by Fidel Martinez
It’s really hard to write anything intelligent about ¡Rob! because the show is far from it, but I’ll do my best*. The sitcom– it premiered last night and had dishearteningly good ratings– focuses on Rob Schneider’s character (creatively named Rob), who marries a Mexican girl and must now deal with her seemingly conservative and traditional Mexican family. Hilarity ensues!
Just kidding. The show is bland. Admittedly, I did laugh once (it was a joke about Selena), but I have a sneaking suspicion that the copious amounts of alcohol I drank before and during its airing was the one responsible for that chuckle. But you don’t need me to tell you how dumb and unfunny the show is. You’re smart enough to have deduced that from the preview, or from the multiple opinions of televisions of critics who are more qualified to judge it than I am (Latino Rebels compiled excerpts from said reviews).
But what ¡Rob! lacks in humor, it more than makes up in lazy (like a Mexican!) stereotypes. In fact, out of the 24 possible stereotypes we used to make our bingo card, the sitcom hit sixteen of them. Then again, what do you expect from a television show whose staff, excluding the majority of the cast and the hair stylist (not kidding), lacks any real diversity?
And it’s precisely this lack of people of color behind the camera (and in the writing room) that makes ¡Rob! so offensive. Even if the creators were making a concerted effort to portray Latinos in a positive light (highly doubtful), they’d still stumble into the same pitfalls over and over. Take Fernando, the patriarch of the Mexican family played by Cheech Marin. Fernando is a successful businessman. This is a good thing for sure. But how did he make his money? By working his ass off at a car wash, which he later bought (along with five others).
In ¡Rob!‘s world, affluent Latinos are not out of the realm of possibility, so long as they do it through hard physical labor and beat the odds to reach said wealth. Fernando and his family are closer to The Jeffersons than to the Huxtables. God forbid White America deal with the fact that more and more of us are educated and earn money with our brains instead of with our hands and backs.
Unfortunately, ¡Rob! is here to stay, at least for a couple of more episodes. According to The Hollywood Reporter, roughly 14.3 million tuned in to watch ¡Rob!‘s series premiere and a good chunk of that were Latinos. I find that to be seriously depressing but not particularly surprisingly given that George Lopez’s eponymous series lasted six seasons largely to Latino’s misplaced fidelity for all things brown.
The good news is that so long as the show exists, Tu Vez will be here to make fun of it. It’s probably a losing battle, but it’s all I can do.
*Coincidentally, the last time I used the phrase “it’s really hard to write about…” was for my review of the disgusting Human Centipede 2.
Fidel Martinez is the Managing Editor of Tu Vez.
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