Monday, September 30, 2019

REVIEW: 'Bob Hearts Abishola' - Auntie Olu and Uncle Tunde Struggle to Spy on Bob in 'Nigerians Don't Do Useless Things'

CBS' Bob Hearts Abishola - Episode 1.02 "Nigerians Don't Do Useless Things"

While Bob waits for Abishola to make the next move, her Auntie Olu and Uncle Tunde make it hard for her by stalking him.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of CBS' Bob Hearts Abishola.

"Nigerians Don't Do Useless Things" was written by Chuck Lorre, Al Higgins & Gina Yashere and directed by Beth McCarthy-Miller

Bob was the one heavily pursuing Abishola in the series premiere. The situation isn't entirely reversed in the second episode. However, Abishola's friends and family are the ones now pushing her to go out with Bob. It's much more than that though. They are essentially planning for a wedding and how their lives will dramatically improve once they have a successful businessman in the family. It's all about how this potential relationship could change their lives. To Olu and Tunde, that justifies all the stalking that they do. They are now the ones following Bob around in order to get a sense of his life. They are invading his personal space with no real sense of boundaries. Sure, they are terrible at being covert. They are quickly discovered with Bob promptly following them home in order to get some answers. He is allowed to blow up in that way because he can understand that this behavior is wrong when someone else is doing it. When he was the one stalking though, it was perceived as charming because he was taking a chance on love. Of course, he improves himself slightly here by saying that it's all fully on Abishola now to decide whether or not they should pursue this moving forward. He doesn't want to pressure her into doing something she doesn't want to do. Instead, that honor now belongs to her family. Sure, her friends at work tell her that she should have some fun. She shouldn't be so busy with her life that it's impossible for her to have a fulfilling relationship. She shouldn't still be holding onto the marriage that didn't last. She is still married though. Her husband is back in Nigeria and she hasn't seen him in eight years. But she hasn't had to deal with the reality of all of that because she hasn't met someone new. She doesn't really intend to do so either. And yet, she does have tea with Bob during her break at work. That's the arrangement that Olu and Tunde sign off on her behalf. She may feel pressure to do so though because she doesn't want to disappoint her family. This is clearly important to her aunt and uncle. She is willing to suffer through it all just to appease them. The relationship may not go anywhere. Of course, this is an entire series built around Bob and Abishola. So, there has to be some reason why they continue to be a part of each other's lives. The audience should see them as a potential relationship that will work out in the end. It shouldn't be easy in the beginning though. The narrative has to figure out just how appropriate it can be with how all of this started. The behavior of certain individuals in this world isn't okay. But it also allows the narrative to move forward. Bob's family members certainly aren't doing anything all that interesting. Sure, Christine Ebersole gets to sing here. That's really her only showcase moment though. Bob's mother and siblings are still such broad characters who don't quite work yet. That may showcase how Bob's life is traditionally known and he needs the excitement that comes from Abishola's world. They don't really know each other though. In fact, their tea date is very awkward. Sure, they get some of the pleasantries out in the early going. That's largely as far as it goes though. It ultimately doesn't matter that Bob's father died 25 years ago on this day. Instead, he talks about his failed marriage. It's just a detail that helps define his backstory. It's a common question to ask on a first date. The same goes for Abishola talking about her past. It's all useful information. It still isn't really creating enough of a spark though for the audience to easily invest in this relationship. It's still rather forced even though the individual performers are putting in a ton of work in order to make the laughs come roaring out of the studio audience. Some of them are effective at least.