Mike & Molly is television's latest answer to how fat we are as a nation, and who better for the job than mass appeal sitcom guru Chuck Lorre? Well, a lot of people, if what you're looking for is something thoughtful, and better than a clunky collection of bad fat jokes. But what's that, CBS? You're not looking for that? You just want a hit? Oh. Then this will probably be great for you.
Mike is an obese Chicago cop with a skinny sidekick. Molly is an obese Chicago schoolteacher with two skinny sidekicks (Swoosie Kurtz, who plays her mother, and the girl who was April on Eastbound & Down, who plays her pothead sister). They meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting that they both treat as an opportunity to perform self-deprecating stand-up comedy routines, and though they stumble to their first date a few times, it's love at first sight.
Unfortunately for us, it's fat joke at first sight, and pretty much non-stop fat jokes until the end. I understand that this is a pilot, and that the characters on this show will hopefully find other things to talk about eventually, but as I can't see the future, I'm going to focus on what happened in this episode. And what happened was eating, dieting, trying and failing to exercise, breaking tables with one's enormous girth and everyone flat-out calling Mike fat (though no one makes fat jokes at Molly's expense; she's a woman and the world isn't allowed to directly call her fat -- she's been trained to do it to herself better than they ever would). Hell, even the ampersand in Mike & Molly is fat. Chuck Lorre wouldn't know subtlety if it sat down right in front of him and inhaled 5,000 calories to the tune of an egregious laugh track.
Speaking of, these jokes are as sitcommy as they come (some of them put Two and a Half Men to shame in the corniness department), and there's no doubt in my mind that they are "enhanced" by a laugh track, which just makes an already unfortunate situation just that much more dreadful.
I hope the show pulls its head out of its ass and gets a more intelligent grip on not only the issue of obesity, but the issue of what things are actually funny and becomes a better show, I really do. I love Sookie St. James and I love Swoosie Kurtz and I even love traditional sitcoms when they're done well. This just isn't so far.
Did you watch Mike & Molly? Tell us what you thought in the comments, then see what else is premiering this fall!
Watch our vlogger Sean Crespo weigh in on Mike & Molly:
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