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Review: Karla Souza Shows Her Comedy Chops In ABC’s ‘Home Economics’

Proudly Mexican, the actress can play characters in various genres and ethnicities. 

ABC’s new sitcom, “Home Economics,” which premiered April 7, tells the story of the Hayworths, three siblings dealing with life in the San Francisco Bay Area while existing on three different economic planes.

Topher Grace (“Spider-Man 3,” “That ’70s Show”) plays Tom Hayworth, a once best-selling, successful author whose last book laid a commercial egg and is now in dire financial straits.

Caitlin McGee (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “I’m Dying Up Here”) is Sarah Hayworth, recently unemployed and feeling a little desperate.

Jimmy Tatro (“American Vandal,” “22 Jump Street”) is Connor Hayworth Connor, the little brother who made a killing in the stock market and just bought a house that once belonged to Matt Damon.

A Rare Look at “Class on TV”?

Variety touted “Home Economics, created by John Aboud and Michael Colton, whose previous collaborations includePenguins of Madagascar” and “The Fake News with Ted Nelms,” as “a rare look at class on TV.” But is it?

The U.S. has historically considered itself a classless society. One of the critical elements of the American Dream is that we can all aspire to be successful and achieve upward mobility. However, income inequality has been the bane of America since the founding fathers’ time and has steadily worsened in the last few decades.

Karla Souza co-starred with Ben O’Toole (left) and José María Yazpik (right) ‘Todos queremos a alguien’ (We All Want Someone). The actress has the ability to play women from various ethnicities, both for her physique and her mastery of accents. (Amazon) 

But the series’ reflection on the class struggle lives in a politically correct cocoon. “Home Economics” is set in the Bay Area, the most expensive place to live in California and home to many well-known liberals.

Sarah Hayworth is married to Denise, a beautiful black woman, played by Sasheer Zamata (“Beyonce as a Mommy,” “I Feel Pretty”). Sarah has recently lost her job, but Denise is still working. They are having a hard time, but managing, unlike many working-class people in real life.

Tom, the author, had a string of financially successful books. We see them on a bookshelf in the opening credits. So where did all that money go? Tom is also married to a woman of color, Marina (Karla Souza).

Marina is a Mexican American, an ex-corporate lawyer who is now a happy homemaker and mom to three kids. As Marina wryly puts it, baby brother Connor is “a cartoon duck swimming in a pool of gold coins.”

The opening episode clarifies that Connor is more than willing to lend his tapped-out ‘hermanos’ (siblings) a few pesos to relieve their money woes. So where is the class struggle? Tom and Sarah may be walking on a tenuous financial tightrope, but Connor is a willing and convenient safety net. Tom and Sarah’s only battle is getting up the courage to ask Connor for a loan.

“Home Economics” is less a “rare look at class on TV” but a tried-and-true formula about the complicated comedy dynamics of sibling rivalry.

“Home Economics” speaks to the life of different social classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Amazon)

Speaking of Karla

Home Economics” is an ensemble comedy structured like a classic Hollywood screwball comedy. The dialogue is fast and furious. The jokes, quips, acid rejoinders and murmured asides pile up nonstop. It is difficult for one character to get a word in, much less a joke, in this crowded room. But Karla Souza’s character, Marina, manages to get in some zingers that highlight her comedic skills.

Marina brings a cynical, world-weary edgy attitude to the story. As a former, high-powered corporate lawyer, she is not exactly satisfied with domestic life: raising three kids, washing and eternally folding clothes, nursing her husband’s bruised literary ego, and having to deal with her his dysfunctional family circus.

Souza’s acting prowess has been demonstrated before, such as co-starring with Viola Davis in the long-running ABC drama, “How to Get Away with Murder.” She also starred in “Everybody Loves Somebody,” written and directed by Catalina Aguilar Mastretta, and appeared in Netflix’s “The Sleepover.”

She honed her acting chops studying in London’s Central School of Speech Drama and in Russia with acting coach Anatoly Smilianski. She received the CCP Award for most promising actress in London.

In addition, Souza starred in three of Mexico’s top-grossing films of the 2010s: “¿Qué Culpa Tiene El Niño?,” “Instructions Not Included,” and “Nosotros Los Nobles.” After presenting a showcase in New York, Souza subsequently began receiving offers for leading roles in Mexico City.

The Versatility Factor 

A proud Mexican, Souza can portray characters in many genres, from many continents in both English and Spanish. “Home Economics” could prove another springboard.

In addition to Souza, the series’ cast includes Topher Grace, Chloe Jo RountreeShiloh Bearman, Jimmy Tatro, Jecobi Swain, Caitlin McGee, Jordyn Curet and Sasheer Zamata.

“Home Economics” premiered on April 7 and airs every Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

Review: Karla Souza Shows Her Comedy Chops in ABC’s ‘Home Economics’ first appeared on LatinHeat Entertainment.

(Edited by Gabriela Alejandra Olmos and Fern Siegel)