Mr Robinson: NBC's new comedy struggles to look past the laugh track - The Guardian

What's the name of the show? Mr Robinson

Is he related to Mrs Robinson from The Graduate? No, he is Craig Robinson, formerly of the American version of The Office.

Why is it that the star of the show gets to play someone with his own name but everyone else has to have fake names? I don't know the answer to that, but it does seem very unfair.

When does Mr Robinson premiere? Wednesday, 5 August, at 9pm ET on NBC. The season is only six episodes and NBC is airing them back-to-back for three weeks.

It's a comedy on NBC, so it has to be good, right? I don't know where you've been, but NBC is having a huge problem with any comedy that requires more of a script than the daily drinking game Hoda and Kathie Lee play. Sure, it used to be the home of Must See TV and Friends, Seinfeld, 30 Rock and the Cosby Show. But those times have changed. Now that Parks & Recreation is off the air, NBC wants out of the critically acclaimed but low-rated comedy game. It passed on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, giving Netflix one of the biggest hits of the year, and instead is focusing on more mundane, three-camera sitcoms with the laugh track intact.

So that's what this show is? You betcha.

Are those rating better? Well, Big Bang Theory rates super well for CBS, but so far NBC hasn't been able to make anything as good as Big Bang Theory.

Damn, that is quite the burn. It's true. This show was made by brothers Robb and Mark Cullen, who are veterans of a number of TV shows none of which were ever really popular.

What's it about? Craig Robinson (Craig Robinson) is in a small-time funk band called Nasty Delicious that sings songs about Chocolate Muffins (it's a double entendre) and having a mirror on the ceiling. He plays with his brother Ben (Brandon T Jackson) and they're both broke. When Craig reconnects with his high school girlfriend Victoria (Meagan Good), he finds out she's a teacher. He wants to ask her out again, so he gets a job as a substitute music teacher at the same high school where she works. Unfortunately, he's under the eye of meddlesome principal Eileen (Peri Gilpin of Frasier fame) and her more supportive boss (Tim Bagley). He also hangs out with the wacky math teacher (Asif Ali), the math teacher who is also a stripper (Spencer Grammer, Kelsey's daughter), and the gym teacher, Magnum PE (Ben Koldyke). He teaches a bunch of super cute kids and he loves them so much he decides to become their teacher full time while turning gigs at night.

Damn. There are a whole lot of people on that show? Far too many. And I didn't even tell you about all the kids whose names you're supposed to know. The only funny one is named DJ Phone Book.

Someone carrying a yoga mat and drinking a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks is edgier and more original than this show

Is this show any good? Someone carrying a yoga mat and drinking a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks is edgier and more original than this show. The contrived backstory, the group of misfits who work together but are friends, the guy trying to win a girl who is far above what he deserves - this is essentially the same as Cheers but without any of the funny parts or the pathos of Sam being an alcoholic that runs a bar. The third episode of the show is about the principal losing her boss's dog when he goes away on a business trip and leaves the dog in her care. We've never seen that before on any sitcom ever.

Robinson is actually a very likable guy, has a great presence on screen, and can do the best with the scant material that he's given. But everything here is so basic and simplistic, you can see the resolutions coming from a mile away and, sorry to say, they aren't being trailed by hilarity.

That's not to say that a very broad comedy can't be good or funny. Look at CBS's Mom, which is one of the smartest, darkest comedies on television and it has a laugh track just like this one. The thing is that Mom gives the old formula some spins to update it and make it modern. Not only does Mr Robinson feel dated, I swear I've seen the sets in episodes of old shows. (If his apartment isn't the same one that was on How I Met Your Mother with a new paint job, I don't have eyes in my head.) If NBC is going to go broad it's going to need to stop recycling old material and find something new.

How's Nasty Delicious? They are actually the best part of the show. I'd much rather see 30 minutes of Robinson singing funny songs each week than have to put up with the rest of this tedium.

Should you watch this show? No, you shouldn't. And if this keeps up, you can write off NBC's comedies altogether.

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