Hit Or Miss: CBS's Bob Hearts Abishola
Set to premiere on September 23rd, CBS has a new sitcom by way of Chuck Lorre called Bob Hearts Abishola. The show stars Billy Gardell of Mike And Molly and newcomer Folake Olowofoyeku as Abishola. The other show creators include Eddie Gorodetsky, Al Higgins, and Gina Yashere. The story of Bob and Abishola begins with a sudden emergency visit to the local hospital after Bob has an unexpected heart attack. Abishola is a nurse at the hospital who is tasked to take care of Bob while he is recovering in the hospital. Bob falls head over heels for Abishola and tries his best to win her favor. Abishola is a first generation American from Nigeria. The inclusion of Co-creator Gina Yashere is a very important part of writing the show. Yashere, an up-and-coming comedian, has brought in her experiences as the child of Nigerian immigrants to imbue the sitcom with realistic cultural portrayals.
The trailer lays out all the basic exposition for the show to make sense. Broadly, this is a love story. The trailer focuses on the courting process. It’s great to see that Abishola is the focus of the show. We are briefly introduced to her family, friends, and the foundations of her world. Hopefully, this adds specificity to a tired television framework. Bob Hearts Abishola, like its NBC competitor Sunnyside is a sitcom that has a great opportunity to showcase empathetic and relatable immigrant experiences on a mainstream level. Fall network sitcoms rake in millions of views each week which should be a great incentive for quality content, although that is more often not the case.
There is nothing outstanding about the way the trailer is constructed. The music is a bit annoying and has the typical fade-out whenever a joke is about to be spoken. In other words, it just feels like another romantic sitcom. While the show may have a familiar feel, it wins with its diversity and specificity. One of the standout jokes involves Abishola singing a nigerian bedtime song outside the bathroom door to help Bob overcome his pee-shyness. The joke is not amazing, but it does incorporate the Abishola’s mother tongue which gives it greater cultural significance. The show has opportunities to explore family and community dynamics of immigrants living in America. This type of representation has been lacking in network television. Bob Hearts Abishola is a show with potential. The trailer makes that much clear. The show may not work, but it’s definitely worth giving it a shot.