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TV Series Review

When we look at the sitcom ¡Rob! we've got to give CBS credit for landing on a multilayered title. After all, it references Rob, the main character. It name-checks Rob Schneider, who in this sitcom makes the dubious move from perennial Adam Sandler sidekick to network star. And it effectively describes what CBS is doing to viewers: robbing them of their time … and perhaps a few brain cells too.

The setup is (of course) simple: Rob falls in love with a beautiful Mexican-American woman named Maggie, and after a six-week whirlwind relationship the two run off to Vegas and get hitched. Shortly thereafter, Rob discovers that when he married Maggie, he was marrying into her close-knit family with a culture quite different from his own.

Alas, hilarity doesn't ensue. Instead, perhaps hilarity should sue for giving it a bad name.

Though the sitcom is loosely based (very loosely, I hope) on Schneider's own experiences marrying Patricia Azarcoya Arce in 2011, it feels tone-deaf. The pilot serves up paltry punchlines involving Mexican food, illegal immigration and sex-filled siestas. Rob says Maggie's extended family must be so big because they're Catholic … and you can almost hear the crickets. Clearly, these jokes aren't so much racist as they are insensitive and dumb.

"There can be no question that Latinos, the nation's largest ethnic minority group, are underserved by and under-represented on network TV," writes Robert Bianco of USA Today. "So yes, what a shame that the comedy Rob … plays less like a gift meant to appease these neglected viewers [than] as a weapon meant to silence them. It's as if CBS were saying, 'Keep complaining, and we'll give you more shows like this.'"

Admittedly, Rob himself takes it on the chin more than his in-laws do. And we see early hints that his show might transcend the exploration of stereotypes and more fully celebrate the family—the joy and frustration that comes with having fathers and mothers and brothers and grandmothers and second cousins all intimately involved in one another's lives.

But hints and mights don't make for a sure thing, and I can't say that I'm very optimistic. Because beyond the stereotypes, ¡Rob! employs much of the same crude humor Schneider was so adept at in his Sandler projects: crass language, tawdry sexuality and gratuitous guffaws at others' expense.

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Episode Reviews

Rob: 1262012



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Rob Schneider as Rob; Claudia Bassols as Maggie; Cheech Marin as Fernando; Diana Maria Riva as Rosa; Lupe Ontiveros as Abuelita; Eugenio Derbez as Hector






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Paul Asay

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