Mike & Molly: In which we learn that a sit-com’s capacity for fat jokes nears infinite

First aired: 20th September 2010

Billy Gardell – Mike Biggs

Melissia McCarthy – Molly Flynn

Reno Wilson – Carl McMillan

Katy Mixon – Victoria Flynn

Nyambi Nyambi – Samuel

Swoosie Kurts – Joyce Flynn

Synopsis: Chicago beat cops Mike & Carl are getting lunch at the diner run by Samuel. Mike is trying to lose weight and is eating based upon that, much to Samuel’s consternation. Mike is planning to go to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting that night.

Across town, school teacher Molly Flynn is also struggling with her weight, working out on a cross trainer whilst her much thinner mother and younger sister eat chocolate cake in front of her. She also leaves to go to the OA meeting.

At the meeting Mike shares, being funny and open about his struggle with weight and his own low self esteem. Molly is quite taken with Mike and talks to him after the meeting. Mike tries to play it cool and when Molly learns he is a police officer, invites him to talk to her 4th grade class. (10 year olds I am guessing?) which he agrees too.

At the school, Mike is again charming, funny and a little too honest. Again he misses his chance to ask her out. This fact gets him some gentle ribbing from Carl.

The next day, these missed opportunities have left Mike at a low point and eager to reach for unhealthy food. Carl shows support and keeps him on the straight and narrow. At the next OA meeting, after Molly shares, Mike gets up the nerve to ask her out, but leans on a table and ends up dislocating his little finger.

The next night, Mike and Carl get a call from dispatch that there’s been a robbery and they need to check it out. It’s Molly’s house. Mike takes all the details down in a business-like fashion (all Joe Friday and s**t) and then in the same rat-a-tat manner asks Molly out. She’s stunned, but charmed and she accepts.

Notes: Much like Will and Grace, this is something of a game changer. It’s a rom-sit-com where the usually 2nd tier larger characters are moved to the leads. It tries to make their weight part of their personal journey, rather than the punchline.Well it tries at least.

Lets get the bad out of the way. This is a cornocopia of fat jokes, with obesity being one of the last available cheap-shot targets that are allowed. Every secondary character pulls out a seemingly unending parade of jokes at the expense of both the leads and fat people in general. Beyond that, there’s also a sense of by the numbers-ness here that makes you think there’s not going to be any surprises.

But it works and the reason it works is Gardell and McCarthy. They infuse a level of heart and charm into these characters. Mike feels the weight (no pun intended) of how people see him and how he sees himself and yet is upbeat and optimistic. He comes across as funny and charming and it’s easy to see him as a romantic lead. You can buy someone falling for him. Molly is something of a revelation, McCarthy is funny, charming, a little whacky and again it’s easy to see how anyone would be taken with her. In a lot of romantic comedies, you are told how great these people are, with dialogue mostly and yet it all feels hollow. This isn’t the case here, you are shown these qualities and they are in people that are often overlooked for these types of shows. This series shouldn’t work, but just by the casting choices, it does. It does well.

Verdict:

Did it work? Yes, it set up the characters and situations perfectly.

Did much need fixing? Honestly no, it was a polished chapter one.

Does it stand up? Yes, but it wasn’t that long ago, so it really should.

Did I want to watch the next one? Not right away, but I think I will revisit it one of these days.

Did I enjoy it? Yes, it was lovely.

Overall 4 out of 5. A funny show with a lot of heart.

 

Published by Munky

Liverpool based family man and unrepentant geek, trying to understand what's going on in my own head, which is not always being a good place to be. Remember always, we live in a world of wonders.

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