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Series / The Brothers García

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The Brothers García is an American sitcom that premiered in 2000 on Nickelodeon and ended in 2004. It was among the first projects of Sí TV, an effort to produce programming featuring Latino characters, but aiming it at a diverse audience. (Sí TV have since launched its own cable television network, which later became known as nuvoTV, and is now the Fuse sister channel FM.)

The series aired on the programming block Nick on CBS from March 14 to September 11, 2004, where the series ended its initial run. Reruns on The N started on April 7, 2008, and ended in June 2008. This series has some similarities to the style of The Wonder Years and Everybody Hates Chris, with an older version of the main character narrating each episode in a witty and sarcastic manner.

The show revolves around the Garcias, a Hispanic family of six living in San Antonio. There are three brothers: Carlos, the popular one who's most likely to get into trouble; George, the slightly nerdy one, and Larry, the youngest (who narrates every episode). There's also a sister, Lorena, and of course, the parents.

In April 2021, it was announced that a ten-episode sequel series, titled The Garcias, would be produced for HBO Max, with the original cast all reprising their roles.

This show provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: A strange example considering that it's set in the present day, but we have Spanish names such as Lorena, Carlos and Sonia as well as English names like George, Ray and Larry. Justified for the last two, being shortened forms of "Raimundo" and "Lorenzo". George would be an Anglicized form of the Spanish name Jorge.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: In-universe example when the family temporarily adopts a girl from El Salvador.
  • Always Someone Better: Carlos to his rival Butter.
    "Compared to Butter, Carlos was like jello."
  • An Aesop: Several.
    • "Lotto Bucks" - don't let wealth change you.
    • "You Go Girl" - feminism means the genders getting the chance to do the same things, it's not a requirement.
    • "No Hablo Espanol" - you shouldn't ignore your culture or your roots.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • One Lent episode had the kids giving up their favorite things (George's video games, Lorena's flirting, and Larry's sweets), and eventually succumbing to temptation. At the dinner table, each child stands up and announces their "crime"...followed by Sonia declaring "And I bought a pair of really expensive shoes today." They all stare at her blankly—especially considering she hadn't given up shopping, or anything, for Lent in the first place—and she follows up: "Well, I feel bad about it."
    • When Ray goes behind Sonia's back to get Abuelita to pick chili peppers with them, Abuelita runs through a Long List of what they'll need for the day. When she gets to Ray, she says he'll need warm blankets.
    Ray: Why? It's 80 degrees outside.
    Abuelita: That's for tonight, when you'll be sleeping on the couch.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Larry and Lorena are usually antagonistic towards each other in the way young siblings would be, but they do love one another when the chips are down.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Sonia when she tries to shoot a commercial for her salon.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Lorena wishes for a sister. So she gets Alex - who is a lazy manipulator that Lorena herself has to call out.
    • In the same episode, Ray demands that his children become more knowledgeable about the world around them. Cue them taking all the sections of the newspaper from him at breakfast.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Lorena loved watching telenovelas that are all about beautiful rich people.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: A mild example, as this is a family sitcom, so all Lorena does is wear a tube top and don lots of makeup to try and get a boy to notice her. It's Deconstructed when he shows interest in another girl who isn't wearing makeup at all. Sonia gives Lorena a Be Yourself speech and suggests the boy went for the other girl because she was more confident in her own skin.
  • Big Brother Bully: Carlos and George both bully Larry. Ray's brother Ed does the same.
  • Big Eater: George in early episodes. This was eventually dropped when the actor lost weight.
  • Big "NO!": When Lorena finds out the make-up she's trying to wash off is waterproof.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: The eponymous brothers. There's the chubby George, the skinny Carlos and the short Larry.
  • Bilingual Bonus: All the time for viewers who are fluent Spanish speakers.
  • Blithe Spirit: Deconstructed when the mad Tia Gabbi comes to visit. She gives the kids certain advice that ends up landing them all in detention and Sonia has to explain to her that the kids need rules and proper guidance for a reason.
