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TV Review: Mike and Molly

By James Beale
October 16, 2010

To me, CBS has two types of shows: Crime shows and character driven comedies. The comedies are all very similar and the material itself might not be that funny. The humor often relies on lazy stereotyping. Despite these drawbacks, the characters are enjoyable enough for 30 minutes a week. That's why "Mike and Molly" ultimately shows promise.

The two leads, Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy, are charming. Gardell plays a cop and McCarthy plays a teacher. They meet at an overeaters anonymous meeting seeking support. During a speech, Mike says that he doesn't feel like he'll ever be loved. This sense of loneliness and desperation is an undercurrent the show hits really well, and it's the element that "Mike and Molly" should focus on.

The characters are fat but the show isn't mean spirited about their weight, as it's clear the writing staff care for the leads; but the jokes are almost completely one note. They're not funny throughout the pilot and I hope the series doesn't solely rest on weight gags. A fat guy falling through a table isn't particularly funny the first time, and it certainly won't be in later seasons.

Most of the other jokes fell flat as well. Mike's partner, Carl, is a borderline stereotypical African-American who seems to have some potential as a good sidekick but doesn't have a whole lot to work with other than fat jokes.

Molly's sister is a bizarre pothead who constantly reminds the audience she's high. This is the only character that needs serious retooling. Her jokes weren't edgy enough to make some people laugh and it's needless to say the jokes themselves weren't funny at all.

It's tough to judge a comedy pilot, simply because there's so much exposition. I only laughed once during "Mike and Molly," but I don't think it'll be a bad show. There's a heart behind the fat jokes, and in a pilot, this is more important than the lack of laughs. It will certainly be watched. Chuck Lorre, co-executive producer, also has a hand in "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory." If you like either of them, you'll probably like "Mike and Molly."

Grade: C

"Mike and Molly" airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m., on CBS.

Stray Observations:

  • The show may not hate its characters, but it clearly undermines the audience. Mike goes to speak to Molly's class and one of the children says, "My mom says you guys only go after people of color." The frame cuts to Carl, with no expression on his face, for about a second. I can hear the writers saying, "See? He's black! Let's remind them!"
  • "Mike and Molly" falls into the horrible writing trap of stating the irony of the situation at least twice.
  • Maybe one reason you should check this show out: The title sequence is the absolute blandest I've ever seen. It's better than a video of AC/DC's "A Whole Lotta Rosie" though.
  • This is the space usually reserved for really funny jokes, but there were none. I considered putting some of the worst jokes, but there were too many. The grade I gave is for the show not being aggressively bad.

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