Few writers showcase their excellence as a storyteller quite like Shea Serrano. The author has become a mogul, breaking into the mainstream after writing at Grantland and The Ringer. Before that, he built an army of followers with his passion-infused books on rap, basketball, and movies. Serrano uses his following to help those in need. He gives back to the community and provides underprivileged writers with a platform. With Primo on FreeVee, Serrano makes another leap, showrunning a show based on his life. With Serrano’s penchant for putting good into the world, Primo instantly takes the feel-good mantle of TV in 2023.

Primo follows Rafa (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio), a high schooler living with his mother, Drea (Christina Vidal). While his Dad is not in the picture, he has Drea’s five brothers, who are extremely close. Jay (Jonathan Medina) runs a landscaping company, Ryan (Carlos Santos) works at a bank, and Mike (Henri Esteve) served as an Army Vet and now works as a recruiter. In addition, Mondo (Efrain Villa) sells phallus-shaped art at the flea market, and Rollie (Johnny Rey Diaz) helps his brothers while working various side gigs. Rafa spends his days with friends Harris (Nigel Siwabessy), Miguel (Martin Martinez), and crush Mya (Stakiah Lynn Washington).

Serrano brings his silly humor to the table, and the jokes fly rapidly. This does not surprise, as Mike Schur serves as a producer on the series. The Parks and Rec and Brooklyn Nine-Nine style leaks into Primo. This helps the show balance its ensemble and family dynamics to perfection. Some more attention to the specifics of San Antonio could be explored in future seasons, but Primo focuses on establishing its characters first.

The whole cast gets to shine, with the uncles taking one episode at a time with Rafa. However, Primo takes a step forward when we observe the B-plots. They’re endlessly enjoyable adventures and prove that anybody’s combination of characters generates comedy. Primo sells itself as a family comedy but quickly pulls in those outside the direct family to showcase the power of community. The love between these characters is apparent, making Primo one of the most enjoyable television shows.

Vidal finally gets the big break she’s deserved. As the matriarch of the family, she holds everyone together. Yet she gets opportunities to grow throughout the season. She’s not an all-knowing perfectionist, and that makes her relatable. Vidal imbues her character with the power and confidence to serve as its second lead. Without Vidal sweeping the series up with her comedy and heart, she immediately enters the VIP section of the sitcom Moms Club.

The series achieves most of its goals, but there’s still room to grow. The comedy hits, but a layer of drama could be explored in earlier episodes. It does not need to become a prestige drama, but a little more on this front would be positive. Primo shows its ability to take it to that place in an episode where Rafa and Miguel steal candy bars. Perhaps a higher episode count (the season only has eight episodes) would allow for more exploration.

Primo should already be a much bigger deal. Serrano’s family sitcom is both hilarious and heartfelt. It’s one of the funniest television shows right now and has a bright future ahead. Primo is not only must-watch TV for its episode-to-episode arc, but it should only grow in the years to come. Serrano has a special show on his hands.

Alan’s Rating: 9/10

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