TikTok Is The Real Star Of 'Lopez Vs. Lopez' On NBC

In the new NBC sitcom “Lopez Vs. Lopez,” TikTok is a co-star on par with George Lopez and his daughter Mayan.

They are the Lopezes in the title, playing characters going by their real-life names who carry on a family feud.

I’m no expert in family relations and communications, but maybe one reason why this sitcom family is so fractured is because they communicate about the important things at arm’s length via social media -- in their case, homemade TikTok videos.

In the show, TikTok takes center stage. Episodes 1 and 2 both open with these homemade TikTok videos.

They were the episodes that NBC provided for preview, but the guess here is that this gimmick will lead off subsequent episodes too.



It is a strange thing, and silly too: On subjects both serious and trivial, the members of this family share their private lives with the world in a forum that is not private.

Whether twerking idiotically to each other or delivering impassioned apologies, TikTok -- and not personal, face-to-face conversation within the private confines of home -- is the medium of choice.

In Episode 1 of “Lopez Vs. Lopez,” wayward dad George delivered a heartfelt message of love and apology to his daughter via TikTok, following about two-thirds of the episode in which the two were at each other’s throats. 

He and his ex-wife -- Mayan’s mother, with whom he apparently has an amicable relationship -- also twerked for the entertainment of their family.

In the photo above, the family members look shocked at the spectacle of these members of the pre-smartphone, pre-TikTok era turning their twerking backsides to the camera.

But why is this younger generation so shocked? Isn’t this what everybody does now?

The answer seems to be yes -- judging from the fact that this TV show, like so many others that are made for network TV, are usually reflective of the culture at large. Or at least they try to be.

In “Lopez Vs. Lopez,” as in a handful of other TV sitcoms in the last few years, smartphones and social media are woven into the fabric of the characters’ everyday lives in the same way that they are observable in the real world.

“Lopez Vs. Lopez” makes no judgements on TikTok. It just accepts that it is there, people use it, and therefore it should play a prominent role on the show.

As a result, at intervals throughout the show, the action -- such as the apology-twerking video referenced above -- is seen on a vertical screen in the middle of the TV screen, mirroring the vertical, rectangular window of smartphones through which so many of us view our world today.

As a card-carrying member of the pre-smartphone, pre-TikTok generation, it would be easy for me to rail against the takeover of so many lives by insidious social media and online video exhibitionism. 

But that would not be realistic. TikTok and all the rest are evidently here to stay.

Social media is not a fad like yo-yo’s, pet rocks or Rubik’s Cubes years ago.

Still, whatever happened to privacy when it comes to our interpersonal relationships? Videos of cute dogs turning somersaults I can understand, but airing our private personal business in public I cannot. 

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