  • Brainless Beauty: Carlos gets this at times. Highlights include not knowing the difference between Austria and Australia, and thinking Central America means Kansas.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Lorena fits this to a tee although she's a lot younger than the usual examples.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Lorena wins a competition that gives her a lifetime supply of lettuce and a trip to LA to meet her favourite soap star, which is the focus of that episode's plot. At the end of the episode, they find several crates of lettuce outside the front door.
    • In an episode with Sonia's birthday, she jokes that if Ray can't get her a certain vintage watch, she'll be happy with pyjamas instead. The kids buy the watch from the store not knowing Ray has been holding it. So his eventual present to Sonia? Pyjamas of course.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Carlos isn't exactly dim but he just lacks focus and tends to procrastinate.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • "You Go Girl" - Lorena feels excluded by her brothers due to being the only girl in the family. The moral is sadly broken by the fact that the boys don't exclude Lorena because of her gender - they exclude her because she's constantly trying to get them into trouble. What's more is that she clearly doesn't want equality; she just wants to cause mischief. For example, she makes Ray miss a hockey game in the name of equalitynote  The boys' low moment - causing Lorena's friends to storm out of an activity - is exactly the same as what Lorena had done earlier in the episode. It's pointed out that the boys were wrong to behave that way, but Lorena gets a free pass because she claims she just wanted to be included.
    • "Larry's Curse" - Larry breaks an antique Aztec relic that is said to bring bad luck. Unlucky things inexplicably start happening - such as a virus that destroys all of Ray's computer files, Carlos suddenly failing with girls, Sonia losing her confidence after a catastrophe in the salon and the beds keep breaking. At the episode's end, Ray gives a speech about how there's no such thing as bad luck, and Larry chides himself for being so superstitious. Except that the bad luck stops happening after Larry and Abuelita have cleansed the house. And it's not just Larry cooking up childish theories - this stems from Abuelita's beliefs too.
    • In a similar vein, the Aesop that God is not someone to bargain with or to fear punishment gets broken by the fact that: a) Sonia immediately felt better when Lorena promised to stop watching her novelas, and b) she fell back ill as soon as Lorena broke the promise. That's one hell of a cosmic coincidence.
  • Broken Pedestal: Lorena gets to visit the set of her favorite telenovela and meet the star. Turns out the star is a hammy (and callous) diva.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Sonia and Larry seem to have more Spanish influence in their English speech than do the other characters.
  • Camp Straight: Carlos is a Pretty Boy who is very into his looks. He's also a massive ladies' man.
  • The Casanova: Carlos is a sixteen-year-old version.
  • Cerebus Retcon: The Running Gag of Abuelita's salsa that has a secret recipe gets Played for Drama in Season 3 - where she reveals that she keeps the recipe secret because it gives her a reason to be needed by the family.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • The pilot episode portrayed Sonia as especially embarrassing, out of touch with her kids and particularly smothering towards Larry - also with a slightly gossipy, ditzy way of speaking. These traits were toned down considerably in the series.
    • Samantha also is hyped up as playing a bigger part as Carlos's girlfriend - and is something of a Lovable Alpha Bitch. In the series proper, she's just a regular girl at school in a supporting role.
  • Chatty Hairdresser: The mother, Sonia, is one.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Bauer family move in next door to the Garcias and Larry starts a romance with Carrie. She is never seen nor mentioned after this episode.
  • Continuity Nod: When Larry trains to eat Ray's salsa, clips are shown of George and Carlos trying.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Carlos fails a Spanish test he is forced to watch novellas with Lorena for the whole day and must report to the family in Spanish at dinner.
  • Cool Aunt: Tia Gabbi is this at first, but she proves to be a negative influence on the kids.
  • Cool Mask: Larry (see Pro Wrestling Is Real below).
  • Cool Old Lady: Sonia's mother.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe:
    • One episode has Sonia rushed off her feet trying to fix the hair of women who were unfortunate enough to be subjects at Annabelle's Beauty School. One girl wanted her hair bleached and the hairdresser in question used actual bleach.
    • Lorena dons a lot of make-up against Sonia's wishes and has to rush home and clean it off before dinner.
  • Couch Gag: The opening credits for the first few seasons would show clips of the characters from the episode in question. The fourth season went with standard opening credits.
