The romantic pairing of a Nigerian lady and a white American man might as soon as have appeared an unlikely premise for a sitcom, however because of a tv viewers more and more used to interracial romance in actual life, it has translated into a success for the CBS series “Bob Hearts Abishola.”
Now in its second season, the present explores tradition by way of the courtship of cardiac nurse Abishola, performed by Folake Olowofoyeku, and a middle-aged businessman Bob Wheeler, a Detroit manufacturing facility proprietor, performed by Mike & Molly star Billy Gardell.
Within the first season, the 2 predominant characters meet whereas Bob is recovering within the hospital from a coronary heart assault. Instantly smitten, Bob pursues a romantic relationship with Abishola however should overcome her disinterest and navigate their cultural variations.
Firstly of the second season, which began in November, the couple will get engaged. Nevertheless, strolling down the aisle is way from sure. Obstacles lie forward, together with the truth that Abishola remains to be married to her estranged husband who nonetheless lives in Nigeria.
Olowofoyeku spoke with BET.com about fan response to the present and the way this unconventional pairing truly makes good sense.
BET.com: Bob and Abishola come from two totally different worlds. What do they see in one another?
Folake Olowofoyeku: They’re each accountable for caring and the maintenance of their households. They supply one thing that’s lacking in one another’s life.
Abishola has all the time approached life in a decided and targeted method — no room for enjoyable, largely work, work, work. Very pushed. Bob additionally has that very same mentality.
What she finds in him is the enjoyable that’s lacking in her life, and what he finds in her is the energy and assist that’s lacking in his life.
BET.com: Abishola and Gloria, the Black American nurse on the present (Vernee Watson), typically have nuanced and witty exchanges that spotlight their very own cultural variations. What ought to a Black American viewers perceive about Nigerian tradition with regards to relationship and marriage?
Olowofoyeku: That’s a loaded query for me as a result of I used to be by no means into custom. Additionally, I can’t converse for each Nigerian. I can solely converse from my expertise and issues that I’ve heard.
Some households are extra conventional than others. Some households apply polygamy, some households apply organized marriages, and there are some households that apply youngster marriages. There are some individuals who go as far as to say you should marry somebody from the identical tribe or the identical village. So, there’s a broad vary.
I don’t come from a household that’s concerned in my romantic life. But, I do know that’s one thing that’s widespread on the identical time. I feel historically, for Nigerian families, if we’re going method again to pre-colonial occasions, quite a lot of inventory was positioned into the longer term technology and what was going to return out of a union. It was like a royal household, in a method. And a few folks have carried that apply over. And a few beliefs are a bit bit extra fashionable. They consider in love, which is what the present is concentrated on portraying.
BET.com: The present maintains its Nigerian authenticity and finds a method to join with an American viewers very well. How’d you uncover this comfortable medium?
Olowofoyeku: What we attempt to give attention to is the final expertise of a Nigerian immigrant in America. Gina Yashere (who performs Abishola’s greatest buddy, Kemi) pulls from her expertise as a first-generation Nigerian rising up in England.
Talking from the angle of an actor, I went to varsity in America, and earlier than that, I grew up in Nigeria and went to boarding college. I fuse all my experiences into my character. What I attempt to give attention to is merging these two worlds.
I studied performing right here in America. Meaning I perceive the rhythms of American speech in the way in which to ship jokes.
Once I’m delivering a line, as an example, if I had been with my Nigerian mates, hanging out and speaking casually with a Nigerian accent, you most likely wouldn’t perceive what I used to be saying. I can’t come on the present and painting Abishola that method since you would wish subtitles. Nevertheless it’s necessary that she retains the genuine Nigerian accent.
It resonates with an American viewers as a result of there was an enormous cry for various content material for a very long time. America is a melting pot. There are such a lot of cultures right here. I feel persons are comfortable to see one thing contemporary, one thing full of affection, heartfelt.
And Nigerian-Individuals like it. They completely like it. And it’s not simply Nigerian immigrants. It’s additionally immigrants usually, like Caribbeans. It additionally mirrors their expertise. That’s the attractive factor in regards to the present. It crosses cultures.
What I hear so much is that it’s a feel-good household present. You stroll away with a smile in your face. It’s a breath of contemporary air for lots of people. The main focus is love, and nobody can argue with love. Everybody desires love.
RELATED: Meet The Browns Premiere
BET.com: Why didn’t the present tackle George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests, and the way has the police killings of Floyd and others like Breonna Taylor impacted you personally?
Olowofoyeku: There may be a lot occurring on the planet proper now. The homicide of George Floyd, I used to be drastically affected by it. I went to quite a few marches.
There are heavy issues that we’re coping with on the planet. I feel Chuck (the present’s creator and government producer Chuck Lorre) and the producers and writers determined that they needed the present to be an escape. They needed it to give attention to love, an aspiration of what we would like the world to be. That’s why they made that call.
I’m very captivated with advocacy. I simply don’t like something unfair usually, from the smallest to the most important. I’ve seemed for causes to assist again in Nigeria and right here in America, and that’s ongoing.
I made it some extent to assist in any method I may: whether or not it was a easy retweet to tell my mates about what’s occurring on the planet or going on the market (to protest).
A kind of days we had the most important end up for a George Floyd march right here in L.A. And there have been quite a few different ones the place we’ve marched. I used to be there as nicely. I’m nonetheless discovering my method on the planet with this ardour that I’ve, looking for one of the simplest ways to assist, to provide again and to make use of my platform for equality.
BET.com: Every solid member brings a ardour and authenticity to their position. What’s the most effective half about working with them?
Olowofoyeku: Everyone seems to be such a professional. Welcome to the Chuck Lorre universe. I used to be informed how lucky I used to be to return into the sport with this specific group of individuals, and I’ve seen that. It’s apparent from the extent that everyone performs: the writers, the administrators, the producers. It’s a terrific ensemble. It’s an excellent place to be taught the enterprise.
I’m selecting up as a lot as I can from Billy as a result of he’s clearly a veteran with Mike & Molly. We present up and everyone seems to be on prime of their sport. It’s a gorgeous place to be.
BET.com: Are you able to share a bit bit about what followers can anticipate in upcoming episodes. Will Bob and Abishola truly get married?
Olowofoyeku: Properly, I do not know. We solely shoot a number of episodes at a time. We don’t get our script till a number of days earlier than we begin capturing. So, I’m going to be simply as shocked as you guys, to seek out out if Bob and Abishola lastly do get married and the place they get married. I do know I’ve my want listing for them.
I’d love us to pack up and go to Nigeria and shoot a few episodes there. It could be marvelous if we may shoot all the marriage ceremony in Nigeria as a result of weddings in Nigeria take a number of days. That may be nice.
I’ll let you know although, it begins to get a bit intense within the subsequent few episodes. I feel this present is groundbreaking in so some ways; not solely is it the primary Nigerian-American TV present in America, but it surely’s additionally a hybrid. It’s not only a sitcom. There may be additionally an intense quantity of drama and authenticity within the storyline. You’ll see these arising within the subsequent few episodes.