Gracias, MALDEF: ¡ROB! Packs Strong Ratings, Despite Bad Reviews and Bad Comedy

In the end, the only thing that matters is this: 13.5 million viewers. That is the number of people who watched Rob Schneider's "¡ROB" pilot on CBS last night.

The show had suffered a barrage of critical reviews, including a scathing one by Time Magazine, but managed to gather a "shockingly" strong showing (says EW). Why the appeal? We offer the reasons for its ratings success:

 

When You Have Bad Reviews, Contact MALDEF

It's probably good to have friends in good positions (it's called networking, loyalty and smart politics), and last night's MALDEF e-mail blast did just that with an opening statement of its President:

“Latino-themed television series on English-language networks remain an extreme rarity even as the Latino population has grown to encompass one in six Americans. Tonight, CBS premieres a new Latino-themed comedy with a large Latino cast.” – Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF

In the end to us, it was kind of well, awkward, to get an email from Saenz urging people to support Latino-theme comedy. Have we truly become Latino sheep that just don't question anything?

Following Saenz's logic, where was the email to support "Work It" (or better yet, the email to demand an apology from ABC), "Ugly Betty" (canceled), "Mind of Mencía" (sucked), and "Greetings from Tucson" (really sucked). Those were all Latino-themed shows, too. The fact remains: MALDEF supported the show because the show has strong connections to MALDEF. That's cool. Very well played.

 

Get a Latina Icon to Tweet Out Support for One Her Actor Friends

Now we believe Dolores Huerta has done amazing and incredible work all her life, and we had the pleasure of meeting her (heck, we even list her as a true Latina Rebel on our FB site). And she was tweeting for a friend, which is fine. But we find it a bit hard to believe that Huerta was belly laughing, especially in the scene where Rob's character was accidentally humping his wife's abuelita (played by Lupe Ontiveros)

 

Have Just Very Amazing Positive Comments Show Up on Your Facebok Wall

Damn the critics. Let the people talk!

 

Run a Piñata Campaign on Facebook

Do we even have to explain that one? Wondering if Saenz, MALDEF, and Saenz saw that marketing campaign for the show? WHACK AND WIN!!!!!!

 

 

Put the Clueless Gringo in the Middle of a Long Conga Line! 

Because Latinos are whacky and love to dance! And other Americans love when Latinos dance because other Americans can't dance as well as Latinos!

 

 

In the meantime, we are HOPING that ¡Rob! succeeds, but it won't if the following doesn't happen:

  • Hire 2-3 Latino writers who actually know the issues that the show wants to explore.
  • Give the lead to Cheech Marin. THAT is the show. A Latino Archie Bunker! Imagine how cool it would be to have an second-generation middle-aged Latino character who sees his world changing. Who sees people from other Latin American countries arrive (watch out Mexico, here comes Central America) and now HE is the man with the money. HE is the job creator who forgets his own roots. Dialogues would open up! Comedy opens eyes! World views would change!
  • No more guacamole jokes, no more tequila jokes, no more dead guy candle jokes, no more Julio Iglesias jokes, and we get that Selena is popular in Latino culture. Dig into the jokes a little deeper. Actually ask people who have lived in that situation. Hence, go back to bullet 1. Hire 2-3 Latinos writers.
  • If you don't give the lead role to Cheech, give it to Eugenio Derbez. Have a magic ICE genie get rid of his accent and just make him a normal person who happens to be undocumented. Do you really have to have him speak like that? Does he have to be so shifty? Don't you connect the dots, adoring Facebook audience of positive comments?
  • Have the family take Rob to the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. Throw him off the cliff. Family celebrates with a conga line. Cheech gets his own show.
  • Be funny. Like a commenter said to us on our page (and yes, CBS, people on Facebook and Twitter have other opinions that don't appear on your one-way public relations fan page): "Very sad there was no laughs, no menudo. Cheech my man wth? Call me, my dog could write a better script for you."

We could get into more details about the show, but instead we will let our friends at Tu Vez speak:

But what ¡Rob! lacks in humor, it more than makes up in lazy (like a Mexican!) stereotypes. In fact, out of the 24 possible stereotypes we used to make our bingo card, the sitcom hit sixteen of them. Then again, what do you expect from a television show whose staff, excluding the majority of the cast and the hair stylist (not kidding), lacks any real diversity?

