For the first time in a very very long time, I watched commercials yesterday while watching TV. I was treated to an advertisement for an upcoming series Rob, a show about a man who marries a woman who is way hotter than him (typical sitcom set-up) and struggles to get her Mexican-American family to accept him. On the surface, this seems innocent enough, but there is a darker truth behind this poorly advertised show. The crucial problem with these ads is that they openly advertise the fact that it is a show starring Rob Schneider. That is like telling someone to open a door, but behind the door lurks a terrifying serial killer. However, there is a very small chance the serial killer will turn out to be reformed and uninterested in slicing you up into tiny pieces. Please, take the risk and open the door, there might not be a great payoff, but you might not die either. That is how I feel about the advertisements that try to entice me into watching this new series. You may think I’m being extreme or that I’m the only one who thinks simply “ew” when I see this man on television, but I don’t feel I’m alone in my negative feelings towards this actor.
Once I actually asked: “What’s that movie called that’s coming out? You know the one that stars Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock…”
“Grown Ups?” My friend replied, an expression of disbelief on his face, “Why on earth would you choose Rob Schneider as the first person to name in that lineup. He’s awful. I would have named Kevin James before naming him, and he sucks too.”
Provocative stuff, I know. That is a question I have continued to ponder since the moment I uttered that bizarrely phrased question. Why did I name him first? I finally have a theory, and that theory is that Rob Schneider’s awfulness is what stuck out to me most. I can’t pinpoint my exact reason for my dislike of him, I think it’s just my lack of like has turned into dislike. The nothingness in my heart had to turn to something. SNL, that movie where he famously says “You can do it!”, Grown Ups, etc. If he had just faded away completely, perhaps my feeling of “meh” would have prevailed, but his lingering presence has made me cringe when he comes up, especially as a star in a show. Not just a background character but a star.
At dinner tonight, before finishing this post I posed a serious question to my family: “What are your feelings about Rob Schneider? Thoughts? Concerns? Comments?”
My father responded, “I don’t like him. I think Pauly Shore’s funnier, and I hate Pauly Shore.”
My brother chimed in, “I was JUST talking about this with my friends. I said, ‘I don’t think Adam Sandler’s funny’, and my friend was like, ‘At least he’s not Rob Schneider.’”
“Name the funniest SNL skit Rob Schneider’s ever done. No, name the funniest movie he’s ever done. No, wait, name any movie he’s been in.” My father said.
“That’s the problem, though,” I said sadly, “I can name a ton of movie’s he’s been in. He just won’t go away. Adam Sandler keeps putting him in his movies like 50 First Dates and that one where he says “You can do it”. Maybe Adam Sandler’s to blame for this television series.”
“Or maybe Rob Schneider has a picture of someone with a chicken or something. Blackmail. Wait, Rob Schneider was in that movie with, “You can do it”? I thought that was just Adam Sandler.”
“No, dad, he actually said that line.”
“Oh my God.”
“I just don’t get it,” My mother said, “Not only is he starring in the show, but they named it after him. How? Why?”
Powerful thoughts, indeed, family.
I feel that a better advertising strategy would have been to cover titular character Rob’s face with a picture similar to the one facebook uses when there’s no profile picture chosen by the user. A question mark over a white face would have done the trick. The show would have generated much hype because not even IMDB would reveal who this actor was. Rob Lowe? Rob(ert) Downey Jr.? Or perhaps a newcomer to the game, a man who, much like Madonna or Cher, needs no last name? He is simply Rob, and he is fabulous enough to pull off the one name game. This advertisement campaign would generate a mystery as exciting as all the unsolved ones from Lost combined. It would make everyone feel the way they did when they wondered just what the hell the storyline with Walt was supposed to be like before the writers realized the actor was aging to fast remain on the otherwise completely realistic and believable series, and instead of inventing some sort of strange plotline where kids aged superfast they just made him leave.
Perhaps after the reveal of Rob Schneider scared the majority of the audience away, the brave few who continued watching because they couldn’t find the remote or because both arms were broken and they couldn’t reach the remote, might be treated to a show that is actually funny. The issue here is that no one is going to even try this show out unless there’s a huge part of the population or a strange but dedicated niche fanbase who would love nothing more than a show called Rob to exist and star Rob Schneider. I recently learned about Bronies (young adult and adult men who love the rebooted version of My Little Pony Tales), after all, so anything seems possible to me now.
There’s a part of me that’s perversely curious about Rob and might to watch to see if I eat my own words and encounter God’s gift to television in the form of Rob Schneider. But then a bigger part of me would rather not lose a potentially precious half hour of my life on Rob Schneider.