If you, like me, feel that there’s just not that many great comedy series around these days then you’re in for a real treat with the arrival of ‘Primo’ tomorrow (Friday 19th May) on Amazon Freevee.
Created by Shea Serrano, ‘Primo’ centres on Rafa (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio) who lives with his single mother Drea (Christina Vidal) and is surrounded by his five uncles – Ryan (Carlos Santos), Mike (Henri Esteve), Rollie (Johnny Rey Diaz), Jay (Jonathan Medina) and Mondo (Efrain Villa) who are on hand to offer advice and generally cause chaos throughout the series. The first episode does a superb job of introducing its cast of characters, and the viewer learns that Rafa, often called ‘Primo’ by his family, has been told by his guidance counsellor that he has a chance to go to college – something no one in his family has done before.
The problem is that Rafa is painfully aware of his mother’s financial situation and each of his uncles has their own idea of what Rafa should be doing with his future; Jay wants him to work for his landscaping business, Mike wants him to follow in his footsteps by going into the military, Ryan thinks he should focus on a career, Mondo thinks education is a waste of time and Rollie is quite happy to lead his nephew astray at any given opportunity. Add to that a fledgling romance with classmate Mya (Stakiah Lynn Washington), and Rafa has way more to deal with than a teenager should.
Each episode of ‘Primo’ finds Rafa in some kind of dilemma and it’s his uncles, and his mother, that step in to try and help him resolve it. That’s a big part of where the laughs come from. In one episode Mike convinces Rafa to wear a garish pink shirt made for a night at the carnival with Mya and their friends, and that winds up getting him into all kinds of trouble as he tries to balance winning Mya over and keeping his cool. I don’t want to give away any further plot details as I think that would spoil the show but suffice to say there are some fantastically creative ways that the uncles get involved in Rafa’s life over the course of the first season.
It’s fantastic to see a mainstream comedy series putting a Mexican-American family at the centre. Too often we don’t get to see stories like these and even though ‘Primo’ hits some familiar beats of a sitcom, it always elevates itself. That’s in large part thanks to the fantastic cast. While Ignacio Diaz-Silverio and Christina Vidal are excellent in their roles, and very convincing as son and mother, it’s the five uncles who steal the show. Johnny Rey Diaz is one of the standouts as Rollie, Rafa’s unreliable uncle who constantly gets into trouble and knows the local police by name. Henri Esteve is brilliant too as Rafa’s cocky and butch uncle who is often mocked by his brothers because of his height.
‘Primo’ is an excellent series and one of the best comedy/sitcoms we’ve had since ‘Modern Family’ ruled the airwaves. If you’re a fan of feel-good comedies like ‘Abbott Elementary’ or ‘Love, Victor’ then you’ll fall in love with this show very quickly. With a stellar cast, plenty of genuine belly laughs and a whole lot of heart, ‘Primo’ charmed the socks off me and I really hope we get to see more of Rafa and his family in future seasons.
‘Primo’ streams on Amazon Freevee from Friday 19th May 2023.