American Family


From series creator and executive producer, Gregory Nava: "Welcome to the East L.A. home of the Gonzalez family. A family whose love for each other carries them through good times and bad times. Their lives are touched by triumphs, tragedies and even, at times, a little magic. ... the Gonzalezes are a family like familes all around you. A family like your own – an American family."

EJO's Role

Edward James Olmos in American Family

Edward James Olmos plays the family patriarch, Jess Gonzalez. He's a barber and does his best to be a good father, husband and grandfather.

The Numbers

"American Family" aired for only two seasons (2002 and 2004) on PBS. The first season had 22 episodes. The second season had 13 episodes.

Buy on Blu-Ray or DVD

Inexplicably, only the first season was ever released on DVD. It is out of print, however, you will find copies from time to time through marketplace sellers:

American Family
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Stream, Rent or Digital Download

  • Stream or Rent from Netflix

Edward James Olmos in American Family

Aired in 2002

  1. American Family (Pilot)
  2. The Sewing Machine
  3. Crash Boom Love: Part I
  4. Crash Boom Love: Part II
  5. La Estrella (The Star)
  6. La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) I
  7. La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) II
  8. Circle of Fire
  9. Mexican Revolution
  10. The Forgotten War
  11. La Cama (The Bed)
  12. Citizen Cisco
  13. Silence of God
  14. The Father
  15. The Glass Ceiling
  16. The Fighting Fridas
  17. The Barbershop
  18. The Masked Eagle: Part I
  19. The Masked Eagle: Part II
  20. The Journey: Part I
  21. The Journey: Part II
  22. La Casa (The House)

Aired in 2004

  1. The Wedding
  2. The War Begins
  3. The Farewell
  4. A Deal with God
  5. The Doors to the Past
  6. The Brother
  7. Shadows
  8. The Searchers
  9. The Burning Fire
  10. Victory
  11. The Child
  12. The Night Sun
  13. The Flowers and the Songs
  • Edward James Olmos has previously and subsequently worked with several cast members from the show, including Esai Morales, Sonia Braga, Yancey Arias, Rachel Ticotin, and Constance Marie.
  • Edward James Olmos' son Bodie plays the younger version of his character, Jess, in flashbacks in "American Family". Bodie went on to play Brendan "Hot Dog" Costanza in "Battlestar Galactica" with his father.
  • Edward James Olmos has played Esai Morales father ("American Family") and brother (My Family), while Morales (on "Caprica") has played the father of Olmos' William Adama from "Battlestar Galactica".
  • Edward James Olmos also worked with series creator Gregory Nava on Selena and My Family
  • In "American Family" Constance Marie plays Olmos' daughter. In My Family she played his sister, and she played his wife in Selena.
  • Yancey Arias, who plays Conrado in Season Two of "American Family" also co-stars with Edward James Olmos in America
  • In the "American Family" episode of "Barbershop," we get a glimpse of Edward James Olmos' future wife, actress Lymari Nadal.

  • 2004 Emmy Awards: Three nominations (Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special/Non-Prosthetic; Outstanding Miniseries)
  • 2002 Emmy Awards: One nomination (Outstanding Cinematography for a Multi-Camera Series)
  • 2002 Family Television Awards: Won the Special Series Honor
  • 2005 Golden Globes: Nominated for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
  • 2003 Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards: Nominated for Best Period Makeup (Television Series)
  • 2004 Imagen Foundation Awards: One win (Best Primetime Series - Drama). Three nominations (Best Actress in a Television Drama, Constance Marie; Best Supporting Actor in a Television Drama, Esai Morales; Best Supporting Actress in a Television Drama, Sonia Braga)
  • 2003 Prism Awards: Three nominations (Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline, Edward James Olmos; Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline, Esai Morales; TV Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline, "Estevan's Healing")
  • 2005 Satellite Awards: Nominated for Best Miniseries
  • 2003 Young Artist Awards: Nominated for Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) by Supporting Young Actor, Hector Escalante


"[Gregory Nava] has created a series richly steeped in Latino culture that also speaks to the experience of every ethnic group as its members struggle to balance their unique identity with the toll taken by successful assimilation."

– David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun

My Take

"American Family" is a just amazing. It is a show the entire family can enjoy and it's a pity that Season One DVDs are out of print and that PBS has never released Season Two. I would gladly drop the money for them both on Blu-ray.

"American Family" is just precious. It's a show that warms the heart and inspires. I honestly can't say enough good things about it. It is a series of rare quality and insight. It looks at the ups and downs of life through anything but rose-colored glasses and shows us the true beauty of love and family amidst all the chaos of the world im which we live.

Edward James Olmos gets the chance to flex his acting muscles in "American Family" and does not disappoint, turning out some hysterical performances mixed with serious dramatic turns and everything in between. He is husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, and inhabits every role perfectly – perhaps it's because he is all those things in life.

As a fan, I can say with a smile that it is an absolute joy to watch him in this show, which supplies him with superb opportunities and a stellar cast of supporting players second to none.

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EJO began his entertainment career as lead singer of a band called Pacific Ocean.


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