By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García
“We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s – the racist Speedy. Speedy’s going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he’s a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he’s good at.”
So Mrs. Lopez, who will produce this project, says the couple can refashion a cartoon like this into A Mexican-American Tail:
The thing is, it’s not just about Speedy, but about the universe he inhabited. If this new film strays from the original Andale! Andale! schtick, critics will decry that the character was neutered by “the PC Patrol.” If it doesn’t, the couple has resurrected a very problematic cartoon character (two, if Slowpoke Rodriguez is also brought back.) What would be the next step – the return of Heckle & Jeckle? Is bringing back an “established brand” like this really a better option than creating an original character and building something positive from the ground up?
Lopez’s choice to bring Speedy back to life follows a career that alternates commendable success with questionable content. Though his talk show, Lopez Tonight, has emerged as a steady performer for TBS, it features a segment called Chola Makeover, which is, at best, exploitative; his stand-up concerts are undeniably successful, but his material lapses into White People do (x), Mexicans do (y) territory (full disclosure: I laugh at his stuff because I can relate to some of it, but I understand where it raises uncomfortable questions). And his sitcom, George Lopez, gave us the refreshing sight of an all-Latino TV family – the primary cast itself was all-Latino in the show’s final season – where nobody was a) a boxer or b) a mechanic, but come on, “Low Rider” for the theme song?
Like I said before, nothing good can come of this – except, perhaps, for whichever fast-food chain snaps up the sponsorship deal first.