Rob Schneider sitcom dripping with jokes about immigrants

By Cristina DC Pastor

Anyone who’s seen the premiere of “Rob” will tell you it’s Charlie Sheen, George Lopez and “Monk” rolled into one sitcom. Rob Schneider plays a sex-forward, OCD bachelor who marries into a large Mexican family.

The Latino anxiety that the CBS show would reinforce stereotypes about Mexican immigrants came to pass: There is the extended family with wall-to-wall aunties and cousins, the religious grandmother with her private altar, a visiting uncle who will not leave the country, and jabs about Latinos with two social security numbers.

Plot is simple enough: Rob, a landscape architect, elopes with Mexican girlfriend Maggie Gonzales. Maggie brings Rob to meet her family, but the domineering mother and laidback dad are unimpressed at the “gardener,” even though Rob introduces himself as a “big supporter of immigration rights.”

Rob sees an overflow of relatives, and asks, “These people are all Mexicans? Now I know what’s going on under all those siestas.”

The humor can be flat and stretched in some parts, but “Rob” shows promise. Schneider – whose grandmother is Filipino – is such a talented actor with perfect comic timing, but he can take the Latino jokes only up to a certain point. It would be curious to see how far he’d go, but then Schneider is known to fearlessly play the debunked ethnic stereotypes, such as the Japanese minister role in “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.”

A constant in many Adam Sandler comedies, Schneider is often cast in cameos with short scenes and flashy costumes — the Hawaiian local Ula in “Fifty First Dates” or Salim in “You Don’t Mess with Zohan.”

His own movies, such as the “Deuce Bigalow” series (1999 and 2005) and “The Hot Chick (2002),” were mild hits and known for jokes that ran the gamut of political incorrectness. An SNL pioneer, he continues to star in his friends’ films in a variety of small, striking roles.

“Rob” is said to be loosely based on Schneider’s life. In April, he married Mexican TV producer Patricia Azarcoya Arce, who has a passing resemblance to his towering TV wife Maggie.

One Comment

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