From the makers of Two and a Half Men – this phrase sends me on a hunt for the remote to change channel away from the show as if my life depended on it (and in the case of TAAHM, it does). However Mike & Molly is something a little bit more special. It’s actually funny.
It is your standard US two camera sitcom. 3-4 sets per show, a total speaking cast of no more than 8 with two central characters and their respective ‘teams’. That it is built on the fact that Mike and Molly are obese means it could go into some very dangerous gag territory (and sometimes it does), yet the show’s writers manage to balance a very fine line ensuring the audience empathise and want to support the leads is what makes it work.
Fat people aren’t popular, least of all on television – unless they are the comedic relief. Perhaps it’s recognition that the ‘shape’ of America (and Australia for that matter) is changing? We all find the most comedy when we can see ourselves in the situation, and as our waistlines expand for the worse we associate with the difficulties Mike and Molly face in losing weight. At the core, though, it’s a love story. A big, fat love story.
The supporting cast are good – not outshining the central pair, but offering great support. The scenes where Mike (Billy Gardell) and his partner & friend Carl (Reno Wilson) are in their local diner and playing off waiter Samuel (Nyambi Nyambi) are a great plot progression device as much as comedic asides. Samuel is particularly good acting as a counterpoint to the cops in question. You just feel for Molly (Melissa McCarthy) with her eternally thin/horny mum Joyce (Swoozie Kurtz) and stoner/beauty queen sister Victoria (Katy Mixon).
The standout supporting cast performance so far is from Carl’s Grandma (Cleo King). King has spent time in Deadwood and Boston Public, and wig aside, she’s brilliant:
It’s fun. It’s not really offensive. And you really want to see Mike & Molly happy. And it beats the hell out of endless episodes of TAAHM.
Mike and Molly – Wed 8pm, Ch9
Image/Video sources – Ch9.