The Brothers García portrays the trials and tribulations of a Mexican American household in San Antonio, Texas, nevertheless it represents a lot greater than your typical sitcom. Throughout its four-year run on Nickelodeon within the early 2000s, The Brothers García grew to become a groundbreaking present for its genuine depiction of the Latino neighborhood by an all-Latino forged and inventive workforce. Virtually twenty years later, co-creator Jeff Valdez is trying to encourage a brand new technology of followers with a sequel to the hit collection titled The Garcias.
Set 15 years after the unique collection, the Garcia household is all grown up as they collect for a household summer time trip in Mexico. The present brings again all the authentic forged members together with Bobby Gonzalez (George Garcia) and Jeffrey Licon (Carlos Garcia). Digital Tendencies spoke with Gonzalez and Licon concerning the lengthy journey to reboot The Brothers García, the challenges of returning to characters from their teenage years, the significance of illustration in Hollywood, and why it continues to be a landmark present.
Notice: This interview has been edited for size and readability.
Digital Tendencies: This was a 10-year-long odyssey by creator Jeff Valdez to get this present again on the air. What had been your preliminary reactions while you first heard from Jeff that he was concerned with rebooting the present?
Jeffrey Licon: I can inform you precisely the place I used to be after I received that telephone name. I used to be on the street, working in Wisconsin. If you get a telephone name from Jeff Valdez, all of the feelings undergo your physique as a result of he’s like a father determine to us. However, he’s additionally our boss, so there are all these various things which might be working by way of my head like, “Oh my God. I must know what that is about. Oh my God. Am I in hassle?” It was nice getting that telephone name, after which he defined his intentions and what his plans had been. I actually simply needed to take a second to myself and let all of it sink in. I’m glad I solely took a second and I’m glad I didn’t maintain my breath both as a result of it could take a couple of years. However identical to [Jeff Valdez] stated, he did precisely what he got down to do. I couldn’t be extra pleased with him, and I couldn’t be extra pleased with the product that we had been capable of produce.
Bobby Gonzalez: And I couldn’t be extra pleased with Jeffrey! I imply I truthfully didn’t consider it for a second. I believed I used to be having a vivid dream as a result of it was bizarre. I don’t count on anyone to consider me, however like three months or so earlier than that decision, I had a extremely vivid dream that we had been doing a reunion episode. It was only one episode, and I keep in mind strolling down the steps resulting in the set, seeing the home once more and seeing all people, and the way joyful I used to be. However I awoke and I used to be like, “Oh, such an awesome dream. Too dangerous that may by no means occur.” Then, [Jeff Valdez] referred to as me and I simply didn’t consider it for a second.
I feel I used to be principally monosyllabic in our dialog like, “Yeah … nice. Yeah.” I simply couldn’t actually communicate. I hung up on the decision, and the particular person I used to be courting on the time was like, “Who was it?” I simply didn’t say something. She says, “Who was it,” and I’m like “It was my outdated boss.” That’s all I stated. It was bizarre. There was a lot hooked up to that. There have been simply so many reminiscences and it was a giant factor, however that’s all I might say.
As Jeffrey [Licon] stated, it was three years from that telephone name to us filming in Mexico. Each single time we might attain a milestone or we received nearer, I used to be like, “OK, now it feels actual.” Till like a day later, it doesn’t really feel actual. It nonetheless doesn’t really feel actual. I’m nonetheless dreaming. We hold going and hold going. Lastly, in my very first scene with Jeffrey, which is the primary scene that I truly filmed within the collection, after I heard rolling and I appeared and it was the 2 of us within the room, that’s when it lastly felt actual. I used to be lastly identical to “Oh, I’m residence.” I felt like I used to be residence once more. It was such a satisfying feeling.
You’re each returning to characters that you just performed 20 years in the past. Throughout The Brothers García, you’re each youngsters, so the stakes are a lot decrease. In HBO Max’s The Garcias, you’re husbands, fathers, and enterprise companions. Did you discover any challenges with revisiting these characters at an older age?
Gonzalez: I’ve talked about my relationship with making an attempt to determine what it was prefer to be a father and be a husband. There have been challenges with that. I haven’t talked sufficient about what it was prefer to revisit this character with reference to Carlos, Jeffrey’s character. It was sort of unusual as a result of we had a standing change. Within the authentic collection, I used to be a low-status character and he was a high-status character each time we had been collectively. Now, it’s fully flip-flopped. I’m now a high-status particular person. He’s a low-status particular person. Discovering that was somewhat weird.
