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At worse, Mr. Robinson may seem like a slight rip-off of the Steve Harvey Show from the 90s. However, at best, it is simply a show similar to the Steve Harvey Show, but with a different spin on a musician turned music teacher.
Characters & Story
Craig Robinson (Craig Robinson) is a musician who, to win over the girl who he stood up at prom, Victoria (Meagan Good), decides to substitute at the school she works at. But what begins as just a means to work his way back into her life turns into a legit job offer. One which offers him the chance to work at his alma matter, interact with a group of eccentric students, being around his high school ex, and have a steady paycheck. Though with the administration, Principal Taylor (Peri Gilpin), watching him, it seems as much as he wants to have fun with the kids, and Victoria, he will be fully expected to uphold the expectations of a teacher as well.
Recognizing I haven’t watched The Steve Harvey Show in years, I must admit that making comparisons between this and that show is strictly based on nostalgia. However, like with the former, you get comical songs, an interesting class of students, and of course a good amount of jokes which keep you smiling or giggling throughout. Being more specific, though, Robinson makes for an excellent lead and presents himself as the type of teacher you wished you had in high school. If only because he has crafted the type of character which is funny, capable of tough love, and yet is trying to balance the need for a job and his aspirations for a career.
When it comes to critiques, most of what I have to say is borderline stuff. Part of the issues deal with some characters being a bit over the top or ridiculous, but also the fact there is a bit more cursing and innuendo than what I’m used to. Both of which are what makes Mr. Robinson unique, but could turn many people off. For example, Principal Taylor talking to Mr. Robinson and sounding like she has a thing for Black men was very awkward; as is the character Quan Phook (Ethan Josh Lee), who gets nicknamed phone book, and who presents perhaps one of the oddest, and possibly forced, characters I have ever seen; and then there are the two awkward white guys, Supervisor Dalton (Tim Bagley) and Jimmy Hooper (Benjamin Koldyke), who so much want to be down with Craig, that they can teeter from being sad to funny in an instant.
Overall: Stick Around
I’ll definitely watch this show, because moments like Mr. Robinson teaching the kids their vocal chords are an instrument, and them doing the beat to Iggy Azealia’s “Fancy” was cool, but I probably won’t cover this week in and week out as an Overview/ Review. If only because I feel like this is the type of show that would end up becoming aggravating to watch if you really sat down and analyzed it. For between the weird white people; the way the Asian student is portrayed as bizarre; and then the Asian teacher, Mr. Samir (Asif Ali), is your stereotypical nerd who is bad with women; I just feel repeated scrutiny would take away from the laughter and make this eventually seem like a terrible show.