Chico and the Man is the first situation comedy (Sitcom) that premiered in 1974 to co-star a Chicano as a main character. This sitcom tackled the never ending racial divide between race and culture through laughter that Los Angeles was going though at that time.
This first episode is centered around two unlikely characters Ed Brown (Frank Albertson) a white Anglo Saxon and a young Chicano named Chico Rodriguez (Freddie Prinze). Ed Brown is a bigoted, cranky, and aging widowed owner of a rundown Auto shop. He has been witnessing his neighborhood’s racial changes which he’s having hard time accepting. Chico is a former Vietnam veteran who is looking to have his piece of the American dream in partnering with Ed to revive his failing garage.
How this show reinforces stereotypes is best illustrated by an example of this series’ episode. This contains many insulting stereotypes for example: In the beginning of this episode when Ed meets Chico for the first time, Chico tells Ed he’s looking for a job and points out that his shop looks like a basurero, Ed replies, “what’s that supposed to mean?” Chico replies, “it means junkyard.” Ed tells him to leave, “…take your flies with you. Chico replies, “Your flies!? Ed remarks, “You people got flies all around here, and while you’re standing here, your flies are getting together with my flies and making more fly…now leave.” Chico replies, “This is my neighborhood too.”
Another is when Chico tells Ed he’s not looking for a job; he wants to be a team. Ed responds, “Everybody knows your people are lazy. Even if I did give you a job; you wouldn’t show up; you’d be too busy taking a siesta.” He also tells Chico not to think; he lacks the equipment.
Near the end of the episode, two officers stop by Ed’s shop and encounter Chico. They question him asking if he’s seeing anyone matching a description of the perpetrator: “over 6 feet tall, about 185 pounds, Hispanic decent, dark brown eyes, long black hair, wears a thin mustache…” describing someone that looks exactly like him. At that point, Chico puts his hands up, turns around, places his hands on the of the hood of the car, and assumes the position for a pat-down. I’m reminded by what Fregoso states, “…in dominant practices of representation, the differential relation between Rudy and the retired couple…Rudy signifies a “sleazy”, “greasy”, dark-skinned, Medellin-cartel drug runner, whereas the elderly couple is a signifier of “innocent” American tourists.” (p. 59)
All throughout this episode, Ed constantly insults Chico with racial stereotypical ethnic slurs but it’s at those times when Chico tries to see the good in everyone and takes every opportunity to correct Ed with humor with acute comebacks about his great culture and pointing out they are very similar in many ways then they are different.
Fregoso, R. L. (1993). The bronze screen: Chicana and Chicano film culture. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com Created from csudh on 2019-10-27 14:04:20.