The 'Mr. Robinson' Cast Will Have No Problem Reinventing The Classic Sitcom
NBC's new summer show, Mr. Robinson, feels like it belongs in the fall. Not only is it about a schoolteacher and perfect for the "back to school" feeling of September, but it's also a perfect example of a throwback, classic network sitcom that would premiere in fall and end in spring. But unlike those classic shows, the Mr. Robinson cast is filled with people who would be at home on movie screens or cable series — gone are the days when there were actors whose whole careers were spent in the same exact type of projects.
The show's placement in the summer doesn't bode well for its chances to survive to Season 2. A few years ago, NBC's comedies were critically acclaimed but low-rated. Then came a period of trying to broaden all of their comedies to make them popular, which also resulted in low-rated shows, but now they were critically hated. Now, they seem to be going for a strange combination of the two: make very classic, almost hacky shows, but fill them with interesting casts that you want to see succeed. Hopefully, Mr. Robinson (and the upcoming Jerrod Carmichael show) is able to wring something great out of a premise right out of 1992. And if it does, it will be because of this incredible cast.
Obviously the show's star is Craig Robinson, best known from his film roles in Pineapple Express, This Is the End, Hot Tub Time Machine, and his memorable TV role as Darryl on The Office. The show surrounds his character, also named Craig Robinson, as he becomes an middle school music teacher. This is based on Robinson's real life — he did briefly teach music before he became a successful actor.
Even though Meghan Goode started her career with serious films like Eve's Bayou, lately she's been doing more comedies, like the Think Like a Man series. Even though she'll only be a recurring character on Mr. Robinson, she should add some movie star charm to the role of Victoria.
On How I Met Your Mother, he played Don, Robin's potential love interest who wound up getting completely shafted. Let's hope that Koldyke has better luck on Mr. Robinson, where he'll be Craig's in-school sidekick.
Brandon T. Jackson
One of those actors who's been at the fringe of breaking out for years, Jackson has worked on huge comedies (Tropic Thunder), action YA adaptations (Percy Jackson), and even a few umm, less prestigious projects (the Big Momma's House franchise).
Most recognizable from Greek, Grammer is currently the voice of Summer on Rick and Morty, which just started its second season. Fun fact: she is the daughter of Kelsey Grammer, so I guess becoming a sitcom star can be passed down genetically.
Playing the school supervisor, Bagely is getting a bump up from the small roles he usually steals in film and TV comedies. Seriously, name one from the past 10 years and he's been there — he is even an established member of the Apatow-verse as "Dr. Pelligrino."
And the Kelsey Grammer connections continue! Gilpin is best known for playing Roz on Fraiser, but she's been working in television nonstop since that series ended, mostly in guest roles and voiceover work.
Everyone else in this cast is great and all... but lately Stenberg has become one of my favorites. She was the best part of the first Hunger Games movie (sorry, J. Law) as the adorable Rue, and now she's developed into an outspoken intersectional feminist, speaking up about cultural appropriation on Twitter.
Having a cast this well-rounded and experienced in Mr. Robinson will help what might seem like a tired format, a three-camera sitcom, come alive in 2015. Robinson has surrounded himself with a fantastic group, and hopefully its summer placement doesn't mean it can't become a surprising success.
Images: Vivian Zink, Chris Haston/NBC (9)