Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

“Mike & Molly” Premiere Review

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 22, 2010

I’m going to put the picture of the two main characters right up here at the top. Now, get all the fat jokes out of your system.

Done? Good. Because this sitcom is more than just a comedy about two overweight individuals. Mike & Molly has sincerity and sweetness and optimism and humor. It’s really an old-school laugh track sitcom in many ways.

But, the writers haven’t really gotten the fat jokes out of their system. I guess that’s the hook, so they had to fill the premiere with one tub o’ lard joke after another. Usually, these wisecracks were either obvious (“I’m the mountain, right?” “You’re the fricking Himalayas,” and does his name really have to be Mike Biggs?) or unnecessarily forced (a cop would never hug another cop…unless he wants to say “my God, it’s like hugging a futon”) or crude (“my farts weight 3 pounds”). They seemed awkward and uninspired. Almost as if CBS gave the writers a 40-fat-joke quota to fill.

In between the blubber cracks, though, the writers (and more-so actors) were able to tug at my heart. Melissa McCarthy is fantastic as Molly. I liked her a lot in Samantha Who? and now in the starring role, she can show off a little more range than just being Samantha’s quirky friend. Molly comes across as a lovely person, unable to get past her weight, who only wants to find someone. So does Mike, played by Billy Gardell, but the acting there isn’t quite up to snuff. He’s more rigid and hasn’t really shown a range of emotion in anything he’s said. Every line sounds the same. Although the best fat jokes are the ones delivered by him or Molly during their Overeaters Anonymous meeting. When they say it, it’s ok. They’re poking fun at themselves, not being mocked by someone else. And there’s a touch of sympathy attached.

The cast is really a toss-up. I can’t stand Molly’s sister and Mike’s partner is only good for one-liners. But Swoosie Kurtz as Molly’s mom tips the scale (sorry, had to) in favor of the good actors. Another thing working its favor: it’s set in Chicago. But like the fat jokes, the writers felt compelled to throw in as much proof of being in Chicago as possible. Non-stop visuals, which I didn’t necessarily mind, but it seemed like overkill.

I’m hoping as the series progresses, the easy jokes will subside and more time will be spent on touching moments, like where Mike talks about why he became a cop (which they then ruined for a punchline). That’s my biggest fear. The writers will continue to have great scenes, only to ruin them because they feel forced to make this a show about fat people, just like the creator’s other shows The Big Bang Theory (geeks) and Two and a Half Men (womanizers). This should be a show about two people unlucky in love who find each other. I’ll tune in to that show. If I want to watch fat people, I’ll use my webcam.

Grade: B-

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One Response to ““Mike & Molly” Premiere Review”

  1. CJ Cregg said

    I agree with you Feeny, especially about the characters. Melissa McCarthy is fantasy, particularly when she does her ‘share’ at the OA meeting. She’s so sweet, funny, and sincere. Billy Gardell could use some work. And Molly’s sister needs to be written out of this show ASAP.

    You’re also right that the show is a bit more charming than I had originally anticipated. I like that it points out how unfair struggles with obesity often are (Molly’s mother and sister can eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce, as can Mike’s partner.)

    And there were some mildly amusing lines. Molly’s mother keeps insisting that she’s not fat, she’s just big boned, to which Molly replies, “Bones don’t jiggle, Mom!” When Billy’s partner gets mad at Billy, he claims he’d shoot him but he “doesn’t have enough chalk to outline the body with.”

    I don’t think the show is going to get much better because when you build a sitcom on a ‘stick,’ writers often, er, stick to the ‘stick.’ So I’m skeptical that the fat jokes will subside much.

    So, I’m not going to keep watching. But like Outsourced, this show could have been much worse than it was.

    Still wasn’t very good, though.

    Grade: C-

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