Originally published on BoldLatina.
Sometimes problems have simple solutions. In order for there to be more Latinx television shows on the air, we have to watch them. Although I’ve been guilty of it more than once, we can’t complain there aren’t enough Latinx TV shows to watch, and then forget to watch the ones that are out, or coming out. We are fighting an uphill battle in Hollywood, and need to push ourselves up that hill–together.
As we know, shows that feature Latinxs in the lead aren’t given the same number of chances as more “mainstream” shows. I don’t remember who said this, but someone mentioned that if a Latinx TV show doesn’t work out, it’s over, with little consideration to creating another Latinx show. In fact, according to NBC News/Nielsen, Latinxs made up only 5.5% of the people on television in 2019. On the flipside, if a cop, firefighter, or medical drama starring Anglo actors gets the ax, another one will be in the wings soon enough to replace it.
How many Latinx TV shows have we seen gone too soon, or at a threat for cancellation? Vida, Grand Hotel, Devious Maids, Jane the Virgin, One Day at a Time, and The Baker and the Beauty are just some examples. Knowing this, we as viewers and fellow Latinxs have to be proactive to see the shows we want, the shows that reflect us, up on the small screen. A great example is Netflix’s Gentified.
When One Day at a Time was in danger of being no more, over 110,000 people signed a petition to demand its continuation. We need more petitions to save the shows we love, as well as petitions to bring certain shows back. If networks see that there are a sizable number of viewers who care about a show, then they’ll be more inclined to give it a fair chance. Another show that saw big numbers (over 210,000) come out to support it via an online petition is The Baker and the Beauty. After it was cancelled on ABC, viewers demanded that the comedy come back on another channel or streaming platform. Currently, season one is available to watch on Netflix, with hopes that it will continue there with a season two.
Maybe had we all made a collective effort to watch season one, The Baker and the Beauty would have been renewed for a second season (I’m sorry to drop that Latina, Catholic guilt on you.). It really was such a cute show. A remake of an Israeli romantic comedy, The Baker and the Beauty had a ton of Latinx actors–Victor Rasuk, Nathalie Kelley, David del Rio, Lisa Vidal, Carlos Gómez, Michelle Veintimilla, Belissa Escobedo, and more. And, it was a look at a healthy, loving Cuban-American family in Miami who stood together through everything. No focus on Latinx criminals, no other overdone negative stereotypes, just a feel-good Latinx primetime TV show.
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We want more shows like this, don’t we? We need them. Then, we also need to make it a point to see what new Latinx TV shows (and movies for that matter) are coming out, and make it a point to watch them. Write it down, put it on your calendar, set an alarm. But watch it. If we all watched just the first episode of new Latinx shows on their debut day (and of course continuing after that), they would blow up. The numbers wouldn’t lie, and the show would go on. If you can’t watch in actual time, you can always set your DVR to record the program, or catch it On Demand (it will still count in terms of ratings).
Finally, share these new shows with others. Let your Latinx (and non-Latinx) network know how good these shows are. If you’re a journalist or a blogger, highlight and write about them. Retweet tweets and repost Instagram posts. Get the word out. We Latinxs have to be more active at getting us front and center in Hollywood, and each of us play a part. United, we can make that change. Si se puede!
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