Rob Schneider’s questionable appeal will be put to the test in “Rob,” a series said to be loosely based on his life, about a guy who marries a stunning, considerably younger Latina and inherits her large, boisterous family. Pitched as broadly as it is, the show’s ethnic stereotypes are less offensive than its triteness, barring a few over-the-top moments of mirth. “The Big Bang Theory” continues to knock ’em dead at 8 p.m., but CBS doesn’t look to have done the Thursday hit any favors with its latest arranged scheduling marriage.
In keeping with the tone of Schneider’s movies (who can forget the “Deuce Bigalow” franchise? Hopefully, everybody), “Rob” keeps putting the actor’s eponymous character in absurdly embarrassing situations, after racing through the basic premise: He’s eloped with the lovely Maggie (Claudia Bassols), but now has to weather meeting her folks, Fernando (Cheech Marin) and Rosa (Diana Maria Riva).
Naturally, when he arrives at their house, the place is teeming with people, including Maggie’s uncle (Eugenio Derbez), who says he’s “visiting,” which means he’s never leaving.
Wild misunderstandings ensue, most leaving Rob looking like an even bigger boob than he is. Moreover, he’s a trifle obsessive-compulsive, so little things — like people failing to wipe their feet on the doormat — nearly send him over the edge.
Written by Schneider and prod ucer Lew Morton, the show derives some of its gags from generic meet-the-in-laws issues, and many more from poking fun at Hispanics as well as Rob’s awkward attempts to fit in. Perhaps the best bit has nothing to do with either; as played by Marin, Fernando’s fear of angering his wife, and his willingness to throw Rob under the bus to avoid her wrath, is grin-worthy.
If there are a few mildly amusing moments, though, we’ve seen almost all of them, including the similarly themed Matthew Perry-Salma Hayek movie “Fools Rush In.” It’s also rather disheartening CBS hasn’t sought to capitalize on “Big Bang’s” success with something that hews closer to its tone, which can be broad, yes, but also extremely smart.
“Rob” might be a lot things, but “smart” isn’t an adjective apt to crop up frequently in connection with it.
“I’m sorry I’m not younger or taller,” an exasperated Rob says, trying to win over Maggie’s parents.
But that conveniently overlooks his main deficiency. To woo America — or at least retain an acceptable percentage of “Big Bang’s” viewers — try being funnier. Otherwise, vaya con dios .