Pulling out a bright hat and sticking it on his head, Chuck Lorre proudly declared “immigrants make America great” while introducing his latest television series, Bob Hearts Abishola, at the 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California, on Thursday.
The upcoming comedy centers on Bob, a sock salesperson from Detroit, who suffers a heart attack and wakes up in a hospital determined to win the heart of his nurse, a gorgeous Nigerian immigrant named Abishola.
While the premise is cute, Lorre discussed how the series is ultimately about the story of immigrants who make America their home.
“This show on the surface probably looks like a romantic comedy [but] I’ve done that and I didn’t want to do it again,” explained Lorre, who previously created The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men. “The story I wanted to tell is about our first-generation immigrants [and] the focus, the discipline, the hard work [and] rigorous, rigorous honesty that comes with coming here and grabbing hold of the American dream.”
“So, the premise of the series is that immigrants make America great,” he continued, pulling a promotional hat with the acronym "IMAG" (Immigrants Make America Great) out of a Vons grocery bag and putting it on. “That was the story I wanted to tell. Yes, there was a romance here that will take a long time to play out, but the story here is that people come here to this country and work their a**es off to make a life for themselves and their families -- that’s a story worth telling.”
Bob is portrayed by Billy Gardell, while Abishola is played by Folake Olowofoyeku, who -- like her character -- moved to America from Nigeria to pursue her dreams. While discussing her own transition, the actress opened up about how the move was partly to achieve her showbiz hopes amid a strong lack of support from her parents.
“I came to America on my 18th birthday in 2001,” Olowofoyeku said. “I came on vacation initially [then] I decided to stay. I guess subconsciously I was manifesting [because] I knew what I wanted to do professionally and that was to be an entertainer. And, I come from a family of lawyers, accountants, so that was a no. So I manifested, saved and chose to make America my home simply for creative liberation. It wasn’t going to happen at home -- there weren’t as many opportunities as there are now.”
“Their reaction to me wanting to be in the arts was a bit traumatic,” she added about her parents. “They were strongly against it. And by any means necessary it was never going to happen and I think it was just their way of trying to protecting me. They did come around before they passed on, so I’m happy to say that.”
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