And it’s precisely this lack of people of color behind the camera (and in the writing room) that makes ¡Rob! so offensive. Even if the creators were making a concerted effort to portray Latinos in a positive light (highly doubtful), they’d still stumble into the same pitfalls over and over. Take Fernando, the patriarch of the Mexican family played by Cheech Marin. Fernando is a successful businessman. This is a good thing for sure. But how did he make his money? By working his ass off at a car wash, which he later bought (along with five others).

In ¡Rob!‘s world, affluent Latinos are not out of the realm of possibility, so long as they do it through hard physical labor and beat the odds to reach said wealth. Fernando and his family are closer to The Jeffersons than to the Huxtables. God forbid White America deal with the fact that more and more of us are educated and earn money with our brains instead of with our hands and backs.

In the meantime, let the mainstream decide what they want to watch. Networks will only go for the ratings, stereotypes be damned. We will stick to our Netflix and Independent shows that would kick ¡Rob's! ass in a sitcom street fight.

MALDEF and others can speak about progression for Latinos and once in a while lose their focus due to a misguided desire to "make it in America." (PS, they still will pull us over in Arizona for driving brown, even if we support mainstream TV shows). Shows like ¡Rob! are all about regression and the 4H's of Hispanic Hollywood that actor Esai Morales so eloquently describes in the following video.

13.5 million viewers? Wait, where have we heard that number before?

The GOP’s Mixed Message to the US Latino Voter

 

GUEST POST BY STEPHEN A. NUÑO

When Rick Santorum made his statement about Blacks on welfare, he touched a familiar nerve among its traditional voting base.  In a room of largely white voters in a State with an African-American population of virtually zero, Santorum said, “I do not want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money, I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” 

With heads nodding in approval, applause even, Santorum appealed to a stereotype long perpetuated and successfully applied to win over white voters throughout the South, where it would be difficult to find an institution more despised than the GOP.

By Veronica Bravo, USA TODAY

Yet the growing demographic power of Latinos in key states, particularly Texas, makes it obvious to anyone who can see beyond their nose that the GOP cannot sustain this tactic for much longer. Meg Whitman ran for governor of California as a centrist and it wasn’t until her campaign ran into the issue of immigration that she was derailed.  In an election season ripe for her ascendance, and in a stunning example of political tone-deafness by her advisers, Whitman turned to Pete Wilson for help on the issue.  Its not necessary to go through the Prop 187 episode here, but asking Pete Wilson for advice on immigration in California is like asking Dina Lohan for advice on parenting.

Similarly, Sharon Angle ran for Senate in Nevada in an election she had no business losing, but once again, the potency of white angst was too much for her clueless advisors to resist, not to mention her clearly deficient leadership capabilities.

The Republicans are still stuck in the past, and if they are to expand their appeal the GOP will have to own up to its past.  Latinos have been waiting for some coherent message from the GOP and this week there was an indicator that message would come.  The Republican Party announced that Bettina Inclán would head the Hispanic outreach effort of the Republican National Committee.  However, on that same day, Mitt Romney boasted about the endorsement of Kris Kobach, one of the main architects of the waves of anti-immigrant legislation around the country, including Arizona’s infamous SB1070. 

While Inclán has some experience within the Party structure there’s no evidence they will listen to her. The mixed messaging coming from the Party with the announcement of Kobach’s endorsement demonstrates a decided lack of consciousness about the sentiments of Latinos. Perhaps Inclán can change that. She will need to work hard to gain the trust of Hispanics rather than just repeat the Party line.  Whether or not the GOP will allow her to do that is another question.

Professor Stephen A. Nuño is an Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach in the Latino community. You can visit his page at http://stephenanuno.com/

Actor Esai Morales Talks About the “4H’s” of “Hispanic Hollywood”

Tonight we will be posting our thoughts about the pilot episode of the CBS sitcom ¡ROB! Our short review: the critics were right. We can do better. We don't have to settle.

Why? We will let Esai Morales explain them for us. See this.

