Craig Robison (Darryl Philbin from “The Office”) plays Craig Robinson in this situation comedy about a forty something Chicago musician who takes a job as a substitute music teacher in order to reconnect with his teenage crush who teaches English. Based on Robinson’s real life experience of teaching music while building a comedy career, the show isn’t awful but it isn’t great. It’s something worse: forgettable.


In real life and on the show, Robinson is the keyboardist and lead singer for a funk band called Nasty Delicious. He has fun crooning suggestive lyrics full of double entendre in bar scenes where over excited audience members like the band a little too much. The songs are funny until they get old which is about two lyrics in. Played by Brandon T. Jackson, Robinson’s brother Ben is also a member of the band. (Robinson’s real life brother plays bass in the show’s band). In their scenes, Jackson delivers jokes like a wind-up toy while Robinson smoothly lands an occasionally funny punch line with a sly smile. It’s not a bad combination and they have some chemistry but there’s just not that much humor to go around.


Robinson is good at combining coolness with vulnerability but he’s not given a lot to work with and there’s only so much he can do with predictable story lines involving sarcastic students and eccentric co-workers. The classroom kids fall within the traditional range from shy to disengaged to troublemaker, all with good intentions once you get to know them. Of course, Mr. Robinson has an unorthodox teaching style that works wonders.


His co-workers, who all meet up in the teacher’s lounge to try and get some laughs, are a familiar bunch. There’s the attractive blond teacher who moonlights as a stripper to make extra money, the science geek teacher who is secretly in love with her and a weird gym teacher who over-shares and calls himself Magnum P.E. The only standout is Peri Gilpin (“Frasier”) who plays the principal. Her flirting/insulting scenes with Robinson are good for a laugh but that has more to do with Gilpin knowing how to hit her mark than the jokes being particularly clever.


Meagan Good, who is signed on to another show this fall, is Craig’s love interest. She is credited as a recurring guest star which doesn’t bode too well for Mr. Robinson’s love life. It’s also not a good sign that NBC rushed out a six episode series in blocks of two, back to back even though they banked on the lead-in audience from “America’s Got Talent.” So catch “Mr. Robinson” while you can. Or not. There’s a show in there somewhere but it’s stuck in neutral and even the nasty deliciousness that is Robinson’s brand of comedy can’t kick it up a gear. This is a case where art didn’t need to imitate life.


“Mr. Robinson” is on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.


Craig Robison (Darryl Philbin from “The Office”) plays Craig Robinson in this situation comedy about a forty something Chicago musician who takes a job as a substitute music teacher in order to reconnect with his teenage crush who teaches English. Based on Robinson’s real life experience of teaching music while building a comedy career, the show isn’t awful but it isn’t great. It’s something worse: forgettable.

In real life and on the show, Robinson is the keyboardist and lead singer for a funk band called Nasty Delicious. He has fun crooning suggestive lyrics full of double entendre in bar scenes where over excited audience members like the band a little too much. The songs are funny until they get old which is about two lyrics in. Played by Brandon T. Jackson, Robinson’s brother Ben is also a member of the band. (Robinson’s real life brother plays bass in the show’s band). In their scenes, Jackson delivers jokes like a wind-up toy while Robinson smoothly lands an occasionally funny punch line with a sly smile. It’s not a bad combination and they have some chemistry but there’s just not that much humor to go around.

Robinson is good at combining coolness with vulnerability but he’s not given a lot to work with and there’s only so much he can do with predictable story lines involving sarcastic students and eccentric co-workers. The classroom kids fall within the traditional range from shy to disengaged to troublemaker, all with good intentions once you get to know them. Of course, Mr. Robinson has an unorthodox teaching style that works wonders.

His co-workers, who all meet up in the teacher’s lounge to try and get some laughs, are a familiar bunch. There’s the attractive blond teacher who moonlights as a stripper to make extra money, the science geek teacher who is secretly in love with her and a weird gym teacher who over-shares and calls himself Magnum P.E. The only standout is Peri Gilpin (“Frasier”) who plays the principal. Her flirting/insulting scenes with Robinson are good for a laugh but that has more to do with Gilpin knowing how to hit her mark than the jokes being particularly clever.

Meagan Good, who is signed on to another show this fall, is Craig’s love interest. She is credited as a recurring guest star which doesn’t bode too well for Mr. Robinson’s love life. It’s also not a good sign that NBC rushed out a six episode series in blocks of two, back to back even though they banked on the lead-in audience from “America’s Got Talent.” So catch “Mr. Robinson” while you can. Or not. There’s a show in there somewhere but it’s stuck in neutral and even the nasty deliciousness that is Robinson’s brand of comedy can’t kick it up a gear. This is a case where art didn’t need to imitate life.

“Mr. Robinson” is on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.