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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bob Hearts Abishola is a comedy series about a man who falls in love with his nurse, who is a Nigerian immigrant. If offers some lighthearted social commentary about what the immigrant experience is like in America. It also contains some strong language, including some racial slurs, that are offered in a context that points out how disturbing they are. There's also some sexual innuendo, bathroom jokes, mild arguments, and references to school fights. Sick (and sometimes dying) people are shown in the hospital. While some are offered in context, some viewers may consider the narratives and characterizations to be stereotypical.
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What's the story?
BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA is a romantic comedy series that examines immigrant life through the eyes of an unlikely couple. Billy Gardell plays Bob, a middle-aged man who runs a family-owned compression sock business with his mom, Dottie (Christine Ebersole), and his siblings, Christina (Maribeth Monroe) and Douglas (Matt Jones), in Detroit. When he is hospitalized after having a heart attack, he unexpectedly finds himself enjoying the company of his cardiac nurse, a first-generation Nigerian immigrant named Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku), who lives with her Aunt Olu (Shola Adewusi) and Uncle Tunde (Barry Shabaka Henley) in a small apartment with her son, Dele (Travis Wolfe Jr.). Despite the fact that they live very different lives, Bob actively pursues her. However, Abishola is more focused on taking care of her son and working hard so that he can have a better life. But Bob doesn't give up, which leads to the start of an interesting relationship.
Is it any good?
This series uses humor to create lighthearted stories about the immigrant experience in the United States at a time when immigrants, and immigration, are subjects of controversy. The awkward pairing of Bob and Abishola, whose differences range from being of separate racial and ethnic backgrounds to the ways they each reach for the American Dream, allows for some social commentary about the subject.
While some may find this groundbreaking, others may take issue with some of the all-too-standard conventions the show presents, such as the pursuit and (hopeful) romantic conquest of a black woman by a white man, and jokes about immigrants wanting to marry wealthy Americans. But there's also an earnestness about Bob Hearts Abishola that makes it likable, and the writers' efforts at slowly bringing the two characters together to find common ground give these stereotypes some context. Not everyone will appreciate it, or find it entertaining. Nonetheless, the positive messages the show presents about who immigrants are, the work that goes into building a life here, and the important role immigrants play in this country are a good thing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Abishola's family life different from Bob's. Are there any similarities between them?
What messages does Bob Hearts Abishola send about being an immigrant in the United States? Is it possible to address this subject without using generalizations about people or cultures?
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