  • Dialogue Reversal: Sonia tells Ray to not be annoyed with George's new look, saying he's just expressing himself. When she flips out at what Lorena is wearing to school Larry sarcastically says "isn't she expressing herself?".
  • Dysfunction Junction: Less severe than most examples, as the parents are slightly more together. But with four teenagers in the house, it does get pretty dysfunctional.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot episode has a few:
    • The kitchen and living room sets are completely different. The house appears much smaller and there's a minor plot point that implies things are pretty tight financially (Ray having to sell wrestling tickets to pay for repairs to the salon). In the series the family was retooled to being comfortably middle class.
    • Carlos is much younger than he is in the series proper, and his personality is more Bart Simpson-esque. It looks as though they were going to portray him as a child at first, but then aged him up to be a teenager.
    • The actress playing Abuelita appears as the star of Lorena's in-universe novela. This before the Running Gag of Lorena worshiping the much younger Maria de los Ojos Verdes y Grandes.
    • The Garcia house is shown having a swingset, and a pretty big backyard where they stage a wrestling match. The series never showed a back garden again, instead having a conservatory.
    • The boys are shown as being big fans of Professional Wrestling, with Ray seemingly being one too. In the series, they're standard sports fans and the tradition is that Ray takes them to hockey games.
    • The tone is far more Kid Com - the brothers staging a wrestling match to earn money, Ray and the older boys getting stranded on the side of the road, Sonia being an overbearing mother - in stark contrast to the Slice of Life /Coming of Age Story it later became.
  • Fan Disservice: In-universe example from the first episode where the boys stage a backyard wrestling match. One girl tells George he needs to put his shirt back on.
  • First Gray Hair: Discussed.
    Lorena: Remember when I used to pluck your grey hairs out, mommy?
    Sonia: Yeah, before it became a full time job.
  • Flawless Token: One episode has Ray stopped for speeding by a male and female cop. The male cop is overweight, balding and is willing to go easy on Ray while the female cop is tall, thin, cleanly dressed and gives him a ticket.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Carlos and Lorena are the foolish ones, while George and Larry are the responsible ones (to an extent).
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Lampshaded when Larry refers to Ray's habit of ranting in Spanish as "going Ricky Ricardo".
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Lorena is disliked by her siblings due to her smug attitude and tendency to snitch on them.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Lampshaded by Larry ("Sometimes I think parents only give you middle names to let you know when you're in big trouble").
  • Gilligan Cut: George lets his girlfriend Carly sleep in Larry's room, prompting...
    Larry: You gave Carly my room, where am I supposed to sleep?
    Cut to Larry sleeping in the bathtub.
  • Global Ignorance: Carlos doesn't know the difference between Austria and Australia, and thinks Central America means Kansas.
  • Go-Getter Girl: Discussed by Lorena in one episode where she takes a personality quiz to see if she qualifies for one.
  • Golden Moment: At the end of every episode, Larry ending his narration with "everything for the family" in Spanish.
  • Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Lorena the wannabe pop star/actress wears a lot of purple.
  • Hairstyle Malfunction: When Lorena finally gets to meet Maria de los Ojos Verdes y Grandes, the actress is a diva and insults everyone. Lorena throws a lettuce head at her - and knocks her wig off!
  • Half-Identical Twins: Averted when it comes to Larry and Lorena. The two have drastically different skin tones (Lorena is much darker skinned) and hair colors. As the show goes on, Lorena is also visibly taller than Larry.
  • Hidden Depths: Carlos and Lorena are the two shallowest characters but get episodes showing their depths.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Averted. Lorena aspires to be a singer and her singing is fairly passable.
  • Hot for Teacher: Larry for his teacher Miss Aztecka.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • Sonia's mother lectures the family on how much they've changed since winning the Lottery but when she goes mad tearing up the house when she hears the Lottery ticket is missing.
    • After getting a lecture from her mother, Sonia mimics her. She then catches the kids watching and tries to warn them not to ever mock someone as she just demonstrated.
  • Imagine Spot: Larry has a Romeo and Juliet inspired one only for the girl to snap him out of it and ask if he was listening.
  • Important Haircut:
    • The plot point of an episode revolves around Larry getting a haircut from someone other than his mother. The same episode has Sonia deciding to do the same (see The Makeover below).
