It's the most wonderful time of year — when networks eagerly replace summer's reruns with new seasons and new shows. CBS's new contender, Mike & Molly has a stellar pedigree — it stars Melissa McCarthy (formerly known as Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls) and Billy Gardell (I know him from his recurring guest role on the sitcom Yes, Dear, but he also has been seen on The King of Queens and My Name Is Earl), and is being produced by Chuck Lorre — the driving force behind current CBS hits like The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men.
Mike & Molly, though, is riskier than either of those two hits. While The Big Bang Theory chanced that America would be able to understand geek (read: intelligent) humor, and Two and a Half Men continues to balance precariously between drunken humor and alcoholism, Mike & Molly requires viewers to believe that fat people are entitled to live happily ever after. While Gilmore Girls showed McCarthy's character as having a normal, happy life with the standard true-love-and-kids-happy-ending, this storyline practically beats the viewer over the head with its title characters' weight problems. For one thing, they meet in Overeaters Anonymous. For another, we are introduced to the expected host of secondary characters, many of which are improbably thin, yet able to consume vast quantities of the forbidden, high calorie foods that made our hero and heroine fat in the first place.
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The New York Times's review grudgingly credits Mike & Molly as being "significant as the second fictional series in recent months to take weight not as a sideshow but rather as a central, animating subject," with the first series being ABC Family's drama, Huge. It's true — there have not been shows that made weight the focal point of their storylines. Should there be more? I much preferred the normalizing effect of McCarthy's turn as Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls. Perhaps it is because I want to take that leap of faith and believe that not only are we all entitled to live happily ever after, but that the fat person's version of happily ever after is not all that different from everyone else's.
What do you think? Will you be watching Mike & Molly?
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Photo courtesy of CBS