The OFFICIAL “Sh*t Latina Girls Say” Video by @Dominizuelan Goes Viral, Outdoes Imitators

Yes, everyone by now knows about all the "Sh*t Girls Say" parody videos, and as with any genre (yes, they are now a genre because there are so damn many of them), there are two strategies: post a parody quickly onto YouTube to ride the traffic wave—quality be damned—or wait and actually produce a higher quality parody that even though it might not get the initial spike because it came out later, it will go viral eventually BECAUSE the content is so so much better.

That is what happened to Chicago's dynamite comedy duo Dominizuelan, who quite frankly are doing comedy right. This Wednesday, their video, which they called The OFFICIAL one (nice move!), premiered on YouTube and as of this post, just about 48 hours later, the video has gone viral with more than 12,000 views and counting.

So we asked Dominizuelan why they created the video and this is what they told us:

Estamos tan feliz and super jacked that people are entertained! We loved the original Sh*t Girls Say video so much because it felt like honest observation executed with quality and class, something clearly missing from Latino entertainment in the mainstream American market.

We wanted to prove that you could flirt with cultural norms without being stereotypical to get a laugh. It's not that f*cking hard to do. If we can't relate to it- well then we will go ahead and make our own and guess what- there's a market for it-duh. Things are starting to change and there are wonderful comedians, actors, and producers out there trying to affect the trend. It's coming mi gente- but not soon enough, if you keep telling Latinos who are trying to bring you quality, smart entertainment, that we're a bunch of sensitive ninnies for wanting everyone to keep it honest and funny. As long as people keep asking me if I speak "Mexican" we will continue to push the agenda.

Tus girls,


Dominizuelan

YOU CAN FOLLOW @DOMINIZUELAN ON TWITTER

 

David Bowie + Jimmy Fallow + Tim Tebow = “Tebowie” Brilliance

Last night Jimmy Fallon knocks it out of the park.

Tebow + Bowie = Tebowie

 

 

Still Wanna Make Fun of #Tebow? Maybe After this CBS Interview, You Might Change Your Mind

Sports needs more Tim Tebows in the world. He might not share your point of view when it comes to some social issues or you might not like his public display of religious piety, but with our obsession with sports and winning, how can you not agree with what he says in a CBS interview he did with James Brown?

 

"I think number one is, what my mom and dad preached to me when I was a little kid: Just because you may have athletic ability and you may be able to play a sport doesn't make you any more special than anybody else," Tebow said. "Doesn't mean God loves you more than anybody else.

"We play a sport. It's a game. At the end of the day, that's all it is, is a game. It doesn't make you any better or any worse than anybody else. So by winning a game, you're no better. By losing a game, you're no worse. I think by keeping that mentality, it really keeps things in perspective for me to treat everybody the same."

With this obsession in sports to be the best and brag about it, Tebow is a breath of fresh air. This is the clip.

Romeny Responds to Gingrich and Perry, the New Champions of #OWS

Hey, if someone is going to crap on you, you hit back. So it is no surprise that after both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry started painting Romney as a "vulture capitalist" that would fall in line with the agenda of the #OWS movement, Romney wouldn't stay silent.

Here is what the Romney campaign is running right now in South Carolina:

This is what the Romney campaign is saying:

"We expected the Obama administration to put free markets on trial," the ad says. "But as The Wall Street Journal said, 'Mr. Romney’s GOP opponents are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line.'"

As for the now infamous ads and documentary that Gingrich's PAC is running about Romney and his corporate raider ways, this link from The Washington Post provides an excellent analysis of the facts.

Who knows where this GOP Frat War will go, but it is clear that the Obama 2012 campaign is watching and taking notes. 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Boricuas for a Positive Image Demonstration at ABC Corporate HQ

This Thursday night, a committed group went out to ABC HQ in New York to demand that ABC apologize for its now infamous "Work It" Puerto Rican Drug Dealer Joke and ask ABC that they meet with them to discuss how one of the country's largest networks can begin to portray Puerto Ricans (and all Latinos) in a more positive light.

Photos by Rebecca Beard of RebeccaBeard.com and music is "Boricua en la Luna" by el GRAN SILVIO.