MIKE & MOLLY “Pilot” Review

MIKE & MOLLY (CBS) Pilot

If they could only cut out the fat. MIKE & MOLLY, a new situation multi-camera sitcom from CBS, has a lot more to it than the pilot will have you believe. While the show might appear to be your typical comedy, with the on-the-beat fat and sex jokes and wacky side characters, but deep down there is something good here. And if worked on, it could be something really different – a typical comedy with a heart.

The show stars Billy Gardell as Mike, a Chicago police officer, and Melissa McCarthy as Molly, an elementary school teacher, who are both struggling with their weight. For Molly, it’s her svelte, inconsiderate mother, played by the always fabulous Swoozie Kurtz, and her stoned sister (Katy Mixon), who don’t understand her problems. So inconsiderate the two are that they devour a delicious chocolate cake while Molly tries to burn at least twelve calories on an elliptical. As I said, the jokes are obvious, but the pain of thoughtless family members is all to real for so many of us trying to make life changes. On the other hand, Mike’s partner (Reno Wilson) jabs at him whenever given the chance about his weight and lack of women in his life. Since neither Mike or Molly is getting much support from friends and family they head out on a Friday night to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and take a liking to each other.

Mike and Molly are awkward around each other even though they both are digging one another, so the adorable pre-teen style courting is a much needed change to primetime TV. And if given the chance I think this couple could head into Jim and Pam style cuteness. But the sitcom created by Mark Roberts, directed by legend James Burrows and produced by CBS wonderboy Chuck Lorre is missing in the development. Since tonight’s premiere was the first time we were introduced to the characters it would seem all any of these adults could talk about was eating or not eating food. And while this is definitely a problem within America nowadays, and if you didn’t notice a much discussed topic on TV, it’s never about those who are overweight just being well, normal. This isn’t to say that being fat, overweight or plump isn’t normal, in fact just the opposite, but we rarely get to see a character like Molly full-fleshed out other than her dilemmas with her weight. It might be too much to hope that Mike & Molly will give its stars Melissa and Billy more to work with, but if given the opportunity they could shine. Melissa, who has provided some scene stealing supporting work on Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who? deserves her time to shine, and if given time to develop – this could be the right project for that.

So if you are looking for a quirky comedy like Louie, you will be completely unimpressed, but if you are interested in a cute throwback comedy, Mike & Molly might be for you — if you can hold your judgement for a few episodes. And isn’t it about time there was a comedy on television that just centered around a quality relationship without the obvious and typical stereotypes. Is that too much to ask in 2010?