Bob (hearts) Abishola

A smaller Billy wraps a big success

During the five-year run of “Bob (Hearts) Abishola” (shown here), lives have transformed.
Folake Olowofoyeku became a star, Gina Yashere became an American, Chuck Lorre became rich (well, richer). And Billy Gardell became barely more than half his size.
“I was in a place with my health that I needed to make a severe change,” Gardell told the Television Critics Association. He did, with bariatric surgery and careful living.
The Gardell we’ll see on the series finale (8:30 p.m., May 6, on CBS) is about 5-foot-11, 207 pounds. There were times when he apparently topped 370. Read more…

Yes, sitcoms are fine — mostly on Thursdays

TV keeps teetering between two extremes – comedy is king and comedy is dead.
Now we’re at the latter. Laughs are scarce … except on Thursdays, when they reach excess.
Now the best ones are back: After a four-week break, CBS’ Thursday comedies have new episodes Jan. 21. Three are very funny (including “B Positive,” shown here), one is adequate, all are welcome.
And all are in a tough time for situation comedies. As Variety, the trade paper, put it: “Three episodes of CBS’ ‘Young Sheldon’ were the only sitcoms to make this year’s list of top 100 telecasts with total viewers. Among adults 18-49, there were none.” Read more…

African immigrants (fictional or real) have their TV moments

Stories of African immigrants are getting a rare spurt of TV attention.
You can find them Monday (Aug. 3) in a witty comedy – “Bob (Hearts) Abishola,” 8:30 p.m. on CBS — and a serious documentary, “POV,” 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). You can even see this beneath the reality-show glitz of “Real Housewives of Potomac,” at 9 p.m. Sundays on Bravo.
And yes, that’s a huge range – from comedy and glitter to the PBS film. which describes the six-year ordeal of a woman simply identified as Sabine (shown here), who went from country to country. Read more…

Culture clash? Nigerian grit meets reality-show glitz

TV is fond of opposites and odd couples, so maybe this makes sense:
When “Real Housewives of Potomac” starts its season Sunday (Aug. 2), a hard-working Nigerian-American – with four college degrees, three children and many jobs – will join the flashy crowd.
It’s not a total mismatch, Wendy Osefo said. “I’m in the same social circles as some of the ladies.” (She’s shown here. socially circling with her husband Edward and, right, Candiace Dillard._
Still, we think of the various “Real Housewives” reality shows as being filled with glitz, with privileged people who are ready to throw a drink or at raise a fuss. By comparison, Osefo’s life has involved constant motion. “I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel,” she said, without really complaining. Read more…

It’s catch-up time, with “Bob” reruns

I’ve already babbled about “Bob (Hearts) Abishola,” the season’s best new situation comedy.
ut now is a handy time to catch up: In a 10-day stretch, you can see three key reruns. The pilot film is 9:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 21); others are 8:30 p.m. Dec. 25 and 30.
What you’ll see is a show with a unique style and pace. It’s not like other sitcoms – including other gems (“Big Bang,” “Mom”) from the same producer, Chuck Lorre; for that, we’ll credit Gina Yashere (shown here). Read more…

Amid comedy — a love letter to immigrants

As Gina Yashere tells it, her career choices were limited.
“I used to … say that in a Nigerian amily, there are only four choices of jobs – doctor, lawyer, engineer, disgrace to the family.”
She took the third choice (briefly being an engineer in London) and then the fourth, as a stand-up comedian. Now her roots are reflected in this fall’s first new broadcast-network show. Read more…