I nonetheless look as much as [Jeffrey’s character] as an older brother. And now, I’m extremely crucial of him as a result of the stakes are very excessive. I can’t simply depend on that kind of familial relationship anymore, as a result of if I had been to try this and simply deal with him like my older brother, our enterprise fails. So there’s a lot extra that I’ve to cope with and I’ve to be harsh with him. I really feel like I’m in the proper for many of it as a result of I do assume that he’s making plenty of errors and I don’t belief his character. Each single time I really feel like he’s given a possibility to alter my thoughts, I’m simply strengthened on my authentic concepts of who he’s, which is a slacker. So there’s plenty of progress that I’ve to do to each settle for my new function whereas nonetheless sort of holding the love for him that I ought to all the time have.
Licon: In Carlos’ case, a humbling course of is one thing that he can undoubtedly all the time use. So this undoubtedly has introduced him somewhat bit again all the way down to actuality. He’s nonetheless very excessive on himself, however now he understands that there are different individuals on this planet. Two of them are his precise kids, and one in every of them is his spouse. There are different individuals that may be simply as vital to him as himself. I really feel like he’s continually turning into a greater particular person and needs to be a greater particular person and is making an attempt to be a greater particular person. A greater father, a greater husband, a greater brother, a greater son. That’s what I love most about his character is his fixed willingness to pursue that observe of simply turning into higher on daily basis it doesn’t matter what.
If somebody has by no means seen The Brothers Garcia, what can they count on to see in The Garcias?
Licon: It’s a household present the place you possibly can relate to all points of the household, from the grandparents on the desk to the completely different particular person households which have their very own uniqueness, characters, and qualities. The children deliver a lot love and pleasure to the display. There’s actually one thing to connect with, it doesn’t matter what sort of household, how massive of a household or small of a household you’re. For those who don’t also have a household, then we’re your loved ones. We are able to join with all of that. We actually do have this openness to allow you to really feel like you’re simply one in every of us.
Gonzalez: To piggyback off that somewhat bit, it’s not simply concerning the household that you just’re born with, nevertheless it’s additionally about your chosen household, too. I feel all of us really feel that as forged members as a result of all people who comes into our little group is now household. We’ve got that chosen household within the present. We’ve got branched out. We’ve got wives and youngsters.
There’s lots that’s happening badly with the world proper now, even outdoors of COVID. Our world has hit a tough patch. I’ve all the time thought that artwork is an inverse mirror of life. When issues are going rather well, we actually wish to discover kind of the darker points of humanity or the darker cores inside ourselves to raised perceive it. When issues are actually dangerous outdoors, we wish to escape into the world correctly, and into idealism in plenty of methods. So I feel that that’s what our present does. It doesn’t present the world as it’s. It exhibits the world correctly, the place this kind of illustration is completely regular and the place these households are completely regular. As a result of in plenty of methods, they’re. We’re simply not seeing it in artwork. And so for our present, we don’t have any big motion scenes. No person dies, no medication or something like that. It’s a healthful household.
I’m going to cite Vanessa [Pitynski]. She stated our present is like “a heat hug.” That’s how I really feel after I watch it. That’s how we felt once we made it. I feel that’s how individuals will really feel for anyone who has ever been disenfranchised. I feel they’re going to see themselves and their households represented within the present. However even for people who find themselves not disenfranchised, I nonetheless assume they’re going to have the ability to benefit from the present and simply benefit from the wholesomeness of it as a result of the world wants it proper now.
It’s nearly unbelievable the way you had been capable of shoot this between the scorching scorching climate, tropical storms, and COVID. How had been you capable of endure all these challenges to place out this present?
Licon: They might have instructed us that we needed to put on 30-pound hazmat fits and gasoline masks for this chance alone. It’s scary to think about the issues that I might have achieved simply to have the ability to be part of it. But, it doesn’t matter what we needed to endure or undergo, I might do it once more 10 occasions, no questions requested.
The Brothers García was a groundbreaking present, particularly for its illustration of the Latino neighborhood in each the forged and crew. You had been each youngsters through the present’s authentic run, and all of us have a tendency to have a look at issues otherwise at a youthful age. Did it take a while, maybe after the present was off the air, to understand that you just had been part of a landmark present?
