When it comes to watching TV, few things are better than starting a brand-new series that knows itself right from the beginning. We’ve seen it in recent comedies like Abbott Elementary and The Other Two, both of which arrived on the scene with an already-distinct tone and ensemble casts that gelled instantly. Now, coming-of-age comedy Primo picks up the torch with a delightful first season, all streaming now on Freevee.
Created by writer and internet legend Shea Serrano and co-executive produced by Michael Schur (The Office, Parks and Recreation), Primo hits the ground running. Its wonderfully self-assured first season is chock-full of feel-good moments and characters who pop from the moment they arrive on screen, so it’s no surprise that Primo is the best new sitcom of 2023.
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What’s Primo about?
The uncles of “Primo.”
Credit: Jeff Neumann/Amazon Freevee
Serrano draws from his own San Antonio upbringing in Primo, which focuses on high schooler Rafa Gonzales (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio) throughout his junior year. Rafa’s dealing with a lot of typical high school angst, from a crush on his friend Mya (Stakiah Lynn Washington) to college prep courses that might help him become the first person in his family to go to college.
That aforementioned family is another major source of angst in Rafa’s life, and it’s where much of Primo‘s screwball comedy comes from. Rafa (nicknamed “Primo” by his whole family) lives with his single mother Drea (Christina Vidal). But the two of them are rarely alone, as Rafa’s five uncles are constantly dropping in. They’re super protective of Rafa and Drea, but really, their presence just ends up creating more chaos.
“It’s like being inside a cloud of bees,” Rafa tells Mya. “Except the bees are always, like, punching and cussing at each other.”
Primo wastes no time in establishing the uncles’ five wildly differing personalities. There’s Ryan (Carlos Santos), a bank teller with a superiority complex, an obsession with cryptocurrency, and a treasured car he names “Sigourney Beamer.” Mike (Henri Esteve) is an army veteran and a short king — just don’t call him short to his face, he’ll fight you. Rollie’s (Johnny Rey Diaz) troublemaking antics have made him a regular in jail, while his goofball nature recalls The Good Place‘s Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto). Jay (Jonathan Medina) runs an irrigation business with such intense, dour self-seriousness that it loops back around to hilarity. And Mondo (Efrain Villa) is a spiritual, go-with-the-flow type guy who sells erotic sculptures and always seems to be just a tad high. These five, when combined with Drea and Rafa, unleash an avalanche of comedy that stems just as much from their wild personalities as it does from the sheer joy of watching such a well-defined family dynamic.
Primo presents a new, instantly classic TV family.
Let’s all celebrate how good this show is.
Credit: Jeff Neumann/Amazon Freevee
Within the opening minutes of Primo‘s first episode, we already know exactly who each family member is — but the show doesn’t stop there. Throughout its eight episode-long season (give us more!), Primo expands on the Gonzales family in infinitely satisfying ways. We see their traditions, like a a yearly barbecue that always ends in some form of fistfight or a Gonzales-specific board game that destroys relationships. We get a sense of their daily lives and quirks through well-timed cutaway gags. And perhaps most importantly, we learn more about their family history.
In one episode, Rafa’s uncles reveal that Drea may think she can cook Mexican food, but she really can’t. They’ve been lying to her about how much they enjoy her Mexican cooking since they were kids, as she was their main caretaker and made do with the ingredients she had. That plot is just one of several sweet, low-key ways in which the Gonzales’ Mexican-American heritage informs the show.
Primo also proves adept at letting each member of the Gonzales family shine. With the uncles being such out-there characters, a lesser show would have boxed Drea and Rafa into the role of “straight man,” never to leave. Not so with Primo. While those two characters often act as the voice of reason, Primo still gives them both the opportunities to let loose. Learning about Drea’s complex barter system with the community is an absolute delight, as is seeing her and Rafa get hyper-competitive when the family gathers to play games.
Rafa’s storylines outside the uncles’ hijinks tend to be more grounded, and Primo nicely balances his more realistic high school woes with the outlandish, uncle-specific plots. Primo also always knows when to pull back or when to heighten a joke, a knowledge which lends to its assured first season. Adding to that is the way in which Primo constantly switches up the degree to which certain uncles interact with Rafa in each episode. These endless character combinations keep Primo feeling fresh and help showcase different facets of every Gonzales family member. The result is a wonderfully fleshed-out sitcom family that is as specific, authentic, and fun to watch as Primo itself.
Season 1 of Primo is now streaming on Amazon Freevee.(opens in a new tab)