This is perhaps my favorite new comedy (of four candidates: M&M, Outsourced, Better With You, and Stuff My Dad Says). The show revolves around Molly, who is an overweight teacher, and Mike, who is more overweight cop. It’s a meet-cute in TV form. A love affair with fat people who meet at Overeater’s Anonymous. It may not sound… errr… attractive, but in my mind it is what makes the show interesting and unique. Not just because it features overweight people, but because the fact that they’re overweight changes the entire tone of the show. In most singles comedies, the characters seem to have one romantic opportunity after another. Even if their lovelife is the subject of humorous ridicule, they still do better than I ever did. Because of this, the characters are rarely all that invested in any particular romance. Or rather, they don’t need to be all that invested. If it doesn’t work out, they’ll find someone beautiful within the next few episodes. Or if they don’t, it’ll be because of some neurosis or because they’re still hung up on whoever.

With Mike & Molly, it’s entirely different. Both of these characters are well aware of their limited options. Not even in the Drew Carey Show sense wherein Drew’s weight was made fun of and he was nervous around women but he usually managed to land hotties. The fact that these characters have such difficulties for such obvious and unavoidable reasons informs everything they do. It makes them nervous for good reason and the nervousness manifests itself in all manner of humorous ways. I make the show sound almost dark. And it would be if it weren’t for the character’s personalities and the fact that they found one another. The rest is about not screwing it up. I can relate. Ross and Rachel can afford to be genuinely stupid and break up over stupid reasons and expect to land on their feet. These two can’t.

The show isn’t perfect. My main criticism is that some of the supporting cast is rather weak. Molly’s sister in particular is a rather pointless character. She’s “hot” and stupid and self-destructive, presumably to contrast with the responsible and warm Molly. The effect is that the two don’t seem remotely related at all. I think that they would have done far better with a beautiful but well-intentioned sister who just doesn’t understand that life is not as beautiful for unbeautiful people. Mike’s partner is also a bit off the deep end, though for some reason it bothers me less.

Category: Theater

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7 Responses to TV Review: Mike & Molly

  1. Peter says:

    I haven’t see the show, but is there some plot reason why Mike is a cop? Based on the pictures I’ve seen he looks way too fat to have that job.

  2. trumwill says:

    They’ve used his occupation for a couple of plot points. In the first episode, he was the responder to a house break-in at her house and she invited him to speak to her fourth grade class as a cop. In the third episode he tried to prove his competence by talking her sister down from a hysterical fit.

    I agree that he is too heavy to be a cop in any police department I’ve seen, especially since they established that he has been at that weight for a long time (so it’s not like he used to be fit). Interestingly, it’s not the first time the actor has played a cop. He was with Camden County Sheriff’s Department on My Name Is Earl.

  3. rob says:

    I tried to watch the pilot, but the laugh track is really awful. Have they always been so loud and shrill, or am I a grumpy old man?

  4. trumwill says:

    Rob, I think it got worse when they stopped filming in front of live studio audiences. If you watch British sitcoms, the laugh tracks are conspicuous there, too. Back in the old days, they may have assisted audience laughter with a laugh track, but it the variance in laughter (if something is a little funny or a lot funny) made it seem less canned. That’s my thought, anyway.

  5. Mike Hunt says:

    Molly’s sister in particular is a rather pointless character. She’s “hot” and stupid and self-destructive, presumably to contrast with the responsible and warm Molly…Mike’s partner is also a bit off the deep end, though for some reason it bothers me less.

    These are the reasons I gave up on the show. The sister exists purely for her role on East Bound and Down. I don’t even find her attractive. Mike’s partner exists because a network executive wanted “diversity”.

    If the show starts to win awards, or gets sold into syndication, I may give it another shot.

    None of the new comedies seem to be a long-term hit. Stuff my Dad Says isn’t even true to life. In real life the dad has been married for a long time.

  6. trumwill says:

    I’d think they’d have diversity with that foreigner waiter dude, who has appeared in every episode. That character I like. I tried EB&D, incidentally, but couldn’t stick with it.

    I don’t know that any of the new shows are going to be long-term hits, though Better With You may be around for a while in the same sort of way that Rules of Engagement is (a season here, half a season there). The economic anxiety of our times probably limits Outsourced’s chances. Stuff My Dad Says has been a huge disappointment. Given it’s unique origins, you might except it to be at least a marginally unique sitcom, but it’s about as standard as it gets.

  7. Mike Hunt says:

    1) The first season of Eastbound & Down was only six episodes, so, worst comes to worst, it is only three hours in toto. It was more shocking than funny, with most of the laughs coming from the way he would act around middle schoolers, and the way they would sit there stone faced. However, it was worth the three hours.

    2) The second season isn’t as funny, mostly because of the change of scenery from NC to MX.

    3) I just found out that “eastbound” is one word.

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