    • In another episode Carlos shaves his hair off to show support for a girl with cancer.
    • When starting high school, Carlos gives himself cornrows. But subverted since he abandons the style by the end of the episode. Same episode has George adopting Spiky Hair - which likewise is gone once he's learned his Aesop.
  • Informed Deformity: Sonia mentions she has way too many grey hairs, but none of them is visible to the audience.
  • Irony: Lorena makes a deal with God that she'll stop watching novellas for a month if Sonia recovers from her flu. Sonia recovers - but then reveals that she got really into the novellas that she had previously despised, because she watched it while she was sick.
  • Latino Is Brown: Downplayed. Most of the Hispanic characters on the show fit the mold of 'black hair, light brown skin' - although Lorena's skin is slightly darker than her family's. But Samantha, the daughter of Sandy, is fair-skinned and blonde haired.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Lorena prays to God that she will stop watching novellas for a whole month if Sonia recovers from her flu (yes seriously). Sonia recovers but immediately relapses when Lorena watches the show.
  • Magical Security Cam: The family manages to film an entire commercial in the salon without Sonia noticing despite having only one camera. The end commercial includes closeups that wouldn't be possible if they were trying to keep the camera hidden.
  • Magical Nanny: When Sonia is too busy with work in the salon, she gets a friend of their aunt's to look after the house. She ends up sorting things out just in time for the end of the episode.
  • The Makeover: One episode has Sonia tired of her look, so she opts to go wild and get a new hairstyle. At the end of the episode, everyone comments on how great it looks, then we find out she still has the same style.
  • Manly Tears: Carlos, see Very Special Episode below.
  • Metaphorically True: Lorena selling candy bars to help kids at risk. Sonia gives the actual truth.
    "The candy bars were stolen, and the kid at risk was her."
  • Mirror Monologue: Lorena when preparing for an audition.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Thanks to some bad eavesdropping Larry thinks Sonia is going to have a baby when she's really just preparing to babysit a friend's baby. When the baby gets dropped off at the house, the kids assume it was adopted instead.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Averted. While everyone is known as a member of Larry's family (it's from his perspective), Lorena and Sonia do get plenty of plots for themselves that don't revolve around their relationships with men.
  • Never Win the Lottery: The family legitimately win the lottery but it turns out that a hundred other people also won it so they only win about $1400, which is after they've gone wild with the spending.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Sonia is showing Ray dresses to wear to a work party and he's just busy reading his speech. Sonia cops on when she holds up a sock and he says "that's the best one yet".
  • Not So Above It All: Ray and Sonia can take the moral high ground plenty of times, but they end up getting sucked into the wackiness more often than not.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • Subverted when Ray acts as a substitute teacher at the school. Carlos and George simply pretend they're not related.
    • Tiny the bully reveals his last name is George as well, though George didn't know this.
    • And in another episode there is a girl called Loretta at the house (similar sounding to Lorena and Sonia says it so quickly it's easy to mistake it for something else).
    • There's a set of twins where one is called Mario, and one of Lorena's love interests is also called Mario.
  • Parents as People: There are a few episodes where Larry reflects on seeing his parents as people who have their own flaws and problems too.
  • The Primadonna: Maria de los Ojos Verdes y Grandes is proved to be this when Lorena visits the set of her favorite telenovela.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real: Double subverted. The boys stage a backyard wrestling match and have Larry wrestle George and say Larry will win. However George hears a girl cheering for him and pins Larry anyway.
  • Proud Beauty: Carlos knows he's good looking and will happily tell anyone.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Carlos learns An Aesop about this when he is forced to take a job as a perfume boy (which involves wearing a pink smock). A girl he likes stops by the shop and says she doesn't mind it at all. Elsewhere, when he mistakenly thinks Sonia is pregnant, he realizes that the girls will love him even more when he shows off that he can take care of a baby.
  • Resentful Outnumbered Sibling: Lorena is the only girl among the Garcia siblings and her dislike of this situation is occasionally touched on. The best example is the episode "You Go Girl", where Lorena says that she sometimes wishes she was born to a family of girls.
