One of NBC’s new sitcoms is Lopez vs. Lopez. We’ve previously spoken with George Lopez and Selenis Leyva about the series, and joining us this week are series creators Mayan Lopez and Debby Wolfe. Additionally, Mayan Lopez also stars in the series with her father George and Debby Wolfe is showrunner and executive producer.
Dorkaholics: Hi Debby, hi Mayan, my name is Neil Bui. I’m with Dorkaholics.com, super excited to talk to you both about Lopez vs. Lopez. So my first question is for Mayan, growing up and seeing your dad on TV, did you ever think that you could someday work in entertainment, let alone star in a series with him, in a story inspired by your real lives and relationship?
Mayan Lopez: I’ve always wanted to be a performer ever since I was five years old when The George Lopez Show started. The soundstage was my second home and I fell in love with it from the business side as well as the acting side. I went to college and I studied and I’ve always wanted to be a performer but my parents were very much wanting me to have a childhood and so I would have never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be able to do a sitcom with my dad. It’s a beautiful thing that I pinch myself that I’m able to work and collaborate with him and keep up with him and shine next to him and we’re shining together. Sometimes on set he looks at me and he’s like ‘I cut your cord and now you’re here next to me’ and he’s like ‘hey this is great there’s two of me.’ He’s like ‘oh someone else who shares my sense of humor’ and it’s just been the most wonderful thing. I have much more respect for my dad going forward because it’s such a unique medium and to be able to do it with him is the greatest gift. I’m so glad that people are loving and watching the show as well, that makes it even better.
Dorkaholics: For Debby, walk us through that moment you saw Mayan’s TikTok and you just had that gut feeling that there’s a story here that needs to be told. Like what were the thoughts and emotions going through your mind.
Debby Wolfe: I mean it’s not every day that you come across a TikTok where it’s George Lopez’s daughter talking about all these details like the divorce with her mom and she’s twerking upside down, I was just like this is an incredible work of art and immediately I emailed Bruce Halford who’s the creator of the original Lopez Show and he also was my boss on The Conners. I was like you have to see this, this is a show, this is how we bring George Lopez back to network television. It’s a show with his daughter and now he’s Benny. Bruce Halford agreed immediately and then from there was lightning, it really was like lightning as soon as I saw the video and I was obsessed with it. I watched it probably like 25 times that night.
Mayan Lopez: Why, thank you!
Debby Wolfe: It was just so raw and [put] everything out there. And as a writer that I always strive to do that, all my work comes from my life. I put my life on the page and so here I saw this young woman, young Latina woman doing the same and this is someone that I really want to collaborate with and I really want to be in business with.
Dorkaholics: Lopez vs. Lopez hooked me since I saw the very first trailer, seeing representation as a child of divorced parents, working to resolve my own father issues. What would each of you say is the secret to success in telling stories that are not only inclusive but universal?
Mayan Lopez: I like to sometimes think comedy is just tragedy and time. I feel this kind of came about perfect timing because I think with my dad and I, yes it is very personal but I feel like a lot of time [and] enough time has passed because it’s not as raw it’s not as fresh and I think that’s easier to draw on. It’s a memory, it’s in the past, and yes you can still harness those emotions but it’s not gonna tear you down. You can visit it but you don’t live there. I think that’s a good place to create art from because you can leave it on the stage, you can leave it out there, but you can always bring out the authenticity and the realness that makes the show. And some of those scenes just particularly where you can see a real father and daughter acting – we’re just not acting, we’re just talking with each other. I think that brings it together in a really unique way.
Debby Wolfe: I would say therapy helps, a lot of therapy, and we’ve had a lot of time to reflect on our past and our mistakes and sort of the generational trauma and things that we’ve been through. We’ve done a lot of reflecting and that really helps you tell the story because you understand what’s going on behind the characters as you know as they’re doing what they’re doing and saying what they’re saying. That’s definitely a big part of it. We just always try to keep it real, keep it authentic, the stories are mined from George and Mayan’s real life, things that they’ve really been through, things that the writers in the room have been through. I always enforce that in my room, I say we shouldn’t be telling a story just because we think it’s funny, we should be telling a story because it’s real and let’s start there like and then we’ll find the funny. But let’s start at the core of what happened and then go from there and then that’s what will resonate with an audience – you just tell your story, you tell your truth, you put your truth out there and other people are going to relate to it.
Dorkaholics: What have you each learned from each other in the process of creating Lopez vs. Lopez?
Mayan Lopez: I know with Debby, I admire so much of her power and that she’s someone that really took an idea and went through with it. I think it’s a good lesson of you [can] have ideas and you think it’s good but [if] you don’t have the follow through and that if you believe in something you should follow through with it. And just seeing how she’s always on top of everything and it’s not always easy but she brings such grace and such laughter and a beautiful energy into the set. We’re Aries, it could have easily been too much going at each other sometimes but no, it’s Lopez vs. Lopez but Wolfe with Lopez.
Debby Wolfe: Watching Mayan grow through this process has been such a beautiful thing. When people ask me ‘what aspect of the show are you most proud of’ I say Mayan because watching her grow from making TikToks and she had done a few acting things, to starring in her own sitcom was a huge leap. And she just went in there and she’s like ‘I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna commit to this and I’m gonna bring it’ and she does, she brought it every day. And I am so in awe of her. Me at 26 I would not have been able, I would be a nervous wreck, I would not be able to handle this, but Mayan just handles it with such strength and bravery and beauty and honesty and she wears her heart on her sleeve and I’m so, so proud of her.
Mayan Lopez: Thank you!
Debby Wolfe: Love you!
Dorkaholics: Aww, I love this relationship. Thank you so much for your time today guys!
Mayan Lopez: Thank you so much, Neil!
Debby Wolfe: Thank you, Neil!
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