On tonight's Everybody Hates Chris (8 pm/ET, CW), Chris Rock, playing a guidance counselor, asks his student, "What do you want to do when you get out of school?" Not an unfair question, right? But if you can't hear the vague menace behind the concern, then you've never been an unfocused, troubled kid. And you've definitely never been Chris Rock.
The comic turned sitcom producer, whose rocky school days inspired the semiautobiographical Everybody Hates Chris, makes his first-ever guest appearance on the CW series. Rock is Mr. Abbott, the counselor assigned to Chris (Tyler James Williams) after the kid all but blows his eighth-grade exams. Actually, Mr. Abbott is more of a misguidance counselor. Jaded, disinterested and a bit prejudiced, the character is Rock's sweet revenge on all the not-so-helpful advisers who couldn't or wouldn't keep the budding comic in school past the 10th grade.
"I've always found most guidance counselors kind of have one foot in and one foot out of the school," Rock says. "‘Yeah, if there's a troubled kid, I'll talk to him. Otherwise, I'm going to sit here and smoke.'"
Guidance counselors across America, the complaint line forms on the right. But before mentally consigning Rock to some sort of permanent detention, give the man credit. The famously poor student not only survived his 1970s-era drug- and crime-riddled Brooklyn neighborhood, he triumphed. A father twice over (he and his wife of 10 years, Malaak Compton-Rock, have two daughters, Lola, 5, and Zahra, 3), the 42-year-old Rock seems especially proud of the opportunities available to his girls. Lola, he reports, just started kindergarten, and "she's a cute kid, she's got a great personality, she's popular. And I'm not just saying that because I'm her dad."
Rock's sitcom alter ego isn't so fortunate. During Rock's scene with Williams, the withering jokes come fast. "You know you've got about as much direction as a broken compass," Mr. Abbott lectures Chris. "I'm surprised you were even able to find your way to this office. According to this test, you put the ‘upid' in stupid." Ouch.
For better or worse, Chris will fumble through his freshman year — and his first kiss — without further guidance from Mr. Abbott. Rock says if he appears on the show again, he'll play some other character, maybe an uncle. Great news for fans. Uncles, not so much.
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