Starting a brand-new TV series that already has a clear identity is a rare treat. Recent comedies like ‘Abbott Elementary’ and ‘The Other Two’ have excelled in this regard, and ‘Primo’ is no different. This coming-of-age sitcom, now streaming on Freevee, features a strong ensemble cast and a distinct tone that sets it apart from other shows.
Created by famed writer Shea Serrano and co-executive produced by Michael Schur (‘The Office’, ‘Parks and Recreation’), ‘Primo’ follows the life of Rafa Gonzales (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio), a high school student in San Antonio, Texas, as he navigates junior year. Rafa must deal with common adolescent problems, such as unrequited love and college preparation courses, while living with his single mother, Drea (Christina Vidal), and his five overbearing and frequently troublesome uncles.
The uncles are the source of much of the show’s humour, and they’re well-defined characters from the outset. There’s Ryan (Carlos Santos), a bank teller with an obsession with cryptocurrency and a high opinion of himself, Mike (Henri Esteve), an army veteran with a chip on his shoulder about his height, Rollie (Johnny Rey Diaz), the troublemaker uncle who has spent time in jail, Jay (Jonathan Medina), the overly serious irrigation business owner, and Mondo (Efrain Villa), the spiritual, slightly spaced-out uncle. Together, they create a cacophonous blend of comedy that shines through their unique personalities and their bickering.
What sets ‘Primo’ apart is how it presents the intricacies of the Gonzales family. The show introduces the Gonzales family in the first few minutes, and it expands on them throughout the eight-episode season. The family’s daily routines and treasured traditions, such as their special board game and their annual barbecue that always devolves into a fight, all add to the viewers’ understanding of them. The show even offers some insights into their heritage, such as the fact that Drea can’t cook Mexican food, a family favourite. ‘Primo’ also manages to showcase each of the ensemble cast’s talents without making them feel boxed in by their roles within the family.
The writing is smart and witty, and the jokes hit the mark more often than not. The show knows when to pull back and when to escalate its various premises, which gives it an assured, well-crafted feel.
In conclusion, ‘Primo’ is undoubtedly the best new sitcom of 2023, with a well-cast ensemble of characters and excellent storytelling that weaves humour, emotion, and family dynamics seamlessly. You can watch season one of ‘Primo’ now on Amazon Freevee.