'Bob Hearts Abishola' Season 2 Episode 4: Antisemitism, homophobia, and more red flags emerge on hit show
At this point, the only reason 'Bob Hearts Abishola' gets away with all these offensive statements in the name of "comedy," is because Chuck Lorre's name is attached to it
Chuck Lorre may have marketed his newest sitcom, 'Bob Hearts Abishola' on CBS as one that would tell the story of immigrants -- and the first to feature an African immigrant family as regular characters on American television. But a few episodes into the second season we are growing less convinced. What started as the story of an American man, Bob Wheeler (Billy Gardell) falling for his Nigerian immigrant nurse, Abishola Adebambo (Folake Olowofoyeku), is nothing more than a caricature.
We had earlier written about Lorre favoring the method of "lampshade hanging", which he uses to peddle racist and sexist dialogues, as viewers of 'Two and a Half Men' and 'The Big Bang Theory' may recognize. While you may recognize these dialogues as being racist, by using the technique of lampshade hanging, the writers are trying to make it so that yes, they know that their writing is racist as well, but they are acknowledging it and making it funny, so critics cannot target them for it.
This week's episode of 'Bob Hearts Abishola' was no different and we noticed way too many red flags for the show to be appropriate for today's climate. For instance, when Bob's health is a concern and Abishola talks to his family about it, his mother, Dottie Wheeler (Christine Ebersole) asks what religion the doctor is. When she is chided, she says if the doctor is a Jew, in this case, it is al right. And while it may not seem so, this line is quite antisemitic. But it does not end here with this episode.
As Bob's sister, Christina Wheeler (Maribeth Monroe), empathizes with Bob about his issues with food, and that she knows the family needs to be supportive, Dottie tells her that she is supportive when Christina is "skinny." In the same scene, Dottie mocks Christina for having to go to "crazy camp."
There is also, of course, racism and classism. As Bob's brother, Douglas Wheeler (Matt Jones) works on the floor with Goodwin (Bayo Akinfemi) and Kofo (Anthony Okungbowa), Christina mocks him for his position in the company. Additionally, Christina calls Goodwin and Kofo "lounge losers," and Goodwin laments that he has to go through all this in spite of having a Master's degree. Now, this is a real thing, where immigrants who have higher education are often forced to work physical jobs because they find it hard to get hired according to their qualifications, but the Lorre comedy pushes it off in just that one statement. And when Christina and Douglas hire a coffee truck for their employees to boost morale, they themselves refuse to go to it because it is "gross."
In another scene, as Abishola's friend and colleague, Gloria Taylor (Vernee Watson) looks after Dottie, they make a series of offensive jokes. They first lament that the neighborhood they came from had more Black people moving in because housing prices fell. Then Gloria says the neighborhood needs gay people because they know how to "transform a neighborhood". Dottie first calls out the stereotyping, then says that she does not care that it is offensive.
At this point, the only reason 'Bob Hearts Abishola' gets away with all these offensive statements in the name of "comedy," is because Chuck Lorre's name is attached to it. The sitcom gets more disappointing, and we hope that the network won't continue to push it with the tag "diversity."
'Bob Hearts Abishola' airs on CBS on Monday nights at 8:30 pm EST.