A warm and sympathetic look at Latino Culture
The characters in this show are likable. This series tried to resist racial stereotyping and ended up making Latino culture palatable for a wider audience. Although some scenes were paced more slowly than I would have preferred, dramatic suspense is well managed, and the acting in this mini-series is generally excellent. It would be fun to see a full-length feature film using this cast. I like the fact that the lead characters are not in the economic bracket of those who have necessarily "made it" financially, but represent likable, hard working people (such as the woman who owns her own restaurant and works there constantly and her husband who comes in for an occasional drink,) who talk to each other about their goals and aspirations. This show reminds me somewhat of the Novellas that appear on Telemundo and Univision, but of course the primary language is English. Nevertheless, occasional lines in Spanish add to the realism and local flavor of this production, which caused me to wish that the show were still in production. The struggles that these characters go through are compelling, such as a foster child learning to forgive his foster father and a family learning to deal with the loss of the patriarch of the family to prostate cancer. I liked the fact that substantial issues were being addressed in a way that made me like the characters and want to invite them into my living room.
If it is true that Latino culture has a vitality that is sought after and needed in the United States, then this show offers what could be a glimpse into what that is all about. Characters that are coming to terms with their own shortcomings and learning to embrace each other and celebrate their heritage form a nice platform for the diversity one expects in a blended minority family. For this reason I was willing to forgive occasional awkward moments when the dialog seemed to lack that special spark that would have been needed to make the show into a masterpiece, or when the occasional sub plot fizzled out without sufficient development to give it a firm place in the story line, as well as I was able to forgive the occasional lack of character development on the part of some of the minor characters.