Written by Penelope Farthing
A new comedy, Bob Hearts Abishola (trailer linked here), spearheaded by Chuck Lorre, the producer behind The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Mean will be gracing the screens this fall, and I have a few thoughts about it.
Bob, a middle-aged compression sock businessman from Detroit, unexpectedly falls for his cardiac nurse while recovering from a heart attack and sets his sights on winning her over. Undaunted by Abishola’s lack of initial interest or the vast differences in their backgrounds — she’s originally from Nigeria — Bob is determined to win Abishola’s heart in this comedic examination of immigrant life in America (from CBS).
From the trailer, it looks like Bob is very keen to get to know more about Abishola (to the point of looking a bit on the stalker side, which I didn’t like). Being presented as the prize is a very good look and I like that.
Abishola will be portrayed by Folake Olowoyeku, whose previous credits include roles in The Gifted and Transparent. The role of her aunt will be played by the hilarious Shola Adewusi, who I know from Chewing Gum (another hilarious comedy definitely worth checking out!). Gina Yashere, a comedian I remember from way back on Last Comic Standing over a decade ago, is listed as one of the show’s creators. I am excited to see this line up.
I’m thrilled to see unambiguously black women, dark skinned women at that, featured heavily in this trailer! And, they’re not slaves or maids, either. All too often biracial women are cast in the role of love interest, or in roles that are meant for fully black women, so it is refreshing to see so much chocolatey goodness front and center.
Even though I am not Nigerian myself, I am so pleased to see Nigerian culture represented on prime time, by actual Nigerians/people of Nigerian descent. Black Panther was great, but obviously fictional, and Luke Cage season 2 was a fun watch, but even I could tell those Jamaican accents were inauthentic and lost in translation. If done well, this could even open doors for Nollywood actresses to make their stateside debut, and I’m here for it!
By the way, just in case you didn’t know or you forgot, representation is important. Take a look at the comment section of the trailer; it is filled with people rejoicing that Nigerian culture is being featured, without using tropes of the Nigerian scammer prince and people thrilled that an actual Nigerian woman was cast in the role of a Nigerian. I am just so happy to see this.
It seems the single mother stereotype follows us in real life and in fiction. Abishola has a young son (pushed to be a doctor and take care of her once she is old, in true African fashion) and no dad in sight. Dad’s absence is not explained in the trailer. Even though this fate is just art imitating life, I wish this detail was left out.
I get the premise of “unlikely love story” that they are trying to promote, but an obese cardiac patient who already has one heart attack under his belt isn’t a good way to go. I would have preferred if Bob was in good health from the jump.
Call me crazy, but if my coworker gave out my home address to a customer, patient, client, hell, even a long lost family member, literally anyone, without my express consent, in Detroit of all places, I would be livid to the extreme. I know it is a sitcom and I am meant to suspend my disbelief for 22 minutes, but it’s crazy out here and that part really stood out to me. Maybe if the nurse took a message, or said to come back some other day, it would seem less egregious. That’s my only petty gripe from the trailer.
I’m sure certain members in the He-Man Black Woman Haters Club will turn their noses up at the idea of a heavily accented, unambiguously black woman being chased and potentially courted by a white suitor. They will complain that this freshman comedy is destroying the image of black love (ignoring the real life things that are destroying black love more than this little show); white supremacy is keeping black people apart, and so on. Meanwhile, black TV networks aren’t really pushing the black love narrative either.
They blame Hollywood for the interracial relationship pRoPaGaNdA; meanwhile, the top black shows at the time of writing are Blackish (which features a biracial woman in a leading role), The Chi (which I only heard about due to one of the male star’s sexual misconduct allegations; to its credit it does have unambiguously black women in it, but it has a stain on it thanks to that guy and the showrunner’s inaction in response), and Atlanta (spearheaded by a colorist black man partnered with his non-black baby mama in real life, and featuring another biracial woman, in the role of baby mama, not wife). I haven’t heard too much complaining about these…don’t they sully black love too?
Overall, despite the issues I’ve pointed out in the trailer, I still think it’s worth a watch. Sitcoms aren’t really my thing (I like drama more), but I’ll definitely be tuning in! Bob Hearts Abishola premieres on CBS September 23rd. What say you? Let us know what you think in the comments below.