Rob Schneider and Claudia Bassols star in "Rob." (Sonja Flemming / CBS )
A few days into 2012, ABC's cross-dressing disaster "Work It" managed to claim Worst Comedy of the Year, but surely CBS' "Rob," which debuts Thursday, comes in a close second.
Created by comedian Rob Schneider and based, apparently and tragically, on his own life, "Rob" takes a classic "Bridget Loves Bernie" setup — Anglo man marries Mexican American woman after whirlwind romance and now must meet her family — and manages to make it weirdly offensive to just about everyone, especially comedy lovers.
Rob (Schneider) is a short, middle-aged, Los Angeles landscape architect with OCD and isolationist tendencies to whom Mexican culture is so strangely alien that he views guacamole as a novelty. Never mind that he lives in Los Angeles and is, you know, a landscape architect, but has he never been to Trader Joe's?
Maggie (Claudia Bassols) is a tall, young and beautiful book translator, making the couple's cultural differences the smallest disparity in the room. Never mind young love, you're completely on the outraged side of Maggie's family, even before Rob gets himself into a series of seriously imbecilic scrapes, one of which involves him appearing to have sex with Maggie's grandmother.
And honestly, having just written that sentence, is it necessary to continue with this review? No doubt there is a grain of truth in the absurd tensions that fuel "Rob" — the overwhelming and sometimes invasive tendencies of a large family, the real cultural differences "mixed" couples encounter, the revelations of early marriage — but Schneider clearly does not think his audience is sophisticated enough to deal with anything more nuanced than Frito-Bandito slapstick.
What with Maggie's henpecked father (a shamefully wasted Cheech Marin), her absurdly controlling mother (a shamefully wasted Diana Maria Riva), her larcenous uncle Hector, (a shamefully wasted Eugenio Derbez, who is actually the funniest thing in the pilot), "Rob" plays like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" after seven or eight tequila shots.
Maybe someone should do a show about an Anglo man who must face his Mexican American in-laws after he's done a terrible show about them. That might be funny.