PASADENA, Calif. - The new CBS sitcom "Rob" (7:30 p.m., Thursday, Ch. 2) is built on a racial premise.
Rob Schneider stars as a lifelong bachelor who has just married Maggie (Claudia Bassols) after a brief courtship. And then he meets her Mexican-American family, where he doesn't exactly feel welcome.
Her parents (Cheech Marin and Diana Maria Riva) are not happy. Her grandmother (Lupe Ontiveros) doesn't speak English and doesn't understand what happened. And her Uncle Hector (Eugenio Derbez) is just plain crazy.
The show revels in racial stereotypes - it's filled with jokes about guacamole and illegal immigration - and makes no excuses for it.
"I don't think you want to stay away from the stereotypes," Marin said. "I think you want to confront them and deal with them."
The show is based on Schneider's real life, and - despite the racial jokes - Schneider insists no offense is intended.
"My wife is not going to let me do anything overly offensive,I guarantee you," he said. "I have to go home to my wife. She'll let me know.
"Nobody here is going to do anything disrespectful," Schneider continued. "I think we want to do things that are funny, and I think, if we could shed some light on it in a way that could be fun and people can relate to it, it's fine."
That makes "Rob" sound sort of high-brow, which it most definitely is not. It's low-brow comedy from beginning to end. The biggest surprise is that while it's not good, it's not entirely awful.
"Can I just add that Latinos have an incredible sense of humor, and they take pure delight in laughing at themselves," said Riva.
They're going to have to have a sense of humor to get through "Rob."
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