Five episodes. Five half hours of my life I have devoted to watching CBS’s new sitcom, Mike & Molly, and I’m left wondering, why? There are two reasons I tuned in: Melissa McCarthy (Gilmore Girls) and Swoosie Kurtz (Pushing Daisies), both wonderful actresses in the right show, but even they aren’t really enticing me. Melissa’s Molly is a harder character to like than even her stint on Samantha Who?, in which I, unfortunately, considered her a weak point. I was hoping she’d get closer to Sookie in this role, who I really rooted for as she fell for Jackson, but sadly, no. Swoosie plays a drunk, mean mother who isn’t the least bit charming, and barely funny.
That’s the problem with the show. It’s barely funny. It has gotten decent ratings so far. It’s from the genius who brought us the awesome series, The Big Bang Theory. Unfortunately, said ‘genius’ also brought us Two and a Half Men, which despite great ratings, is a terrible show. Mike & Molly falls somewhere between the two.
I’m not offended by the fat people story, or the fat people jokes. I think it’s sweet when two people find each other, and Molly and Mike (Billy Gardell) seem pretty well matched. The show keeps telling us that that’s true. Except, I don’t sense a lot of chemistry there. Again, I point to Sookie on Jackson on Gilmore Girls as a good example of chemistry, and this is not it.
All of the supporting characters are one-note and pretty much useless. Molly’s sister, Victoria (Katy Mixon) would be nice comic relief, if anything she ever said was humorous. Her sluttiness and drug use is much more sad than funny. I can’t figure out why Samuel (Nyambi Nyambi) is on the series at all. Perhaps as a recurring guest star at the main characters’ favorite dining establishment, he may have been ok. But as a main character himself, being forced into plots he doesn’t belong in, it falls more than flat. Carl (Reno Wilson) is probably the most likeable. His bromance with Mike is believable and nice. Recent plot involved his jealousy over his best friend spending so much time with his new girlfriend, and that was probably the best part of the whole thing so far.
The main problem is that here is a sitcom that isn’t funny. Sure, Mike and Molly have their share of trials as the inevitably grow closer. The premise removes all romantic tension on whether they will get together. But the things they do and say aren’t charming, aren’t laughter enducing, and oftentimes, it’s obvious the writers are just trying too hard for a laugh. A performer shouting “Look at me! I’m doing something hilarious!” never is.
I’d like to tell you to watch Mike & Molly, but I can’t. I’d like to tell you that Mike & Molly has been canceled, but I can’t do that either. It looks destined to become one of those semi-long-running mediorce-at-best shows that is on the air for reasons I can’t explain. Or who knows? Maybe eventually it will grow into itself. Or retool in a way that improves the show a lot. If you’d like to check it out and form your own opinions, Mike & Molly airs Monday nights at 9:30. In Lexington, CBS can be found on channel 9 (analog), 380 (satellite), and 912 (high definition).
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