At a time when President Donald Trump is pushing a fierce policy on U.S. immigration, TV creator Chuck Lorre is out to remind the nation’s TV viewers how great immigrants are again with his new CBS series Bob Hearts Abishola.
The Big Bang Theory co-creator showed up at TCA wearing a yellow baseball cap with the acronym “IMAG”. “It means Immigrants make America Great,” Lorre told the press. Bob Hearts Abishola follows a Detroit sock businessman (Billy Garell) who after having a heart attack, falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant (Folake Olowofoyeku). To ensure that the series has a faithful take on Nigerian culture, Lorre tapped stand-up comedian Gina Yashere as part of his writing team.
Yet despite having a show about immigrants at a time when it’s a hot topic in the news, Lorre says that Bob Hearts Abishola is “not a political show.”
“It’s an homage of what we’ve been through, what our ancestors have been through which is coming here and somehow finding a foothold and making a life for ourselves and for our children, and descendants. If you dig deep, maybe every show is a political show. This is just a show that takes the time to recognize the greatness in that endeavor,” said Lorre.
Asked by a TCA press member about the notion of Abishola’s character coming into the U.S. legally, versus illegally, Lorre asserted, “We’re not commenting about legal or illegal immigrants. we’re making a comment on the people who are working here and working their hearts out.”
Throughout the TCA session, some members questioned Lorre whether the comedy series would play in certain parts of the country, whether it would be an acquired taste or if affiliate stations would attempt to block or boycott the series.
“What did Mel Brooks say? ‘Hope for the best, expect the worst,'” said Lorre, who told the Beverly Hilton ballroom that he doesn’t worry about what potential viewers might think. “I can’t figure out the audience,” said Lorre, “that’s a path to madness and failure, then you start pandering.”
One reporter told star Billy Gardell “not to take offense over the risk of profiling,” but he looks like the type of American guy who would turn off Bob Hearts Abishola. “Do you think of yourself as the ambassador of tolerance.”
The Mike & Molly star shared a story about his late father’s parting words. “He told me two things that I hold with me every day. First, don’t make a mess. You’re being kind…that catches on, and I think we should all be advocates of kindness and tolerance; I don’t know when that became confusing.”
“Second, be careful who you hang out with,” said Gardell, “and I think I’m hanging out with the right people.”