The question that came to mind after viewing the pilot episode of Mike & Molly was, “Someone got paid to write this stuff?” It’s unfortunate, since Billy Gardell plays the character of Mike in an understated, dryly comic way, and Melissa McCarthy’s Molly is the warmest, most sympathetic character of the bunch. These actors are talented but their talents alone will not save this show.
So what’s the problem? Where do I begin? The show concerns itself with a Chicago police officer (Mike) and a fourth grade teacher (Molly), both extremely overweight, who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and discover a mutual attraction. It’s amazing, judging by the family and friends they are forced to deal with, that either of them even wants to try improving their lot.
Encouragement on Mike’s end is provided by his partner, Carl McMillan (Reno Wilson), more interested in making unfunny wisecracks, mostly at Mike’s expense, than really helping his friend. As bad as McMillan is, Molly’s family is on another planet: a whorish, pothead sister (Katy Mixon) and a brazenly moronic mother (played by veteran actress Swoozie Kurtz, who might have thought twice before involving herself with this drivel) do not a sympathetic household make. Did the writers really think anyone could find these characters funny or watchable?
The few sentimental moments between the principals are the show's only bright moments. Then its back to the jokes, which are excruciatingly bad and not what you’d expect from executive producers Chuck Lorre and Mark Roberts. These industry veterans are responsible for the hit comedy Two and a Half Men and should be well versed on the ins and outs of what makes a television show funny. In this case, they obviously neglected to put their skills to good use.
Take it back to the drawing board, guys.
The series premiere of Mike & Molly airs on Monday, September 20 at 9:30 ET on CBS.