Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, one of the best and most-popular stand-ups around today, accomplished something that pretty much all comedians would love to do by getting his own TV series.
Mr. Iglesias isn’t where it needs to be yet, but it certainly isn’t bad, and it deserves a chance to get its legs. So stream it. Now. Because we don’t want to risk losing it like One Day at a Time, Jessica Jones, Friends from College or Santa Clarita Diet.
Mr. Iglesias premiered on Netflix on June 21 with 10 episodes and has received mostly positive reviews. It is about a sweet-natured teacher, who is teaching quirky at-risk students and battling internal and societal politics at his own alma mater in Long Beach, CA to help these kids achieve bright futures. In fact, Wilson High School, where the series takes place, is the name of the real school where Iglesias attended and graduated in the mid-90s.
In addition to Iglesias, it also stars Sherri Shepherd, Tony Ochoa, Maggie Geha, Richard Gant, Cree Cicchino and Fabrizio Guido. The series is executive produced by Iglesias, Kevin Hench, Joe Meloche and Ron DeBlasio.
Mr. Iglesias is reminiscent of other TV school-related comedies such as Welcome, Back Kotter and Head of the Class, but it’s definitely still finding its feet. The concept and the cast are proving better than the writing so far. The charm and wit of Iglesias and his co-stars carry the show and is what makes it worth giving it a chance to blossom and grow.
Iglesias is believable as a beloved, irreverent and caring high school history teacher. Fluffy’s particular brand of humor with his funny stories, mimicry, observations and great sound effects works for an educator, but no character on the show is a fully-formed person yet.
In fact, everyone falls into some sort of stereotype and we so far don’t know enough about the people occupying Wilson High School to fall in love with them. Also, arguments or interesting societal observations are made and teased, but most discussions feature a witty quip or two and the conversation is dropped without any resolution. Those glitches can be fixed in Season 2.
Still, Mr. Iglesias has a lot of good moments. Shephard remains her constantly funny self as a tired-of-being-single, jaded principal and the rest of the cast all have shiny moments. The show feels good to watch and radiates a positive energy, and that’s why we should all be streaming it — to give it more time to develop.
While it has only been about a week since Mr. Iglesias was released, Netflix has not yet announced if it will return for a second season or not.
Calling out Netflix
Now, to be fair, Netflix typically isn’t quick to drop a show after only one season, in fact, it is a place where shows thought to be dead get a resurrection — such was the case with Lucifer. (Hopefully, Netflix will save The Kids Are Alright too. But I digress.)
However, Netflix, while notoriously secretive with its numbers, has revealed that a show’s fate is usually decided within a few months. The problem is that protests usually fall upon deaf ears, as very few subscribers actually leave Netflix because their favorite show has been canceled.
Netflix changed the way people consume shows, but subscribers may take streaming platforms for granted because they think they can always circle back to a show some other time. That isn’t always possible, especially if you arrive late to the streaming party.
A personal anecdote about the recently canceled One Day at a Time. I didn’t discover it until Season 2. Then, I liked it so much I decided to surprise my Puerto Rican mom with a binge of the whole thing when I was visiting my childhood home last spring. She loved it and, what did Netflix do? Canceled it.
My mom was crushed as she relates to Rita Moreno on almost every level and wasn’t ready to watch the last adventure of the Alvarez family. One Day at a Time is still fighting for life and Mr. Iglesias shouldn’t suffer the same fate — but it might.
Will Netflix renew Mr. Iglesias? Probably. A renewal seems likely because the reports are looking good so far. But it’s not set in stone. The bigger question for Netflix is what would it take to save a show from the block or give it a second chance? Give us numbers, please. A goal. Call our bluff or give us something fans do can do to elicit a response beyond a perfunctory “too bad, so sad” message from Netflix.
What would matter more, getting 5,000 people to cancel their subscription to Netflix citing a specific show, or have 100,000 stream the show? Or is there something else? Tell us what we can do to save a show if viewers happen to be late discovering their new, favorite series.
Until I hear from you, I’m going back to stream Mr. Iglesias again.
Mr. Iglesias is streaming now on Netflix.