Whether it’s The Simpsons or Modern Family, the sitcom family is one of chaos and dysfunction. But no matter how crazy their home life becomes, it’s the unbreakable bond between each of the family members that keeps the familial unit stronger than ever. This is exactly the kind of lovable insanity that comprises the daily life of 16-year-old Rafa Gonzales (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio), who’s been raised by his mother, Drea (Christina Vidal), alongside his five uncles his entire life.
With the teenager within reach of becoming the first one of his family to attend college (not counting his uncle Ryan’s certificate in computing) and enamoured with the new girl in town (Stakiah Lynn Washington), advice from his family is more valuable than ever – even if a lot of it isn’t particularly good.
The main source of comedy comes from the interactions between each of the uncles, who are the real stars of the show, coloured by their distinctive personas: there’s Rollie (Johnny Ray Diaz), the kind-hearted street brawler, incompetent survivalist Mike (Henri Esteve), the stern Jay (Johnathan Medina), Ryan (Carlos Santos), a nerdy bank teller, and gentle giant Mondo (Efrain Villa). The combination of flavours creates the basis for plenty of bizarre subplots and gags that see the range of personalities bounce off one another. In one episode, Mike traps Jay on a roof to enact a revenge plot that’s been in the works for years. In another, Mondo and Ryan plan the ultimate fireworks display for the traditional family barbecue. Everyone gets a chance to shine in the show, and, while every gag doesn’t hit the bullseye, the committed performances from each member of the cast ensure the characters remain an endearing presence throughout.
Handled less successfully are the series’s sentimental moments. Par for the course with the sitcom formula, each episode contains a lesson of some sort where members of the family have a heart-to-heart. While there’s nothing wrong with the messages themselves, the script has a bad habit of rushing through these moments as if they were unwanted clichés that the writers would rather weren’t there.
Despite some corny over-sentimentality, there’s enough lighthearted family dysfunction to be found in Primo to recommend it for an evening’s easy viewing.
Primo is released on Amazon Freevee on 19th May 2023.
Watch the trailer for Primo here: