It's a Lopez family reunion! On Friday's special Christmas episode of Lopez vs Lopez, the original cast of George Lopez's iconic synonymous sitcom will reunite on-screen.
Titled "Lopez vs Christmas," George Lopez stars Constance Marie, Belita Moreno, Valente Rodriguez and Luis Armand Garcia join the cast of Lopez vs Lopez for what the cast called an "explosion of nostalgia."
The actors, who played George's wife Angie, mother Benny, friend Ernie and son Max on the ABC sitcom, feature in the special episode as a surprise for George's ex-wife, Rosie (Selenis Leyva), although they won't be playing their beloved characters this time around.
"We've all stayed close to each other over the last 20 years that show was running," George told ET when asked how he managed to wrangle everyone together. "It's just such a great working experience and it's just one of those things. It's interesting to me because I could never get Mayan to do anything around the house but in TV land, she's on time. She works hard, she's happy and she's funny."
Marie, who described her appearance as a "surprise for everybody" revealed that she plays a friend of Rosie and admitted she had been initially too emotional to read through her script. "I'm not going to cry right now, but for some of us, it's the very first time that we've been all together on a sitcom stage. And yeah, it's emotional. It's a big deal."
"It's amazing because you walk into the building with people that you've worked with before, and as an actor, you're always a little nervous about, 'Am I going to remember my lines? Where's my blocking?' Blah, blah, blah. But when you walk in and you see these people, you immediately become at ease because you've worked with them so long and you trust them so much and you understand that no matter where you go, they will follow you," Rodriguez shared. "And no matter where they go, I will follow as well. So it's a rekindling of this amazing energy that we're hoping is going to happen with the other show as well."
"It's amazing just to, even as an outsider, watch them do their thing," Leyva said of working with the combined casts. "I get emotional, so I can't even imagine what's going on [with the George Lopez crew] because this is amazing. I mean, the George Lopez show did a lot for Latino culture and Hollywood and on and on, and here we are, and this is amazing."
"It's surreal and you're going to get all the feels," Leyva added. "I promise you -- you're going to get all the feels because it is hard not to. I mean, I have to remind myself, 'This is not a drama. Keep it together!' It's just so wonderful to see them all together. La Familia."
Marie noted that the best part of the reunion was that the "chemistry is still there."
"After so many years, it's cellular memory. We all have the banter, we all have the shorthand, and we were in the trenches together," she added.
"It [was] very special to me because I was doing standup in obscurity for so many years. And then you get a chance to do something like that and there's no guarantee -- it hadn't really worked before," George recalled. "And then the idea that all of us are connected through television history is just amazing. Way beyond what I ever had intended for myself or expected of myself. So, set your goals high, kids."
Lopez vs Lopez also stars George's real-life daughter Mayan, Matt Shively as her boyfriend, Quinten, Brice Gonzalez as her son, Chance, and Al Madrigal as George's friend, Oscar.
"Constance actually said something that was very poignant," Mayan told ET when asked about working with actors she's known since she was a child. "She was like, 'It's kind of like we're passing the torch almost onto you.' It's very emotional. This is our family. They're family to us and now we have a similar show together."
The actress said that having the two casts work together has created "such a beautiful moment not only for us but for the audience as well."
"Everyone's going to watch it because again, they are attached to these characters. Now they have a new family that they get to know and love," Mayan added.
Marie shared a similar sentiment, recalling watching Mayan grow up from her set visits to George Lopez as a child and seeing her now as an actress and a peer in the industry.
"I feel like a TV mom to her as well because I mean, she was so little and she used to show up, draw pictures and now she's on this side of the line and it's surreal," she gushed about the series co-creator. "I think the first day it took me a very long time to put it all together that they were them. And she was a fully grown woman with her own funny and her own work ethic. And it still takes me by surprise."
The experience has been just as emotional for Mayan whose perspective has shifted since she was five years old when George Lopez began. "Now I'm able to do it alongside them and even as I watch them, that's part of my education," she added. "Now it's a big notch to me that I'm able to act alongside them and have these moments. It's just one of those beautiful life moments that I never would've appreciated and that I'm so grateful to have. It just speaks to the magic of Lopez vs Lopez already."
The holiday episode is especially poignant for a series built on the theme of reconnection and healing. The NBC comedy was loosely inspired by the struggles in George and Mayan's complicated relationship.
"It's very easy for a father to leave a family and leave the mother and grandmothers with the kids. But Mayan and I didn't speak for a lot of years," George shared with ET. "And if you don't try, you can't get all that time back. And I mean, there's a lot of people who are estranged from the children. And where I've gone wrong and have done that because of all the relationships, I think the one in my life, the one with Mayan is the most valuable."
Although George noted that there are some elements of his relationship with Mayan that the show steers away from out of respect for other people involved, he said that production is able "to do a little bit of marrying comedy and drama" to create something that touches people's hearts.
He continued, saying, "We have a really great relationship. And since I remember what Mayan was like when she was really young... and see her through her childhood because she really was very funny as a kid and just so loving and friendly. And I remind myself of that girl as I see Mayan the woman."
And George isn't the only cast member speaking Mayan's praises. Shively couldn't help but gush about his co-star, sharing that his onscreen "partner in crime" initially began as a mentee to him.
"It's been incredible because I've done this for a long time...at first it started as a mentor thing where she would ask me questions because I know a little bit more. And then it was like we started realizing that we were kind of going through this journey together and it was something completely new," he told ET. "I remember telling her when it first started, 'It's going to take seven or eight episodes for us to feel comfortable in these scenes.' Then halfway through the second episode, I was like, 'Whoa, okay. No, it's all happening right now.'"
"And that was kind of the overall thing that's been happening of just being like, this is special. This is different," Shively added. "So it's also a thing of -- with Selenis and Mayan and George -- anytime I get to work with any of them, it's like we're getting better and better every day. And it's so much fun. This is the dream job."
"It's funny and it's heartwarming and it's appealing to a huge cross-section of people] -- not just Latinos -- because people spend a lot of money on this show and they got a lot of really good people on it. You guys got to tune in and watch it because it's hilarious," Rodriguez vowed.
"Lopez vs Christmas" airs on NBC Dec. 16.