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George Lopez's new sitcom mines real-life family dysfunction for laughs

"Lopez vs. Lopez," starring George Lopez and Mayan Lopez, premieres Friday. Photo courtesy of NBC
1 of 5 | "Lopez vs. Lopez," starring George Lopez and Mayan Lopez, premieres Friday. Photo courtesy of NBC

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Mayan Lopez says her new sitcom, Lopez vs. Lopez, was inspired by her real-life estrangement and reunion with her dad, comedian George Lopez.

"There was a time where we didn't speak and were estranged for about three years," Mayan Lopez, 26, said in a recent virtual press conference.

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"But, really, the pandemic brought us back together, and I started making TikToks with my family to reconnect. And [showrunner] Debby Wolfe was scrolling one day and she saw one of our TikToks and this whole Lopez vs. Lopez was kind of born from that idea," she added.

Mayan Lopez said the show is an amalgamation of the writers' stories and cultural references within Latino parent-child relationships.

Lopez vs. Lopez, which stars the father and daughter as fictionalized versions of themselves, premieres Friday on NBC. The show is about what happens when a divorced, opinionated and penniless day drinker crashes back into the life of his estranged daughter, a married veterinarian technician with a young son.

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"To have Debby see Mayan do TikToks about our unfortunate break in our relationship and create a beautiful thing from something that was so painful and so much my fault is just a wonderful thing," said George Lopez, 61.

Addressing Wolfe directly, he added, "For you to think of us and to just be as devoted to the show as you are, I thank you."

Mayan Lopez described the opportunity to work with her father on a comedy they both love as "the gift of a lifetime" now that enough time has passed since the rift in their relationship.

"I'm actually gaining more confidence in my relationship with my dad," she said.

"And now, we're co-workers, and we have to make, for the sake of our relationship, some emotional separation, but the bond and the love shows very clearly on screen with not just with my dad, but with the entire cast of Lopez vs. Lopez. And, so, it is just a beautiful, beautiful thing."

Wolfe joked, "I like to say the only way these two were going to heal their relationship was on the set of their own NBC sitcom."

George Lopez said he is a proud papa, who constantly looks at Mayan Lopez as they work together and remembers what she was like at different ages.

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"My eyes have seen a lot of incredible things, but what I get to see every day, I never imagined would ever be something I would be able to do," he said, explaining he has worked harder on his ties to his daughter than he has with anyone else in his life.

George Lopez said he used to give up on people -- whether it was his fault or not.

"But this is the one relationship that is the most valuable thing to me in my entire life. So, it was very difficult to be able to have to look at yourself and your flawed self and be honest with yourself and know that whether it worked out or not, I was going to do something that was entirely new to me and was going to take me on a very painful journey to look at myself," he said.

The series arrives 15 years after The George Lopez Show ended its six-season run on ABC and its eponymous star admitted a lot has changed regarding the television landscape since then.

For one, George Lopez noted, episodes of Lopez vs. Lopez will be available to stream on Peacock the day after they are broadcast on NBC.

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What is considered funny has also evolved over the years, as has the immediacy of viewer reactions to jokes, thanks to social media.

Remaining the same, however, is the multi-camera filming technique, which was employed in both The George Lopez Show and Lopez vs. Lopez to capture the simultaneous reactions of the main characters.

"I just think as times have changed, social media has changed, the comedy has changed, but the use of multi-camera doesn't change," George Lopez said.

"So, to have done it 20 years ago is great, but to do it now and to do it with people that are incredibly talented and much easier to find than they were 20 years ago."

Wolfe said: "George Lopez and the show really did pave the way and opened up a lot of doors and inspired a lot of Latinx talent to pursue their dreams. And now, 15 years later, here we are. And we do have so much great talent coming in and it is different than it was in the past."

Selenis Leyva, Brice Gonzalez, Matt Shively, Laci Mosley and Kiran Deol co-star on Lopez vs. Lopez.

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