Gonzalez: So I didn’t in any respect. It’s bizarre as a result of I had a really harmless view of it. I wasn’t jaded by Hollywood or the world but, so I used to be identical to, “Oh, cool. I’m on a sitcom.” It by no means occurred to me the truth that everybody round me was additionally Latino. Perhaps it got here from watching a lot I Love Lucy rising up, and seeing Desi Arnaz, one other Cuban on tv. I believed it was regular. I didn’t know that we had been struggling a lot to have correct illustration in Hollywood. Even again within the 2000s, like every illustration, even detrimental illustration, we barely had any of it. It took different individuals to inform me how vital it was — the followers that may attain out to me, the individuals that may see me on the road, the feedback on YouTube.
To have reporters or interviewers clarify what a groundbreaking present it was, I began to understand that wow, no, this isn’t regular. It needs to be. It felt so regular, nevertheless it isn’t. I feel that’s what we’re making an attempt to do with this new collection once more. Coming again now, I’m extra jaded. I do see how vital this present is, and I actually took that to coronary heart. I labored so onerous, all of us did, to essentially make the very best product that we might. We don’t wish to let anyone down.
It’s not simply concerning the followers. I keep in mind seeing a YouTube remark the place someone stated that is the primary time they ever noticed themselves and their household on tv. That destroyed me. It wasn’t a cheerful second for me. It made me actually unhappy as a result of it shouldn’t take that. It shouldn’t take 20 years in between these two issues both. So I’m actually joyful that we’re again. I want, you understand, Hollywood had achieved a greater job. We might have so many of those completely different exhibits. However I’m so proud to be part of this one.
Licon: Simply piggybacking on that, performing as a toddler is fairly complicated, and it’s a really attention-grabbing solution to develop up. I began the present after I was 13 or 14, and performed the character all through my total highschool profession. You’re making an attempt to determine who you’re nonetheless. You simply wish to be appreciated by everybody. You wish to be cool. You’re going by way of all these regular teenage issues, after which on high of that, you’re on a tv present on Nickelodeon. It’s sort of loaded, you understand?
As a lot as I beloved engaged on the present, as many followers as there have been, there have been additionally individuals that may inform you to your face that they didn’t like what you had been doing and sort of bully and make enjoyable of you. That may get powerful. So I’m not making an attempt to say woe is me, however there have been loads of distractions and different issues happening for us as kids to not perceive or grasp what we had been undertaking on the root of it. As soon as I truly did perceive that, after I was a couple of years older, that’s after I was capable of really be so, so pleased with being part of the present and being part of that historical past. I take into consideration how unhappy it was that we had been canceled and weren’t capable of proceed with making such an impactful present not just for all of us [Latinos], nevertheless it actually is one thing that all the world wants to simply begin normalizing and accepting.
Not solely does your present have sturdy Latino illustration, however there’s additionally illustration from the AAPI [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders] neighborhood. Did the present hunt down extra various teams to showcase extra illustration?
Licon: I feel it was undoubtedly one thing that was on goal. It’s significant in so many various methods. I do know Jeff [Valdez] had been messing round with plenty of completely different concepts, and he’s gracious sufficient to provide us all of his play-by-play. I keep in mind getting telephone calls from him, telling me that [my character] had one daughter and Bobby had like two. That switched. Jeff was telling us all of those completely different concepts that he had for the characters within the present. When one thing modified, you knew to not get your coronary heart too hooked up to one thing. I feel getting that sort of illustration on the present is highly effective. It’s significant and it warms my coronary heart. I really like that a part of the present.
Gonzalez: I feel my character was truly a single father at one level, and my daughter was adopted. I feel with Jeff [Valdez] – I’m speculating somewhat right here — however I simply assume the items match. So let’s simply journey down this conspiracy concept gap with me. We’ve got such a powerful core with the unique household. It is a Mexican-American household. I feel the thought was to department out somewhat bit. So with me, I’ve a Mexican-Mexican spouse, after which a toddler who was really Mexican and American. Then, my complete story all through the collection is about battling my identification, which is one thing that I’ve struggled with in actual life.
I’m grateful that this present did it as a result of I really feel prefer it helped me, Bobby, heal. I felt it might assist me heal a bit and kind of perceive myself higher, and the place I match on this on this nation and on this planet. To have a mixed-race household as nicely was simply one thing that I feel in hindsight should have appeared apparent to do. We had all kinds of individuals on the present. We’ve got all kinds of actors from each single background on the present. I feel the thought was simply to make one other disenfranchised group a foremost a part of the core household. It actually matches as a result of we’re all on this collectively. We’re not doing this alone. All disenfranchised teams have to come back collectively and stand as one. That’s the one manner we’ll succeed and push ahead and make the pathways that we would like on this business and on this world.
The Garcias is now streaming on HBO Max.