Once upon a time, there was a comedian who made us all laugh and smile every Saturday night. This comedian was enthralled by copy machines, sensitive about his omnipresent nudity, really liked inappropriate customer service, and sometimes did a fairly decent Elvis impersonation. In short, this comedian was once hilarious. At least, that’s how I remember Rob Schneider’s tenure on “Saturday Night Live” in the 90s. Though, at the time I also really loved Surf Ninjas, so it’s possible I had a terrible sense of quality before puberty.
Pretty much as soon as Schneider left “SNL,” though, he seemed to star in some of the worst cinematic comedies of all time. The Animal, both Deuce Bigalow’s, The Hot Chick, and
The Stapler Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb are so offensive to the term “comedy” that Nick Swardson never has to really worry about being the worst offender. Rob Schneider will always be there to sink even lower.
Which brings us to the comedian’s (ahem) new CBS sitcom “¡Rob!” premiering January 12, 2012. Though, apparently, CBS is willing to let bloggers and entertainment reporters float with just writing “Rob” because apparently it’s too much of a pain in the ass to get Spanish punctuation to work right. But those pesky exclamation points do serve a purpose, which is to immediately announce that Rob Schneider’s sitcom character is not of Hispanic descent, but has married into a Hispanic family — hijinks ensue! The first trailer for the new show doubles down on this, by going to the old standby of labeling Schneider as a “gringo” in a family full of, um, non-gringos. But that premise isn’t too far from “The Odd Couple” in theory, so surely it couldn’t be too terrible, could it?
It’s like some network executive is a big, big fan of Sophia Vergara in “Modern Family” (who isn’t?) and decided that a whole series based around her cultural cliches would be hilarious. While Rob Schneider (or Cheech Marin) is no Sophia Vergara, “Rob” certainly doesn’t look worse than The Animal, but that’s got to be the definition of “damning with faint praise.” Of course, this is CBS, so quality programming is the last thing that matters here.
Prediction: “Rob” will last six seasons and a movie, and I’ll then start going by my middle name, Gerard. No Gerards have ever done anything to be ashamed of, right?
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here. He’s pretty sure Rob Schneider can’t even be described as a “guilty pleasure.”