Archie and Edith Bunker. Ricky and Lucy Ricardo. George and Louise Jefferson. Doug and Carrie Heffernan. There’s a long history of unexpected super couples in CBS comedies, and the network’s new fall sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola puts a fresh spin on that legacy.
Bob (Mike & Molly star Billy Gardell), the owner of a Detroit compression sock company, meets Abishola (Transparent’s Folake Olowofoyeku), a Nigerian-born nurse, as a hospital patient with a heart issue. Following emergency heart surgery, Bob wakes up and Abishola is the first face he sees. His attraction to her is instantaneous, and her no-nonsense, but kind care of him leads him to pursue a relationship once he’s released.
“After you have a big event in your life that scares you to death, you don't forget that first person you see when that happens,” Gardell tells Yahoo Entertainment. “And I think Abishola just has this effect on him, and I think they have something to offer each other.”
The first thing Bob has to offer Abishola: socks. Though they might not sound like the most romantic gift, this thoughtful gesture, and Abishola’s appreciation for the socks, is the first sign that the two have a genuine connection.
“It makes complete sense, because a sock is so practical,” Olowofoyeku says. “It's something that she can use. It can make her life better, a little more comfortable. The thing is, she isn't expecting this romantic opportunity, and because of that, she hasn't budgeted for it. She's still pleasantly surprised by the attention and the care.”
Gardell adds about the relationship that seems to be slowly developing between these two people from very different backgrounds, “I think that the equation is: kindness and love win the day when we're brave enough to seize those two things.”
As Bob begins to woo Abishola, he briefly meets her family, and viewers get a peek at her personal life. She’s raising a young son, and shares an apartment with her aunt and uncle. The experience of Abishola and her family as immigrants will be a major focus of the series, and Olowofoyeku said she’s pleased with how committed the producers (including The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly executive producer Chuck Lorre) and writers are to making that portrayal a realistic one.
“Specifically, this Nigerian immigrant’s experience,” the Nigerian-raised actress says, “which can translate across other immigrants’ (lives) as well.” Olowofoyeku hopes, in fact, that the universality of the experiences and dreams of her character’s family, as well as those of other immigrants, will be a main takeaway for the audience.
“We are all the same no matter where you're from, Africa, Europe, Asia … we all want the same things for each other,” she says. “We all want to be happy, and we all want our families to be happy. We want to create a conducive environment for our loved ones. I hope (the show) reminds the audience that no matter how different you look, no matter what languages you speak, everyone, at the end of the day, wants a better life for ourselves.”
Gardell, whose character’s family – all employed at the sock company – will be front and center in the comedy, too, believes Bob Hearts Abishola offers viewers delights both simple and grand.
“The greatest gift, I think, a show can give a viewer is to forget their problems for a half hour and laugh and feel heart warmed. And who knows, maybe we open some eyes and have people look at things from a different perspective as well, without getting political.”
Watch the premiere episode of Bob Hearts Abishola on Sept. 23 8:30 p.m. on CBS.
This article was paid for by CBS and written by Yahoo Entertainment’s branded content team. Our editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.