Three years ago, Mexican-American comedian Cristela Alonzo became a trailblazer: the first Latina to create, produce, write, and star in her own TV show, a multi-cam ABC sitcom inspired by her life as a feminist Tejana from an immigrant working-class family. Critics and fans celebrated her groundbreaking claim in the world of broadcast TV—but as Alonzo learned, to be “first” is often fraught. Cristela, saddled from the start with a tough-sell Friday night timeslot, was tasked with being both nuanced and broad in its humor—incisive enough to skewer Latino stereotypes, universal enough to appeal to mainstream American audiences, and specific enough to authentically reflect the experience of being Mexican-American. It was family-friendly, warm, and sometimes transgressively bold. It was cancelled after one season. “It did feel like my life had been canceled,” says Alonzo, 38, two years after the fact. She calls the loss “devastating,” but hindsight has helped her understand what went wrong. “You know, it was my first TV show, I had no idea what was happening,” she says. “I didn’t know the process at all. So what I learned is I need to have more control over what is being done and how my story is being… Read full this story
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