  • Running Gag: Ray has a special salsa sauce that only he can eat, the other boys trying several times to eat it but finding it too hot.
  • Samus Is a Girl: One episode deals with the family adopting a teenager from El Salvador named Alex Fernández. Cue the the kids all worrying about what it'll be like with another boy in the house. Their reaction changes when Alex turns out to be a girl.
  • Shout-Out: The hairdryer in Sonia's salon is named R2D2.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Larry and Lorena do this quite a bit since Lorena is one minute older than Larry.
  • Slapstick: Lorena does get some slapstick, notably in one episode where the kids have a water fight.
  • Slice of Life: Most plots are the kids dealing with typical teenage and preteen issues.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Carlos claims that he's under a lot of pressure to maintain his good looks - getting a roll of the eyes from everyone else. However in one episode where he inexplicably starts failing with girls, it shatters his self-esteem.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Lorena decides to become one at the end of one episode. She launches into a spiel about how processed foods are covered with pesticides that harm animals. Sonia promptly tells her the food is free-range and she shuts up and starts eating.
  • Spiky Hair: Carlos has this style. One episode shows him charging his mother's customers $1 to spike it for them after she cuts it. He gives Larry the same style at the end of said episode.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Parodied when another family moves in next door and a big feud starts with each of the family members having a rival, except Larry who was in love with the family's youngest daughter. It even gets a Romeo and Juliet Imagine Spot.
  • The Smurfette Principle: One episode deals with this and Lorena eventually confesses how hard it is being the only girl in the family. However the show is not actually an example of the trope as while Lorena and Sonia are the only women in the family, the show has plenty of recurring female characters such as Sandy, Samantha, Lindsey, Nicole and all of Carlos's love interests.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Lorena and Lorenzo. Also two side characters Mario and Dario.
  • Token Minority Couple: Averted pretty well with girls of many different ethnicities serving as love interests.
  • Traumatic Haircut:
    • Larry's attempted Important Haircut turns into this after his siblings scare him about the barber in question cutting people's ears off.
    • One where the haircut is traumatic for the hairdresser too. Thanks to Lorena spilling some tea while Sonia is working on a famous talent scout, this happens to the woman in question. Oddly enough the haircut proves traumatic for Sonia - as she loses her confidence afterwards.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Lorena tries to look like a famous model visiting her mother's salon. The result is... slightly creepy (especially considering she's fourteen).
  • Unnecessary Makeover: In-universe. Sonia feels she doesn't need a makeover but is convinced into getting one by Sandy and Samantha. Further exemplified by The Reveal being she looks exactly the same.
  • Very Special Episode: A downplayed one pops up where Carlos finds out that a girl at school has cancer. It's handled very well and has quite a touching ending.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode: Larry gets sick of being called a goodie two shoes and tries to throw a Wild Teen Party that predictably gets out of control.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: For Sonia, it's rodents. And ants.
  • Wild Teen Party: Larry and George throw one while the parents are away. They actually do get away with it but end up confessing to the parents anyway, along with a whole list of other stuff. The parents are so stunned by this stream of honesty that they ground the kids for a week and call it even.
  • Women Are Wiser: Inverted. While Ray and Sonia are both very capable parents, Sonia is the more irrational one and most likely to flip out. Ray frequently has to calm her down though he does have his moments as well.
  • You Go, Girl!: Deconstructed in an episode with the same title. Lorena decides she's sick of being overlooked for being a girl and tries to get involved in what the boys do. Except she doesn't like their activities and just causes mischief. It's pointed out at the end that equality means that men and women get the chance to do the same things. Simply doing them for the sake of it doesn't really accomplish anything.
  • You Just Had to Say It: Larry's narration says this after the Gilligan Cut example above.
  • Youngest Child Wins:
    • Invoked by Larry and Lorena. When giving group punishments, the parents usually go in order of age. As this leaves the twins last, they're able to give Sonia a "but we're your babies" look to get lesser punishments. What's more is that the parents know they're doing this, but can't resist it anyway.
    • Larry is also the youngest of the family (a minute younger than Lorena) and is the main protagonist. He also seems to be the most moral and responsible of the kids, and he's also the only one who doesn't go mad in the lottery episode.